Dr Heidi Luter

Research Scientist
Environmental Impacts
Contact number
(07) 4753 4292
+61 7 4753 4292
Contact email

I have a background in sponge ecology and microbiology. My previous research focused on the effects of disease and environmental stressors on sponges and their microbial symbionts.

PhD, James Cook University, Australia
Master of Applied Science, James Cook University, Australia
BSc, Colorado State University, USA

Microbial Ecology and Ecotoxicology

Sponge Symbiosis


Supervision and mentorship

Marie Thomas, PhD Candidate Marie Thomas - AIMS@JCU

Gretel Waugh, PhD candidate Gretel Waugh - AIMS@JCU


Kandler NM, Abdul Wahab MA, Noonan SH, Bell JJ, Davy SK, Webster NS, Luter HM (In press) In situ responses of the sponge microbiome to ocean acidification. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fiy205.

Bell JJ, Rovellini A, Davy SK, Taylor MW, Fulton B, Dunn M, Bennett H, Kandler NM, Luter HM, Webster NS (2018) Climate change alterations to ecosystem dominance: how might sponge-dominated reefs function? Ecology 99: 1920-1931.

Negri AP, Luter HM, Fisher R, Brinkman DL, Irving P (2018) Comparative toxicity of five dispersants to coral larvae. Scientific Reports 8:3043.

Luter HM, Bannister RJ, Whalan S, Kutti T, Pineda M, Webster NS (2017) Microbiome analysis of a disease affecting the deep-sea sponge Geodia barretti. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 93(6): fix074. DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fix074.

Luter H, Webster NS (2017) Sponge disease and climate change. pp 411-428. In: Carballo JL, Bell J (Eds) Climate Change, Ocean Acidification and Sponges. Impacts Across Multiple Levels of Organization. Springer International Publishing. 525 p. (ISBN 978-3-319-59007-3).

Strand R, Whalan S, Webster NS, Kutti T, Fang KH, Luter HM, Bannister RJ (2017) The response of a boreal deep-sea sponge holobiont to acute thermal stress. Scientific Reports 7: 1660.

Luter HM, Duckworth AR, Wolff CS, Evans-Illidge E, Whalan S (2016) Recruitment variability of coral reef sessile communities of the far north Great Barrier Reef. PLoS ONE 4: e0153184.

Thomas T, Moitinho-Silva L, Lurgi L, Björk JR, Easson C, Astudillo-García C, Olson JB, Erwin PM, López-Legentil S, Luter H, Chaves-Fonnegra A, Costa R, Schupp PJ, Steindler L, Erpenbeck D, Gilbert J, Knight R, Ackermann G, Lopez JV, Taylor MW, Thacker RW, Montoya JM, Hentschel U, Webster NS (2016) Diversity, structure and convergent evolution of the global sponge microbiome. Nature Communications 7:11870.

Luter HM, Widder S, Botté ES, Abdul Wahab M, Whalan S, Moitinho-Silva L, Thomas T, Webster NS (2015) Biogeographic variation in the microbiome of the ecologically important sponge, Carteriospongia foliascens. PeerJ 3: e1435.

Luter HM, Gibb K, Webster NS (2014) Eutrophication has no short-term effect on the Cymbastela stipitata holobiont. Frontiers in Microbiology 5: 216.