Abstract: On many reefs around the world, hard coral cover is declining and the composition of coral communities is changing. Understanding the precise causes and consequences of these changes is challenging because a wide range of biological and physical factors influence coral growth, and because different coral species respond to environmental change in different ways. In this seminar I will describe recent research that aims to generalize the responses of multiple coral species by developing a new coral ‘ecological strategy scheme’. This scheme classifies species based on their allocation of resources between growth, reproduction and energy storage and identifies species likely to tolerate changing conditions. I will also present research that aims to scale-up coral productivity from the individual level to the community level, and to quantify changes in species responses to the environment along latitudinal gradients. Finally, I will ‘introduce’ you to my research group by giving a general overview of the topics my research students are investigating.
Biography: Mia completed a PhD in 2008 at James Cook University and then moved on to undertake postdoctoral research on temperate corals at the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, and on freshwater fish at the University of Glasgow. She has broad interests in the biology and ecology of marine and aquatic organisms, and joined the ARC Centre as a Chief Investigator in 2014. Her current research program focuses on understanding and predicting the impacts of climate change on coral populations and communities, primarily through investigating how the physical environment controls coral growth, reproduction and survival. Using laboratory experiments and field observations, Mia’s research determines why certain species perform best in certain habitats and tests the capacity of species to acclimatize and adapt to environmental change. Combining these results with mathematical models that ‘scale-up’ from individuals to populations and communities, her work predicts how the productivity of reefs is likely to change in the future.