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Understanding drivers of tropical fish range expansions


Warming oceans from climate change is driving an increase in the occurrence of tropical fishes in temperate latitudes. While we are beginning to understand the factors that may limit their establishment success in novel temperate environments, we still known comparatively little about the mechanisms which affect the dynamics of their larval stage. The project will investigate these processes for tropical fishes arriving in the temperate waters of NSW in the summer months.


Associate Professor William Figueira.

Research location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program type



This project will seek to understand the dynamics of the larval stage that results in the variable delivery of tropical larvae to temperate habitats. It will focus on understanding factors affecting the timing of arrival as well as the consequences of this on post settlement success. It will also attempt to look at the variable success of different species to determine what role interspecific differences in performance may play in determining which species are seen in NSW. The project will involve snorkel-based fieldwork and lab-based analysis of fish otoliths and body condition.

Additional information

Participants in this project will require current driver’s license valid for use in NSW and they should be very comfortable snorkelers. 

HDR Inherent Requirements  

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:   

  • Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
  • Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
  • Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;  
  • Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);  
  • Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;  
  • Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);  
  • Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;  
  • Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);  
  • Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;  
  • Hold a current scuba diving license;  
  • Hold a current Working with Children Check;  
  • Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)   

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2707

Other opportunities with Associate Professor William Figueira