Portait photograph of David Bourne

Dr David Bourne

Research Scientist
Coral microbiology and disease
Contact number
(07) 4781 47 90
+61-7-4781 47 90
Contact email

My training and background is in Molecular Microbial Ecology. Since obtaining my PhD in 1997 which investigated microbial degradation of cyanobacterial toxins, I have applied these skills to a number of research topics during Postdoctoral stints, including terrestrial methanotroph ecology and marine microbiology at the University of Warwick (UK) and Bergen University (Norway) respectively. My time at AIMS has been spent across a number of projects including the investigation of marine microbes for drug discovery and the microbial dynamics in aquaculture (Rock Lobster) larval rearing systems. Recently, however, I have principally been focused on coral microbiology and coral disease.

PhD in Biotechnology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
Bachelor of Applied Science in Biotechnology (First Class Honours), University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.

I have established and managed a research theme within AIMS, focused primarily on the microbiology of corals and coral disease. This research is divided essentially into two areas, the first investigating the normal microbial communities associated with corals and their functional roles in maintaining coral fitness. The second research focus is to elucidate pathogens and mechanism of disease onset in corals and the implications this has on a stressed reef ecosystem in light of climate change being a major driver of coral reef degradation. I am currently based at James Cook University though share my time between AIMS and JCU.



Ceccarelli DM, Loffler Z, Bourne DG, Al Moajil-Cole GS, Boström-Einarsson L, Evans-Illidge E, Fabricius K, Glasl B, Marshall P, McLeod I, Read M, Schaffelke B, Smith AK, Torras-Jorda G, Williamson DH, Bay L (2018) Rehabilitation of coral reefs through removal of macroalgae: State of knowledge and considerations for management and implementation. Restoration Ecology (in press).

Glasl B, Bourne DG, Frade PR, Webster NS (2018) Establishing microbial baselines to identify indicators of coral reef health. Microbiology Australia 39(1):42-46; doi:10.1071/MA18011.

Glasl B, Smith CE, Bourne DG, Webster NS (2018) Exploring the diversity-stability paradigm using sponge microbial communities. Scientific Reports 8:8425; doi:SREP-18-05042A.

Hoj L, Levy N, Baillie B, Clode P, Strohmaier P, Siboni N, Webster N, Uthicke S, Bourne DG (2018) Crown-of-thorns sea star, Acanthaster cf. solaris, have tissue-characteristic microbiomes with potential roles in health and reproduction. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 84(13):e00181; doi:10.1128/AEM.00181-18.

Liu H, Stephens TG, González-Pech RA, Beltran VH, Lapeyre B, Bongaerts P, Cooke I, Aranda M, Bourne DG, Forêt S, Miller DJ, van Oppen MJH, Voolstra CR, Ragan MA, Chan CX (2018) Symbiodinium genomes reveal adaptive evolution of functions related to coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis. Communications Biology 1:95 (Publisher Correction 1:126).

Mera H, Bourne DG (2018) Disentangling disease causation: Complex roles of coral-associated microorganisms in disease. Environmental Microbiology 20(2):431–449; doi:10.1111/1462-2920.13958

Sato Y, Bell SC, Nichols C, Fry K, Menéndez P, Bourne DG (2018) Early-phase dynamics in coral recovery following cyclone disturbance on the inshore Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Coral Reefs 37:431-443; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-018-1668-z

Torda G, Sambrook K, Cross P, Sato Y, Bourne DG, Lukoschek V, Hill T, Torras-Jorda G, Moya A, Willis BL (2018) Decadal erosion of coral assemblages by multiple disturbances in the Palm Islands, central Great Barrier Reef. Scientific Reports 8:11885