HKU marine biologist and international team unveil impacts of heatwave on reef fishes

By Eric Lee
Mar 20th 2020

The marine heatwave of 2016 was one of longest and hottest thermal anomalies recorded on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, influencing multiple species of marine ectotherms, including coral reef fishes.

Dr Celia Schunter from School of Biological Sciences and the Swire Institute of Marine Science (SWIMS), The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and a team of international scientists conducted a study attempting to understand the molecular response of five species to the 2016 heatwave conditions that killed a third of the Great Barrier Reef corals. This is the world-first study tracking how wild fish populations respond to a severe marine heatwave. The results of the study were published in the journal Science Advances.

The paper:
‘Species-specific molecular responses of wild coral reef fishes during a marine heatwave.’ in Science Advances by Moisés A Bernal, Celia Schunter, Robert Lehmann, Damien J Lightfoot, Bridie J M Allan, Heather D Veilleux, Jodie L Rummer, Philip L Munday and Timothy Ravasi.

Also see below for the news of her research:
RTHK news
(click the clip of “Biologists warn of threat of extreme marine heatwaves”)

Good Planet

Science Daily

Phys Org