1

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.

2

Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

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

3

Responding to a changing world

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

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au

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Moving ‘house’ tests corals

18
Jun 2010

Finding out how corals adapt to a different environment and climate change will be boosted by a special grant to James Cook University researcher Dr Line Bay.

Dr Bay has received funding under the Australian Government’s International Linkages-Science Academies program, which supports Australian scientists collaborating with international partners on leading edge science and technology projects.

Dr Bay will work with Dr Misha Matz and Dr Eli Meyer from the University of Texas at Austin and Dr Madeleine van Oppen at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Dr Bay said her project examined how corals use their genetic material to cope with changes in their environment.

It is an extension of an experiment last year where corals from southern Great Barrier Reef were moved to a central Great Barrier Reef and vice versa.

“I then sampled the corals over the following six months to see how they were acclimatising to their new environment,” Dr Bay said.

“I detected a significant growth response where southern corals grew faster than their central counterparts, irrespective of the environment they were placed in.”

Dr Bay said the grant would be used to conduct cutting edge genomic analyses on the samples.

“The aim of these analyses is to reveal the genes responsible for variation in growth and changes in the environment.”

Dr Bay will spend three weeks in the US but will also conduct analyses before she departs.

“Coral bleaching is a major threat to coral reefs worldwide but not all corals bleach equally.

“There is some evidence that coral condition and size may affect their susceptibility to thermal stress – a major cause of bleaching.

“It is therefore important to know how coral condition and growth varies among populations so that more resilient coral populations can be identified.”

Dr Bay said the research aimed to uncover the mechanisms that cause variation in growth and condition of corals and how this varies among coral populations.

“The outcome of this research will therefore be to identify potentially more resilient coral populations to climate change.”

Dr Bay said she was looking forward to undertaking the travelling fellowship

“This visit will allow me to spend some time in US and work directly with leading researchers in my research area.”

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Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au