Dr Sally KeithSenior Lecturer in Marine Biology
I am a quantitative marine ecologist primarily using coral reefs as a model system to understand the diversity and distribution of life on Earth. My primary research question is Why are species where they are? (…and not where they are not?), which I endeavor to address through three key themes: (1) species interactions and behaviour, (2) reproduction and dispersal (early stages of life), and (3) biogeographic history.
Species interactions & behaviour. Ample evidence suggests that gradients in environmental conditions influence the distribution of species. However, our understanding of the role for animal behaviour, including species interactions (e.g., competition, mutualism, predation), is extremely limited. Whilst there is strong support at small spatial scales that one species can cause exclusion of another through competition for a shared resource, the importance of this interaction and other behavioural processes at large biogeographic scales is unresolved. Therefore, one of my research themes concentrates on revealing the role for behaviour in determining diversity and distributions of biodiversity at large spatial scales.
Reproduction & dispersal. Many processes that influence the distribution and abundance of a species occur at early life history stages. These processes might be particularly important in the marine realm because many habitat-forming species (e.g., corals, macroalgae) do not move as adults. My research has identified dispersal and establishment of propagules as key processes underlying geographic distributions in both temperate and tropical ecosystems.
Biogeographic history. Multiple processes operate in synchrony to determine species geographical range limits and the importance of each process varies according to the spatial and temporal scale of interest. We found that geological history and its influence on macroevolutionary processes appear to be particularly important for understanding the generation and maintenance of global biogeographic provinces for coral reefs.
LEC.101 Global Environmental Challenges; LEC.144 Global Change Biology; LEC.248 Vertebrate Biology; LEC.351 Coral Reef Ecology
Assistant Undergraduate Admissions Tutor for Ecology & Conservation Degree Programmes
CASE : ENVISION : Wallacea Trust - Catherine Sheppard
01/10/2020 → 31/03/2024
Impacts of habitat degradation on competitive networks of coral reef predators.
01/10/2020 → 30/09/2022
Behaviourally-mediated shifts in reef fish communities following severe disturbance
01/11/2019 → 31/10/2022
- Centre of Excellence in Environmental Data Science
- DSI - Environment
- Ecology and Conservation