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


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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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Modelling growth and form in scleractinian corals


Thursday, 30th September 2010 12.00pm - 1.00pm

Sir George Fisher Building Conference Room #114 (upstairs)
Jaap A. Kaandorp, Section Computational Science, University of Amsterdam


Within the metazoans, sponges and cnidarians represent the phyla with the simplest body plan and a relatively simple regulatory network controlling the development. This makes these organisms an excellent case study for understanding morphogenesis and the physical translation of the genetic information into a growth form, using a combination of biomechanical models of growth and form and gene regulation. During this talk we will give an overview of the ongoing work at the Section Computational Science on modelling and simulation of growth and form in scleractinian corals. Here we combine models at very different spatio-temporal scales: gene regulation and cellular level, calcification, physiology (respiration and photosynthesis),  growth of the coral skeleton and the impact of the physical  environment (water movement and availability of light). We will briefly discuss:

  • Modelling spatio-temporal gene expression patterns and cell movement in early development of the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis  (and Acropora millepora) and methods for inferring gene networks from gene expression data..
  • Modelling of calcification (calcium and carbonate physiology, photosynthesis) in corals
  • (If time permits:) Macroscopical models of growth and form of corals and the influence of the environment (light, advection-diffusion, how growth and form models can be coupled with hydrodynamical models
  • (If time permits:) Morphological analysis and comparison of three-dimensional images of coral colonies obtained with Computer Tomography scanning and simulated morphologies


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