Oral Presentation Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2017

Links between coral morphological assemblage and fish communities at Ningaloo Reef (#79)

Anna K Cresswell 1 , Damian Thomson 2 , Michael Renton 3 , Timothy Langlois 3 , Mick Haywood 2
  1. CSIRO/ University of Western Australia, City Beach, WA, Australia
  2. CSIRO, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  3. Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia

Hydrodynamics and depth are key drivers of spatial differences in the morphological assemblages of coral. This is the case at Ningaloo Reef, North West Australia where different communities exist from the reef slope (high wave energy) to the shallower reef crest and flat where wave energy dissipates. Different geographic regions of the reef have exhibited temporal changes over the last decade, with some showing a clear decline in tabular corals and others remaining with relatively unchanged morphological assemblages. We have investigated the proportional makeup of categorized coral morphological groups at more than 300 sites and correlated these with fish functional groups and assemblages. Changes to coral assemblages predicted from a functional structural model are being used to consider how different fish functional groups may be affected by future climate impacts.