Mr Siham Afatta Taruc

siham_tarucSiham begin his interest in marine science after reading a leaflet mentioning mangrove forest degradation in Indonesia, which brought him to his undergraduate study in 2001 in Diponegoro University, Indonesia. Since then he has been involved both in academic and non-academic activities related to marine conservation in Indonesia, mainly in collaborative researches and public-private partnerships.

Siham’s research is focused on the interdependence between the resilience of human systems and marine ecosystems. He is interested in applying methods that allow combining assessments of stakeholders’ perception and ecosystem condition to better guide decision-making.

In 2008, he was involved in a joint-research in Central Java, between The University of Queensland and Diponegoro University. His work provided scientific reference to Karimunjawa islands reserve managers regarding the adaptive capacity of local communities to different future scenarios of herbivorous fishing pressure affecting coral reef habitat decline.

Currently, he is undertaking his PhD study investigating the resilience and sustainability of coastal livelihoods in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. His research uses systems thinking approach and community-based system dynamics modeling to understand the social and ecological system components driving the wicked problem of the use of marine resources in Indonesia’s marine conservation priority areas.


BSc. (Hons.) in Marine Science – Diponegoro University
MPhil. in Marine Social-ecology – The University of Queensland

Mr Francisco Vidal Ramirez

[one_half]P1010841[/one_half]Francisco is from Chile, where he obtained his degree of Marine Biologist at the University of Valparaiso after the completion of a thesis focused on cytogenetics of rocky shore mussels. Immediately after this, he obtained a position for 4 years at the coastal station for marine research (ECIM) from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, where he was involved in research that was focused on ecology, photobiology, thermal tolerance, climate change impact and fisheries of marine invertebrates, working along with interdisciplinary groups at the international laboratory of climate change (LINCGlobal) and the Mediterranean institute of advance studies (IMEDEA) in Mallorca, Spain. Ended this period, Francisco moved to Australia to join the Coral Reef Ecosystems Laboratory (CRE Lab) at the University of Queensland where he is currently undertaking his PhD under the supervision of A/Professor Sophie Dove, A/Professor Gene Tyson and Dr. Maria Byrne from the University of Sydney. His PhD project assesses the effects of different ocean warming and ocean acidification scenarios on the performance of sea cucumbers in different processes such as calcium carboate dissolution, recycling of nutrients and the interaction between these invertebrates and different communities present in the sediments they process.[one_half] [/one_half]



Manzur, T., Vidal, F., Pantoja, J. F., Fernández, M., Navarrete, S. A. (2014), Behavioural and physiological responses of limpet prey to a seastar predator and their transmission to basal trophic levels. Journal of Animal Ecology, 83: 923–933. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12199

Llabrés, M., Agustí, S., Fernández, M., Canepa, A., Maurin, F., Vidal, F., Duarte, C. M. (2013), Impact of elevated UVB radiation on marine biota: a meta-analysis. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 22: 131–144. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2012.00784.x


Vidal-Ramirez, F., Dove, S. Diurnal effects of Holothuria atra on seawater carbonate chemistry in a sedimentary environment.

Under Review:

In preparation:

Conference Proceedings:


Past conferences:

ECSA55 Unbounded boundaries and shifting baselines: Estuaries and coastal seas in a rapidly changing world, 6-9 September, ExCeL London Exhibition and Convention Centre, London, UK. Title: Effects of Holothuria atra on seawater carbonate chemistry and production under future warming and acidification scenarios. Authors:  Francisco Vidal-Ramirez, Olga Pantos, Gene W. Tyson & Sophie Dove. Talk

88th Annual ACRS (Australian Coral Reef Society) conference, 27-29 August 2014, Mercure Hotel, Brisbane, Australia. Title: Role of Holothuria atra in sediment turnover and production under future winter warming and acidification scenarios. Authors: Francisco Vidal-Ramirez & Sophie Dove. Talk.

LIV Annual Meeting of the Biology Society of Chile, 6-10 of November 2011, Hotel Patagonico, Puerto Varas, Chile.  Title: Effect of implementation of management areas on the abundance of Fissurella spp in open access areas. Authors: Anna SteelMiriam Fernandez, Francisco VidalAna Parma, Nancy BarahonaJorge Guerra. Poster.

IV Binational meeting of Ecology (AsAE and SOCECOL), 8-13 of August 2010, Faculty of Natural and Exact Sciences at Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, Title: Severe effects of hypoxia on behavior, metabolic rate and mortality of larvae of Taliepus dentatus (Milne-Edwards). Authors: Francisco VidalMiriam FernándezRicardo CalderónJessica BarríaAlexandre Fellous. Talk.

2010 Ocean Science Meeting, 22-26 of February 2010, Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon, United States. Title: Influence of UV radiation on variability of grazing and growth rates of plankton communities from the Humboldt Current area. Authors: Alexandra Coello, Francisco Vidal, Sebastien Lasternas, Felipe Maurín, Miriam Fernández & Susana Agustí. Poster.

VII Latin American Congress of Malacology – CLAMA 2008, 3-7 of November, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile. Title: Study and quantitative analysis of the karyotype of Perumytilus purpuratus Lamarck, 1819. Authors: Francisco Vidal & Rosa Guerra. Poster.


2015. School of Biological Sciences Travel Award Prize, The University of Queensland ($1600 AUD)

2012-2016. Becas Chile, CONICYT ($183000 USD)

2009. LINCGlobal and Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA) for processing and analysis of Humboldt Oceanographic Campaign samples ($5700 USD)

2009. LINCGlobal and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile for 2009 Humboldt Oceanographic Campaign ($2000 USD)

Dr. Veronica Radice (Honorary Fellow)

Dr. Veronica Radice is a marine biologist who is fascinated by the mysteries of the ocean, from tropical shallow reefs to the deep-sea and mesophotic reefs in between! Her research investigates coral physiology in relation to environmental conditions. She uses field-based experiments, biogeochemical techniques, and genetic tools to study corals in shallow versus deep reef environments, with a focus on lower-light mesophotic coral ecosystems. Veronica is interested in understanding the impacts of ocean warming on coral recovery following thermal stress events that cause coral bleaching.

Veronica received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA) and then worked in a deep-sea ecology lab (Prof Erik Cordes) at Temple University (Philadelphia, USA) where she was a research assistant and lab manager for two years.

As a member of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Veronica completed her PhD and was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab at the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) studying tropical coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific. Her PhD was focused on understanding how the trophic ecology of shallow and deep corals may be influenced by oceanographic processes such as upwelling, which brings important deep-water nutrients to shallow waters. Such nutrient fluxes may be important to the coral holobiont, which can utilize both dissolved and particulate food sources. Her research examined how environmental differences such as depth and reef exposure influences coral holobiont metabolism.

As an XL Catlin Seaview Survey Ocean Scholar, Veronica had the opportunity to survey coral reefs across the Coral Triangle (Pacific Ocean) and in several locations in the central Indian Ocean. Veronica conducted research in the Maldives, an archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean. What makes the Maldives particularly unique is the atolls’ location upon an oceanic ridge and the seasonally-reversing monsoons. This combination of bathymetry and climate makes the Maldives a great place to study the influence of oceanographic processes on coral reefs.

Twitter:  @Dr_Radice

Email:  v.radice [at] uq [dot] edu [dot] au


Personal profiles:

Research Gate – Veronica Radice

Google Scholar – Veronica Radice




Ms Michelle Achlatis

Coral reefs are the result of a constant battle between constructive and destructive forces. When it comes to biologically-driven destruction, erosion by excavating sponges is one of the most important yet understudied mechanisms. Global warming and acidification are predicted to enhance the impact of these sponges on reefs, tipping the balance to the disadvantage of corals and other calcifying organisms. Using Cliona orientalis as her model species, Michelle’s current work aims to decipher the metabolic dynamics of bioerosion and to evaluate the resilience of excavating sponges to future environmental conditions. Michelle joined the Coral Reef Ecosystems lab as a PhD student in 2014 after she finished her Master’s at the University of Amsterdam working on Caribbean reef sponges and majoring in science communication. She completed her first degree at the University of Crete in her homeland Greece.

Installing equipment on the reef crest of Heron Island

harries bommie

The bioeroding sponge Cliona orientalis growing on Heron Island reef







Contact details
Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab
School of Biological Sciences  |  University of Queensland
Level 7 Gehrmann Laboratories (60)
St. Lucia, QLD 4072  |  Australia



Alexander B. E., Achlatis M., Osinga R., van der Geest H.G., Cleutjens J. P. M., Schutte B. , de Goeij J.M. (2015). Cell kinetics during regeneration in the sponge Halisarca caerulea: how local is the response to tissue damage? PeerJ 3:e820

Achlatis M., van der Zande R.M., Schönberg C.H.L., Fang J.K.H., Hoegh-Guldberg O., Dove S. (2017). Sponge bioerosion on changing reefs: ocean warming poses physiological constraints to the success of a photosymbiotic excavating sponge. Sci Rep 7: 10705.​ doi:10.1038/s41598-017-10947-1

Ramsby, B. D., Hill, M. S., Thornhill, D. J., Steenhuizen, S. F., Achlatis, M., Lewis, A. M. and LaJeunesse, T. C. (2017). Sibling species of mutualistic Symbiodinium clade G from bioeroding sponges in the western Pacific and western Atlantic oceans. J. Phycol.. doi:10.1111/jpy.12576

Achlatis M., Pernice M., Green K., Guagliardo P., Kilburn M.R., Hoegh-Guldberg O., Dove S. (2018). Single-cell measurement of ammonium and bicarbonate uptake within a photosymbiotic bioeroding sponge. ISME J DOI 10.1038/s41396-017-0044-2

Fang J.K.H., Schönberg C.H.L., Mello-Athayde M.A., Achlatis M., Hoegh-Guldberg O., Dove S. (2018). Bleaching and mortality of a photosymbiotic bioeroding sponge under future carbon dioxide emission scenarios. Oecologia 10.1007/s00442-018-4105-7

Dr Annamieke Van Den Heuvel

Sunset – Heron Island

Annamieke has been with the CRE lab for a number of years, first as a Honours student and then when undertaking her PhD. During her time as a CRE student, she researched the effects increased levels of exogenous nitrogen had on the relationship between coral and their symbiotic algae, Symbiodinium. These effects were examined on both a genetic and physiological level to develop an overall picture of a coral holobionts response to increasing levels of nitrogen.

Currently Annamieke is the Laboratory Manager for the Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab. She helps in keeping the lab running and responds to applications to work with the lab.

inside the mesocosm
A view into the Mesocosm ‘Mini-Reef’

In addition to her Lab manager role, Annamieke regularly travels to Heron Island to check and sample the mesocosm experiment currently underway. These mesocosems are representative ‘mini reefs’ comprised of several species of hard and soft coral, algae assemblages, various invertebrates and some herbivorous fish. The experiment, being run by A/Prof Sophie Dove, looks at the effects of climate change on coral reef ecosystems. The four treatments explores the effects of increased temperature and pCO2 on coral reef communities both in combination and separately.

Dr Nela Rosic (DECRA Research Fellow)


I grew up in Serbia and start thinking about Science due to my love for genetics. I received a BSc (Hons First Class) in Molecular Biology and Physiology and a MSc in Plant Biology from the University of Belgrade. After moving to Brisbane, I completed a PhD at the University of Queensland. I have been awarded with a UQ Postdoctoral Fellowship for Women (2011-2013) and a prestigious Discovery Early Career Researcher Award by ARC (2012-2014).

Research Interests

  • Reprogramming Symbiodinium epigenome for higher temperature conditions
    Coral reefs represent one of the most diverse marine ecosystems housing an estimated 25% of all marine species. Exposure to thermal stress has been recognized as an important abiotic factor leading to the loss of algal symbionts from coral tissue and coral bleaching. The goal of this project is to enhance our understanding of the capacity of coral algae to tolerate thermal stress using an ancient epigenetic mechanism DNA methylation for reprogramming their epigenomes.
  • Coral algae as a source of UV-absorbing compounds
    Reef-building corals form mutualistic symbioses with unicellular photosynthetic dinoflagellate of the genus Symbiodinium. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation especially when combined with thermal stress, has been recognized as an important abiotic factor leading to oxidative stress and break down of the coral-algal endosymbiosis. In nature, many marine organisms use Mycosporine-like Amino Acids (MAAs) as biological sunscreens in UV protection and the prevention of oxidative stress. Corals acquire MAAs from their symbiotic algae and diet. Until now the complete enzymatic pathway of MAA synthesis is not known nor is the extent of their regulation by environmental conditions.
  • Transcriptomics for detection of stress in coral
    Changes to the environment as a result of human activities can result in a range of impacts on reef building corals that include reduced concentrations of algal symbionts and coral bleaching. We investigate the expression of genes in the colonies of the reef-building coral during environmental perturbations including elevated sea temperatures and nutrient enrichment. Our results will provide new insights into the transcriptional profiles of the coral holobiont and transcriptional regulation prior bleaching. In addition, we will identify a range of potential stress biomarkers that could be used for the development of the early warning signs of stress in reef-building corals.



Book Chapter

  • Rosic, Nela (2013). DNA shuffling of cytochromes P450 for indigoid pigment production. In Ian R. Phillips, Elizabeth A. Shepherd and Paul R. Ortiz de Montellano (Ed.), Cytochrome P450 protocols 3rd ed. (pp. 205-224) New York, NY, United States: Humana Press. doi:10.1007/978-1-62703-321-3_18

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Rosic, N. and Dove, S. (2013). How can dinoflagellates help in reducing coral reef vulnerability to environmental stress?. In: M. Dennis Hanisak, James A. Nienow and Akshinthala K. S. K. Prasad, Abstracts of Papers to be Presented at the 10th International Phycological Congress. 10th International Phycological Congress, Orlando, Florida, United States, (94-94). 4-10 August 2013.

  • Rosic, Nela, Pernice, Mathieu, Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove and Dove, Sophie (2011). Differential Regulation of Heat Shock Proteins and Cytochrome P450 Genes in Symbiotic Dinoflagellates Under Thermal Stress. In: Fifth European Phycological Congress: EPC5 Programme and Abstracts. 5th European Phycological Congress, Rhodes, Greece, (145-145). 04-09 September 2011. doi:10.1080/09670262.2011.613192

  • Rosic, Nela, Kaniewska, Pauline, Ling, Edmund, Edwards, David, Dove, Sophie and Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove (2011). Transcriptomics of the coral-algal symbiosis in response to environmental stress. In: Fifth European Phycological Congress: EPC5 Programme and Abstracts. 5th European Phycological Congress, Rhodes, Greece, (97-97). 04-09 September 2011. doi:10.1080/09670262.2011.613190

  • Rosic, Nedeljka, Lonhienne, Thierry G.A., DeVoss, James J. and Gillam, Elizabeth M.J. (2003). Directed evolution of mammalian cytochrome P450 enzymes involved in xenobiotic metabolism. In: Drug Metabolism Reviews: Proceedings 8th European Meeting of the International-Society-for-the-Study-of-Xenobiotics (ISSX). 8th European Meeting of the International-Society-for-the-Study-of-Xenobiotics (ISSX), Dijon, France, (46-46). 27 April – 1 May, 2003. doi:10.1081/DMR-120020120