Carl Santiago

About Me

I am a PhD student from Australia that completed a BSc(Hons) in Marine Biology and Biomedical Science at UQ in 2018. My interest in marine biology began as a high school student as the school campus was located on a ridge overlooking the muddy shores of Shorncliffe beach. I used to walk down to the pier after school and flip over rocks in search of crabs and other weird critters. My honours project was completed at UQ and involved the behavioural validation of a theoretical vision model that predicts how animals perceive colour. Since then, I have worked in sea turtle rehabilitation in the Maldives, studied freshwater cichlid behaviour in the African Great Lakes, and had a brief stint working in the aquarium trade before commencing my PhD in 2021. When I’m not in the aquarium, I like climbing rocks.

Research Directions

My primary research focus is in behavioural ecology – particularly, cases where established social behaviours shift in response to changes in the environment. The focus of my PhD is to look at why anemonefishes – which are usually quite territorial – are occasionally observed to share their host anemones with other species (cohabitation), notably leading to hybridization. I’m investigating whether this is linked to declines in the abundance of their host anemones due to bleaching events and other stressors. The bulk of my research work involves aquarium experiments and manipulative field experiments that examine territoriality and aggression. I am also developing artificial reef structures which aim to increase host anemone abundance and support anemonefish communities under threat.


2018 – BSc(Hons; Marine Biology), The University of Queensland, Australia

2021 – PhD, The University of Queensland, Australia 


Santiago, C., Green, N. F., Hamilton, N., Endler, J. A., Osorio, D. C., Marshall, N. J. and Cheney, K. L. (2020). Does conspicuousness scale linearly with colour distance? A test using reef fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287 (1935) 20201456. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.1456

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