Marine plant communities are strongly influenced by herbivory, with herbivore impacts being dependent on their foraging strategies that can vary widely among and within species. Many marine herbivores are generalists, but populations can comprise of individuals that are relatively specialised due to individual feeding preferences or a restricted availability of local food sources. Accurate measurements of the diets of free living marine herbivores are essential to understanding how individual herbivores impact plant communities, though are difficult to obtain.
Our research aims to i) develop a novel method in which to economically assess the diet of a free living marine generalist herbivore, ii) describe the diet breadth across time and space and iii) assess the relative importance of extrinsic and intrinsic mechanism in driving diet mixing in a marine herbivore.
Supervisor - Associate Professor Alistair Poore
Co-Supervisor - Dr Adriana Verges
Bain, K.F., Vergés, A., and Poore, A.G.B., (2013) Using near infra-red reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) to quantify tissue composition in the seagrass Posidonia australis, Aquatic Botany, Volume 111, 66-70.