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, 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

Semmler RF, Ogburn MB, Aguilar R, North EW, Reaka ML, Hines AN (2021) The influence of blue crab movement on mark-recapture estimates of recreational harvest and exploitation. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 78(4): 371-385

Semmler RF, Hoot WC, Reaka ML (2017) Are mesophotic coral ecosystems distinct communities and can they serve as refugia for shallow reefs? Coral Reefs 36: 433-444

Reaka ML, Sealover N, Semmler RF, Villalobos SG (2016). A quantitative study of the biodiversity of coral and other groups of organisms in the mesophotic zone compared to shallower depths in the Gulf of Mexico, USA, pp. 61-62. In: Baker, E.K., K.A. Puglise, and P.T. Harris (Eds.). Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems – A lifeboat for coral reefs? The United Nations Environment Programme and GRID-Arendal, Nairobi and Arendal