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, and within the nearshore Kimberley Region, of northwestern Australia. This research aims to quantify and understand spatial and temporal patterns of change in community structure responding to varying regimes of disturbance; thus, to consider the resilience of communities to observed disturbances and the implications of additional impacts. Traditional community structure data are supplemented with demographic data about reproduction, larval dispersal and connectivity, and growth and survival.
Over 30 reports to Government and Industry, and 25 publications in international journals (selection below).

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

Rosser NL, Gilmour JP (2008) New insights into patterns of reproduction by corals on north Western Australian reefs. Coral Reefs 27:345-349

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

Underwood JN, Smith LD, van Oppen MJH, Gilmour JP (2006) Multiple scales of genetic connectivity in a brooding coral on isolated reefs following catastrophic bleaching Molecular Ecology 16:771-784

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 JP (2002) Acute sedimentation causes size-specific mortality and asexual budding in the mushroom coral Fungia fungites. Mar Freshwater Res 53:805-812

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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