Research Scientist: Coral Ecology

  • Long-term dynamics of coral reef communities
  • Applying demographic data & models to monitoring programs
  • Sexual reproduction, larval ecology & recruitment of corals
After my undergraduate degrees at James Cook University, I worked on collaborative projects between the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Aquarium, James Cook University and the Museum of Tropical Queensland investigating coral reproduction, spawning and mating systems. I then completed my PhD at the University of Western Australia, investigating the utility of combining methods to better understand the dynamics of coral populations. I have since worked with researchers from private industry, consultancies, universities and AIMS in Western Australia, particularly on northern coral reefs. My research focuses on the long-term dynamics of coral communities and quantifying patterns of impact and recovery from natural and human disturbances, particularly by incorporating a range of demographic data.
  • 2005: PhD, University of Western Australia.
  • 1994: Honours, James Cook University.
  • 1992: BSc Marine Biology and Chemistry, James Cook University.
Current Research Activities
My current research activities are focused on coral communities on the oceanic reef systems of north-western Australia and the near-shore reefs at the Pilbara and Kimberley regions. I lead AIMS¿ monitoring programs of coral and fish communities at the oceanic reefs, where a range of descriptive and demographic data are collected to inform long-term dynamics. I also lead or participate in similar projects within the Pilbara or Kimberley regions of WA. I am interested in combining complimentary data to explain spatial and temporal patterns of change in coral reefs responding to regimes of disturbance, in the context of their future pressures.
I have written many reports for Government and Industry and published in international journals - a selection of publications:

Foster T, Gilmour JP, Chua CM, Falter JL, McCulloch MT (2015) Effect of ocean warming and acidification on the early life stages of sub-tropical Acropora spicifera. Coral Reefs 35: 1-10

Done TJ, Gilmour J, Fisher R. (2015) Distance decay among coral assemblages during a cycle of disturbance and recovery. Coral Reefs. 34: 727-738.

Speed CW et al (2013) Dynamic stability of coral reefs on the West Australian coast. PLoS ONE 8(7): e69863

Gilmour JP, Smith LD, Heyward AJ, Baird AH, Pratchett MS (2013) Recovery of an isolated coral reef system following severe disturbance. Science 340:69-71

Depczynski M, Gilmour J, Ridgway T et al (2012) Bleaching, coral mortality and subsequent survivorship on a West Australian fringing reef. Coral Reefs 32:233-238

Moore J, Bellchambers L, Depczynski M et al (2012) Unprecedented mass bleaching and loss of coral across 12o of latitude in Western Australia. PLoS ONE 7: e51807

Underwood JN, Travers MJ, Gilmour JP (2012) Subtle genetic structure reveals restricted connectivity among populations of a coral reef fish inhabiting remote atolls. Ecology and Evolution 2:666-679

Gilmour JP, Smith LD, Brinkman RM (2009) Biannual spawning, rapid larval development and evidence of self-seeding for scleractinian corals at an isolated system of reefs. Marine Biology 156:1297-1309

Cooper TF, Gilmour JP, Fabricius KE (2009) Bioindicators of changes in water quality on coral reefs: review and recommendations for monitoring programmes. Coral Reefs 28: 589-606

Underwood JN, Smith LD, van Oppen MJH, Gilmour JP (2009) Ecologically relevant dispersal of corals on isolated reefs: implications for managing resilience. Ecological Applications 19:18-29

Smith LD, Gilmour JP, Heyward AH (2008) Resilience of coral communities on an isolated system of reefs following catastrophic mass-bleaching. Coral Reefs 27:197-205

Smith LD, Devlin M, Haynes D, Gilmour JP (2005) A demographic approach to monitoring the health of coral reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin 51: 399-407

Gilmour J (2002) Substantial asexual recruitment of mushroom corals contributes little to population genetics of adults in conditions of chronic sedimentation. Marine Ecology Progress Series 235: 81-91

Gilmour J (1999) Experimental investigation into the effects of suspended sediment on fertilisation, larval survival and settlement in a scleractinian coral. Marine Biology 135: 451-462

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