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Ms Kathryn Berry

Research Officer
Catchment to Reef Processes

PhD Candidate, James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, present
MSc, University of Bremen, Germany, 2011
BSc, Dalhousie University, Canada, 2007

Research Interests

Kathryn Berry is a casual research worker within the Catchment to Reef Research Group at TropWATER. Kathryn’s research interests focus on the assessment of anthropogenic impacts on the marine environment, particularly marine contamination.

Kathryn is conducting her PhD at JCU and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, where she is investigating the effects of coal contamination on marine organisms, specifically corals, seagrass and reef fish. Kathryn completed her MSc at the University of Bremen, Germany, which consisted of multidisciplinary studies in coral reef ecology and environmental science. Her MSc thesis focused on trace metal pollution at coral reefs and involved extensive in-situ and laboratory work based at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Bocas del Toro, Panama and the Museum for Natural History in Berlin, Germany. She has previously conducted coral conservation work in Thailand and orca conservation work in western Canada.


Current research projects include:

  • Comparison of microplastic contamination in coral reef sediments and waters in Australia, Maldives and Myanmar
  • Quantification of microplastic ingestion by reef fish and oysters
  • Investigation into the physical effects of coal particles (suspended and deposited) on tropical marine organisms
  • Examination of the potential risks associated with microplastic contamination on early life history stages of corals
  • Quantification of microplastics in Queensland coastal sediments
  • Linking turtle health with water quality and trace metal levels in seagrass


Recent Awards:

  • Represented James Cook University at the Asia-Pacific 3 Minute Thesis competition, 2016
  • Marilyn Fox Award for best inaugural presentation 2014, Ecological Society of Australia
  • Science for Management Award 2014, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
  • The Nature Conservancy Conservation Award 2013, The Nature Conservancy/ESA


Selected Peer-reviewed Articles:

  1. Berry KLE, Hoogenboom O, Brinkman D, Burns K, Negri A. (2016) Effects of coal contamination on early life history stages of a reef-building coral, Acropora tenuis. Marine Pollution Bulletin,
  2. Berry KLE, Hoogenboom MO, Flores F, Negri A (2016). Simulated coal spill causes mortality and growth inhibition in a coral, seagrass and reef fish species. Nature Scientific Reports,  DOI:10.1038/srep25894.
  3. Hall NM, Berry KLE, Rintoul L, Hoogenboom M (2015) Microplastic Ingestion by scleractinian corals. Marine Biology, DOI: 10.1007/s00227-015-2619-7.
  4. Seemann J, González CT, Carballo RE, Berry KLE, et al. (2014) Assessing the ecological effects of human impacts on coral reefs in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, DOI: 10.1007/s10661-013-3490-y.
  5. Berry KLE, Seemann J, Dellwig O, Struck U, et al. (2013) Sources and spatial distribution of heavy metals in scleractinian coral tissues and sediments from the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment,  DOI: 10.1007/s10661-013-3238-8.
  6. Seemann J, Carballo RE, Berry KL, González CT, Richter C, Leinfelder RR (2012) Importance of heterotrophic adaptations of corals to maintain energy reserves. In: Proceedings of the 12th ICRS, 19A.


Selected Reports:

  1. Kroon, F, Berry KLE, Brinkman D, et al. (2016) Identification, impacts, and prioritisation of emerging contaminants present in the GBR and Torres Strait marine environments. Tropical Water Quality Hub, National Environmental Science Programme.
  2. Caron A, Thomas CR, Ariel EM, Berry KLE, Boyle S, Motti C, Brodie E (2016) Extraction, identification and quantification of microplastics from sea turtles: method development and preliminary results. TropWATER Report No. 15/52
  3. Brodie J, Wolanski E, Berry KLE, Waterhouse RJ (2014). Review of Application for Resource Consent (MV RENA). TropWATER Report No. 14/44
  4. Brodie J, Wolanski E, Berry KLE (2014). Review of Options for Ongoing Management of the M.V. Rena Grounding, Volume 2. Confidential TropWATER Report No. 14/07
  5. Brodie J, Ariel E, Thomas C, O’Brien D, Berry K (2014) Links Between Water Quality and Marine Turtle Health. TropWATER Report No. 14/05


Current collaborations:

JCU Marine Plastics Research Hub - visit us at, facebook: Marine Plastics Research Hub and Twitter: @plasticsResearch


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