Laura RichardsonBangor University · School of Ocean Sciences
Quantifying impact of biophysical and anthropogenic forcing on reef-fish assemblage structure across scales—MSCA Fellow
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Citations since 2017
12 Research Items
I am interested in how ecological communities are organised by anthropogenic and biophysical processes interacting across space and time. Combining trait-based approaches and high-resolution biophysical modelling, I assess the influence of interacting ‘natural’ drivers and local human impacts on the ecological structure of reef-fish assemblages across local to regional scales. I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, working in collaboration with the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.
April 2019 - September 2019
June 2014 - April 2018
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Field of study
- Coral Reef Ecology
Demand for marine fisheries is rising despite global impacts on the productive capacity of wild fish stocks due to overfishing, habitat loss, and global warming. Fisheries enhancement programs—aimed at augmenting stocks by releasing juveniles into the wild—are expected to play an increasingly important auxiliary role in addressing capture-based fis...
The influence of depth and associated gradients in light, nutrients, and plankton on the ecological organisation of tropical reef communities was first described over six decades ago but remains untested across broad geographies. Humans have also become the dominant driver of planetary change, requiring we re-visit historic ecological paradigms to...
Ocean warming is increasing the incidence, scale, and severity of global-scale coral bleaching and mortality, culminating in the third global coral bleaching event that occurred during record marine heatwaves of 2014-2017. While local effects of these events have been widely reported, the global implications remain unknown. Analysis of 15,066 reef...
The distribution and organisation of benthic organisms on tropical reefs are typically heterogenous yet display distinct zonation patterns across depth gradients. However, there are few datasets which inform our understanding of how depth zonation in benthic community composition varies spatially among and within different reef systems. Here, we as...
Background Coral reefs are rapidly changing in response to local and global stressors. Research to better understand and inform the management of these stressors is burgeoning. However, in situ studies of coral reef ecology are constrained by complex logistics and limited resources. Many reef studies are also hampered by the scale-dependent nature...
Rapid and unprecedented ecological change threatens the functioning and stability of ecosystems. On coral reefs, global climate change and local stressors are reducing and reorganizing habitat-forming corals and associated species, with largely unknown implications for critical ecosystem functions such as herbivory. Herbivory mediates coral–algal c...
Cross-shelf differences in coral reef benthic and fish assemblages are common, yet it is unknown whether these assemblages respond uniformly to environmental disturbances or whether local conditions result in differential responses of assemblages at different shelf positions. Here, we compare changes in the taxonomic and functional composition, and...
Global climate change is altering community composition across many ecosystems due to nonrandom species turnover, typically characterized by the loss of specialist species and increasing similarity of biological communities across spatial scales. As anthropogenic disturbances continue to alter species composition globally, there is a growing need t...
The availability of habitat structure across spatial scales can determine ecological organization and resilience. However, anthropogenic disturbances are altering the abundance and composition of habitat-forming organisms. How such shifts in the composition of these organisms alter the physical structure of habitats across ecologically important sc...
Coral community composition varies considerably due to both environmental conditions and disturbance histories. However, the extent to which coral composition influences associated fish assemblages remains largely unknown. Here an ecological trait-based ordination analysis was used to compare functional richness (range of unique trait combinations)...
Experimental work to assess how anthropogenic (man-made) noise and other human disturbances may affect animal behaviour, physiology, development and fitness. Working on a range of study systems, including fish, marine invertebrates, and terrestrial mammals and birds.