Assoc. Prof. Will Figueira

As Australia’s peak professional body for marine scientists from all disciplines and for over 60 years has promoted all aspects of marine science in Australia. AMSA operates with a membership network of individuals and corporate affiliates as a not-for-profit organisation.

Vice-President: 2021 – 2022
Councillor: 2020 – 2021
Immediate Past-President: 2018 – 2020
President: 2016 – 2018
Vice-President: 2015 – 2016


My general interests lie in the area of fish population ecology and my research has focused on the behavior and demographics of individual fish populations as well as the large scale connectivity between these populations. The small scale studies are typically conducted on SCUBA or snorkel and employ tools such as tagging, mapping and standard underwater census and behavioural observation techniques. These studies have been conducted in a variety of locations including the Florida Keys (USA), Lee Stocking Island (Bahamas), and One Tree Island (Australia).

My interest in the larger scale dynamics of reef fish involves understanding the mechanisms and consequences of metapopulation, and specifically source-sink, dynamics in these systems. While the spatial structure of these systems (distinct areas of occupied habitat) and the connectivity within them (larval exchange between areas) lend themselves nicely to descriptions invoking metapopulation theory, our current understanding of system dynamics is quite low. My work on this topic has run the spectrum from the highly theoretical exercise of creating conceptual and analytical models to allow for the application of metapopulation theory to marine systems in general to the much more applied topic of using metapopulation theory for citing marine reserves and creating effective, biologically interacting reserve networks. I use individually-based, stage-structured spatially realistic computer simulation models to study the impact of variations in habitat quality and network connectivity on system dynamics and specifically source-sink structure.

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