Dr Joanne Ellis

Senior Lecturer

Qualifications: BSc Auckland, BSc Hons Victoria, PhD Memorial (Canada)

Personal Website:

Research Interests

My research interests include disturbance and recovery dynamics in coastal and estuarine ecosystems, biodiversity prioritization to inform ecosystem management, statistical modeling including the identification of multiple stressor interaction effects, marine spatial planning, ecosystem services frameworks and climate change impacts on marine systems. My primary research focuses on the recovery of marine benthic communities from disturbance and potential interaction effects of multiple stressors. I have approached these specific research areas using a combination of models and field studies to predict community resilience to disturbance and multiple stressors. This knowledge provides the required biophysical science to quantify stressor ’footprints’, determine ecological responses of ecosystems to multiple stressors and identify ‘tipping points’ that transform ecosystems into non-desirable states. Increasingly research of stressor footprints and multiple stressor effects will be required to provide the empirical underpinnings for effective marine spatial planning.

Research Supervised


  • Thomson, Timothy  (in progress). The effects of nutrient inputs on microbial communities and carbon emissions in mangrove soils.
  • Martin, Ross (2020). Determining estuarine seagrass condition measures from low altitude multi-spectral imagery flown by remotely piloted aircraft.

MSc (Research)

  • Lewis, Anita (in progress). Microplastics in the marine environment: distribution and bioaccumulation rates in marine bivalves.

Teaching Commitments

Recent Publications

  • Alsaffar, Z., Pearman, J. K., Cúrdia, J., Ellis, J., Calleja, M. L., Ruiz-Compean, P., . . . Carvalho, S. (2020). The role of seagrass vegetation and local environmental conditions in shaping benthic bacterial and macroinvertebrate communities in a tropical coastal lagoon. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 17 pages. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-70318-1 Open Access version:

  • Clark, D. E., Hewitt, J. E., Pilditch, C. A., & Ellis, J. I. (2020). The development of a national approach to monitoring estuarine health based on multivariate analysis. Marine Pollution Bulletin. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.110602

  • Anton, A., Randle, J. L., Garcia, F. C., Rossbach, S., Ellis, J. I., Weinzierl, M., & Duarte, C. M. (2020). Differential thermal tolerance between algae and corals may trigger the proliferation of algae in coral reefs. Global Change Biology, 12 pages. doi:10.1111/gcb.15141 Open Access version:

  • DeCarlo, T. M., Gajdzik, L., Ellis, J., Coker, D. J., Roberts, M. B., Hammerman, N. M., . . . Berumen, M. L. (2020). Nutrient-supplying ocean currents modulate coral bleaching susceptibility. Science Advances, 6(34). doi:10.1126/sciadv.abc5493

View All research publications by Joanne Ellis

Contact Details

Room: TCB 4.02C
Cellphone: 022 526 4146