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.

Aguilar C, Raina J-B, Motti C, Fôret S, Hayward D, Lapeyre B, Bourne DG, Miller DJ Transcriptomic analysis of the response of Acropora millepora to hypo-osmotic stress provides insights into DMSP biosynthesis by corals. BMC Genomics 18: 612

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. PeerJ. 5:e3438; DOI 10.7717/peerj.3438.

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 DOI 10.1007/s00227-017-3097-x

Lamb JB, van de Water JAJM, Bourne DG, Altier C, Hein MY, Fiorenza EA, Abu N, Jompa J, Harvell CD (2017) Seagrass ecosystems moderate pathogens of marine animals. Science 355:731-733. Note this article was also awarded the cover of Science.

Marcelino VR, Morrow KM, van Oppen MJH, Bourne DG, Verbruggen H (2017) Diversity and stability of coral endolithic microbial communities at a naturally high pCO2 reef. Molecular Ecology 26(19): 5344-5357 DOI: 10.1111/mec.14268.

Mera H, Bourne DG (2018) Disentangling disease causation: Complex roles of coral-associated microorganisms in disease. Environmental Microbiology (early online) doi:10.1111/1462-2920.13958

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

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

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