Rachel King - AIMS@JCU

Rachel King

Rachel.king2@my.jcu.edu.au

PhD
ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies

Rachel King

Rachel.king2@my.jcu.edu.au

PhD
ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies
An integrated taxonomic approach to understanding the diversity and biogeography of corals on the Great Barrier Reef.


Originally from Sydney, Rachel has had a strong passion for ocean conservation and the water since she was very young. She started pursuing her dream at Macquarie University completing a Bachelor of Advanced Science with a specialisation in biology and a Bachelor of Philosophy before moving to Townsville to finish her studies, completing a Master of Science. Mid-year 2021 she began her PhD under the supervision Dr. Tom Bridge (JCU), Dr. Peter Cowman (JCU) and secondary AIMS supervisors. Rachel has broad interests in the conservation, biodiversity and biogeography of coral reef systems.

An integrated taxonomic approach to understanding the diversity and biogeography of corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

2021 to 2024

Project Description

This project will use an integrated taxonomic approach combining advanced phylogenomic, morphological, and ecological data to understand the diversity and biogeography of corals on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). In collaboration with the AIMS, it will also develop novel tools (e.g. machine learning) to inform species identification, allowing the information generated to be incorporated into ongoing research and monitoring projects. Outcomes include discovering new information regarding the diversity and distribution of corals on the GBR and translating this knowledge to key stakeholders to inform applied research projects such as modelling coral population demographics of corals on the GBR.

Project Importance

My research will contribute more information on the biogeography of coral groups on the Great Barrier Reef and develop new tools such as machine learning to translate this information to end users for more practical solutions to declining coral health.

Project Methods

My project will use an integrated taxonomic approach, using both molecular phylogenetics and morphological analysis of corals. A bait set for targeted enrichment of ultraconserved elements and exons in hexacorals has already been designed and tested on Acropora species.

Project Results

The resulting genomic scale data will provide a detailed and robust understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes that shape coral speciation.

Keywords

Biostatistics,
Communication / Education,
Coral reefs,
Corals,
Distribution,
Ecology,
Field based,
Genetics,
Mapping,
Molecular techniques,
Ocean acidification,
Ocean warming,
Qualitative techniques,
Quantitative marine science,
Taxonomy

Supervised By:

Manuel Gonzalez Rivero (AIMS)

Thomas Bridge (JCU)

Juan Ortiz (AIMS)

Peter Cowman (James Cook University)