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Marine Heatwave-Driven Transformation of Coral Reef Ecosystems

February 3, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Speaker: Dr. Julia K. Baum
Professor and President’s Chair, Ocean Ecology and Global Change, University of Victoria

Climate change-amplified marine heatwaves now pose an imminent threat to the world’s tropical coral reefs. On almost all coral reefs, however, climate change is superimposed on a suite of local anthropogenic stressors, and available evidence suggests that these impacted reefs can fare better than protected ones during heatwaves, leading to the ‘protection paradox’.

In this talk, we’ll journey an atoll in the central equatorial Pacific that endured heat stress of unprecedented duration during the 2015-2016 El Niño-induced 3rd global coral bleaching event. Dr. Baum will present ecosystem-scale results of the impacts of prolonged heat stress, and discuss the role that local stressors played in modulated heat stress impacts as well as distinct mechanisms of coral resilience.

This event takes place in person at AERL Theatre (2202 Main Mall, UBC) and online (Zoom).