Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science (TESS)

James Cook University

The Centre focuses on research in tropical environments and societies across a wide range of disciplines, focusing particularly on northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Research in TESS falls within the following themes: - Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation - Ecosystem Science - Environmental change and Archeology -Sustainable Landscapes and Livelihoods - Education, Training and Capacity Building. TESS has four new ‘flagship’ projects that attack environmental issues of particularly acute concern and also cut across our thematic areas: Reducing the Global Impacts of Rapid Infrastructure Expansion; Australia’s Northern Development and Imperilled Biodiversity; State of the Tropics: Assessing Key Trends and Challenges; Sustainable Landscapes and Livelihoods in Indonesia. This approach helps us address these key issues from a truly multidisciplinary perspective and to better integrate the wide-ranging talents of TESS’s researchers.

Organisation type
  • University Research Centre
Number of research staff
20-100 research staff
Building A2, James Cook University, 14–88 Macgregor Road, Smithfield QLD 4870

Strengths and capabilities

  • Protected area and landscape management in tropical terrestrial environments
  • Assessing ecological and physiological responses to environmental change
  • Understanding the drivers of changing patterns of biodiversity
  • Assessing the role of humans in shaping and adapting to environmental change
  • Predicting the trajectories of future environmental change
  • Planning for adaptation to future environmental change
  • Sustainably enhancing food, water and livelihood security across the tropics
  • Reducing human impact on the natural environment in the tropics
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing carbon sequestration potential
  • Researching interactions between societies, economies and the environment

Facilities and major equipment

  • The Daintree Rainforest Observatory (DRO)
  • The Orpheus Island Research Station
  • Fletcherview Research Station
  • Cloncurry Research Station
  • Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network FNQ Supersite
  • The Australian Tropical Herbarium
  • Advanced Analytical Centre (Cairns and Townsville)
  • Dendrochronology Laboratory
  • Hydrology Laboratory
  • Soils, GIS and Climatology Laboratories

Lead researcher

Key science sectors

More information about the sectors this centre is involved in:

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