Dr. James R GUEST

Lee Kwan Yew
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Tel No: +65 96630707
Email: james.guest (at) nus (dot) edu (dot) sg

Research focus

Coral reproductive biology, coral reef restoration practices and coral diseases.

Previous and current research

I obtained a BSc in Marine Biology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and completed an honours project investigating the histo-pathology of black band and white band diseases of Caribbean corals. In 2004 I was awarded a Ph.D. from the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on the reproductive patterns of scleractinian corals. The most satisfying outcome of the work was the first detailed documentation of 'mass' coral spawning from an equatorial coral reef, a finding that challenged accepted dogma and established the occurrence of this phenomenon on equatorial reefs. Between February 2004 and June 2005 I was employed as a researcher at the Tropical Marine Science Institute at NUS as part of a project to examine the feasibility of re-stocking locally depleted giant clam populations in Singapore. Between 2005 and 2008 I was employed by Newcastle University (UK) as a postdoctoral research associate on an international European Union funded project to investigate reef restoration techniques in Southeast Asia.

The scientific questions that are of most interest to me relate to the recovery processes of coral reef assemblages. For example, what are the roles of sexual reproduction and recruitment in replenishment of coral assemblages? And can active restoration play a meaningful role in assisting recovery of reefs after major disturbances? I continue to examine patterns of reproductive seasonality and synchrony in coral assemblages in Southeast Asia. I am also interested in harnessing the natural fecundity of broadcasting corals as a possible means of reef restoration. In collaboration with the Reef Restoration Working Group (RRWG) of GEF/World Bank Coral Reef Targeted Research Program (CRTR) I am experimenting with techniques to rear and outplant large numbers of reared coral spat in the Philippines (see photo).


  • Baird AH, Guest JR, Willis B. Phylogenetic and biogeographical patterns in the reproductive biology of scleractinian corals. Annual Review in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics (in review)
  • Guest JR, Dizon RM, Edwards AJ, Gomez ED. Self-attachment times for transplanted coral fragments. Restoration Ecology (in press)
  • Guest JR, Baird AH, Clifton KE, Heyward AJ. From molecules to moonbeams: spawning synchrony in coral reef organisms. Invertebrate Reproduction and Development (in press)
  • Baird AH, Guest JR (2009). Spawning synchrony in scleractinian corals: comment on Mangubhai & Harrison 2008. Marine Ecology Progress Series 374: 301-304
  • Guest J (2008). How reefs respond to mass coral spawning. Science 320: 621-623.
  • Guest JR, Todd, PA, Goh E, Sivalonganathan B, Walford J and Reddy KP (2008). Can giant clam (Tridacna squamosa) populations be restored on Singapore's heavily impacted coral reefs? Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosytstems 18: 570-579
  • Todd PA, Guest JR (2008). Giant clam conservation and research in Singapore. Tentacle 16: 24
  • Guest JR, Todd PA, Goh BPL, Chou LM (2007). The effect of transplantation on reproduction in clonal ramets of Goniopora columna on Singapore's coral reefs. Invertebrate Reproduction and Development 50: 133-138
  • Vicentuan KC, Guest JR, Baria MV, Cabaitan PC, Dizon RM, Villanueva RD, Aliño PM, Gomez ED, Edwards AJ, Heyward AJ (2007). Multi-species spawning of corals in north-western Philippines. Coral Reefs 27: 83
  • Huang DW, 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
  • Guest JR, Baird AH, Goh BPL, Chou LM (2005). Seasonal patterns of reproduction among equatorial reef corals. (Invited paper) Journal of Invertebrate Reproduction and Development 48: 207-218
  • Guest JR, Baird AH, Goh BPL, Chou, LM (2005). Reproductive seasonality in an equatorial assemblage of scleractinian corals. Coral Reefs 24:112-116
  • Guest JR, Baird AH, Goh BPL, Chou LM (2002). Multispecific, synchronous coral spawning in Singapore. Coral Reefs 21: 422-423
  • Bythell JC, Barer MR, Cooney RP, Guest JR, O'Donnell AG, Pantos O, Le Tissier MDA (2002). Histopathological methods for the investigation of microbial communities associated with disease lesions in reef corals. Letters in Applied Microbiology 34: 359-364
  • Todd PA, Guest JR, Chou LM (2002). Fluctuating asymmetry: a viable indicator of stress on reef building corals? Proceedings 9th International Coral Reef Symposium 1: 437-442