coral reef evolutionary ecology and genetic
coral reef evolutionary ecology and genetic

Research Directions

  • Coral reef hosts high biodiversity which provides a foundation stone for human civilization. Due to the disturbances from human activities, including overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, and synergetic effect of ocean warming and acidification caused by climate change, coral reef are facing severe degradation worldwide. Corals are facing mass extinction and coral reef ecosystem are losing its ecological function and service towards end of this century, if the human-induced disturbances were not ceased. We address several important questions regarding to response mechanisms of corals and coral reefs under the impact of environmental change. First, will corals acclimatize or adapt to environmental change, particularly the impact of rising seawater temperature? If so, who are the winners? Who are the loosers? Second, what kind of mechanisms behind these winners to survive under the future scenarios? Is it driven by host corals or symbionts? Third, will the coral communities composed by the winner perform a similar ecological function as we observe from present coral reef ecosystem? Forth, what are management and conservation implications for the future coral reefs based on our research? Based on the long-term ecological research approach, we incorporate genomics, molecular ecology, physiology, and community ecology to address these questions.
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