Oceans cover more than 70 per cent of the earth’s surface and play a crucial role in determining weather, stabilising planetary temperature and regulating the atmosphere’s gas content. Without it, life would not be possible.

Our oceans and coasts are changing at an unprecedented rate. Ocean warming, acidification, rising sea levels, unsustainable fishing, pollution and coastal development are threatening the future of our marine environments, and the services they provide to us.

Science can help broaden our knowledge and understanding of ocean systems so we can make informed policy decisions and develop practical solutions to address the challenges they face. Our Healthy Oceans program takes a multi-disciplinary approach, engaging a range of expertise across UQ, Australia and beyond, to undertake research that leads to on-ground solutions. Some of the questions we tackle include:

  • What are the impacts of a changing climate on our coasts and oceans?
  • How do our coasts and ocean ecosystems function and respond to change?
  • What values and beliefs do people hold regarding our oceans?
  • How can we tackle the complex social and environmental problems facing our oceans?
  • How can remote coastal communities (islands) meet the challenge of change?
  • How can we shape and influence policy to make change?
  • What are the linkages between healthy oceans and human health and wellbeing?


Our Research and Projects

Study Focuses On Melanesia's Ocean Assets

In a report that values Melanesia’s ocean assets at more than half a $US trillion, UQ marine scientists have proposed a new path to prosperity for the region.

The UQ scientists hope their proposals will help Melanesian leaders build on previous commitments to chart a course to a sustainable ocean-based ‘blue economy’.

Follow this link to download a copy of the report: Reviving Melanesia’s Ocean Economy: The Case for Action  PDF 2.77 MB

XL Catlin Seaview Survey

Our researchers are connecting people around the world with coral reefs through the XL Catlin Seaview Survey, which is conducting a 360-degree photographic survey of the world’s coral reefs. Find out more…

Catlin XL Seaview Survey Science Report 2016


The Capturing Coral Reef & Related Ecosystem Services (CCRES) project seeks to unlock the natural wealth of coastlines in the East Asia-Pacific region, in order to enhance livelihoods and food security, improve community health and wellbeing, and sustain coastal ecosystems in the region. Discover more…

Australian Sea Level Rise Partnership

Our researchers recently wrapped up the Australian Sea Level Rise Partnership, a project working to protect coastal communities and their economies from sea-level rise. Read about the outcomes here…

Research Centres and Labs

We work with a wide range of marine scientists, researchers and professionals in research centres and labs across Australia including the Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab (UQ), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies based at James Cook University and the Centre for Marine Science based at UQ.


You can dive into tropical reef research with world-renowned marine scientists, and develop the skills and knowledge needed to help preserve tropical coastal ecosystems through our free online course, Tropic101x.

IPCC Fifth Assessment Report - The Ocean

Healthy Oceans Program Director, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, is a coordinating lead author on the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report’s chapter on The Ocean. Read the report here.

The Global Change Institute collaborates with researchers across The University of Queensland to meet the challenges of change.

Healthy Oceans

GCI's healthy oceans research involves input from several UQ schools, institutes or centres including:

Dr Maria Beger
The Ecology Centre

Dr Yvette Bettini
UQ Institute for Social Science Research

Professor Tom Baldock
UQ School of Civil Engineering

Dr Elisa Bayraktarov
UQ School of Biological Sciences

Dr Robert Canto
UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management

A/Professor Paul Dargusch
UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management

Professor Sarah Derrington
UQ School of Law

A/Professor Sophie Dove
UQ School of Biological Sciences

Dr Ricardo Silva Tavares De Lemos
UQ School of Mathematics and Physics

Professor Cath Lovelock
UQ School of Biological Sciences

Dr Morena Mills
UQ School of Biological Sciences

Dr Tiffany Morrison
UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management

Professor Peter Mumby
UQ School of Biological Sciences

Dr Chris Roelfsema
UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management

Dr Megan Saunders
The Ecology Centre

Dr Oscar Serrano
UQ School of Biological Sciences

A/Professor Ian Tibbetts
UQ School of Biological Sciences

Professor Stuart Phinn
UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management

Professor Colin Woodroffe
UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management

Mr Adrian Ward
UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management

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