Photo of James wearing a black shirt.

Dr James Gilmour

Experimental Scientist
Ecology and Evolution
Contact number
(08) 6369 4055
+61-8-6369 4055
Contact email

After studying at James Cook University, I worked on collaborative projects between the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Aquarium, James Cook University and the Museum of Tropical Queensland investigating coral reproduction, spawning and mating systems. I then completed my PhD at the University of Western Australia, investigating the utility of combining methods to better understand the dynamics of coral populations. I have since worked with researchers from private industry, consultancies, universities and AIMS in Western Australia, particularly on northern coral reefs. My research focuses on the long-term dynamics of coral communities and quantifying patterns of impact and recovery from natural and human disturbances, particularly by incorporating a range of demographic data.


Long-term dynamics of coral reef communities

Applying demographic data & models to monitoring programs

Sexual reproduction, larval ecology & recruitment of corals

PhD, University of Western Australia.
Honours, James Cook University.
BSc Marine Biology and Chemistry, James Cook University.

My current research focus is the coral communities on the oceanic reefs of north-western Australia and the near-shore reefs at the Pilbara and Kimberley regions. I lead AIMS monitoring programs of at the oceanic reefs, where a range of descriptive and demographic data are collected to inform long-term dynamics. I am interested in combining complimentary data to explain spatial and temporal patterns of change in response to regimes of disturbance, in the context of future pressures. I am also exploring ways to better communicate the significance of our research to audiences beyond the scientific community.


Hughes TP et al (2017) Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals. Nature 543:373-377

Gilmour J, Speed CW, Babcock R (2016) Coral reproduction in Western Australia. PeerJ 4:e2010

Gilmour JP, Underwood JN, Howells EJ, Gates E, Heyward AJ (2016) Biannual Spawning and Temporal Reproductive Isolation in Acropora Corals. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150916. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150916

Foster T, Gilmour JP, Chua CM, Falter JL, McCulloch MT (2015) Effect of ocean warming and acidification on the early life stages of sub-tropical Acropora spicifera. Coral Reefs 35: 1-10

Done TJ, Gilmour J, Fisher R. (2015) Distance decay among coral assemblages during a cycle of disturbance and recovery. Coral Reefs. 34: 727-738.

Speed CW et al (2013) Dynamic stability of coral reefs on the West Australian coast. PLoS ONE 8(7): e69863

Gilmour JP, Smith LD, Heyward AJ, Baird AH, Pratchett MS (2013) Recovery of an isolated coral reef system following severe disturbance. Science 340:69-71

Moore J, Bellchambers L, Depczynski M et al (2012) Unprecedented mass bleaching and loss of coral across 12o of latitude in Western Australia. PLoS ONE 7: e51807

Underwood JN, Travers MJ, Gilmour JP (2012) Subtle genetic structure reveals restricted connectivity among populations of a coral reef fish inhabiting remote atolls. Ecology and Evolution 2:666-679

Gilmour JP, Smith LD, Brinkman RM (2009) Biannual spawning, rapid larval development and evidence of self-seeding for scleractinian corals at an isolated system of reefs. Marine Biology 156:1297-1309

Cooper TF, Gilmour JP, Fabricius KE (2009) Bioindicators of changes in water quality on coral reefs: review and recommendations for monitoring programmes. Coral Reefs 28: 589-606

Underwood JN, Smith LD, van Oppen MJH, Gilmour JP (2009) Ecologically relevant dispersal of corals on isolated reefs: implications for managing resilience. Ecological Applications 19:18-29

Smith LD, Devlin M, Haynes D, Gilmour JP (2005) A demographic approach to monitoring the health of coral reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin 51: 399-407

Gilmour J (2002) Substantial asexual recruitment of mushroom corals contributes little to population genetics of adults in conditions of chronic sedimentation. Marine Ecology Progress Series 235: 81-91

Gilmour J (1999) Experimental investigation into the effects of suspended sediment on fertilisation, larval survival and settlement in a scleractinian coral. Marine Biology 135: 451-462