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Research

My main research interests are in the biology of warm-temperate and tropical fishes (Mediterranean and Red Sea) and coral reef ecology in general, and in particular in the morphology and ecology of coral-associated reef fishes and their adaptations to host corals. At our partner station on the northern Red Sea coast (Sinai, Egypt) , we use a series of long-term field experiments to measure fish and coral growth patterns, and short-term and behavioral (video-accompanied) experiments on corallivorous fish feeding and fish predator preferences. For morphology, we employ clearing and staining procedures and traditional as well as geometric morphometrics to address research questions in the ontogenetic and evolutionary shape change of fishes, which are associated with corals that provide very constrained living space.

Currently, I am working on a 3-year project of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in order to reveal a potential mutualistic relationship between coral-associated fishes and reef-building corals. The main focus is on coral-associated gobies. Damselfish are included with respect to adaptation of fish body form to the physical restriction of coral interbranch space. Coral-associated gobies show specific relationships to various growth forms of corals, including massive, plate-like, encrusting and branching corals. The genera Acropora, Stylophora and Pocillopora are the most frequently occupied. These corals are inhabited by gobies of the genera Gobiodon, Paragobiodon, Pleurosicya and Bryaninops and by damselfishes of the genera Chromis and Dascyllus. In this project we will investigate the potential fitness advantages for corals that have a goby partner and the potential of natural selection for different body shapes among gobies and damselfish that dwell different coral growth forms. We will apply underwater video monitoring for etho-ecological studies, in situ and ex situ experiments and morphometric techniques to achieve the main goals of the project, the observation of potential mutualisms and particular adaptations between corals and associated fishes.

 

Professional background

2009 – 2012 Senior Post-Doc and FWF-project leader at the University of Vienna: Adaptations and mutualism between corals and associated fishes)
2005 – 2008 Post-doctoral researcher at the Universities of Vienna and Graz (Austrian Academy of Sciences (APART (ÖAW) grant)): Red Sea reef (and cichlid) fishes
2004 – 2005 Post-doctoral researcher at the University of Vienna (Emil Boral  and University of Vienna grants): Red Sea reef fishes
since 1997: teaching a coral reef course at the Red Sea (University of Vienna)
since 2007: teaching a course in traditional and geometric morphometrics (University of Graz)


Education

Feb. 2003 Doctor of Natural Sciences (Zoology) degree (w. honors)
1999 - 2003 doctoral thesis at the Institute of Zoology, University of Vienna (marine fish)
Feb. 1999 Diploma in zoology degree (w. honors)
1996 - 1998 diploma thesis at the Institute of Zoology, University of Vienna (marine fish)
1994 - 1998 Zoology studies at the University of Vienna, Austria
1991 - 1994 Biology studies at the University of Graz, Austria (first degree)
1983 - 1991 Grammar school in Graz, Austria and school-leaving exam
1979 - 1983 Primary school in Frohnleiten, Austria

 

Publications

Herler J, Dirnwöber M. in press. A simple technique for measuring buoyant weight increment of entire, transplanted coral colonies in the field. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 407: 250-255

Herler J,Munday P, Hernaman V. 2011. Gobies on coral reefs. In: The Biology of Gobies. Patzner RA, Van Tassell JL, Kovacic M & Kappor BG (eds.). pp. 493-529

Hannak J, Kompatscher S, Stachowitsch M, Herler J. 2011. Snorkelling and trampling in shallow-water fringing reefs: risk assessment and proposed management strategy. Journal of Environmental Management 92: 2723-2733

Herler J, Kerschbaumer M, Mitteröcker P, Postl L, Sturmbauer C. 2010. Sexual dimorphism and population divergence in the Lake Tanganyika cichlid fish genus Tropheus. Frontiers in Zoology 7: 4

Schöpf V, Herler J, Zuschin M. 2010. Microhabitat use and prey selection of the coral-feeding snail Drupella cornus in the northern Red Sea. Hydrobiologia 641: 45-57

Niedermüller S, Schiemer L, Herler J. 2009. Food selection of a corallivorous butterflyfish in the Red Sea, with particular emphasis on size and fish symbionts of corals. Journal of Fish Biology, Volume 75: 1496-1504

Herler J, Koblmüller S, Sturmbauer C. 2009. Phylogenetic relationships of coral-associated gobies (Teleostei, Gobiidae) from the Red Sea based on mitochondrial DNA data. Marine Biology 156: 725-739

Schiemer L, Niedermüller S, Herler J. 2009. The influence of colony size and coral health on the occupation of associated gobies (Pisces: Gobiidae). Coral Reefs 28: 137-142

Wall M, Herler J. 2009. Post-settlement migration patterns and homing in the coral-associated fish Gobiodon histrio (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Behavioral Ecology 20: 87-95

Riedlecker E, Herler J. 2009. Trophic morphology of the coral-associated genus Gobiodon (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from the Red Sea. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 47: 160-170

Michiels NK, Anthes N, Hart NS, Herler J, Meixner AJ, Schleifenbaum F, Schulenburg H, Schulte G, Siebeck UE, Sprenger D. 2008. Red fluorescence in reef fishes. BMC Ecology, 8:16

Postl L, Herler J, Bauer C, Maderbacher M, Makasa L, Sturmbauer C. 2008. Geometric morphometrics applied to viscerocranial bones in three populations of the Lake Tanganyika cichlid fish Tropheus moorii. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 46: 240-248

Maderbacher M, Bauer C, Herler J, Postl L, Makasa L, Sturmbauer C. 2008. Assessment of traditional versus geometric morphometrics for discriminating populations of the Tropheus moorii species complex, a Lake Tanganyika model for allopatric speciation. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 46: 153-161

Herler J. 2007. Microhabitats and eco-morphology of coral and coral rock associated gobiid fishes from the northern Red Sea. Marine Ecology: An evolutionary perspective 28 (Suppl.1): 82-94

Dirnwöber M, Herler J. 2007. Microhabitat specialization and ecological consequences for coral gobies of the genus Gobiodon in the Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 342: 265-275

Herler J, Hilgers H, Patzner, R. 2006. Osteology and dentition of two Mediterranean Gobius species (Teleostei, Gobiidae). Italian Journal of Zoology 73: 105-115

Herler J, Patzner, R, Hilgers H. 2006. Notes on the egg envelope and number of oocytes in two Gobius species (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from the northern Adriatic. Zeitschrift für Fischkunde 8: 1-7

Herler J, Hilgers H. 2005. A synopsis of coral and coral-rock associated gobies (Pisces: Gobiidae) from the Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea. aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 10: 103-132

Herler J, Patzner R. 2005. Spatial segregation of two common Gobius species (Teleostei: Gobiidae) in the northern Adriatic Sea. Marine Ecology: An evolutionary perspective 26: 121-129

Herler J, Patzner R, Sturmbauer C. 2005. A preliminary revision of the Gobius auratus species complex with redescription of Gobius auratus Risso, 1810. Journal of Natural History 39: 1043-1075

Herler J, Kovacic M. 2002. Lebetus guilleti (Teleostei: Gobiidae) in the northern Adriatic Sea: First record and details on the morphology. Annales 12: 177-188

Herler J, Patzner R. 2002. New records of Didogobius splechtnai Ahnelt & Patzner, 1995 (Pisces: Gobiidae) from the Tyrrhenian and northern Adriatic Sea. Cybium 26: 153-155

Herler J, Ahnelt H, Scsepka S. 1999. Morphologische Untersuchungen an zwei höhlenbewohnenden Meergrundeln (Pisces: Gobiidae) des westlichen Mittelmeeres. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien 101 B: 489-507

Herler J, Patzner R, Ahnelt H, Hilgers H. 1999. Habitat selection and ecology of two speleophilic gobiid fishes (Pisces: Gobiidae) from the western Mediterranean Sea. P.S.Z.N. Marine Ecology 20: 49-62

Scsepka S, Ahnelt H, Herler J. 1999. Morphology of two rare Mediterranean gobiid fishes (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Cybium 23: 169-187

Ahnelt H, Herler J, Scsepka S, Patzner R. 1998. First records of two rare Mediterranean Gobiidae in the northern Tyrrhenian Sea. Cybium 22: 183-186

 

Other papers

Herler J, Lipej L, Makovec T. 2007. A simple technique for digital imaging of live and preserved small fish specimens. Cybium 31: 39-44

Stachowitsch M, Kikinger R, Herler J, Zolda P, Geutebrück E. 2002. Offshore Oil Platforms and Fouling Communities in the Southern Arabian Gulf (Abu Dhabi). Marine Pollution Bulletin 44: 853-860

 

Book chapters

Herler J, Munday P, Hernaman V. in press. Gobies on coral reefs – In: The Biology of Gobies, R.A. Patzner., J.L. Van Tassell, M. Kovacic & B.G. Kapoor (editors).

Stachowitsch M, Herler J. 2004. The coral reefs of Aqaba: Jordan’s pearl at the Red Sea, pp. 479-500. In: Reise durch die Natur Jordaniens, Waitzbauer W., Albert R., Petutschnig, B. & Aubrecht, G. (eds). Catalogue of the Upper-Austrian Museums, Denisia 14: 508 pp. (in German, with English abstract).

 

Book reviews

Herler J. 2004. P. Sale: Coral Reef Fish Ecology - 2nd edition. P.S.Z.N. Marine Ecology, 25: 337-338

 

Congresses and Meetings

Herler J, Dirnwöber M. 2010: A simple "low-tech" method for digital imaging of small dead and live fish specimens using flatbed scanners. Conference on digital imaging in fisheries biology. Pisek, CZ.

Dirnwöber M, Herler J. 2010. "Caught on camera" - Video surveillance equipment as a tool for long-term observations of coral reef organisms. European ISRS-conference. Wageningen, Netherlands.

Dirnwöber M, Herler J. 2010. "Big brother underwater": applicability of video surveillance techniques for long-term observations of reef fishes in the northern Red Sea. Conference on digital imaging in fisheries biology. Pisek, CZ.

Herler J, Dirnwöber M. 2010. Adaptations and mutualism between corals and associated fishes. European ISRS-conference. Wageningen, Netherlands.

Herler J, Dirnwöber M, Schiemer L, Niedermüller S. 2008. Host specificity, spatial niche diversity and adaptations of coral-associated gobies in the northern Red Sea. Oral presentation at 11th ICRS (International Coral Reef Symposium), Fort Lauderdale, USA.

Wall M, Herler J, Ott J. 2008. Experimental evaluation of post-settlement movement in the coral-associated goby Gobiodon histrio. Poster presentation at at 11th ICRS (International Coral Reef Symposium), Fort Lauderdale, USA.

Herler J. 2008. Ecology and morphology of coral-associated gobies (Gobiidae) in the Red Sea. Oral presentation at the 6th conference of the German Ichthyological Society, Munich, Germany.

Herler J. 2007. Shaping up - Eco-morphology and growth patterns in coral-associated fishes. Poster presentation at ECI (European Congress of Ichthyology) XII Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Riedlecker E, Herler J, Hilgers H. 2007. JAWS: Trophic morphology of coral-associated fishes from the Red Sea. Poster presentation at ECI (European Congress of Ichthyology) XII Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Wall M, Herler J, Ott J. 2007. Post-settlement migration in coral-associated fishes: an experimental approach. Poster presentation at ECI (European Congress of Ichthyology) XII Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Herler J. 2006. Morphological adaptations to microhabitats in coral-associated fishes. Oral presentation at ISRS (International Society for Reef Studies), Bremen, Germany.

Niedermüller S, Schiemer L, Herler J. 2006. Interactions between coral-feeding and coral-inhabiting reef fishes in the northern Red Sea. Poster presentation at ISRS (International Society for Reef Studies), Bremen, Germany.

Schiemer L, Niedermüller S, Herler J. 2006. Does live coral cover and coral health influence the community of highly specialized reef fishes? Poster presentation at ISRS (International Society for Reef Studies), Bremen, Germany.

Maderbacher M, Bauer C, Herler J, Sturmbauer C. 2006. Potential of population discrimination by means of traditional versus geometric morphometrics in Lake Tanganyika cichlid fishes. Poster presentation at SIAL (Speciation in Ancient Lakes) 4, Berlin, Germany.

Postl L, Bauer C, Herler J, Sturmbauer C. 2006. Geometric morphometrics applied to viscerocranial structures in populations of Lake Tanganyika cichlid fishes. Poster presentation at SIAL (Speciation in Ancient Lakes) 4, Berlin, Germany.

Koch M, Bauer C, Herler J, Maderbacher M, Postl L, Sturmbauer C. 2006. Freedom of (neutral) morphological evolution in two genetically highly distinct populations of the Lake Tanganyika cichlid T. moorii and their natural hybrid population. Poster presentation at SIAL (Speciation in Ancient Lakes) 4, Berlin, Germany.

Herler J. 2005. Inaccessible shallow-water habitats: a realm for marine gobiid dwarfs. Oral presentation at EMBS (European Marine Biological Symposium) 40, Vienna, Austria.

Dirnwöber M, Herler J. 2005. Microhabitat choice of selected Gobiodon species (Pisces: Gobiidae) in the Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea. Poster presentation at EMBS (European Marine Biological Symposium) 40, Vienna, Austria.

Herler J, Stachowitsch M, Zolda P, Waitzbauer W. 2003. Classroom Coral Reef: Practical marine ecology at the University of Vienna. Poster presentation at the 1. Austrian reef workshop, Vienna, Austria.

Herler J, Patzner R. 2001. Microhabitats of cryptobenthic gobiid fish in submarine cave systems. Poster presentation at ECI (European Congress of Ichthyology) X, Prague, Czech Republic.

Herler J. 2001. Ökologie und morphologische Anpassungen kleiner, höhlenbewohnender Meergrundeln. Oral presentation at the 3rd of the German Society for Ichthyology (GfI), Vienna, Austria.
 

Department of
Integrative Zoology
University of Vienna
Althanstraße 14
A-1090 Vienna, Austria
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