Guest Speakers


Justin Marshall

8 March 2019

Professor Justin Marshall is neuroscientist whose research focuses on decoding how animals use color to communicate. He is known for discovering the most complex animal visual system known of any organism – that of the mantis shrimp, which has 12 color channels. As part of this effort he has become acutely aware of man's influence on the marine environment. Justin is project leader of CoralWatch, the world's largest citizen-science-based coral health assessment program (78 countries, 13 languages). The reason for designing the CoralWatch system as it is and the reason for coordinating and helping to write our book Coral Reefs and Climate Change is to engage the community in this process. The time for thought and discussion is over and the time for action and tough decisions is here. I am very fortunate to be able to work on reefs every day and spend as much time as I can there. My kids have seen it and they love the vibrance of the place and the animal life. I am now working for them so that, when they get to my age, their children will have the chance to also draw energy and, where necessary, nutrients and livelihood from coral reefs. Our current best estimates tell me that this is unlikely, but the fantastic CoralWatch team and our growing band of volunteers around the world are working hard to prevent their degradation by spreading knowledge and helping to come up with practical solutions.

Professor Jonti Horner (Astrophysics), University of Southern Queensland

5 - 9 May 2019, 8 - 11 Aug 2019, 11 - 14 Sep 2019, 6 - 9 Dec 2019

Professor Jonti Horner is an astronomer and astrobiologist at the University of Southern Queensland. He first became interested in astronomy at the age of five, and has been hooked ever since. After spending his youth observing the night sky, and going to lectures at his local astronomical society, Jonti went to the University of Durham, where he spent four years studying towards a Masters' degree in Physics and Astronomy. He then moved to the University of Oxford, where he obtained his doctorate for a thesis entitled 'The Behaviour of Small Bodies in the Outer Solar System.'. Once his studies were complete, he moved to the University of Bern, in Switzerland, where he spent three years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Spells at the UK's Open University and the University of Durham followed, before he moved to Australia in 2010, to take up a position at the University of New South Wales. In 2014, Jonti accepted a position at the University of Southern Queensland, where he became the Vice-Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow.

Jonti is a passionate and enthusiastic science communicator. He gives regular talks to a wide variety of community groups, schools, and astronomical societies, and makes monthly appearances on ABC Queensland's Evenings program, with Kelly Higgins-Devine. Her research covers topics ranging from the formation and evolution of our Solar system to the search for planets around other stars. He is particularly interested in understanding the different factors that could make some of those planets more (or less) suitable for the development of life, and is looking forward to seeing the next generation of astronomical telescopes make a serious effort at answering the question "Are We Alone?".

Jonti writes regular articles for the Australian research news website The Conversation, which can be found at: . His Twitter handle is @JontiHorner, and his personal webpage is located at