Abstract. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has nearly doubled since the industrial revolution, leading to warmer and more acidic oceans. Researchers are increasingly examining how coral reefs and their associated flora and fauna have acclimatised to function under present-day extreme environmental conditions. Such extreme habitats represent possible analogues for environmental conditions on reefs of the future. Studying present-day natural extremes can inform our understanding of how species function within these habitats and allows us to evaluate the potential for community-scale re-organisation as a consequence of changing environmental conditions. This work explores corals living in mangrove habitats where conditions routinely include reduced pH, reduced oxygen and elevated temperature that effectively parallel (or exceed) climate conditions predicted over the next 100 years. The physiological and molecular traits that may facilitate coral survival to these extreme conditions are discussed.
Biography. Dr. Emma Camp is a marine bio-geochemist at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Emma recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of Essex, England and currently works in the Future Reefs group as part of the Climate Change Cluster at UTS. Her research focuses on the role marginal reef environments (e.g. mangrove habitats) can play in understanding the impact of future climate change on coral reefs. Her work covers several aspects of the coral holobiont, from exploring changes in associated microbial communities, to looking at the differences in physiological health and skeletal properties of the coral host. Emma has been awarded grants from National Geographic, the Women’s Diving Hall of Fame and the French Government to continue her endeavours to explore understudied, marginal reef systems. Over the past four years she has been involved as a coral reef researcher for Earthwatch and Operation Wallacea, and she is an ambassador for Global Biodiversity for the charity IBEX Earth.