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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of California-Santa Barbara
  • Russell J Schmitt
  • (805) 893-2051
  • Peter J Edmunds
  • Robert C Carpenter
  • Sally J Holbrook
Award Date:09/15/2012
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 2,964,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 4,632,747
  • FY 2015=$1,374,040
  • FY 2014=$301,492
  • FY 2012=$980,000
  • FY 2013=$1,977,215
Start Date:09/01/2012
End Date:08/31/2018
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:LTER: MCR IIB: Long-Term Dynamics of a Coral Reef Ecosystem
Federal Award ID Number:1236905
DUNS ID:094878394
Parent DUNS ID:071549000

Awardee Location

Street:Office of Research
City:Santa Barbara
County:Santa Barbara
Awardee Cong. District:24

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Gump Station, UC Berkeley
Street:BP 244-98728
City:Maharepa, Moorea

Abstract at Time of Award

Intellectual Merit: The Moorea Coral Reef (MCR) LTER was established in 2004 to investigate community and ecosystem effects of pulsed perturbations and slowly changing environment from local and global stressors. The site is the coral reef complex surrounding the island of Moorea, French Polynesia, which includes a lagoon system (with fringing reef and back reef habitats) and a steeply sloping fore reef offshore. The core issue that unifies MCR research centers on ecological resilience, specifically the processes and attributes that affect the capacity of a coral reef to absorb perturbations and reassemble to a community dominated by stony corals without degrading to an alternative state (e.g., one dominated by macroalgae). At the end of MCR I, virtually all of the coral on the outer fore reef surrounding Moorea was killed by a natural but brief outbreak of a coral predator, which was followed by storm waves that removed dead coral skeletons from the fore reef on one of the three shores of the island. These perturbations had little effect on corals in lagoon habitats. Spatial variation in the landscape scale effects of these qualitatively different perturbations provides the MCR with an unparalleled scientific opportunity to address fundamental, unresolved questions regarding disturbance and recovery of coral reefs, together with the effects of community structure on reef functioning. The MCR research program addresses two time horizons and hence research activities are organized into two corresponding themes. Research Theme 1 (Resilience of Contemporary Reefs) focuses on factors that promote or inhibit the return of a perturbed reef community to a coral-dominated state under current levels of stressors from Global Climate Change (GCC) and Ocean Acidification (OA). Research Theme 2 (Structure and Function of Reefs in the Future) addresses the longer time horizon and seeks insight into how forecasted changes in GCC- and OA-related drivers may alter the structure of the benthic community, together with the consequences of those changes to ecosystem processes. This integrated research program for these inter-related themes includes question-driven time series measurements, long term field experiments, shorter-term field and laboratory experiments and measurements, and modeling and synthesis activities to integrate and generalize the results. The six goals of MCR IIB are to: (a) contribute to understanding what factors influence reef resilience and how GCC- and OA-related drivers will affect coral reefs; (b) continue our long term datasets on community dynamics, ecosystem processes and physical and chemical drivers; (c) maintain 3 long term field experiments and initiate 1 new one; (d) develop and test ecological theory; (e) continue to enhance our information management system to more fully meet the needs of the LTER network and the broader scientific community; and (f) maintain the effectiveness of MCR outreach components. Broader Impacts: Coral reefs are not just ecologically important - they yield upwards of $375 billion annually in goods and services (most of it in the developing world) that are vulnerable to human activities and climate forcing. Hence this research has relevance and application to resource managers, policy makers and stakeholders worldwide. LTER findings are presented annually to the Minister of the Environment of French Polynesia and have been used in the development of Marine Protected Areas for Moorea. Broader impacts arising from LTER educational activities include postdoctoral mentoring, research that integrates undergraduate and graduate training, active participation of faculty researchers and K-12 teachers in MCR research, incorporation of MCR findings in teaching curricula, progress towards an ethnically diverse MCR student community, and involvement of faculty and students from predominantly undergraduate and minority-serving institutions. Additional impacts are realized by MCR outreach efforts, including partnerships with three local schools that serve socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority students, with the University of California - Santa Barbara REEF (Research Experience & Education Facility) that exposes over 10,000 K-12 and public visitors annually to MCR research, and with the Atitia Center on Moorea to reach Tahitian school children and the public.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Edmunds, P. J.; Fan, T. Y. "Evidence that high pCO2 affects coral recruits through perturbed protein metabolism" INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY, v.53, 2013, p.E60-E60.

Edmunds, P.J., H.M. Putnam and R.D. Gates "Photophysiological consequences of vertical stratification of Symbiodinium in tissue of the coral Porites lutea" Biological Bulletin, v.223, 2012, p.226-235.

Cumbo, V. R.; Fan, T. Y.; Edmunds, P. J. "Effects of exposure duration on the response of Pocillopora damicornis larvae to elevated temperature and high pCO(2)" JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MARINE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY, v.439, 2013, p.100-107.

Hedouin, Laetitia; Gates, Ruth D. "Assessing fertilization success of the coral Montipora capitata under copper exposure: Does the night of spawning matter?" MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN, v.66, 2013, p.221-224.

Brown, A. and R.C. Carpenter "Water flow influences the mechanisms and outcomes of interactions between massive Porites and coral reef algae." Marine Biology, v.162, 2015, p.459-468. doi:10.1007/s00227-014-2593-5 

Edmunds, P.J., X. Pochon, D.R. Levitan, D.M. Yost, M. Belcaid, H.M. Putnam and R.D. Gates "Long-term changes in Symbiodinium communities in Orbicella annularis in St. John, US Virgin Islands." Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.506, 2014, p.129-144. doi:10.3354/meps10808 

Bowen, B.W., K. Shanker, N. Yasuda, M.C.D. Malay, S. von der Heyden, G. Paulay, L.A. Rocha, K.A. Selkoe, P.H. Barber, S.T. Williams, H.A. Lessios, E.D. Crandall, G. Bernardi, C.P. Meyer, K.E. Carpenter and R.J. Toonen "Phylogeography unplugged: Comparative surveys in the genomic era." Bulletin of Marine Science, v.90, 2014, p.13-46. doi:10.5343/bms.2013.1007 

Edmunds, P.J., J.J. Leichter, E.C. Johnston, E.J. Tong and R.J. Toonen "Ecological and genetic variation in reef-building corals on four Society Islands" Limnology and Oceanography, v.61, 2016, p.543. doi:10.1002/lno.10231 

Edmunds, P.J. "Decadal-scale changes in the community structure of coral reefs in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands" Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.489, 2013, p.107. doi:10.3354/meps10424 

Holbrook, S.J., R.J. Schmitt, V. Messmer, A.J. Brooks, M. Srinivasan, P.L. Munday and G.P. Jones "Reef fishes in biodiversity hotspots are at greatest risk from loss of coral species." PLoS One, v.10, 2015, p.e0124054. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124054 

Zamudio, S.; Bramanti, L.; Edmunds, P. J. "Temperature-induced maternal effects on the phenotype of larvae released by the brooding coral Pocillopora damicornis" INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY, v.53, 2013, p.E233-E233.

Sogin, M., P. Anderson, P. Williams, C.-S. Chen and R.D. Gates "Application of 1H-NMR metabolomic profiling for reef-building corals." PLoS One, v.9, 2014, p.e111274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111274 

Cumbo, V.R., P.J. Edmunds, C.B. Wall and T.-Y. Fan "Brooded coral larvae differ in their response to high temperature and elevated pCO2 depending on the day of release" Marine Biology, v.160, 2013, p.2903. doi:10.1007/s00227-013-2280-y 

Brown, D.; Edmunds, P. J. "Long-term changes in the population dynamics of the Caribbean hydrocoral Millepora spp" JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MARINE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY, v.441, 2013, p.62-70.

Smith, J.E., N.N. Price, C.E. Nelson and A.F. Haas "Coupled changes in oxygen concentration and pH caused by metabolism of benthic coral reef organisms" Marine Biology, v.160, 2013, p.2437. doi:10.1007/s00227-013-2239-z 

Dufault, Aaron M.; Ninokawa, Aaron; Bramanti, Lorenzo; Cumbo, Vivian R.; Fan, Tung-Yung; Edmunds, Peter J. "The role of light in mediating the effects of ocean acidification on coral calcification" JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, v.216, 2013, p.1570-1577.

Brown, A. and R.C. Carpenter "Water flow mediated oxygen dynamics within massive Porites-algal turf interactions" Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.490, 2013, p.1. doi:10.3354/meps10467 

Stier, A.C., K.M. Hanson, S.J. Holbrook, R.J. Schmitt and A.J. Brooks "Predation and landscape characteristics independently affect reef fish community organization." Ecology, v.95, 2014, p.1294-1307. doi:10.1890/12-1441.1 

Roth, M.S., J.L. Padilla_gamino, X. Pochon, R.R. Bidigare, R.D. Gates, C.M. Smith and H.L. Spalding "Fluorescent proteins in dominant mesophotic reef-building corals." Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.521, 2015, p.63-79. doi:10.3354/meps11108 

Leenhardt, P., M. Lauer, R.M. Moussa, S.J. Holbrook, A. Rassweiler, R.J. Schmitt and J. Claudet "Complexities and uncertainties in transitioning small-scale coral reef fisheries" Frontiers in Marine Science, v.3, 2016, p.70. doi: 

Comeau S., P.J. Edmunds, C.A. Lantz and R.C. Carpenter "Water flow modulates the response of coral reef communities to ocean acidification." Nature Scientific Reports, v.4, 2014, p.6681. doi:10.1038/srep06681 

Rivest, E.B. and G.E. Hofmann "Effects of temperature and high pCO2 on lipid use and biological parameters of planulae of Pocillopora damicornis" Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, v.473, 2015, p.43. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2015.07.015 

Adam, T.C., A.J. Brooks, S.J. Holbrook, R.J. Schmitt, L. Washburn and G. Bernardi "How will coral reef fish communities respond to climate-driven disturbances? Insight from landscape-scale perturbations." Oecologia, v.176, 2014, p.285-296. doi:10.1007/s00442-014-3011-x 

Nelson, Craig E.; Goldberg, Stuart J.; Kelly, Linda Wegley; Haas, Andreas F.; Smith, Jennifer E.; Rohwer, Forest; Carlson, Craig A. "Coral and macroalgal exudates vary in neutral sugar composition and differentially enrich reef bacterioplankton lineages" ISME JOURNAL, v.7, 2013, p.962-979.

Cumbo, V. R.; Edmunds, P. J.; Fan, T. -Y. "Scleractinian corals capture zooplankton within days of settlement and metamorphosis" CORAL REEFS, v.31, 2012, p.1155-1155.

Comeau, S., R.C. Carpenter and P.J. Edmunds "Effects of pCO2 on photosynthesis and respiration of tropical scleractinian corals and calcified algae" ICES Journal of Marine Science, v.74, 2017, p.1092. doi: 

Rivest, E.B. and G.E. Hofmann "Responses of the metabolism of the larvae of Pocillopora damicornis to ocean acidification and warming" PLoS One, v.9, 2014, p.e96172. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096172 

Tootell, J.S. and M.A. Steele "Vermetid gastropods reduce foraging by herbivorous fishes on algae on coral reefs." Coral Reefs, v.33, 2014, p.1145-1151. doi:10.1007/s00338-014-1181-y 

Forsman, Z.H., E. Johnston, A.J. Brooks, T. Adam and R.J. Toonen "Genetic evidence for regional isolation of Pocillopora corals from Moorea" Oceanography, v.26, 2013, p.153. doi:10.5670/oceanog.2013.58 

Comeau, S.; Edmunds, P. J.; Spindel, N. B.; Carpenter, R. C. "The responses of eight coral reef calcifiers to increasing partial pressure of CO2 do not exhibit a tipping point" LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY, v.58, 2013, p.388-398.

Edmunds, P.J. and C.B. Wall "Evidence that high pCO2 affects protein metabolism in tropical corals." Journal of Experimental Biology, v.227, 2014, p.68-77.

Padilla-Gamino, Jacqueline L.; Hanson, Katharine M.; Stat, Michael; Gates, Ruth D. "Phenotypic plasticity of the coral Porites rus: Acclimatization responses to a turbid environment" JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MARINE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY, v.434, 2012, p.71-80.

Brown, D. and P.J. Edmunds "Differences in the responses of three scleractinians and the hydrocoral Millepora platyphylla to ocean acidification" Marine Biology, v.163, 2016, p.. doi:10.1007/s00227-016-2837-7 

Von der Heyden, S., M. Berger, R. J. Toonen, L. van Herwerden, M. A. Juinio-Menez, R. Ravago-Gotanco, C. Fauvelot and G. Bernardi "The application of genetics to marine management and conservation: Examples from the Indo-Pacific." Bulletin of Marine Science, v.90, 2014, p.123-158. doi:10.5343/bms.2012.1079 

Edmunds, P.J. and J.J. Leichter "Spatial scale-dependent vertical zonation of coral reef community structure in French Polynesia" Ecosphere, v., 2016, p..

Antoine, D., M. Babin, J.F. Berthon, A. Bricaud, B. Gentili, H. Loisel, S. Maritorena and D. Stramski "Shedding light on the sea: André Morel?s legacy to optical oceanography" Annual Review of Marine Science, v.6, 2014, p.1. doi:10.1146/annurev-marine-010213-135135 

Stat M, X. Pochon, E.C. Franklin, J.F. Bruno, K.S. Casey, E.R. Selig and R.D. Gates "The distribution of the thermally tolerant symbiont lineage (Symbiodinium clade D) in corals from Hawaii: correlations with host and the history of ocean thermal stress" Ecology and Evolution, v.3, 2013, p.1317. doi:10.1002/ece3.556 

Muller, E.B. and R.M. Nisbet "Dynamic energy budget modeling reveals the potential of future growth and calcification for the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi in an acidified ocean" Global Change Biology, v.20, 2014, p.2031-2038. doi:10.1111/gcb.12547 

Evensen, N.R., P.J. Edmunds and K. Sakai "Effects of pCO2 on spatial competition between the corals Montipora aequituberculata and Porites lutea" Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.541, 2015, p.123. doi:10.3354/meps11512 

Herdman, L.M.M., J.L. Hench and S.G. Monismith "Heat balances and thermally-driven lagoon-ocean exchanges on a tropical coral reef system (Moorea, French Polynesia)." Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, v.120, 2015, p.1233-1252. doi:10.1002/2014JC010145 

Sogin, E.M., H.M. Putnam, P.E. Anderson and R.D. Gates "Metabolomic signatures of increases in temperature and ocean acidification from the reef-building coral, Pocillopora damicornis" Metabolomics, v.12, 2016, p.. doi:10.?1007/?s11306-016-0987-8 

Gibbin, E.M., H.M. Putnam, S.K. Davy and R.D. Gates "Intracellular pH and its response to CO2-driven seawater acidification in symbiotic versus non-symbiotic coral cells." Journal of Experimental Biology, v.217, 2014, p.1963-1969. doi:10.1242/jeb.099549 

Edmunds, P.J., S. Comeau, C.A. Lantz, A. Andersson, C. Briggs, A. Cohen, J.-P. Gattuso, J.M. Grady, K. Gross, M. Johnson, E.B. Muller, J.B. Ries, S. Tambutté, E. Tambutté, A. Venn and R.C. Carpenter "Integrating the effects of ocean acidification across functional scales on tropical coral reefs" BioScience, v., 2016, p..

Dornelas, M., N.J. Gotelli, B. McGill, H. Shimadzu, F. Moyes, C. Sievers and A.E. Magurran "Assemblage time series reveal biodiversity change but not systematic loss." Science, v.344, 2014, p.296-299. doi:10.1126/science.1248484 

Comeau, S., R.C. Carpenter and P.J. Edmunds "Effects of feeding and light intensity on the response of the coral Porites rus to ocean acidification." Marine Biology, v.160, 2013, p.1127-1134. doi:10.1007/s00227-012-2165-5 

Comeau, S., R.C. Carpenter and P.J. Edmunds "Effects of irradiance on the response of the coral Acropora pulchra and the calcifying alga Hydrolithon reinboldii to temperature elevation and ocean acidification" Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, v.453, 2014, p.28. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2013.12.013 

Bramanti, L.; Edmunds, P. J. "Demographic models can forecast climate change effects on scleractinian corals: the Pocillopora damicornis case study" INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY, v.53, 2013, p.E22-E22.

Rivest, E.B. and G.E. Hofmann "Responses of the metabolism of the larvae of Pocillopora damicornis to ocean acidification and warming." PLoS One, v.9, 2014, p.e96172. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096172 

Byrne, M. and G.E. Hofmann "Calcification in a changing ocean: Perspectives on a virtual symposium in the Biological Bulletin." Biological Bulletin, v.226, 2014, p.167-168. doi:0006-3185 

Lenihan, H.S., J.L. Hench, S.J. Holbrook, R.J. Schmitt and M. Potoski "Hydrodynamics influence coral performance through simultaneous direct and indirect effects" Ecology, v.96, 2015, p.1540. doi:10.1890/14-1115.1 

Siegel, D.A., M.J. Behrenfeld, S. Maritorena, C.R. McClain, D. Antoine, S.W. Bailey, P.S. Bontempi, E.S. Boss, H.M. Dierssen, S.C. Doney, R.E. Eplee Jr., R.H. Evans, G.C. Feldman, E. Fields, B.A. Franz, N.A. Kuring, C. Mengelt, N.B. Nelson, F.S. Patt, W.D "Regional to global assessments of phytoplankton dynamics from the SeaWiFS mission." Remote Sensing of Environment, v.135, 2013, p.77-91.

Hench, J.L., and J.H. Rosman "Observations of spatial flow patterns at the coral colony scale on a shallow reef flat." Journal of Geophysical Research:Oceans, v.118, 2013, p.1142-1156. doi:10.1002/jgrc.20105 

Kelly, L.W., G. J. Williams, K.L. Barott, C.A. Carlson, E.A. Dinsdale, R.A. Edwards, A.F. Haas, M. Haynes, Y.W. Lim, T. McDole, C.E. Nelson, E. Sala, S.A. Sandin, J.E. Smith, M.J.A. Vermeij, M. Youle and F. Rohwer "Local genomic adaption of coral and algal-associated microbiomes to gradients of natural variability and anthropogenic stressors." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v.111, 2014, p.10227-102. doi:10.1073/pnas.1403319111 

Cinner, J.E., C. Huchery, M.A. MacNeil, N.A.J. Graham, T.R. McClanahan, J. Maina, E. Maire, J. Kittinger, C.C. Hicks, C. Mora, E. Allison, S. D?Agata, A. Hoey, D. Feary, L. Crowder, I. Williams, M. Kulbicki, L. Vigliola, L. Wantiez, G. Edgar, R. Stuart-Sm "Bright spots among the world?s coral reefs." Nature, v., 2016, p..

Putnam, Hollie M.; Stat, Michael; Pochon, Xavier; Gates, Ruth D. "Endosymbiotic flexibility associates with environmental sensitivity in scleractinian corals" PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, v.279, 2012, p.4352-4361.

Madin, J.S., K.D. Anderson, M.H. Andreasen, T.C.L. Bridges, S.D. Cairns, S.R. Connolly, E.S. Darling, M. Diaz, D.S. Falster, E.C. Franklin, R.D. Gates, M.O. Hoogenboom, D. Huang, S.A. Keith, M.A. Kosnik, C.-Y.Kuo, J.M. Lough, C.E. Lovelock, O. Luiz, J. Ma "The coral traits database, a curated database of trait information for coral species from the global oceans" Scientific Data, v.3, 2016, p.. doi:10.1038/sdata.2016.17 

Kearney, M.R., T. Domingos and R. Nisbet "Dynamic energy budget theory: An efficient and general theory for ecology." Biological Bulletin, v.65, 2015, p.341-341. doi:10.1093/biosci/biv013 

Stat M, X. Pochon, E.C. Franklin, J.F. Bruno, K.S. Casey, E.R. Selig and R.D. Gates. "Symbiodinium clade D correlates with a high cumulative frequency of thermal stress in Montipora but not Porites in Hawaii." Ecology and Evolution, v.3, 2013, p.1317-1329. doi:10.1002/ece3.556 

Comeau S., R.C. Carpenter, Y. Nojiri, H.M. Putnam, K. Sakai and P.J. Edmunds "Pacific-wide contrast highlights resistance of reef calcifiers to ocean acidification." Proceedings of the Royal Society B ? Biological Sciences, v.281, 2014, p.20141339. doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.1339 

Stewart, H.L., N.N. Price, S.J. Holbrook, R.J. Schmitt and A.J. Brooks "Determinants of the onset and strength of mutualistic interactions between branching corals and associate crabs" Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.493, 2013, p.155. doi:10.3354/meps10525 

Guo, T., A. Capra, M. Troyer, A. Gruen, A.J. Brooks, J.L. Hench, R.J. Schmitt, S.J. Holbrook and M. Dubbini "Accuracy Assessment of Underwater Photogrammetric Three Dimensional Modelling for Coral Reefs" International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, v.41, 2016, p.. doi:10.5194/isprs-archives-XLI-B5-821-2016 

Lesser, M.P., M. Stat and R.D. Gates "The endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium sp.) of corals are parasites and mutualists" Coral Reefs, v.32, 2013, p.603. doi:10.1007/s00338-013-1051-z 

Padilla-Gamiño J.L., L. Hédouin, R.G. Waller, D. Smith, W. Truong and R.D. Gates "Sedimentation and the reproductive biology of the Hawaiian reef-building coral Montipora capitata" Biological Bulletin, v.226, 2014, p.8.

Edmunds, P.J. and S.C. Gray "The effects of storms, heavy rain, and sedimentation on the shallow coral reefs of St. John, US Virgin Islands." Hydrobiologia, v.734, 2014, p.143-158. doi:10.1007/s10750-014-1876-7 

Edmunds, P.J. "Is acclimation beneficial to scleractinian corals, Porites spp.?" Marine Biology, v.161, 2014, p.1531-1542. doi:10.1007/s00227-014-2438-2 

Dufault, Aaron M.; Cumbo, Vivian R.; Fan, Tung-Yung; Edmunds, Peter J. "Effects of diurnally oscillating pCO(2) on the calcification and survival of coral recruits" PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, v.279, 2012, p.2951-2958.

Treibitz, T., B.P. Neal, D.I. Kline, O. Beijbom, P.L.D. Roberts, B.G. Mitchell and D. Kriegman "Wide field-of-view fluorescence imaging of coral reefs." Scientific Reports, v.5, 2015, p.7694. doi:10.1038/srep07694 

Fabina, Nicholas S.; Putnam, Hollie M.; Franklin, Erik C.; Stat, Michael; Gates, Ruth D. "Transmission Mode Predicts Specificity and Interaction Patterns in Coral-Symbiodinium Networks" PLOS ONE, v.7, 2012, p.e44970.

Edmunds, P.J. "Large numbers of Acropora palmata grow in shallow water in St. John, US Virgin Islands." Bulletin of Marine Science, v.90, 2014, p.999-1000. doi:10.5343/bms.2014.1027 

Hanson, K.M., E.L. Schnarr and J.J. Leichter "Non-random feeding enhances the contribution of oceanic zooplankton to the diet of the planktivorous coral reef fish Dascyllus flavicaudus" Marine Biology, v.163, 2016, p.77. doi:10.1007/s00227-016-2849-3 

Keyse, J., E.D. Crandall, R.J. Toonen, C.P. Meyer, E.A. Treml and C. Riginos "The scope of published population genetic data for Indo-Pacific marine fauna and future research opportunities in the region." Bulletin of Marine Science, v.90, 2014, p.47-78. doi:10.5343/bms.2012.1107 

Clausing, R.J. and P. Fong "Environmental variability drives rapid and dramatic changes in nutrient limitation of tropical macroalgae with different ecological strategies" Coral Reefs, v.35, 2016, p.669. doi:10.1007/s00338-016-1403-6 

Carr, M.H., D.P. Malone, M.A. Hixon, S.J. Holbrook and R.J. Schmitt "How SCUBA changed our understanding of nature: underwater breakthroughs in reef fish ecology." Smithsonian Contributions to the Marine Sciences, v.39, 2013, p.157. doi:0196-0768 

Putnam, H.M., A.B. Mayfield, T.-Y. Fan, C.-S. Chen and R.D. Gates "The physiological and molecular responses of larvae from the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis exposed to near-future increases in temperatures and pCO2" Marine Biology, v.160, 2013, p.2157. doi:10.1007/s00227-012-2129-9 

Wall, C.B. and P.J. Edmunds "In situ effects of low pH and elevated HCO3- on juvenile massive Porites spp. in Moorea, French Polynesia" Biological Bulletin, v.225, 2013, p.92.

Lenz, E.A., D. Brown, C. Didden, A. Arnold, and P.J. Edmunds "The distribution of hermit crabs and their gastropod shells on shallow reefs in St. John, USVI" Bulletin of Marine Science, v.90, 2014, p.681-692. doi:10.5343/bms.2013.1049 

Shantz, A.A., N.P. Lemoine and D.E. Burkepile "Nutrient loading alters the performance of key nutrient exchange mutualisms" Ecology Letters, v.19, 2016, p.. doi:10.1111/ele.12538 

Johnson, Maggie D.; Carpenter, Robert C. "Ocean acidification and warming decrease calcification in the crustose coralline alga Hydrolithon onkodes and increase susceptibility to grazing" JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MARINE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY, v.434, 2012, p.94-101.

Stier, A.C., K.M. Hanson, S.J. Holbrook, R.J. Schmitt and A.J. Brooks "Predation and landscape characteristics independently affect reef fish community organization" Ecology, v., 2014, p.. doi:10.1890/12-1441.1 

Lenz, E. A.; Edmunds, P. J. "Evidence that octocorals are increasing in population density in the Caribbean" INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY, v.53, 2013, p.E317-E317.

Siegel, D.A., D. Antoine, M.J. Behrenfeld, O. Hembise Fanton d?Andon, E. Fields, B.A. Franz, P. Goryl, S. Maritorena, C.R. McClain, M. Wang, and J.A. Yoder "Global ocean phytoplankton" Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, v.93, 2012, p.S107-S110.

Forsman, Z., G.M. Wellington, G.E. Fox and R.J. Toonen "Clues to unraveling the coral species problem: distinguishing species from geographic variation in Porites across the Pacific with molecular markers and microskeletal traits." PeerJ, v.3, 2015, p.e751. doi:10.7717/peerj.751 

Johnson, M., V. Moriarty, and R.C. Carpenter "Acclimatization of the crustose coraline alga Porolithon onkodes to variable pCO2" PLoS One, v.9, 2014, p.e87678. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087678 

Haas, A.F., C.E. Nelson, F. Rohwer, L.Wegley-Kelly, S.D. Quistad, C.A. Carlson, J.J. Leichter, M. Hatay and J.E. Smith "Influence of coral and algal exudates on microbially mediated reef metabolism" PeerJ, v.1, 2013, p.e108. doi:10.7717/peerj.108 

Wall, C. B.; Edmunds, P. J. "Elevated pCO(2) increases ammonium excretion in juvenile colonies of the scleractinian Seriatopora caliendrum" INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY, v.53, 2013, p.E389-E389.

Beijbom, O., P.J. Edmunds, C. Roelfsema, J. Smith, D.I. Kline, B.P. Neal, M.J. Dunlap, V. Moriarty, T-Y Fan, C.-J. Tan, S. Chan, T. Treibitz, A. Gamst, B.G. Mitchell and D. Kriegman "Towards automated annotation of benthic survey images: Variability of human experts and operational modes of automation" PLoS One, v., 2015, p.. doi: 

Stat, Michael; Baker, Andrew C.; Bourne, David G.; Correa, Adrienne M. S.; Forsman, Zac; Huggett, Megan J.; Pochon, Xavier; Skillings, Derek; Toonen, Robert J.; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.; Gates, Ruth D.; Lesser, M "MOLECULAR DELINEATION OF SPECIES IN THE CORAL HOLOBIONT" ADVANCES IN MARINE BIOLOGY, VOL 63, v.63, 2012, p.1-65.

Edmunds, P.J. "Landscape-scale variation in coral reef community structure in the United States Virgin Islands." Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.509, 2014, p.137-152. doi:10.3354/meps10891 

Putnam, H.M., Davidson, J. and R.D. Gates "Ocean acidification influences DNA methylation and phenotypic plasticity in environmentally susceptible corals." Integrative and Comparative Biology, v.56, 2016, p.e177.

Yau A.J., H.S. Lenihan and B.E. Kendall "Management priorities vary with self-recruitment in harvested sedentary marine populations" Ecological Applications, v.24, 2014, p.1490-1504. doi:10.1890/13-1201.1 

Davies, N., D. Field, D. Gavaghan, S.J. Holbrook, S. Planes, M. Troyer, M. Bonsall, J. Claudet, G. Roderick , R.J. Schmitt, L. Amaral Zettler,V. Berteaux, H.C. Bossin, C. Cabasse, A. Collin, J. Deck, T. Dell, J. Dunne, R. Gates, M. Harfoot, J.L. Hench, M. "Simulating social-ecological systems: the Island Digital Ecosystem Avatars (IDEA) consortium" Gigascience, v.5, 2016, p.. doi:10.1186/s13742-016-0118-5 

Cameron C. and P.J. Edmunds "Effects simulated fish predation on small colonies of massive Porites spp. and Pocillopora meandrina." Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.508, 2014, p.139-148. doi:10.3354/meps10862 

Leichter, J.J., M.D. Stokes, L.I. Vilchis and J. Fiechter "Regional synchrony of tempertaure variation and internal wave forcing along the Florida Keys reef tract." Journal of Geophysical research: Oceans, v.119, 2014, p.548-558. doi:10.1002/2013JC009371 

Alldredge, A.L., C.A. Carlson and R.C. Carpenter "Sources of organic carbon to coral reef flats" Oceanography, v.26, 2013, p.108. doi:10.5670/oceanog.2013.52 

Werdell, P.J., B.A. Franz, S.W. Bailey, G.C. Feldman, E. Boss, V.E. Brando, M. Dowell, T. Hirata, S.J. Lavender, Z. Lee, H. Loisel, S. Maritorena, F. Me?lin, T.S. Moore, T.J. Smyth, D. Antoine, E. Devred, O. Hembise Fanton d?Andon, and A. Mangin. "Generalized ocean color inversion model for retrieving marine inherent optical properties." Applied Optics, v.52, 2013, p.2019-2037.

Gibbon, E.M., H.M. Putnam, R.D. Gates, M.R. Nitschke and S.K. Davy "Species-specific differences in thermal tolerance may define susceptibility to intracellular acidosis in reef corals." Marine Biology, v.162, 2015, p.717-723. doi:10.1007/s00227-015-2617-9 

Wall, C.B., T.-Y. Fan and P.J. Edmunds "Ocean acidification has no effect on thermal bleaching in the coral Seriatopora caliendrum" Coral Reefs, v.33, 2014, p.119. doi:10.1007/s00338-013-1085-2 

Page, H.M., A.J. Brooks, M. Kulbicki, R. Galzin, R.J. Miller, D. Reed, R.J. Schmitt, S.J. Holbrook and C. Koennigs "Stable isotopes reveal trophic relationships and diet of consumers in temperate kelp forest and coral reef ecosystems" Oceanography, v.26, 2013, p.180. doi:10.5670/oceanog.2013.61 

Adam, T. C.; Horii, S. S. "Patterns of resource-use and competition for mutualistic partners between two species of obligate cleaner fish" CORAL REEFS, v.31, 2012, p.1149-1154.

Levitan, D.R., P.J. Edmunds and K.E. Levitan "What makes a species common? No evidence of density-dependent recruitment or mortality of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum after the 1983-1984 mass mortality." Oecologia, v.175, 2014, p.117-128. doi:10.1007/s00442-013-2871-9 

Comeau S., C.A. Lantz, P.J. Edmunds and R.C. Carpenter "Framework of barrier reefs threatened by ocean acidification" Global Change Biology, v.22, 2016, p.1225. doi:10.1111/gcb.13023 

Putnam, H.M. and R.D. Gates ". Preconditioning in the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis and the potential for trans-generational acclimatization in coral larvae under future climate change conditions" Journal of Experimental Biology, v.218, 2015, p.1540. doi:10.1242/jeb.123018 

Bernardi, Giacomo; Beldade, Ricardo; Holbrook, Sally J.; Schmitt, Russell J. "Full-Sibs in Cohorts of Newly Settled Coral Reef Fishes" PLOS ONE, v.7, 2012, p.e44953.

vanOppen, M.J.H., J.K. Oliver, H.M. Putnam and R.D. Gates "Building coral reef resilience through assisted evolution." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v.112, 2015, p.2307-2313. doi:gi/doi/10.1073/pnas 

Andersson, A.J., D.I. Kline, P.J. Edmunds, S.D. Archer, N. Bednarsek, R.C Carpenter, M. Chadsey, P. Goldstein, A.G. Grottoli, T.P. Hurst, A.L. King, J.E. Kubler, I.B. Kuffner, K.R.M. Mackey, B.A. Menge, A. Paytan, U. Riebesell, A. Schnetzer, M.E. Warner a ". Understanding ocean acidification on organismal to ecological scales" Oceanography, v.28, 2015, p.16. doi: 

Comeau, S.; Carpenter, R. C.; Edmunds, P. J. "Coral reef calcifiers buffer their response to ocean acidification using both bicarbonate and carbonate" PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, v.280, 2013, p.20122374.

Comeau, S., R.C. Carpenter and P.J. Edmunds "Response to: Coral reef calcification ? carbonate, bicarbonate and proton flux under conditions of increasing ocean acidification" Proceedings of the Royal Society B ? Biological Sciences, v.280, 2013, p.20131153. doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.1153 

Quistad, S. D., Y.W. Lim, G.G.Z. Silva, C.E. Nelson, A.F. Haas, L.W. Kelly, R.A. Edwards, and F.L. Rohwer "Using viromes to predict novel immune proteins in non-model organisms." Proceedings of the Royal Society B, v.283, 2016, p.20161200. doi:10.1098/rspb.2016.1200 

Sternberg, D.R., H.R. Nelson and P.J. Edmunds "Asexual budding and aggregated spatial distribution of fungiid corals from disturbed reefs in Moorea, French Polynesia." Integrative and Comparative Biology, v.56, 2016, p.e212.

Stier, A.C., S.W. Geange, K.M. Hanson and B.M. Bolker "Predator density and timing of arrival affect reef fish community assembly" Ecology, v.94, 2013, p.1057. doi:10.1890/11-1983.1 


Shaw, E.C., R.C. Carpenter, C.A. Lantz and P.J. Edmunds "Intraspecific variability in the response to ocean warming and acidification in the scleractinian coral Acropora pulchra" Marine Biology, v.163, 2016, p.. doi:10.1007/s00227-016-2986-8 

Edmunds, P.J., Y. Nozawa and R.D. Villanueva "Refuges modulate coral recruitment in the Caribbean and the Pacific." Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, v.454, 2014, p.78-84. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2014.02.009 

Marti-Puig, P., Z.H. Forsman, R.D. Haverkort-Yeh, I.S.S. Knapp, J.E. Maragos and R. J. Toonen "Extreme phenotypic polymorphism in the coral genus Pocillopora; Micro-morphology corresponds to mitochondrial groups, while colony morphology does not." Bulletin of Marine Science, v.90, 2014, p.211-231. doi:10.5343/bms.2012.1080 

Rivest, E. B.; Chen, C. -S; Fan, T. -Y; Li, H. -H; Edmunds, P. J.; Hofmann, G. E. "Energetic consequences of ocean acidification and warming for coral larvae" INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY, v.53, 2013, p.E360-E360.

Brewin, R.J.W., S. Sathyendranath, D. Muller, C. Brockmann, P.Y. Deschamps, E. Devred, R. Doerffer, N.Fomferra, B. Franz, M. Grant, S. Groom, A. Horseman, C. Hu, H. Krasemann, Z. Lee, S. Maritorena, F. Meelin, M. Peters, T. Platt, P. Regner, T. Smyth, F. "The ocean colour climate change initiative: III. A round-robin comparison on in-water bio-optical algorithms" Remote Sensing of Environment, v.162, 2015, p.271. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2013.09.016 

Edmunds, P.J., R.C. Carpenter and S. Comeau "Understanding the threats of ocean acidification to coral reefs" Oceanography, v.26, 2013, p.149. doi:10.5670/oceanog.2013.57 

Farrar, Christine E.; Forsman, Zac H.; Gates, Ruth D.; Leong, Jo-Ann C.; Toonen, Robert J. "Observing the Coral Symbiome Using Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy" SCIENCE, v.339, 2013, p.518-518.

Evensen N.R., and P.J. Edmunds "Interactive effects of ocean acidification and neighboring corals on the growth of Pocillopora verrucosa." Marine Biology, v., 2016, p..

Fabina, N.S., H.M. Putnam, E.C. Franklin, M. Stat and R.D. Gates "Symbiotic specificity, association patterns, and function determine community responses to global changes: Defining critical research areas for coral-Symbiodinium symbioses" Global Change Biology, v.19, 2013, p.3306. doi:10.1111/gcb.12320 

Mayfield, Anderson B.; Chan, Pei-Hsun; Putnam, Hollie M.; Chen, Chii-Shiarng; Fan, Tung-Yung "The effects of a variable temperature regime on the physiology of the reef-building coral Seriatopora hystrix: results from a laboratory-based reciprocal transplant" JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, v.215, 2012, p.4183-4195.

Comeau, S., R.C. Carpenter, C.A. Lantz and P.J. Edmunds "Ocean acidification accelerates dissolution of experimental coral reef communities." Biogeosciences, v.12, 2015, p.365-372. doi:10.5194/bg-12-365-2015 

Bramanti, L. and P.J. Edmunds "Density-associated recruitment mediates coral population dynamics on a coral reef" Coral Reefs, v.35, 2016, p.543. doi:10.1007/s00338-016-1413-4 

Edmunds P.J. "Effect of pCO2 on the growth, respiration, and photophysiology of massive Porites spp. in Moorea, French Polynesia." Marine Biology, v.159, 2012, p.2149-2160. doi:10.1007/s00227-012-2001-y 

Antoine, David; Siegel, David A.; Kostadinov, Tihomir; Maritorena, Stephane; Nelson, Norm B.; Gentili, Bernard; Vellucci, Vincenzo; Guillocheau, Nathalie "Variability in optical particle backscattering in contrasting bio-optical oceanic regimes" LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY, v.56, 2011, p.955-973.

Bramanti, L., M. Iannelli, T.-Y. Fan and P.J. Edmunds "Using demographic models to project the effects of climate change on scleractinian corals: Pocillopora damicornis as a case study." Coral Reefs, v.34, 2015, p.505-515. doi:10.1007/s00338-015-1269-z 

Edmunds P.J., M. Adjeroud, M.L. Baskett, I.B. Baums, A.F. Budd, R.C. Carpenter, N. Fabina, T.-Y. Fan, E.C. Franklin, K. Gross, X. Han, L. Jacobson, J.S. Klaus, T.R. McClanahan, J.K. O?Leary, M.J.H. van Oppen, X. Pochon, H.M. Putnam, T.B. Smith, M.I. Stat, "Persistence and change in community composition of reef corals through past, present, and future climates." PLoS One, v.9, 2014, p.e107525. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107525 

Mayfield, A.B., T.-Y. Fan and C.-S. Chen "Physiological acclimation to elevated temperature in a reef-building coral from an upwelling environment" Coral Reefs, v.32, 2013, p.909. doi:10.1007/s00338-013-1067-4 

Hofmann, G.E., C.A Blanchette, E.B. Rivest and L. Kapsenberg "Taking the pulse of marine ecosystems: The importance of coupling long-term physical and biological observations in the context of global change biology" Oceanography, v.26, 2013, p.140. doi:10.5670/oceanog.2013.56 

Clausing, R.J., C. Annunziata, G. Baker, C. Lee, S.J. Bittick and P. Fong "Effects of sediment depth on algal turf height are mediated by interactions with fish herbivory on a fringing reef." Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.517, 2014, p.121-129. doi:10.3354/meps11029 

Tootell J.S. and M.A. Steele "Distribution, behavior, and condition of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs track algal resources" Oecologia, v.181, 2016, p.13. doi:10.1007/s00442-015-3418-z 

Padilla-Gamino, J.L., R.R. Bidigare, D.J. Barshis, A. Alamaru, L. Hedouin, X. Hernandez-Pech, F. Kandel, S.L.Soon, M.S. Roth, L.J. Rodrigues, A.G. Grottoli, C. Portocarrero, S.A. Wagenhauser, F. Buttler and R.D. Gates "Are all eggs created equal? A case study from the Hawaiian reef-building coral Montipora capitata." Coral Reefs, v.32, 2012, p.137-152. doi:10.1007/s00338-012-0957-1 

Cumbo, V. R.; Fan, T. -Y.; Edmunds, P. J. "Physiological development of brooded larvae from two pocilloporid corals in Taiwan" MARINE BIOLOGY, v.159, 2012, p.2853-2866.

Comeau, S., P.J. Edmunds, N.B. Spindel and R.C. Carpenter "Fast coral reef calcifiers are more sensitive to ocean acidification in short-term laboratory incubations" Limnology and Oceanography, v.59, 2014, p.1081-1091. doi:10.4319/lo.2014.59.3.1081 

Didden, C. and P.J. Edmunds "Experiential Ecological Investigations as a Vehicle Coupling Teaching & Research in High Schools & Universities" The American Biology Teacher, v.78, 2016, p.. doi:10.1525/abt.2016.78.4.278 

Pochon X, H.M. Putnam and R.D. Gates "Multi-gene analysis of Symbiodinium dinoflagellates: a perspective on rarity, symbiosis, and evolution." PeerJ, v.2, 2014, p.e394. doi:10.7717/peerj.394 

Gowan, J.C., J.S. Tootell and R.C. Carpenter "The effects of water flow and sedimentation on interactions between massive Porites and algal turf" Coral Reefs, v.33, 2014, p.651-663. doi:10.1007/s00338-014-1154-1 

Edmunds, P.J., R. Steneck, R. Albright, R.C. Carpenter, A.P.Y. Chui, T.-Y.Fan, S. Harii, H. Kitano, H. Kurihara, L. Legendre, S. Mitarai, S. Muko, Y. Nozawa, J. Padillo-Gamino, N.N. Price, K. Sakai, G. Suzuki, M.J.H. vanOppen, A. Yarid and R.D. Gates "Geographic variation in long-term trajectories of change in coral recruitment: a global-to-local perspective" Marine and Freshwater Research, v.66, 2015, p.609. doi: 

Comeau, S., P.J. Edmunds, N.B. Spindel and R.C. Carpenter "Diel pCO2 oscillations modulate the response of the coral Acropora hyacinthus to ocean acidification" Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.501, 2014, p.99-111. doi:10.3354/meps10690 

Leichter, J.J., A.L., Alldredge, G. Bernardi, A.J. Brooks, C.A. Carlson, R,C. Carpenter, P.J. Edmunds, M.R. Fewings, K.M. Hanson, J.L. Hench, S.J. Holbrook, C.E. Nelson, R.J. Schmitt, R.J. Toonan, L Washburn and A.S.J. Wyatt "Biological and physical interactions on a tropical island coral reef: transport and retention processes on Moorea, French Polynesia" Oceanography, v.26, 2013, p.52. doi:10.5670/oceanog.2013.45 

Bestelmeyer, B.T., A.M. Ellison, W.R. Fraser, K.B. Gorman, S.J. Holbrook, C.M. Laney, M.O. Ohman, D.P.C. Peters, F.C. Pillsbury, A. Rassweiler, R.J. Schmitt and S. Sharma. "Analysis of abrupt transitions in ecological systems." Ecosphere, v.2, 2011, p.129.

Pochon, X., R.D. Gates, D. Vik and P.J. Edmunds "Molecular characterization of symbiotic algae (Symbiodinium spp.) in soritid foraminifera (Sorites orbiculus) and a scleractinian coral (Orbicella annularis) from St John, US Virgin Islands." Marine Biology, v.161, 2014, p.2307-2318. doi:10.1007/s00227-014-2507-6 

Poray, A.K. and R.C. Carpenter "Distributions of coral reef macroalgae in a back reef habitat in Moorea, French Polynesia" Coral Reefs, v.33, 2014, p.67. doi:10.1007/s00338-013-1104-3 

Edmunds, P. J., S.C. Burgess, H.M. Putnam, M.L. Baskett, L. Bramanti, N.S. Fabina, X. Han, M.P. Lesser, J.S. Madin, C.B. Wall, D.M. Yost and R.D. Gates "Evaluating the causal basis of ecological success within the scleractinia: an integral projection model approach." Marine Biology, v.161, 2014, p.2719-2734. doi:10.1007/s00227-014-2547-y 

Jacobson, L.M., P.J. Edmunds, E.B. Muller and R.M. Nisbet "The implications of reduced metabolic rate in resource-limited corals" Journal of Experimental Biology, v.219, 2016, p.870. doi:10.1242/jeb.136044 

Monismith, S.G., L. M. M. Herdman, S.H. Ahmerkamp, and J.L. Hench "Wave transformation and wave-driven flow across a steep coral reef" Journal of Physical Oceanography, v.43, 2013, p.1356. doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-0164.1 

Rivest, E.B. and T.C. Gouhier "Complex environmental forcing across the biogeographical range of coral populations." PLoS One, v.10, 2015, p.e0121742. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121742 

Alldredge, A.L., S.J. Holbrook, R.J. Schmitt, A.J. Brooks and H. Stewart "Skeletal growth of four scleractinian corals is not enhanced by in situ mesozooplankton enrichment" Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.489, 2013, p.143. doi:10.3354/meps10422 

Thompson, A.R., T.C. Adam, K.M. Hultgren and C.E. Thacker "Ecology and evolution affect network structure in an intimate marine mutualism" The American Naturalist, v.182, 2013, p.E58. doi:10.1086/670803 

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

Coral reefs contain upwards of a third of all marine species and provide critical ecosystem services to coastal human populations who depend on them for their livelihoods.  They also are among the most threatened of all marine systems.  In the past several decades, numerous coral reefs world-wide have transitioned to a state where seaweeds or other non-coral organisms dominate reefs following a large disturbance.  Although reefs in many regions are shifting to a seaweed-dominated state, some reefs appear to exhibit higher levels of ecological resilience, allowing them to avoid persistent state shifts.  This is the case on the South Pacific island of Moorea, French Polynesia.  The Moorea Coral Reef Long-Term Ecological Research site (MCR LTER) is an interdisciplinary research program that seeks to understand the factors that influence the resilience of coral reef ecosystems to human and natural disturbances, and to better forecast how coral reef ecosystems will be affected in the future by slowly-changing environmental drivers.  The MCR LTER site consists of a coral reef complex that encircles the 37-mile perimeter of the island of Moorea. The project is addressing the community and ecosystem effects of pulsed (e.g., cyclones, coral bleaching, coral predator outbreaks) and local press (e.g., fishing, nutrient enrichment) perturbations that occur against a background of more slowly changing environmental drivers associated with ocean acidification and changing climate conditions.

 An outbreak of a coral predator in 2007-2009 followed by a category 5 hurricane in early 2010 provided the opportunity to explore what influences resilience of coral communities.  To do this, we employed an integrative science approach that addressed specific place-based questions about resilience, including the control of macroalgae and recovery of the coral community, while developing a framework that allowed us to explore more complex questions about interactions and feedbacks within the Moorea system to yield generality.  Our activities included three approaches.  First, we continued to collect time series data that has been a core activity of the MCR since 2004.  The MCR time series program has three components: one is designed to quantify long term trends in key groups of organisms on the reef (e.g., corals, algae, fishes), a second measures temporal patterns of the rates of key ecosystem processes (e.g., primary production, calcification, reef metabolism), and the third estimates trends in major abiotic drivers (e.g., temperature, wave forces, water circulation, pH).  Second, we conducted process-oriented research studies motivated by patterns in our time series data to test explicit hypotheses.  These studies included detailed field measurements as well as short- and multi-year field experiments, with particular attention paid to the processes that control algae and the recruitment of young coral. Third, we developed a framework to evaluate which types of coral might become more dominant in the future when the ocean is warmer and more acidic.  We did this through a combination of field measurements, laboratory experiments and modeling.

 The central element of the project was a participatory training component that provided hands-on research experience for 66 graduate students, 151 undergraduate students, 24 postdoctoral researchers, and 17 K-12 Teachers.  Undergraduate students had the unique experience of working alongside MCR Principal Investigators, Associate Investigators, post-doctoral researchers and graduate students, and were exposed to their different expertise.  All were involved in MCR research and outreach activities and participated in annual MCR All-Investigator Meetings. 

 Another element of the project was an LTER Schoolyard education program aimed at K-12 students and teachers.  We developed web-based resources, including a Marine Life in Moorea Encyclopedia, research descriptions for each MCR graduate student, and a teacher resource section developed largely by our RET (Research Experiences for Teachers) participants.  We partnered with schools that have large enrollments of under-represented and/or economically disadvantaged groups and whose teachers used curricula based on MCR research, attended our professional development activities, and traveled to our field site for research experiences.  Another activity was an annual visit by >100 fourth graders from a local elementary school.  MCR graduate students led K-12 activities at our coral reef booth at the annual Earth Day celebration in Santa Barbara, and our undergraduates served as docents at the REEF (Research Experience & Education Facility, an interactive marine educational facility at UC Santa Barbara) that serves over 10,000 K-12 and public visitors annually.  We produced a children’s book, Kupe and the Corals, which was published in various combinations of English, French, Spanish, Hawaiian, Tahitian and Paumotu. The book is widely used in local schools in French Polynesia.

 The TV series Voice of the Sea produced by the Sea Grant Program at the University of Hawaii produced 12 episodes featuring our project science and graduate students.  Much of our work on coral resilience was disseminated broadly on the internet, both in the United States and internationally.  Our research on ocean acidification and symbiosis has been featured as Top Discoveries from NSF Research.

Last Modified: 11/05/2018
Modified by: Russell J Schmitt

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