Reconsidering two old friends: corals and fish
First published 6 September 2012
The mutually dependent relationship between coral and fish that goes back millions of years will be re-examined in a new lecture by a James Cook University expert.
Professor David Bellwood, from JCU’s School of Marine and Tropical Biology, will present The past, present and future of fishes on coral reefs next week as part of a public lecture series being held by JCU’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.
The series showcases JCU’s research to the community and is designed to inform, educate and entertain residents about current science and engineering issues.
Professor Bellwood said fish and coral had an ancient connection.
“Fish have swum in the vicinity of coral reefs for more than 400 million years,” he said.
“In this time, the fish and corals have developed an increasingly close association, a mutual dependency. In relatively recent times, however, humans have changed these relationships.
“Our actions are creating a new type of coral reef.”
Professor Bellwood said the seminar would consider the evidence from fossil records, from evolutionary studies, and ecological surveys to describe how the world’s reefs have changed over time.
“Although Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the best managed reefs in the world, it is in decline and facing serious threats from increasing human activity.”
Based on his recent ecological studies, Professor Bellwood will examine what the future holds for coral reefs and reef fishes.
Professor Bellwood is a marine biologist working on coral reefs and has a keen interest in the role of fishes in maintaining coral reef resilience. A Professor in the School of Marine and Tropical Biology and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, he is an internationally recognised expert on coral reef fishes and has pioneered a functional approach to understanding reef ecosystems. He combines skills in such disparate fields as ecology, palaeontology, biomechanics and molecular biology to understand the nature of reefs. Emerging from his historical examination of reefs around the globe is a clear view of a future for coral reefs in which humans play a central role.
The past, present and future of fishes on coral reefs, presented by Professor David Bellwood
Date: Thursday, 13th September 2012
Time: 5.30pm for a complimentary drink and nibbles, lecture starts at 6pm.
Place: Sir George Kneipp Auditorium, James Cook University, Townsville
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175