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


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


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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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Global warming and climate change’s evil (?) cousin, ocean acidification: Effects on aerobic performance in coral reef fishes


12pm -1 pm, Friday August 24 2012

Sir George Fisher Building Conference Room #114 (DB32 upstairs), JCU, Townsville; with video-link to UQ GCI Boardroom.
Jodie Rummer, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, JCU, Townsville

 Abstract:  Climate change models project – by the end of this century – tropical oceans will have increased in temperature by 2-3°C due to global warming and become more acidic (pH decrease by >0.3) due to the uptake of anthropogenic CO2.  Tropical species, especially equatorial populations, are predicted to be most impacted because they are adapted to a narrow range of temperatures in their local environment.  Elevated temperatures and CO2 are suggested to impact marine ecosystems by decreasing the capacity for fish and other water-breathers to take up oxygen.  Reductions in aerobic scope (the difference between resting and maximal oxygen consumption rates) result in less energy available for vital life-history processes such as growth and reproduction. In my talk, I will discuss two recently completed projects where we investigated the following:

  1. The thermal optima for aerobic scope in equatorial populations of damselfishes and cardinalfishes in northern Papua New Guinea held at temperatures incorporating their existing narrow thermal range (29-31°C) as well as 33 and 34°C to include projected end-of-century conditions.  Comparisons were made to high latitude populations of the same or sister species.
  2. The aerobic scope of one Great Barrier Reef species (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) when acutely (17d) exposed to control (451μatm CO2) or projected end-of-century CO2 conditions (946μatm CO2).

Understanding the variability among species and populations regarding the effects of temperature and CO2 on aerobic performance will be critical in predicting the impacts of global warming and ocean acidification on marine communities and ecosystems. Information derived from this research will also be imperative to identifying vulnerable geographic locations and species at risk in potential climate change “hot spots”, where extinction intensity could be the greatest.

Biography:  Jodie is originally from the USA where she completed honours, BSc, and MSc degrees in Biology and Marine Biology in Illinois and Florida before moving to Vancouver, Canada to commence a PhD at the University of British Columbia. Her PhD research investigated oxygen uptake and delivery mechanisms in fish during stress, but she has also done extensive research on buoyancy, exercise, and oxygen and temperature stress. After a post-doctoral fellowship in Hong Kong (2010-2011), she joined the CoECRS as an ARC Super Science Fellow (2011-present) and is applying her broad research interests in conservation physiology. Jodie’s research aims to understand how evolutionary pressures have shaped physiological systems and the degree to which adaptation and acclimation to natural and environmental perturbations, such as anthropogenic climate change, can occur.


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