An AIMS scientists records coral cover on the GBR
Our research activities focus on four programs, each led by a program leader:
A Healthy and Resilient GBR 
Program Leader: Ken Anthony
The GBR program conducts interdisciplinary research intended to provide managers and policy makers with a better understanding of GBR vulnerability to climate change, ocean acidification and interactions with local/regional environmental stressors.
Strategic objectives
  • To address critical and high-priority issues surrounding the vulnerability and resilience of Australia's tropical coral reefs.
  • To develop innovative frameworks and tools for identifying optimal management and policy options under global, regional and local change.
  • To support management decisions that can enhance coral reef resilience effectively in the face of cumulative pressures and limited management resources.
Program Teams

Sustainable Coastal Ecosystems and Industries in Tropical Australia 

Program Leader: Britta Schaffelke
The Coastal Program delivers science relating to the critical issue of cumulative stressors in a broad range of tropical marine habitats arising from coastal and catchment development, in the context of shelf-scale ecosystem drivers.
Strategic objectives

To support coastal and marine planning and conservation through assessments of:
  • The condition of tropical environments; 
  • The dispersal and effects of sediment, nutrient and pollutant inputs from various sources; 
  • Key ecological functions and processes from the organism to ecosystem-level, in particular those affected by environmental pressures. 
Program Teams
  • Water quality of the Great Barrier Reef 
  • Multiple pressures on coastal ecosystems
  • Environmental impacts of coastal development 
  • Shelf system dynamics and modelling

Sustainable Use of Northwest Marine Ecosystems

Program Leader: Stephen Rogers
This program focuses on the sustainable development of marine resources in northwest (NW) Australia. 
Strategic objectives
  • To develop a regional baseline knowledge of marine habitats, dynamics and resilience in the NW in partnership with industry and in response to the requirements of regulators
  • To provide industry and regulators with accurate and timely information on impacts, critical thresholds, and cumulative effects of industry activities in the NW
  • To develop innovative tools to collect, analyse, predict and disseminate information on the marine habitats and organisms of the NW
Program Teams 
  • Benthic ecology and baseline assessments 
  • Impacts of dredging and oil spills 
  • Biology and ecology of fish and megafauna 

Data and Technology Innovation

Program Leader: Lyndon Llewellyn
This program provides the interface between science and infrastructure management, and in some cases science and users. 
Strategic objectives

To support high quality cross-cutting science infrastructure and capability development enabling improved science delivery and translation of outputs to outcomes through:
  • Seamless data gathering from observing infrastructure and effective online dissemination in a variety of media
  • Cutting edge analytical capability
  • Experimental seawater systems such as the National Sea Simulator (SeaSim) that provide real-world, but controlled conditions for growth of marine organisms 

Program teams