Fabricius, Katharina

Dr Katharina Fabricius

AIMS Senior Principal Research Scientist

Contact Information

Phone (07) 4753 4412
Int +61-7-4753 4412
Email k.fabricius@aims.gov.au

Other Profiles

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I have worked as a coral reef ecologist since 1988. My research aims to better understand how ecological processes in coral reefs are altered by chronic and acute disturbances, especially from ocean acidification and terrestrial runoff of sediments and nutrients. Before starting at AIMS in 1995, I worked for the 'Red Sea Marine Science Program' at the Centre for Marine Tropical Ecology (ZMT) in Bremen, Eilat and Aqaba, and as Lecturer, Research Assistant and Tutor at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany.


1989: Diplom Biology, University of Munich, Germany
1995: PhD, University of Munich


I presently lead a project to examine the ecological effects of ocean acidification on benthic ecosystems. We document and experiment along gradients of CO2 away from shallow volcanic CO2 seeps in Papua New Guinea. These seeps serve as a natural laboratory to study organism and ecosystem responses to long-term exposure to elevated CO2.
I am also interested in understanding the effects of terrestrial runoff on water clarity in the GBR, and the cumulative impacts of water quality and climate change on coral reef ecosystems. These projects are co-funded by the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program (NESP).


Various advisory roles for government bodies and NGOs on coral reef biodiversity, water quality, ocean acidification and climate change issues. Contributions to the development of 'Water Quality Guidelines' and the 'Scientific Consensus Statement on water quality in the Great Barrier Reef', and the 'Vulnerability assessment of coral reefs to climate change'.


Fabricius KE, Noonan S, Albrego D, Harrington L, Kluibenschedl A, De'ath G (2017) Low recruitment due to altered settlement substrata as primary constraint for coral communities under ocean acidification. Proc Royal Soc B 284

Fabricius KE, Logan M, Weeks S, Lewis SE, Brodie J (2016) Changes in water clarity in response to river discharges on the Great Barrier Reef continental shelf: 2002-2013. Invited Feature Article, Estuar, Coast Shelf Sci 173:A1-A15

Enochs IC, Manzello DP, Kolodziej G, Noonan SHC,Valentino,Fabricius KE (2016) Enhanced macroboring and depressed calcification drive net dissolution at high-CO2 coral reefs. Proc R Soc.B 283

Fabricius KE, De'ath G, Noonan S, Uthicke S (2014) Ecological effects of ocean acidification and habitat complexity on reef-associated macroinvertebrate communities. Proc Roy Soc B 281:20132479

Fabricius KE, Cséke S, Humphrey C, De'ath G (2013) Does trophic status enhance or reduce the thermal tolerance of scleractinian corals? A review, experiment and conceptual framework. PLoS ONE 8:54399

De'ath G, Fabricius KE, Sweatman H, Puotinen M (2012) The 27 year decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef and its causes. PNAS 109:17995-17999

Fabricius KE and 9 co-authors (2011) Losers and winners in coral reefs acclimatized to elevated carbon dioxide concentrations. Nature Climate Change 1:165-169

De'ath G, Fabricius KE (2010) Water quality as regional driver of coral biodiversity and macroalgal cover on the Great Barrier Reef. Ecol Appl 20:840-850

Fabricius KE, Okaji K, De'ath G (2010) Three lines of evidence to link outbreaks of the crown-of thorns seastar Acanthaster planci to the release of larval food limitation. Coral Reefs 29: 593-605

De'ath G, Lough JM, Fabricius KE (2009) Declining coral calcification on the Great Barrier Reef. Science 323:116-119

Fabricius KE, Alderslade P (2001) Soft Corals and Sea Fans: A comprehensive guide to the tropical shallow water genera of the central-west Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. AIMS, Townsville, 264 pp.