Almost two decades of coral-reef fishes moving polewards in SE Australia: patterns, mechansims, and implications

Prof David Booth1, Giglia A Beretta1, Luke Brown1, William F Figueira2

1School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

2School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia


A 19-year dataset indicates high interannual, interspecific and spatial variation in influx and persistence of coral-reef fishes into SE Australia.  The last 5 years has seen large increases in appearance of some taxa such as Acanturidae (surgeonfishes) at southern sites, and mor overwinterers.  Links to key physical variables are unclear but there are exceptions.  I will discuss how the relative role of offshore processes (eg EAC patterns) vs receiving environment (e.g. local habitat, species, winter temperatures and climate-related storm events) differ among key fish taxa, and ecological implications.


David Booth is a marine fish ecologist interested in life history of reef fishes, with long term studies on the Great Barrier Reef, Caribbean, and SE Australia.  He has been monitoring and experimeting the poleward movenet of coral reef fshes along the east coast of Austrlaia since 2001.

Species on the Move

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The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.

Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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