Chief Investigator

Anna Scott


This work was supported by funding from Georgia Institute of Technology, and Southern Cross University’s Marine Ecology Research Centre.

School or Research Centre

National Marine Science Centre

Lead Partner Organisation

Southern Cross University

Other Partner Organisations

Georgia Institute of Technology


Anna Scott, National Marine Science Centre, School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, PO Box 4321, Coffs Harbour, NSW, 2450, Australia.


clownfish, olfaction, chemical cues, climate change, coral reef, Amphiprion


This study highlights the potential deleterious indirect impacts of declining habitat quality during larval settlement in habitat specialists, which could be important in the field, given that bleaching events are becoming increasingly common.

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We used five anemonefishes (Amphiprion clarkii, Amphiprion latezonatus, Amphiprion ocellaris, Amphiprion percula, and Premnas biaculeatus) and three host sea anemones (Entacmaea quadricolor, Heteractis crispa, and Heteractis magnifica) in paired-choice flume experiments to determine whether habitat naïve juveniles have the olfactory capabilities to distinguish between unbleached and bleached hosts, and how this may affect settlement decisions.

Using Atema choice flume experiments we specifically tested responses by fishes to: i) unbleached anemones versus seawater; ii) bleached anemones versus seawater; iii) unbleached versus bleached anemones of the same species; iv) unbleached anemones versus bleached of different species; and v) bleached versus bleached anemones of different species.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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