Oona Lönnstedt (Ph.D. Student)

Co-supervised by Mark McCormick


Research Interests

Despite the fundamental role ascribed to predation in the promotion and maintenance of
biodiversity in coral reefs, very little is known of the behavioural interactions between
predators and their prey in tropical reef systems. To predict how these fragile communities
will respond to changing environmental conditions we need to understand the complex
interrelationships between predators and their prey, and how these may be affected by habitat
degradation. In the proposed study fundamental research on predator-prey interactions
forms the foundation for manipulations of environmental conditions to determine how
the predictions of climate change will impact predator-prey dynamics. Specifically, I use
laboratory and field experiments to answer novel research questions dealing with predator-
prey interactions on coral reefs. Already my research has shown that a short initial experience
with a predator immediately after the fish settle from the plankton makes prey more risk
adverse and enhances survival of juveniles by at least 8 times. My research also reveals the
unfortunate reality that chemical cues released from damaged shoal-mates are masked by
coral degradation. This has the potential to dramatically affect the mechanisms by which
these small prey fish learn about their predators.


O.M. Lönnstedt, M.I. McCormick and D.P. Chivers. In press. Degraded environments alter prey risk assessment. Ecology & Evolution.

O.M. Lönnstedt, M.I. McCormick and D.P.Chivers. 2012. Well-informed prey stealing: damage
released chemical cues of injured prey signal quality and size to predators. Oecologia 168: 651-
658. pdf

Lönnstedt, O., McCormick, M.I., Meekan, M.G., Ferrari, M.C.O. & Chivers, D.P. 2012. Learn and live: predator experience and feeding history determine prey behaviours and survival. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B  pdf

Ferrari, M.C.O., McCormick, M.I., Munday, P.L., Meekan, M.G., Dixson, D.L., Lönnstedt, O. & Chivers, D.P. 2012. Effects of ocean acidification on visual risk assessment of coral reef fishes. Functional Ecology  pdf

Ferrari, M.C.O., McCormick, M.I., Munday, P.L., Meekan, M.G., Dixson, D.L., Lonnstedt, O. & Chivers, D.P. 2011. Putting prey and predator into the CO2 equation - qualitative and quantitative effects of ocean acidification on predator-prey interactions. Ecology Letters 14: 1143-1148 - pdf