Talk Synopsis & Video Recording
Coral reef ecosystems are built from corals and other calcifiers, house 1000s of species, and protect 10000’s of km of shoreline. What capacity do corals and other reef species have to adapt to ocean conditions in the Anthropocene? Responses to environment come in four MAAD flavors: Move, Acclimate, Adapt or Die, and a wealth of studies are now being done to measure the speed and limits of these responses in coral reef species. How these studies are done depend on century-old approaches like geographic surveys and common garden experiments but are spiced with modern genomics, remote sensing and detailed eco-evolutionary models. I’ll detail some of these from our work on coral heat tolerance in Palau, and then show the ways this kind of information is being used to protect reef habitats and regrow more resilient populations. The emerging science of ecosystem resilience engineering seeks to identify careful interventions in current ecosystems that stabilize them. This will help ecosystems to have something to grow back from, once the global community reduces greenhouse emissions and eventually ushers in a more typical planetary climate.
Breakout Group Discussions
(1) In a system you work in or know well, what ways do you think species might very well be able to adapt to future climates? (2) Are the are any specific human interventions or strategies that can enhance adaptation? (3) How could you tell if adaptation is working?
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