Nico Fassbender

PhD Candidate
Sea Around Us –Indian Ocean
School of Biological Sciences
University of Western Australia (UWA)

PhD title: Developing an understanding of behavioural patterns in marine top predators – how does coral reef habitat complexity affect the distribution and habitat use of reef sharks?

Nico studied at Bangor University in the UK, completing his MSci in Marine Biology and Zoology in 2018. His passion for coral reef science let him to the Seychelles, where he worked on a marine conservation field stations monitoring shallow coral reefs around Seychelle’s inner islands. In 2019, Nico investigated the mesophotic and deeper reefs of the Western Indian Ocean Region for a deep-sea research institute.

Nico’s research will investigate the relationship between habitat complexity and habitat use in different species of reef shark. By combining benthic habitat zonation and structural complexity metrics, prey availability surveys, and acoustic tracking of reef sharks, Nico plans to investigate how changes to reef structure, and associated changes in reef fish communities, can affect fine-scale habitat suitability choices of top predators in coral reef systems. This research aims to build an understanding into the relationship between sharks and healthy reef systems and identify how to manage and conserve their preferred habitats.

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