Coral reef ecology Demography Fish and shark ecology Intertidal biology Marine ecology Marine monitoring

Email William

+61 8 9219 8000

+61 8 9334 0327
Street Address
17 Dick Perry Avenue, Technology Park, Western Precinct, Kensington WA 6151, Australia
Postal Address
Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre WA 6983, Australia


Over the last 25 years I've led, or collaborated on, a range of biological and environmental research and monitoring programs. My background has focussed on shark and fish biology and behaviour, and tropical coral reef ecology. However, I have led or contributed to research and monitoring across a wide range of marine ecological values. My research has changed state legislation and operational procedures on multiple occasions, and I regularly advise national and international government and research bodies on marine science and managment strategies. I direct and manage the Marine Science Program component of Kimberley Marine Parks monitoring.


• Long-term monitoring of marine benthos including corals, invertebrates, mangroves

• Environmental risk assessments

• Censusing, tagging, biopysing, and tracking marine and terrestrial vertebrates

• Growth, demography, ecology and management of sharks and fishes

• Genetics of large marine animals populations

• Reducing human environmental interactions and impacts


Long-term monitoring of Kimberley Marine Park ecological values.

Publications (35)

Departmental Publications (5)

Found 5 items


Desbiens AA, Roff G, Robbins WD, Taylor BM, Castro-Sanguino C, Dempsey A et al. (2021). Revisiting the paradigm of shark-driven trophic cascades in coral reef ecosystems. Ecology 102,


Bonnin L, Robbins WD, Boussarie G, Kiszka JJ, Dagorn L, Mouillot D et al. (2019). Repeated long-range migrations of adult males in a common Indo-Pacific reef shark. Coral Reefs 38, pp. 1121–1132

Elise S, Bailly A, Urbina-Barreto I, Mou-Tham G, Chiroleu F, Vigliola L et al. [Robbins WD] (2019). An optimised passive acoustic sampling scheme to discriminate among coral reefs’ ecological states. Ecological Indicators 107,

Johnson GB, Taylor BM, Robbins WD, Franklin EC, Toonen R, Bowen B et al. (2019). Diversity and structure of parrotfish assemblages across the northern Great Barrier Reef. Diversity 11, pp.

Robbins WD, D’Cruz E, Holmes T, Kendrick A (2019). Marine park management in the Kimberley: combining traditional knowledge and western science (ABSTRACT). In AMSA 2019: Marine Science for a Blue Economy, 7-11 July 2019, Fremantle, Perth: Program Handbook

Additional Publications (30)
“In press” and draft publications, or those published while employed elsewhere.


Johnson GB, Taylor BM, Robbins WD, Franklin E, Toonen R, Bowen B and Choat JH. 2019. Diversity and structure of parrotfish assemblages across the northern Great Barrier Reef. Diversity 11(1): 14


Boussarie G, Bakker J, Wangensteen OS, Mariani S, Bonnin L, Juhel J-B, Kiszka JJ, Kulbicki M, Manel S, Robbins WD, Vigliola L and Mouillot D. 2018. Environmental DNA illuminates the dark diversity of sharks. Science Advances 4: eaap9661

Nazimi L, Robbins WD, Schilds A and Huveneers. 2018. Comparison of industry-based data to monitor white shark cage-dive tourism. Tourism Management 66: 263-273

Taylor BM, Brandl SJ, Kapur M, Robbins WD, Johnson G, Huveneers C, Renaud P and Choat JH. 2018. Bottom-up processes mediated by social systems drive demographic traits of coral-reef fishes. Ecology 99: 642–651


Castro-Sanguino C, Bozec Y-M, Dempsey A, Samaniego B, Lubarsky K, Andrews S, Komyakova V, Ortiz JC, Robbins WD, Renaud PG and Mumby PJ. 2017. Detecting conservation benefits of marine reserves on relatively undisturbed coral reefs. PLoS ONE 12(11): e0186146

Gray CA, Barnes LM, Robbins WD, Van der Meulen DE, Ochwada-Doyle FA and Kendall BW. 2017. Length-and age-based demographics of exploited populations of stout whiting, Sillago robusta. Stead, 1908. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 33: 1073-1082

Momigliano P, Harcourt R, Robbins WD, Jaiteh VF, Mahardika GN, Sembiring A and Stow A. 2017. Genetic structure and signatures of selection in grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). Heredity 119: 142-153

Robbins WD, Huveneers C, Parra GJ, Möller LM and Gillanders BM. 2017. Anthropogenic threat assessment of marine-associated fauna in Spencer Gulf, South Australia. Marine Policy 81: 392-400


Robbins WD and Renaud P. 2016. Predation strategies and hunting success of the grey reef shark, Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos. Coral Reefs 35(1): 253-260


Brandl S, Robbins WD and Bellwood DR. 2015. Testing the nature of ecological specialization in a coral reef fish community: Morphology, diet, and foraging microhabitat use. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282: 2015114

Momigliano P, Harcourt R, Robbins WD and Stow A. 2015. Connectivity in grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) determined using empirical and simulated genetic data. Scientific Reports 5: 13229: 1-9

Robbins R, Enarson M, Bradford R, Robbins WD and Fox A. 2015. Residency and local connectivity of white sharks at Liguanea Island: A second aggregation site in South Australia? The Open Fish Science Journal 8: 23-29


Gray CA, Barnes LM, Ochwada-Doyle FA, Van der Meulen DE, Kendall BW and Robbins WD. 2014. Age, growth and demographic characteristics of Sillago flindersi exploited in a multi-species trawl fishery. Fisheries Science 80: 915-924

Gray CA, Barnes LM, Van der Meulen DE, Kendall BW, Ochwada-Doyle FA and Robbins WD. 2014. Depth interactions and reproductive ecology of sympatric Sillaginidae: Sillago robusta and S. flindersiiAquatic Biology 21(2): 127-142

Huveneers C and Robbins WD. 2014. Species at the intersection. In: Techera EJ, Klein N (eds) Sharks: Conservation, governance and management. Routledge, Oxon. 236-260

Momigliano P, Robbins WD, Gardner M and Stow A. 2014.Characterisation of 15 novel microsatellite loci for the grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). Conservation Genetic Resources 6(3): 661-663

Robbins WD, Peddemors VM, Kennelly SK and Ives, MC. 2014. An experimental evaluation of shark detection rates by aerial observers. PLoS One 9(2): e83456


Robbins WD, Peddemors VM, Broadhurst M and Gray CA. 2013. Hooked on fishing? Recreational angling interactions with the Critically Endangered grey nurse shark, Carcharias taurus in eastern Australia. Endangered Species Research 21: 161-170

Stewart J, Robbins WD, Rowling K, Hegarty A and Gould A. 2013. A multifaceted approach to modelling growth of the Australian bonito, Sarda australis (Family Scombridae), with some observations on its reproductive biology. Marine and Freshwater Research 64: 671-678

Wheeler S, Robbins WD and McIlwain J. 2013. Reef sharks clean up with a novel inshore mutualistic interaction. Coral Reefs 32(4): 108


Whitney NM, Robbins WD, Schultz JK, Bowen BW and Holland KN. 2012. Oceanic dispersal in a sedentary reef shark (Triaenodon obesus): Genetic evidence for extensive connectivity without a pelagic larval stage. Journal of Biogeography 39(6): 1144-1156


Hisano M, Connolly SR and Robbins WD. 2011. Population growth rates of reef sharks with and without fishing on the Great Barrier Reef: Robust estimation with multiple models. PLoS One 6(9): e25028

Reid DD, Robbins WD and Peddemors VM. 2011. Decadal trends in shark catches and effort from the New South Wales, Australia Shark Meshing Program 1950 to 2010. Marine and Freshwater Research 62(6): 676-693

Robbins WD, Peddemors VM and Kennelly SJ. 2011. Assessment of permanent magnets and electropositive metals to reduce the line-based capture of Galapagos sharks, Carcharhinus galapagensis. Fisheries Research 109: 100-106


Hernaman V, Probert K and Robbins WD. 2009. Trophic ecology of coral reef gobies: interspecific, ontogenetic, and seasonal comparison of diet and feeding intensity. Marine Biology 156(3): 317-330


Hobbs JP, Choat JH, Robbins WD, Ayling AM, van Herwerden L and Feary D. 2008. Unique fish assemblages at world's southernmost oceanic coral reefs, Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, Tasman Sea, Australia. Coral Reefs 27(1): 15


Robbins WD, Hisano M, Connolly S and Choat JH. 2006. Ongoing collapse of coral reef shark populations. Current Biology 16: 2314-2319

Robbins WD. 2006. Evaluation of two underwater biopsy probes for in situ collection of shark tissue samples. Marine Ecology Progress Series 310: 213-217


Choat JH, Robbins WD and Clements KD. 2004. The trophic status of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs II: Food processing modes and trophodynamics. Marine Biology 145(3): 445-454


Choat JH, Clements KD and Robbins WD. 2002. The trophic status of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs I: Dietary analyses. Marine Biology 140(3): 613-623