Abstract: Many studies have documented significant variation in the capacity of corals to withstand and recover from major disturbances, but the underlying basis of this variation is still poorly understood. This study attempted to account for these differences in susceptibility, based on inherent and experimentally-induced variation in colony condition. Specifically this study quantified background rates of partial mortality for coral populations at a hierarchy of spatial scales along the Great Barrier Reef and compared it with background mortality rates in the Maldives, Indian Ocean. This study also tested influence of disturbance history versus other biological and environmental factors on colony condition and explicitly tested whether partial mortality influenced “resilience” (resistance and recovery) of corals to thermally-induced bleaching.
Biography: Chiara is originally from Rome, Italy where she completed both her Undergraduate and Postgraduate degree in Marine Science. She always dreamed about doing research on coral reefs and after working on corals in Indonesia she moved to Townsville to start a Master of Applied Science in Marine Biology. In 2012 Chiara started her PhD at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. She is interested in understanding intra-specific variation in the ability of corals to withstand disturbances.