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Mr Federico Vitelli

Overview of thesis

My Phd project aims to understand causes and consequences of hybridisation in angelfish.

Hybridisation is defined as the interbreeding between two genetically distinct populations or species, that produces viable offspring. Coral reef fishes form the most diverse vertebrate communities on earth and recent studies have revealed that hybridisation is common in this group. The angelfishes (family Pomacanthidae) have the greatest proportion (~30%) of hybridising species with 26 species implicated in hybridisation. Angelfish show a wide range of ecological traits, such as body size, colour, reproductive system, and diet, and many studies have examined these different aspects at the species level. However, very little is known about hybridisation in angelfish, especially in terms of fitness of the hybrids and possible ecological consequences. Hybrids between three species of angelfish (C. flavissima, C. eibli and C. vroliki) have been reported from Christmas Island. These three species are observed in heterospecific harems and interbreeding and provide the unique opportunity to examine the breakdown in assortative mating in marine fishes. The broad aim of this study is to determine causes and consequences of hybridisation in angelfish at Christmas Island.


  • Master of Sciences by Research – Herbivorous Fish Ecology. Edith Cowan University, WA (2013)
  • Bachelor degree in Marine Biology – University of Pisa (Italy) (2009)

Other qualifications

  • 2012: DOV Course. Underwater video recording and video analysis. Department of Fisheries Western Australia
  • 2011: Coxwain Restricted. Licence to drive Vessels up to 8 metres long and not further than 6 nautical miles from shore. Challenger Institute of Technology
  • 2008-2009: DIVEMASTER. The course provides the training to lead a group of divers and supervise them. PADI
  • 2007: Scientific Diver. Sampling and research methodology in Marine and coastal environments. Università di Pisa
  • Senior First Aid (Current)
  • DAN Oxygen Provider (Current)


ECU International Postgraduate Research Scholarship

January 2014: International PhD scholarship to do a PhD at Edith Cowan University. Marine Ecology. Edith Cowan University.

ECU Post Graduate Funding for AMSA 2012 Conference

April 2012: $1000 to attend the Annual conference of the AMSA held in Hobart (Tasmania). Edith Cowan University.

ECU Post Graduate Funding for Fieldwork

April 2012: $1000 to fund fieldtrips to Marmion Marine Park for my Master project. Edith Cowan University.

Conference Publications

  • Herbivory by Parma mccullochi (Pomacentridae): its role as an ecosystem engineer in temperate algal-dominated reefs. – International Temperate Reefs Symposium – UWA , Western Australia



PhD Student
Federico Vitelli
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 5765
Mobile: 0414 953 844

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