Physiology and ecology of coralline algae and responses to ocean acidification

CCA and Corals, Young, 8031

CCA and Corals, Young, 8031

Crustose coralline algae (CCA) are calcified red algae and are important in building and cementing the carbonate framework of coral reefs. CCA bind adjacent substrata and provide a calcified tissue barrier against erosion. This process is particularly important on many reef crests and algal ridges of the GBR and the Caribbean, where crustose coralline algae are dominant. CCA are also key inducers of coral settlement and metamorphosis.

 

CCas & Quadrat, Lizard, Q10

CCas & Quadrat, Lizard, Q10

Our research and that of other research groups has demonstrated that CCA are one of the most sensitive groups of calcifying organisms to ocean acidification. This has raised concerns about the conservation of coral reefs because of the critical ecological roles CCA play in reefs. We have ongoing projects investigating the effects of ocean acidification and warming on the calcification, growth, mineralogy and ecology of these algae in the laboratory and in the field.

 

Projects:

  • Ecology of early life history stages of crustose coralline algae. PhD student Alexandra Ordonez Alvarez, Griffith University.
  • Growth of coralline algae under natural and ocean acidification conditions. PhD student Bonnie Lewis, Griffith University.
  • Impacts of Ocean acidification on the reproduction of coralline algae in the Great Barrier Reef. Jian Wei Lai, Honours Dissertation, Griffith University.
  • Mineralogical responses of coralline algae to ocean acidification. Collaboration with PhD student Merinda Nash, Australian National University.
  • 2010-2012, Impacts of climate change on algal and coral reef ecophysiology unit. Griffith University Research Infrastructure Program GURIP (Diaz-Pulido, Burford, Connolly, Lee, Pitt).
  • 2008-2011, The impact of ocean acidification on the fertilization, larval development and recruitment of key Australian marine organisms, ARC Discovery (Hoegh-Guldberg, Williamson, Havenhand, Ward, Diaz-Pulido, Kline, Hernaman).