Associate Professor Sophie Dove

Associate Professor

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
+61 7 336 57229


Sophie Dove obtained an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh, and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Sydney. She is presently an Associate Professor within the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, as well as a Chief Investigator within the Australia Research Council Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. Her research interests predominantly lie in the area of coral reef dynamics under climate change, and cover a range of organisms (eg. macro-algae, sponges and corals) that contribute to the carbonate balance of reefs. The goal of this research is to gain a broader understanding of how different combinations of elevated sea surface temperature and acidification may influence the coastal protective properties of shallow tropical reefs. Specific interests include understanding the potential trade-offs (or compromises) made by so called "coral winners" following recent warming associated with El nino events, or "super coral" that live in localised areas with highly fluctuating temperatures: Do these trade-offs associated with coral survival reduce energy expanded on key properties involved in skeletogenesis with the consequence that key services provided by coral reefs, or defining properties of a thriving reef, are undermined?

Research Interests

  • Photobiology of isolated reefs and their ability to withstand a range of future climate scenarios
    1) Photobiology of corals - How do host and symbiont (Symbiodininium) interact to provide a highly efficient organism that is able to both export energy in the form of mucus to other reef dwellers, and maintain high rate of calcification, despite significant rate of physical (wave) and biological erosion? a. Are some Symbiodinium more parasitic than others - potentially acting as mixotrophs/ facultative heterotrophs that are able to acquire organics from their hosts? Are mixotrophic Symbiodinium more common within corals found in less oligotrophic (nutrient enriched) environments? b. Effects of environment on coral skeletogenesis – Do corals, found in warm (but environmentally highly variable) pools of water common to lagoons or reef-flats, trade skeletal features (that may enable them to survive the intense wave activity at for-reefs) for storage compounds or proteins (that may enable survival over short periods when the environment inhibits efficient photosynthesis)? 2) Effect of future climate scenarios (temperature and/or acidification) on experimental reconstructed mini-reefs (mesocosms) maintained over 18 months? a) What are the singular and interactive effects of temperature and acidification on mesocosm net calcium carbonate acression by day and by night and through different seasons? How do different components of these ecosystems (macroalgae, sediment microbes, seacucumbers etc.) contribute to the carbonate balance of reefs under different climate scenarios? b) How do temperature, acidification and light affect the timing of observable bleaching and subsequent mortality for corals from distinct functional groups within these mesocosms? 3) How does the environment affect the bioerosion rate of sponges hosting Symbiodinium? a) Is the bioerosion rate directly solar powered by the translocation of photoassimilates to sponge cells involved in bioerosion, and/or does photosynthesis indirectly support bioerosion through the provision of oxygen to mitochondria located in these bioeroding cells? b) How do diffferent future climate scenarios affect the rate of bioerosion of these Symbiodinium hosting sponges?

Research Impacts


  • PhD Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney
  • MA Philosophy, University of Southern California
  • MA (Hons) Maths and Philosophy, University of Edinburgh


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove and Dove, Sophia Gwendoline (2008). Primary Production, Nutrient Recycling and Energy Flow through Coral Reef Ecosystems. The Great Barrier Reef: Biology, Environment and Management. (pp. 59-73) edited by Patricia Hutchins, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and Michael John Kingsford. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Anthony, K., Berkelmans, R., Dove, S., Fabricus, K., Lough, J., Marshall, P., van Oppen, M. J. H., Negri, A. and Willis, B. (2007). Vulnerability of reef-building corals on the Great Barrier Reef to climate change. Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef: A Vulnerability Assessment. (pp. 271-308) edited by Johnson, J. E. and Marshall, P. A.. Townsville, Queensland: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and The Australian Greenhouse Office.

  • Dove, G. and Hoegh-Guldberg, I O (2006). The Cell Physiology of Coral Bleaching. Coral Reefs and Climate Change: Science and Management. (pp. 55-71) edited by Jonathan T. Phinney, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Joanie Kleypas and William Skirving and Al Strong. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • González-Rivero, Manuel, Rodriguez-Ramirez, Alberto, Beijbom, Oscar, Dalton, Peter, Kennedy, Emma V., Neal, Benjamin P., Vercelloni, Julie, Bongaerts, Pim, Ganase, Anjani, Bryant, Dominic E.P., Brown, Kristen, Kim, Catherine, Radice, Veronica Z., Lopez-Marcano, Sebastian, Dove, Sophie, Bailhache, Christophe, Beyer, Hawthorne L. and Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove (2019). Seaview Survey Photo-quadrat and Image Classification Dataset. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.14264/uql.2019.930

  • Jones, E. L., Karan, M., Brugliera, F., Mason, J., Dove, S. G., Hoegh-Guldberg, I.O. and Prescott, M. (2002). Cell Visualising characteristic modifying sequences. PCT/GB02/00928 & WO 02/070703 A2.

  • Dove, S. and Hoegh-Guldberg, O . (2000). Pigment Protein From Coral Tissue. WO/2000/046233.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision