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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


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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.