Dr. James Guest
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
46-007 Lilipuna Rd
Kaneohe, HI 96744
Phone: 808-236-7455
Fax: 808-236-7443
Research Interests
My research interests are broad and I have published work on a diverse range of topics within coral reef science including diseases, reproductive and larval ecology, recruitment dynamics, long term community change, bleaching and restoration ecology. I was initially trained in coral reef survey techniques as a volunteer diver in Belize in 1995 and subsequently led two independent student run marine conservation expeditions to the Bay Islands of Honduras in 1996 and 1997. I graduated with a marine biology degree from Newcastle University in 1998 and was awarded a short fellowship to work at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, to study the histopathology of black band disease. In 1999 I was offered a graduate scholarship at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and I graduated with a PhD on the reproductive ecology of equatorial reef corals in 2005. Between 2005 and 2008 I held a postdoctoral position at Newcastle University (UK) as part of a consortium of scientists from six countries, to investigate reef restoration techniques on degraded reefs in the Philippines. I was also appointed as a member of the Reef Restoration Working Group of the Coral Reef Targeted Research program of the World Bank-Global Environment Facility (GEF-CRTR, www.gefcoral.org), a multi-million dollar five year incentive to investigate some of the most pressing problems facing coral reefs. In 2009 I was awarded a prestigious three year Lee Kuan Yew Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at NUS in Singapore to carry out independent research on coral reef ecology. In 2012 I held a joint senior research fellowship with the Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation at the University of New South Wales and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU) to coordinate multidisciplinary research activities among a group of 17 marine ecologists and molecular biologists from Australia and Singapore. I decided to take a one year work break in 2015 so that my wife and I could concentrate on starting a family. During this period I became a board member of a coral conservation non-profit organisation (SECORE International, www.secore.org) and have been actively engaged in board meetings and providing scientific advice on a voluntary basis. My career goal is to establish my own research team and to bring together the different aspects of my research on coral reefs. Importantly, I would like my research to inform policy and decision making to improve coral reef management practices and to sustain the ecological services that reefs provide. 

2005: Ph.D. in marine biology, National University of Singapore (NUS)
Thesis title: Reproductive Patterns of Scleractinian Corals on Singapore's Reefs.

1998: B.Sc. Marine Biology (Hons 2.i), University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Abecia JED, Guest JR, Villanueva RD (2016) Geographical variation in reproductive biology is obscured by the species problem: a new record of brooding in Porites cylindrica, or misidentification? Invertebrate Biology 135:58-67

Baird A, Guest J (2008) Spawning synchrony in scleractinian corals: Comment on Mangubhai & Harrison(2008). Marine Ecology Progress Series 374:301-304

Baird AH, Guest JR, Willis BL (2009) Systematic and biogeographical patterns in the reproductive biology of scleractinian corals. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 40:551-571

Baria MVB, Villanueva RD, Guest JR (2012) Spawning of Three-Year-Old Acropora Millepora Corals Reared from Larvae in Northwestern Philippines. Bulletin of Marine Science 88:61-62

Baria MVB, Guest JR, Edwards AJ, Aliño PM, Heyward AJ, Gomez ED (2010) Caging enhances post-settlement survival of juveniles of the scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 394:149-153

Bauman AG, Guest JR, Dunshea G, Low J, Todd PA, Steinberg PD (2015) Coral settlement on a highly disturbed equatorial reef system. PloS one 10:e0127874

Bouwmeester J, Baird AH, Chen C, Guest JR, Vicentuan KC, Berumen ML (2015) Multi-species spawning synchrony within scleractinian coral assemblages in the Red Sea. Coral Reefs 34:65-77

Bythell J, Barer M, Cooney R, Guest J, O'Donnell A, Pantos O, Le Tissier M (2002) Histopathological methods for the investigation of microbial communities associated with disease lesions in reef corals. Letters in Applied Microbiology 34:359-364

Chelliah A, Amar HB, Hyde J, Yewdall K, Steinberg PD, Guest JR (2015) First record of multi-species synchronous coral spawning from Malaysia. PeerJ 3:e777

Edwards A, Guest J, Rinkevich B, Omori M, Iwao K, Levy G, Shaish L (2010) Evaluating costs of restoration. Reef Rehabilitation Manual. Coral Reef Targeted Research

Edwards AJ, Guest JR, Heyward AJ, Villanueva RD, Baria MV, Bollozos IS, Golbuu Y (2015) Direct seeding of mass-cultured coral larvae is not an effective option for reef rehabilitation. Marine Ecology Progress Series 525:105-116

Erftemeijer PL, Hagedorn M, Laterveer M, Craggs J, Guest JR (2012) Effect of suspended sediment on fertilization success in the scleractinian coral Pectinia lactuca. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK 92:741-745

Garren M, Raymundo L, Guest J, Harvell CD, Azam F (2009) Resilience of coral-associated bacterial communities exposed to fish farm effluent. PLoS One 4:e7319

Guest J (2008) How reefs respond to mass coral spawning. Science 320:621-623

Guest J, Baird A, Goh B, Chou L (2002) Multispecific, synchronous coral spawning in Singapore. Coral Reefs 21:422-423

Guest J, Baird A, Goh B, Chou L (2005a) Reproductive seasonality in an equatorial assemblage of scleractinian corals. Coral Reefs 24:112-116

Guest J, Baird A, Goh B, Chou L (2005b) Seasonal reproduction in equatorial reef corals. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development 48:207-218

Guest J, Todd P, Goh B, Chou L (2007) The effect of transplantation on reproduction in clonal ramets of Goniopora columna on Singapore's coral reefs. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development 50:133-138

Guest J, Baird A, Clifton K, Heyward A (2008a) From molecules to moonbeams: spawning synchrony in coral reef organisms. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development 51:145-149

Guest J, Baird A, Goh B, Chou L (2012a) Sexual systems in scleractinian corals: an unusual pattern in the reef-building species Diploastrea heliopora. Coral Reefs 31:705-713

Guest J, Baria M, Gomez E, Heyward A, Edwards A (2014a) Closing the circle: is it feasible to rehabilitate reefs with sexually propagated corals? Coral Reefs 33:45-55

Guest J, Heyward A, Omori M, Iwao K, Morse A, Boch C (2010) Rearing coral larvae for reef rehabilitation. Reef Rehabilitation Manual. Coral Reef Targeted Research, pp73-92

Guest J, Low J, Tun K, Wilson B, Ng C, Raingeard D, Ulstrup K, Tanzil J, Todd P, Toh T (2016a) Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef. Scientific reports 6:20717

Guest JR (2005) Reproductive patterns of Scleractinian corals on Singapore's reefs. PhD Thesis.

Guest JR, Chou LM, Goh B (2012b) Reproductive seasonality of the reef building coral Platygyra pini on Singapore’s reefs. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. (Suppl. 25), 123–131

Guest JR, Todd PA, Goh E, Sivalonganathan BS, Reddy KP (2008b) Can giant clam (Tridacna squamosa) populations be restored on Singapore's heavily impacted coral reefs? Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 18:570-579

Guest JR, Dizon RM, Edwards AJ, Franco C, Gomez ED (2011) How Quickly do Fragments of Coral “Self‐Attach” after Transplantation? Restoration Ecology 19:234-242

Guest JR, Baird AH, Maynard JA, Muttaqin E, Edwards AJ, Campbell SJ, Yewdall K, Affendi YA, Chou LM (2012c) Contrasting patterns of coral bleaching susceptibility in 2010 suggest an adaptive response to thermal stress. PLoS One 7:e33353

Guest JR, Vergés A, Bauman AG, Campbell AH, Chou LM, Feary DA, Low JK, Marzinelli EM, Tun K, Steinberg PD (2016b) Examining the relationship between fish herbivore biomass, coral and macroalgal cover on Singapore’s heavily disturbed reefs. PeerJ Preprints 4:e1907v1902

Huang D, Todd PA, Guest JR (2007) Movement and aggregation in the fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa L.). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 342:269-281

Keith SA, Maynard JA, Edwards AJ, Guest JR, Bauman AG, Van Hooidonk R, Heron SF, Berumen ML, Bouwmeester J, Piromvaragorn S (2016) Coral mass spawning predicted by rapid seasonal rise in ocean temperature. Proc R Soc B 283:20160011

Lai S, Gillis L, Mueller C, Bouma T, Guest J, Last K, Ziegler A, Todd P (2013) First experimental evidence of corals feeding on seagrass matter. Coral Reefs 32:1061-1064

Ng CSL, Toh TC, Toh KB, Guest J, Chou LM (2014) Dietary habits of grazers influence their suitability as biological controls of fouling macroalgae in ex situ mariculture. Aquaculture Research 45:1852-1860
Raingeard D, Ng C, Seow WY, Jinyu BC, Guest J, Steinberg P, McDougald D (2012) Evolution from Bacteria to Mammalia of selected marker genes involved in energy metabolism and stress responses: Bioinformatic approach and applications in coral reef ecology. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 163:S29

Suchana Chavanich EG, Loke Ming Chou, Beverly Goh, Lik Tong Tan, Karenne Tun, Tai Chong Toh, Patrick Cabaitan, James Guest, Chin Soon Lionel Ng, Makoto Omori, Nalinee Thongtham, Anchalee Chankong, Voranop Viyakarn, Wenxi Zhu (2014) Coral restoration techniques in the Western Pacific region

Tay YC, Guest JR, Chou LM, Todd PA (2011) Vertical distribution and settlement competencies in broadcast spawning coral larvae: Implications for dispersal models. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

Tebben J, Guest JR, Sin TM, Steinberg PD, Harder T (2014) Corals like it waxed: paraffin-based antifouling technology enhances coral spat survival. PloS one 9:e87545

Teo A, Guest JR, Neo ML, Vicentuan K, Todd PA (2016) Quantification of coral sperm collected during a synchronous spawning event. PeerJ 4:e2180

Todd P, Guest JR (2008) Giant clam conservation and research in Singapore. Tentacle 16:24

Todd P, Guest J, Chou L (2000) Fluctuating asymmetry: a viable indicator of stress on reefbuilding corals. Proc 9th Int Coral Reef Symp, Bali, Indonesia Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Indonesia:437-442

Todd PA, Guest JR, Lu J, Chou LM (2010) One in four citations in marine biology papers is inappropriate. Marine Ecology Progress Series 408:299-303

Toh TC, Guest J, Chou LM (2012) Coral larval rearing in Singapore: Observations on spawning timing, larval development and settlement of two common scleractinian coral species. Contributions to Marine Science National University of Singapore, Republic of Singapore: 81-87

Toh TC, Ng CSL, Guest J, Chou LM (2013) Grazers improve health of coral juveniles in ex situ mariculture. Aquaculture 414:288-293

Vicentuan K, Guest J, Baria M, Cabaitan P, Dizon R, Villanueva R, Aliño P, Edwards A, Gomez E, Heyward A (2008) Multi-species spawning of corals in north-western Philippines. Coral Reefs 27:83-83
Department seminar (2015), Department of Geography, University of Nottingham Malaysia.

Invited seminar (2014), Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, Japan

Co-organiser (2014), 2nd SECORE Coral Reef Restoration Workshop, University of Guam

Guest speaker (2014), Biodiversity Research Symposium, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Guest speaker (2014), Climate Change Adaptation: Coastal Restoration Symposium, Singapore.

Co-organiser (2013), 1st SECORE Coral Reef Restoration Workshop, University of Guam

Department seminar (2013), School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong

Invited speaker (2013), Reefcheck South East Asia regional coral reef management workshop, KL

Invited speaker (2013), 9th ICRI East Asia Regional Workshop, Singapore.

Invited Speaker Seminar Series (2012), New York University Abu Dhabi

Department seminar (2012),
University of New South Wales & University of Technology Sydney.

Invited speaker (2011), AGM & Annual National Biological Convention of the SiBiol, Singapore.

Co-organiser (2010), SECORE Coral Spawning and larval rearing workshop, Singapore.

Invited speaker (2009), CRTR Rehabilitation and Remediation Workshop, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


Current board member and scientific advisor for SECORE International (www.secore.org), a coral reef conservation organisation promoting the protection and restoration of coral reefs.

Working group member of the Reef Restoration Working Group of the Coral Reef Targeted Research program of the World Bank Global Environment Facility (www.gefcoral.org).

Editorial board member for the journal Coral Reefs.

Active reviewer for 28 ISI journals, e.g., Ecological Applications, Biological Conservation, Conservation Letters, Global Change Biology etc.

Council member, Singapore Institute of Biology.

Review panel member for research grants: University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant College Program;
Binational, Agricultural Research & Development Fund.

Invited session chair for mini-symposia at five international conferences.

Member of steering committee for scientific diving safety standards for Singapore government.

Diving officer & expedition leader Project Utila 1996-1997, Bay Islands, Honduras.


1 PhD, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore. Graduated 2014. Currently leading own research team at Tropical Marine Science Institute, NUS.
5 completed Masters students (Department of Marine Science, Newcastle University,
Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines, Philippines).
1 current PhD student (University of Derby, UK).
2 current Masters students (Marine Biology Laboratory, University of Guam).

Funding Sources

2012: Singapore National Parks Board ($241,300 ≈ €160,000): Rehabilitation of Singapore’s reef using sexually reared corals.

2009: Singapore Ministry of Education ($142,000 ≈ €90,000): The role of reproduction, recruitment and restoration in the recovery of coral assemblages.

2006: Singapore Ministry of Education ($51,000 ≈ €35,000): Organism-environment interactions in the giant clam Tridacna squamosa.

2001: Singapore Institute of Biology small research grant.