A changing climate and coastal marine ecosystem function

Ongoing primary and secondary productivity at various levels within a trophic network are critical to the ability of ecosystems to recover from disturbances (e.g. cyclones, heat waves) and maintain key goods and services (e.g. food harvesting). However, we have a poor understanding of how marine primary and secondary productivity are affected by environmental conditions in marine coastal ecosystems. In this PhD project, you will explore how a community of tropical invertebrates and fishes respond to shifts in seaweed primary production over natural seasonal cycles and future scenarios of sea temperature arising from marine climate change. In doing so, you will have the opportunity to work in the beautiful Ningaloo reef World Heritage ecosystem in central Western Australia, while learning new skills in marine biology, ecosystem ecology and multivariate modelling. Working in collaboration with State and Federal government agencies, you will plan and communicate your research so that it is directly applicable to marine conservation and management. Given the strong field-based nature of this project, the candidate requires some diving experience (logged at least 15hrs) and SCUBA certification to at least Rescue level.