My research focuses on interactions between habitat-forming organisms in marine ecosystems and the things that eat, grow on or infect them. I’m particularly interested in how changing environmental conditions alter these interactions and what ecological and biological consequences such alterations have at individual, community and ecosystem scales. A recent focus of my research has been climate-mediated diseases, which are increasing with frequency and severity in diverse habitats globally.
Although I’m broadly interested in marine habitat formers (including corals and seagrasses), most of my research to date has involved seaweeds. These marine macrophytes form underwater forests and are the basis of coastal, temperate marine ecosystems, supporting other organisms from the ‘bottom-up’ by providing food and shelter. Seaweeds are showing evidence of global decline and this could have potential far-reaching ecological and socio-economic implications.A broad aim of my work is to address this problem by trying to understand the mechanisms behind declines and the roles of environmental change, seaweed chemical defences and microorganisms. An underlying hypothesis directing much of my research is that environmentally mediated diseases (rather than environmental changes directly) may be a cause of declines of seaweeds and other habitat-forming organisms around the globe. My aim is to understand processes that may help predict, prevent or ameliorate losses of these important organisms from ecologically valuable ecosystems.
For more information about my research and current projects, see http://www.bees.unsw.edu.au/staff/alexandra-campbell