Joseph Maina

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, ARC Center of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia (2014-present)
  • Research Fellow, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia (2013-2014)
  • PhD, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia (2010-2013)

Contact Information

G130204MQ102-AP008I am a landscape/seascape ecologist with broad research interests and have predominantly focused on coral reef systems.  My ultimate goals are to understand and predict how coastal and marine ecosystems will respond to climate change and develop decision support tools for conservation zoning. My current research focuses on the impacts of climate and human activities on socio-ecological systems at multiple spatial scales. This research spans multiple disciplines, using data and tools from remote sensing, hydrology, paleontology, bio-geography, and coral reef biology and ecology. Therefore, in undertaking this research I deal with a broad array of topics, ranging from fundamental theoretical work, through data gathering and manipulation, to developing predictive spatial models of coupled biological and physical systems. I integrate environmental variables with the biological, physiology and ecological responses to generate outputs that aim to support decision-makers, in particular the spatially adaptive management strategies for those involved with biodiversity conservation.


  • Maina J, Kithiia J, Neale E, Cinner J, Noble S, Charles D, Watson JEM (2015) Intergrating socio-ecological vulnerability assessments with climate forecasts to improve local climate adaptation planning for coral reef fisheries in Papua New Guinea. Regional Environmental Change, doi: 10.1007/s10113-015-0807-0.
  • McClanahan TR, Maina J, Ateweberhan M (2015) Regional coral responses to climate disturbances and warming is predicted by multivariate stress model and not temperature threshold metrics. Climatic Change, doi: 10.1007/s10584-015-1399-x.
  • MacNeil A, Graham NAJ, Cinner JE, Wilson SK, Williams DI, Maina J, Newman S, Friedlander AM, Jupiter S, Polunin NVC, McClanahan TR (2015) Recovery potential of the world’s coral reef fishes. Nature, 520: 341–344.
  • Knudby A, Pittman SJ, Maina J, Rowlands G (2014). Remote Sensing and Modeling of Coral Reef Resilience. In Remote Sensing and Modeling (pp. 103-134). Springer International Publishing.
  • Barneche DR, Kulbicki M, Floeter SR, Friedlander AM, Maina J, Allen AP (2014) Scaling metabolism from individuals to reef-fish communities at broad spatial scales. Ecology Letters, 17: 1067–1076.
  • Maina J, de Moel H, Zinke J,  Madin JS, McClanahan TR, Vermaat JE (2013) Human deforestation outweighs future climate change impacts of sedimentation on coral reefs. Nature Communications. 4: 1986. [link] [post] [ABC Science]
  • McClanahan TR, Donner SD, Maynard JA, MacNeil MA, Graham NAJ, Maina J et al. (2012) Prioritizing Key Resilience Indicators to Support Coral Reef Management in a Changing Climate. PLoS ONE 7(8): e42884. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042884.
  • Maina J, de Moel H, Vermaat JE, Bruggemann, JH, Guillaume, MMM, Grove CA, Madin JS, Mertz-Kraus R, Zinke J (2012) Linking coral river runoff proxies with climate variability, hydrology and land-use in Madagascar catchments. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 10: 2047–2059.
  • Grove CA, Zinke J, Scheufen T, Maina J, Epping E, Boer W, Randriamanantsoa B, Brummer G-J A (2012) Spatial linkages between coral proxies of terrestrial runoff across a large embayment in Madagascar. Biogeosciences. 9: 3063–3081.
  • Daw TM, Cinner JE, McClanahan TR, Brown KB,  Stead SM, Graham NAJ, Maina JM (2012) To Fish or Not to Fish: Factors at Multiple Scales Affecting Artisanal Fishers’ Readiness to Exit a Declining Fishery. PLoS ONE, 7: 2. 02.
  • Cinner JE, McClanahan TR, Graham NAJ, Daw TM, Maina JM, Stead SM, Wamukota A, Brown K , Bodin O (2012) Vulnerability of coastal communities to key impacts of climate change on coral reef fisheries. Global Environmental Change, 22: 12-20.
  • Maina JM, McClanahan TR, Venus V, Ateweberhan M, and Madin J (2011)  Global exposure of coral reefs to environmental stresses and the implications for local management. PLoS ONE 6:e23064. [pdf].
  • McClanahan TR, Maina JM and Muthiga NA (2011)  Associations between climate stress and coral reef diversity in the western Indian Ocean. Global Change Biology 17: 2023-2032.
  • Jury M, McClanahan TR and Maina J (2010)  West Indian Ocean variability and East African fish catch. Marine Environmental Research 70: 162-170 08.
  • Omo-Irabor O, Olobaniyi S, Akunna J, Venus V, Maina J and Paradzayi P (2010)  Mangrove vulnerability modelling in parts of Western Niger Delta, Nigeria using satellite images, GIS techniques and Spatial Multi-Criteria Analysis (SMCA). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 1-13.
  • Cinner JE, McClanahan TR, Daw TM, Graham NAJ, Maina JM, Wilson SK and Hughes TP (2009)  Linking social and ecological systems to sustain coral reef fisheries. Current Biology 19: 206-212.
  • McClanahan TR, Muthiga NA, Maina J, Kamukuru AT and  Yahya SAS (2009)  Changes in northern Tanzania coral reefs during a period of increased fisheries management and climatic disturbance. Aquatic Conservation : Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 19: 758-771.
  • McClanahan TR, Cinner JE, Graham N, Daw TM, Maina J, Stead S, Wamukota A, Brown K, Venus V and Polunin N (2009)  Identifying reefs of hope and hopeful actions : contextualizing environmental, ecological, and social parameters to Respond effectively to climate Change. Conservation Biology 23: 662-671.
  • Maina J, McClanahan JM and Venus V (2008)  Meso-scale modelling of coral’s susceptibility to environmental stress using remotely sensed data : Reply to comments. Ecological Modelling 218: 1-2.
  • Maina J, Venus V, McClanahan TR and Ateweberhan M (2008)  Modelling susceptibility of coral reefs to environmental stress using remote sensing data and GIS models. Ecological Modelling 212: 3-4.
  • McClanahan TR, Cinner JE, Maina J, J Graham NAJ, Daw TM, Stead SM, Wamukota A, Brown K, Ateweberhan M, Venus V and Polunin NVC (2008)  Conservation action in a changing climate. Conservation Letters 1: 53-59.
  • McClanahan TR, Weil E and Maina J (2008)  Strong relationship between coral bleaching and growth anomalies in massive Porites. Global Change Biology 15: 1804-1816.
  • McClanahan TR, Ateweberhan A, Muhando CA, Maina J and Mohammed SM (2007)  Effects of climate and sea water temperature variation on coral bleaching and mortality. Ecological Monographs 77: 503-525.
  • McClanahan TR, Graham NAJ, Maina J, Chabanet P, Bruggemann JH and Polunin N(2007)  Influence of instantaneous variation on estimates of coral reef fish populations and communities. Marine Ecology Progress Series 340: 221-234.
  • McClanahan TR, Verheij E and Maina J (2006)  Comparing the management effectiveness of a marine park and a multiple-use collaborative fisheries management area in East Africa. Aquatic Conservation : Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 16: 147-165.
  • McClanahan TR, Maina J, Moothien-Pillay R and Baker AC (2005)  Effects of geography, taxa, water flow, and temperature variation on coral bleaching intensity in Mauritius. Marine Ecology Progress Series 298: 131–142.
  • McClanahan TR, Baker AC, Ateweberhan M, Maina J and Moothien-Pillay KR (2005)  Refining coral bleaching experiments and models through reiterative field studies. Marine Ecology Progress Series 305: 301-303.
  • McClanahan TR, Maina J, Starger CJ, Herron-Perez P and Dusek E (2005)  Detriments to post-bleaching recovery of corals. Coral Reefs 24: 230-246.
  • McClanahan T, Davies J and Maina J (2005)  Factors influencing resource users and managers’ perceptions towards marine protected area management in Kenya   Environmental. Conservation 32: 42-49.
  • McClanahan TR, Maina J and Davies J (2005)  Perceptions of resource users and managers towards fisheries management options in Kenyan coral reefs. Fisheries Management & Ecology 12: 105-112.
  • McClanahan TR, McLaughlin S, Davy J, Wilson W, Peters E, Price K and Maina J (2004)  Observations of a new source of coral mortality along the Kenyan coast. Hydrobiologia 531: 469-479.
  • McClanahan TR and Maina J (2003)  Response of Coral Assemblages to the Interaction between Natural Temperature Variation and Rare Warm-Water Events. Ecosystems 6: 551-563.
  • McClanahan TR, Maina J and Pet-Soede L (2002)  Effects of the 1998 coral morality event on Kenyan coral reefs and fisheries. Ambio 31: 543-550.