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The Climate Change Cluster (C3) produces new insights into problems facing marine ecosystems by working at the intersection of the physical and life sciences.

  • Who are you ?

    I am Dr Jen Matthews, a marine biologist and coral reef conservationist and one of the researchers in the Future Reefs Group of the Climate Change Cluster at the University of Technology Sydney. My research aims to solve how coral nutrition and metabolism help reefs to thrive and survive, and then use this knowledge to create new tools for restoration or health diagnostics, to protect the future of our reefs.

    What is the context of your project?

    A coral colony can produce millions of baby corals, yet less than 1% ever survive. This represents a critical bottleneck for the recovery of degraded reefs and drastically limits the effectiveness of restoration projects using coral early life stages.  

    But providing vital nourishment to baby corals could dramatically improve their survival, giving them a fighting chance to grow into adult corals and restore degraded reefs. And just like us a healthy diet helps us to fight off infections and stay healthy, feeding corals could also improve their resilience to changes in the environment and disease, meaning more adult corals to support future reef generations.

    What are the specific objectives ?

    Our project aims to find the best baby food for corals to enhance survival during their most vulnerable life stage. In partnership with the tourism industry and other local stakeholders, as well as global partners already applying coral larvae restoration activities, we are developing a large-scale, affordable and easily replicable feeding method. Ultimately if we have more young adult corals, we can help rebuild degraded reefs around the world and preserve species diversity, which is critical for the future of our reefs.

    Do you have a message you'd wish to share with the public about ocean protection?

    We are intimately connected with coral reefs, relying on them for coastal protection, food, habitat for a quarter of all marine life and even a source novel medicines. But without help, coral reefs may not survive this century. Every reef system on the planet is losing corals faster than they're naturally replenishing. Our project and other active interventions that enhance reef resilience will help buy time for reefs, but to protect our reefs futures, we must take bold action on climate change and ocean pollution now.

  • Our research areas

  • Algae biotechnology 

    Working with industry to develop algae and their derivates into innovative green and clean technologies

    Algae in bag room
  • Future reefs 

    Studying how environmental conditions influence reef-forming corals and how to better preserve and re-build healthy reefs

    Dr Emma Camp diving on a reef conducting her research
  • Ocean microbiology 

    Understanding how ocean microorganisms are influenced by, and influence, oceanographic processes and marine ecosystems

    Close up of gloved hand holding Petri dish
  • Productive coasts 

    Exploring how photosynthetic organisms respond to natural and human changes in their environment

    Scientist uses net to collect ocean samples

    Find out more about C3 research programs across algae, coral reefs and marine microbiology.

Two C3 scientists in a lab facing each other

Partner with us

C3 partners with businesses, government and not-for-profits to deliver practical technology solutions across carbon capture and storage, conservation, water quality and the circular bio-economy.

Professor Martina Doblin with students

Study with us

Student opportunities with an internationally-recognised marine research institute, working across a diverse range of aquatic ecosystems.

Waves in the foreground and a mountain in the background

Addressing 21st century challenges

C3 works to provide solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our age. We're aligned with UN sustainable development goals and supporting the World Climate Statement, UN COP26 goals and UN Decade of the Ocean.