Climate change is causing the average surface temperature of the oceans to rise and increasing the frequency and intensity of marine heatwaves. In addition, absorption of additional CO2 from the atmosphere in causing the average ocean pH to decrease. These changes have the potential to affect marine organisms, especially the environmentally sensitive early life stages. Mid-sized predatory fishes (mesopredators) are important to reef trophic dynamics, but how their early life stages may be effected by environmental changes is relatively understudied. In my PhD, I experimentally tested the effects of elevated temperature and CO2 on the growth, development, survival, and physiology of early life stages in two mesopredatory fishes, Chrysoprys auratus (Australasian snapper) and Lutjanus carponotatus (Spannish flag snapper) . My findings show that both temperature and CO2 can have varying effects, some beneficial while others negative, and highlights the complexity of understanding how these species will fare in a changing ocean.
Hailing from the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Shannon grew up fascinated with the ocean and each trip to the beach was spent exploring rock pools, digging through the intertidal zones, and surfing. However, it wasn’t until after completing a bachelors in communication and travelling abroad that Shannon realized he wanted to do something that would involve the understanding and protection of our oceans. This led to Shannon’s relocation to Townsville where he undertook a BSc in Science at James Cook University. Through this undergrad he became drawn to the research of our oceans, particularly the future challenges they may face, which ultimately lead him to undertake Honours with Prof. Philip Munday & Dr Jennifer Donelson, where he investigated the effects of climate change on coral reef fish. After Honours he pursued a PhD focusing on the effects of climate change on reef mesopredators under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Donelson & Prof. Philip Munday.