Dr. Juergen Herler: project leader

During this project, I was employed as a senior post-doctoral researcher and project leader (paid by the Austrian Science Fund, FWF) at the University of Vienna, Austria. My main research interests are in reef ecology and fish biology in general and in particular in the morphology and ecology of (coral-associated) reef fishes and their adaptations to host corals. I acquired this research project in order to reveal potential mutualistic relationships between corals and fish associates and to determine relevant coral-specific adaptations. Within this project, five MSc. students and one PhD student have completed their theses successfully. In total, the project has yielded more than 10 publications (those already published are found in "publications")
Dipl. Ing. Rudolf Machan: electronics expert

I was mainly responsible for the development and maintenance of the underwater cameras and the radio transmission system.
Valentin Perlinger: technical expert

My main responsibility was the planning and construction of mechanical parts (e.g. waterproof housings).
Markus Dirnwoeber, PhD

During my Diploma thesis in a previous research project with Juergen, I investigated the microhabitat specialisation pattern of coral-dwelling gobies of the genus Gobiodon in the Red Sea. After spending the last three years as a resort biologist in the Maldives, I decided to come back again to join his new project, this time as a PhD student. My main focus were on fish behavioural studies by using the underwater video monitoring and camera equipments. Through a set of in situ and ex situ experiments I contributed to the question if this co-evolved coral/fish-relationship is beneficial for both partners.
MSc. Mohamed Negm

I am an environmental researcher in Wadi El Gemal- Hamata National Park (WGHNP), Red Sea Governorate. My main research interest is in surveys and assessments of marine habitats and coral reef ecology and monitoring. My role in this research project was to investigate the behavioral and morphological adaptations of damselfishes to the coral microhabitat.
MSc. Ulrike Harant

My part within this project was to determine the predation intensity of the corallivorous butterflyfish Chaetodon austriacus on coral colony level with special regard to coral size and occupation by coral-associated gobies of the genus Gobiodon.
MSc. Lucien Untersteggaber

My role in this research project was the investigation of shape variation within the genus Gobiodon with respect to the interbranch space of particular Acropora host corals.
MSc. Barbara Gratzer

My work was based on the studies of Juergen and coping with coral-dwelling gobies of the genus Gobiodon who preferentially live in scleractinian corals of the genus Acropora. Preferences with regard to the coral are species specific and very variable. Several studies raise the question whether or not predation risk may be high for coral-gobies, what would explain their great attachment to their home-coral and and the development of skin toxins. In the scope of my diploma thesis I wanted to identify possible piscivore predators, and I wanted to find out if the two species Gobiodon histrio and Gobiodon sp3 do differ in their level of toxicity (and, by using bioassays, how long their toxicity lasts in time) and what impact their toxicity has on the risk of predation.
MSc. Florian Wehrberger

I am interested in mutualistic relationships, the ecology and habitat preferences of coral-associated fishes. My main focus has been on shape adaptation of coral-associated gobies and on the examination of variation in skeletal features due to spatial constraints on fishes by coral architecture.