Guest Speaker Date Topic
Prof. Jonti Horner 5 – 8 March 2021 Astronomy
Prof. Jonti Horner 4 – 7 June 2021 Astronomy
Leaf to Reef 12 – 26 June 2021 Research Studies
Prof. Jonti Horner 10 – 13 September 2021 Astronomy
Leaf to Reef 16 – 30 October 2021 Research Studies
Dr Cedric Robillot 28 October – 2 November 2021 Environmental Conservation
Prof. Jonti Horner 5 – 8 November 2021 Astronomy
Prof. Jonti Horder 11 – 15 December 2021 Astronomy

*Subject to change

Leaf to Reef

Leaf to Reef: Biodiversity of Lady Elliot Island is a research group apart of the Reef Islands initiative, which aims to establish a network of climate change refuges by protecting critical habitats in the Great Barrier Reef and use citizen science to quantify the biodiversity of Lady Elliot Island and surrounding waters.

Jonti Horner

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 Trevor Jackson. His 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: https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonti-horner-3355/articles . His Twitter handle is @JontiHorner, and his personal webpage is located at http://jontihorner.com

Dr Cedric Robillot

Dr Cédric Robillot is Executive Director of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (www.GBRrestoration.org), a four-year +$150 million consortium funded by the Australian Government to research, develop and pilot new technologies to help coral reefs survive the threat of global warming.

Cédric’s passion for environmental conservation was sparked by the beauty of oceans, from his ancestral North Brittany to later falling in love with French Polynesian islands. In 2001, after obtaining his PhD in Environmental Toxicology from the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, he moved to Australia with his young family to join the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville.

There he co-founded a biotechnology company, re-engineering marine toxins to design biosensors for food, water and animal diagnostics.  Since 2014, Cédric has worked with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, advocating for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and leading large multi-disciplinary R&D programs such as eReefs (www.eReefs.info) to better understand and protect this truly unique ecosystem, and the life and diversity it supports.

In 2020, Cédric became Executive Director for the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (www.GBRrestoration.org). Under current climate change predictions, most reefs around the world will suffer more severe and more frequent bleaching events, a response to warmer temperatures in which the coral expels its companion algae and eventually dies.  The GBR has experienced three of these mass bleaching events over the course of five years, which is really concerning.

This R&D Program brings together the brightest science and engineering minds to innovate and design new solutions that can buy time and help coral reefs adapt to climate change while the world gets to carbon neutrality. These include helping clouds reflect more sunlight to reduce the impact of marine heatwaves, collecting coral larvae and developing mass aquaculture (tens of millions) of thermally resistant corals to be reseeded on the Reef, and “freezing” corals to secure their unique genetic diversity.

Change starts with hope and knowledge, and Cédric loves communicating, in English or French, about challenges faced by coral reefs and how innovation can help ensure the survival of these wonderful ecosystems for future generations.