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Exploring the nexus between behaviour and physiology of coral reef fishes in a warming world

Funding or Partner Organisation: Australian Museum

Start year: 2016

Summary: What if reef fishes could buffer the negative effects of increasing environmental temperature on performance by using behaviour to regulate body temperature?[1,2] Potentially a winning strategy in response to global warming?[3] But what if the use of behavioural thermoregulation actually inhibited adaptation and plasticity of thermal physiology over evolutionary time-scales and therefore had a negative selection effect? This is essentially the question posed by the Bogert effect[4,5,6]. The Bogert effect remains a largely untested hypothesis that behavioural buffering slows divergence of thermal tolerance between populations and species, thereby constraining evolution and reducing local adaptation. This project aims to be the first to complete a test of the Bogert effect in tropical marine fishes by assessing the combined capacity for behavioural and physiological plasticity in reef fish species, with the goal of being able to more accurately predict who will be the winners and losers in a warmer future.

FOR Codes: Conservation and Biodiversity, Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology), Animal Behaviour, Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity, Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences, Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments, Conservation and biodiversity , Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems, Marine biodiversity