My formal training was as a zoologist, but I have a broad range of research interests. I have been lucky enough to research a broad range of topics examining coral reef ecology from the micro- to macro scale. Below are listed some of my current areas of research interest.
Please get in touch if you would like to collaborate!
Provision of coral reef goods and services (e.g., sand production, coastal protection, habitat availability) are closely associated with the ability of coral reefs to maintain complex three-dimensional structure through growth. Carbonate budgets (a measure of ability of reefs to create structural growth) are a holistic way of assessing coral reef health, going beyond traditional methods of fish and coral abundance.
Few comprehensive carbonate budgets exist for Australian reefs. As part of an Australian Endeavor Fellowhship, I am producing the first comprehensive set of carbonate budgets for the Great Barrier Reef, following existing census-based field methodologies. The overarching goal is a better understanding of Australian reef functioning in terms of ability to maintain positive carbonate budgets.
Coralline algae promote coral recruitment, strengthen and stabilize reef framework through cementation, and contribute to reef framework construction: these roles underpin vital ecosystem services provided by reefs.
As part of a Great Barrier Reef Foundation funded project, I have been investigating the responses of coralline algae - a critical component of reefs - to climate change, namely ocean acidification and warming sea temperatures.My work involves a combination of deskwork (meta-analyses of published work) and field and lab experiments at Heron Island, with the aim of producing a tool for monitoring the effects of climate change, that can be employed on the Great Barrier Reef and beyond.
Coral reefs are surprisingly noisy places: invertebrates and fish produce a cacophony of sounds – a “dusk chorus” – that can be heard up to 15 km away from the reef. As sound travels more efficiently through water than air, many marine organisms (including larval fish) use reef noise to orient themselves out at sea, and navigate their way to coral reefs. I’m interested in understanding how sound reflects habitat quality: I look for patterns in recordings I make of coral reefs, to see what listening to nature can tell us about how healthy a reef is.