As atmospheric CO2 continues to rise, the oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic. Consequently, the frequency and intensity of coral bleaching events is rising, and corals are dying from mass bleaching events at an alarming rate. At the current rate of warming, it is predicted that over half of all corals will be lost by mid-century. In addition, ocean acidification is undermining the ability of many coral species to calcify. By mid-century, net dissolution may be common on many reefs. Yet some coral species are more resilient to the combined stress of elevated temperature and ocean acidification than others. In addition, moderate nutrients and/or feeding on zooplankton may act to minimize the negative effects of climate change on corals. My research focuses on identifying what drives coral resilience and trying to determine how corals will survive the future. Here, I will present the results of two studies: one demonstrating the resilience of at least one species of coral to the dual stress of elevated temperature and ocean acidification at both the physiological and microbial levels, and a second demonstrating the positive impact of moderate nutrients to counteract the negative effects of climate change on corals. I conclude that there may be more resilient corals than expected and that coastal and upwelling areas may provide a refugia from climate change for some corals.
Join Zoom Here