Puotinen, Marji

Dr Marji Puotinen

I am a Spatial / Ecological Data Scientist (Sustainable use of NW marine ecosystems), focusing on spatial predictive modelling of benthos, modelling ecosystem stressors, and data communication via the Australian Marine Parks Science Atlas.

Contact Information

Phone (08) 6369 4046
Int +61 8 6369 4046
Email m.puotinen@aims.gov.au


My career has focussed on applied environmental research, working with a range of stakeholders in the US and Australia in both academic and government settings.

  • 2010-2014 - Scientific Research Consultant (clients: AIMS, GBRMPA, QLD Fisheries)
  • 2006-2010 - Senior Lecturer in GIS, University of Wollongong
  • 2004-2006 - Lecturer in GIS, University of Wollongong
  • 1998-2003 - Lecturer in GIS, James Cook University
  • 1995-1998 - Researcher, CRC Reef Research Centre
  • 1994-1995 - GIS Coordinator and Manager, Iowa Dept Public Defence, USA
  • 1993 - Volunteer researcher, GBRMPA
  • 1992 - Cartographic research intern, the National Geographic Society, Washington, DC, USA
  • 1991-1992 - Intern, US Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island, IL, USA


PhD - James Cook University - 2005
Master Envir Man - Duke University - 1994
BA (Geography) - Augustana College - 1992


I am a geographer with extensive expertise in applying GIS and associated technologies to spatially complex ecological questions, particularly modelling the dynamics of stressors on marine benthos (coral reefs) and biota (fish, megafauna). I aim to conduct research that helps design effective conservation strategies for key ecosystems like coral reefs by improving our understanding of how such ecosystems are affected by broad scale stressors (tropical cyclone generated waves, thermal stress, pollutants) now and under future climates. An additional recent focus is quantitative marine benthic habitat modelling and associated survey design.


Beyer HL, Kennedy EV, et al. (2018) Risk-sensitive planning for conserving coral reefs under rapid climate change. Conservation Letters : e12587.

Underwood JN, Richards ZT, Miller KJ, Puotinen ML, Gilmour JP (2018) Genetic signatures through space, time and multiple disturbances in a ubiquitous brooding coral. Molecular Ecology 27(7):1586-1602

Zinke J, Gilmour JP, Fisher R, Puotinen M, Maina J, Darling E, et al. (2018) Gradients of disturbance and environmental conditions shape coral community structure for south-eastern Indian Ocean reefs. Diversity and Distributions 24(5): 605-620

Puotinen M, Maynard J, Beeden R, Radford B, Williams G (2016) A robust operational method for predicting tropical cyclone wave damage to coral reef communities. Scientific Reports 6: 26009

Beeden R, Maynard J, Puotinen M, Marshall P, Dryden J, Goldberg J, Williams G (2016) Impacts of severe tropical cyclone Yasi on the Great Barrier Reef. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0121272

Maynard JA, Beeden R, Puotinen M, Johnson JE, Marshall P, van Hooidonk R, Heron SF, Devlin M, Lawrey E, Dryden J, Ban N, Wachenfeld D, Planes S (2016) Great Barrier Reef no-take areas include a range of disturbance regimes. Conservation Letters 9(3): 191-199

Maynard J, van Hooidonk R, Eakin CM, Puotinen M, Garren M, Williams G, Heron SF, Lamb J, Weil E, Willis B, Harvell CD (2015) Projections of climate conditions that increase coral disease susceptibility and pathogen abundance and virulence. Nature Climate Change 5: 688-694

Carrigan AD, Puotinen ML (2014) Tropical cyclone cooling combats region-wide coral bleaching. Global Change Biology 20(5): 1604-1613

De¿ath G, Fabricius K, Sweatman H, Puotinen M (2012) The 27-year decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef and its causes. PNAS 109(44): 17995-17999

Carrigan AD, Puotinen ML (2011) Assessing the potential for tropical cyclone induced sea surface cooling to reduce thermal stress on the world¿s coral reefs. Geophysical Research Letters 38: L23604

Fabricius KE, De'ath G, Puotinen ML, Done T, Cooper TF, Burgess S (2008) Disturbance gradients on inshore and offshore coral reefs caused by a severe tropical cyclone. Limnol Oceanogr 53(2):690-704

Game E, Madden E, Puotinen M, Possingham H (2008) Should we protect the strong or weak? An analysis of risk and resilience in marine protected areas. Cons Biol 22(6):1619-1629.