Dr. Cindy Bessey

My broad research interests are in the field of animal behavior and how animals modify their behaviors in changing conditions to meet their life history requirements. Specifically, I am interested in how lower trophic level organisms are impacted through trophic cascades. My current research will focus on habitat use of the facultative herbivorous fish Pelates sexlineatus (Six-Lined Trumpeter) in the seagrass beds of Shark Bay, Australia. I will investigate what conditions occur that promote or discourage herbivory in these fish. I would like to investigate which seagrasses are preferred, as well as the changes in intensity of grazing in both the presence and absence of megagrazers and piscivores. I will also investigate the variation in abundance of these fish in structurally diverse seagrass habitats, and the structural changes to the seagrass bed that result from the grazing behavior of P. sexlineatus.

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