Abstract: Understanding what coral reefs will look like in the future may largely depend on the composition of reef-building corals. While there is increasing concern that coral communities are shifting from historically dominant species towards assemblages of stress-tolerant and opportunistic species, there is currently no life-history framework that allows for tests of these predictions. I will propose a trait-based approach that we have used to classify life-history strategies for global scleractinian corals, evaluate how coral life-history composition has changed over 20 years on Kenyan reefs, and finally, consider the resilience of coral assemblages to local and global stressors in a changing climate.
Biography: Emily Darling is currently finishing her PhD with Isabelle Côté in the Earth to Ocean research group at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. In 2005, she completed a BSc (Hons) looking at the evolution of range limits in plants at Queen’s University. Before starting her PhD, Emily worked with Tim McClanahan at the Coral Reef Conservation Project in Kenya looking at the effects of management on small-scale coral reef fisheries. She has continued to work closely with CRCP in Kenya and the western Indian Ocean to study the impacts of fishing and climate change on coral communities.