• Biogeography, Phylogeography and Evolution of reef corals
  • Functional ecology of coral reefs
  • Taxonomy and Systematics in Anthozoans
  • Ecologyand conservation of coral reefs 
  • Diversity and ecology of mesophotic coral ecosystems
  • Depth-diversity patterns in marine ecosystems
  • Application of 3D imaging to marine ecology, particularly AUVs

Dr Tom Bridge is a Senior Research Fellow (ARC DECRA) at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Senior Curator of Corals at the Queensland Museum Network. His research is broadly focussed on spatial and temporal patterns in coral reef biodiversity, and how they can be used to inform conservation. He is particularly interested in the biogeography and evolution of coral reefs, and applying new techniques such as phylogenomics and 3D imagery to undertanding the diversity and functional ecology of coral reef ecosystems.


Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2017 - Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award
  • 2018 to 2022 - Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

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
Current Funding

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

Minderoo Foundation - Flourishing Oceans

Biodiversity of the reef-building corals of Ningaloo Reef and the Indian Ocean

Indicative Funding
$95,187 over 2 years
Document the species richness of the coral fauna of Ningaloo with a focus on identifying species endemic to the region or vulnerable to threats due to low abundance or limited distributions.
Andrew Baird, Tom Bridge and Peter Cowman (College of Science & Engineering and Education Division)
Coral Reefs; Conservation; Species discovery; Biodiversity; Biogeography; Endemicity

Lizard Island Research Station - Critical research grants

Taxonomy of the reef-building corals of Lizard Island

Indicative Funding
$88,000 over 2 years
The short term aim of the project is to establish a curated collection of all scleractinian coral species from Lizard Island, including field and skeleton images plus tissue samples. This will allow for consistency in identification of corals among studies. The long term goal is a robust taxonomy for the corals of Lizard Island using an integrated approach that includes quantitative morphological analysis, molecular analysis and other lines of evidence, such as spawning times and breeding compatibilities.
Andrew Baird, Tom Bridge and Peter Cowman (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Biodiversity; Taxonomy; Great Barrier Reef; Coral Reefs; Scleractinia; Conservation

Queensland Museum - Contract Research

Taxonomic and Functional Diversity of Reef Corals

Indicative Funding
$164,896 over 5 years
Coral reefs are among the most threatened ecosystems on earth, and are strongly affected by comparative small changes in the environment. However, some coral populations have been shown to survive in habitats analogous to those predicted for later this century. This project will quantify how species diversity and their associated ecological traits vary along environmental gradients to understand how functional diversity varies among habitats. This information will enable better predictions of the functional composition of future coral reef ecosystems, and whether plasticity in functional traits may mediate the functional declines of reef ecosystems.
Tom Bridge (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Tropical Ecosystems and Environment; Industries and Economies in the Tropics; Peoples and Societies in the Tropics; Tropical Health, Medicine & Biosecurity

Australian Research Council - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

Trait plasticity and the maintenance of functional diversity

Indicative Funding
$365,058 over 5 years
This project aims to determine if trait plasticity mediates functional degradation of coral reefs by using natural environmental gradients to identify mechanisms that enable corals to persist in marginal habitats. The project will use innovative 3D imaging to measure how intraspecific variability in traits influences functional redundancy, facilitating better predictions of the effects of environmental change on reef systems. Expected outcomes include improved understanding of the response of coral reef ecosystems to environmental change and a framework for predicting reefs at risk of functional degradation, providing benefits to both global biodiversity conservation and the provision of ecosystem services in reef dependent communities
Tom Bridge (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Coral; Biodiversity; Functional Diversity; trait; Climate Change Adaptation; Ecology

Australian Museum Research Institute - Visiting Collections Fellowship, 2020-2021

Shining a spotlight on dark taxa: an Integrated approach to species identification of Australian Museum black corals (Cnidaria: Antipatharia)

Indicative Funding
$4,000 over 1 year
I will image and identify black corals housed in AMRI based on branching pattern, spine attributes; and, polyp attributes as defined by the literature. Spines will be examined via imaging with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Specimens that cannot be identified from morphological features will be subject to molecular phylogenetic analysis (UltraConserved Elements [UCEs] and exon sequencing). I will extract DNA from tissue, and send DNA to Arbor Biosciences, USA for targeted UCE and exon sequencing. Phyluce software will be used for post-sequencing analyses, and maximum likelihood inference will be conducted on each alignment to add AMRI species to my UCE black coral phylogenetic tree.
Jeremy Horowitz and Tom Bridge in collaboration with Stephen Keable (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Australian Museum Research Institute)
Antipatharia; Phylogenetics; Ultraconserved Elements; Museum collections

Department of the Environment and Energy - Director of National Parks - Tender

Coral Reef Health in the Coral Sea Marine Park

Indicative Funding
$968,346 over 2 years
A number of coral reefs occur in the Australian Marine Parks estate, particularly within the Coral Sea Marine Park (CSMP). In 2016 and 2017, coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and CSMP were impacted by a mass global coral bleaching event. Regular surveys of coral bleaching and associated reef health in the CSMP are needed to inform future marine park management over the next three years to either enable comparisons against historical baselines where bleaching has previously occurred, or set new baselines for areas that aren?t bleached but may be in the future.
Morgan Pratchett, Andrew Hoey, Hugo Harrison, Andrew Baird, Tom Bridge, Daniela Ceccarelli and Jean-Paul Hobbs (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Curtin University of Technology)
Coral Reefs; Monitoring; Coral Bleaching; Coral Sea Marine Park

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.

  • Integrating physiological and environmental drivers of depth zonation patterns on coral reefs (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Biogeographic Analysis to Guide Better Marine Management: A Case Study of the Great Barrier Reef (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Morphological and molecular systematics of stoloniferous soft corals (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • An integrated taxonomic approach to understanding the diversity and biogeography of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Drivers of Biodiversity on Coral Reefs - the role of Antipatharians Supporting Species Richness and Abundance on Shallow and Mesophotic Reefs (PhD , Primary Advisor)

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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