Molly Gerrans

Ecological associations of fish assemblages within National Park Zones in Abrolhos Marine Park

The Abrolhos Marine Park is situated in Commonwealth waters; adjacent to the Houtman Abrolhos Islands in Western Australia. The marine park supports a unique mixing of tropical and temperate species in reference to its location along the Western Australian coastline. Warmer tropical waters from the Leeuwin Current mix with cooler waters from lower latitudes, increasing the diversity of fish species and habitats. However, despite the high marine biodiversity of the area, there is limited information on the benthic habitat and fish assemblages and the possible associations between these fish species and their habitats in mesophotic areas in the Abrolhos Marine Park. Strong fish-habitat associations can aid in the identification of important metrics to monitor the conservation of species and the management of the NPZs. As part of the Southwest Marine Park, the Abrolhos Marine Park was recently established in 2018. This project demonstrates the first Baited Remote Underwater stereo-Video (stereo-BRUV) analysis of this park zone, presenting a preliminary observational study to establish fish assemblages and habitat distributions.

My project aims to establish the ecological associations among habitat and fish assemblages within two National Park Zones in the Abrolhos Marine Park through the use of stereo-BRUVs. I will be identifying and characterising the fish assemblage and habitats in the two NPZ and use this information to determine interactions the between species abundance, environmental covariates, habitat distributions, and species traits information. Characterisation of fish assemblages based on predictors inside these NPZs will aid Parks Australia in the prediction of comparable locations with similar fish assemblages outside the NPZ. Parks Australia would be able to use these locations for ongoing monitoring programs. Furthermore, it will aid in our understanding of patterns of diversity and abundance in the area.

About Me

I grew up in Perth and spend most of my spare time swimming, snorkelling, surfing, and diving along the West Australian coast. I graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Marine Science and Zoology in 2021. I thoroughly enjoyed my time experiencing research with BRUVs in my undergraduate degree and decided to continue on study through my current Honours Degree in Marine Biology. My interests include marine ecology, predator-prey relationships, sustainability and fish and shark biology. Through my degree, I am hoping to expand my knowledge of ecological relationships and gain experience working with BRUVs to carry these skills into further study.


Dr. Tim Langlois, Kingsley Griffin


Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre
School of Biological Sciences (M470)
35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009