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Person details


Current activities

Principal Research Scientist in Sustainable Use of NW Marine Ecosystems Program based in Western Australia

Current research using towed video in combination with multi-beam acoustic mapping provided by collaborators, has produced new insights into the near-shore environments of the northwest, especially the rich sponge gardens in the Ningaloo Marine Park and the highly diverse and complex fringing coral reefs of the Kimberley coast. This research is in its discovery phase and is bring recognition to the globally significant diversity of benthic marine habitats in the northwest and Timor Sea.


My initial research into the population dynamics of Australian reef-building corals, commenced in the early 1980s on the Great Barrier Reef and extended quickly to Japan, Micronesia and Hawaii. The focus on reproduction lead to a four year period studying advanced reproductive technologies as a QEII Fellow at Adelaide University's School of Medicine and SA Fisheries, prior to joining the AIMS in late 1994. As the Officer-in-Charge and senior scientist responsible for establishing AIMS' new laboratory in NW Australia, I facilitated or directly participated in very significant levels of multi-disciplinary marine research conducted by the Institute in all areas of tropical Western Australia. Recent research has extended the use of towed video, observation class ROV, AUV and high resolution still cameras to areas of North West Australia that are not routinely surveyed by scientific divers.

Academic qualifications

1987: PhD in Marine Biology, James Cook University

Expert Committees and Boards

  • Working Group Member, World Bank Global Environment Fund, Reef Restoration.
  • Ministerial Appointee, WA Marine Parks and Reserves Scientific Advisory Committee.

Over 75 science and technical papers in refereed journals. The following are a selection of recent publications:

  1. Heyward AJ, Negri AP (2012) Turbulence, cleavage and the naked embryo: a case for coral clones. Science 335 (6072): 1064.
  2. Heyward AJ, Negri AP (2010) Plasticity of larval pre-competency in response to temperature: observations on multiple broadcast spawning coral species. Coral Reefs 29: 631-636
  3. Cooper TF, Ulstrup KE, Dandan SS, Heyward AJ, Kuhl M, Muirhead AN, Ziersen B, van Oppen MJH (Online First) Niche specialization of reef-building corals in the mesophotic zone: metabolic trade-offs between divergent Symbiodinium types. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B Biological Sciences.
  4. Baria MV, Guest JR, Edwards AJ, Alino P, Heyward AJ, Gomez E (2010) Caging enhances post-settlement survival of juveniles of the scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 394: 149-153.
  5. Brooke B, Nichol S, Hughes M, McArthur M, Anderson TJ, Przeslawski R, Siwabessy J, Heyward AJ, Battershill CN, Colquhoun J, Doherty PJ (2009) Carnarvon Shelf Survey Post-Survey Report. 12 August - 15 September 2008. Geoscience Australia Record 2009/02. Geoscience Australia. 101 p.
  6. Loya Y, Sakai K, Heyward AJ (2009) Reproductive patterns of fungiid corals in Okinawa, Japan. Galaxea 11: 1-11.
  7. Fry G, Heyward AJ, Wassenberg T, Ellis N, Taranto T, Keesing JK, Irvine T, Stieglitz TC, Colquhoun J (2008) Benthic habitat surveys of potential LNG hub locations in the Kimberley region. A study commissioned by the Western Australian Marine Science Institution on behalf of the Northern Development Taskforce. Final Report. CSIRO National Research Flagships - Wealth from Oceans and Australian Institute of Marine Science. 131 p.
  8. Guest JR, Baird AH, Clifton KE, Heyward AJ (2008) From molecules to moonbeams: Spawning synchrony in coral reef organisms. Invertebrate Reproduction and Development 51(3): 145-149.
  9. Smith LD, Gilmour JP, Heyward AJ (2008) Resilience of coral communities on an isolated system of reefs following catastrophic mass-bleaching. Coral Reefs 27: 197-205.