Understanding Changes in Fish Communities as a Consequence of Global Warming

Among the most pervasive effects of global climate change are shifts in where plant and animal species live. Polar species are under threat due to a shrinking environment and tropical species are expanding their ranges pole wards. Recent research has detected increases in the temperature of coastal waters in New South Wales.  As a result tropical reef fishes brought southward by the East Australian Current as larvae are now capable of surviving through the winter. These observations suggest that tropical reef fish populations might start to be residents in the Sydney area.

This research project by Osmar Luiz, Phd candidate at Macquarie University, and a 2010 SIMS Doctoral Fellow seeks to investigate what are the characteristics of different tropical reef fish species that allow them to disperse from the Great Barrier Reef to the New South Wales coast.  Such traits could include body size, diet, resource specialisation, larval duration, among others, which are important considerations that promote range expansion toward newl habitats.  The results of this project will aid understanding of how invading species may impact native species.

Osmar Luiz’s fellowship opportunity made mention in the article – Sydney Morning Herald – April 2010

Osmar Luiz in the field

Osmar Luiz in the field