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Data for: Warren DT, McCormick MI. Intrageneric differences in the effects of acute temperature exposure on competitive behaviour of damselfishes


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Data for: Warren DT, McCormick MI. Intrageneric differences in the effects of acute temperature exposure on competitive behaviour of damselfishes
Date Record Created
Date Record Modified
Date Coverage
2015-11-01 to 2015-11-30
Time Period
(no information)
Geospatial Location
  • Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  1. Type: full

    Abstract [Related Publication]: Projected increases in global temperatures brought on by climate change threaten to disrupt many biological and ecological processes. Tropical ectotherms, like many fishes, can be particularly susceptible to temperature change as they occupy environments with narrow thermal fluctuations. While climate change models predict temperatures to increase over decades, thermal fluctuations are already experienced on a seasonal scale, which may affect the ability to capture and defend resources across a thermal gradient. For coral reef fish, losers of competitive interactions are often more vulnerable to predation, and this pressure is strongest just after settlement. Competitive interactions may determine future success for coral reef fishes, and understanding how temperature experienced during settlement can influence such interactions will give insight to community dynamics in a future warmer world. We tested the effect of increased temperatures on intraspecific competitive interactions of two sympatric species of reef damselfish, the blue damselfish Pomacentrus nagasakiensis, and the whitetail damselfish Pomacentrus chrysurus. Juvenile fishes were exposed to one of four temperature treatments, ranging from 26-32° C, for seven days then placed into competitive arenas where aggressive interactions were recorded between sized matched individuals within each species. While there was no apparent effect of temperature treatment on aggressive behaviour for P. chrysurus, we observed up to a four-fold increase in aggression scores for P. nagasakiensis with increasing temperature. Results suggest that temperature experienced as juveniles can impact aggressive behaviour, however species-specific thermal tolerances led to behavioural affects that differ among closely related species. Differential thermal tolerance among species may cause restructuring of the interaction network that underlies the structure of reef assemblages.


  2. Type: note

    This dataset is available as a spreadsheet in both MS Excel (.xlsx) and Open Document (.ods) formats.

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  1. Associated with: Prof Mark McCormick , , ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Marine Biology & Aquaculture
  2. Associated with: Mr Donald Warren , College of Science & Engineering
Primary Contact
Prof Mark McCormick,
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Fields of Research
  1. 060205 - Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205)
Socio-Economic Objective
  1. 960307 - Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) (960307)
  1. coral reef fish
  2. competition
  3. climate change
  4. behavioural ecology
  5. temperature
  6. ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Research Activity
(no information)
Research Themes
Tropical Ecosystems, Conservation and Climate Change
CC BY-NC: Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 AU
License - Other
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Access Rights/Conditions
Open access. If the data is not freely accessible via the link provided, please contact the nominated data manager or for assistance.
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Data Location
Online Locations
  1. Warren_and_McCormick_data to upload.xlsx (Data File, Public)
  2. Warren_and_McCormick_data to upload.ods (Data File, Public)
Stored At
(no information)
McCormick, M.; Warren, D. (2019): Data for: Warren DT, McCormick MI. Intrageneric differences in the effects of acute temperature exposure on competitive behaviour of damselfishes. James Cook University. (dataset).
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):