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Dr Russ Babcock is a marine ecologist with CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere and leads research exploring the natural and human forces that shape Australia’s coastal ecosystems and sustain their integrity and value. He has broad research interests including the ecology of coral reefs and temperate kelp forests with a focus the effects of coastal development, marine conservation and trophic cascade effects.
Russ has over 40 years of research experience on coral reefs on the GBR, Western Australia and the Pacific, working closely with agencies and industry and leading multidisciplinary teams to address management needs. Current areas of active research include coral restoration and management of the crown-of-thorns starfish on the GBR. Past work has focused on the assessment of marine reserve effectiveness, fish tracking, and the distribution and structure of mesophotic reefs at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, as well as research on kelp forests in Western Australia and New Zealand.

Other Interests

Hobbies: Surfing, fishing, Blues harmonica

Fields of Research

Current Roles

  • Team Leader
    Impacts on Coastal Biodiversity Team

Academic Qualifications

  • 1980

    BSc Hons(1)
    James Cook University

  • 1986

    James Cook University

Professional Experiences

  • 2003-2020

    Senior Principal Research Scientist

  • 1993-2003

    Associate Professor
    University of Auckland

  • 1990-1992

    Research Fellow

  • 1986-1989

    ARC Research Fellow
    James Cook University

Achievements and Awards

  • 1992

    Pol Eureka Prize for Environmental Research
    Australian Museum

Other highlights

  • 2017-

    Hughes TP, Kerry JT, Álvarez-Noriega M, Álvarez-Romero JG, Anderson KD, Baird AH, Babcock RC, Beger M, Bellwood DR, Berkelmans R, Bridge TC. et al. Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals. Nature. 16:543(7645):373-7.

  • 2016-

    Wernberg T, Bennett S, Babcock RC, de Bettignies T, Cure K, Depczynski M, Dufois F, Fromont J, Fulton CJ, Hovey RK, Harvey ES, Holmes TH, Kendrick GA, Radford B, Santana-Garcon J, Saunders BJ, Smale DA, Thomsen MS, Tuckett CA, Tuya F, Vanderklift MA, Wilson S. Climate-driven regime shift of a temperate marine ecosystem. Science, 353:169-172.

  • 2010-

    Babcock, RC, Shears, NT, Alcala, AC, Barrett NS, Edgar GJ, Lafferty KD, McClanahan, TR, Russ GR. Decadal Trends in Marine Reserves: differential rates of change for direct and indirect effects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (USA). 107(43): 18256–18261. doi:10.1073/pnas.0908012107

  • 1984-

    Harrison, P.L. Babcock R.C., Bull G., Oliver J.K. Wallace C.C. and Willis B.L. Mass spawning in tropical reef corals. Science 223:1186-9

  • 1981

    co-discoverer of mass spawning of corals on the GBR

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2009-2018

    QIMOS Deputy Node Leader

  • 2016-2017

    Associate Editor, Marine and Freshwater Research

  • 2003-present

    Adjunct Professor, Edith Cowan University

  • 2003-present

    Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Western Australia

  • 2015-Present

    National Coral Bleaching Task Force

  • 2015-2016

    Commonwealth marine Reserve Review: Expert Forum member

  • 2014-Present

    GBRMPA crown-of-thorns starfish scientific reference committee

  • 2011-2013

    Qld Healthy Waterways Scientific Expert Panel – Ecosystems (2011 – 2013)

  • 2010-present

    IMOS ATF (Australian Animal Tracking Facility) Scientific and Data committees (2010-present).

  • 2007-2008

    Moreton Bay Marine Park Scientific Advisory Panel (2007-2008)

  • 2005-2006

    Rottnest Island Authority Marine Management Scientific Working Group (2005-2006)

  • 2005-2009

    WA Fisheries Western Rock Lobster Ecology Scientific Reference Group (2005-2009)

  • 2015-2017

    National Science Week activities - Exmouth State High School

We have publications by Prof Russ Babcock