Media Release

Newsroom Releases 2012 August Reef interruptions examined

27/08/2012
Reef interruptions examined
Elements that disturb the coral reef, such as the crown-of-thorns starfish and climate change will be discussed in a talk by a James Cook University expert this week.

First published 27 August 2012

Elements that disturb the coral reef, such as the crown-of-thorns starfish and climate change will be discussed in a talk by a James Cook University expert this week.

Professor Morgan Pratchett from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at JCU, will present his Professorial Inaugural Lecture; Habitat degradation on coral reefs and the effects on reef fishes and fisheries this Wednesdayevening (August 29) in Townsville.

“Coral reef ecosystems are increasingly subject to severe, large-scale disturbances, such as those caused by coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish and global climate change,” Professor Pratchett said.

“These disturbances cause extensive loss of coral habitat, which has further important effects on abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes.”

Professor Pratchett said the seminar would also explore observed and projected changes in coral reef habitats and examine likely effects of these changes on coral reef fishes.

“Coral loss has the greatest and most immediate effect on small-bodied species of fishes that live or feed on live corals, and many such species maybe facing extinction,” he said.

“However, live coral habitat is also very important in sustaining viable populations of harvested species, such as coral trout.

“Further coral loss may therefore, undermine the productivity and sustainability of reef-based fisheries.

“This is especially important given that many people in tropical maritime nations directly depend on coral reef fisheries for their food and livelihoods.”

Details:

Date: Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Time: 5.30pm

Location: The Raffles Room at the Southbank Hotel and Convention Centre, Palmer Street, South Townsville

Free entry.

For more information, contact louise.lennon@jcu.edu.au or (07) 4781 6360

For interviews or photos: Professor Pratchett (07) 4781 5747 or mob 0488 112 295, email morgan.pratchett@jcu.edu.au

JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175