Using DNA to track baby fish and corals—5 June 2017

Through the ARC Future Fellowships scheme, Dr Michael Bode from James Cook University will lead a project aiming to predict how corals and reef fishes recover from catastrophes, for more sustainable fisheries and for the conservation of coral reef ecosystems. This project will combine new genetic data and innovative mathematical methods to understand larval dispersal, which is fundamental to life on coral reefs.

For most marine organisms, early life is spent dispersing in the vast, open ocean. An understanding of where these tiny larvae go is limited by unvalidated models and sparse data. Dr Bode’s research will be applied to case studies from Australia and across the Western Pacific Ocean to track these larvae using their DNA signatures. The results will feed into models that can help prioritise conservation actions, as well as forecast and understand the recovery of coral and fish populations following severe disturbances. 

Dr Bode, who received an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award grant in 2013, applies mathematical methods to environmental problems, with a focus on threatened species and coral reef biodiversity.

Image: Fish and Coral stock photo | Image ID 100451408
Image courtesy: Chai25182518 at


Original Published Date: 
Monday, June 5, 2017