Principal Research Scientist within the Healthy and Resilient GBR Program where I lead research into the roles of microbial and viral symbionts in invertebrate health and adaptation to changed environments.
I obtained a PhD in 2001 which investigated the microbial ecology of a GBR sponge, focussing on the stability of the symbiotic associations over different latitudinal and stress gradients. Between 2001-05 I undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Canterbury / Gateway Antarctica. This research investigated the utility of microbial symbionts as biomarkers for environmental stress in the Antarctic marine ecosystem and facilitated the development of effective diagnostic tools for measuring sub-lethal stress in Antarctic marine biota. In 2005 I commenced a research scientist position at AIMS undertaking research that assesses the impact of environmental stress on model invertebrate symbioses (primarily sponges and their microbial symbionts). During this period I also undertook research into the role of microorganisms as inducers for settlement and metamorphosis of coral reef invertebrates.

2001: PhD James Cook University Marine Microbiology

1995: Bachelor of Science (Hons) James Cook University

Current Research Activities
The health of reef ecosystems is underpinned by a diverse array of microorganisms that undertake essential biogeochemical transformations and which live in intimate symbioses with reef hosts. My research explores the various ways in which microorganisms contribute to reef health. We undertake experimental and field based research and use sensitive molecular approaches to define host and microbial sensitivity thresholds to different environmental pressures. Our research also explores how microorganisms can contribute to the transgenerational acclimatisation of reef invertebrates in a rapidly changing climate.
Expert Committees and Boards
Board Member International Society of Microbial Ecology
Director of Ambassadors ISME
Member of the United Nations Pool of Experts for Global Reporting and Assessment of the Marine Environment
Editor Environmental Microbiology
Editor mSystems
Reviewer for >20 international journals (Nat Comm, Proc Nat Acad Sci, ISME J, Glob Change Biol etc) and major funding agencies (ARC, NSF, DRC, ABRS, FRC, NOAA).
Over 120 scientific publications with over 5400 citations (

Most Recent 2017 Publications:

Weynberg KD, Laffy PW, Wood-Charlson EM, Turaev D, Rattei T, Webster NS, van Oppen MJH (2017) Coral-associated viral communities show high levels of diversity and host auxiliary functions. Peer J. 5:e4054

Strehlow BW, Pineda M-C, Duckworth A, Kendrick GA, Renton M, Abdul Wahab MA, Webster NS, Clode PL (2017) Sediment tolerance mechanisms identified in sponges using advanced imaging techniques. Peer J. 5:e3904

Tout J, Astudillo-García C, Taylor MW, Tyson GW, Stocker R, Ralph PJ, Seymour JR, Webster NS (2017) Redefining the sponge-symbiont acquisition paradigm: Sponge microbes exhibit chemotaxis towards host-derived compounds. Environmental Microbiology Reports 9(6): 750-755

Moitinho-Silva L, Nielsen S, Amir A, Gonzalez A, Ackermann GL, Cerrano C, Astudillo-Garcia C, Easson C, Sipkema D, Liu F, Steinert G, Kotoulas G, McCormack GP, Feng G, Bell JJ, Vicente J, Björk JR, Montoya JM, Olson JB, Reveillaud J, Steindler L, Pineda M-C, Marra MV, Ilan M, Taylor MW, Polymenakou P, Erwin PM, Schupp PJ, Simister RL, Knight R, Thacker RW, Costa R, Hill RT, Lopez-Legentil S, Dailianis T, Ravasi T, Hentschel U, Li Z, Webster NS, Thomas T (2017) The Sponge Microbiome Project. Gigascience 6(10): 1-7.

Pineda M-C, Strehlow B, Sternel M, Duckworth A, Den Haan J, Jones R, Webster NS (2017) Effects of sediment smothering on the sponge holobiont with implications for dredging management. Scientific Reports 7: 5156

Damjanovic K, Blackall LL, Webster NS, van Oppen MJH (2017) The contribution of microbial biotechnology to mitigating coral reef degradation. Microbial Biotechnology 10(5): 1236-1243

Pineda M-C, Strehlow B, Sternel M, Duckworth A, Jones R, Webster NS (2017) Effect of suspended sediments on the sponge holobiont with implications for dredging management. Scientific Reports 7: 4925

Pineda M-C, Strehlow B, Kamp J, Duckworth A, Jones R, Webster NS (2017) Effects of combined dredging-related stressors on sponges: A laboratory approach using realistic scenarios. Scientific Reports 7: 5155

Webster NS, Reusch T (2017) The future of coral reefs: Microbial contributions to reef adaptation. ISME Journal 11(10): 2167-2174

CV system by AIMS Data Centre

Home | About AIMS | Research | Data | Publications | Media | Site Index | Contacts

Creative Commons License Attributing AIMS | Copyright Notice | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

©2011 Australian Institute of Marine Science