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The role of Kyphosus spp. in reef ecosystems

It is well known that herbivory greatly influences theecological processes that regulate the biodiversity in marine environments, andtherefore evaluating herbivory becomes an essential step in understanding andmanaging the complexity of marine ecosystems. The herbivorous fish Kyphosids (gen.Kyphosus, fam. Kyphosidae,), commonly found in both temperate and tropicalwaters all over the world, are often recognized as a key group for many reefhabitats. Regardless of the potential importance as algal consumers and the widedistribution of Kyphosids, basic ecological information about their diet, abundance,and distribution is scarce.  Researchershere, including PhD student Aldo Turco, explore the main habitat features andspecies morphology of the Kyphosid particular to Western Australian waters, inorder to increase the basic ecological data of this herbivore and subsequentlythe ability to better understand their significance particular to ecosystemintegrity within these important environments.

The data collection for this project will be undertakenin two distinct marine protected areas of Western Australia; Marmion MarinePark (Perth’s city marine reserve) and Ningaloo Marine Park (the iconic NorthWest’s coral reef) in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Thestudy involved the assessment of the relative abundance of each Kyphosusspecies together with a selection of biological and physical reef variables suchas the cover percentage of algal species and the number of reefmacro-structures; across different sites, levels of relief and distance from theshore.

Funding agency

ANZ Executors and Trustee Company Limited

Project duration

2012-2014

Researchers

Mr Aldo Turco (PhD Student)
Associate Professor Glenn Hyndes

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