Dr Nicole Webster

Dr Nicole Webster

Senior Research Scientist
A Healthy & Resilient GBR


Nicole obtained her PhD in 2001 by researching the microbial ecology of Great Barrier Reef sponges. Nicole undertook postdoctoral research between 2001-05 at the University of Canterbury / Gateway Antarctica where she investigated the utility of microbial symbionts as biomarkers for environmental stress in the Antarctic marine ecosystem and explored the role of microorganisms as inducers for settlement and metamorphosis of coral reef invertebrates. In 2005, Nicole commenced a research scientist position at AIMS undertaking research that assesses the impact of environmental stress on model invertebrate symbioses (primarily sponges and their microbial symbionts).

Nicole’s current vision is to establish ‘Microbial Contributions to Ecosystem Health’ as a priority research field for marine science.  In 2012 she was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship to commence research into ‘Revealing the structure, evolution and environmental sensitivity of symbioses in basal metazoa’.  This project involves assessing the impact of environmental stress on model invertebrate symbioses and determining the role of bacterial, archaeal and viral symbionts in the ability of reef invertebrates to adapt to a changing climate.


James Cook University / Australian Institute of Marine Science, 2001 PhD

James Cook University, 1995 Bachelor of Science, Honours (Class I)

James Cook University, 1994 Bachelor of Science


Australian Institute of Marine Science (2005-Present)

University of Canterbury / Gateway Antarctica (2001-2005)


2012 Future Fellowship (Australian Research Council)

2010 Australian Academy of Science Dorothy Hill Award

2010 Australian Academy of Science Rod Rickards International Fellow

2010 Queensland International Fellowship (Qld Government)

Microbial Symbiosis & Environmental Stress

The vulnerability of marine invertebrates to environmental stress has traditionally been assessed by determining how the host animal responds to particular environmental factors.  Over the past decade however, molecular science has uncovered an incredible diversity of marine microorganisms and highlighted the critical importance of these microbes to invertebrate health, fitness and ultimately survival.  If we are to provide accurate predictions of the sensitivity and vulnerability of reef organisms we therefore need to assess the stress response in both the host and its associated microbiota (holobiont).  Research within this program delivers stakeholders with knowledge of how temperature, ocean acidification, nutrient enrichment and increased sedimentation influence the functional roles of marine microbial symbionts within their hosts. In this research we move beyond measuring specific thresholds and attempt to forecast the long term consequences of climate change and environmental stress for invertebrate populations.

Microbial Contributions to Reef Invertebrate Adaptation

Significant declines in coral reef health and biological diversity are predicted for the coming decades unless coral reef organisms adapt or acclimatise to ever increasing levels of environmental pressure. CO2 vents provide natural laboratories where acclimatisation/adaptation to ocean acidification conditions projected for 2100 and beyond can be studied. In parallel, manipulative experiments in the AIMS SeaSimulator enable researchers to explore the adaptive capacity of many different reef organisms to the cumulative pressures of climate change and degraded water quality.  Recent experimental and field research is highlighting how some organisms such as corals and sponges can rapidly alter their microbial symbionts in response to future climate change conditions. This research program explores whether these symbiotic shifts influence the ability of the host to acclimatise/adapt to new environmental conditions.  For instance, favourable symbiotic shifts that enhance the scope for growth or infer environmental tolerance to the host may be passed to subsequent generations, enabling long term acclimatisation of these organisms. Understanding how microorganisms contribute to the acclimatisation/adaptation of the host is essential if we are to reliably predict the consequences of global change.

Reef Viruses

Viruses are the most abundant entities in the oceans (if stretched end-to-end they would span farther than the nearest 60 galaxies).  Viruses are found in coral reef seawater, eukaryotic hosts and their associated eukaryotic and prokaryotic symbionts.  Despite this, our understanding of the roles that viruses play in reef invertebrate health is limited. This study is funded by an ARC Future Fellowship and characterises sponge viromes and metagenomes, mapping viral populations to the sponge-specific microbial communities and exploring the complex interactions between each component of the sponge holobiont during thermal stress. Viral-mediated lateral gene transfer as a mechanism for climate adaptation is also being explored. This research will provide valuable insights into the environmental sensitivity of sponges, contributing to reef protection strategies.

Global Sponge Microbiome

Whilst the past decade has seen tremendous advances in our understanding of the phylogenetic diversity of sponge-associated microorganisms (more than 25 bacterial phyla have now been reported from sponges), our understanding of large-scale biogeographic patterns, environmental variance, symbiont acquisition and co-evolution has remained limited due to the single species/site nature of most studies. The aims of this global project led by Nicole Webster and Torsten Thomas are to elucidate the structure and evolution of sponge-microbial associations and determine how these relationships are influenced by their environment. This project involves a large team of international sponge scientists (over 25 scientists from more than 15 countries) and in-kind sequencing support from the Earth Microbiome Project to describe the microbial community of 3000 sponge samples which have been obtained along broad geographic regions, depth ranges, environments and developmental stages. This large-scale collaborative approach will facilitate the first global assessment of sponge microbiomes and address over-arching questions about sponge microbial symbioses.


Prof. Michael Wagner University of Vienna- Sponge Hologenomics- Unlocking the Ianthella basta symbiome

Assoc. Prof. Peta Clode- University of Western Australia- visualising the fate of dredge sediments in sponges using advanced imaging technology.

Prof. Thomas Rattei University of Vienna- Revealing the structure, evolution and environmental sensitivity of symbioses in basal metazoan

Prof. Tim Ravasi KAUST- Viromic, metagenomic and host transcriptomic response of the sponge Amphimedon queenslandica to thermal stress

Assoc. Prof. James Bell Victoria University- Coral reefs of today: Sponge Reefs of the future?

Assoc. Prof. Michael Taylor University of Auckland- Sponge symbiosis networks- host specificity, biogeography, environmental stress.

Associate Prof. Torsten Thomas University of NSW- The Global Sponge Microbiome Project

Assoc. Prof. Justin Seymour University of Technology Sydney- Microscale structure and function of coral reef bacterial communities

Dr Steve Whalan Southern Cross University- Sponge larval ecology & Modelling changes in sponge bioerosion under climate change


Board Member of the International Society for Microbial Ecology

Director of the ISME International Ambassador Program

Chair of the 9th World Sponge Conference Organising Committee

Member of the Australian Society of Microbiology

Member of the United Nations Pool of Experts for Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment

Chief Specialty Editor of Frontiers in Microbial Symbiosis

Editorial Board of Environmental Microbiology

Editor PLoS One


Adjunct Associate Professor at James Cook University

Graduated PhD students: 

Muhammad Abdul Wahab (AIMS@JCU - Sponge reproduction in a changing climate)

Heidi Luter (AIMS@JCU- Sponge disease)

Rachel Simister (Uni Auckland- Specificity of sponge symbiosis)

Chris Fan Lu (Uni NSW – Defining core functions in sponge symbiosis)

Raffaella Pantile (Uni Genoa- Defining environmental stress responses in marine sponges)

Currently enrolled PhD students:

Florian Moeller (Uni Vienna- Sponge symbiotic function)

Jessica Tout (UTS- Structuring of coral reef microbial communities)

Holly Bennett (Victoria Uni - Modelling sponge community responses to climate change)

Christine Altenrath (AIMS@JCU- Assessing sponge holobiont responses to climate change)

Carmen Astudillo (Uni Auckland- Biogeography and specificity of sponge symbionts)

Brian Strehlow (Uni WA- WAMSI Dredging effects on filter feeders)

Cecilia Pascelli (JCU- Sponge-virus interactions in a changing climate)

Blake Ramsby (AIMS@JCU- Modelling changes in sponge bioerosion under climate change).

Postdoctoral fellows:

Heidi Luter (Eutrophication and sponge symbiosis)

Mari Carmen Pineda (Defining filter feeder responses to dredging)

Patrick Laffy (Bioinformatic approaches to studying sponge viruses)


2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   2010   2009   2008   2007   2006   2004   2003   2002   2001   2000   1999


Choudhury, J.D., Pramanik, A., Webster, N.S, Llewellyn, L.E., Gachhui, R. and Mukherjee, J. (2015) The pathogen of the Great Barrier Reef sponge Rhopaloeides odorabile is a new strain of Pseudoalteromonas agarivorans containing abundant and diverse virulence related genes. Marine Biotechnology. In Press.

Tout, J., Jeffries, T.C., Petrou, K., Tyson, G., Webster, N.S., Stocker, R., Ralph, P.J., Seymour, J.R. (2015) Chemotaxis by coral reef bacteria.  ISME J. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2014.261


Pindea, M.C., Duckworth, A. and Webster., N.S. (2014) Appearance matters: Sedimentation effects on different sponge morphologies. Journal of the Marine Biological Association. doi: 10.1017/S0025315414001787

Morrow, K., Bourne, D.G., Humphrey, C., Botté, E., Laffy, P., Zanefeld, J., Uthicke, S., Fabricius, K. and Webster, N.S., (2014) Natural volcanic CO2 seeps reveal future trajectories for host-microbial associations in corals and sponges. ISME J. Online Early doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.188

Abdul Wahab, M., deNys, R., Webster, N., Whalan, S. (2014) The influence of habitat on post-settlement processes, larval production and recruitment in a common coral reef sponge. Journal of Marine Biology and Ecology. 461: 162-172

Abdul Wahab, M.A., de Nys, R., Webster, N. and Whalan, S. (2014) Larval behaviours and their contribution to the distribution of the intertidal coral reef sponge Carteriospongia foliascens.  PLoS One. 9 (5): e98181

Luter, H.M., Gibb, K. and Webster, N.S. (2014) The Cymbastella stipitata holobiont is unaffected by extreme levels of nitrogen exposure. Frontiers in Microbiology. 5:216. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00216

Webster, N.S. (2014) Cooperation, communication and co-evolution: Grand challenges in microbial symbiosis research. Frontiers in Microbiology. 5: 164 doi: 10.3389//fmic.2014.00164

Whalan, S. and Webster, N.S. (2014) Sponge larval settlement cues: the role of microbial biofilms in a warming ocean. Scientific Reports. 4:4072.  doi10.1038/srep04072

Tout, J., Jeffries, T.C., Webster, N.S., Stocker, R., Ralph, P.J. and Seymour, J.R. (2014) Variability in microbial community composition and function between different niches within a coral reef. Microbial Ecology. 67(3): 540-552

Choudhury, J., Pramanik, A., Webster, N.S., Llewellyn, L., Gachhui, R. and Mukherjee, J. (2014) Draft Genome Sequence of Pseudoalteromonas sp. NW 4327 (MTCC 11073, DSM 25418), Pathogen of the Great Barrier Reef Sponge, Rhopaloeides odorabile. Genome Announcements ASM 2(1): e00001-14.

Abdul Wahab, M.A., deNys, R., Webster, N. and Whalan, S. (2014) Phenology of sexual reproduction in the common coral reef sponge, Carteriospongia foliascens. Coral Reefs. doi: 10.1007/s00338-013-1119-9.

Abdul Wahab, M.A., Fromont, J., Whalan, S., Webster, N. and Andreakis, N. (2014) Combining morphometrics with molecular taxonomy: how different are similar foliose keratose sponges from the Australian tropics?  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 73: 23-39.

Erwin, P.M., Pineda, M.C., Webster, N., Turon, X. and López- Legentil (2014) Down under the tunic: Bacterial biodiversity hotspots and widespread ammonia oxidising archaea in coral reef ascidians. ISME J.  8(3): 575-588.


Bell, J.J., Davy, S.K., Jones, T., Taylor, M.W. and Webster, N.S. (2013) Could some coral reefs become sponge reefs as our climate changes?  Global Change Biology 19 (9): 2613-2624.

Webster, N.S., Pantile, R., Botte, E., Abdo, D., Andreakis, N. and Whalan, S. (2013) A complex life cycle in a warming planet.  Molecular Ecology 22: 1854-1868.

Webster, N.S., Luter, H.M., Soo, R.M., Botté, E.S., Simister, R.L., Abdo, D. and Whalan, S. (2013) Same, same but different: symbiotic bacterial associations in GBR sponges. Frontiers in Microbiology 3:444. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2012.00444

Bourne, D.G., and Webster, N.S. (2013) Coral Reef Bacterial Communities. In The Prokaryotes. Rosenberg, E., DeLong, E.F., Lory, S., Stackebrandt, E., and Thompson, F. (eds): Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 163-187.

Bourne, D.G., Dennis, P.G., Uthicke, S., Soo, R., Tyson, G.W. and Webster, N.S. (2013) Photosynthetic symbiosis drives microbial associations in coral reef invertebrates.  ISME J. 7, 1452–1458

Fan, L., Liu, M., Simister, R., Webster, N.S. and Thomas, T.  (2013) Marine microbial symbiosis heats up: Loss of interactions in a sponge holobiont under thermal stress. ISME J. 7: 991-1002.

Erwin, P.M., Pineda, M.C., Webster, N.S., Turon, X. and López-Legentil, S. (2013) Small core communities and high variability in bacteria associated with the introduced ascidian Styela plicata. Symbiosis 59: 35-46.

Webster, N.S., Uthicke, S., Botte, E., Flores, F. and Negri, A.P. (2013) Ocean acidification reduces induction of coral settlement by crustose coralline algae.  Global Change Biology 19: 303-315.

Webster, N.S., Negri, A., Flores, F., Humphrey, C., Soo, R., Vogel, N. and Uthicke, S. (2013) Near-future ocean acidification causes shifts in microbial associations within diverse coral reef taxa.  Environmental Microbiology Reports 5(2): 243-251.

Taylor, M.W., Tsai, P., Simister, R., Deines, P., Botte, E., Schmitt, S. and Webster, N.S. (2013) Sponge specific bacteria are widespread (but rare) in diverse marine habitats. ISME J. 7:438-443


Simister, R., Taylor, M.W., Tsai, P. and Webster, N.S. (2012) Sponge-microbe associations survive high nutrients and temperatures.  PLoS One 7(12):e52220.

Simister, R., Taylor, M.W., Tsai, P., Fan, L., Bruxner, T., Crowe, M.L. and Webster N.S. (2012) Thermal stress responses in the rare microbial biosphere of an ecologically important reef sponge, Rhopaloeides odorabile. Environmental Microbiology 14 (12): 3232-3246.

Fan, L., Reynolds, D., Liu, M., Stark, M., Kjelleberg, S., Webster, N.S., Thomas, T. (2012) Functional equivalence and evolutionary convergence in complex communities of sponge symbionts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 109 (27): E1878-87.

Webster, N.S. and Bourne, D.G. (2012) Microbes. In: A Marine Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Report Card for Australia 2012 (Eds. Poloczanska, E.S., Hobday, A.J. and Richardson, A.J.) CSIRO Publishing. www.oceanclimatechange.org.au

Luter, H.M., Whalan, S. And Webster, N.S. (2012) Thermal and sedimentation stress are unlikely causes of brown spot syndrome in the coral reef sponge, Ianthella basta. PLoS One 7 (6): e39779

Andreakis, N., Luter, H.M. and Webster, N.S. (2012) Cryptic speciation and phylogeographic relationships in the elephant ear sponge Ianthella basta (Porifera, Ianthellidae) from northern Australia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 166: 225-235.

Massaro, A.J., Weisz, J.B., Hill, M.S. and Webster, N.S. (2012) Behavioral and morphological changes caused by thermal stress in the Great Barrier Reef sponge Rhopaloeides odorabile. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 416-417:55-60.

Whalan, S., Webster, N.S. and Negri, A.P. (2012) Crustose coralline algae and a cnidarian neuropeptide cue larval settlement in two coral reef sponges. PLoS One. 7(1): e30386. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030386

Webster, N.S. and Taylor, M.W. (2012) Marine sponges and their microbial symbionts: love and other relationships. Environmental Microbiology. 14(2): 335-346.

Simister, R.L., Deines, P., Botté, E.S., Webster, N.S. and Taylor, M.W. (2012) Sponge-specific clusters revisited: a comprehensive phylogeny of sponge-associated microorganisms.  Environmental Microbiology. 14(2): 517-524.

Schmitt, S., Tsai. P., Bell, J., Fromont, J., Ilan, M., Lindquist, N., Perez, T. Rodrigo. A., Schupp, P., Vacelet. J., Webster, N.S., Hentschel, U., Taylor, M.W. (2012) Assessing the complex sponge microbiota - core, variable and species-specific bacterial communities in marine sponges. ISME J. 6: 564-576.

Luter, H. M., Whalan, S., Webster, N.S. (2012) The marine sponge Ianthella basta can recover from stress-induced tissue regression. Hydrobiologia.  687 (1): 227-235.

Freckelton, M.L., Luter, H.M., Andreakis, N., Webster, N.S. and Motti, C.A. (2012) Qualitative variation in colour morphotypes of Ianthella basta (Porifera: Verongida). Hydrobiologia. 687(1): 191-203.


Webster, N.S., Botté, E.S., Soo, R.M. and Whalan, S. (2011) The larval sponge holobiont exhibits high thermal tolerance. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 3: 756-762.

Pantile, R. and Webster, N.S. (2011) Strict thermal threshold identified by quantitative PCR in the sponge Rhopaloeides odorabile. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 431:97-105.

Bannister, R.J., Hoogenboom, M.O., Anthony, K.R.N., Battershill, C.N., Whalan, S., Webster, N.S. and deNys, R. (2011) Incongruence between the distribution of a common coral reef sponge and photosynthesis. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 423: 95-100.

Webster, N.S., Soo, R., Cobb, R. and Negri, A.P. (2011) Elevated seawater temperature causes a microbial shift on crustose coralline algae with implications for the recruitment of coral larvae.  ISME J. 5: 759-770.

Webster, N.S., Cobb, R.E., Soo, R., Anthony, S.L., Battershill, C.N., Whalan, S. and Evans-Illidge, E.  (2011) Bacterial community dynamics in the marine sponge Rhopaloeides odorabile under in situ and ex situ cultivation. Marine Biotechnology. 13: 296-304.


Luter, H.M., Whalan, S. and Webster, N.S. (2010) Exploring the role of microorganisms in the disease-like syndrome affecting the sponge Ianthella basta. Applied and Environmental Microbiology.  76(17): 5736-5744.

Webster, N.S., Taylor, M.W., Benham, F., Lücker, S., Rattei, T., Whalan, S., Horn, M. and Wagner, M. (2010) Deep sequencing reveals exceptional diversity and modes of transmission for bacterial sponge symbionts. Environmental Microbiology. 12(8): 2070-2082.

Luter, H.M., Whalan, S. and Webster, N.S. (2010) Prevalence of tissue necrosis and brown spot lesions in a common marine sponge. Marine and Freshwater Research. 61: 481-484.


Mukherjee, J. Webster, N.S. and Llewellyn, L.E. (2009) Purification and characterization of a collagenolytic enzyme from a pathogen of the Great Barrier Reef sponge, Rhopaloeides odorabile. PLoS One. 4(9): e7177.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007177.

Negri, A.P., Soo, R.M., Flores, F. and Webster, N.S. (2009) Bacillus insecticides are not acutely harmful to corals and sponges. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 381: 157-165.

Webster, N.S. and Blackall, L.L. (2009) What do we really know about sponge- microbial symbioses? ISME J. 3:1-3.

Webster, N.S., Bourne, D.G. and Blackall, L.L. (2009) Impact of global climate change on marine bacterial symbioses and disease. Microbiology Australia. 30(2): 78-81.

Hall MR, Hoj L, Smith GG, Bourne DG, Webster NS, Payne M, Wietz M, Salmon ML and Kenway MJ (2009) Advancing hatchery propagation of Tropical rock Lobsters (Panulirus ornatus). Volume 2. FRDC Rock Lobster Enhancement and Aquaculture Subprogram. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. 254 p.


Webster, N.S., Xavier, J.R., Freckelton, M., Motti, C.A. and Cobb, R. (2008) Shifts in microbial and chemical patterns within the marine sponge Aplysina aerophoba during a disease outbreak. Environmental Microbiology. 10(12):3366-3376.

Webster, N.S., Cobb, R.E. & Negri, A.P. (2008) Temperature thresholds for bacterial symbiosis with a sponge. ISME J. 2:830-842.


Webster, N.S. (2007) Sponge disease: A Global threat? Environmental Microbiology. 9(6):1363-1375.

Webster, N.S. and Hill, R.T.H. (2007) Vulnerability of marine microbes on the Great Barrier Reef to climate change. In: Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef (Johnson, J. E. and Marshall, P. A. eds.) Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Australian Greenhouse Office, Australia.

Bourne, D. G., Høj, L., Webster, N. S., Payne, M., Skindersøe, M., Givskov, M and Hall, M. (2007) Microbiological aspects of phyllosoma rearing of the ornate rock lobster Panulirus ornatus. Aquaculture. 268: 274-287.


Webster, N.S., Battershill, C. N. and Negri, A. P.  (2006) Recruitment of Antarctic Marine Eukaryotes onto Artificial Surfaces. Polar Biology. 30: 1-10

Webster, N. S. and Bourne, D. (2006) Bacterial community structure associated with the Antarctic soft coral, Alcyonium antarcticum. FEMS Microbial Ecology. 59: 81-94.

Webster, N.S. and Negri, A. P. (2006) Site-specific variation in Antarctic marine biofilms established on artificial surfaces.  Environmental Microbiology. 8(7): 1177-1190.

Webster, N.S., Bourne, D.G. and Hall, M. (2006) Vibrionaceae infection in phyllosomas of the tropical rock lobster Panulirus ornatus as detected by fluorescence in situ hybridisation. Aquaculture. 255 (1-4): 173-178.

Negri, A., Burns, K., Boyle, S., Brinkman, D. and Webster, N. Contamination in sediments, bivalves and sponges of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Environmental Pollution. 143: 456-467.

Webster, N.S., Evans-Illidge, E., Duckworth, A., Louden, D., Whalan, S., Bannister, R., Brinkman, R., Wolff, C., deNys, R. and Battershill, C. (2006) Palm Island Sponge Aquaculture Research. Report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Bourne, D. G., Hoj, L., Webster, N.S., Swan, J. and Hall, M. (2006) Biofilm development within a larval rearing tank of the tropical rock lobster, Panulirus ornatus. Aquaculture. 260: 27-38


Webster, N.S., Smith, L.D., Heyward, A.J., Watts, J.E., Webb, R.I., Blackall, L.L., and Negri, A.P.  (2004) Metamorphosis of a Scleractinian coral in response to microbial biofilms. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 70: 1213-1221.

Webster, N.S., Negri, A.P., Munro, M.H.G. and Battershill, C.N. (2004) Diverse microbial communities inhabit Antarctic sponges.  Environmental Microbiology. 6: 288-300.

Negri, A.P., Hales, L., Wolff, C., Battershill, C.N. and Webster, N.S. (2004) TBT contamination identified in Antarctic marine sediments. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 48: 1142-1144.

Bourne, D.G., Young, N., Webster, N.S., Payne, M., Salmon, M., Demel, S. and Hall, M. (2004) Microbial community dynamics in a larval aquaculture system of the tropical rock lobster, Panulirus ornatus. Aquaculture. 242: 35-51.


Negri, A.P., Llewellyn, L.E., Frampton, D., Doyle, J., Webster, N.S. and Blackburn, S. (2003) Paralytic shellfish toxins are restricted to few species among the taxonomic diversity of cultured microalgae. Journal of Phycology. 39: 663-667.

Smith, L.D., Negri, A.P., Phillip, E., Webster, N.S. and Heyward, A.J. (2003) The effects of antifoulant paint contaminated sediments on coral recruits and branchlets. Marine Biology. 143: 651-657.


Webster, N.S., Negri, A.P., Webb, R.I. and Hill, R.T.  (2002) A spongin-boring -proteobacterium is the etiological agent of disease in the Great Barrier Reef sponge, Rhopaloeides odorabile. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 232, 305-309.

Negri, A.P., Smith, L.D., Webster, N.S. and Heyward, A.J.  (2002)  Understanding ship grounding impacts on a coral reef: potential effects of antifoulant paint contamination on coral recruitment.  Marine Pollution Bulletin. 44: 111-117.


Webster, N.S., Webb, R.I. Ridd, M., Hill, R.T. and Negri, A.P. (2001) The effects of copper on the microbial community of a coral reef sponge. Environmental Microbiology. 3:19-31.

Webster, N.S., Wilson, K., Blackall, L.L. and Hill, R.T. (2001) Phylogentic diversity of the bacterial communities associated with the marine sponge, Rhopaloeides odorabile. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 67:434-444.

Webster, N.S. and Hill, R.T. (2001) The culturable microbial community of the Great Barrier Reef sponge Rhopaloeides odorabile is dominated by an alpha-Proteobacterium.  Marine Biology. 138:843-851.

Webster, N.S., Watts, J.E.M. and Hill, R.T. (2001) Detection and phylogenetic analysis of novel crenarchaeote and euryarchaeote sequences from a Great Barrier Reef sponge. Marine Biotechnology. 3: 600-608.

Negri, A.P., Webster, N.S., Hill, R.T. and Heyward, A.J. (2001) Metamorphosis of broadcast spawning corals in response to bacteria isolated from crustose algae.  Marine Ecology Progress Series. 223: 121-131.

Webster, N.S. and Hill, R.T. (2001) Marine Microbial Metropolis.  Todays Life Science 13: 40-44.


Webster, N.S. (2000) Microbial Ecology of the Great Barrier Reef Sponge, Rhopaloeides odorabile.  PhD Thesis, James Cook University.


Burja, A.M., Webster, N.S., Murphy, P.T. and Hill, R.T. (1999) Microbial symbionts of Great Barrier Reef sponges. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 44: 63-76.