Murray Duncan

PhD candidate
Murray Duncan


Thermal physiology of red roman (Chrysoblephus laticeps) in light of exploitation and climate change.

Two of the biggest threats to fish populations are over-exploitation and climate change. An understanding of the pattern and process of vulnerability to these threats is required to improve the predictive accuracy of species assessments leading to better management. By comparing the response of the linefish; Chrysoblephus laticeps, to climate change and exploitation across varying levels the project aims to better understand the effect of these threats on the species’ physiology and use this information to make predictions about its future vulnerability. A number of techniques will be used to do this including sclerochronology, respirometry and predictive modelling. Sclerochronology will involve analysing a time series of otolith increment widths between exploited and unexploited areas and correlating trends with environmental data. Metabolic scopes will be developed through respirometry experiments for all life history stages of C. laticeps and used to make mechanistic distribution models that will be projected through time based on climate change scenarios. Information on larval thermal physiology will be used to test for relationships between environmental data and standardised catch per unit effort data using multiple linear regressions. This project will make use of the newly developed SAIAB/DIFS Aquatic Ecophysiology Laboratory.

Registered at: Rhodes University  (Dept. Ichthyology and Fisheries Science)

Supervisors: Dr Warren Potts, (Rhodes University), Dr Nikki James, (SAIAB)