Robert van Woesik

Professor | Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences

Contact Information
(321) 674-7475
Harris Center For Science and Engineering, 221

Educational Background

B.Sc. University of Queensland, Australia 1983
Ph.D. James Cook University, Australia 1993

Professional Experience

I have worked on the coral reefs of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans since 1982, and have written more than 200 scholarly research papers on coral reefs. My area of expertise is in the population and community ecology of scleractinian corals. I was the Environmental Editor for the international journal Coral Reefs from 2006 to 2013 and have been Director of the Institute for Global Ecology since 2009.

My research interests are broad but ultimately linked to the ecology of reef-building corals, including the effects of land-use change and global-climate change. Most recently, my students and I have been particularly interested in examining which processes capture population performance under climate change, and the degree to which these processes vary with habitat, region, and across time. As in the past, under certain circumstances adaptation is expected. But success will depend on a number of conditions, including the nature of the regional gene pool, the life-history characteristics of the organisms involved, the frequency and strength of the disturbances, and the local and regional oceanography. Essentially, we are striving to understand coral-reef systems and identify important processes to provide information that will give corals' their best chance of survival through this modern period of extensive human pressure.

Additional Duties

Director of the Institute for Global Ecology

Co-Director of Ocean 2100, a pillar of excellence at the Florida Institute of Technology

Selected Publications


van Woesik R and Kratochwill C (2022) A global coral-bleaching database, 1980–2020. Scientific Data 9 (1), 1-7

Sully S, Hodgson G, van Woesik R (2022) Present and future bright and dark spots for coral reefs through climate change. Global Change Biology 10.1111/gcb.16083



Mary K. Donovan, Deron E. Burkepile, Chelsey Kratochwill, Tom Shlesinger, Shannon Sully, Thomas A. Oliver, Gregor Hodgson, Jan Friewald, Robert van Woesik (2021) Local conditions magnify coral loss following marine heatwaves. Science 372 (6545), 977-980

van Woesik and Cacciapaglia C (2021) Thermal stress jeopardizes carbonate production of coral reefs across the western and central Pacific Ocean. PLoS One 16 (4), e0249008

Banister RB, R van Woesik (2021) Ranking 67 Florida reefs for survival of Acropora cervicornis outplants. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8:672574

Cacciapaglia C, Bush M, van Woesik R (2021) Legacies of an ice-age world explain modern biogeographical provinces of corals. Frontiers of Biogeography 13.1, e50008

Bush MB, Alex Correa-Metrio, Robert van Woesik, Aaron Collins, Jennifer Hanselman, Pablo Martinez, Crystal McMichael (2020). Modern pollen assemblages of the Neotropics. J Biogeography 48 (1), 231-241

Grottoli AG, Toonen R, van Woesik R, Vega Thurber B, Warner M, McLachlan R, Price J, Bahr K, Buams I, Castillo K, Coffroth MA, Cunning R, Dobson K, Donahue M, Hench J, Iglesias-Prieto R, Kemp D, Kenkel C, Kline D, Kuffner I, Matthews J, Mayfield A, Padilla-Gamino J, Palumbi S, Voolstra C, Weis V, Wu H. (2021) Increasing comparability among coral bleaching experiment. Ecological Applications 31 (4), e02262

Shlesinger T and R van Woesik (2021) Different population trajectories of two reef-building corals with similar life-history traits. Journal of Animal Ecology 90 (5), 1379-1389

van Woesik R, Ray Banister, Erich Bartels, Elizabeth J. Brown, David S. Gilliam, Elizabeth A. Goergen, Caitlin Lustic, Kerry Maxwell, Amelia Moura, Erinn Muller, Stephanie Schopmeyer, R. Scott Winters, Diego Lirman (2021) Survival of nursery reared Acropora cervicornis outplants along the Florida reef tract. Restoration Ecology 29 (1), e13302



Muller M, Constance Sartor, Nicholas I. Alcaraz, Robert van Woesik (2020) Spatial epidemiology of the stony-coral-tissue-loss disease in Florida. Frontiers in Marine Science 7: 163

van Woesik R, Roth L, Brown EJ, McCaffrey KR, Roth J (2020) Niche space of corals along the Florida reef tract. PLoS One 15(4): e0231104

Cacciapaglia C and van Woesik R (2020) Climate-change vulnerability and fishing pressure reveal where coral reefs will keep up with rising seas. Ecography 43:1-12

Sully S and van Woesik R (2020) Coral-reef bright spots: turbidity moderates coral bleaching through thermal-stress events. Global Change Biology 26(3): 1367–1373.

Houk P, Anthony Yalon A, Maxin S, Starsinic C, McInnis A, Gouezo M, Golbuu Y, van Woesik R (2020) Predicting coral-reef futures from El Niño and Pacific Decadal Oscillation events. Nature Scientific Reports 10, 7735



van Woesik R, Cacciapaglia C (2019) Carbonate production of Micronesian reefs suppressed by thermal anomalies and Acanthaster as sea-level rises. PloS One 14(11): e0224887.

Gravinese PM, Enochs IC, Manzello DP, van Woesik R (2019) Ocean acidification changes the vertical movement of stone crab larvae. Biology Letters 15: 20190414

Sully S, DE Burkepile, MK Donovan, G Hodgson, R van Woesik (2019) A global analysis of coral bleaching over the past two decades. Nature Communications volume 10, 1264

Li Y, CJ Randall, R van Woesik, E Ribeiro (2019) Underwater video mosaicking using topology and superpixel-based pairwise stitching. Expert Systems with Applications 119, 171-183



van Woesik R, Köksal S, Ünal A, Cacciapaglia CW, Randall CJ (2018) Predicting coral dynamics through climate change.  Scientific Reports 8, 17997

Gravinese PM, Enochs IC, Manzello DP, van Woesik R (2018) Warming and pCO2 effects on Florida stone-crab larvae. Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Sciences 204: 193-201

van Woesik R, and Cacciapaglia CW (2018) Keeping up with sea-level rise: Carbonate production rates in Palau and Yap, western Pacific Ocean. PLoS ONE 13(5): e019707

Cacciapaglia C and van Woesik R (2018) Marine species distribution modeling and the effects of genetic isolation under climate change. J Biogeography 45: 154-163



Randall CJ and van Woesik R (2017) Some coral diseases track climate oscillations in the Caribbean. Nature Scientific Reports 7: 5719, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-05763-6

van Woesik R, Ripple K, Miller S (2017) Macroalgae reduces survival of nursery-reared corals in the Florida reef tract. Restoration Ecology 26: 563–569

van Woesik R and McCaffrey KR (2017) Repeated thermal stress, shading, and directional selection in the Florida reef tract. Frontiers in Marine Science.

van Woesik R and Randall CR (2017) Coral-disease hotspots in the Caribbean. Ecosphere. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.1814

van Woesik R (2017) Contemporary coral bleaching: why diversity matters. Biodiversity.  DOI: 10.1080/14888386.2017.1307142

Bush MB, Correa-Metrio A, van Woesik R, Shadik CR, McMichael CNH (2017) Human disturbance amplifies Amazonian El Nino–Southern Oscillation signal. Global Change Biology (2017), doi: 10.1111/gcb.13608

Holden PB, JB Birks JB, Brooks SJ, Bush MB, Hwang GM, Matthews-Bird F, Valencia BG, van Woesik R (2017) BUMPER v1.0: A Bayesian User-friendly Model for Palaeo-Environmental Reconstruction. Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., doi:10.5194/gmd-2016-227



Precht WF, Gintert BE, Robbart ML, Fura R, van Woesik R (2016) Unprecedented disease-related coral mortality in southeastern Florida. Nature Scientific Reports 6, 31374, doi:10.1038/srep31374

Licuanan WY, Robles R, Dygico M, Songco A, van Woesik R (2016) Coral benchmarks in the center of biodiversity. Marine Pollution Bulletin, doi: 0.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.10.017

Randall CJ, Jordán-Garza AG, Muller EM, van Woesik R (2016) Does dark-spot syndrome experimentally transmit among Caribbean corals? PLoS ONE 11(1): e0147493. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147493

Cacciapaglia C and van Woesik R (2016) Climate-change refugia: shading reef corals by turbidity. Global Change Biology 22(3): 1145-1154

van Woesik R, Cacciapaglia C, Randall C (2016) ­Thermal-stress response of coral communities to climate change. Eds (R. Gorredo and Z. Dubinsky), In: The Cnidaria, past, present and future. The world of Medusa and her sister. Springer, pp 545-552, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-31305-4_33



van Woesik R, Golbuu Y, Roff G (2015) Keep up or drown: adjustment of Pacific coral reefs to contemporary sea-level rise. Royal Society Open Science, DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150181

Gouezo M, Golbuu Y, van Woesik R, Rehm L, Koshiba S,  Doropoulos C (2015) The impacts of two sequential super typhoons on coral-reef communities in Palau. Marine Ecology Progress Series 540: 73-85

Aronson RB, Smith KE, Vos SC, McClintock JB, Amsler MO, Moksnes P-O, Ellis DS, Kaeli JW, Singh H, Bailey JW, Schifer JCl, van Woesik R, Martin MA, Steffel BV, Deal ME, Lazarus SM, Havenhand JN, Swalethorp R, Kjellerup S, Thatje S (2015) No barrier to emergence of bathyal King Crabs on the Antarctic Shelf. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences doi: 10.1073/pnas.1513962112

Houk P, Camacho R, Johnson S, McLean M, Maxon S, Anson J, Joseph E, Nedlic O, Luckymis M, Adams K, Hess D, Kabua E, Buthung E, Yalon A, Graham C, Leberer T, Taylor B, van Woesik R (2015). The Micronesia Challenge: Assessing the relative contribution of stressors on coral reefs to facilitate science-to-management feedback. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0130823. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130823

Zavala-Garay J, Theiss J, Moulton M, Walsh C, van Woesik R, Mayorga-Adame CG, Garc´ıa-Reyes M, Mukaka DS, Whilden K,Shagude Y (2015). The dynamics of the Zanzibar channel. J Geophysical Research 120: 6091-6113

van Woesik R and Cacciapaglia C (2015) Refining reef-coral refugia. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12946

Randall CJ and van Woesik R (2015) Contemporary white-band disease in the Caribbean has been driven by climate change. Nature Climate Change 5: 375-379

Cacciapaglia C and van Woesik R (2015) Reef-coral refugia in a rapidly changing ocean. Global Change Biology 21: 2272-2282

Roff G, Chollett I, Doropoulos C, Golbuu Y, Steneck RS, Isechal L, van Woesik R, Mumby PJ (2015) Exposure-driven algal phase shift following a typhoon on a coral reef in Palau. Coral Reefs 34: 715-725, DOI 10.1007/s00338-015-1305-z



van Woesik R, Scott IV WJ, Aronson RB (2014) Lost opportunities? Coral recruitment does not translate to reef recovery in the Florida Keys. Marine Pollution Bulletin 88: 110-117

Edmunds PJ., Adjeroud M, Baskett M, Baums IB, Budd A, Carpenter RC, Fabina N, Fan T-Y, Franklin EC, Gross K, Han X, Jacobson L, Klaus, J, McClanahan T, O’Leary JK, van Oppen M, Pochon X, Putnam H, Smith T, Stat M, Sweatman H, van Woesik R, Gates RD (2014) Persistence and change in community composition of reef corals through past, present, and future climates.  PLoS One 9(10): e107525

EM Muller and R van Woesik (2014) Genetic susceptibility, colony size, and water temperature drive white-pox disease on the coral Acropora palmata. PLoS One 9(11): e110759

Randall CJ, Jordan-Garza AG, van Woesik R (2014) Ciliates associated with signs of disease on two Caribbean corals. Coral Reefs 34: 243–247

Mumby PJ and van Woesik R (2014) Consequences of ecological, evolutionary and biogeochemical uncertainty for coral reef responses to climatic stress. Current Biology 24(10): 413-423

Randall, CJ, Jordan-Garza A, Muller E, van Woesik R (2014) Relationships between the history of thermal stress and the relative risk of Caribbean coral diseases. Ecology 95(7): 1981-1994

Toth LT, van Woesik R,. Smith SR, Murdoch TJT, Ogden JC, Precht WF, Aronson RB (2014). Do no-take reserves benefit Florida’s corals? 14 years of change and stasis in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Coral Reefs 33: 565-577

Muller EM, Rogers C, van Woesik R (2014) Early signs of recovery of Acropora palmata in St. John, US Virgin Islands. Marine Biology 161: 359-365


van Woesik R (2013) Quantifying uncertainty and resilience on coral reefs using a Bayesian approach. Environmental Research Letters 8 (4): doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044051

van Woesik R, van Woesik K, van Woesik L, van Woesik S (2013) Effects of ocean acidification on the dissolution rates of reef-coral skeletons. PeerJ

Roth L, Muller EM, van Woesik R (2013) Tracking Acropora fragmentation and population structure through thermal-stress events. Ecological Modelling 263: 223-232

Graham J and van Woesik R (2013) The effects of partial mortality on the fecundity of three common Caribbean corals. Marine Biology 160(10): 2561-2565

Ohki S, Irie T, Inoue M, Shinmen K, Kawahata H, Nakamura T, Kato A, Nojiri Y, Iguchi A, Suzuki A, Sakai K, van Woesik R (2013) Symbiosis increases coral tolerance to ocean acidification. Biogeosciences Discussion, 10: 7013–7030

Houk P and van Woesik R (2013) Progress and perspectives on question-driven coral-reef monitoring. BioScience 63(4): 297-303

Mumby PJ, Bejarano S, Golbuu Y, Steneck RS, Arnold SN, van Woesik R,  Friedlander A (2012) The anatomy and suspected drivers of resilience on Micronesian coral reefs. Coral Reefs, 32: 213–226

Rongo T and van Woesik R (2013) The effects of natural disturbances, reef state, and herbivorous fish densities on ciguatera poisoning in Rarotonga, southern Cook Islands. Toxicon 64: 87-95



Golbuu Y, Wolanski E, Idechong JW, Victor S, Isechal AL, Oldiais NW, Idip D, Richmond R, van Woesik R (2012) High reef density increases coral recruitment in Palau. PLoS One 7(11): e50998

Burman S, Aronson R, van Woesik R (2012) Biotic homogenization of coral assemblages along the Florida reef tract. Marine Ecology Progress Series 467: 89-96

Muller E and van Woesik R (2012) Caribbean coral diseases: primary transmission or secondary infection? Global Change Biology 18: 3529-3535

Mosblech NA, Bush MB, Gosling WD, Thomas L, van Calsteren P,  Correa-Metrio A, Valencia BG, Curtis J,  van Woesik R (2012) North Atlantic forcing of Amazonian precipitation through the last ice age. Nature Geosciences 5: 817-820

Rongo T and van Woesik R (2012) Socio-economic impacts of ciguatera in Rarotonga, southern Cook Islands. Harmful Algae 10(4): 345-365

van Woesik R,  Houk P,  Isechal AL,  Idechong JW, Victor S,  Golbuu Y (2012) Climate-change microrefugia: nearshore reefs bleach less than outer reefs during a 2010 regional thermal stress event in Palau. Ecology and Evolution 2(10): 2474-2484

McClanahan TR,  Donner SD,  Maynard JE,  MacNeil MA,  Maina JM,  Baker AC, Alemu JB,  Beger M,  Campbell SJ,  Darling ES,  Eakin CM,  Graham NAJ,  Heron SF,  Jupiter SD,  Lundquist C,  McLeod E,  Mumby P,  Paddack MJ,  Selig ER,  van Woesik R (2012) Using evidence-based resilience assessments to support coral reef management in a changing climate. PLoS One 7(8): e42889

van Woesik R, Irikawa A, Anzai R, Nakamura T (2012) Effects of coral-colony morphologies on mass transfer and susceptibility to thermal stress. Coral Reefs 31: 633-639

Toth LT, Aronson RB, Vollmer SV, Hobbs JW, Urrego DH, Cheng H, Enochs IC, Combosch DJ, van Woesik R, Macintyre IG (2012) ENSO-drove 2,500-year collapse of eastern Pacific coral reefs. Science 337: 81-84

van Woesik R, Franklin EC, O’Leary J, McClanahan TR, Klaus J, Budd AF (2012) Hosts of the Plio-Pleistocene past reflect modern-day coral vulnerability. Proc Royal Society B. 279: 2448-2456



van Woesik R and Jordan-Garza AG (2011) Coral populations in a rapidly changing environment. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 408: 11-20

van Woesik R, Sakai K, Ganase A, Loya Y (2011) Revisiting the winners and the losers a decade after coral bleaching. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 434: 67-76

Rongo T, and van Woesik R (2011) Ciguatera fish poisoning in Rarotonga, southern Cook Islands. Harmful Algae 10: 345-355

Irikawa A, Casareto BE, Suzuki Y, Aagostini S, Hidaka M, van Woesik R (2011) Growth anomalies on Acropora cytherea corals. Marine Poll Bull 62(8): 455-460

Jordan-Garza AG, Muller EM, Burma SG, van Woesik R (2011) Susceptibility of coral-disease models. Proc National Academy of Sciences 108(20): E110-111

Wild C, Ateweberhan M, Fitt WK, Colombo F, Palmer C, Bythell JC, Naumann M, Iglesias-Prieto R, Ortiz JC, Loya Y, Hoegh-Guldberg O, van Woesik R (2011) Climate change interferes with the role reef-building corals play as ecosystem engineers. Mar Fresh Res 62: 205-215

Golbuu Y, van Woesik R, Richmond RH, Harrison P, Fabricius KE (2011) River discharge reduces coral diversity in Palau. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62: 824-831

Mosblech NA, Bush MB, van Woesik R (2011) On Metapopulations and Microrefugia: paleoecological insights. J Biogeography 38(3): 419-429

Green R, McArdle B, van Woesik R (2011) Sampling state and process variables on coral reefs.  Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 178: 455-460

Edwards HJ, Elliott IA, Eakin CM, Irikawa A, Madin JS, McField M,  Morgan JA, van Woesik R, Mumby PJ (2011) How much time can herbivore protection buy for coral reefs under realistic regimes of hurricanes and coral bleaching? Global Change Biology 17: 2033-2048

Muller EM and van Woesik R (2011) Black-band disease dynamics: prevalence, incidence, and acclimization to light. Shading increases black-band disease progression on Diploria strigosa. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 397: 52-57



Roth L, Koksal S, van Woesik R (2010) Effects of thermal stress on key processes driving coral population dynamics. Marine Ecology Progress Series 411: 73-87

Done T, DeVantier LM, Turak E, Fisk DA, Wakeford M, van Woesik R (2010) Coral growth on three reefs: development of recovery benchmarks using a space for time approach. Coral Reefs 29: 815-833

Wagner DE, Kramer P, van Woesik R (2010) Species composition, habitat, and water quality influence coral bleaching in south-eastern Florida. Marine Ecology Progress Series 408: 65-78 

Reed KC, Muller E, van Woesik R (2010) Coral immunology and resistance to disease. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 90(2): 85-92

van Woesik R, Shiroma K, Koksal S (2010) Phenotypic variance predicts symbiont population densities in corals; a modeling approach. PLoS One 5(2): e9185. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009185

van Woesik R (2010) Calm before the spawn: global coral-spawning synchronization is explained by regional wind fields. Proc Royal Society B, 277: 715-722

Zvuloni A, van Woesik R, Loya Y (2010) Diversity partitioning of stony corals across multiple spatial scales around Zanzibar Island, Tanzania. PLoS One 5(3) e9941. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009941



van Woesik R (2009) Corals' prolonged struggle against unfavorable conditions. Galaxea 11: 53-58

Victor S, Golbuu Y, Yukihira H, van Woesik R (2009) Acropora size-frequency distributions reflect spatially variable conditions on coral reefs of Palau. Bull Mar Sci 85(2): 149-157

Houk P and van Woesik R (2009) Coral assemblages and reef growth in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Western Pacific Ocean). Marine Ecology 31(2): 318-329

Thompson D and van Woesik R (2009) Corals escape bleaching in regions that recently and historically experienced frequent thermal stress. Proc Royal Society B: 276(1669): 2893-2901

Figueiredo J, van Woesik R, Lin J, Narciso L (2009) Artemia franciscana enrichment model - How to keep them small, rich and alive? Aquaculture 294: 212-220

Muller E and van Woesik R (2009) Shading reduces coral-disease progression. Coral Reefs 28: 757-760

Rongo T, Bush M, van Woesik R (2009) Did Ciguatera prompt the late Holocene Polynesian voyages of Discovery? J Biogeography 36(8): 1423-1432

Fitt WK, Gates R, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Bythell J, Jakar A, Grottoli AG, Gomez M, Fisher P, Franklin D, Lajeunesse T, Pantos O, Igelsias-Prieto R, Rodrigues LJ, Torregiani JM, van Woesik R, Lesser MP (2009) Response of two species of Indo-Pacific corals, Porites cylindrica and Stylophora pistillata, to short-term thermal stress: the host does matter in determining the tolerance of corals to bleaching. J Exp Mar Biol Ecology 373: 102-110



Wagner D, Mielbrecht E, van Woesik R (2008) Application of landscape ecology to spatio-temporal variance of water-quality parameters along the Florida Keys reef tract.  Bull Marine Science 83(3): 553-569

Dodge RE, Birkeland C, Hatziolos M, Kleypas J, Palumbi SR, Hoegh-Guldberg O, van Woesik R, Ogden JC, Aronson RB, Causey BD, Staub F (2008) A Call to Action for Coral Reefs. Science 322: 189-190

Iwase A, Sakai K, Suzuki A, van Woesik R (2008) Phototrophic adjustment of the foliaceous coral Echinopora lamellosa in Palau. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 77: 672-678

Zvuloni A, Artzy-Randrup Y, Stone L, van Woesik R, Loya Y (2008) Ecological size-frequency distributions: how to prevent and correct biases in spatial sampling. Limnol & Oceanog 6: 144-153

Houk P and van Woesik R (2008) Dynamics of shallow-water assemblages in the Saipan Lagoon. Marine Ecology Progress Series 356: 39-50

Muller EM, Rogers CS, Spitzack AS, van Woesik R (2008) Bleaching increases likelihood of disease on Acropora palmata (Lamarck) at Hawksnest Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Coral Reefs: 27: 191-195



Papina M, Meziane T, van Woesik R (2007) Acclimation effect on fatty acids of the coral Montipora digitata and its symbiotic algae. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B: 147: 583-589

Golbuu Y, Victor S, Penland L, Idip D, Emaurois C, Okaji K, Yukihira H, Iwase A, van Woesik R (2007) Palau’s coral reefs show differential habitat recovery following the 1998-bleaching event. Coral Reefs 26: 319-332

Houk P, Bograd S, van Woesik R (2007). The Transition Zone Chlorophyll Front acts as a trigger for Acanthaster planci outbreaks in the Pacific Ocean: a historical confirmation. Journal of Oceanography 63: 149-154



van Woesik R, Lacharmoise F, Koksal S (2006) Annual cycles of solar insolation predict spawning times of Caribbean corals. Ecology Letters 9: 390-398

van Woesik R and Koksal S (2006) A coral population response (CPR) model for thermal stress. In: J. T. Phinney, O. Hoegh‐Guldberg, J. Kleypas, W. Skirving, and A. Strong, Coastal and Estuarine Studies 61: Coral reefs and climate change: science and management. Published by American Geophysical Union, Washington DC, pp. 129-144

Dikou A and van Woesik R (2006) Survival under chronic stress from sediment load: spatial pattern of hard coral communities, southern islands, Singapore. Marine Pollution Bulletin 52: 7-21

Houk P and van Woesik R (2006) Coral reef benthic video surveys facilitate long term monitoring in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: toward an optimal sampling strategy. Pacific Science 60(2): 175-187

Dikou A and van Woesik R (2006) Partial colony mortality reflects coral community dynamics: A fringing reef study near a small river in Okinawa, Japan. Marine Pollution Bulletin 52: 269-280



van Woesik R, Nakamura T, Yamasaki H, Sheppard C (2005) Comment on ‘ Effects of geography, taxa, water flow, and temperature variation on coral bleaching intensity in Mauritius’ by McClanahan et (2005). Marine Ecology Progress Series 305: 297-299

Nakamura T, van Woesik R, Yamasaki H (2005) Photoinhibition of photosynthesis is reduced by water flow in the reef-building coral Acropora digitifera. Marine Ecology Progress Series 301: 109-118

Houk P, Didonato G, Iguel J, van Woesik R (2005) Assessing the effects of non-point source pollution on American Samoa’s coral reef communities. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 107: 11-27



van Woesik R (2004) Comment on coral reef death during the 1997 Indian Ocean dipole linked to Indonesian wildfires. Science 303: 1297

Bena C and van Woesik R (2004). The impact of two bleaching events on the survival of small-coral colonies. Bulletin of Marine Science 75(1): 115-125

Nakamura S, Misumi O, Aoyama H, van Woesik R, Kuroiwa T (2004) Monokaryotic chloroplast (moc) mutation has no effect on non-Mendelian transmission of chloroplast and mitochondrial DNA in Chlamydomonas. Protoplasma 224: 107-112

Penland L, Kloulechad J, Idip D, van Woesik R (2004) Coral spawning in the western Pacific Ocean is related to solar radiation: evidence of multiple spawning events in Palau. Coral Reefs 23: 133-140

van Woesik R, Irikawa A, Loya Y (2004) Coral bleaching: signs of change in southern Japan. In, Coral Health and Disease (eds. Eugene Rosenberg & Yossi Loya), Springer, 119-141

Takahashi S, Nakamura T, Sakamizu M, van Woesik R, Yamasaki H (2004) Repair machinery of symbiotic photosynthesis as the primary target of heat stress for reef-building corals. Plant & Cell Physiology 45(2): 251-255



Nakamura T, Yamasaki H, van Woesik R (2003) Water-flow treatment facilitates recovery from bleaching in the coral Stylophora pistillata. Marine Ecology Progress Series 256: 287-291

Gilmore AM, Larkum AWD, Salih A, Itoh S, Shibata Y, Bena C, Yamasaki H, Papina M, van Woesik R (2003) Simultaneous time-resolution of the emission spectra of fluorescent proteins and zooxanthellar chlorophyll in reef building corals. Photochemistry and Photobiology 77: 515- 523

Papina M, Meziane T, van Woesik R (2003) Symbiotic zooxanthellae provide the host coral Montipora digitata with polyunsaturated fatty acids. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 135(3): 533-537

Nakamura S, Aoyama H, van Woesik R (2003) Strict paternal transmission of Chlamydomonas algae mitochondria DNA is explained by active degradation of maternal mitochondrial nucleoids. Protoplasma 221: 205-210

LaJeunesse TC, Loh WKW, van Woesik R, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Schmidt GW, Fitt WK (2003) Low symbiont diversity in southern Great Barrier Reef corals relative to those of the Caribbean. Limnology and Oceanography 48(5): 2046-2054



van Woesik R (2002) Processes regulating coral communities. Comments on Theoretical Biology 7: 201-214

Papina M,  Sakihama Y, Bena C, van Woesik R, Yamasaki H (2002) Separation of highly fluorescent proteins by SDS-PAGE in Acroporidae corals. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 131: 767-774

Ohde S, Greaves M, Masuzama T, Buckley HA, van Woesik R, Wilson PA, Pirazzoli PA, Elderfield H (2002) The chronology of Funafuti Atoll: revisiting an old friend. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: 458:1-18

Titlyanov EA, Titlyanova TV, van Woesik R, Yamazato K (2002) Acclimation of the hermatypic coral Stylophora pistillata to bright light. Russian Journal of Marine Biology 28: S41-S47



van Woesik R (2001) Coral bleaching: transcending spatial and temporal scales. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16(3): 120-122

Nakamura T and van Woesik R (2001) Differential survival of corals during the 1998-bleaching event is partially explained by water-flow rates and passive diffusion.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 212: 301-304

Titlyanov EA, Titlyanova TV, Yamazato K, van Woesik R (2001) Photoacclimation of the hermatypic coral Stylophora pistillata while subjected to either starvation or food provisioning. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 257: 163-181

Loya Y, Sakai K, Yamazato K, Nakano Y, Sambali H, van Woesik R (2001) Coral bleaching: the winners and the losers. Ecology Letters 4: 122-131

West K and van Woesik R (2001) Spatial and temporal variance of river discharge on Okinawa (Japan): inferring the temporal impact on adjacent coral reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin 42(10): 864-872

Titlyanov EA, Titlyanova TV, van Woesik R, Yamazato K (2001) Photo-acclimation dynamics of the coral Stylophora pistillata to low and extremely low light. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 263: 211-225

Suefuji M and van Woesik R (2001) Coral recovery from the 1998-bleaching event is facilitated in Stegastes (Pisces: Pomacentridae) territories, Okinawa, Japan. Coral Reefs 20: 385-386



Titlyanov EA, Titlyanova TV, Letetkin VA, Tsukahara J, van Woesik R, Yamazato K (2000) Zooxanthellae population density and physiological state of the coral Stylophora pistillata during starvation, osmotic shock. Symbiosis 28: 303-322

van Woesik, R (2000) A metacommunity model predicts coral diversity regulated by post‑settlement mortality. Biodiversity and Conservation 9(9): 1219-1233

Yamashiro H, Yamamoto M, van Woesik R (2000) Tumor formation on the coral Montipora informis. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 41: 211-217

Hibino K and van Woesik R (2000) Spatial differences and seasonal changes of net carbonate accumulation on some corals reefs of the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 252(1): 1-14



van Woesik R, Tomascik T, Blake S (1999) Coral assemblages and physico-chemical characteristics of the Whitsunday Islands: Evidence of recent community changes. Marine and Freshwater Research 50: 427-440

Titlyanov EA, Titlyanova TV, Tsukahara J, van Woesik R, Yamazato K (1999) Experimental increases of zooxanthellae density in the coral Stylophora pistillata elucidate adaptive mechanisms for zooxanthellae regulation. Symbiosis 26: 347-362

Ohde S and van Woesik R (1999) Carbon Dioxide flux and metabolic processes of a coral reef (Okinawa, Japan). Bulletin of Marine Science 65(2): 559-576

Fallon S J, McCulloch M T, van Woesik R., Sinclair D J (1999) Corals at their latitudinal limits: Laser ablation trace element systematics in Porites from Shirigai Bay, Japan. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 172: 221-238



van Woesik R (1998) Lesion healing on massive Porites corals. Marine Ecology Progress Series 164: 213-220



van Woesik R and Done TJ (1997) Coral communities and reef growth in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 16: 103-115



Tomascik T, van Woesik R, Mah AJ (1996) Rapid colonization of a recent lava flow following a volcanic eruption, Banda Islands, Indonesia. Coral Reefs 15: 169-175

Titlyanov EA, Titlyanova TV, Letetkin VA, Tsukahara J, van Woesik R, Yamazato K (1996) Degradation of zooxanthellae and regulation of their density in hermatypic corals. Marine Ecology Progress Series 139: 167-178

van Woesik R (1996) An earthquake effect on a coral reef, Japan. Coral Reefs 15(4): 224



van Woesik R (1995) Coral communities at high latitude are not pseudopopulations: evidence of spawning at 32oN, Japan. Coral Reefs 14: 119-120

van Woesik R, De Vantier LM,  Glazebrook JS (1995) Effects of cyclone `Joy' on nearshore coral communities of the Great Barrier Reef. Marine Ecology Progress Series 128: 261-270



van Woesik R (1994) Contemporary disturbances to coral communities of the Great Barrier Reef. Journal of Coastal Research 12: 233-252

van Woesik R, Ayling AM, Mapstone B (1991) Impact of Tropical Cyclone `Ivor' on the Great Barrier Reef. Journal of Coastal Research 7 (2): 551-558


International Proceedings

Ribeiro AME, Gilner J, van Woesik R (2007) Coral Reef Texture Classification Using Support Vector Machines.  International Conference of Computer Vision Theory and Applications - VISAPP, Barcelona, Spain pp. 302-310

Flot JF, Ozouf-Costaz C, Tsuchiya M, van Woesik R (2006) Comparative coral cytogenetics. Proc 10th Int Coral Reef Sym, Japan, pp. 4-7

Strong AE, Liu G, Kimura T, Yamano H, Tsuchiya M, Kakuma S, van Woesik R (2002) Detecting and monitoring 2001 coral reef bleaching events in Ryukyu Islands, Japan using satellite bleaching HotSpot remote sensing technique. Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, 2002. IGARSS '02. 2002 IEEE International ,Volume: 1 , 24-28 June 2002, pp. 237-239

van Woesik R (2000) Processes regulating coral community diversity: towards bridging the empirical-theoretical gap. Proceedings of JAMSTEC (Japan Marine Science and Technology Center) International Coral Reef Symposium: Coral Reef Biodiversity and Health as Indicators of Environmental Change. Tokyo, Japan. Published by Japan Marine Science and Technology Center, Science and Technology Agency, pp. 125-137 

van Woesik R (1994) Geographic location influences coral composition: A comparison between Bali and Sulawesi, Indonesia. Third International Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Symposium, Bali, Indonesia, pp. 280-290

van Woesik R, De Vantier LM, Steven ADL (1991) Discharge from tourist resorts in Queensland, Australia: Coral community response. In Proceedings on Congress on Coastal and Marine Tourism, University of Hawaii, Hawaii, pp. 323-327

Steven ADL, van Woesik R, Brodie J (1991) Water quality monitoring studies within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: Case Studies. In Proceedings on Congress on Coastal and Marine Tourism, University of Hawaii, Hawaii, pp. 335-341

Hopley D, van Woesik R, Hoyal DCJP, Steven ADL (1991) The effect of disturbing tropical rainforest catchments adjacent to fringing coral reefs through the development of a road, Great Barrier Reef. In Proceedings on Congress on Coastal and Marine Tourism, University of Hawaii, Hawaii, pp. 328-334

Miscellaneous publications

van Woesik R, Gilner J, Hooten A (2009) Standard Operating procedures for repeated measures of process and state variables of coral reef environments. University of Queensland publication, pp. 35

van Woesik R, Penland L, Idip D, Victor S (2007) Coral spawning in Palau. In Kayanne et al eds, Coral Reefs of Palau. Monograph published by Palau International Coral Reef Center, pp. 73-78 

Takamori S and van Woesik R (2000) The recovery process of broken Acropora branches at Mizugama, Okinawa Island, Japan. Natural Environmental Science Research 13: 45-50

Kuroki T and van Woesik R (1999) Changes in zooxanthellae characteristics in the hermatypic coral Stylophora pistillata during a ‘bleaching event’. Galaxea 1: 97-101

van Woesik R (1998) The nearshore reefs of Brunei Darussalam: A reef coral survey,1997. In Resources and conservation of coral reefs in Brunei Darussalam. Marine Parks Centre of Japan publication, pp. 3-31

van Woesik R (1997) Coral assemblages of Tongatapu, Kingdom of Tonga. In The report of the project for resources survey and conservation of Tongan Marine Reserves. Marine Parks Center of Japan publication, pp. 3-42

van Woesik R (1996) Coral survey of the Tubbataha Reefs, Philippines. In The report of the project for resources survey and conservation of Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park. Marine Parks Centre of Japan publication pp. 1-45

van Woesik R (1996) Towards a standardised monitoring program for data collection on coral communities: examples from the Great Barrier Reef. In JR Clark, University of Miami. Coastal Zone Management Handbook, CRC Press, pp. 482 – 487

van Woesik R (1995) Scleractinian taxonomy. Japan International Cooperation Agency Textbook for special training course of conservation and sustainable management of coral reefs. No. 12: 1-10

Done TJ, Ayling AM, van Woesik R (1991) Broadscale survey of impacts of Cyclone ‘Ivor’ on Coral Reefs. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Research Publication no. 24, pp. 40

van Woesik R (1991) Immediate impact of the January 1991 floods on the coral assemblages of the Keppel Islands. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Research Publication no. 23, pp. 30

Hopley D, van Woesik R, Hoyal DCJP, Rasmussen CE, Steven AL (1990) Sedimentation resulting from road development, Cape Tribulation Area. Great Reef Marine Park Authority Technical Memorandum, pp. 70

Steven ADL, Brodie J, van Woesik R, Hopley D (1990) A pilot study of Baseline levels of water quality around Green Island. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Research  Publication no. 14, pp. 61

van Woesik R and Steven A (1987) Towards a spatio-temporal Atlas of fringing reefs in the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Proceedings of the Fringing Reef Workshop, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 53-73


Grey Literature

Warner ME, Barshis DJ, Davies SW, Grottoli AG, LaJeunesse TC, van Woesik R (2017) Investigating coral bleaching in a changing climate: Our state of understanding and opportunities to push the field forward. Report of the NSF U.S. Investigator Workshop on Coral Bleaching, June 17–18, 2016. Hawaii Prince Hotel, Honolulu, HI, pp. 26

Lesser MP and van Woesik R (2015) Modeling climate-change effects on coral disease. Reef Encounter. Vol 30 (2): 31-35

Voegtle H, Houk P, van Woesik R (2004) Assessment of Heron Island coral community data collected in March 2002: A pilot study. Report to WorldFish, pp. 18

van Woesik R, Voegtle H, Houk P, Obura D (2004) Assessment of Puerto Morelos coral community data collected in September 2002: A pilot study, Report to WorldFish, pp. 25

van Woesik R (2002) Coral Bleaching. Florida Institute of Technology Research News Report.

van Woesik R (2000) Helen Reef corals. Report to the Government of Palau, pp. 16

van Woesik R and Tomascik T (1998) Contemporary influences on, and recent changes to, coral communities of the Whitsunday Islands. Report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 45

van Woesik R (1997) A comparative survey of coral reefs in south-eastern Bali, Indonesia, 1992 and 1997. A report to Nippon Koei, pp. 44

van Woesik R (1993) Does turbidity affect corals? Reef Research 3(3): 22-24

van Woesik R (1993) Coral assemblages on continental islands in the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 36

van Woesik R (1992) Ecology of coral assemblages on continental islands in the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. PhD thesis, Department of Marine Biology/Sir George Fisher Centre, James Cook University of North Queensland, Australia, pp. 227

De Vantier LM, van Woesik R, Steven ADL (1992) Monitoring study of coral communities of Middle Reef, Townsville. A report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 59

van Woesik R and De Vantier LM (1992) Resource assessment of nearshore coral communities in the Whitsunday region. Report to the Department of Environment and Heritage, pp. 106

van Woesik R (1992) Direct and indirect effects of tropical cyclones. Reef Research 2(2): 8-9

Done TJ, Ayling AM, van Woesik R (1991) Broad-scale survey of impacts of cyclone 'Ivor' on coral reefs. A report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 39

Done TJ, De Vantier LM, Fisk DA, van Woesik R (1991) Analysis of coral colonies, populations and communities: Interpretation of outbreak history and projection of recovery. A report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 22

van Woesik R (1991) A preliminary investigation of One Tree Lagoon: A supporting document for the ENCORE (Elevated nutrients on coral reefs) proposed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. A report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 19

van Woesik R, De Vantier LM, Steven ADL (1989) Surveys of the distribution, abundance and impact of the Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) on fringing and adjacent midshelf reefs of the Whitsunday region. Report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 67

van Woesik R, Hopley D, Parnell K (1989) An assessment of the fate of discharge brine from the John Brewer Reef floating hotel, Great Barrier Reef. A report to Barrier Reef Holdings, pp. 32

van Woesik R (1989) An assessment of the coral reef communities on the Keppel Isles. A report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 30

Steven ADL and van Woesik R (1989) A multi-disciplinary examination of Hayman Island fringing reef: influence of a secondary sewage discharge. A report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 87

Parnell K and van Woesik R (1988) The hydrodynamics of Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island, North Queensland, with reference to the Magnetic Island Quays proposal. Report to MacIntyre and associates, pp. 37

van Woesik R and Hopley D (1988) Turbidity levels in Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island, North Queensland, with reference to the Magnetic Islands Quay proposal. Report to MacIntyre and associates, pp. 25

van Woesik R and Steven ADL (1987) A 1987 survey of high island fringing reefs in the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 152

van Woesik R and Steven ADL (1987) A preliminary report on the benthic and fish assemblages of Hamilton Island: a prerequisite for monitoring. A report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, pp. 24

Recognition & Awards

The Charles E. Helmstetter Award for Excellence in Research, 2020-2021

The Charles E. Helmstetter Award for Excellence in Research, 2017-2018

Fellow of the International Society for Reef Studies, since 2015


Rob van Woesik's primary scientific goal is to assess the dynamics of coral populations and identify key processes that regulate those dynamics. He is particularly interested in climate change, thermal stress, adaptation, reef recovery, and refugia from climate change.  Understanding reef systems and key processes on coral reefs will lead to predictive and accurate models of changes in coral-reef communities.

Research & Project Interests

van Woesik's research interests are population and community ecology of scleractinian corals, including the spatial and temporal assessment of coral communities and the application of this ecology to the management of coral reefs through climate change. His approach uses a combination of empirical and statistical techniques to examine processes underlying coral community structure and diversity at multiple spatial and temporal scales.