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ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au

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Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas


PhD candidate


Research Assistant, James Cook University (2018 - 2019 and 2022 - present)
Assistant Research Fellow, University of Otago (2017)
Laboratory Demonstrator, University of Otago (2016)


B.Sc. (Hons) with First Class in Neuroscience, University of Otago, New Zealand | B.Sc. Zoology and Neuroscience, University of Otago, New Zealand.


James Cook University



+61 (0)7 4781 5350



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Research Interests:

I am a PhD student investigating the affects of elevated carbon dioxide levels on the nervous system of a cephalopod. My research uses pharmacological and molecular techniques to investigate the neurobiological impacts of ocean acidification, and to determine the mechanistic neurobiological underpinnings of biological responses to elevated seawater carbon dioxide levels in a marine invertebrate. To do this, I used a cephalopod mollusc, the two-toned pygmy squid Idiosepius pygmaeus. I am supervised by Prof. Philip Munday and Dr Sue-Ann Watson. My previous research has focused on the neuroendocrine regulatory mechanisms and molecular mechanisms underlying female to male sex change in sequentially hermaphroditic fish. Broadly, I am interested in the intersection of neuroscience and zoology, and the role of the brain in behaviour and phenotypic plasticity.

Project Title and Description:

The neurobiological effects of ocean acidification on a cephalopod.

Selected publications:

Goikoetxea A, Todd EV, Muncaster S, Lokman PM, Thomas JT, Robertson HA, De Farias e Moraes CE, Gemmell NJ (2022). Effects of cortisol on female-to-male sex change in a wrasse. PLoS ONE 17, e0273779. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0273779

Thomas JT, Spady BL, Munday PL and Watson S-A (2021). The role of ligand-gated chloride channels in behavioural alterations at elevated CO2 in a cephalopod. Journal of Experimental Biology 224, jeb242335. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.242335

Thomas JT, Munday PL, Watson, S-A (2020). Toward a mechanistic understanding of marine invertebrate behaviour at elevated CO2. Frontiers in Marine Science 7, 345. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00345

Thomas JT, Todd EV, Muncaster S, Lokman PM, Damsteegt EL, Liu H, Soyano K, Gléonnec F, Lamm MS, Godwin JR, Gemmell NJ (2019)Conservation and diversity in expression of candidate genes regulating socially-induced female-male sex change in wrassesPeerJ 7, e7032. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7032

Thomas JT, Liu H, Todd EV, Gemmell NJ (2018). Sex Change in Fish. In M. K. Skinner (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Reproduction. vol. 6, pp. 192–197. Academic Press: Elsevier. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-809633-8.20555-4

Todd EV, Liu H, Lamm MS, Rutherford K, Godwin JR, Thomas JT, Gemmell NJ (2017). Female mimicry by sneaker males has a transcriptomic signature in both the brain and gonad in a sex changing fish. Molecular Biology and Evolution 35, 225 – 241. https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msx293

Scientific Presentations:

Invited Seminar:

Thomas JT (2022). The neurobiological effects of ocean acidification on a cephalopod. Okinawa Institute of Science of Technology, Okinawa, Japan. 9 August 2022. Link to talk

Conference Talks:

Thomas JT, Watson S-A, Huerlimann R, Schunter C, Spady B, Ravasi T, Munday PL (2021). Neurobiological mechanisms underpinning behavioural responses to elevated CO2 in a cephalopod. International Congress of Neuroethology 2022. Lisbon, Portugal

Thomas JT, Huerlimann R, Schunter C, Ryu T, Watson S-A, Munday, PL and Ravasi T (2021). Transcriptomic and behavioural responses of a cephalopod to elevated CO2 . Physiomar and ANZMBS 2021. Online.

Thomas JT, Spady B, Munday P, Watson SA  (2021). The role of ionotropic receptors in behavioural alterations at elevated CO2 in a cephalopod. The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. Online.

Thomas JT, Spady B, Munday P, Watson SA,  (2019). The neurobiological mechanisms underlying cephalopod behavioural change at elevated CO2 levels. Coral Reef Virtual Symposium 2020. Online. Link to talk

Thomas JT, Todd EV, Liu H, Lamm MS, Rutherford K, Godwin JR, Lokman PR and Gemmell NJ (2016). Investigating potential early  regulators of teleost sex change: A candidate gene approach in the bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum). 5th Australian Sex Summit, Lancefielld, Victoria, Australia.

Conference Posters:

Thomas JT, Spady B, Munday PL, Watson SA (2020). The role of ionotropic receptors in behavioural alterations at elevated CO2 in a cephalopod. Cephalopod Research 2020 Virtual Event, Online Poster Session. Link to poster

Thomas JT, Spady B, Watson SA, Munday PL (2020). The neurobiological mechanisms underlying cephalopod behavioural change at elevated CO2. International Behavioural Neuroscience Society, Online Poster Session. Link to poster

Thomas JT, Watson SA, Munday P (2019). Cephalopod behaviour at near-future carbon dioxide levels. Poster. International Behavioural Neuroscience Society 28th Annual Meeting, Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Link to poster

Thomas JT, Todd EV, Liu H, Lamm MS, Godwin JR, Muncaster S, Lokman PM and Gemmell NJ (2017). Early genetic regulators of sex change in fish. Poster. Annual Conference of the Genetics Society of Australasia with the NZ Society For Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Dunedin, New Zealand. Link to poster

Awards and Grants:

Best Student Oral Presentation: Physiomar International Conference (2021)

Three minute thesis semi-finalist: Asia-Pacific (2021)

Thee minute thesis winner: James Cook University finals (2021)

Three minute thesis winner: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (2021)

David Yellowlees Excellence in Research Award (2020)

The Company of Biologists Travelling Fellowship (Journal of Experimental Biology) (2020)

Prestige Research Training Program Stipend, James Cook University (2018)

Runner up at the Otago Medical School Research Society, Summer Student Speaker Awards (2017)

First Prize for oral presentation, Zoology Postgraduate Symposium, University of Otago (2016)

Department of Anatomy, University of Otago Travel Fund (2016)

University of Otago Neuroscience Prize (2016)

Summer Research Scholarship, Health Science, University of Otago (2016)

Premiere Undergraduate Prize (Science), University of Otago (2015)

GH Satchell Prize, General Excellence in Zoology, University of Otago (2015)

University of Otago Women’s Scholarship (2014)

Summer Reserarch Scholarship, Marine Institue of the University of Auckland (2014)

University of Otago Scholarship in Science (2013)

The University of Otago Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship (2012)

In the Media:

Discover JCU Science. ‘CO2 and the ink-credible squid brain’. (14 March 2022). Interview with Jodi Thomas about her PhD research. Link to article

Townsville Bulletin. ‘Research into squid no game for student’. (24 November 2021). Interview with Jodi Thomas about her PhD research.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies blog post. ‘What underlies CO2-induced behavioural changes in squid?’ (14 July 2021). Blog post about Jodi Thomas’ newly published article. Link to post

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Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au