About

Prof Morgan Pratchett has broad interests in population and community ecology of coral reef organisms, especially corals and fishes. His current research focuses on major disturbances that impact coral reef ecosystems, with a view to understanding differential responses and vulnerabilities among coral reef organisms.

Morgan has written many papers describing direct and indirect effects of coral bleaching and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, considering impacts on both coral assemblages and associated assemblages of coral reef fishes. He has also conducted extensive research on the biology and ecology of coral reef butterflyfishes.

Teaching
  • MB3190: Coral Reef Ecology (Level 3; TSV)
  • MB5190: Coral Reef Ecology (Level 5; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Impacts of climate change on coral reef ecosystems
  • Population outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish
  • Population dynamics of scleractinian corals
  • Ecological versatility in coral reef fishes
  • Biology and ecology of butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae)
Research Disciplines
Honours
Fellowships
  • 2012 - Queensland Smart Futures Fellowship
  • 2011 - ACU Titular Fellowship, University of Oxford
  • 2008 - Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship, American Australian Association
  • 2008 - Sir John and Laurine Proud Research Fellowship, Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation
  • 2008 - Churchill Fellowship, University of Newcastle, UK
Memberships
  • Australian Coral Reef Society
  • Fisheries Society of the British Isles
  • Recording Secretary for International Coral Reef Society
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 305+ research outputs authored by Prof Morgan Pratchett from 1999 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Crown-of-Thorns Control Innovation Program (CCIP)

CCIP-M-01 ? Project management

Indicative Funding
$60,000 over 3 years
Summary
This project provides for the Program Director and Subprogram Leads to drive progress in research delivery, with a strong focus on ensuring that identified synergies across projects in the program are realised. This technical leadership group will also focus on translating the research into tangible and actionable COTS management outcomes through annual `Innovation to Implementation? workshops that bring together researchers and end-users to map out pathways for trailing and integration of CCIP research in the on-water COTS Control Program.
Investigators
Morgan Pratchett and Mary Bonin (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Great Barrier Reef Foundation)
Keywords
Coral Reefs; Crown-of-thorns starfish; Management; Disturbance; Outbreaks; monitering

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Crown-of-Thorns Control Innovation Program (CCIP)

Pre-outbreak monitoring of the density, distribution and size-structure of crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS) in the Great Barrier Reef

Indicative Funding
$441,100 over 3 years
Summary
This project will conduct annual field surveys (diver-based and eDNA) across reefs in the primary outbreak initiation region to reveal how the density, distribution and size-structure of COTS populations changes, providing field data to inform early warning and response in the lead up to the 2025 outbreak.
Investigators
Morgan Pratchett, Ciemon Caballes, Sven Uthicke and Jason Doyle (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Keywords
Coral Reef; Management; Disturbance; Outbreak; Monitoring; Crown-of-thorns starfish

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Queensland's Commercial and Charter Fishing Grants 2021

QCCFG-2021-012 Biomass estimates for Trachyphyllia geoffroyi and other co-occuring species of heavily harvested aquarium corals

Indicative Funding
$49,998 over 2 years, in partnership with Pro-vision Reef Inc. ($25,000)
Summary
Trachyphyllia geoffroyi is one of the foremost coral species harvested by the QCF, and among a handful of corals (so called ?driver ?species) considered critical for the viability of this industry. Given its wide distribution and often high abundance, Trachyphyllia geoffroyi is also considered fundamental in sustaining future growth in this industry. However, this is yet to be verified. The overarching objective of this project is to establishing biomass-based sustainable harvest limits for Trachyphyllia geoffroyi. This requires three distinct components: i) Field-based surveys to establish the distribution, abundance and size-structure of Trachyphyllia geoffroyi on the Great Barrier Reef, ii) Independent estimates growth of Trachyphyllia geoffroyi, necessary to anchor models of population dynamics, and iii) Population modelling to derive key demographic rates, especially settlement and mortality
Investigators
Morgan Pratchett, Ciemon Caballes and Kai Pacey (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Keywords
Coral Reefs; Harvesting; Management; Queensland Coral Fishery; Biomass; Sustainability

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Crown-of-Thorns Control Innovation Program (CCIP)

COTS Monitoring Design: sample design for science and management decisions

Indicative Funding
$14,400 over 1 year
Summary
This project uses a combination of desktop and fieldwork to characterise and measure the detection errors associated with various COTS survey tools (e.g. manta tow, glider, eDNA, scooter, cull dives) and will calibrate density estimates across these tools to enable integration of data from multiple sources and programs into COTS Control Program decision-making.
Investigators
Morgan Pratchett, Ciemon Caballes and Emma Lawrence (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Keywords
Coral Reef; crown of thorns; Management; Disturbance; Outbreaks; Monitoring

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Crown-of-Thorns Control Innovation Program (CCIP)

Quantifying predation rates on CoTS relative to fisheries management zones and corresponding differences in abundance of putative predators

Indicative Funding
$299,115 over 2 years
Summary
The purpose of this research is to quantify rates of predation on CoTS at reefs within contrasting Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) management zones. More specifically, we will quantify predation and mortality rates for CoTS, as well as differences in the abundance and composition of potential predators, between reefs where fishing is permitted (Blue zones), restricted (Yellow zones) or effectively prohibited (Green zones). The focus of this project is unequivocally on relatively large and conspicuous post-settlement life stages of CoTS (e.g., sub-adults and adults) and the relatively large predators (mainly fishes) that might be consuming them.
Investigators
Morgan Pratchett, Ciemon Caballes, Andrew Hoey, Symon Dworjanyn and Scott Ling (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Southern Cross University and University of Tasmania)
Keywords
Coral Reefs; Crown-of-thorns starfish; Zoning; Predation; Outbreaks; Marine protected areas

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Crown-of-Thorns Control Innovation Program (CCIP)

Effects of prey limitation on the collapse of CoTS populations

Indicative Funding
$160,110 over 2 years
Summary
CoTS outbreaks typically end with precipitous declines in abundance, which have been attributed to starvation following local depletion of prey resources or rapid onset of disease among high-density populations. We will examine whether abrupt declines in the abundance of CoTS can be attributed to local depletion of prey resources resulting in starvation and reduced immunity against opportunistic pathogens. The vulnerability of CoTS to starvation and susceptibility to disease will be compared between CoTS from reefs with varying levels of coral cover. Understanding the processes that contribute to the collapse of CoTS populations will provide important insights to manage ongoing outbreaks.
Investigators
Ciemon Caballes and Morgan Pratchett (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Keywords
Coral Reefs; Crown-of-thorns starfish; Pathogenesis; Population collapse; Outbreaks; Starvation

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Crown-of-Thorns Control Innovation Program (CCIP)

In situ feeding rates of crown-of-thorns starfish and fate of prey corals

Indicative Funding
$280,000 over 2 years
Summary
Accurate measurements of CoTS feeding rates are key in modelling ecological thresholds to inform CoTS management. This project aims to quantify feeding rates of CoTS in the field, to better resolve ecological impacts of CoTS on coral assemblages relative to the size and abundance of CoTS, as well as changes in prey availability and seasonal variation in temperature. This will significantly improve current models that estimate ecological thresholds used to inform surveillance (density of CoTS required to prevent further coral damage) and control (levels of culling required to ensure that coral growth outpaces CoTS feeding) activities in the GBR.
Investigators
Ciemon Caballes and Morgan Pratchett (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Keywords
Coral Reefs; Crown-of-thorns starfish; Feeding rates; Coral Mortality; Disturbance; Recovery

Department of the Environment and Energy - Director of National Parks - Tender

Coral reef research and monitoring in the Coral Sea Marine Park (CSMP).

Indicative Funding
$451,795 over 1 year
Summary
The Coral Sea Marine Park (CSMP) covers approximately 990,000 km2 and includes over 30 individual reef systems that are surrounded by deep waters. In March 2020 extensive bleaching of corals was recorded across shallow reef habitats within the CSMP. This project will use surveys of benthic, fish and invertebrate communities to assess the ongoing effects of the 2020 bleaching event on coral reefs within the CSMP.
Investigators
Andrew Hoey, Morgan Pratchett and Eva McClure (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Keywords
Coral Reef; Coral Bleaching; marine park management; Reef Fish; Coral Sea

Ian Potter Foundation - Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation - Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Research Grants

Effective sampling of Acanthaster cf. solaris to provide early-warning of new and renewed outbreaks

Indicative Funding
$62,727 over 2 years
Summary
This project aims to develop a holistic monitoring program that will not only help to deliver an early-warning syste, but will increase the viability of culling CoTS populations even during non-outbreak periods with the ultimate goal of reducing the frequency and severity of future outbreaks. Perhaps even more importantly, this project will deliver (for the first time) spatially and temporally explicit information about the structure and dynamics of crown-of-thorns starfish within the ?initiation zone? and in the lead-up to a new population irruption, which is a critical knowledge gap that limits understanding of the initiation and causes of population outbreaks.
Investigators
Morgan Pratchett, Andrew Hoey, Ciemon Caballes, Sven Uthicke and Jason Doyle in collaboration with Peter Doll and Janai Chandler (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Keywords
Coral Reefs; Disturbance; Management; Monitoring

Australian Research Council - Centres of Excellence

ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies

Indicative Funding
$28,000,000 over 8 years
Summary
The overarching aim of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies is to provide the scientific knowledge necessary for sustaining ecosystem goods and services of the world's coral reefs, which support the livelihoods and food security of millions of people in the tropics. The Centre will enhance Australia's global leadership in coral reef science through three ambitious research programs addressing the future of coral reefs and their ability to adapt to change. A key outcome of the research will be providing tangible benefits to all Australians by bui8lding bridges between the natural and social sciences, strengthening capacity, and informing and supporting transformative changes in coral reef governance and management.
Investigators
Graeme Cumming, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Malcolm McCulloch, Peter Mumby, Sean Connolly, John Pandolfi, Bob Pressey, Andrew Baird, David Bellwood, Joshua Cinner, Sophie Dove, Maja Adamska, Mia Hoogenboom, Geoff Jones, Mike Kingsford, Ryan Lowe, Mark McCormick, David Miller, Philip Munday, Morgan Pratchett, Garry Russ and Tiffany Morrison in collaboration with Janice Lough, David Wachenfeld, Stephen Palumbi, Serge Planes and Philippa Cohen (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, The University of Queensland, The University of Western Australia, College of Science & Engineering, Australian National University, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Stanford University, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and WorldFish)
Keywords
coral reef ecosystems; Climate Change Adaptation; ecological resilience; biodiversity goods and services; social-ecological dynamics

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Crown-of-Thorns Control Innovation Program (CCIP)

Crown-of-thorns starfish control innovation program ? Feasibility and Design Phase (Phase 1)

Indicative Funding
$346,700 over 1 year
Summary
Recognising that manual control of COTS during outbreaks is not, on its own, an ideal long-term solution, new efforts were launched in 2016 to develop an Integrated Pest Management approach for COTS (as part of the National Environmental Science Program), led by CSIRO and involving numerous partners. This approach relies on understanding COTS distribution, movement and population dynamics, targeting critical locations and exploring new and more effective control methods. This involves both improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the current methods while also focusing efforts to better understand and manage the pre-conditioning and initiation of outbreaks. A Feasibility and Design Phase (Phase 1) is focused on assessing the feasibility (technical, social and regulatory) and modelling the benefit (impact) at scale of a broad range of possible improvements and interventions. Applying a transparent and consistent scientific framework, this Phase will lead to recommendations on priority areas that should be further investigated and developed
Investigators
Morgan Pratchett, Damien Burrows, Ciemon Caballes, Stewart Lockie and Carla Ewels (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, College of Science & Engineering and Cairns Institute)
Keywords
Coral Reef; acanthaster spp; Management; Disturbance; Monitoring

Department of the Environment and Energy - Director of National Parks - Tender

Coral Sea Marine Park Coral Reef Health Survey (2021)

Indicative Funding
$354,402 over 1 year
Summary
The Coral Sea Marine Park (CSMP) covers approximately 990,000 km2 and includes over 30 individual reef systems that are surrounded by deep waters. In March 2020 extensive bleaching of corals was recorded across shallow reef habitats within the CSMP. This project will use surveys of benthic, fish and invertebrate communities to assess the impacts of the 2020 bleaching event on coral reefs within the CSMP.
Investigators
Andrew Hoey, Morgan Pratchett and Hugo Harrison (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Keywords
Coral Reef; Coral Bleaching; Marine Mark Management; Reef Fish; Coral
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Dynamics of Reef-building corals along the north-western Australian coastline (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Effect of Ocean Warming on the Behaviour and Fitness of Post-settlement Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris) (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Changing mesophotic nature coral of reef ecosystems fish herbivory with depth: from shallow to upper mesophotic coral ecosystems (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Macroalgal Assemblages on Coral Reefs (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Demographic and spatial patterns structuring coral populations (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Interactions between fish and coral reefs: the influence of habitat degradation on fish communities (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Establishing how the Nature of Environmental Change Influences Phenotypic and Adaptive outcomes (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Phylogenomics and Whole Genome Assembly of Marine Angelfishes: The Evolutionary History of an Iconic Reef Fish Family (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Development and Application of Novel Genetic Tools for the Investigation of Genetic Diversity and Age Structure of Crown-of-Thorns Seastar on the Great Barrier Reef (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Changes in behaviour and sociality of Chaetodon butterflyfish linked to population declines and coral loss (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Effective Sampling of Acanthaster cf.Solaris to provide early Warning of New and Renewed Outbreaks (Masters , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The Role of Hybridisation in the Evolution of Coral Reef Fishes (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Vulnerability of coral assemblages in Australia?s coral sea marine park (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Biology and Ecology of Australian Aquarium Corals: Information needed to Secure the Sustainability of ongoing Wild Harvest of Scleractinian Corals (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Habitat suitability and patterns of larval settlement for crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris) in the western Pacific (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The effects of macroalgal stands on coral demographics on the GBR (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
Completed
Data

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit Research Data Australia.

Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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Similar to me

  1. Dr Carla Ewels
    College of Science & Engineering
  2. Dr Michelle Devlin
    TropWATER
  3. Prof Stewart Lockie
    Cairns Institute
  4. Dr Ciemon Caballes
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  5. Prof Andrew Hoey
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies