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Department of Environment and Science

Queensland Government

Science portfolio of the Department of Environment and Science

Department of Environment and Science

Queensland science capability directory

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Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research - Cairns (TropWATER)

Spotted Tilapia fish

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.


Key science sectors

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

Number of research staff

20–100 research staff


Building E1, James Cook University, Smithfield, 4878

Lead researchers

  • 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.

Other centre in Queensland

Organisation type

  • University Research Centre

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Last updated:
6 September 2018