Katherine wearing a white blouse, smiling and standing in a grassy field.

Dr Katherine Cure

Fish Biologist
Fish Biology and Ecology
Contact number
(08) 6369 4017
+61 497849278
Contact email

I have worked in marine ecology across the East Pacific, Caribbean and Indo-Pacific oceans for the last 12 years. During this time I have sought an understanding of what constitutes a healthy reef system, how species are related to their surrounding environment, and how these relationships determine ecosystem function, species distribution patterns and their responses to stressors such as the introduction of non-native species and changing climate. Ultimately, I wish to contribute to the conservation of our world's oceans with information that can guide the design of adaptive management and conservation strategies. My past research has included monitoring and assessment of long-term changes at coral and rocky reef systems, studying the factors behind the successful establishment of invasive species, and assessing the impacts of warming oceans on the distribution of marine fishes.

PhD Marine Ecology, University of Western Australia, Australia
MSc Marine Biology, University of Guam Marine Lab, USA
BSc Marine & Freshwater Biology, Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica

I am currently involved in research for management and conservation of marine ecosystems in NW Australia. This includes the assessment of fish-habitat relationships that mediate patterns of abundance and distribution across environmental gradients in Ningaloo Reef and the Kimberley. I am also involved in the assessment of long-term changes to offshore ecosystems in NW Australia and their responses to environmental and anthropogenic stressors, and continue to pursue research on how climate change affects fish population dynamics.


Wernberg T, Bennett S, Babcock RC, de Bettignies T, Cure K, Depczynski M, Dufois F, Fromont J, Fulton CJ, Hovey RK, Harvey ES, Holmes TH, Kendrick GA, Radford B, Santana-Garcon J, Saunders BJ, Smale DA, Thomsen MS, Tuckett CA, Tuya F, Vanderklift MA, Wilson S (2016) Climate-driven regime shift of a temperate marine ecosystem. Science 353(6295): 169-172

Pusack TJ, Benkwitt C, Cure K, Kindinger TJ (2016) Invasive red lionfish (Pterois volitans) grow faster in the Atlantic Ocean than in their native Pacific range. Environ Biol Fish 99: 571-579

Tuttle LJ, Sikkel PC, Cure K, Hixon MA (2016) Parasite-mediated enemy release and low biotic resistance may facilitate invasion of Atlantic coral reefs by Pacific red lionfish (Pterois volitans). Biol Invasions DOI 10.1007/s10530-016-1342-8

Anton A, Cure K, Layman CA, Puntila R, Simpson MS, Bruno JF (2016) Prey naiveté to invasive lionfish Pterois volitans on Caribbean coral reefs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 544: 257-269

Cure K, Hobbs JP, Harvey ES (2015) High recruitment associated with increased sea temperatures towards the southern range edge of a Western Australian endemic reef fish Choerodon rubescens (family Labridae). Environ Biol Fish 98(4):1059-1067

Cure K, McIlwain J, Hixon MA (2014) Habitat in native Pacific red lionfish Pterois volitans facilitates successful invasion of the Atlantic. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 506: 243-253

Sikkel PC, Tuttle LJ, Cure K, Coile AM, Hixon MA (2014) Low susceptibility of invasive red lionfish (Pterois volitans) to a generalist ectoparasite in both its introduced and native ranges. PLoS ONE 9(5): e95854

Cure K, Benkwitt C, Kindinger T, Pickering E, Pusack T, McIlwain J, Hixon MA (2012) Comparative behavior of red lionfish (Pterois volitans) on native Pacific vs. invaded Atlantic coral reefs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 467: 181-192

Kulbicki M, Beets J, Chabanet P, Cure K, Darling E, Floeter S, Galzin R, Green A, Harmelin-Vivien M, Hixon M, Letourneur Y, Lison de Loma Th, McClanahan T, McIlwain J, MouTham G, Myers R, O'Leary JK, Planes S, Vigliola L, Wantiez L (2012) Distributions of Indo-Pacific lionfishes (Pterois spp.) in their native ranges: implications for the Atlantic invasion. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 446: 189-205