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The purpose of this study centers on the coral community around the Poor Knights Islands, located off New Zealand. Situated just south of the Indo-Pacific warm pool, this community has been exposed to warmer than average temperatures over the past 30 years. Dramatic changes in water temperature stresses coral, making them more susceptible to disease and invasive species. Under ideal conditions, reef communities gradually accumulate species, reaching a peak in species diversity before becoming dominated by one or a few species.


Birds from the same family often share common behavioral characteristics. Members of the Charadriidae family populate most beaches across the globe. One of these members, the New Zealand dotterel, summer on New Zealand’s estuaries and mudflats. These areas contain high concentrations of food sources (e.g., snails, worms, and shellfish) unique to the reqion. As a result, New Zealand’s estuaries and mudflats provide an ideal location for studying the dietary patterns of these birds. This knowledge will help researchers better understand the behaviors of other family members living at different locations.


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