Dr Robert Semmler

The University of Texas at Austin

Email: rsemmler37@gmail.com

Robert’s PhD investigated the effects of rapid environmental change on animal behaviour, using coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific as a model system. He was supervised by Sally Keith (LEC), Nick Graham (LEC), and Nathan Sanders (UVM). Specifically, the work focused on coral–feeding butterflyfishes (Genus: Chaetodon), and the effects of the 2016 mass coral-bleaching event on their foraging behaviour. Robert investigated the potential for behavioural plasticity to promote persistence, using an individual based model of butterflyfish foraging.

What’s next?

Rob works as a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Jordan Casey’s Lab, studying the structure and function of ecological networks on coral reefs. His work will reconstruct reef food webs through various methods including gut-content metabarcoding and e-DNA analysis.

Selected Publications

  • Semmler RF, Sanders NJ, CraDonna PJ, Baird AH, Jing X, Robinson JPW, Graham NAJ, Keith SA (2022) Reef fishes weaken dietary preferences after coral mortality, altering resource overlap. Journal of Animal Ecology
  • Semmler RF, Brandl SJ, Keith SA, Bellwood DR (2021) Fine-scale foraging behaviour reveals differences in the functional roles of herbivorous reef fishes. Ecology and Evolution 11(9): 4898-4908