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Molecular Ecology & Evolution
Ecological genomics, transcriptomics & epigenomics of adaptation, response to environmental change, transgenerational inheritance, and environmental effects on behaviour and the brain in marine organisms.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever

Jacques Yves Cousteau



Effects of Climate Change

How do organisms deal with the rapid change in the environment?  What is the effect of climate change on marine organisms? 

How do organisms already live in e.g. acidic environments?

Transgenerational & Parental Effects

Organisms react to their environment. Do they then pass on what they have learned to the next generation? If so, how?

We want to understand the mechanisms of parental effects and if they can help adaptation to future climate change conditions.

Behaviour & the Brain

Behaviour is often altered with a change in the surrounding environment. We want to understand how the environment can influence behaviour and how neuro-molecular states in the brain can drive this behavioural change.

 © Xavier Pita

Population Connectivity & Ecological Genomics 

How populations are connected or isolated is important in terms of local adaptation as well as population resilience. We study how recruitment of larvae to marine populations allows for population connectivity and investigate how isolated populations survive.




Celia Schunter


Assistant Professor

Swire Institute of Marine Science

School of Biological Science

The University of Hong Kong





Dr. Natalia Petit

is passionate about marine conservation and is interested in assessing the adaptive potential to global change in marine species


Dr. Kang Jingliang

is interested in evolutionary biology and is currently investigating the genetic response to different environments in fishes through genome scanning



Sneha Suresh

is interested in understanding adaptation and molecular responses to environmental change in reef fishes.



Sandra Ramirez

loves the Sea!

wants to understand the connection between reef fish behaviour and molecular brain response


Arthur Chung

Hong Kong's biggest afishionato

is interested in marine conservation under heavy anthropogenic disturbances by the means of molecular tools.



Rainbow Tsang


is passionate about marine conservation and education


is working on proteomic signals underlying exposure to ocean acidification in a coral reef fish 


Jade Sourisse

is passionate about marine life and is interested in the use of molecular tools in marine research and conservation.




Jessie Lai


Technical Support & Magician!


is on the constant hunt for Northern Lights.


Elliot Lee

is interested in neurosciences and marine life. Currently working on RNA alternative splicing events in fish brains.


loves outdoor activities and a good drinking night!


Max Tin

is interested in marine biology, especially fish. Loves nature and its wonders.

Currently working on alternative RNA splicing in Amphiprion percula under diel CO2 cycles (orange clownfish)



This could be you! please contact me if you are interested in joining the lab.




Bernal M*, Schunter C*, Lehmann R, Lightfoot, DJ, Allan BJM, Veilleux HD, Rummer JL, Munday PL, Ravasi T (2020) Species-specific molecular responses of wild coral reef fishes during a marine heatwave. Science Advances. In press. *contributed equally.


Schunter C, Ravasi T, Munday PL, Nilsson G (2019) Neural effects of elevated CO2 in fish may be amplified by a vicious cycle. Conservation Physiology. 10.1093/conphys/coz100


Munday P, Schunter C, Allan B, Nicol S, Parsons D, Pether S, Ravasi T, Setiawan A, Smith N & Domingos J (2019) Testing the adaptive potential of yellowtail kingfish to ocean warming and acidification. Front. Ecol. Evol. 7: 253. doi: 10.3389/fevo

Schunter C, Macpherson E, Raventos N, Garriga J, Garza JC, Bartumeus F, Pascual M (2019) A novel integrative approach elucidates fine-scale dispersal patchiness in marine populations. Scientific Reports 9: 10796 (2019)

Special Issue on "The role of plasticity in phenotypic adaptation to rapid environmental change'

guest edited by Donelson JM, Fox RJ, Gaitan-Espitia JD, Schunter C and Ravasi T


Fox JR, Donelson JM, Schunter C, Ravasi T, Gaitan-Espitia JD (2019) Beyond buying time: the role of plasticity in phenotypic adaptation to rapid environmental change.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2018.0174

Schunter C, Lehmann R, Bernal M, Ravasi T (2018) Unusual bilateral color pattern in a regal angelfish from the Red Sea. Bulletin of Marine Science. doi.org/10.5343/bms.2018.0050

                                                                                           Youtube video to the note: https://youtu.be/pGdaKYOvGyY


Lehmann R, Lightfoot D, Schunter C, Mitchell CT, Ohyanagi H, Mineta K, Foret S, Berumen M, Miller DJ, Aranda M, Gojobori T, Munday P, Ravasi T (2018) Finding Nemo’s Genes: A chromosome-scale reference assembly of the genome of the orange clownfish Amphiprion percula. Molecular Ecology Resources.doi.org/10.1111.1755-0998.12939


Schunter C, Macpherson E, Raventos N, Garriga J, Garza JC, Bartumeus F, Pascual M (2018) Seascape genetics at it’s finest: dispersal patchiness within a well-connected population (in prep).


Schunter C, Bonzi L, Norstog J, Parkes S, McCabe M, Ravasi T (2017) Desert fish populations defy hydrological constraints via ecological and physiological adaptation. (under review Scientific Reports).


Schunter C, Welch M, Nilsson G, Rummer J, Munday P, Ravasi T (2017) An interplay between plasticity and parental phenotype determines impacts of ocean acidification on a reef fish. Nature Ecology & Evolution. doi:10.1038/s42559/017-0428-8.


Boero F, Foglini F, Fraschetti S, Goriup P, Macpherson E, Planes S, Soukissian T, The CoCoNet Consortium (2017) CoCoNet: towards coast to coast networks of marine protected areas (from the shore to the high and deep sea), coupled with sea-based wind energy potential. SCIentific RESearch and Information Technology, 6, 1-95.


Pascual M, Rives B, Schunter C, Macpherson E (2017) Impact of life history traits on gene flow: A multispecies systematic review across oceanographic barriers in the Mediterranean Sea. PLoS One.



Schunter C, Welch M, Ryu T, Zhang H, Nilsson G, Munday PL, Ravasi T (2016) Molecular signatures of transgenerational response to ocean acidification in a species of reef fish. Nature Climate Change, 6, 1014-1018. doi:10.1038/ncimate3087. Altimetrics score (April 2017): 384.


Ryu T, Seridi L, Moitinho-Silva L, Oates M, Liew Y, Mavromatis C, Wang X, Haywood A, Lafi F, Kupresanin M, Sougrat R, Alzahrani M, Giles E, Ghosheh Y, Schunter C, Baumgarten S, Berumen M, Gao X, Aranda M, Foret S, Gough J, Voolstra CR, Hentschel U, Ravasi T (2016) Hologenome analysis of two marine sponges with different microbiomes. BMC Genomics, 17, 158.


Schunter C, Pascual M, Garza JC, Raventos N, Macpherson E (2014) Kinship analyses identify fish dispersal events on a temperate coast line. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281, 20140556.


Schunter C, Vollmer S, Macpherson E, Pascual M (2014) Transcriptome analyses and differential gene expression in a non-model fish species with alternative mating tactics. BMC Genomics, 15, 167.


Schunter C, Garza C, Macpherson E, Pascual M (2014) SNP development from RNA-seq data in a non-model fish: how many individuals are needed for accurate allele frequency prediction? Molecular Ecology Resources, 14, 157–165.


Schunter C, Carreras-Carbonell J, Macpherson E, Tintoré J, Vidal-Vijande E, Pascual A, Guidetti P, Pascual M (2011) Matching genetics with oceanography: directional gene flow in a Mediterranean fish species. Molecular Ecology, 20, 5167–81.


Schunter C, Carreras-Carbonell J, Planes S, Sala E, Ballesteros E, Zabala M, Harmelin J-G, Harmelin-Vivien M, Macpherson E,  Pascual M (2011) Genetic connectivity pattern in an endangered species: the dusky grouper (Epinephelus marginatus). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 401 (1-2), 126-133.


Gerlach G, Hotchkins-Davis A, Avolio C, Schunter C (2008) Kin recognition in Zebrafish: a 24-hour window for olfactory imprinting. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences. 275: 1647, 2165 -2170





Swire Institute of Marine Science;

School of Biological Sciences,
Kadoorie Biological Sciences Building,
The University of Hong Kong,
Pok Fu Lam Road,
Hong Kong SAR


Please meet  Galathea celiae !!__She liv