Behaviour, morphology and ecology of fishes in extreme environments

Exploring how fish can adapt to extreme environments and future climate change.

Through an extreme expression of a well-known trait (behavioural, morphological or physiological), or the possession of an entirely novel attribute, fishes are able to exploit habitats where they are subject to extreme and often highly variable environmental conditions. Understanding how fish can vary their phenotypes across these environmental gradients, particularly under extreme physiochemical conditions, can provide some powerful insights into their potential response to climate change. Within this research topic I have several student projects that explore traits expressed by fishes occupying extreme habitats (e.g. wave-swept reefs, fast-flowing rapids), and how this can help us understand the consequences of extreme and/or rapidly changing climatic conditions for fish biodiversity. Depending on the project, you will collect both laboratory and field data (see summary of techniques you will learn at the top of my main ANU page) and may spend extensive amounts of time doing underwater visual observations in either marine or freshwater environments, and/or using digital underwater video to capture the fishes doing their thing when being pushed to the extremes.

Student opportunities are available under this project as well as the current projects outlined above. If these interest you, please have a read of some of our papers and then get in touch.


Some projects require high-level SCUBA training (Rescue-level) and experience (15+ hrs logged time). Prospective students should discuss their intentions early so they can complete the necessary training.