About

I am a Senior Lecturer in the College of Science and Engineering and Senior Scientist and Curator of Corals at the Queensland Museum. My research is broadly focussed on the taxonomy, systematics, biogeography and evolution of marine biodiversity, particularly reef corals. My current research priorities include revising the taxonomy, systematics and biogeography of reef corals, particularly the taxonomically diverse and ecologically-dominant genus Acropora.

 One of the most important parts of my role is my engagement with local communities and scientists in Australia and across the Indo-Pacific. I have helped build capacity by training HDR students at JCU as well as other Universities in Australia and overseas, and conducting coral taxonomy workshops to train local researchers in Australia and the Indo-Pacific to study and monitor their reefs.

Interests
Professional
  • Public outreach and science communication, particularly relating to coral reef biodiversity and conservation
Research
  • Taxonomy and systematics in Anthozoans
  • Ecology, biogeography and evolution of reef corals
  • History of natural history collections in the Indo-Pacific
Experience
  • 2023 to present - Senior Lecturer, College of Science and Engineering (James Cook University, Townsville)
  • 2019 to present - Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMREP) Advisory Panel - Coral Reef Expert working group, GBRMPA/AIMS (Townsville)
  • 2016 to present - Senior Scientist and Curator - Corals, Queensland Museum (Museum of Tropical Queensland, Townsville)
  • 2023 - 2024 Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report expert elicitation group, GBRMPA (Townsville)
  • 2022 to 2023 - Senior Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (James Cook University, Townsville)
  • 2018 to 2022 - Senior Research Fellow (ARC DECRA), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (James Cook University, Townsville)
  • 2018 - 2019 Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report expert elicitation group, GBRMPA (Townsville)
  • 2013 to 2018 - Postdoc Committee, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  • 2013 to 2016 - Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) National Benthic Monitoring Program Steering Committee, IMOS
  • 2013 to 2016 - JCU-AIMS Postdoctoral Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Australian Institute of Marine Science (James Cook University, Townsville)
  • 2012 to 2013 - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (James Cook University, Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2017 - Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award
Fellowships
  • 2018 to 2022 - Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
Memberships
  • 2007 - International Coral Reef Society
  • 2007 - Australian Coral Reef Society life member
Other
  • 2010 - I have served as a reviewer for numerous journals: Nature Climate Change, Coral Reefs, Conservation Biology, Ecography, Global Change Biology, Global Ecology & Biogeography, Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution and Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Publications

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
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 84+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Tom Bridge from 2008 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Minderoo Foundation - Flourishing Oceans

Taxonomic assessment of corals in the Australian Indian Ocean Territory

Indicative Funding
$57,750 over 1 year
Summary
Document the species richness of the coral fauna of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands (Australian Indian Ocean Territory), with a focus on identifying new species, species endemic to the region or vulnerable to threats due to low abundance or limited distributions.
Investigators
Tom Bridge, Peter Cowman and Andrew Baird (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Coral; Taxonomy; endemicity; Indian Ocean; Biogeography; biodiversity

Minderoo Foundation - Flourishing Oceans

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

Indicative Funding
$95,187 over 2 years
Summary
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.
Investigators
Andrew Baird, Tom Bridge and Peter Cowman (College of Science & Engineering and Education Division)
Keywords
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
Summary
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.
Investigators
Andrew Baird, Tom Bridge and Peter Cowman (Research Division)
Keywords
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
Summary
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.
Investigators
Tom Bridge (Research Division)
Keywords
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
Summary
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
Investigators
Tom Bridge (Research Division)
Keywords
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
Summary
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.
Investigators
Jeremy Horowitz and Tom Bridge in collaboration with Stephen Keable (Research Division and Australian Museum Research Institute)
Keywords
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
Summary
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.
Investigators
Morgan Pratchett, Andrew Hoey, Hugo Harrison, Andrew Baird, Tom Bridge, Daniela Ceccarelli and Jean-Paul Hobbs (Research Division and Curtin University)
Keywords
Coral Reefs; Monitoring; Coral Bleaching; Coral Sea Marine Park
Supervision

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.

Current
  • Integrating physiological and environmental drivers of depth zonation patterns on coral reefs (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Morphological and molecular systematics of stoloniferous soft corals (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Biogeographic Analysis to Guide Better Marine Management: A Case Study of the Great Barrier Reef (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • An integrated taxonomic approach to understanding the diversity and biogeography of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Revisiting Coral Taxonomy: diversity and biogeography of Acropora across the Indian Ocean (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)
Completed
Data

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

Collaboration

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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Email
Phone
Location
  • 19.127, Kevin Stark Research Building (Townsville campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Primary Advisor
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