Senior Research Scientist within the "Healthy and Resilient GBR" research program at AIMS, leading research initiatives into the roles of microbes in coral health and disease. Currently having a shared position with AIMS and James Cook University.
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.
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 GBR Foundation.
Over 100 science and technical papers in international journals. The following are a selection of recent publications.

Angly FE, Pantos O, Morgan TC, Rich V, Tonin H, Bourne DG, Tyson GW (2016) Diuron tolerance and potential degradation by pelagic microbiomes in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. PeerJ 4:e1758; DOI 10.7717/peerj.1758.

Angly FE, Heath C, Morgan TC, Tonin H, Rich V, Schaffelke B, Bourne DG, Tyson GW (2016) Marine microbial communities of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon are influenced by riverine floodwaters and seasonal weather events. Peer J 4:e1511; DOI 10.7717/peerj.1511.

Bourne DG, Morrow KM, Webster NS (2016) Coral Holobionts: Insights into the coral microbiome: Underpinning the health and resilience of reef ecosystems. Annual Reviews of Microbiology (in press)

Lema KA, Clode PL, Kilburn MR, Thornton R, Willis BL, Bourne DG (2016) Imaging the uptake of nitrogen-fixing bacteria into larvae of the coral Acropora millepora. ISME J doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.229.

Sato Y, Civiello M, Bell SC, Willis BL, Bourne DG (2016) Integrated approach to understanding the etiology of black band disease in corals. Environmental Microbiology: doi:10.1111/1462-2920.13122.

Alongi DM, Patten NL, McKinnon AD, Köstner N, Bourne DG, Brinkman R (2015) Phytoplankton, bacterioplankton and virioplankton structure and function across the southern Great Barrier Reef shelf. Journal of Marine Systems 142: 25-29.

Ainsworth TD, Krause L, Bridge T, Torda G, Raina J-B, Zakrzewski M, Gates R, Padilla-Gamiño J, Spalding HL, Smith C, Woosley ES, Bourne DG, Bongaerts P, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Leggat W (2015) The coral core microbiome identifies rare bacterial taxa as ubiquitous endosymbionts. The ISME Journal 9(10): 2261-2274

Bourne DG, Ainsworth TD, Pollock FJ, Willis BL (2015) Towards a better understanding of white syndromes and their causes on Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Coral Reefs: 34:233-242.

Morrow K, Bourne DG, Humphrey C, Botté ES, Laffy P, Zaneveld J, Uthicke S, Fabricius KE, Webster NS (2015) Natural volcanic CO2 seeps reveal future trajectories for host-microbial associations in corals and sponges. ISME J 9: 894-908.

Pollock FJ, Krediet CJ, Garren M, Stocker R, Winn K, Wilson B, Heute-Stauffer C, Willis BL, Bourne DG (2015) Visualization of coral host-pathogen interactions using a stable GFP-labeled Vibrio coralliilyticus strain. Coral Reefs 34(2): 655-662

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