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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Mark McCormick

Mark McCormick


Professor and Chief Investigator


Reader (2004 - present), Senior Lecturer (2001-2004), Lecturer, JCU (1999 - 2000); Australian Research Fellow (1996 - 1999), Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (1993-96), Marine Biology Dept., JCU; Research Contractor for a number of government agencies in New Zealand and Australia (1986-88).


BSc (Auckland) • MSc (Auckland) • PhD JCU.


www.reeffishecology.com


James Cook University



+61 (0)7 4781 4048



Research Interests

Reef Fish Population Processes and Underlying Mechanisms
Fish/Habitat Interactions and the Influence of Habitat Degradation on Fish Communities
Larval Biology
Fish Behaviour
Predator-prey interactions

I have a very broad range of interests within the field of reef fish population dynamics. My major research field explores the links between life history stages of coral reef fishes, and how events in earlier phases influence subsequent population dynamics. To this end, I have active research programs in the field of maternal effects, larval development and growth, and how individual performance measures of larvae and juveniles influence survival within the confines of their social and physical environment.

Member of: Australian Coral Reefs Society, Australian Fish Biology Society, International Society of Reef Studies. Biological Editor for Coral Reefs

I use field collections, observation and experiments in conjunction with laboratory experiments to address such questions as: the importance of starvation of larvae in tropical waters; the role of maternal condition in influencing fish population processes; whether mortality in the larval phase is selective with respect to size or body condition; the role of predator characteristics in influencing prey selection.

I have shown for a common damselfish that behavioural interactions that the mother experiences before laying a clutch of benthic eggs strongly influences the rates of development of the larvae and their subsequent growth, larval duration and mortality schedules. This was shown to be hormonally mediated, through a stress related mechanism. Field and laboratory manipulations have shown the relative importance of female feeding regimes, behavioural interactions and size in influencing the size of the larvae they produce. Paternal contributions have also been shown to be important in the laboratory.

I have used otolith microstructure to reconstruct growth histories and demonstrate the importance of size and growth selective processes in influencing larval survival. My students are currently exploring the utility of otolith shape as a proxy for fish condition. In this way, growth and otolith shape have been found to be useful predictors of cohort success.

I have an active research program exploring predator-prey interactions, and how these influence which prey survive. We have shown that chemical alarm signal are an important mechanism whereby newly settled fish can learn the identity of predators. Prey selectivity curves are being derived for key predators of juvenile reef fishes.

Recent and Currently Supervised PhD Topics

Future PhD Directions

Selected Publications

[1]  Feary, D, Almany, G, McCormick, M and Jones, G (2007). Habitat choice, recruitment and the response of coral reef fishes to coral degradation. Oecologia.
Link to full text or pdf

[2]  Feary, DA, Almany, GR, Jones, GP and McCormick, MI (2007). Coral degradation and the structure of tropical reef fish communities. Marine Ecology Progress Series 333: 243-248.
Link to full text or pdf

[3]  Gagliano, M, McCormick, M and Meekan, M (2007). Temperature-induced shifts in selective pressure at a critical developmental transition. Oecologia 152(2): 219-225.
Link to full text or pdf

[4]  Gagliano, M and McCormick, MI (2007). Compensating in the wild: is flexible growth the key to early juvenile survival? Oikos 116(1): 111-120.
Link to full text or pdf

[5]  Gagliano, M and McCormick, MI (2007). Maternal condition influences phenotypic selection on offspring. Journal of Animal Ecology 76(1): 174-182.
Link to full text or pdf

[6]  Munkres, KP, Bay, LK, Jerry, DR, McCormick, MI and Herwerden, LV (2007). Development and characterization of microsatellite markers for parentage analyses of the coral reef damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis: Pomacentridae). Conservation Genetics.
Link to full text or pdf

[7]  Gagliano, M, Kowalewsky, S and McCormick, MI (2006). An alternative method for the preservation of tropical fish larvae. Journal of Fish Biology 68(2): 634-639.
Link to full text or pdf

[8]  Green, BS, Anthony, KRN and McCormick, MI (2006). Position of egg within a clutch is linked to size at hatching in a demersal tropical fish. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 329(1): 144-152.
Link to full text or pdf

[9]  Hoey, A and McCormick, M. (2006). Effects of subcutaneous fluorescent tags on the growth and survival of a newly settled coral reef fish, Pomacentrus amboinensis (Pomacentridae). in Proceedings of the 10th International Coral Reefs Symposium. Okinawa, Japan: ICRS. 420-424.
Link to full text or pdf

[10]  Holmes, TH and McCormick, MI (2006). Location influences size-selective predation on newly settled reef fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series 317: 203-209.
Link to full text or pdf

[11]  Jones, GP, Santana, L, McCook, LJ and McCormick, MI (2006). Resource use and impact of three herbivorous damselfishes on coral reef communities. Marine Ecology Progress Series 328: 215-224.
Link to full text or pdf

[12]  McCormick, MI (2006). Mothers Matter: Crowding leads to stressed mothers and smaller offspring in marine fish. Ecology 87(5): 1104–1109.
Link to full text or pdf

[13]  McCormick, MI and Hoey, AS. (2006). Biological and physical correlates of settlement and survival for a coral reef fish, Pomacentrus amboinensis (Pomacentridae). in Proceedings of the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium. Okinawa, Japan: ICRS. 425.430.
Link to full text or pdf

[14]  McCormick, MI and Holmes, TH (2006). Prey experience of predation influences mortality rates at settlement in a coral reef fish, Pomacentrus amboinensis. Journal of Fish Biology 68(3): 969-974.
Link to full text or pdf

[15]  Smith-Keune, C, Jerry, DR, Evans, BS, McCormick, MI, Munday, PL and Jones, GP (2006). Development and characterization of eight new microsatellite markers for the haremic sandperch, Parapercis cylindrica (family Pinguipedidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 6(4): 1036-1038.
Link to full text or pdf

[16]  Bergenius, MAJ, McCormick, MI, Meekan, MG and Robertson, DR (2005). Environmental influences on larval duration, growth and magnitude of settlement of a coral reef fish. Marine Biology 147(2): 291-300.
Link to full text or pdf

[17]  Berumen, ML, Pratchett, MS and McCormick, MI (2005). Within-reef differences in diet and body condition of coral-feeding butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae). Marine Ecology-Progress Series 287: 217-227.
Link to full text or pdf

[18]  Green, BS and McCormick, MI (2005). Maternal and paternal effects determine size, growth and performance in larvae of a tropical reef fish. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 289: 263-272.
Link to full text or pdf

[19]  Green, BS and McCormick, MI (2005). O-2 replenishment to fish nests: males adjust brood care to ambient conditions and brood development. Behavioral Ecology 16(2): 389-397.
Link to full text or pdf

[20]  Larson, JK and McCormick, MI (2005). The role of chemical alarm signals in facilitating learned recognition of novel chemical cues in a coral reef fish. Animal Behaviour 69: 51-57.
Link to full text or pdf

[21]  McCormick, MI and Hoey, AS (2004). Larval growth history determines juvenile growth and survival in a tropical marine fish. Oikos 106(2): 225-242.
Link to full text or pdf

Full List of Publications

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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