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Dr. Kennedy wolfe

I am driven by the fundamental desire to understand anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems, and to facilitate management in a rapidly depleting ocean. My research is currently focused on coral reef ecosystem function (namely on the Great Barrier Reef), and human-driven shifts in ecosystem dynamics. While ‘biodiversity’ has historically been considered as pivotal to maintaining ecosystems, it is becoming more evident that a small subset of species is particularly important in supporting ecosystem processes, functions and services. My research aims to identify these important species to make targeted recommendations for management.

My key interests are in marine invertebrates, especially the Echinodermata. These [less-charismatic] organisms are largely understudied compared to the more conventional reef species like fish and corals, but are highly important in ecosystem functions and services – from their population and ecosystem dynamics (e.g. the crown-of-thorns starfish), to their direct commercial importance (e.g. sea cucumber fisheries; trepang).


Postdoctoral Researcher – University of Queensland (Feb 2018 – present)

PhD candidate – University of Sydney (Aug 2013 – Feb 2017)

Canaries in the coalmine: using model echinoderm species to address anthropogenic impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.

BSc (Hons) – University of Sydney (Feb 2008 – Dec 2011)

The effects of ocean change on skeletogenesis in the juvenile sea urchin, Heliocidaris erythrogramma, and on the shell of the paper nautilus, Argonauta nodosa: habitat-specific considerations.


Albright R, Takeshita Y, Koweek D, Ninokawa A, Wolfe K, Rivlin T, Nebuchina Y, Young J, Caldeira K (2018) Carbon dioxide addition to coral reef waters suppresses net community calcification. Nature, doi:10.1038/nature25968.

Balogh R, Wolfe K, Byrne M (2018) Gonad development and spawning of the Vulnerable commercial sea cucumber, Stichopus herrmanni, in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

Wolfe K, Vidal-Ramirez F, Dove S, Deaker D, Byrne M (2018) Altered sediment biota and lagoon habitat carbonate dynamics due to sea cucumber bioturbation in a high-pCO2 environment. Global Change Biology, 24: 465-480.

Wolfe K, Byrne M (2017) Biology and ecology of the vulnerable holothuroid, Stichopus herrmanni, on a high-latitude coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs, 4: 1143-1156.

Wolfe K, Graba-Landry A, Dworjanyn S, Byrne M (2017) Superstars: assessing nutrient thresholds for enhanced larval success of Acanthaster planci, a review of the evidence. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 116: 307-314.

Byrne M, Wolfe K, O’Loughlin M, Miskelly A (2017) Report on a stranding of the dendrochirotid sea cucumber Cladolabes perspicillum and other echinoderms by a low-pressure induced storm surge on the New South Wales coast, Australia. SPC Beche-de-mer Bulletin, 37: 117-118.

Wolfe K, Byrne M (2016) Population biology and recruitment of the vulnerable sea cucumber, Stichopus herrmanni, on a protected reef. Marine Ecology, 38: e12397.

Byrne M, Gall ML, Wolfe K, Agüera A (2016) From pole to pole: the potential for the Arctic seastar Asterias amurensis to invade a warming Southern Ocean. Global Change Biology, 22: 3874-3887.

Palazzo L, Wolfe K, Byrne M (2016) Discovery and description of Stichopus herrmanni juvenile nursery sites on Heron Reef, Great Barrier Reef, SPC Beche-de-mer Bulletin, 36: 36-40.

Kwiatkowski L, Albright R, Hosfelt J, Nebuchina Y, Ninokawa A, Rivlin T, Sesboüé M, Wolfe K, Caldeira K (2016) Interannual stability of organic to inorganic carbon production on a coral atoll. Geophysical Research Letters, 43: 3880-3888.

Albright R, Caldeira L, Hosfelt J, Kwiatkowski L, Maclaren JK, Mason BM, Nebuchina Y, Ninokawa A, Pongratz J, Ricke KL, Rivlin T, Schneider K, Sesboue M, Shamberger K, Silverman J, Wolfe K, Zhu K, Caldeira K (2016) Reversal of ocean acidification enhances net coral reef calcification. Nature, 531: 362-365.

Wolfe K, Graba-Landry A, Dworjanyn S, Byrne M (2015) Larval phenotypic plasticity in the boom-and-bust crown-of-thorns seastar, Acanthaster planci. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 539: 179-189.

Wolfe K, Graba-Landry A, Dworjanyn S, Byrne M (2015) Larval starvation to satiation: influence of nutrient regime on the success of Acanthaster planci. PLoS ONE, e0122010.

Hardy NA, Lamare M, Uthicke S, Wolfe K, Doo S, Dworjanyn S, Byrne M (2013) Thermal tolerance of early development in tropical and temperate sea urchins: inferences for the tropicalization of eastern Australia. Marine Biology, 161: 395-409.

Byrne M, Foo S, Soars NA, Wolfe K, Nguyen HD, Hardy NA, Dworjanyn S (2013) Ocean warming will mitigate the effects of acidification on calcifying sea urchin larvae (Heliocidaris tuberculata) from the Australian global warming hot spot. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 448: 250-257.

Wolfe K, Dworjanyn SA, Byrne M (2013) Thermal and pH/pCO2 fluctuations in the intertidal habitat of Heliocidaris erythrogramma: effects on post-metamorphic juveniles. Cah. Biol. Mar. 54: 657-666.

Wolfe K, Dworjanyn SA, Byrne M (2013) Effects of ocean warming and acidification on survival, growth and skeletal development in the early benthic juvenile sea urchin (Heliocidaris erythrogramma). Global Change Biology, 19: 2698-2707.

Wolfe K, Smith AM, Trimby P, Byrne M (2012) Microstructure of the paper nautilus (Argonauta nodosa) shell and the novel application of electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) to address effects of ocean acidification. Marine Biology, 8: 2271-2278.

Wolfe K, Smith AM, Trimby P, Byrne M (2012) Vulnerability of the paper nautilus (Argonauta nodosa) shell to a climate-change ocean: potential for extinction by dissolution. Biological Bulletin, 223: 236-244.

Smith AM, Wolfe K, Byrne M (2012) Argonauta at risk: dissolution and carbonate mineralogy of egg cases. Proceedings of the International Coral Reef Symposium, July 2012.