Salvador Zarco Perello

Persistence and impact of tropical herbivorous fish on temperate ecosystems

My research is concerned with the tropicalization of temperate marine ecosystems around the world due to climate change. Global warming is driving the expansion of distributions and increases in abundances towards temperate ecosystems of species regularly found on tropical ecosystems. Among these are herbivorous fish, important ecosystem engineers with the potential to modify the habitat structure by consuming the vegetation, reducing the shelter and food that other species may depend upon. My research aims to assess three main aspects revolving around the long-term impact of tropical herbivorous on temperate ecosystems: (1) Persistence: reproduction, growth, recruitment and habitat associations of tropical herbivorous fish, (2) Impact: temporal variability of seaweed consumption, and (3) Future scenarios: forecast further distribution expansions and possible hot-spots of high levels of herbivory in south-western Australia in the future.

About me

I graduated as Marine Biologist with my research on spatial interpolation analyses of reef benthic communities in the Yucatan Peninsula (National University of Mexico). I then got interested on the direct and indirect effects of global warming on reef fish (Diploma on Research on James Cook University) and temperate ecosystems by altering the herbivory processes (Masters at University of Western Australia). Just before starting my PhD I studied the fish communities associated with different seagrass habitats of the Mexican Caribbean (Institute of Marine Science of Mexico). Currently, as a PhD student I am expanding my work on the impact that established populations of tropical herbivorous fish can have on temperate marine ecosystems dominated by macrophytes.


Dr. Thomas Wernberg (UWA), Dr. Tim Langlois (UWA), Dr. Mat Vanderklift (CSIRO), Dr. Tom Holmes (DBCA).


Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre
School of Biological Sciences (M470)
35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009
+618 6488 4533
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