People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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Peter Doll

Peter Doll

PhD candidate

Bachelor of Science, JCU (2017); B. Sc. Honours (I), JCU (2018)

James Cook University


Peter grew up in the Bavarian Alps and, after leaving the mountains behind in quest of coral reefs, attained a Bachelor of Science with Honours (Class I) from JCU in 2018. As part of his honours research, he examined habitat specialisation and consequences of habitat loss for cryptobenthic coral reef fishes in Papua New Guinea with Prof. Geoffrey Jones and Prof. Philip Munday. As a full-time research assistant at the ARC CoE in 2019-20, he was working on a broad range of research topics including the biology and ecology of the corallivorous crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS). In 2020, Peter commenced his PhD research at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, investigating larval settlement in CoTS, advised by Prof. Morgan Pratchett, Dr. Ciemon Caballes, Dr. Sven Uthicke (AIMS), Jason Doyle (AIMS) and Prof. Andrew Hoey. Using experimental and molecular-based field-sampling approaches, this project examines settlement induction by chemical cues associated with conspecifics and coralline algae, spatiotemporal settlement patterns in the field and their ecological drivers. This work aims to significantly improve the ecological underpinning for CoTS management by identifying key factors promoting the incidence and spread of their destructive population irruptions. Peter serves on the AMSA-NQ committee and the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (ARC CoE).


Publications (2021 – late 2022):


Doll PC, Caballes CF, Hoey AS, Uthicke S, Ling SD, Pratchett MS.  2022. Larval settlement in echinoderms: a review of processes and patterns.  Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review   60: 433-494. http://dx.doi.org/10.1201/9781003288602-9

Lang BJ, Caballes CF, Uthicke S, Doll PC, Donelson JM, Pratchett MS. 2022. Impacts of ocean warming on the settlement success and post-settlement survival of Pacific crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris).  Coral Reefs   41: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-022-02314-y

Pratchett MS, Caballes CF, Burn D, Doll PC, Chandler JF, Doyle JR, Uthicke S.  2022. Scooter-assisted large area diver-based (SALAD) visual surveys to test for renewed outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris) in the northern Great Barrier Reef. A report to the Australian Government by the COTS Control Innovation Program.

Lang BJ, Donelson JM, Caballes CF, Uthicke S, Doll PC, Pratchett MS.  2022. Effects of elevated temperature on the performance and survival of pacific crown‑of‑thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris)Marine Biology   169: 43.


Doll PC, Messmer V, Uthicke S, Doyle JR, Caballes CF, Pratchett MS.  2021. DNA-based detection and patterns of larval settlement of the corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea star (Acanthaster sp.).  The Biological Bulletin   241: 271-285.

Doll PC, Munday PL, Bonin MC, Jones GP.  2021. Habitat specialisation and overlap in coral reef gobies of the genus Eviota (Teleostei: Gobiidae).  Marine Ecology Progress Series   677: 81-94.

Pratchett MS, Caballes CF, Cvitanovic C, Raymundo ML, Babcock RC, Bonin MC.. Doll PC et al.  2021. Knowledge gaps in the biology, ecology and management of the Pacific crown-of-thorns sea star, Acanthaster sp., on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.  The Biological Bulletin   241: 330-346.

Hoey AS, Harrison HB, McClure EC, Burn D, Barnett A, Cresswell B, Doll PC, Galbraith G, Pratchett MS.  2021. Coral Sea Marine Park Coral Reef Health Survey 2021. Report prepared for Parks Australia.

Lang BJ, Donelson JM, Caballes CF, Doll PC, Pratchett MS.  2021. Metabolic responses of Pacific crown-of-thorns sea stars (Acathaster sp.) to Acute Warming.  The Biological Bulletin   241: 347-358.

Thompson CA, Hoey AS, Montanari SR, Messmer V, Doll PC, Pratchett MS.  2021. Territoriality and condition of Chevron Butterflyfish (Chaetodon trifascialis) with varying coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Environmental Biology of Fishes   104: 53–69.

Awards (as of late 2022):

2022  Allen Award (AMSA)

2022  ACRS Research Award

2022  David Yellowlees Excellence in Research Award (ARC CoE JCU)

2022  AMSA-NQ Conference Award

2022  ARC CoE JCU Top up Scholarship

2020  James Cook University Postgraduate Research Scholarship

2018  University Academic Medal (JCU)


Australian Research Council Pandora

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Coral Reef Studies