Doo, Steve and Westphal, Hildegard (2020) Developing interdisciplinary tools to understand how coral reefs will be impacted by climate change. [Invited talk] In: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. , 28 June - 1 July 2020, Online (usually in LIndau, Germany) .

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Abstract

Climate change is threatening the existence of coral reefs worldwide. Examples of catastrophic collapses of these important ecosystems have been documented in the last few decades, causing concerns of their persistence in the Anthropocene. Notably, many local communities rely directly on resources that are derived from a healthy and growing reef, causing further socioeconomic concerns. Understanding how this important ecosystem have and will be further impacted by climate change has been the subject of intense research, but recently greater efforts have been made to understand how ecological interaction may help mitigate these effects.

In this talk, I will present two short studies, highlighting my developments of interdisciplinary research techniques to aid in a further understand of climate change impacts on coral reefs:

First, I developed interdisciplinary analytical techniques to understand how physiological interactions between species build resilience to climate change stress. Large benthic foraminifera (LBFs), single celled organisms, commonly occur on coral reefs worldwide as living organisms on marine algae, and subsequently as beach sands post-mortem (See Pane A below). Through aquaria experiments, I documented how alterations in organismal physiology of LBFs when associated with marine alga, providing increased resistance to climate change stress of ocean acidification and increasing temperatures.

Second, I present work from a novel CO2 dosing system I developed (see Pane B and C below) to understand how ocean acidification will impact coral reefs. I led an effort to develop the first Shallow Coral Reef – Free Ocean Carbon Enrichment in Mo’orea French Polynesia, which experimentally dosed CO2 onto coral reefs to simulate near-future ocean acidification conditions. This work showed that there are immediate impacts on coral reef net community calcification to projected increases in atmospheric CO2, driven largely by dissolution of the inorganic substrata.

Together, these research results link impacts of climate change on physiological responses of individual organisms and ecosystem status. Further, they show that organisms in certain cases have the ability to interact to build resilience to climate change, offering a small window of hope that by understanding the mechanisms underlying these trends, we can better aid in protecting oceans worldwide.

Document Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Invited talk)
Programme Area (enter as: PA1/PA2/PA3/PA4/PA5): PA2
Research affiliation: Biogeochemistry and Geology > Geoecology & Carbonate Sedimentology
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2020 16:21
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 13:01
URI: http://cris.leibniz-zmt.de/id/eprint/4045

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