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
  • 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 156+ research outputs authored by Prof Terry Hughes from 1980 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation - Donation

GBR Coral Replenishment

Indicative Funding
$63,181 over 4 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 (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
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 5 years (administered by WorldFish, Malaysia)
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 (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Pacific Islands; small scale coastal fisheries; Climate Change; adaptive capacity and resilience; food security and nutrition; Sustainable Fisheries

ACIAR - Research Grant

Research Fellow: Governing for resilience and equity in small-scale fisheries

Indicative Funding
$180,000 over 4 years (administered by World Fish, Malaysia)
The objective of this project is to enhance collaborative research between WorldFish and the Centre of Excellence with a particular focus on participation of the Centre in ACIAR's project 'Strengthening and scaling community-based approaches to Pacific coastal fisheries management in support of the New Song." WorldFish and the Centre will co-fund a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to undertake research on governing for food security, equity and resilience in Pacific small-scale fisheries.
Terry Hughes (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Pacific Islands; Small scale fisheries management; Gender equity; Food Security; Resilience; Sustainability

Australian Research Council - Centres of Excellence

ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies

Indicative Funding
$28,000,000 over 7 years
The overarching aim of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies is to provide the scientific knowledge necessary for sustaining ecosystem goods and services of the world's coral reefs, which support the livelihoods and food security of millions of people in the tropics. The Centre will enhance Australia's global leadership in coral reef science through three ambitious research programs addressing the future of coral reefs and their ability to adapt to change. A key outcome of the research will be providing tangible benefits to all Australians by bui8lding bridges between the natural and social sciences, strengthening capacity, and informing and supporting transformative changes in coral reef governance and management.
Terry Hughes, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Malcolm McCulloch, Peter Mumby, Sean Connolly, John Pandolfi, Bob Pressey, Andrew Baird, David Bellwood, Joshua Cinner, Sophie Dove, Maja Adamska, Mia Hoogenboom, Geoff Jones, Mike Kingsford, Ryan Lowe, Mark McCormick, David Miller, Philip Munday, Morgan Pratchett, Garry Russ and Tiffany Morrison in collaboration with Janice Lough, David Wachenfeld, Stephen Palumbi, Serge Planes and Philippa Cohen (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, The University of Queensland, The University of Western Australia, College of Science & Engineering, Australian National University, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Stanford University, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and WorldFish)
coral reef ecosystems; Climate Change Adaptation; ecological resilience; biodiversity goods and services; social-ecological dynamics

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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 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)

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