Chenae Tuckett

Climate variation and population ecology of high latitude corals (PhD 2019)

Chenae sampling coralsThe aim of my research is to investigate high latitude coral community dynamics to provide insight into their persistence in often stressful and marginal environments, at the limits of their range. I am particularly interested in looking at coral phenotypic plasticity, the environmental suitability of temperate reefs as refugia for corals under elevated ocean temperatures, and the ongoing tropicalisation of temperate ecosystems.

Specifically, I will explore  variability in growth, fecundity and recruitment within the temperate reef environments along the latitudinal gradient of Western Australia’s coastline. I will also investigate the biogeographical patterns of coral connectivity and distribution from tropical into temperate areas, to establish a point of reference for future change.

Supervisors: Thomas Wernberg, Thibaut de Bettignies, Richard Evans (DPaW)

Click here to see a video explaining some of my research for the the 2016 OI video competition:



  • 2012: B.Sc. (Marine Biology and Zoology), University of Western Australia, Australia
  • 2013: B.Sc. (Honours in Marine Biology), University of Western Australia, Australia

Peer reviewed papers

  1. Ribeiro F, Pessarrodona A, Tuckett C, Mulders Y, Pereira R & Wernberg, T (2022) Shield wall: kelps are the last stand against corals in tropicalised reefs. Functional Ecology, accepted 5/7/22.
  2. Tuckett CA, Wernberg T (2018) High latitude corals tolerate severe cold spell. Frontiers in Marine Science: Coral Reef Research, 5: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00014.
  3. Tuckett CA, de Bettignies T, Fromont J, Wernberg T. (2017) Expansion of corals on temperate reefs: direct and indirect effects of marine heatwaves. Coral Reefs, 36: 947–956.
  4. Wernberg T, Bennett S, Babcock RC, de Bettignies T, Cure K, Depczynski M, Dufois F, Fromont J, Fulton CJ, Hovey RK, Harvey ES, Holmes TH, Kendrick GA, Radford B, Santana-Garcon J, Saunders BJ, Smale DA, Thomsen MS, Tuckett CA, Tuya F, Vanderklift MA, Wilson SK (2016) Climate driven regime shift of a temperate marine ecosystem. Science, 353(6295): 169-172.

Achievements and awards

  • 2018: Grant winner, Australian Coral Reef Society Travel Award.
  • 2017: Grant winner, Field Work Award, Postgraduate Students Association, UWA
  • 2017: Grant winner, Robson & Robertson Award.
  • 2017: Supervisor, Honours student Tullem McKiever.
  • 2017: Supervisor, Honours student Tessa Ramshaw.
  • 2016: WernbergLab Research Assistant (6 months).
  • 2016: Supervisor, Honours student Shannon Dee.
  • 2015: Grant winner, Field Work Award, Postgraduate Students Association, UWA
  • 2015: Video promotion of postgraduate studies in the School of Plant Biology.
  • 2014: Supervisor, Honours student Mariah Lumley
  • 2014: Finalist, AMSA Western Australia division honours awards.
  • 2013: Joint winner of the UNESCO PPO & IMarEST presentations.
  • 2013: Research Training Program Scholarship for a PhD at UWA.
Plesiastrea verispora with extended tentacles

Plesiastrea versipora with extended tentacles