Dr Richard Bruce Taylor

PhD (Auckland), MSc (Auckland), BSc (Auckland)

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Senior Lecturer

Research | Current

Ecology of temperate rocky reefs

Rocky reefs are inhabited by seaweeds and a variety of animals, including crustaceans, gastropods, sea urchins, and fishes. Most of my research concerns interactions between these organisms.

I have focussed on the ecology of small (<20 mm) crustaceans, gastropods and polychaetes, which are extremely abundant in many rocky reef habitats (especially the surfaces of seaweeds). These animals ("epifauna") are responsible for 80% of the flux of materials through animals on rocky reefs, link primary production to fish and other large consumers, and potentially have a strong impact on algae through their grazing activities, but we know much less about their natural history and the roles they play in rocky reef communities than we do for the larger, more conspicuous organisms.

My graduate students and I use a variety of approaches to study the ecology of local rocky reefs, including experiments in the field and in mesocosms. We take advantage of the Leigh Marine Laboratory's diving and boating facilities, flow-through seawater system, and close proximity to a range of coastal ecosystems.


Teaching | Current

  • New Zealand Ecology and Conservation (BIOSCI 104)
  • Ecology and Biodiversity (BIOSCI 206)
  • Freshwater and Estuarine Ecology (BIOSCI 330) (coordinator)
  • Marine Ecology (BIOSCI 333)
  • Marine Ecology (BIOSCI 724)
  • The Oceans Around Us (MARINE 100G)
  • Principles of Marine Science (MARINE 202)
  • Selected Topics in Marine Science (MARINE 701) (coordinator)


Postgraduate supervision

Potential postgraduate student research projects

  • Impacts of epifaunal grazing on seaweeds
  • Impacts of fish predation on seaweed epifauna
  • Epifauna of red seaweeds
  • Cues of "bail-out" behaviour in seaweed epifauna
  • Diet and impacts of grazing of the subtidal crab Plagusia chabrus

Current postgraduate students

  • Evan Brown (MSc) "Direct versus indirect effects of marine reserve protection on temperate reef fish communities" (cosupervisor; primary supervisor Dr Nick Shears)
  • Josh Richardson (MSc) "Using unbaited remote video cameras to count fish"
  • Tabea Salewski (PhD) "Feeding in the omnivorous fish Girella tricuspidata" (cosupervisor; primary supervisor Prof. Kendall Clements)
  • Arie Spyksma (PhD) "Factors influencing sheltering behaviour in sea urchins"


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Spyksma, A. J. P., Shears, N. T., & Taylor, R. B. (2020). Injured conspecifics as an alarm cue for the sea urchin Evechinus chloroticus. MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES, 641, 135-144. 10.3354/meps13301
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nick Shears
  • Taylor, R. B. (2018). Epiflora and epifauna. Encyclopedia of Ecology (pp. 375-380). 10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.10922-4
  • Spyksma, A. J., Shears, N. T., & Taylor, R. B. (2017). Predators indirectly induce stronger prey through a trophic cascade. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284 (1866)10.1098/rspb.2017.1440
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nick Shears
  • Suarez-Jimenez, R., Hepburn, C. D., Hyndes, G. A., McLeod, R. J., Taylor, R. B., & Hurd, C. L. (2017). The invasive kelp Undaria pinnatifida hosts an epifaunal assemblage similar to native seaweeds with comparable morphologies. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 582, 45-55. 10.3354/meps12321
  • Kramer, M. J., Bellwood, D. R., Taylor, R. B., & Bellwood, O. (2017). Benthic Crustacea from tropical and temperate reef locations: Differences in assemblages and their relationship with habitat structure. Coral Reefs, 36 (3), 971-980. 10.1007/s00338-017-1588-3
  • Suarez-Jimenez, R., Hepburn, C. D., Hyndes, G. A., McLeod, R. J., Taylor, R. B., & Hurd, C. L. (2017). Importance of the invasive macroalga Undaria pinnatifida as trophic subsidy for a beach consumer. Marine Biology, 164 (5)10.1007/s00227-017-3140-y
  • Magnusson, M., Yuen, A. K., Zhang, R., Wright, J. T., Taylor, R. B., Maschmeyer, T., & de Nys, R. (2017). A comparative assessment of microwave assisted (MAE) and conventional solid-liquid (SLE) techniques for the extraction of phloroglucinol from brown seaweed. Algal Research, 23, 28-36. 10.1016/j.algal.2017.01.002
  • Spyksma, A. J., Taylor, R. B., & Shears, N. T. (2017). Predation cues rather than resource availability promote cryptic behaviour in a habitat-forming sea urchin. Oecologia, 183 (3), 821-829. 10.1007/s00442-017-3809-4
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nick Shears


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 204
New Zealand

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