David Bourne holds a joint appointment at James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). Over the past three years his focus has been on developing a research, teaching, and research-training program around macro- and micro-ecology of coral reefs with a particular emphasis on the benthic invertebrates such as corals which build the reef structure. This work extends to understanding how environmental degradation is and will further impact coral reefs globally. His training is in the area of molecular microbial ecology with a strong research focus on investigation of microbial diversity, structure and function in complex marine ecosystems. Although having a broad research profile around impacts on marine ecosystems and coral reefs in particular he has specifically focused research essentially into two areas, the first investigating the normal microbial communities associated with corals and their functional roles in maintaining coral fitness. The second research focus is to elucidate pathogens and mechanism of disease onset in corals and the implications this has on a stressed reef ecosystem in light of climate change being a major driver of coral reef degradation.