Event Details

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 - Wednesday, 20 January 2016
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
QBI Level 7 Auditorium
UQ Location:
Queensland Brain Institute (St Lucia)
Event category(s):

Event Contact

Ms Deirdre Wilson
3346 6300
Org. Unit:
Queensland Brain Institute

Event Description

Full Description:
Genevieve Phillips of the Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland hosts: Visual ecology of predator-prey relationships on the coral reef.

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse environments on the planet, in terms of light environments, colour and visual systems. The function of much of the diversity seen within coral reef fish in particular is yet to be understood. Coral reef fish display a great variety of colour patterns that, although appear conspicuous to human viewers, may be used as camouflage by prey to avoid predation, or indeed by predators to avoid being detected by their prey. The humbug, Dascyllus aruanus has a contrasting black and white barred body pattern that has been hypothesised to provide protection from predators by matching the branching coral heads that they inhabit. One of the humbug’s predators, the coral trout, Plectropomus leopardus is able to change body patterns, seemingly to approach and stalk prey while minimising visual detection. Another common predator on the reef, the slingjaw wrasse, Epibulus insidiator is a member of the labrid family – a huge polyphyletic group that reside within a similar visual environment, but have distinctly different ecologies. A third predator, the ragged scorpionfish, Scorpaenopsis venosa leads a benthic life with potentially different visual challenges to the swimming predators mentioned above.

The aim of my PhD was to identify whether coral reef fish predator visual systems are well adapted to their predation strategies, and whether prey and predator body patterns have evolved to camouflage themselves from a variety of visual systems. Overall, my research gives us further insights into the incredible diversity within coral reef ecosystems, using predator-prey interactions. The visual systems of predatory fish appear to be highly specialised towards their predatory behaviours, and both predators and prey have evolved complex strategies to avoid being detected by a range of visual systems. In general, reef fish appear to have highly diverse visual systems, even within a single family, that may be linked to specific ecological functions. These findings will hopefully inspire further research into how the diversity of visual systems is linked to functional ecology.

Directions to UQ

Google Map:
To St Lucia Campus, UQ Ipswich, and UQ Gatton.

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