Currently hold a shared position with AIMS and James Cook University.
Research Scientist within the AIMS "Healthy and Resilient GBR" research program, leading research initiatives into the roles of microbes in coral health and disease.
My training and background is in Molecular Microbial Ecology. Since obtaining my PhD in 1997 which investigated microbial degradation of cyanobacterial toxins, I have applied these skills to a number of research topics during Postdoctoral stints, including terrestrial methanotroph ecology and marine microbiology at the University of Warwick (UK) and Bergen University (Norway) respectively. My time at AIMS has been spent across a number of projects including the investigation of marine microbes for drug discovery and the microbial dynamics in aquaculture (Rock Lobster) larval rearing systems. Recently, however, I have principally been focused on coral microbiology and coral disease.
  • 1997: PhD in Biotechnology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
  • 1992: Bachelor of Applied Science in Biotechnology (First Class Honours), University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
Current Research Activities
I have established and managed a research theme within AIMS, focused primarily on the microbiology of corals and coral disease. This research is divided essentially into two areas, the first investigating the normal microbial communities associated with corals and their functional roles in maintaining coral fitness. The second research focus is to elucidate pathogens and mechanism of disease onset in corals and the implications this has on a stressed reef ecosystem in light of climate change being a major driver of coral reef degradation. I am currently based at James Cook University though share my time between AIMS and JCU.
Expert Committees and Boards
Member of the AIMS@JCU 'Stress in tropical marine systems' program
Member of the Action Network for Coral Health and Resilience
Editorial Board of The ISME and Environmental Microbiology Journals
Science Leader of the ReFuGe2020 Research consortium on coral genomics facilitated through the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Over 120 science and technical papers in international journals. The following are a selection of recent publications.

Chen C, Bourne DG, Drovandi C, Mengersen K, Willis BL, Caley MJ, Sato Y (2017) Modelling environmental drivers of black band disease outbreaks in populations of foliose corals in the genus Montipora. Peer J. In press.

Glasl B, Webster NS, Bourne DG (2017) Microbial indicators as a diagnostic tool for assessing water quality and climate stress in coral reef ecosystems. Marine Biology 164: 91

Lamb JB, van de Water JAJM, Bourne DG, Altier C, Hein MY, Fiorenza EA, Abu N, Jompa J, Harvell CD (2017) Seagrass ecosystems reduce exposure to bacterial pathogens of humans, fishes and invertebrates. Science 355 (6326): 731-733. Note this article was also awarded the cover of Science.

Morrow K, Bromhall K, Motti CA, Munn CB, Bourne DG (2017) Allelochemicals produced by the brown macroalga of the Lobophora genus are active against coral larvae and associated bacteria, supporting pathogenic shifts to Vibrio dominance. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 83(1): e02391-16.

Neave MJ, Rachmawati R, Xun L, Michell CT, Bourne DG, Apprill A, Voolstra CR (2017) Differential specificity between closely related corals and abundant Endozoicomonas endosymbionts across global scales. The ISME Journal 11: 186-200. doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.95

Peixoto R, Rosado P, Leite D, Rosado AS, Bourne DG (2017) Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMC): proposed mechanisms for coral health and resilience. Frontiers in Microbiology 8:341 doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00341.

Pollock FJ, Wada N, Torda G, Willis BL, Bourne DG (2017) Repeated sampling of white syndrome-affected corals reveals distinct microbiome at disease lesion fronts. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 83: e02799-16.

Raina JB, Clode PL, Cheong S, Bougoure J, Kilburn MR, Reeder A, Foret S, Stat M, Beltran V, Thomas-Hall P, Tapiolas D, Motti CM, Gong B, Pernice M, Marjo CE, Seymour JR, Willis BL, Bourne DG (2017) Subcellular tracking reveals the location of dimethylsulfoniopropionate in microalgae and visualises its uptake by marine bacteria. eLIFE 6: e23008.

Sato Y, Ling EYS, Turaev D, Laffy P, Wenberg KD, Rattei T, Willis BL, Bourne DG (2017) Unraveling the microbial processes of black band disease in corals through integrated genomics. Scientific Reports 7: 40455 doi:10.1038/srep40455.

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