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Reef fish community structure and dynamics: response to human disturbance
This study examines the broad scale dynamics of reef fish assemblages within temperate waters.
The south-west coast of Western Australia is a biodiversity hot-spot, containing a unique fish fauna comprising tropical, sub-tropical and temperate species. With the ever expanding coastal human population, the pressure on these assemblages increases.
This project takes an all-round approach to examine both natural and anthropogenic processes that influence the status of these assemblages. I use non-destructive stereo-video to gain data on fish abundance, length and habitat.
Combining this with other physical metrics such as sea-surface temperature and productivity, the project will highlight how these assemblages are structured by the natural environment. Furthermore, the project utilises 30 years of commercial fishing data to examine the contribution of fishing to the current structure of reef fish communities.
This research is important due to the ever increasing demand on our coastal reef fish resources. Furthermore, to date little is known of the processes that influence the status of reef fish assemblages in this region.