1

People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.

2

Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution

3

Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au

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Churchill fellowship

04
Jul 2007

A chief investigator at the James Cook University based ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship.

Dr Morgan Pratchett, an Australian Research Fellow, will use the Quicksilver Connections Churchill Fellowship for travel to the UK to work with Professor Nick Polunin at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Morgan Pratchett

Morgan Pratchett

 

His project looks at how much reef fish rely on coral to survive, particularly in the context of the potential loss of coral and climate change.

“This project will employ stable isotope methodologies to better understand trophic links between corals and fishes,” Dr Pratchett said.

“Importantly, it seems we may have underestimated the range of coral reef fishes that need coral for their survival.”

He said the links were critical to establishing potential effects of coral loss caused by climate-induced coral bleaching, “which is currently the most significant global threat to coral reef ecosystems”.

Dr Patchett said that the research would build on prior work on the feeding ecology of butterflyfishes, where coral consumption has been established by visual observations.

“However, using stable isotopes will formally establish which fishes obtain part of their nutritional requirements from live corals,” he said.

Dr Pratchett has conducted extensive research on population dynamics of scleractinian corals, and links between corals and other coral reef organisms, especially coral reef fishes.

“My doctoral research explored effects of outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish on both coral populations and coral-dependent reef fishes – specifically, coral feeding butterflyfishes and coral-dwelling damselfishes.

“This research identified considerable complexities in the interactions between coral reef fishes and scleractinian corals, but also demonstrated that any disturbances affecting scleractinian corals such as outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, but also climate induced coral bleaching may have significant indirect effects on coral reef fishes.”

More information:
Dr Pratchett +61 7 4781 5747 or +61 0410 471801
www.churchilltrust.com.au

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Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au