Assoc. Prof Ron Johnstone
Assoc. Prof Ron Johnstone


Associate Professor, Coastal Systems


Room: 3-302
Phone: 336-53978


Google scholar site ResearchGate site


  • BSc (Hons) Double Major in Zoology and Microbiology, University of Sydney
  • Grad. Dip. Education, Sydney Teachers College
  • PhD in Benthic Nutrient Dynamics, University of Sydney

Professional Associations

  • IOC-UNESCO/World Bank Targeted Working Group on Global Coral Bleaching.
  • Treasurer on the Board of Trustees for The Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (1,400 Scientist Membership from >6 countries)
  • Scientific Advisory Committee – CRC Reef
  • Executive Management Group for the CRC in Coastal Zone, Estuary, and Waterways Management
  • Council Member. Australian Coral Reef Society


Prior to his current position, A/Prof Johnstone served as deputy director of the Centre for Marine Studies at the University of Queensland for 5 years, as well as the Assessment and Monitoring theme leader in the Coastal CRC, and as a member of the scientific advisory committee for CRC Reef. He has a long professional history in coastal nutrient and ecosystem function research, as well as in the communication of science to the community, government, and private sector bodies. In addition, A/Prof Johnstone has a longstanding international reputation in his field, having spent approximately 20 years undertaking CZM research and project management in over 13 countries on behalf of government and international donor agencies including IOC-UNESCO, Sida, and the World Bank.
Within Australia, A/Prof Johnstone’s work is focussed on the understanding of benthic habitats, with an emphasis on nutrient processes and dynamics in coastal ecosystems. This includes aspects such as the influence of land-based inputs on coastal ecosystem function and its influence on specific outcomes such as toxic algal blooms.

Research Interests

  • Biogeochemical processes in coastal and marine ecosystems
  • Marine microecology
  • Human impacts on coastal ecosystem function and sustainability
  • Climate adaptation at local and community scales

Research Staff and Students

Research staff:

Principal supervision of PhD and MPhil candidates

Associate supervision of PhD candidates


Selected Publications

Myers, T., Atkinson, I. & Johnstone, R. 2010, 'Semantically enabling the SEMAT project: extending marine sensor networks for decision support and hypothesis testing (accepted)', 3rd International Workshop on Ontology Alignment and Visualization (OnAV 10), Krakow, Poland, 15 - 18 February, IEEE.
Myers, T. S., Atkinson, I. M. and Johnstone, R. (2009) Supporting coral reef ecosystems research through modelling a re-usable ontology framework (Accepted). J. Appl. Artificial Intelligence
Cella, U. M., Shuley, N., and Johnstone, R (2009). Wireless sensor networks in coastal marine environments: a case study outcome. (2009) Proc. WUWNet
Cella, U. M., Shuley, N., and Johnstone, R (2009). Electromagnetic wave wireless communication in shallow water coastal environment: theoretical analysis and experimental results. (Accepted) Proc. WUWNet.
Johnstone, R., Caputo, D., Cella, U., Gandelli,, A., Alippi, C., Grimaccia, F. (2008) Smart Environmental Measurement & Analysis Technologies (SEMAT): Wireless sensor networks in the marine environment. Proc. EU Summit on ICT, Stockholm.
Davey, A.M., Holmes, G. and Johnstone, R.W. (2008) High rates of nitrogen fixation (acetylene reduction) on coral skeletons following bleaching mortality. Coral Reefs 27: 227-236 (Accepted 2007)
Holmes G., Ortiz, J., Kaniewska, P., Johnstone, R. (2008) Using three-dimensional surface area to compare the growth of two Pocilloporid coral species. Mar. Biol.155:421-427
Arquitt, S, and Johnstone, R. (2007) The dynamics of nutrient reduction trading: a simulation-based search for effective policy design. Environmental Economics (Accepted)
Hamilton, G.S., F. Fielding, A.W. Chiffings, B.T. Hart, R.W. Johnstone, and K. Mengersen (2007) Investigating the Use of a Bayesian Network to Model the Risk of Lyngbya majuscula Bloom Initiation in Deception Bay, Queensland. J. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, 13:6, 1271 - 1287
Michael P. Lesser, M.P., Bythell, J.C., Gates, R.D., Johnstone, R.W., Hoegh-Guldberg, O. (2007) Are infectious diseases really killing corals? Alternative interpretations of the experimental and ecological data. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. (In press)
Arquitt, S, and Johnstone, R. (2007) The dynamics of nutrient reduction trading: a simulation-based search for effective policy design. Environmental Economics (Accepted)
Sheaves, M.J., Brodie, J.E., Brooke, B.P., Dale, P.E.R., Lovelock, C.E., Waycott, M., Gehrke, P., Johnston, R.W. & Baker, R. (2007). Vulnerability of coastal and estuarine habitats in the Great Barrier Reef to climate change. In: Climate change and the Great Barrier Reef: a vulnerability assessment (eds: Johnson, J.E. & Marshall, P.A.) 593-620. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Greenhouse Office.

Funded Projects

Funded by the SENSA programme, conducted by Sida and UNEP-RRC.AP
Funded by the Queensland Government NIRAP Grant, with support from Torino Wireless and the Milan Foundation
Fiji Project
Collaboration funded by the Government of Lombardi, Italy
DeSal Project
Commissioned by the Healthy Waterways Partnership SEQ


Teaching Responsibilities

Course Co-ordinator and Primary Lecturer in:
ENVM 3203 Tools for Environmental Assessment and Analysis (Undergraduate)
ENVM 7206 – Tools for Environmental Assessment and Analysis (Postgraduate)
Coastal Resource Management – Stanford University Study Abroad Program


Last updated: May 21, 2015

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