Thanks for your interest in Fish & Friends! We are pleased to welcome Aneri Garg and Noelle Helder as our speakers for June 2019. Aneri and Noelle are M.Sc candidates conducting research in The Green Lab at University of Alberta. They will share their research to understand fish community dynamics on restored coral reefs.

In coral reef ecosystems, habitat complexity provided by both live coral cover and the underlying carbonate structure has a strong influence on the abundance, biodiversity, and biomass of resident animal and plant life. Within the current framework of coral restoration practices, re-establishing coral habitat has been used as a method to aid ecosystem recovery. Despite being widely employed, few studies have focused on understanding the effect of coral outplanting on the community dynamics and assemblages of reef-dependent fishes, post-restoration. The effects of added structure on fish assemblages via outplanting efforts is of interest to better understand and opportunistically design restoration practices that capitalize on the positive, reciprocal relationship between corals and fishes. Additionally, tracking patterns of fish community dynamics across multiple spatial scales can help us predict reassembly trajectories in the face of ongoing acute and chronic disturbances in coral reef communities. The objective of our study is to evaluate the spatial dynamics of fish assemblages across gradients of habitat complexity at a range of spatial scales. These findings may be extended to understand the impact of these relationships on critical ecosystem processes of fish-derived nutrient dynamics and herbivory, and to community assembly dynamics including recruitment habitat preferences, cues involved in settlement, and succession patterns involved in habitat colonization. These studies will help to fill in critical knowledge gaps between 3D complexity and ecosystem processes, with implications for both restoration practitioners and habitat managers.

REEF Fish & Friends is a free, monthly seminar series that features engaging ocean-themed presentations from guest speakers. Snorkelers, divers, and marine life enthusiasts are invited to join informal discussions and mingle with members of our friendly, ocean-minded community. Complimentary appetizers and refreshments are provided. The evening kicks off with a social starting at 6:15pm, and the presentation begins at 7pm.