Professor Peter Mumby

Professorial Research Fellow

School of the Environment
Faculty of Science
+61 7 336 51686


Peter began his career helping to design MPAs in Belize, Central America. On realising how little science was available to guide this he moved to the University of Sheffield to undertake a PhD on the use of remote sensing for mapping coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves. After his PhD, Peter won a NERC Post-doctoral Fellowship to study ecological processes on coral reefs and moved to the University of Newcastle to join the Centre for Tropical Coastal Management Studies. He was then awarded a Royal Society Fellowship to integrate empirical ecological data into models of coral reefs with a view to studying how changes in human activity can affect the health of reefs. At this point he moved to the University of Exeter where he was made Professor at the age of 34. In 2010, Peter moved closer to coral reefs when he moved to the University of Queensland to take up an ARC Laureate Fellowship. He loves living in Australia! Peter was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation in 2010, and is also winner of the Rosenstiel Award for excellence in marine biology and fisheries, and the Marsh Award for contributions to marine conservation.

Research Interests

  • Overview
    Our research focuses on delivering science to improve the management of coral reefs. We carry out empirical ecological studies at scales ranging from millimetres (algal patch dynamics) to thousands of kilometres (gene flow in Caribbean corals) in an effort to plug gaps in our understanding of reef processes. Empirical data are then used to develop ecosystem models from which we can investigate the effectiveness of conservation measures in mitigating disturbance on reefs including climate change. Lastly, we combine the ecological models with remotely-sensed data to allow spatial conservation planning such as marine reserve design.
  • Where we work
    Caribbean: Bahamas, Belize, Bonaire; Pacific: Palau, Great Barrier Reef, French Polynesia; Indian Ocean: Philippines, Indonesia

Research Impacts

We study how changes in management policy, such as implementing no-take marine reserves, reducing pollution, and keeping healthy mangrove systems, can influence the health and future of coral reefs. This involves extensive collaborations with decision-makers and colleagues in many areas. Our research has influenced policy in the following areas:

- Helped foster a change in the Belize government's policy over the fishing of parrotfishes, which led to a ban of this practice as requested by fishermen

- Influenced decisions in Bonaire to protect herbivores and ban the use of fish traps

- Continues to assist the Bahamas National Trust with their conservation planning, including the designation of MPAs for a resilient future

- Provide advisory briefs on the impacts of fishing on coral reef ecosystems and practical ways of reducing impacts without necessitating a ban

- Provide compelling evidence that mangroves are an important nursery ground for reef fish and fisheries productivity benefits from their preservation

- Provide tools to operationalise the mapping of reef resilience to climate change and other stressors

- Provide practical information on the cost-effectiveness and realistic setting of expectations for habitat mapping in the tropical coastal zone


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Sheffield
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Science (Advanced), University of Liverpool


  • McWhorter, Jennifer K., Halloran, Paul R., Roff, George and Mumby, Peter J. (2024). Climate change impacts on mesophotic regions of the Great Barrier Reef. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 121 (16) ARTN e2303336121. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2303336121

  • Gill, David A., Lester, Sarah E., Free, Christopher M., Pfaff, Alexander, Iversen, Edwin, Reich, Brian J., Yang, Shu, Ahmadia, Gabby, Andradi-Brown, Dominic A., Darling, Emily S., Edgar, Graham J., Fox, Helen E., Geldmann, Jonas, Trung Le, Duong, Mascia, Michael B., Mesa-Gutiérrez, Roosevelt, Mumby, Peter J., Veverka, Laura and Warmuth, Laura M. (2024). A diverse portfolio of marine protected areas can better advance global conservation and equity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 121 (10) ARTN e2313205121, e2313205121. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2313205121

  • Leung, Shu Kiu and Mumby, Peter J. (2024). Mapping the susceptibility of reefs to rubble accumulation across the Great Barrier Reef. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 196 (2) 211. doi: 10.1007/s10661-024-12344-4

View all Publications


View all Supervision



  • S. J. Hawkins, B.D. Russell, P. A. Todd, A.J. Lemasson, A.L. Allcock, M. Byrne, L.B. Firth, C.H. Lucas, E.M. Marzinelli, P.J. Mumby, J. Sharples, I.P. Smith and S.E. Swearer eds. (2023). Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, Volume 61. Boca Raton, FL United States: CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/9781003363873

Book Chapter

  • Allcock, A. Louise, Firth, Louise B., Todd, Peter A., Mumby, Peter J., Marzinelli, Ezequiel M., Lucas, Cathy H., Byrne, Maria, Russell, Bayden D., Lemasson, Anaëlle J. and Hawkins, Stephen J. (2022). Editorial: an OMBAR perspective on the united nations' decade of ocean science for sustainable development. Oceanography and marine biology: an annual review, volume 60. (pp. 15-17) edited by S. J. Hawkins, A. J. Lemasson, A. L. Allcock, A. E. Bates, M. Byrne, L. B. Firth, C. H. Lucas, E. M. Marzinelli, P. J. Mumby, B. D. Russell, J. Sharples, I. P. Smith, S. E. Swearer and P. A. Todd. Boca Raton, FL USA: CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/9781003288602-2

  • Day, Jon C., Laffoley, Dan, Zischka, Katherine, Gilliland, Paul, Gjerde, Kristina, Jones, Peter J. S., Knott, John, McCook, Laurence, Milam, Amy, Mumby, Peter J. and Wilhelm, Alulani (2015). Marine protected area management. Protected area governance and management. (pp. 609-650) edited by Graeme L. Worboys, Michael Lockwood, Ashish Kothar, Sue Feary and Ian Pulsford. Canberra: ANU Press.

  • Jackson, Jeremy B. C., Donovan, Mary K., Cramer, Katie L., Lam, Vivian Y. Y., Bak, Rolf P. M., Chollett, Iliana, Connolly, Sean R., Cortés, Jorge, Dustan, Phil, Eakin, C. Mark, Friedlander, Alan M., Greenstein, Benjamin J., Heron, Scott F., Hughes, Terry, Miller, Jeff, Mumby, Peter, Pandolfi, John M., Rogers, Caroline S., Steneck, Robert, Weil, Ernesto, Alemu I, Jahson B., Alevizon, William S., Arias-González, Jesús Ernesto, Atkinson, Andrea, Ballantine, David L., Bastidas, Carolina, Bouchon, Claude, Bouchon-Navaro, Yolande, Box, Steve ... Witman, Jon D. (2014). Part I: Overview and synthesis for the wider Caribbean region. Status and trends of Caribbean coral reefs: 1970-2012. (pp. 55-154) edited by Jeremy Jackson, Mary Donovan, Katie Cramer and Vivian Lam. Washington, DC, United States: Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.

  • Yakob, Laith and Mumby Peter J. (2013). Infectious disease and the novel Caribbean coral reef. Novel Ecosystems: intervening in the new ecological world order. (pp. 118-123) edited by Richard J. Hobbs, Eric S. Higgs and Carol M. Hall. Chichester, U.K.: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Mumby, Peter J. and Steneck, Robert S. (2011). The resilience of coral reefs and its implications for reef management. Coral reefs: An ecosystem in transition. (pp. 509-519) edited by Zvy Dubinsky and Noga Stambler. New York, United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-0114-4_29

  • Harborne, Alastair R. and Mumby, Peter J. (2006). A seascape-level perspective of coral reef ecosystems. Coral Reef Conservation. (pp. 78-114) edited by Isabelle M. Cote and John D. Reynolds. Cambridge, UK.: Cambridge University Press.

  • Mumby, Peter J. and Dytham, Calvin (2006). Metapopulation dynamics of hard corals. Marine metapopulations. (pp. 157-203) edited by Jacob P. Kritzer and Peter F. Sale. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-012088781-1/50008-X

  • Mumby, Peter J. (2000). Remote sensing of tropical coastal resources: Progress and fresh challenges for the new millennium. Seas at the Millennium. (pp. 283-291) edited by Charles R.C. Sheppard. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elseiver.

  • Harborne A.R., Mumby P.J., Raines P.S. and Ridley J.M. (1995). The Bacalar Chico marine reserve: A case study in government and NGO collaboration in conservation projects. The peaceful management of transboundary resources. (pp. 301-306) London, UK: Graham & Trotman.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Callaghan, David P., Baldock, Tom E., Shabani, Behnam and Mumby, Peter J. (2017). Bayesian Belief Networks-communicating model predictions to nonexpert end users. Australasian Coasts and Ports 2017 Conference, Cairns, QLD Australia, 21-23 June 2017. Barton, ACT Australia: Engineers Australia, PIANC Australia and Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand.

  • Samper-Villarreal, Jimena, Mumby, Peter, Lovelock, Catherine E. and Saunders, Megan (2013). Carbon storage in seagrass meadows across gradients in water quality. AMSA 2013: Australian Marine Science Golden Jubilee Conference, Gold Coast, Australia, 7-11 July 2013. Kilkivan, QLD, Australia: Australian Marine Science Association (AMSA).

  • Saunders, Megan I., Baldock, Tom, Brown, Christopher J., Callaghan, David P., Golshani, Aliastair, Hamylton, Sarah, Leon, Javier, Lovelock, Catherine E., Lyons, Mitchell B., O'Brien, Katherine R., Mumby, Peter J., Phinn, Stuart R. and Roelfsema, Christiaan M. (2013). Direct and indirect impacts of predicted sea level rise on seagrass. AMSA 2013: Australian Marine Science Golden Jubilee Conference, Gold Coast, Australia, 7-11 July 2013. Kilkivan, QLD, Australia: Australian Marine Science Association (AMSA).

  • Golshani, Aliasghar, Baldock, Tom E., Mumby, Peter J., Callaghan, David, Nielsen, Peter and Phinn, Stuart (2012). Climate impacts on hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics at reef islands. 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, Cairns, Australia, 9-3 July 2012. Townsville, Australia: James Cook University.

  • Aliasghar, G., Baldock, T. E., Mumby, P. and Callaghan, D. P. (2012). Study of climate change impact on reef island shores using the swan model. Coast to Coast 2012, Brisbane, Australia, 17-21 September 2012.

  • Paganini, Marc, Koetz, Benjamin, Kleeschulte, Stefan, Mumby, Peter, Gaspar, Philippe, Pettersson, Lasse and Fernandez-Prieto, Diego (2009). Monitoring biodiversity from space: The ESA diversity project. 2009 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, IGARSS 2009, , , July 12, 2009-July 17, 2009. doi: 10.1109/IGARSS.2009.5417765

  • Renken, Henk and Mumby, Peter J. (2009). Modelling the dynamics of coral reef macroalgae using a Bayesian belief network approach. Euopean Conference on Ecological Modelling, Trieste, Italy, 27-30 November 2007. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2009.02.022

  • Kleeschulte, Stefan, Gangkofner, Ute, Gaspar, Philippe, Mumby, Peter and Pettersson, Lasse (2008). Earth observation for monitoring biodiversity in central America. 2nd MERIS/(A)ATSR User Workshop, , , September 22, 2008-September 26, 2008.

  • Petrat, Lutz, Pettersson, Lasse, Mumby, Peter and Gaspar, Philippe (2007). Space for UNCBD and the due biodiversity project. Envisat Symposium 2007, , , April 23, 2007-April 27, 2007.

  • Mumby, Peter J. (2001). A synopsis of mangrove remote sensing. International Symposium on Mangrove Ecology and Biology, Kuwait, 25-27 April 1998. Kuwait City, Kuwait: Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research.

  • Mumby, PJ, Baker, MA, Raines, PS, Ridley, JM and Phillips, AT (1994). The Potential of Spot Panchromatic Imagery as a Tool for Mapping Coral-Reefs. 2nd Thematic Conference on Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments: Needs, Solutions, and Applications, New Orleans La, Jan 31-Feb 02, 1994. ANN ARBOR: ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH INST MICHIGAN.

  • Mumby, P. J., Baker, M. A., Raines, P. S., Ridley, J. M. and Philips, A. T. (1994). The potential of spot panchromatic imagery as a tool for mapping coral reefs. 2nd Thematic Conference on Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments - Needs, Solutions, and Applications, New Orleans, LA, United States, 31 January - 2 February 1994. Ann Arbor, MI, United States: Environmental Research Institute of Michigan.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision