PROJECT TITLE: How do coral reef fish cope with elevated UV levels
RESEARCHERS: Dr. Ulrike E. Siebeck and Christoph Braun
LOCATION: Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia and The University of Queensland, St Lucia
Despite living in an environment with high ultraviolet radiation (UVR) levels our knowledge about the impact of UVR on reef fish and their protection mechanisms (avoidance behaviour, DNA repair and protection with natural sunscreens) is limited.
During his PhD Chris discovered that:
• the most important factors influencing UV-induced DNA damage in reef fish are species and size
• UV vision did not result in UVR avoidance behaviour
• Some reef fish species can repair DNA damage caused by UVR
• Some reef fish can secrete natural sunscreens that protect against UVR
The results of this study serve as a valuable baseline and open the door for future studies that will investigate possible connections of the impact of UVR on reef fish on their reproduction and community structure within a coral reef.
Information for Applicants
In February each year the Foundation calls for expressions of interest. A limited number of projects are short-listed on the basis of their high scientific merit and likely contribution to the Foundation's objectives.
Applicants who are short-listed are invited to submit a detailed project plan describing the research to be undertaken, including costs.
Plans may be submitted by SWRRFI to a specialist external referee (not necessarily within Australia) for further scientific evaluation.
The Foundation attempts to fund a number of applications each year. Successful applicants are required to report on the progress of the project by 1 September each year and to produce a final report by 30 June in the year following cessation of the project.
The Foundation requests copies of publications and thesis which result from projects, and acknowledgement in all lectures, presentations, displays and published material.
What we learn will create a clearer path to safeguarding the fragile marine environment for generations to come.
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Professor Michael Capra (Chair)
Professor Capra is a founding member of the SWRRFI Committee. Following Professor Michael Bryden’s retirement in October 2008, Professor Capra has returned to his former position as Chair. He is Professor of Occupational Health and Safety, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Queensland and Conjoint Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, Faculty of Health, University Newcastle.
Professor Mark Hindell
Professor Hindell has been a member of the SWRRFI committee since 1995 and currently runs the Antarctic Wildlife Research Unit in the School of Zoology, University of Tasmania.
Professor Iain Suthers
Professor Suthers joined the SWRRFI Committee in 2001. He is a Professor in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Sydney Institute of Marine Science, University of New South Wales.
Dr Jenny Ovenden
Dr Ovenden joined the Committee in 2004. Dr Ovenden is a Senior Research Fellow, Molecular Fisheries Laboratory, Queensland University and an Adjunct Scientist, Museum National D'Histoire Naturelle, Paris.
Professor Gordon Grigg
Professor Grigg joins the committee in 2007. He is Professor of Zoology at the School of Integrated Biology, the University of Queensland.
Professor Peter Harrison
Professor Harrison joined the Committee in 2012. He is the founding Director of the Marine Ecology Research Centre and the Director of Marine Studies at Southern Cross University.
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