Full contact details
Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University
Townsville QLD 4811
Office: Building DB-32 Room 118
Phone: +61 (0)7 4781 6291
Dr Jennifer Donelson is a marine ecologist currently an ARC Future Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies located at James Cook University in Townsville. Her research focuses on the capacity of marine fish to cope in the face of changing environmental conditions through acclimation and adaptation. Jennifer completed her PhD in 2012 at James Cook University, before undertaking a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney from 2013-2016. She then returned to James cook University in 2016 to undertake a collaborative fellowship between King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Saudi Arabia and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
I have broad interests in the ecology and early life history of marine fishes, as well as the potential for animals to cope with future climate change. My research to date has focused on the ecological impacts of climate change to marine fishes and the potential for species to acclimate to the predicted environmental changes. To tackle these questions I use temperature controlled aquarium systems to maintain fish under elevated temperatures for years and generations to test the longer term impacts of warming ocean on marine fish. I utilize state of the art aquariums systems at both Sydney Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University to test the impacts of elevated sea water temperature.
My research concentrates on understanding the importance and prevalence of developmental plasticity, when fish experience warmer conditions in the first months of life, as well as the potential for acclimation across generations, when parents and grandparents are kept under elevated temperature conditions for their entire life. My continuing research will expand our knowledge of how marine fishes throughout Eastern Australia (temperate to tropical) may cope with climate change through both developmental and transgenerational acclimation.
Current projects and research topics
- Phenotypic and adaptive responses to environmental change.
- Transcriptional program and the epigenome of transgenerational acclimation to climate change in reef fishes to climate change in reef fishes.
- Exploring the nexus between behaviour and physiology of coral reef fishes in a warming world.
- The influence of previous environmental conditions to adaptation and adaptive capacity.
- Investigating capacity for phenotypic plasticity of marine fish to future environmental change.
Personal web page
JCU Research portfolio
See Google Scholar page for a full and up to date list.
- SJ McMahon, DM Parsons, JM Donelson, SMJ Pether, PL Munday (2020) Elevated temperature and CO2 have positive effects on the growth and survival of larval Australasian snapper. Marine Environmental Research, 105054. (doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2020.105054)
- Ryu T, Veilleux HD, Munday PL, Jung I, Donelson JM, and Ravasi T (2020) An epigenetic signature for within-generational plasticity of a reef fish to ocean warming. Frontiers in Marine Biology 7:284 (doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00284)
- Liss K, Lopez LK, Donelson JM and Wong MYL (2020) A hidden cost of stability: predator-prey interactions and metabolic rates are altered under various levels of hierarchy stability in a social fish. Oikos 129:842-852 (doi: 10.1111/oik.06690)
- McMahon SJ, Parsons D, Donelson JM, Pether S, Munday PL (2020) Elevated CO2 and heatwave conditions affect the aerobic and swimming performance of juvenile Australasian snapper. Marine Biology 167:6 (doi:10.1007/s0022 7-019-3614-1)
- McMahon SJ, Munday PL, Wong MYL, Donelson JM (2019) Elevated CO2 and food ration affect growth but not the size based hierarchy of a reef fish. Scientific Reports 9:19706 (doi:10.1038/s41598-019-56002-z)
- Donelson, JM, Jennifer M. Sunday JM, Figueira WF, Gaitan-Espitia JD, Hobday AJ, Johnson CR, Leis JM, Ling S, Marshall D, Pandolfi JM, Pecl G, Rodgers GG, Booth DJ and Munday PL (2019) Understanding interactions between plasticity, adaptation and range shifts in response to marine environmental change. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 374: 20180186 (doi: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0186)
- Fox, RJ, Donelson, JM, Schunter, C, Ravasi, T, Gaita´n-Espitia, JD (2019) Beyond buying time: the role of plasticity in phenotypic adaptation to rapid environmental change. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 374: 20180174 (doi: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0174)
- Spinks R, Munday PL, Donelson JM (2019) Developmental effects of heatwave conditions on the early life of a coral reef fish. J Exp Biol. 222: jeb202713 (doi:10.1242/jeb.202713)
- Djurichkovic LD, Donelson JM, Fowler A, Feary D, Booth DJ (2019) The effects of water temperature on the juvenile performance of two tropical damselfishes expatriating to temperate reefs. Scientific Reports 9: 13937 (doi:10.1038/s41598-019-50303-z)
- Bernal MA, Donelson JM, Veilleux HD, Ryu T, Munday PL, Ravasi T (2018) Phenotypic and molecular consequences of step-wise temperature increase across generations in a coral reef fish. Molecular Ecology 27: 4516-4528 (doi: 10.1111/mec.14884)
- Veilleux HD, Ryu T, Donelson JM, Ravasi T, Munday PL (2018) Molecular response to extreme summer temperatures differs between two locally adapted populations of a coral reef fish. Frontiers in Marine Science 5: 349 (doi: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00349)
- Ryu T, Veilleux H, Donelson JM, Munday PL, Ravasi T (2018) The epigenetic landscape of transgenerational acclimation to ocean warming. Nature Climate Change 8: 504-509 (doi: 10.1038/s41558-018-0159-0)
- Matis PA, Donelson JM, Bush S, Fox RJ, Booth DJ (2018) The influence of temperature on the habitat preference of coral reef fishes. Global Change Biology 24: 3158-3169 (doi: 10.1111/gcb.14016)
- Rodgers G, Donelson JM, McCormick MI, Munday PL (2018) In hot water: Sustained ocean warming affects survival of a low-latitude coral reef fish. Marine Biology 165: 73 (doi: 10.1007/s00227-018-3333-z)
- Smith SM, Fox RJ, Booth DJ, Donelson JM (2018) ‘Stick with your own kind, or hang with the locals?’ Implications of shoaling strategy for tropical reef fish on a range-expansion frontline. Global Change Biology 24: 1663-1672 (doi: 10.1111/gcb.14016)
- JM Donelson, S Salinas, PL Munday, LNS Shama (2018) Transgenerational plasticity and climate change experiments: Where do we go from here? Global Change Biology 24: 13-34 (doi: 10.1111/gcb.13903)
- G Torda, JM Donelson et al. (2017) Rapid adaptive responses to climate change in corals. Nature Climate Change 7, 627-636 (doi: 10.1038/nclimate3374)
- DT Warren, JM Donelson, MI McCormick (2017) Extended exposure to elevated temperature affects escape response behaviour in coral reef fishes. Peer J 5:e3652 (doi: 10.7717/peerj.3652)
- DT Warren, JM Donelson, MI McCormick, MCO Ferrari, PL Munday (2016) Duration of Exposure to Elevated Temperature Affects Competitive Interactions in Juvenile Reef Fishes. PloS One 11 (10), e0164505 (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164505)
- Rodgers, G.G., Donelson, J.M., and Munday, P.L. (2017) Thermosensitive period of sex determination in the coral-reef damselfish Acanthochromis polyacanthus and the implications of projected ocean warming. Coral Reefs, 36 (1). pp. 131-138.
- Motson, K., and Donelson, J.M. (2017) Limited capacity for developmental thermal acclimation in three tropical wrasses. Coral Reefs, 36: 609-621
- Donelson, Jennifer M., Wong, Marian, Booth, David J., and Munday, Philip L. (2016) Transgenerational plasticity of reproduction depends on rate of warming across generations. Evolutionary Applications, 9 (9). pp. 1072-1081.
- Smith, Shannen M., Fox, Rebecca J., Donelson, Jennifer M., Head, Megan L., and Booth, David J. (2016) Predicting range-shift success potential for tropical marine fishes using external morphology. Biology Letters, 12 (9). pp. 1-5.
- Munday, Philip L., Donelson, Jennifer M., and Domingos, Jose A. (2016) Potential for adaptation to climate change in a coral reef fish. Global Change Biology, 23 (1). pp. 307-317.
- Donelson, Jennifer M. (2015) Development in a warm future ocean may enhance performance in some species. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 472. pp. 119-125.
- Veilleux, Heather D., Ryu, Taewoo, Donelson, Jennifer M., Van Herwerden, Lynne, Seridi, Loqmane, Ghosheh, Yanal, Berumen, Michael L., Leggat, William, Ravasi, Timothy, and Munday, Philip L. (2015) Molecular processes of transgenerational acclimation to a warming ocean. Nature Climate Change, 5. pp. 1074-1078.
- Donelson, Jennifer M., and Munday, Philip L. (2015) Transgenerational plasticity mitigates the impact of global warming to offspring sex ratios. Global Change Biology, 21(8). pp. 2954-2962.
- Donelson, Jennifer M., McCormick, Mark I., Booth, David J., and Munday, Philip L. (2014) Reproductive acclimation to increased water temperature in a tropical reef fish.PLoS ONE, 9 (5). pp. 1-9.
- Grenchik, M.K., Donelson, J.M., and Munday, P.L. (2013) Evidence for developmental thermal acclimation in the damselfish, Pomacentrus moluccensis. Coral Reefs, 32(1). pp. 85-90.
- Donelson, Jennifer, Munday, Philip, McCormick, Mark, and Pitcher, C.R. (2012) Rapid transgenerational acclimation of a tropical reef fish to climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2. pp. 30-32.
- Donelson, J.M., Munday, P.L., and McCormick, M.I. (2012) Climate change may affect fish through an interaction of parental and juvenile environments. Coral Reefs, 31(3). pp. 753-762.
- Miller, Gabrielle M., Watson, Sue-Ann, Donelson, Jennifer M., McCormick, Mark I., and Munday, Philip L. (2012) Parental environment mediates impacts of increased carbon dioxide on a coral reef fish. Nature Climate Change, 2. pp. 858-861.
- Donelson, Jennifer M., and Munday, Philip L. (2012) Thermal sensitivity does not determine acclimation capacity for a tropical reef fish. Journal of Animal Ecology, 81 (5). pp. 1126-1131.
- Donelson, Jennifer M., Munday, Philip, Mccormick, Mark I., and Nilsson, Göran E. (2011) Acclimation to predicted ocean warming through developmental plasticity in a tropical reef fish. Global Change Biology, 17 (4). pp. 1712-1719.
- Donelson, J.M., Munday, P.L., McCormick, M.I., Pankhurst, N.W., and Pankhurst, P.M. (2010) Effects of elevated water temperature and food availability on the reproductive performance of a coral reef fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 401. pp. 233-243.