Winner of the Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid announced

16 November 2012

Aline Martinez, PhD candidate with the Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities, is the winner of the 2012 Dr Paris Goodsell Marine Ecology Grant in Aid. By making starfish fluorescent Aline plans to monitor their herbivorous habits.

Aline Martinez, winner of the Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid
Aline Martinez, winner of the Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid

The Dr Paris Goodsell grant will enable Aline to follow the starfish both day and night, with the use of liquid fluorescent tags and a specialised UV light. "This equipment will allow me to conduct experiments with a species of small herbivorous starfish that inhabits rock pools," said Aline. "I will be looking at their movement patterns in relation to foraging events."

Aline's research aims to investigate the interaction between starfish and the algae it eats. She is hoping to determine how this interaction at the rocky shore may determine algal distribution. "I am excited to start work and looking forward to discovering how starfish move whilst foraging."

Herbivorous starfish (as opposed to predatory starfish) are thought not to move far from home. Genetic evidence suggests they don't get much further than the individual tide pool they inhabit. Aline's study aims to determine if indeed this is the situation and extrapolate what the consequences for management and conservation might be.

This grant, announced to coincide with the late Dr Goodsell's birthday, was set up in 2011 in recognition of Dr Goodsell's contribution to ecological research in marine ecology. In addition to supporting research costs, the grant also enables Aline to travel to the University of Adelaide to present the results of her work.