Current Work

My PhD thesis focuses on using systematic reviews to understand climate change impacts on coral health. I’m also interested in marine ecology more generally! Check out the Research & Education section of my CV for publications and other research work.


The impact of rising temperatures on the prevalence of coral diseases and its predictability: a global meta-analysis

We gathered global data from 108 studies to analyse the relationship between ocean warming and coral disease. Coral diseases were found to increase with our temperature variables, as well as over time. In 2018, coral disease persisted at 9.92% (compared to 3.16% in 1992), but we predict this will increase to 76.8% in 2100.
Read the preprint on EcoEvoRxiv!

A close photo of coral colonies. If zoomed in, some colonies affected by a white syndrome turning portions of their tissues white
Credit: Tracy Ainsworth


Mapping literature reviews on coral health: A review map, critical appraisal, and bibliometric analysis

The growing collection of primary data (e.g., reef surveys) has allowed many reviews of coral health to be published. We now take this opportunity to conduct a “second-order synthesis,” or an analysis of these reviews. We’ve laid out certain criteria to look for to understand what drivers of coral health are most discussed, what outcomes of coral health are most examined, how are researchers conducting these reviews, how robust are the reviews, why are researchers conducting these reviews, and what kind of connections are created (e.g., between countries, researchers, etc.) when we look at coral health reviews globally.
Read the registered report here!

A figure depicting the process of conducting second order synthesis from Burke et al., 2022
Burke et al., 2022; Graphical Abstract


The state of coral diseases in the Great Barrier Reef: GBRMP LTMP

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has conducted a Long-Term Monitoring Program (LTMP) of coral reef health in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) since the early 2000s. We plan to use this data to understand how coral disease has changed over time in the GBRMP and how, if at all, did ocean warming play a role in coral health.

A photo of a coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef. Some corals are affected with white spot syndrome. A school of silver-coloured fish swim above the reef
Credit: Tracy Ainsworth