Thermal stress from the 2015-2016 El Niño triggered the worst global bleaching and mass coral mortality event on record. Dr. Baum’s long-term field site in the central equatorial Pacific, Kiritimati (Christmas Island) was the epicenter of this event, experiencing ten straight months of anomalously high temperatures. Dr. Baum will present the challenges and discoveries that came from attempting to study ecosystem resilience during this climate-change catastrophe on Kiritimati.
Julia Baum is Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. Julia studied at McGill and Dalhousie University (Halifax) and held a Smith Conservation Research Fellowship at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a Schmidt Ocean Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in Santa Barbara. Julia’s research has documented precipitous declines in shark populations, the cascading effects of the loss of apex predaors and the status of fisheries globally. Julia was named an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Ocean Sciences in 2011 and a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation in 2017. She is passionate about conservation outreach and policy, open science, and leveling the playing field for women in science. Julia’s current research program focuses on understanding how overfishing and climate change are impacting marine ecosystems and how we can ensure the persistence of resilient marine ecosystems.