Professor Terry Hughes is Director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, which is headquartered at James Cook University, Australia. His research focuses on the linkages between the ecology of reefs and their importance for societies and economies. He has worked extensively in Australia, the Coral Triangle Region, and in the Caribbean. An important aspect of his research is understanding the dynamics and resilience of coral reefs, and translating this knowledge into innovative and practical solutions for improved reef management.

  • In the past five years, my research has increasingly evolved in a new direction, moving from an ecological focus to a broader evaluation of the linkages between coral reef ecosystems and people. This new program focuses on solutions for managing resilience and for coping with change and uncertainty in complex social-ecological systems. The ARC Centre is developing further research capacity in this area by strategic recruitment of social scientists, creating a unique multi-disciplinary team of the highest calibre. My recent work has focussed on market drivers of ecological change, missing institutions, identifying safe planetary boundaries for human development, avoiding social traps, and transformative governance of the sea in Australia, Chile, China, the Galapagos Islands, Gulf of Maine and the Coral Triangle. My future research will focus on the linkages between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the welfare of human societies. The objective is to improve the governance and management of natural systems and enhance their capacity to sustain human and natural capital. The overarching goal is to integrate the science of coral reef resilience with decision-making and management.
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2014 - Einstein Professorship
  • 2008 - The Darwin Medal
  • 2007 - Eureka Sherman Prize for Environmental Science
  • 2012 to 2017 - ARC Laureate Fellow
  • 2007 to 2012 - Federation Fellow
  • 2002 to 2007 - Federation Fellow

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 166+ research outputs authored by Empro Terry Hughes from 1980 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Novel governance for marine ecosystems in transition

Indicative Funding
$401,000 over 3 years
Human pressures are tipping marine ecosystems into new equilibrium states. Australia has the third largest marine estate in the world, and its marine ecosystems support critical industries and social and cultural values. The transition in our marine ecosystems requires similar transitions in governance. This project aims to pioneer knowledge about the new governance arrangements required to manage changing marine ecosystems. It does this though a comparative study of novel interventions now underway in Australia, from which practical guidance on responsible marine governance will be elicited, with significant benefits to the sustainability of Australian and international marine ecosystems.
Tiffany Morrison, Terry Hughes and Gretta Pecl (Research Division, College of Science & Engineering and University of Tasmania)
policy; governance; marine science; governance; climate change; Ethics

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation - Donation

GBR Coral Replenishment

Indicative Funding
$63,181 over 6 years
This funding will be used to support our research on the capacity of coral reefs to cope with climate change. Specifically, in 2019 we will examine the rate of coral replenishment along the length of the Great Barrier Reef, in the aftermath of the two bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. The objective is to compare stock-recruitment relationships today with earlier, to better understand the recoverability of reefs.
Terry Hughes (Research Division)
Climate Change; stock recruitment relationships; coral replenishment; reef recoverability; Coral Bleaching

Alliance of the CGIAR Centres - Contract Research

CGIAR Fish-Agri-Food Systems.

Indicative Funding
$429,091 over 4 years (administered by WorldFish)
JCU and WorldFish are committed to delivery of Flagship 2 "Sustaining small-scale fisheries" of the FISH CRP, and in particular Cluster 1 Resilient Coastal Fisheries and with contributions towards Cluster 3 Fish in Regional Food Systems (Program description http://on.cgiar.org/CRP2Proposals). This partnership will produce novel research contributing to increasing nutrition-sensitive fisheries management and policy for small-scale coastal fisheries, and leading to increased adpative capacity and resilience of small-scale coastal fisheries in the face of climate change. This partnership also represents a strong opportunity to build research-in0development capacity of students and post-doctoral research fellows based in Australia and in WorldFish focal countries.
Joshua Cinner, Terry Hughes and Cindy Huchery (Research Division)
Pacific Islands; small scale coastal fisheries; Climate Change; adaptive capacity and resilience; food security and nutrition; Sustainable Fisheries

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.


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


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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