Project Information

Developing the capacity to better predict the composition of reef communities in a future of intensifying climate change based on the analysis of Symbiodinium communities.


The economic and ecological importance of coral reef ecosystems make it pivotally important to understand the biological capacity and mechanisms that corals possess to resist, acclimatize and or adapt to the dynamically changing coastal environments predicted with climate change. Our research is aimed at understanding how functional attributes and environmental tolerance in corals relate to the nature and taxonomic composition of the algal symbiont (Symbiodinium) communities they harbor, at a reef community scale. We are explicitly focused on the characterization of Symbiodinium diversity with the goal of developing the framework necessary to examine how diversity in the taxonomic unions influences the functional biology and environmental thresholds of corals. To this end, we designed a project to use the unique thermal attributes of the back reef pools on the south coast of Ofu island that lie within the National Park of American Samoa to examine which corals have been selected for by thermally challenging environments and to determine whether the taxonomic composition of the Symbiodinium communities in corals is a good predictor of environmental range.


CURRENT RESEARCHER INVOLVEMENT

Dr. Ruth Gates

Dr. Denise Yost


PUBLICATIONS PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF THIS RESEARCH

in prep


FUNDING AGENCY OR AGENCIES

USGS