Postgraduate Profiles

Renee Gruber

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Thesis: Nutrient inputs and reef productivity: Sources, transport and biogeochemical transformation in a macrotidal tropical ecosystem

The purpose of this study is to identify the dominant sources of external nutrients to fringing reef communities in the coastal west Kimberley region, their temporal variability, and their relationship to reef productivity in a hydrodynamically complex environment. This cross-disciplinary study will be conducted at multiple spatial scales, from in situ reef-scale nutrient uptake measurements (on Tallon Island, Buccaneer Archipelago) to region-scale hydrodynamic modelling (of King Sound).

Why my research is important

The productivity and ecosystem functions of reefs are ultimately linked to environmental factors including hydrodynamic regime and nutrient concentrations. While reefs have been relatively well-studied compared to other marine ecosystems, most in situ work on reef biogeochemistry has thus far occurred in oligotrophic, wave-dominated systems. Few studies focus on pristine reefs that also receive terrestrial nutrient inputs. This work will extend our understanding of reef biogeochemistry in the unique setting of the coastal Kimberley region and answer pressing questions regarding the connection of pristine reefs to terrestrial inputs and the effect of large environmental gradients on reef productivity.


Water cascading from a Kimberley reef during low tide.

Aug 2012

Oct 2016