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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Philip Munday

Philip Munday

Emeritus Professor

ARC Future Fellow (Tier 3) (2014-2017); QEII Research Fellow (2008 -2013); Australian Research Fellow (2003-2007); Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow 2003; Australian Postdoctoral Fellow (1999 – 2002).

BSc (Hons.) PhD (Cum Laude) James Cook University

Australian Coral Reef Society, International Coral Reef Society, Australian Marine Science Association

James Cook University

ARC Future Fellow (Tier 3) (2014-2017)

QEII Research Fellow (2008 -2013)

Australian Research Fellow (2003-2007)

Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow (2003-2004)

Australian Postdoctoral Fellow (1999 – 2002)

Research Interests

I have broad interests in the population, community and behavioural ecology of reef fishes. My research group focuses on understanding and predicting the impacts that climate change and ocean acidification will have on populations and communities of marine fishes, both directly through changes in the physical environment and indirectly through effects on coral reef habitat. Using a range of laboratory and field-based experiments we are investigating the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on reef fish populations and testing their capacity for acclimation and adaptation to a rapidly changing environment. A major research focus is understanding how exposure to higher temperatures and carbon dioxide levels in one generation affects the ability of subsequent generations of fish to tolerate these conditions (transgenerational plasticity).

Selected Publications

Nagelkerken, I. and Munday, P.L. (2016). Animal behaviour shapes the ecological effects of ocean acidification and warming: moving from individual to community-level responses. Global Change Biology, 22, 974-989.

Veilleux, H.D., Ryu, T., Donelson, J.M., van Herwerden, L., Seridi, L., Ghosheh, Y., Berumen, M.L., Leggat, W., Ravasi, T., Munday, P.L. (2015). Molecular processes of transgenerational acclimation to a warming ocean. Nature Climate Change, 5: 1074-1078.

Donelson, J.D. and Munday, P.L (2015). Transgenerational plasticity mitigates the impact of global warming to offspring sex ratios. Global Change Biology, 21: 2954-2962.

Munday, P.L. (2014). Transgenerational acclimation of fishes to climate change and ocean acidification. F1000Prime Reports, 6:99, doi:10.12703/P6-99.

Welch, J.M., Watson, S.A., Welsh, J.Q., McCormick, M.I., Munday, P.L. (2014). Effects of elevated CO2 on fish behaviour undiminished by transgenerational acclimation. Nature Climate Change, 4: 1086-1089.

Munday, P.L., Cheal, A.J., Dixson, D.L., Rummer, J.L., Fabricius, K.E. (2014). Behavioural impairment in reef fishes caused by ocean acidification at CO2 seeps. Nature Climate Change, 4: 487-492.

Sunday, J.M., Calosi, P., Dupont, S., Munday, P.L., Stillman, J.H., Reusch, T.B.H. (2014). Evolution in an acidifying ocean. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 29: 117-125.

Allan, B.J.M., Miller, G.M., McCormick, M.I., Domenici, P., Munday, P.L. (2014). Parental effects improve escape performance of juvenile reef fish in a high CO2 world. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B, 281: 20132179.

Watson, S.-A., Lefevre, S., McCormick, M.I., Domenici, P., Nilsson, G.E. & Munday, P.L. (2014). Marine mollusc predator-escape behaviour altered by near-future carbon dioxide levels. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 281: 20132377.

Munday, P.L., Warner, R.R., Munro, K, Pandolfi, J.M., Marshall, D.J. (2013). Predicting evolutionary responses to climate change in the sea. Ecology Letters, 16: 1488-1500.

McCormick, M.I., Watson, S-A., Munday, P.L. (2013). Ocean acidification reverses competition for space as habitats degrade. Scientific Reports, 3: 03280. doi:10.1038/srep03280

Leduc, A.O.H.C., Munday, P.L., Brown, G.E., Ferrari, M.C.O. (2013). Effects of acidification on olfactory-mediated behaviour in freshwater and marine fishes: a synthesis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 368: 20120447.

Miller, G.M., Watson, S-A., Donelson, J.M., McCormick, M.I., Munday, P.L. (2012). Parental environment mediates impacts of elevated CO2 on a coral reef fish. Nature Climate Change, 2: 858-861.

Nilsson, G.E, Dixson, D.L., Domenici, P., McCormick, M.I., Sørensen, C., Watson, S-A., and Munday, P.L. (2012). Near-future CO2 levels alter fish behaviour by interference with neurotransmitter function. Nature Climate Change, 2: 201-204.

Donelson, J.M., Munday, P.L., McCormick, M.I., Pitcher R.C. (2012). Rapid transgenerational acclimation of a tropical reef fish to climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2: 30-32.

Domenici, P., Allan, B., McCormick, M.I., Munday, P.L. (2012). Elevated CO2 affects behavioural lateralization in a coral reef fish. Biology Letters, 8: 78-81.

Simpson, S.D., Munday, P.L., Wittenrich, M.L., Manassa, R., Dixson, D.L., Gagliano, M., Yan, H.Y. (2011). Ocean acidification erodes crucial auditory behaviour in a marine fish. Biology Letters, 7: 917-920.

Munday, P.L., Gagliano, M., Donelson, J. M., Dixson, D.L., Thorrold, S.R. (2011). Ocean acidification does not affect the early life history development of a tropical marine fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 423: 211-221.

Donelson J.M., Munday P.L., McCormick M.I., Nilsson G.E. (2011). Acclimation to predicted ocean warming through developmental plasticity in a tropical reef fish. Global Change Biology, 17: 1712-1719.

Munday P.L., Dixson D.L., McCormick M.I., Meekan M., Ferrari M.C.O., Chivers D.P. (2010). Replenishment of fish populations is threatened by ocean acidification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 107: 12930-12934.

Dixson D.L., Munday P.L., Jones G.P. (2010). Ocean acidification disrupts the innate ability of fish to detect predator olfactory cues. Ecology Letters, 13: 68-75.

Munday, P.L., Dixson, D.L., Donelson, J.M., Jones, G.P., Pratchett, M.S., Devitsina, G.V. and Døving, K.B. (2009). Ocean acidification impairs olfactory discrimination and homing ability of a marine fish. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 106: 1848-1852.

Munday, P.L., Leis, J.M., Lough, J.M., Paris, C.B., Kingsford M.J., Berumen, M.L. and Lambrechts, J. (2009). Climate change and coral reef connectivity. Coral Reefs 28: 379-395.

Munday, P.L., Donelson, J.M., Dixson D.L. and Endo, G.G.K. (2009). Effects of ocean acidification on the early life history of a tropical marine fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B. 276: 3275-3283.

Munday, P.L., Jones, G.P., Pratchett, M.S. and Williams, A.J. (2008). Climate change and the future for coral reef fishes. Fish and Fisheries 9: 261-285.

Pratchett, M.S., Munday, P.L., Wilson, S.K., Graham, N.A.J., Cinner, J.E., Bellwood, D.R., Jones, G.P., Polunin, N.V.C. and McClanahan, T.R. (2008). Effects of climate-induced coral bleaching on coral-reef fishes: ecological and economic consequences. Oceanography and Marine Biology Annual Review 46: 251-296.

Wong, MYL, Buston, PM, Munday, PL and Jones, GP (2007). The threat of punishment enforces peaceful cooperation and stabilizes queues in a coral-reef fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 274: 1093-1099.

Munday, P.L., Buston, P.M. and Warner, R.R. (2006). Diversity and flexibility of sex-change strategies in animals.Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 21: 89-95.

Publications online


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