Evolution of fishes and Coral Reefs

Over the past 400 million years, interactions between fishes and reefs have intensified from initial indifference to the complex ecosystems we see today, where coral reefs are highly dependent upon fish assemblages. Coral reefs, in turn, have acted as both cradles and refuges for fish lineages, underpinning both increased diversity and reduced extinctions. Using morphological and molecular evidence our research addresses questions relating to the evolution of form and and function in coral reef fishes. Additionally we place the evolution of fishes in a functional context to assess how coral reefs ecosystems have changed over evolutionary time. By formulating an understanding of how reefs functioned in the past, we gain unique insights into the potential future of coral reefs in a changing world. 


Featured Articles

Bellwood, D. R., Goatley, C. H., Bellwood, O. (2016). The evolution of fishes on coral reefs: form, function and interdependence. Biological Reviews, doi: 10.1111/brv.12259


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Bellwood, D. R., Goatley, C. H., Bellwood, O., Delbarre, D. J., & Friedman, M. (2015). The rise of jaw protrusion in spiny-rayed fishes closes the gap on elusive prey. Current Biology25(20), 2696-2700.



Bellwood, D. R., Hoey, A. S., Bellwood, O., Goatley, C. H.(2014). Evolution of long-toothed fishes and the changing nature of fish-benthos interactions on coral reefs. Nature Communications5, 3144.