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

Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image
Menu
Facebook Twitter YouTube FlickR
ResearchersResearchers StudentsStudents AdjunctsAdjuncts AlumniAlumni ManagementManagement
Cassandra Thompson

Cassandra Thompson


Master of Philosophy candidate


Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science), James Cook University


James Cook University



+617 47813196


Bio:
Cassy grew up in various locations around the coast of Australia starting in Perth, Western Australia, and ending up in Townsville, North Queensland. After undertaking a research project at the age of 8 focussing on deep-sea anglerfish, she was hooked on the marine world. This may have also been where her interest and excitement over frogfish (to the dismay of her supervisors and anyone who stops long enough to listen) was first sparked. A first-time snorkel at Coral Bay, and a dive with Dad’s giant gear in the home pool, followed shortly thereafter cementing the love for being underwater. After completion of undergrad studies and volunteering at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, she landed a short-term contract there as a technical assistant on an aquaria-based ecotoxicology study of seagrass that when finished, led to other short-term positions at AIMS until accepting a job at Lizard Island Research Station. Between finishing at LIRS and starting this new study adventure she travelled through south-east Asia and worked as a divemaster and survey techniques instructor for Operation Wallacea on Pulau Hoga, Wakatobi Marine Park, Indonesia in both 2015 and 2016. Currently she is working as a research assistant in the Pratchett Lab, and studying part time towards her Master of Philosophy under the supervision of Prof. Morgan Pratchett, Dr. Andrew Hoey, and Dr. Mia Hoogenboom. Her work for the Pratchett Lab includes investigating spatial and temporal variation in population dynamics of crown-of-thorns starfish, and investigating traits of corals specific to fisheries for aquarium trade.

Personal profiles:
Linkedin | ResearchGate | Twitter | Google Scholar

Project title and description: 

“Effects of coral loss on reproductive biology and population viability of Chaetodon Butterflyfish”

Coral reefs worldwide are experiencing severe and sustained habitat degradation, with declines in the abundance of habitat-forming and reef-building corals due to coral bleaching and damage from more frequent and severe storm events. Ongoing declines in abundance of corals have direct effects on many reef-associated organisms and especially those species that rely on coral for food or habit

Photo credit: Ciemon Caballes

at. Specialised fishes such as butterflyfish, that have evolved close and critical relationships with scleractinian corals may be extremely vulnerable to widespread reef degradation and coral loss. Exploring changes in abundance and behaviour of coral-feeding butterflyfishes across spatial and temporal gradients in live coral cover will increase our understanding of disturbed coral reef ecosystems. Species-specific vulnerability of coral-feeding butterflyfishes to severe and widespread coral loss will depend not only on their specific reliance on corals, but their sociality and reproductive mode. Most species of butterflyfishes are pair-forming and presumed to be highly monogamous. However, some butterflyfishes such as the obligate corallivore Chaetodon trifascialis exhibit much more complex sociality. In areas with high cover of preferred coral prey, individuals of C. trifascialis exhibit small overlapping territories suggesting that this species is haeremic, whereby males mate sequentially with the several different females within their territory. If so, this mating system may be extremely vulnerable to declining availability of coral prey. As their food source diminishes, their territories may become further apart, which may also affect the energy costs of maintaining a harem, decreasing the reproductive viability of fish in that area. It is also unclear how harems form and are maintained, unless C. trifascialis is capable of changing sex, a trait not yet recorded for this genus.

Publications:  

Conference Presentations: 

Coming soon to 2017 

Professional Societies: 

Teaching: 

2016 Reef Survey Techniques instructor – Operation Wallacea, Pulau Hoga, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Seminars

More
Australian Research Council Pandora

Partner Research Institutions

Partner Partner Partner Partner
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