Abstract: The impacts of human activities on the natural world are becoming increasingly apparent, with rapid development and exploitation occurring at the expense of habitat quality and biodiversity. Declines are especially concerning in the oceans, which hold intrinsic value due to their biological uniqueness as well as their substantial sociological and economic importance. In this talk I will discuss how the incorporation of knowledge from the fields of animal behaviour and behavioural ecology can improve the effectiveness of conservation initiatives in marine systems. In particular, I will consider how knowledge of larval behaviour and ecology may be used to inform the design of marine protected areas, how protecting species that hold specific ecological niches may be of particular importance for maximizing the preservation of biodiversity, how current harvesting techniques may be inadvertently skewing the behavioural phenotypes of stock populations and whether changes to current practices may lessen this skew and reinforce population persistence, and finally, how understanding the behavioural and physiological responses of species to a changing environment may provide essential insights into areas of particular vulnerability for prioritized conservation attention. The complex nature of conservation programmes inherently results in interdisciplinary responses, and the incorporation of knowledge from the fields of animal behaviour and behavioural ecology may increase our ability to stem the loss of biodiversity in marine environments.
Biography: Rohan is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Delaware, USA. He holds a Ph. D. from James Cook University. His research examines the interface between behavioural and chemical ecology in aquatic environments, especially with regards to sensory ecology, predator-prey interactions, recruitment processes, and marine conservation and restoration.