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THE BELLWOOD Reef Fish LAB

Reef Fish Ecology & Evolution

About Us

We are based at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia. Our lab focuses on the study of reef fish ecology, ecosystem function, and resilience. Our approach is eclectic, ranging from molecular phylogenetics and global biogeography to functional morphology and behavioural ecology. Yet, we are all united by a single focus - to understand the role of biodiversity in ecosystem function and to find novel solutions to the problems faced by coral reefs. Our ultimate goal is to understand how coral reefs work, to identify the critical roles of fishes in coral reef ecosystems, and to develop new approaches to reef management that will include people as part of the solution. 

The humphead maori wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus). © V. Huertas.

The humphead maori wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus). © V. Huertas.

Fossils of reef fishes. (A) Brembodus ridens, (B) Pycnosteroides levispinosus, (C) Eorandallius rectifrons, & (D) Chaetodon ficheuri. Source: Bellwood et al. 2015. The evolution of fishes on coral reefs: fossils, phylogenies and functions. In: Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs: The Functioning of an Ecosystem in a Changing World.

Fossils of reef fishes. (A) Brembodus ridens, (B) Pycnosteroides levispinosus, (C) Eorandallius rectifrons, & (D) Chaetodon ficheuri.

Source: Bellwood et al. 2015. The evolution of fishes on coral reefs: fossils, phylogenies and functions. In: Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs: The Functioning of an Ecosystem in a Changing World.


See you at the 2017 Indo-Pacific Fish Conference

Abstract submission now open

The role of fishes on coral reefs

Session organised by David R. Bellwood, Christopher H.R. Goatley, and Deron Burkepile

This session will ask the question: what do fishes do on, and for, coral reefs? Fishes play numerous roles in ecosystem processes. The evolution of new fish groups has shaped reef development, and today fishes play pivotal roles in maintaining coral reef ecosystems in the face of climate change and other anthropogenic impacts. This session will encompass all of the important functions that fishes play on coral reefs, from predation and herbivory through to bioerosion and nutrient transfer. It will look at fishes as functional units that can shape the way that reefs operate. Human activity is changing coral reefs and fishes are both indicators of environmental change and a focus of human pressure, as a result of fishing activity. Our understanding of reefs in the past and future is contingent on our ability to comprehend the ecosystem processes which maintain them. The overarching goal of this session, therefore, is to identify the roles that fishes play on coral reefs so that we may better protect critical functional groups to ensure the future of coral reefs and the people who depend on them.

A lined surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus).    © S.B. Tebbett.

A lined surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus).    © S.B. Tebbett.

“Reefs as we know them are the consequence of changes in fish feeding abilities.

Prof. David R. Bellwood

 

The Bellwood Lab Notice Board 2017

 

Bellwood Lab 2016 Highlights