University of Cambridge > > Darwin College Science Seminars > The impact of climate-induced habitat loss on coral reef fishes in the Red Sea

The impact of climate-induced habitat loss on coral reef fishes in the Red Sea

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Tamsin Samuels.

Grab some lunch from the Darwin servery and enjoy an interesting science talk and discussion over lunch. Looking forward to seeing you there.

A reduction in coral cover and reef fragmentation have been shown to reduce biodiversity and abundance of coral reef fishes, but knowledge on how reef fishes are impacted by habitat loss over large spatial and temporal scales is still limited. The connectivity of most marine systems presents a major challenge in reconstructing such effects from past climatic events, making it difficult to track immigration, emigration, or size changes of populations. The Red Sea provides an ideal model system to disentangle local demography from the effect of migration, as its basin is enclosed with only one connection to the Indian Ocean in the south. During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) ~20,000 years ago, low sea levels left the Red Sea effectively isolated and highly saline, resulting in significant habitat loss and fragmentation. This study uses Next Generation Sequencing data and an Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) framework to model the complex demographic histories of reef fishes in the model Red Sea system, providing the first high resolution picture of the differing effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on a variety of Red Sea reef fishes. Such an approach allows us to estimate key demographic parameters such as the minimum effective population sizes capable of recovery – what can this tell us about the prospects for reef fish populations in the face of ongoing climate change?

This talk is part of the Darwin College Science Seminars series.

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