Presented by: Darren Coker, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Where: Sir George Fisher Building Conference Room #114 (DB32 upstairs)
When: 1pm – 2pm Wednesday 22 February 2012
Abstract: Coral reefs are considered to be among the most vulnerable ecosystems to global climate change, owing to extreme thermal sensitivities of scleractinian corals. Live corals are the key habitat forming organisms on coral reefs and have a major influence on the distribution and abundance of reef fishes. Consequently, declines in the quality and/or quantity of coral habitat have had significant effects on many reef fishes. While there are plenty of studies documenting the decline in reef fishes following the loss of live coral, the processes that are driving these declines in coral-dwelling fishes are less understood. Furthermore, our current knowledge on what species of fish associate with live coral for habitat is significantly lacking and greatly underestimated. In my PhD project, I identify the importance of live coral habitat for reef fishes and the range of associated fish species and coral species used. Secondly, I show how key ecological processes (competition, predation, migration) influence fish communities following extensive coral bleaching and coral loss. Finally how fish recruitment responds to the loss of live coral and habitat complexity. Understanding how loss of live coral habitat impacts reef fishes is important considering that many disturbances are predicted to increase into the future.
Biography: Darren is from New Zealand and completed a degree in Marine Biology at James Cook University. He then continued on to obtain a Postgraduate Diploma in Research Methods and is currently finishing a PhD in the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies supervised by Prof. Morgan Pratchett, Prof. Phil Munday and Dr. Nicholas Graham.