Cappo, Mike

Dr Mike Cappo

Associate Research Scientist
Healthy and Resilient Great Barrier Reef Program

Contact Information

Phone (07) 47534444
Int +61-7-4753 4444


I have followed my lifelong passion for fish and fisheries to join AIMS in 1987. Before retirement in early 2017, my work helped define the environmental and anthropogenic factors causing the wide variability in abundance of fish in time and space. I focussed on applying novel, non-intrusive techniques to assess fish populations, on the search for tracers (in otoliths and scales) to infer life histories and demography, and on the powerful new generation of statistical techniques in "R" to handle awkward data.


2010: PhD, Determinants of inter-reef fish diversity, James Cook University
1986: MSc, Anuran ecology in Kakadu, University of Adelaide
1980: BSc(Hons), Reef fish biology, University of Adelaide


I am an AIMS Research Associate and an Adjunct Research Fellow in the College of Science & Engineering at James Cook University. Co-authorships in these roles support management and monitoring of mining, fishing, and marine parks (MPAs). It has a focus on national databases from baited "video-fishing" techniques in deeper, snapper/grouper complexes of "inter-reef" waters.


Governor, Tablelands Fish Stocking Society


Cappo M, Marriott RJ, Newman SJ (2013) James's rule and causes and consequences of a latitudinal cline in the demography of John's Snapper (Lutjanus johnii) in coastal waters 

of Australia. Fishery Bulletin 111(4): 309-324

Cappo MC, Stowar MJ, Syms C, Johansson C, Cooper TF (2011) Fish-habitat associations in the region offshore from James Price Point - a rapid assessment using Baited Remote 

Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS). Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 94: 303-321

Cappo MC, De'ath AG, Speare PJ (2007) Inter-reef vertebrate communities of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park determined by baited remote underwater video stations. Marine 

Ecology Progress Series 350: 209-221

Cappo MC, De'ath AG, Boyle S, Aumend J, Olbrich R, Hoedt F, Brunskill GJ, Perna C (2005) Development of a robust classifier of freshwater residence in barramundi (Lates 

calcarifer) life histories using elemental ratios in scales and boosted regression trees. Marine and Freshwater Research 56: 713-723

Cappo MC, Speare PJ, De'ath AG (2004) Comparison of baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) and prawn (shrimp) trawls for assessments of fish biodiversity in inter-

reefal areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 302: 123-152

Cappo MC, Eden P, Newman SJ, Robertson S (2000) A new approach to validation of the periodicity and timing of opaque zone formation in the otoliths of 11 Lutjanus species from 

the central Great Barrier Reef. Fishery Bulletin 98: 474-488

Cappo MC, Walters CJ, Lenanton RCJ (2000) Estimation of rates of migration, exploitation and survival using tag recovery data for western Australian Salmon (Arripis truttaceus 

: Arripidae: Percoidei). Fisheries Research 44: 207-217

Udyawer V, Cappo M, Simpfendorfer CA, Heupel MR, Lukoschek V (2013) Distribution of sea snakes in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: observations from 10 yrs of baited remote 

underwater video station (BRUVS) sampling. Coral Reefs 33: 777-791

Espinoza M, Cappo M, Heupel MR, Tobin AJ, Simpfendorfer CA (2014) Quantifying shark distribution patterns and species-habitat associations: implications of marine park zoning. 


Langlois TJ, Newman SJ, Cappo M, Harvey ES, Rome BM, Skepper CL, Wakefield CB (2015) Length selectivity of commercial fish traps assessed from in situ comparisons with 

stereo-video: Is there evidence of sampling bias? Fisheries Research 161: 145-155