Nestor Bosch

Changes in functional diversity of reef fishes within an ocean warming hotspot: implications for temperate reef resilience (PhD 2022)

Globally, the many marine taxa are shifting their distribution in response to ocean warming to track their climatic niche. Species re-distributions might have profound implications on ecosystem functioning and services as they not only modify the taxonomic makeup of a community (i.e. species composition and diversity) but ultimately also modify the range of functions (i.e. measured in terms of functional traits) of the resident community, with drastic and unknown consequences for ecosystem dynamics. The main goal of my PhD is to understand how the geographic shift of tropical fishes is altering the functional diversity of temperate reefs fish communities and its ecological, social and economic implications. Specifically, I will use long-term continental scale data sets, and field surveys to investigate:

i). Australia-wide patterns in functional diversity of reef fishes.
ii). How warming interact with latitude to reshape these patterns.
iii). The effects of methodological biases in the spatio-temporal assessment of functional diversity.
iv). The extent to which a particular tropical species (the blue-barred parrotfish, Scarus ghobban) can maintain its ecological role in novel ‘tropicalised’ reefs.

Supervisors: Thomas Wernberg, Tim Langlois, Adriana Verges (UNSW)


  • 2016: “Summa cum laude” International Master of Science in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (EMBC+).
  • 2013: Bachelor in Biological Sciences. Major in Marine Biology (University of Laguna, Canary islands, Spain).

Selected peer reviewed papers (full publication list: google scholar)

  1. Bosch NE, Pessarrodona A, Filbee-Dexter K, Tuya F, Mulders Y, Bell SY, Langlois T & Wernberg T (2023) Habitat configurations shape the trophic and energetic dynamics of reef fishes in a tropical-temperate transition zone: implications under a warming future. Oecologia, accepted 19/9/22.
  2. Bosch NE, McLean M, Zarco-Perello S, Bennett S, Stuart-Smith RD, Vergés A, Pessarrodona A, Tuya F, Langlois T, Spencer C, Bell SY, Saunders BJ, Harvey ES, Wernberg T (2022) Persistent thermally-driven shift in the functional trait structure of herbivorous fishes: evidence of top-down control on the rebound potential of temperate seaweed forests? Global Change Biology, accepted 19/12/21.
  3. Mulders YR, Filbee-Dexter K, Bell SY, Bosch NE, Pessarrodona A,  Sahin D, Vranken S, Zarco-Perello S, Wernberg T (2022) Intergrading reef communities across discrete seaweed habitats in a temperate – tropical transition zone: lessons for species reshuffling in a warming ocean. Ecology and Evolution, accepted 10/12/21.
  4. Pessarrodona A, Tebbett SB, Bosch NE, Bellwood DR, Wernberg T (2022) High herbivory despite high sediment loads on a fringing coral reef. Coral Reefs, accepted 7/12/21.
  5. Pessarrodona A, Verges A, Bosch N, Bell SY, Smith S, Sgarlatta P, Wernberg T (2022) Tropicalization unlocks novel trophic pathways and enhances secondary productivity in temperate reefs. Functional Ecology, accepted 22/11/21.
  6. Bosch NE, Wernberg T, Langlois TJ, Smale DA, Moore PJ, Franco JN, Thiriet P, Feunteun E, Ribeiro C, Neves P, Freitas R, Filbee-Dexter K, Norderhaug KM, Garcıa A, Otero-Ferrer F, Espino F, Haroun R, Tuya F (2021) Niche and neutral assembly mechanisms contribute to latitudinal diversity gradients in reef fishes. Journal of Biogeography, accepted 11 July 2021. []. *Editor’s choice* [blog post].
  7. Bosch NE, Monk J, Goetze J, Wilson S, Babcock R, Barrett N, Clough J, Currey-Randall L, Fairclough D, Fisher R, Gibbons B, Harasti D, Harvey E, Heupel M, Hicks J, Holmes T, Huveneers C, Ierodiaconou D, Jordan A, Knott N, Malcolm H, McLean D, Meekan M, Newman S, Radford B, Rees M, Saunders B, Speed C, Travers M, Wakefield C, Wernberg T, Langlois T 2021. Influence of proxies of the human footprint and biophysical drivers on the body-size structure of fished marine species across tropical to temperate waters. Conservation Biology, accepted 1/6/21
  8. Zarco-Perello S, Bosch NE, Bennett S, Vanderklift MA, Wernberg T (2021) Persistence of tropical herbivores in temperate reefs constrain kelp resilience to cryptic habitats. Journal of Ecology, 109, 2081-2094.
  9. Goetze JS, Wilson S, Radford B, Fisher B, Langlois TJ, Monk J, Knott NA, Malcolm H, Currey‐Randall LM, Ierodiaconou D, Harasti D, Barrett N, Babcock RC, Bosch NE, Brock D, Claudet J, Clough J, Fairclough DV, Heupel MR, Holmes TH, Huveneers C, Jordan AR, McLean D, Meekan M, Miller D, Newman SJ, Rees MJ, Roberts KE, Saunders BJ, Speed CW, Travers MJ, Treml E, Whitmarsh SK, Wakefield CB, Harvey ES (2021) Increased connectivity and depth improve the effectiveness of marine reserves. Global Change Biology. In press.

Achievements and awards

  • 2019: Grant winner, Graduate Research School Travel Award.
  • 2019: Grant winner, Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment.
  • 2019: Supervisor, Masters student Claude Spencer.
  • 2018: Grant winner, Sea World Research Foundation.
  • 2018: Grant winner, Robson & Robertson Award.
  • 2018: Grant winner, Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment.
  • 2017: International Research Training Program Scholarship for a PhD at UWA.
  • 2016: EMBC+ award to the best thesis: Marinas as habitats for fish: a methodological approach using a combination of sampling techniques and diversity metrics.

Cpt Nestor