JCU has an outstanding group of Academic Staff who can supervise projects on marine biology, ecology and aquaculture.

I will be taking on more postgraduate students from 2016-2017, so by all means enquire if the research activities of my laboratory align with your own?

I have a variety of research interests.  With a broad brush – my interests fall under the following:

  • Pelagic ecology and oceanography;
  • Population and community ecology of reef and pelagic fish in temperate and tropical systems (most of my present work is in the tropics);
  • Elemental chemistry of fishes and jellyfishes what it can tell us about their movements and the environmental conditions they experience;
  • Quantitative marine ecology;
  • Climate change

The staff and students section of the laboratory web site gives you some idea of what my group I up to.  The site also provides a gallery of images that show some of the places we work, JCU and Townsville and its surrounding environments.

My recent funded projects have focused on:

  • Connectivity of reef fish populations
  • Environmental records in the otoliths of fish and the statoliths of jellyfishes
  • Ecology and population dynamic of cubozoan jellyfishes
  • Reducing the risk of envenomation by deadly jellyfishes on the Great Barrier Reef.

Multiple projects piggyback off these funded programs and generally focus on the ecology of reef fishes, jellyfish ecology and biological oceanography (sometimes co-supervised by oceanographer Eric Wolanski).

Some recent student projects include:


  • Gerard, Emily  (2010) Early life history of damselfish
  • Woodcock, Emma (2010) Age and growth of tropical clupeids
  • Boaden, April (2010-2011) Ecology of nemipterid reef fishes
  • Hopf, Jessica (2011) Age and growth of jellyfishes
  • Epstein, Hannah (2012-2013) Elemental chemistry of ‘upside down’ jellyfish
  • Jodie Schlaefer (2014) – Predicting recruitment of tropical snapper from oceanographic modelling


  • Shelley Templeman (2012) Jellyfish as biomonitors
  • Chris Mooney (2015) Ecology and demography of cubozoans
  • April Boaden (2016) Direct and indirect effects of Marine Protected areas on reef fishes.

Fees and Scholarships

The fees for overseas students are about $32,000 pa for a PhD and you would want about $20,000 pa to live on. However, many students get fee waivers or scholarships if they are highly placed in student rankings.  New Zealand students are treated as Australian Domestic students and do not pay fees.

For Scholarships you are scored on: your GPA, the degree you have completed (e.g., Postgraduate Diploma, Honours of Masters), the number of refereed publications you have and the research environment of supervisors involved.  Further, you are expected to have done a substantial research project (e.g., a thesis).

Scholarships JCU


Your Check List

If you have not done so already, please check the following:

  • Have a good look my web page – as you are clearly doing;
  • Check the website for information on other potential supervisors (see Our People),  https://www.jcu.edu.au/college-of-science-and-engineering;
  • The College and general JCU web site is the best place to find documentation for potential postgraduates – also check out the site of the Graduate Research School of JCU and get in touch with us if you get stuck;
  • If you are keen on exploring options in my laboratory then I would also like to see your academic record and a list of any publications you have written;
  • Please make it clear in your CV if you have done a research thesis or large project;
  • Look into funding options from your home country as well as those in Australia;
  • Look at Scholarship options in Australia  most of the deadlines are in the 2nd half of the year (around August-October). For overseas students scholarships are available, but competition is intense (JCU see site in the last sectio of this page);
  • Does your English meet JCU requirements? IELTS requirement = 6.5; no component lower than 6 (but check this with our International Office).

Please copy enquires to

  • Debbie Berry, who is our Administrative Officer for Postgraduate Affairs debbie.berry@jcu.edu.au.

If we go beyond the above then a phone call (or Skype) is probably worthwhile.