Centre for Tropical Biodiversity & Climate Change

Also known as: CTBCC
James Cook University
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Full description

Research Objective

To build a world-leading, multi-disciplinary research centre to examine the impacts of global climate change on the natural environment.

Research Aims

  • Develop predictions of impacts and extinction risk based on detailed knowledge of species ecology, using sophisticated spatial modeling;
  • Understand impacts of temperature increases as well as otherfactors such as seasonality, cloud-stripping and severe weather events (eg. cyclones) that are predicted to increase with climate change;
  • Determine the adaptive potential of rainforest species;
  • Identify habitats and locations that have either provided important refugia for species during past climate fluctuations or will do so under future conditions;
  • Quantify ecosystem processes, such as forest productivity, which are likely to be altered under future climates and have flow on impacts on dependent species;
  • Monitor changes in species distributions, habitat and microclimate across altitude.

Our research builds on a wealth of knowledge on the rainforest biodiversity of the region accumulated over 16 years of intensive data collection. While our research has focused primarily on the vertebrate fauna of the Wet Tropics (i.e. birds, mammals, reptiles and frogs), the scope of our research has expanded significantly in recent years. We are actively engaged in projects on plants and invertebrate fauna and have broadened our geographic coverage to include rainforest and savannah habitats in Central Queensland and Cape York.

We have a strong interest in training early career scientists and graduate students and sharing our growing knowledge with management agencies, conservation organisations and community groups such as Earthwatch Institute, Wet Tropics Management Authority, Regional Natural Resource Management groups and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Improving our understanding of the impacts of climate change will allow for better and more sustainable management of our natural resources.A better understanding of exactly which species, habitats and geographic areas are most vulnerable to climate change will provide management agencies with the knowledge to allocate resources to where they are most needed. The outcomes of this research will help to maximise the resilience of North Queensland's iconic species and habitats to global climate change, helping to preserve our biodiversity and natural heritage for future generations.

Towards the Future

Now our Centre plays a significant role in the national adaptation of terrestrial biodiversity to global climate change. We host the NCCARF research hub for Terrestrial Biodiversity here within the CTBCC at James Cook University. We have established an inclusive, multi-disciplinary and powerful network of over 800 researchers and stakeholders from 110 institutions across Australia, and internationally, that have experience in all major ecosystems, taxonomic groups and fields of expertise necessary for success. The network includes representation from most of the relevant research institutions and centres and local, state and federal government biodiversity and climate change units and major NGOs.

The primary goal of this network is to develop explicit and practical strategies that increase the resilience of terrestrial ecosystems and maximise their adaptive potential under climate change.The research priorities of this network will be to collate knowledge, co-ordinate expertise and synthesise these inputs into recommendations and frameworks that will guide the way forward for Australia to adapt to global climate change.

The outcomes of this research will help to maximise the resilience of Australia’s iconic species and habitats to global climate change, helping to preserve our biodiversity and natural heritage for future generations.

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Contact Information

Postal Address:
Centre for Tropical Biodiversity & Climate Change
ATSIP Building 145
James Cook University
Townsville, QLD, 4811
Fax: +61 7 4725 1570