Marine and Coastal Ecology - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Marine and Coastal Ecology

Aerial view of islands

A research focus in the areas of ocean sciences and marine animal ecology naturally emerges from USC’s location at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It also reflects the expertise, and international leadership, of several academics who work on cutting-edge issues in marine and coastal ecology.

Damselfish over coral

They work on a diverse range of topics, set in equally diverse environments, spanning from deep-sea biology to marine climate change ecology.

Take a look at a selection of their projects and their research partners.

Spiral shell

Whilst they undertake both applied and theoretical research, a leading principle is that all of their marine science work must be strongly embedded in modern theoretical frameworks of ecology and conservation, and that attributions are strong and defensible, especially in the area of climate change associated work.

Research areas

Sandy beaches

The ecology and conservation of interfaces, focusing particularly on processes that structure and impact ecosystems of sandy beaches and estuaries.

Global change

The ecological consequences of global change, emphasising cutting-edge modelling of biotic response to changing ocean conditions, at regional to global scales.


Connectivity between populations, habitats and ecosystems including reef fishes, sharks, mangroves, surf-zones, deep-ocean seamounts and submarine canyons.

Crab on the beach
Snorkeler taking a fish survey
Fish swimming through seagrass and reef

Investigating the fundamental role played by vertebrate scavengers of beach and marine carrion in food-webs and in biological connectivity.

Brahminy kite
Coastal geomorphology

Examining coastal geomorphology and how changing seascapes impact on ecological processes, resilience and animals.

Key members

Professor Thomas Schlacher holding a crab
Professor Thomas Schlacher
Professor, Marine Science

More about Professor Schlacher

Key publications at USC Research Bank

Dr Ben Gilby
Dr Ben Gilby
Assoc. Lecturer, Animal Ecology

More about Dr Gilby

Key publications at USC Research Bank

Javier Leon in stormy waters
Dr Javier Leon
Senior Lecturer, Physical Geography

More about Dr Leon

Key publications at USC Research Bank

Andrew Olds emerging from the swamp
Dr Andrew Olds
Senior Lecturer, Animal Ecology

More about Dr Olds

Key publications at USC Research Bank

David Schoeman
Dr David Schoeman
Associate Professor, Biostatistics

More about Dr Schoeman

Key publications at USC Research Bank

Marine ecology latest news

USC Newsroom
USC Marine biologist Dr Bonnie Holmes
Shark researcher brings expertise to USC
1 April

A USC marine biologist researching shark ecology along Australia’s east coast plans to expand her focus to address a gap in knowledge of shark movements and behaviours in the Wide Bay region.

USC Senior Lecturer in Animal Ecology Dr Kathy Townsend conducts reef surveys on Lady Elliot Island.
Research to protect island ‘ark’ from climate change
25 February

An intensive research project led by USC Australia is aiming to safeguard the Great Barrier Reef’s most southern island, Lady Elliot Island, from the impacts of climate change.

Sara dives deep into the social world of manta rays
12 December 2019

USC Fraser Coast honours student Sara Perrott is diving into the incredible underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef in a bid to reveal new insights into the social life of the mysterious manta ray.