Modern coral reef systems under environmental dynamics - expected and counterintuitive effects

Thursday, April 22, 2021 12:00pm to 1:00pm

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Please join us on April 22, as we welcome Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Professor, Geoecology & Carbonate Sedimentology and Director of the Center for Marine Environmental Science, Bremen University, Bremen, Germany.

Modern coral reef systems under environmental dynamics - expected and counterintuitive effects

Tropical carbonate depositional systems are immediately affected by environmental changes including water temperature, CO2 concentration, sea-level, and nowadays also plastic pollution. While we observe a worldwide demise of tropical coral reefs, the notion of expected total loss is not only hindering action, it also is in parts is flawed. Long-term observation of the development of reef islands show that these islands currently have a tendency to grow. Short-term experimental approaches demonstrate that some corals grow faster under elevated CO2 conditions. Observing such dynamics and resilience feeds into knowledge required for targeted interventions. As examples this talk will touch upon carbonate production and reef island size development during sea-level rise, physiological and calcification responses of carbonate secreting organisms to temperature and CO2 changes as well as plastic pollution.

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