My research focus is on coastal and near-shore environmental physics, involving the synthesis of physical information with the biological and/or chemical characteristics of the environment.  Current work investigates impacts on coral reefs, including coral bleaching and disease, reef resilience and conservation management, within the context of climate change.  This work continues from my time with the US government's NOAA Coral Reef Watch program, with whom I remain affiliated.   I am currently co-leading the development and applications of a tool that rapidly assesses climate vulnerability of World Heritage properties (cvi-heritage.org), working with UNESCO World Heritage Centre and its advisory bodies. I previously held faculty positions at Penn State and Georgetown Universities.

  • MB1110: Introductory Marine Science (Level 1; TSV)
  • PH1005: Advanced Stream Physics 1 (Level 1; TSV)
  • PH2006: Marine Physics (Level 2; TSV)
  • SC1102: Modelling Natural Systems (Level 1; TSV)
  • SC1109: Modelling Natural Systems-Advanced (Level 1; TSV)
  • SC2202: Quantitative Methods in Science (Level 2; TSV)
  • SC3010: Sensors and Sensing for Scientists (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • Creatively communicating science
  • Coastal and near-shore environment
  • Ecological/biological connections
  • Ocean processes
  • Climate vulnerability of World Heritage properties
  • 2005 to 2019 - Adjunct Principal Research Fellow, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2003 to 2019 - Senior Physical Scientist, NOAA Coral Reef Watch (Washington DC/Townsville)
  • 2002 to 2003 - Assistant Professor, Georgetown University (Washington DC, USA)
  • 2001 to 2002 - Assistant Professor, Penn State University (Altoona PA, USA)
Research Disciplines

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 87+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Scott Heron from 1998 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Global Science & Technology Inc. - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Forecasting coral disease outbreaks across the tropical Pacific Ocean using satellite-derived data

Indicative Funding
$88,532 over 3 years
The project will develop better models of coral disease outbreak risk across the western tropical Pacific Ocean and embed these into the NOAA Coral Reef Watch decision support system (DSS). The current DSS, at ~50 km SST data, assesses coral disease risk for the Great Barrier Reef and Hawaii for a single disease type. Improvements will be to: increase the spatial resolution to 5 km, and expand to several coral diseases, host species and regions; incorporate short-term SST forecasts; incorporate ocean colour data, where appropriate; and undertake additional targeted coral disease observations.
Scott Heron (College of Science & Engineering)
Coral Disease; NOAA Coral Reef Watch; NASA Biodiversity and Ecological Forecas; Satellite Data; Pacific Ocean; University of Hawaii

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Developing a mechanistic basis for coral reef conservation

Indicative Funding
$60,000 over 2 years (administered by UNSW)
The health and reef-building capacity of coral reefs worldwide is challenged by a range of anthropogenic impacts, including global warming, sedimentation, eutrophication and ocean acidification. If coral reef ecosystems are to overcome these environmental challenges and persist into the future, corals must acclimate and/or adapt. This project will provide an evidence base for coral reef conservation to be targeted towards conserving regions that are found to be at greatest risk, and those that have the greatest capacity for resilience, to the projected near future climate change.
Tracy Ainsworth, Bill Leggat, Andrew Baird and Scott Heron (The University of New South Wales, The University of Newcastle, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and PortMap Remote Ocean Sensing Pty Ltd)
Coral; Coral Reefs; Climate Change

Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences - Contract Research

Norfolk Island baseline reef health assessment

Indicative Funding
Conduct baseline benthic community and coral health surveys (condition and resilience) at Emily Bay/Slaughter Bay and Ball Bay to investigate the structure and health of coral communities.
Scott Heron (College of Science & Engineering)
Coral Reef; Health Baseline Assessment; Oceanography

Common Wadden Sea Secretariat - Contract Research

Climate Vulnerability Index

Indicative Funding
Climate change is the fastest growing threat to World Heritage properties, many of which ?natural, cultural and mixed ? are already being impacted. The Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI) is a rapid assessment tool to identify key drivers of vulnerability, opportunities for response and priorities for action across all types of World Heritage properties. The CVI framework considers potential impacts, adaptive capacity, and economic, social and cultural consequences of climate change. Here we propose to apply the CVI process in the Wadden Sea World Heritage property.
Scott Heron (College of Science & Engineering)
Climate Vulnerability; World Heritage

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 Identification of Potential Links Between Fibropapilloma Prevalence in Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia Mydas) and Heavy metal Contamination Along the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Seasonal water transports in Ambon Bay of eastern Indonesia and their influences on marine pollution (PhD , External Advisor)
  • Identifying Thematic Groups of Natural World Heritage Properties to inform the Climate Vulnerability Index (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Temporal and Spatial Variation in the Growth of Branching Corals (2016, PhD , External Advisor)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit the JCU Research Data Catalogue.


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)

Connect with me
Share my profile
Share my profile:

Advisory Accreditation
Primary Advisor (P)
Find me on…
Icon for Twitter profile page Icon for ORCID profile Icon for Google Scholar profile

Similar to me

  1. Dr Hugo Harrison
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  2. Dr Nick Graham
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  3. Prof Andrew Hoey
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  4. Prof Andrew Baird
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  5. Prof Morgan Pratchett
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies