Marine researcher takes on new role in national coral reef society

Published 19 May 2016

Southern Cross University marine researcher and senior lecturer Dr Anna Scott has been appointed Vice President of the Australian Coral Reef Society.

The Society is the oldest coral reef society in the world and plays a key role in promoting scientific research on Australian coral reefs. It has around 300 members and celebrates the biodiversity of Australia’s coral reefs and supports reef scientists and advises policy makers in their quest to sustain reefs into the future.

Dr Scott, who is based at the University’s National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour, has held a number of positions in the society including treasurer and councillor.

“I am very excited about the new position and the opportunity to contribute further to protecting our reefs, which are increasingly under threat.

“Climate change is just one of the risks facing our coral reefs and we need to ensure that we can continue to bring these major conservation issues to the forefront.”

Dr Scott has researched extensively in the area of sea anemones and anemonefishes, and was the first person to scientifically document sexual reproduction in these anemones.

She has also developed techniques for breeding host sea anemones in captivity in a bid to supply the aquarium trade and restock areas which have already been degraded.

Host sea anemones play an important role in the marine environment, providing a home for the much-loved anemonefish - made famous in the film 'Finding Nemo'.

"There are about 1000 species of sea anemones, however only 10 provide homes for anemonefish. Without these anemones, fish such as 'Nemo' wouldn't be able to survive in the wild," Dr Scott said.

In two recent collaborative studies, published in the scientific journal ‘Marine Biodiversity’, she has found that anemonefishes were not as common in the Great Barrier Reef as anticipated, and that changing climatic conditions could be pushing the host anemones further south.

Photo: Dr Anna Scott.

Media contact: Brigid Veale head of Communications and Publications Southern Cross University, 66593006 or 0439 680 748.