Presented by: Dr Andrew Hoey
Where: Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room #106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville
When: Wednesday 22nd of April 2015 – 14:00 to 15:00 hrs
Abstract:Coral reefs are in global decline with many being overgrown by large fleshy macroalgae. Once established, such phase-shifts are difficult to reverse. Theoretical models have suggested that the stability of these states arises from interactions among elements that form positive feedbacks; reinforcing and maintaining the state. Despite their potential importance there is a current lack of empirical evidence for feedbacks, and hence our understanding of how feedbacks build or erode the resilience of reef systems is limited. In this seminar I will outline my recent research examining how key ecosystem processes on coral reefs are influenced by changes in the composition and biomass of macroalgae. Specifically, I will show how the physical and chemical properties of both individual macroalgae and macroalgal stands shape the foraging decisions, and functional impact of key herbivorous fishes, and how coral growth is impacted by increasing macroalgal density. I will then discuss the broader implications of these feedbacks in the context of reef resilience.
Dr Andrew Hoey is a Senior Research Fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. His research focuses on understanding the functional importance of different taxa to the resilience of coral reef ecosystems, the differential responses of fishes to changes in the benthic structure of coral reef habitats, and the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function. Andrew received his doctorate from James Cook University in 2011, after which he undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). He then returned to JCU and was awarded and ARC DECRA fellowship. Andrew is the current Vice-President of the Australian Coral Reef Society and Biology Editor for Coral Reefs.