Scientists in north Queensland will be able to continue working with one of the nation’s greatest natural assets with a new round of funding grants.

James Cook University researchers have received $4.3 million from the Australian Research Council for a range of projects. The university says it will commit almost a quarter of the funds to ongoing studies of the Great Barrier Reef, including gauging the effects of ocean acidification and other destructive elements.

One project will see JCU Professor Philip Munday lead a team to research what effects increased carbon dioxide levels will have on reef fish, and how they might adapt.

Funds will be used to combat the continuing plague of crown-of-thorns starfish, which strangle other life on large sections of the ocean wonder.

The University will also seek ways of increasing control of barramundi reproduction in fish farms.

Local federal MP Ewen Jones welcomed the injection of research funds into JCU, saying it is vital for the development of northern Australia.