Sahira Bell

Regime shifts and tropicalisation of temperate reefs (PhD)

In marine environments, there is increasing evidence that climate-mediated marine heatwaves and range shifting tropical herbivores can have profound impacts on temperate kelp forests. My project aims to determine the relative importance of marine heatwaves and tropical herbivores in driving persistent change and the degradation of kelp forests on the Great Southern Reef – one of Australia’s most productive and globally unique ecosystems.

Supervisors: Thomas Wernberg, Adriana Vergés (University of New South Wales)




2014: B.Sc. (Marine Biology), University of Western Australia, Australia

Peer reviewed publications

  1. Wernberg T, Coleman MA, Babcock RC, Bell SY, Bolton JJ, Connell SD, Hurd CL, Johnson CR, Marzinelli EM, Shears NT, Steinberg PD, Thomsen MS, Vanderklift MA, Vergés A, Wright JT (2019) Biology and ecology of the globally significant kelp Ecklonia radiataOceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, accepted 6 December 2018.


  • 2018: Grant winner, Sea World Research Foundation.
  • 2018: Supervisor, MS student Alanna Kursar.
  • 2018: Grant winner, Robson & Robertson Awards.
  • 2018: Grant winner, The PADI Foundation.
  • 2017: Grant winner, The Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment.
  • 2016: Research Training Program Scholarship for a PhD at UWA.