Associate Professor Chris Roelfsema

Principal Research Fellow

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science
c.roelfsema@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 56977

Overview

Research interest: Monitoring ecosystem health of coral reefs and seagrass habitats, integrating field and remote sensing image datasets, calibrating and validating of remotely sensed imagery in coastal environments, and the developing cost-effective benthic habitat mapping approaches. He has developed unique field methods for the calibration and validation of high/low spatial resolution, multi-/hyper-spectral airborne and satellite imagery in combination with object based image analysis approaches. These methods have been adopted as standard practice in a number of resource management agencies and research institutes around the world.

Current projects: Principal investigator on three major coral reef habitat mapping projects:

1) 3D GBR Habitat Mapping Project: Developing and implementing an approach to map for the first time the geomorphic zonation, bottom type and predicted coral type habitat for every single reef over the full extent of the Great Barrier Reef, currently these maps do not exist to that level of detail funded through Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

2) Global habitat mapping project Developing and implementing the validation and global habitat mapping component of the Allen Coral Atlas which aims to create maps of all coral reefs globally and develop a monitoring system, in partnership with Paul G. Allen Vulcan Philanthropies; Planet; the Arizona State University and the National Geographic Society.

3) Heron Reef Long term monitoring of benthic composition. Since 2002, annual photoquadrate surveys are being collected at various site around Heron Island Research Station. The study was initiated to develop remote sensing mapping approaches and assess coral composition over time. Benthic and geomorphic maps, photo quadrates, spectral reflectance and field data are accessible online for Heron Reef.

Other projects: Advisor for Reef Cloud Machine learning and reporting platform by Australian Institute of Marine Science and Coordinated Global Research Assessment of Seagrass System (C-GRASS), co-working group lead best practice.

Current position: Senior Research fellow teaching remote sensing courses, co-director of the Remote Sensing Research Centre https://www.rsrc.org.au/coastal-mapping-and-monitoring.

Capacity building: teaching in under and post graduate courses; supervision of post-graduate students, national and international workshops/courses; and development of remote sensing toolkit https://www.rsrc.org.au/rstoolkit. Trainer in national and international workshops and online courses in coral reef remote sensing for Allen Coral Atlas and TNC

Citizen science: Integrated in his research and as volunteer he is a strong supporter of citizen science based projects, which he represents as a trainer, organiser and scientific advisor with www.reefcheckaustralia.org/, www.coralwatch.org, www.citizensgbr.org and http://www.unidive.org/unidive-projects/ .

Research Impacts

See Research Impact on Mapping a better future for coral reefs

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Science, The University of Queensland
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Marine Science, The University of Queensland
  • Masters of Engineering, Technical University of Delft
  • Bachelor of Science, Hogere Zeevaart School

Publications

View all Publications

Available Projects

  • General

    If you are interested in working as part of a collaborative, supportive, multi-disciplinary team that links different disciplines across academia, governments, industry and NGOs, on the topics below please contact c.roelfsema@uq.edu.au to it further.

    Collaboration/Supervision possible with: Chris Roelfsema, Mitchell Lyons, Stuart Phinn SEES RSRC UQ, Julie Vercelloni QUT, Emma Kennedy, Juan Carlos Ortiz AIMS and relevant others

    Funding

    These project do not have funding or scholarships currently, but are supported by extensive pre-existing data archives of fully corrected satellite image archives and field data sets, a collective group of researchers working on the site, and ability to be supported in scholarship and funding applications.

    Background

    Since 2002 the Remote Sensing Research Centre Team have used Heron Reef as basis to develop integrated earth observation and field data monitoring, modelling and mapping approaches. Part of that work was establishing a detailed field-based baseline of the reef, which is completed annually and has produced a 20+ year annual data set. Since 2011, the Reef Check Australia Coral Watch Field teams have joined the surveys and collected their associated data sets.

    PhD Topics

    The data sets themselves provide a wealth of information for interested students to work on, hence we aim to engage with those interested in building coral reef science and management related , knowledge, skills, network, experience and development opportunities to enhance existing, or develop new careers.

    If you are interested, please contact c.roelfsema@uq.edu.au to discuss how to develop a research project for special topic, masters or PhD research that might suit you focussing on:

    1. Ecological assessment of the benthic field data reviewing not only coral cover but also coral morphologies, or algae cover or other
    2. Developing approaches in GEE for time series analysis to link field data to image date to get high resolution thematic maps of Heron reef.
    3. Ecological assessment over time of benthic components, but also impacts, fish, inverts and general coral healthy using coral health chart, reef check data and geolocated photos
    4. Any other topic that promotes the use of the existing field data and/or high resolution image data.
    5. Or any other related topic.

    See related information in:

    Title: Benthic and coral reef community field data for Heron Reef, Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia, 2002–2018 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00871-5

    Title: Use of a semi-automated object based analysis to map benthic composition, Heron Reef, Southern Great Barrier Reef https://doi.org/10.1080/2150704X.2017.1420927

    Title: Fine-scale time series surveys reveal new insights into spatiotemporal trends in coral cover (2002–2018), of a coral reef on the Southern Great Barrier Reef https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-021-02104-y

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Roelfsema, Chris, Loder, Jennifer, Hay, Kyra, Kleine, Diana, Grol, Monique and Kovacs, Eva (2019). Building an understanding of Moreton Bay Mraine Park's reefs through citizen science. Moreton Bay Quandamooka and catchment: past, present and future. (pp. 459-474) edited by Ian R. Tibbetts, Peter C. Rothlisberg, David T. Neil, Tamara A. Homburg, David T. Brewer and Angela H. Arthington. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Moreton Bay Foundation.

  • Loder, Jennifer, Roelfsema, Chris, Kilpatrick, Carley and Martin, Victoria (2019). How does citizen science contribute to sustaining Moreton Bay? A discussion of approaches and applications. Moreton Bay Quandamooka and catchment: past, present and future. (pp. 447-458) edited by Ian R. Tibbetts, Peter C. Rothlisberg, David T. Neil, Tamara A. Homburg, David T. Brewer and Angela H. Arthington. Brisbane, QLD Australia: Moreton Bay Foundation.

  • Lyons, Mitch, Phinn, Stuart and Roelfsema, Chris (2019). Moreton Bay and catchment urban expansion and vegetation change. Moreton Bay Quandamooka and catchment: past, present and future. (pp. 181-186) edited by Ian R. Tibbetts, Peter C. Rothlisberg, David T. Neil, Tamara A. Homburg, David T. Brewer and Angela H. Arthington. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Moreton Bay Foundation.

  • Maxwell, Paul, Connolly, Rod, Roelfsema, Chris, Burfeind, Dana, Udy, James, O'Brien, Kate, Saunders, Megan, Barnes, Richard, Olds, Andrew, Hendersen, Chris and Gilby, Ben (2019). The seagrasses of Moreton Bay Quandamooka: Diversity, ecology and resilience. Moreton Bay Quandamooka and catchment: past, present and future. (pp. 279-298) edited by Ian R. Tibbetts, Peter C. Rothlisberg, David T. Neil, Tamara A. Homburg, David T. Brewer and Angela H. Arthington. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Moreton Bay Foundation.

  • Kovacs, Eva M., Tibbetts, Hannah L., Baltais, Simon, Lyons, Mitch, Loder, Jennifer and Roelfsema, Chris (2019). Wetland and benthic cover changes in Moreton Bay. Moreton Bay Quandamooka and catchment: past, present and future. (pp. 211-226) edited by Ian R. Tibbetts, Peter C. Rothlisberg, David T. Neil, Tamara A. Homburg, David T. Brewer and Angela H. Arthington. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Moreton Bay Foundation.

  • Kendrick, Gary A., Hovey, Renae K., Lyons, Mitchell, Roelfsema, Chris, Montoya, Leonardo Ruiz and Phinn, Stuart (2018). Australian seagrass seascapes: present understanding and future research directions. Seagrasses of Australia: structure, ecology and conservation. (pp. 257-286) edited by Anthony W. D. Larkum, Gary A. Kendrick and Peter J. Ralph. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-71354-0_9

  • Phinn, Stuart, Roelfsema, Chris, Kovacs, Eva, Canto, Robert, Lyons, Mitch, Saunders, Megan and Maxwell, Paul (2018). Mapping, monitoring and modelling seagrass using remote sensing techniques. Seagrasses of Australia. (pp. 445-487) Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-71354-0_15

  • Purkis, Sam and Roelfsema, Chris (2015). Remote Sensing of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation and Coral Reefs. Remote Sensing of Wetlands: Applications and Advances. (pp. 223-240) edited by Ralph W. Tiner, Megan W. Lang and Victor V. Klemas. Boca Raton, Florida, United States: CRC Press (Taylor and Francis).

  • Purkis, Sam and Roelfsema, Chris (2015). Remote sensing of submerged aquatic vegetation and coral reefs. Remote sensing of wetlands: applications and advances. (pp. 223-242) Boca Raton, FL USA: CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/b18210

  • Jupiter, Stacy, Roelfsema, Chris M. and Phinn, Stuart R. (2013). Science and management. Coral reef remote sensing: a guide for mapping, monitoring and management. (pp. 403-423) edited by James A. Goodman, Samuel J. Purkis and Stuart R. Phinn. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer - Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/978-90-481-9292-2_15

  • Roelfsema, Christiaan M. and Phinn, Stuart R. (2013). Validation. Coral Reef Remote Sensing: A Guide for Multi-level Sensing Mapping and Assessment. (pp. 375-401) edited by James A. Goodman, Samuel J. Purkis and Stuart R. Phinn. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-90-481-9292-2_14

  • Phinn, Stuart R., Hochberg. Eric M. and Roelfsema, Chris M. (2013). Visible and infrared overview. Coral reef remote sensing: a guide for mapping, monitoring and management. (pp. 3-28) edited by James A. Goodman, Samuel J. Purkis and Stuart R. Phinn. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer - Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/978-90-481-9292-2_1

  • Phinn, Stuart, Roelfsema, Chris and Stumpf, Richard P. (2010). Remote sensing: Discerning the promise from the reality. Integrating and applying science: A handbook for effective coastal ecosystem assessment. (pp. 201-222) edited by B.J. Longstaff, T.J.B. Carruthers, W.C. Dennison, T.R. Lookingbill, J.M. Hawkey,, J.E. Thomas, E.C. Wicks, and J. Woerner. Cambridge, MA, U.S.A: IAN Press.

  • Love, M., Corrin-Care, J., Ross, A., Albert, S., Tibbetts, I., Udy, J., Roelfsema, C. and Duke, N. (2007). Lessons learned, future directions and recommendations. Conserving the marine biodiversity of Marovo Lagoon: Development of environmental management initiatives that will conserve the marine biodiversity and productivity of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands. (pp. 129-141) edited by N. C. Duke, J. W. Udy, S. Albert, M. Love, A. Ross, I. R. Tibbetts, C. Roelfsema, D. T. Neil, G. Marion, J. Corrin Care, W. Carter, P. Dart and S. Hough. St Lucia, Australia: The University of Queensland.

  • Albert, S., Love, M., Udy, J., Tibbetts, I., Roelfsema, C., Neil, D., Marion, G., Hough, S., Ross, A. and Duke, N. (2007). Science addressing community concerns about the marine environment. Conserving the marine biodiversity of Marovo Lagoon: Development of environmental management initiative that will conserve the marine biodiversity and productivity of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands. (pp. 43-83) edited by N. C. Duke, J. W. Udy, S. Albert, M. Love, A. Ross, I. R. Tibbetts, C. Roelfsema, D. T. Neil, G. Marion, J. Corrin Care, W. Carter, P. Dart and S. Hough. Brisbane: The University of Queensland.

  • Duke, Norm, Udy, James, Albert, Simon, Love, Mark, Ross, Annie, Tibbetts, Ian., Roelfsema, Chris, Neil, David, Marion, Guy, Prange, Joelle, Corrin-Care, Jennifer, Carter, William, Dart, Peter and Hough, Sean (2007). The UQ Marovo Experience: Science-based support for community management of marine resources. Conserving the marine biodiversity of Marovo Lagoon: Development of environmental management initiatives that will conserve the marine biodiversity and productivity of Marova Lagoon, Solomon Islands. (pp. 11-27) edited by N. C. Duke, J. W. Udy, S. Albert, M. Love, A. Ross, I. R. Tibbetts, C. Roelfsema, D. T. Neil, G. Marion, J. Corrin Care, W. Carter, P. Dart and S. Hough. Brisbane, Australia: The University of Queensland.

  • N. C. Duke, P. Lawn, C. Roelfsema, K. Zahmel, D. Pedersen and C. Tack (2005). Changing coastlines in the Fitzroy Estuary - assessing historical change in coastal environments. Fitzroy in Focus. (pp. 6-46) edited by B. Noble, A. Bell, P. Verway and J. Tilden. Brisbane: Cooperative Research Centre for Coastal Zone, Estuary and Waterway Management.

  • Phinn, S. R., Joyce, K. E., Scarth, P. F. and Roelfsema, C.M. (2005). The role of integrated information acquisition and management in the analysis of coastal ecosystem change. Remote Sensing of Coastal Aquatic Ecosystem Processes - Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing Series. (pp. 217-249) edited by L. Richardson and E. LeDrew. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • General

    If you are interested in working as part of a collaborative, supportive, multi-disciplinary team that links different disciplines across academia, governments, industry and NGOs, on the topics below please contact c.roelfsema@uq.edu.au to it further.

    Collaboration/Supervision possible with: Chris Roelfsema, Mitchell Lyons, Stuart Phinn SEES RSRC UQ, Julie Vercelloni QUT, Emma Kennedy, Juan Carlos Ortiz AIMS and relevant others

    Funding

    These project do not have funding or scholarships currently, but are supported by extensive pre-existing data archives of fully corrected satellite image archives and field data sets, a collective group of researchers working on the site, and ability to be supported in scholarship and funding applications.

    Background

    Since 2002 the Remote Sensing Research Centre Team have used Heron Reef as basis to develop integrated earth observation and field data monitoring, modelling and mapping approaches. Part of that work was establishing a detailed field-based baseline of the reef, which is completed annually and has produced a 20+ year annual data set. Since 2011, the Reef Check Australia Coral Watch Field teams have joined the surveys and collected their associated data sets.

    PhD Topics

    The data sets themselves provide a wealth of information for interested students to work on, hence we aim to engage with those interested in building coral reef science and management related , knowledge, skills, network, experience and development opportunities to enhance existing, or develop new careers.

    If you are interested, please contact c.roelfsema@uq.edu.au to discuss how to develop a research project for special topic, masters or PhD research that might suit you focussing on:

    1. Ecological assessment of the benthic field data reviewing not only coral cover but also coral morphologies, or algae cover or other
    2. Developing approaches in GEE for time series analysis to link field data to image date to get high resolution thematic maps of Heron reef.
    3. Ecological assessment over time of benthic components, but also impacts, fish, inverts and general coral healthy using coral health chart, reef check data and geolocated photos
    4. Any other topic that promotes the use of the existing field data and/or high resolution image data.
    5. Or any other related topic.

    See related information in:

    Title: Benthic and coral reef community field data for Heron Reef, Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia, 2002–2018 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00871-5

    Title: Use of a semi-automated object based analysis to map benthic composition, Heron Reef, Southern Great Barrier Reef https://doi.org/10.1080/2150704X.2017.1420927

    Title: Fine-scale time series surveys reveal new insights into spatiotemporal trends in coral cover (2002–2018), of a coral reef on the Southern Great Barrier Reef https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-021-02104-y