With over 3500 fish and invertebrate species recorded to date, Sydney Harbour is a global biodiversity hotspot. Yet, many species within the harbour remain unsampled and total diversity is likely to be even higher.

In collaboration with the Australian Museum, research under this theme will assess the invertebrate and microbial communities in the Harbour, which remain largely unknown. A more detailed understanding of the diversity of species within the harbour will enable us to address a number of key research questions, for example:

  • How does biodiversity contribute to harbour health?
  • Which areas of the harbour are under stress?
  • How are invasive species moving about the region?
  • What are the possible impacts of the expansion of tropical reef fish into the harbour?


Oyster Restoration

The current projects seek to understand how biodiversity aids the healthy functioning of harbours. Projects cover broad themes including how habitat-forming species control biodiversity, how invasive species impact biodiversity and harbour function, and how sediment microbial diversity improves harbour health. This research is being supported by The Ian Potter Foundation.

Impacts of Caulerpa taxifolia

Caulerpa taxifolia is one of the 100 most invasive species in the world. Critical research supported by the Australian Research Council is investigating how sediment microbes affect its interactions with native seagrass and how it impacts native biodiversity – from microbes to fish.