Our newest member of the Coral Reef Algae Lab has secured an Australian Endeavour Award, worth $23,000 for a six month study on carbonate budgets.
People involved: Dr. Emma Kennedy, Prof. Peter Mumby (University of Queensland), Prof. Chris Perry (Exeter University) and of course our very own Dr. Guillermo Diaz-Pulido.
The proposed study has three scientific aims:
- To produce the first comprehensive set of coral reef carbonate budgets for Australia.
- To inform the development of predictive computer models for use in conservation planning.
- To improve our understanding of Australian reef functioning in terms of ability to maintain positive growth.
Provision of coral reef goods and ecosystem services are closely associated with the ability of coral reefs to maintain complex three-dimensional structure through growth. It has recently been proposed that assessment of carbonate budgets (a measure of ability of reefs to create structural growth) of a reef is a more informative and all-encompassing method of assessing reef health, compared to traditional methods that focus on basic measures of fish and coral diversity. Responding to this, multiple carbonate budget assessments have been carried out for Caribbean reefs by teams at Exeter University, in addition to the development of complex carbonate budget computer models developed by myself that show Caribbean reef functioning under projected climate change. However, few comprehensive studies exist for Australian reefs. This proposal would attempt to address this issue, using developed census-based field methodologies to assess reef growth potential at Heron Island (one month study), in addition to desk-based collection of key components of Pacific reef carbonate production supplemented by small scale field observations where information gaps are revealed. This approach encompasses elements from biosciences, geography and ecology, bridging gaps between these disciplines as well as strengthening relationships between institutes in the UK (Exeter University) and Australia (University of Queensland).