Research scientist Dr Emma Kennedy works on multiple marine science projects, including  the 50reefs initiative.
Research scientist Dr Emma Kennedy works on multiple marine science projects, including the 50reefs initiative.

Dr Emma Kennedy
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Adjunct)
Healthy Oceans

Email: Emma Kennedy

Dr Emma Kennedy led the Seaview Survey for a year in 2018, using GCI state-of-the-art technology to resurvey a number of reefs across the Coral Triangle.

She led three major scientific expeditions, surveying >99 km of reef (56 reef sites) across three national marine parks of cultural, biological and economic significance, to assess the effect of the third global coral bleaching event (2014-2017).

Previously, Emma worked with us on the 50 Reefs initiative. This exciting international project, launched in 2017, used the best available science to identify and prioritise protection efforts on 50 key coral reefs regions that were identified by algorithms as being least vulnerable to climate change, and also having the greatest capacity to repopulate other reefs over time.

Emma grew up in the UK where she learned to dive in a gravel pit outside London. After completing a PhD in Caribbean coral reef ecology at University of Exeter, she moved to Australia where she worked with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to determine whether coralline algae can be used to track the impacts of climate change in the Great Barrier Reef.

Still at UQ, Emma now works in the Remote Sensing Research Group, creating reef habitat maps that will be key in supporting the next phase of 50 reefs, and coral reef science and conservation efforts more broadly. She is a strong advocate of citizen science, teaches diving regularly and sits on the science advisory committee for Reef Check Australia.

Recent Publications

  • Ordoñez A, Kennedy EV, Diaz-Pulido G (2017) Reduced spore germination explains sensitivity of reef-building algae to climate change stressors. PLOS ONE 12(12): e0189122.
  • Beyer HL, Kennedy EV, Beger M, Chen CA, Cinner JE, Darling ES, Eakin CM, Gates RD, Heron SF, Knowlton N, Obura DO, Palumbi SR, Possingham HP, Puotinen M, Runting RK, Skirving WJ, Spalding M, Wilson KA, Wood S, Veron JE, Hoegh‐Guldberg, O. 2018. Risk‐sensitive planning for conserving coral reefs under rapid climate change. Conservation Letters. 2018;e12587.
  • Hoegh-Guldberg O, Kennedy EV, Beyer HL, McClennen C, Possingham HP. 2018. Securing a long-term future for coral reefs. Trends in Ecology and Evolution,
  • Kennedy EV, Tonk, L, Foster NL, Mumby PJ, Stevens JR. 2019. Temporal stability of Orbicella annularis symbioses: a case study in The Bahamas. Bulletin of Marine Science,
  • Kennedy EV, Ordońez A, Lewis B, Diaz-Pulido G. 2017. Comparison of recruitment tile materials for monitoring coralline algae responses to a changing climate. Marine Ecology Progress Series. doi: 10.3354/meps12076
  • Kennedy EV, Tonk L, Foster NL, Chollett I, Ortiz JC, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Mumby PJ, Stevens JR. 2016. Symbiodinium biogeography tracks environmental patterns rather than host genetics in a key Caribbean reef-builder Orbicella annularis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283: 20161938
  • Kennedy EV, Foster NL, Mumby PJ, Stevens JR. 2015. Widespread prevalence of cryptic Symbiodinium D in the key Caribbean reef builder, Orbicella annularis. Coral Reefs 34: 519-531
  • Kennedy EV, Perry CT, Halloran PR, Iglesias-Prieto R, Schönberg CHL, Wisshak M, Form AU, Carricart-Ganivet JP, Fine M, Eakin CM, Mumby PJ. 2013. Avoiding coral reef functional collapse requires local and global action. Current Biology 23:912-917.
  • Kennedy EV, Holderied MW, Mair JM, Guzmán HM, Simpson SD. 2010. Spatial patterns in reef-generated noise relate to habitats and communities: evidence from a Panamanian case study. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 395:85-92.
  • Hamilton P, Webster TU, Basiewicz M, Kennedy EV, De-Bastos ES, Mathews M. 2015. A rapid PCR-based test for identification of fifteen British bat species. Conservation Genetics Resources 7:651-657
  • Harborne AR, Mumby PJ, Kennedy EV, Ferrari R. 2011. Biotic and multi-scale abiotic controls of habitat quality: their effect on coral-reef fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 437:201-214.
  • Hughes TP, Kerry JT, Álvarez-Noriega M et al. 2017. Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature21707
  • Lewis B, Kennedy EV, Diaz-Pulido G. 2017. Seasonal growth and calcification of a reef-building crustose coralline alga on the Great Barrier Reef. Marine Ecology Progress Series. doi: 10.3354/meps12074
  • Mumby PJ, Flower J, Chollett I, et al. 2014. Towards Reef Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods: A handbook for Caribbean coral reef managers. University of Exeter, Exeter. 172 pages. ISBN: 978-0-902746-31-2

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