“Are cryptic species in coral rubble habitat supporting reef fisheries production?” This is the question that marine biologist Dr. Kenny Wolfe, of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, is trying to answer as he conducts his research in collaboration with the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC).

“Cryptic species” is the term that refers to animals that are hidden away in the structure of the reef, or that are very small and hard to see.

Evidence in Palau shows that with the decline of a reef habitat from live coral to dead rubble, there is an increase in density and diversity of these small invertebrates.

While much emphasis is placed on fish and coral within a reef ecosystem, there is a theory that these small or hidden creatures may have a bigger influence than previously realized on fisheries production. Dr. Wolfe’s work will help supply some of the knowledge gap in this area.

Dr. Wolfe will be giving a more in-depth research talk on this topic at PICRC, on Tuesday, December 3, from 3:30pm to 4:30pm, at the Kedarm Conference Room.

The public is welcome and encouraged to join the event in order to learn more about the Dr. Wolfe’s work on cryptic species.

Dr. Wolfe is joined by Ms. Amelia “Amy” Desbiens; a recent graduate in marine biology and ecology, of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. She will be presenting on her research regarding coral reef food webs, and how they are affected by environmental variables such as wave height. (PR)