Marine and Coastal Ecology - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Marine and Coastal Ecology

Aerial view of islands

A research focus in the areas of ocean sciences and marine animal ecology naturally emerges from USC’s location at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It also reflects the expertise, and international leadership, of several academics who work on cutting-edge issues in marine and coastal ecology.

Damselfish over coral

They work on a diverse range of topics, set in equally diverse environments, spanning from deep-sea biology to marine climate change ecology.

Take a look at a selection of their projects and their research partners.

Spiral shell

Whilst they undertake both applied and theoretical research, a leading principle is that all of their marine science work must be strongly embedded in modern theoretical frameworks of ecology and conservation, and that attributions are strong and defensible, especially in the area of climate change associated work.

Research areas

Sandy beaches

The ecology and conservation of interfaces, focusing particularly on processes that structure and impact ecosystems of sandy beaches and estuaries.

Global change

The ecological consequences of global change, emphasising cutting-edge modelling of biotic response to changing ocean conditions, at regional to global scales.


Connectivity between populations, habitats and ecosystems including reef fishes, sharks, mangroves, surf-zones, deep-ocean seamounts and submarine canyons.

Crab on the beach
Snorkeler taking a fish survey
Fish swimming through seagrass and reef

Investigating the fundamental role played by vertebrate scavengers of beach and marine carrion in food-webs and in biological connectivity.

Brahminy kite
Coastal geomorphology

Examining coastal geomorphology and how changing seascapes impact on ecological processes, resilience and animals.

Key members

Professor Thomas Schlacher holding a crab
Professor Thomas Schlacher
Professor, Marine Science

More about Professor Schlacher

Key publications at USC Research Bank

Dr Ben Gilby
Dr Ben Gilby
Assoc. Lecturer, Animal Ecology

More about Dr Gilby

Key publications at USC Research Bank

Javier Leon in stormy waters
Dr Javier Leon
Senior Lecturer, Physical Geography

More about Dr Leon

Key publications at USC Research Bank

Andrew Olds emerging from the swamp
Dr Andrew Olds
Senior Lecturer, Animal Ecology

More about Dr Olds

Key publications at USC Research Bank

David Schoeman
Dr David Schoeman
Associate Professor, Biostatistics

More about Dr Schoeman

Key publications at USC Research Bank

Marine ecology latest news

USC Newsroom
Animal Ecology graduate Katharine Needham working at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast. Picture: SEA LIFE
Animal ecology medallist seals career deal
15 November

Completing an Animal Ecology degree with a near-perfect grade point average has helped USC graduate Katharine Needham dive into a new role as assistant marine mammal trainer at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium.

Seaweed quadruples fish immunity, study finds
29 April

USC scientists have found they can quadruple the immune response of farmed fish by adding powdered seaweed to their diet.

Aspiring scientist sails the seas in search of birds
19 March

USC Animal Ecology student Bianca Keys has completed a voyage of a lifetime, helping to map the abundance and distribution of seabirds in the North Tasman and South Coral seas.