Australia, as an island nation, is very dependent on its regional seas for tourism, maritime trade, petroleum and fisheries resources. Despite this importance, vast areas of the seafloor within Australia's marine jusisdiction remain unmapped, both on the shallow shelf and in the deep ocean.

My role as a marine geologist is to drive and influence the ocean mapping science 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, both in shallow shelf and offshore deeper waters, and to study the relationships between those seabed habitats and their associated marine life.

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 2015 - 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)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 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
  • O'Brien P, Beaman R, De Santis L, Domack E, Escutia C, Harris P, Leventer A, McMullen K, Post A, Quilty P, Shevennell A and Batchelor C (2015) Submarine glacial landforms on the cold East Antarctic margin. In: Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms: Modern, Quaternary and Ancient. Memoir, 46. The Geological Society of London, Bath, UK, pp. 501-508

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 55+ 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
$467,500 over 5 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

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

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.


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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