People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

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Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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Behavioral and physiological tolerance to elevated CO2 in marine fish


Friday, August 3rd, 2018, 11:00 to 12:00 hrs (AEST)

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room 106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville
Taryn Laubenstein
Taryn Laubenstein

Increased uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has caused the world’s oceans to become more acidic, and projections indicate that this acidification will likely intensify through the end of the century. Many studies have examined the average effects of ocean acidification on phenotypic traits of marine species, finding variable, but often negative effects on behavioral and physiological performance. However, few studies have examined the relationships between performance traits at the individual level, or the interaction with other drivers, such as warming. Examining these relationships can highlight the individuals that are best suited to survival in future climate conditions, as well as reveal correlations between traits that can either help or hinder individual performance under different environmental drivers. Correlations between traits could also influence adaptation to climate change. In my PhD, I examined the relationship between behavioral and physiological tolerance to elevated CO2 and temperature, for both a reef fish and a large pelagic fish. I show that 1) elevated temperature modulated or outweighed the effect of elevated CO2 on fish behavior and physiology; 2) correlations between behavioral and physiological traits are context-dependent, and primarily appear when both elevated CO2 and temperature are present; and 3) only one strong detrimental correlation between behavioral and physiological traits was found, indicating that these tradeoffs may not represent a severe limitation on adaptive potential to climate change.

Taryn grew up in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, and first fell in love with the ocean in the cold waters of Cape Cod. She attended Yale University for her undergraduate degree and majored in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. While at Yale, she completed a thesis with Suzanne Alonzo on the effects of temperature on egg development in the ocellated wrasse. Following graduation, she worked for NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office as well as the Marine Conservation Institute before moving to Townsville in 2015. Under the supervision of Phil Munday, Jodie Rummer, and Mark McCormick, she is investigating the relationship between behavioral and physiological responses to climate change conditions in marine fish.


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