Abstract. Ocean warming is one of the greatest threats facing marine ecosystems. Increasing temperatures are impacting species-level performance, distributions and abundances which can then alter community composition, and trophic interactions. Herbivorous fishes play a pivotal role in structuring coral reef communities by regulating algal biomass. Understanding how the control of algal biomass by fishes may change with increasing temperature is a crucial, yet understudied aspect of how coral reefs will function in a warmer world. This project will assess the effects of increasing temperature on tropical algae-fish interactions, quantifying the thermal sensitivities between herbivore consumption and macroalgal productivity.
Biography. Alexia is a PhD student at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at JCU. She recently moved to Townsville after living for 9 months on Lizard Island working as a camera assistant for the BBC. She is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Winnipeg in 2010. She moved to Australia in 2011 to complete her Bachelor of Marine Science and Management with Honours at the National Marine Science Centre with Southern Cross University where she investigated the effects of climate change on seaweed physiology, defense, and seaweed-amphipod interactions. Upon completing honours, she took a year off and moved to Vancouver to work in public programming at the Vancouver Aquarium in 2012. In 2013, she made the leap across the Pacific once again for sun, sand, and science. She then worked for two years as a research assistant at the National Marine Science Centre assisting and conducting climate change and Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (COTS) research. She is currently investigating the effect of increasing temperature on marine plant-herbivore (seaweed-fish) interactions under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Hoey and Prof. Morgan Pratchett.