Project title: Population ecology of tropical baitfish species in the Indo-Pacific
My PhD project is on the spatial and genetic ecology of small baitfishes (Spratelloides species) on the Great Barrier Reef. These tropical clupeids form an essential link within coral reef food webs between the plankton and a range of meso-predators, while also being exploited by humans as both bait and increasingly a food source. The broad objective of this study will be to examine the spatial scales of tropical baitfishes and investigate the ecology of these populations across the Indo-Pacific. To do this four primary aims will be addressed: 1 – Confirmation of taxonomy and broad scale differentiation of stock units across the Indo-Pacific,
2 – Investigate the effects of geomorphology and oceanographic processes on the fine scale genetic differentiation of baitfish populations on the Great Barrier Reef, 3 – Analyse the development and methods of reproduction among tropical baitfish, 4 – Examine the ecology and demography factors influencing patterns of abundance and distribution. My proposed research program on baitfish, therefore, will contribute to our knowledge of their basic biology, while also determining the role of reefs in maintaining genetic diversity. Understanding how these species are distributed has broad implications for the management of fisheries around coral reefs and their development as a resource.
Kynan completed a Bachelor of Science – Advanced majoring in Marine Biology at JCU in 2014, before joining the lab and completing a first class Honours in 2015. In his time off Kynan plays squash, travels, reads and works as a PADI Divemaster