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Moorea Coral Reef Long Term Ecological Research Site

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LTER: MCR IIB: Long-Term Dynamics of a Coral Reef Ecosystem  (University of California-Santa Barbara)

LTER: MCR II - Long-Term Dynamics of a Coral Reef Ecosystem  (University of California-Santa Barbara)

Research Focus

The Moorea Coral Reef Long-Term Ecological Research site (MCR LTER) is an interdisciplinary, landscape-scale program that seeks to advance understanding of the key mechanisms modulating ecosystem processes and community structure of coral reefs. The MCR LTER site consists of a coral reef complex that encircles the 37-mile perimeter of the island of Moorea in French Polynesia. jconc

Coral reefs are among the most diverse and productive of all ecosystems and have immense ecological, social and economic value. Unfortunately, the world's coral reefs are disappearing at an alarming rate. Current estimates indicate that almost 20 percent of the world's coral reefs have been lost and another 35 percent are in serious danger of being lost by 2050, due to the effects of coastal development, over-fishing and multiple factors associated with global climate change. The Moorea Coral Reef LTER works to explore the effects of these external drivers on the fate of coral reefs and advance understanding to enable forecasts of the behavior of coral reef ecosystems.

Research Outcomes

Moorea Coral Reef LTER researchers at the University of Hawaii and other institutions found that the more flexible corals are about their algal residents, the more sensitive they are to environmental changes. The patterns show that corals termed generalists are some of the most environmentally sensitive corals. The better scientists understand how corals respond to stress, the better we will be able to forecast and manage reef communities.

In another Moorea Coral Reef LTER study, scientists found that some corals can mitigate the effects of ocean acidification. They found that the response of tropical reefs to ocean acidification may be species-specific, with some species of corals and coralline algae affected more than others. They also discovered that more acid oceans may lead to changes in patterns of biodiversity in a high-carbon dioxide world.

Education & Outreach

MCR LTER maintains a website designed to inform students and the public about the ocean, coral reefs and the research it conducts. The site's features include the Marine Life of Moorea Encyclopedia, where visitors can learn about the organisms that make up Moorea’s coral reef ecosystem. The Lesson Plan Library contains free standards-based curricula available for download that focus on the coral reef ecosystem and MCR LTER research.

MCR LTER also offers K-12 teachers the opportunity to participate in scientific research at the MCR LTER field site and develop curricula based on their research findings.

Visit Web Site

 

Images (1 of )

  • Giant clam.
  • Moorea Coral Reef LTER diver observes sea floor
  • Scenic shot of curving road, tropical vegetation and cliff shrouded in mist
  • overhead shot of tropical fish in water against coral reef
  • small colorful fish swims amid branching coral
  • photo of red spotted crab facing camera, inside coral nook
Coral reefs are among the most diverse and productive of all ecosystems.
MCR LTER
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MCR LTER seeks to advance understanding of the key mechanisms modulating ecosystem processes and community structure of coral reefs.
MCR LTER
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The MCR LTER site encircles the island of Moorea in French Polynesia.
Moorea Coral Reef LTER
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Coral reefs are among the most diverse and productive of all ecosystems and have immense ecological, social and economic value.
MCR LTER
Copyright
The world's coral reefs are disappearing at an alarming rate.
MCR LTER
Copyright
Mo'orea is the only coral reef site in NSF's LTER network.
MCR LTER
Copyright