My role as a marine geologist is to drive the ocean mapping required to unlock the secrets of Australia's underwater landscape. Ocean mapping science can help reveal the geological origin of the seafloor and explain the distribution of important seabed habitats and marine life.

My research goal is to understand the long-term geological and physical processes that have influenced key geomorphic features of the seabed, particularly for the deep Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea.

Research projects range from the study of submarine canyons, underwater landslides, submerged reefs, paleo-channels, algal bioherms, cold-water corals, mesophotic (twilight) coral ecosystems, seamounts, tsunami modelling and habitat mapping.

These projects use geographic information systems, multibeam and singlebeam echosounders, lidar, sidescan sonar, shallow seismic profilers, photogrammetry, underwater camera imagery, satellite imagery and sediment sampling instruments.

  • Hydrographic surveying
  • Digital elevation modelling
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • 2009 to 2018 - Research Fellow, James Cook University (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2009 - Hydrographic Surveyor, LADS Flight, Royal Australian Navy (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2005 to 2008 - Postdoctorate/Research Officer, James Cook University (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2001 to 2005 - PhD student, University of Tasmania (Hobart, Australia)
  • 2002 to 2003 - Reef ecology/marine mammal lecturer, Society Expeditions (Pacific/Antarctica)
  • 2014 - QSEA J. M. (Mac) Seriser Award for overall excellence in Project 3DGBR
  • 2014 - QSEA Environment and Sustainability Award for Project 3DGBR
  • 2007 - Australian Defence Medal
  • 2001 to 2005 - Australian Postgraduate Award
  • 2002 - Antarctica Service Medal, United States of America
  • 2009 to 2012 - Queensland Smart Futures Fellowship

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 63+ research outputs authored by Dr Robin Beaman from 1994 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

BHP Billiton Group Operation Pty Ltd - Research Grant

Predictive Modelling of Reef-Island Geomorphology using High-Resolution Mapping and Environmental Datasets for Improved Conservation and Management

Indicative Funding
$69,750 over 4 years (administered by Queensland Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing)
Reduced turtle nesting and hatching success at Raine Island - priority management concerns - have been strongly linked to geomorphological changes. The proposed research will make use of a lsuite of quality geomorphological and environmental data collected at Raine (and rarely available for remote undeveloped cays) to develop a robust data-supported predictive morphodynamic model that will: a) significantly improve understandings of the future geomorphology Raine Island: and b) underpin decisions and evaluations of management actions undertake to conserv both the island and the animals that depend lupon it - including adaptive management options such as sand redistribution and beach re-profiling.
Scott Smithers, Robin Beaman and Jeff Pickford (College of Science & Engineering)
Great Barrier Reef; Reef Island; Geomorphology; Terrain Modelling; GIS; Protected Area Management

Geoscience Australia - Contract Research

Queensland Coastline Capture Project

Indicative Funding
$667,500 over 6 years
The objectives are: (1) Using panchromatic and multi-band digital imagery acquired using both aircraft and satellites to provide interpretation and capture of reefs throughout the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Specifically, identifying and capturing those reefs that expose at lowest astronomical tide (LAT). (2) to identify and capture other reef structures that are apparent from the imagery that will contribute to the knowledge of the extent and structure of the GBR. The Project will provide valuable data across Government of the GBR that will increase the general knowledge of reef location and will provide valuable data across Government of the GBR that will increase the general knowledge of reef location and structure, as well as maximising Australia's control of the GBR and realising the full extend of offshore jurisdiction.
Robin Beaman in collaboration with Mark Alcock and Peter Lennon (College of Science & Engineering, Geoscience Australia and Department of Natural Resources and Mines)
Great Barrier Reef; Marine Management; Geomorphology; Law of the Sea

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMReP)

Cairns POM morphology mapping

Indicative Funding
This research will generate the most accurate and up-to-date 3D depth model for the Cairns Plan of Management (POM) area, at the 30m pixel resolution, using all the available source bathymetry data for this region. This fundamental dataset will then be used to derive a Morphology-Surface, as per the proposed structure of the national Seafloor GeoMorphology (NSGM) mapping scheme, being developed by Geoscience Australia. This involves the semi-automatic derivation of morphological surfaces from bathymetric data into Plan, Slope and Escarpment classes.
Robin Beaman (College of Science & Engineering)
Great Barrier Reef; Geomorphology; Marine Management; Bathymetry

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Innovation Fund

Crowdsourced bathymetry on the Great Barrier Reef

Indicative Funding
$10,000 over 2 years
Crowdsourced bathymetry is the collection of depth measurements from vessels, using standard navigation instruments. Bathymetry and navigation data are logged to a SmartLog USB data logger from the vessel's depth sounder and GPS, then used to improve the accuracy of the high-resolution 3D depth model of the Reef, through Project 3D-GBR. The GBR Foundation is funding a pool of data loggers to enable more partner vessels to collect depth data. This project gives people an increasing role in contributing valuable citizen science data to improve a fundamental dataset that helps the reef.
Robin Beaman (College of Science & Engineering)
Great Barrier Reef; Geomorphology; Marine Management; bathymetry

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection - Contract Research

Intertidal and Subtidal Habitat Mapping and Conservation Values Assessment for Central Queensland State Waters

Indicative Funding
The project will deliver the interim Queensland Intertidal and Subtidal Classification Scheme; seascape-scale habitat mapping from Baffle Creek to the Fitzroy River delta; and an Aquatic Conservation Assessment of the seascape-scale habitat units as a tool for management and planning.
Robin Beaman in collaboration with Mike Ronan and Maria Zann (College of Science & Engineering and Qld Dept of Environment and Heritage Protection)
Great Barrier Reef; Marine Management; Geomorphology; Law of the Sea

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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