Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research – Townsville (TropWATER)

James Cook University

Formerly known as Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research

TropWATER - The Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research undertakes multidisciplinary research in freshwater, estuarine and marine waters, with expertise from ecology, water quality, hydrology, engineering, physics, oceanography, modelling and resource economics . It is an amalgamation of aquatic expertise from across James Cook University that brings together over 130 research and support staff and over 80 post-graduate students.

Organisation type
  • University Research Centre
Number of research staff
20-100 research staff
ATSIP, Building 145, James Cook University Drive, Towsnville QLD 4811

Strengths and capabilities

  • Assessing impacts of dredging
  • Working with traditional owners
  • Monitoring mining operations for water quality
  • Providing expert advice for management of ports
  • Genetic detection of aquatic fauna from water samples
  • Management of runoff from agricultural areas
  • Planning and management of water resource developments and irrigation
  • Exotic fish and aquatic weed control
  • Environmental Impact Statements
  • Tracing the sources of pollutants from different land uses

Facilities and major equipment

  • Water quality laboratory
  • Advanced Analytical Centre
  • Hydrology Laboratory
  • Soils, GIS and Climatology Laboratories
  • Genetics laboratory
  • Seagrass laboratory
  • Fleet of boats and vehicles

Lead researcher

  • Professor Damien Burrows—Hub leader - National Environment Science Programme Tropical Water Quality and on the Independent Expert Panel for the Great Barrier Reef
  • Dr Rob Coles—Internationally recognised seagrass expert
  • Professor Norm Duke—Internationally recognised mangrove expert - a specialist in global mangrove floristics, biogeography, and climate change adaptation.

Achievements of the centre

  • Hub Leader for the National Environment Science Programme (NESP) Tropical Water Quality Hub
  • Mangrove Watch program – a community-science partnership undertaken extensive mangrove and coastal health assessments in 7 countries and over 10,000km of shoreline across Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia
  • leading research role in reducing runoff of herbicides and pesticides to coastal ecosystems and the Great Barrier Reef

Key science sectors

More information about the sectors this centre is involved in:

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