Professor Philip Munday

ARC QEII Fellow and Professorial Research Fellow

Professor Philip Munday

ARC QEII Research Fellow (2008-2012)

Australian Research Fellow (2003-2007)

Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow 2003

Australian Postdoctoral Fellow (1999 – 2002)

BSc (Hons.) PhD James Cook University

Member of: Australian Coral Reef Society, International Coral Reef Society, Australian Marine Science Association, Ecological Society of America.

Contact Details




+61 7 4781 5341


Research Interests

  • Impact of climate change on reef fishes

  • Acclimation and adaptation to a changing environment

  • Role of habitat in structuring fish communities

  • Labile sex allocation in fish

I have broad interests in the population, community and behavioural ecology of reef fishes. My research currently focuses on understanding and predicting the impacts that climate change 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 experiments I am investigating the effects of climate change on reef fish populations and testing their capacity for acclimation and adaptation to a rapidly changing environment. My research group are leaders in understanding and predicting the effects of ocean acidification on marine fishes.

I have also conducted extensive research on the role of habitat in structuring reef fish communities, from the scale of individual coral colonies up to whole ocean basins. I have students working on a wide range of projects related to fish-habitat associations.

My other major research interest is the ecology and evolution of labile sex allocation in fishes.

Research Projects Currently or Recently Supervised

  • Thermal adaptation and acclimation in reef fishes

  • Effect of ocean acidification on behaviour and habitat selection of reef fishes

  • Effect of global warming and ocean acidification on early life history traits of reef fishes

  • Effect of habitat degradation on recruitment and community structure of reef fishes

  • Role of habitat diversity in maintaining reef fish diversity

Selected Publications

Full Publication List

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.

Ferrari, M.C.O., McCormick, M.I., Munday, P.L., Meekan, M., Dixson, D.L., Lonnstedt, O., Chivers, D. (2011). Putting prey and predator into the CO2 equation: qualitative and quantitative effects of ocean acidification on predator-prey interactions. Ecology Letters, 14: 1143-1148.

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.

Gardiner N.M., Munday P.L., Nilsson G.E. (2010). Counter-gradient variation in respiratory performance of coral reef fishes at elevated temperatures. PLoS One, 5: e13299. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013299

Donelson J.M., Munday P.L., McCormick M.I., Pankhurst N.W., 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: 233-243.

Munday, P.L., Cheal, A.J., Graham, N.A.J., Meekan, M., Pratchett, M.S., Sheaves, M., Sweatman, H. and Wilson, S.K. (2009) Tropical Coastal Fishes and Climate Change. In: A Marine Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Report Card for Australia 2009 (Eds. E.S. Poloczanska, A.J. Hobday and A.J. Richardson), NCCARF Publication 05/09, ISBN 978-1-921609-03-9.

Bonin, M.C., Munday, P.L., McCormick, M.I., Srinivasan, M. and Jones, G.P. (2009). Recruitment and persistence of coral-dwelling fishes is resilient to bleaching but not mortality of host corals. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 394: 215-222.

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., 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., Crawley, N. and Nilsson G.E. (2009). Interacting effects of elevated temperature and ocean acidification on the aerobic performance of coral reef fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 388: 235-242.

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.

Nilsson G.E., Crawley N., Lunde I.G. and Munday P.L. (2009). Elevated temperature reduces the respiratory scope of coral reef fishes. Global Change Biology, 15: 1405-1412.