Dr. Rene van der Zande


Rene has been with the CRE Lab since 2014, first as a PhD student and currently as an Honorary Fellow. During his PhD, Rene’s work focused primarily on the ecophysiology of reef-building corals under local (e.g. eutrophication) as well as global (e.g. climate change) stressors. Using both in situ measurements and controlled laboratory experiments, the main objective was to better understand the underlying physiological mechanisms and flexibility that ultimately govern coral health.

Currently, Rene is investigating the physiology of mesophotic corals as part of a collaborative effort between the Coral Reef Ecosystems Laboratory from The University of Queensland, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, and the CARMABI Research Station on Curacao. Mesophotic corals, growing at depths over 40 meters, live in low-light environments that cause them to display altered physiological and metabolic functions compared to their shallow-water counterparts. Using manipulative experiments combined with stable isotope analyses, the aim of this study is to determine the status of the coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis, and to explore alternative mechanisms of energy acquisition by corals adapted to low light conditions.


Research interests

Ecophysiology of reef-building corals
Phenotypic plasticity
Interactive capacity of environmental stressors
Coral calcification
Host-symbiont relationships




Dr. Hawthorne Beyer

Hawthorne Beyer is a post-doctoral research fellow. His research is at the interface between people and the environment, more specifically how biological systems are impacted by humans and the implications of this for management of both environmental and social systems. His applied research promotes evidence-based management using quantitative modelling and operations research methods to develop spatially explicit decision support systems for better managing environmental systems.  He has applied this approach to a variety of environmental management problems including: (i) robust, global-scale coral reef conservation planning in the context of uncertainty arising from climate change; (ii) prescribed fire management planning in Australia to maximise multiple objectives; and (iii) large scale forest restoration planning in Brazil and globally to maximise biodiversity and carbon returns.

Andrés Felipe Suárez-Castro

I am an environmental research scientist, with formal education in ecology and spatial analysis. I have focused on studying the effect of landscape change on biodiversity and natural resources, and the science-policy interface for ecosystem services and biodiversity to inform landscape planning.  Currently, I am using high-resolution spatial data to estimate how land management actions could reduce sediment and nutrient runoff to the ocean and how that could translate to improved water quality on coral reefs.

Carol Phua

Carol Phua is the Global Coral Reef Initiative Manager & the Global MPA Lead for WWF’s Oceans Practice. In her current role, she leads and manages the Coral Reef Rescue Initiative on behalf of the partners (University of Queensland, Rare, Wildlife Conservation Society, Blue Ventures, CARE International, Vulcan Inc and WWF). The Initiative which builds on the work led by the CRE lab (50 Reefs), is led by Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg for the University of Queensalnd.

Ms Carol Phua

Carol has been with WWF for over 16 years, and in that time, she has initiated, set up and managed national, regional and global programmes. She started her WWF career at the European Policy Office working on European marine and fisheries policy, and then moved back to the Netherlands to join WWF Netherlands where she led development of  the WWF Sharks & Rays Initiative and managed the MPA Action Agenda and & MPA Action Group. While with WWF Netherlands she was seconded to WWF Malaysia as Head of Marine and set up the WWF Malaysia Marine Programme. She is also the lead author and editor of the Living Blue Planet Report (link: http://ocean.panda.org/media/Living_Blue_Planet_Report_2015_Final_LR.pdf), the co-author of the Dutch Good Fish Guide (North Sea Foundation) and founder of Ocean Witness. Carol has a Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Hons) in Natural Systems & Wildlife Management from the University of Queensland and Master of Science in Fisheries & Aquaculture from Wageningen University. 

Adriana Rose Campili

Adriana has been with the CRE Lab since October 2019. She maintains a predominantly live on position at the Heron Island Research Station, as a technician and research assistant for the CRE Lab Mesocosm Experiment run by A/Prof Sophie Dove. The Mesocosm experiment is focused on climate change effects, particularly ocean acidification, on the coral Isopora palifera. Since her studies at James Cook University, Adriana has worked at a number of other marine research Institutes as a research assistant, laboratory and field technician, contributing to various projects focusing on coral reef impacts including the role climate change is playing in these ecosystems.

Bommie on Keeper Reef.
Adriana in the field.
Heron Island Snorkelling


Dr Ralph Trancoso

Research Fellow

School of Biological Sciences


+61 7 3170 5713

Picture  Picture   Picture  Picture  Picture 


Ralph is an Earth System scientist with expertise in ecohydrology, climate change, spatial sciences and data analysis. He integrates these knowledge branches to address relevant issues for society. Ralph worked in a broad range of environmental job sectors spanning academia, industry, government and consultancy in both Australia and Brazil. He is currently a Research Fellow in climate change working at the School of Biological Sciences (University of Queensland) and the Department of Environment and Science (Queensland Government).

Ralph has broad research interest spanning several fields in Earth System sciences. His science constrains two most important drivers detrimentally impacting coral reefs: climate change and catchment processes. Ralph tackle these processes at a range of spatial and temporal scales with innovative techniques and engaging visualization. Ralph’s scientific outputs are generally designed to support environmental and climate policies in addition to the purely applied science.

Ralph’s main areas of knowledge and how they complement each other to understand earth surface processes and deliver scientific outputs.

Ecohydrology is a core theme in Ralph’s research portfolio. He is particularly interested in how catchment processes are changing due to landscape- and climate-induced changes and how these changes may impact other systems (e.g., coral reefs) and society (e.g. water supply, flood regime). Ralph has been investigating catchments with varying hydrological regimes over the world and his scientific contribution helped understanding critical processes and leveraged theoretical knowledge.

Ralph’s current main research projects are in climate sciences to underpin adaptation  and mitigation of climate change. Ralph and his team have developed the Queensland Future Climate dashboard – an interactive regionalization platform with high-resolution climate change data and information for a range of regions within Queensland.

Check how high-resolution climate models project future temperature in Queensland under moderate and high emissions in the video below.


PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences (University of Queensland)
MSc of Applied Geosciences (University of Brasilia)
MSc of Tropical Forests Sciences (National Institute for Research in the Amazon)
BSc in Forest Engineering (University Federal Rural of Rio de Janeiro)

Prospective projects

Ralph is usually keen to collaborate in research projects related to his fields of expertise. Prospective students and colleagues are welcome to get in touch.

Selected Publications

Peer reviewed journals