Abstract: Coral reefs are one of the most sensitive ecosystems to the impacts of climate change, specificially increases in sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Climate change is predicted to negatively impact coral reef calcification and change the functional roles of coral reefs. However, this is limited data on calcification rates of dominant coral taxa. Moreover, we do not know how coral calcification, from the individual to community level, is likely to be altered due to climate change impacts, such as severe thermal stress. The aims of my future research is to increase our knowledge on the dynamic relationship of coral calcification to environmental conditions. In doing so, I will increase our understanding of the variation in calcification rate for multiple species and growth forms with changes in seawater chemsitry and temperature, and expand this knowledge to determine reef carbonate production for the reefs on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Finally, with this new knowledge gained I hope to assess how reef accretion may be altered under different climate change scenarios.
Bio: Kristen completed her BSc in Canada studying biology. Kristen came to James Cook University to undertake a semester of course work being awarded a Graduate Certificate of Science in Marine Biology. Under the supervision of Morgan Pratchett, she then completed her Honours year receiving her BSc Honours with first class distinction, studying summer growth rates of corals at Lord Howe Island. She continued her research undertaking a Doctoral of Philosophy at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, under the supervision of Morgan Pratchett, Andrew Baird, Neal Cantin, and Scott Heron. She studied the growth of branching corals along the GBR determining the key environmental drivers of these habitat forming species and assessing the relative contribution of temperature versus ocean acidification in coral growth. She hopes to continue research in Australia conducting novel studies on coral reefs.