Habitat quality as a driver of fisheries productivity on macroalgal reefs

Macroalgae meadows are an important component of coastal marine ecosystems, where they are primary producers that underpin entire food webs, and also provide complex habitat for many other species, including fish targeted for harvest fisheries. Recent research has found that tropical Sargassum spp. canopy biomass is closely linked to sea temperature. Consequently, changes in sea temperature among seasons, among years, and arising from thermal anomalies like marine heat waves, could directly affect the capacity for Sargassum habitats to support and replenish macroalgae-dependent fisheries. The core objective of this PhD research project is to examine whether we can use changes in macroalgae canopy habitat quality to predict levels of tropical fisheries productivity and replenishment.


Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions, Western Australia (Dr. Shaun Wilson)