[Coral-List] ICRS 2016 - Session 17 information

Peter Doherty P.Doherty at aims.gov.au
Tue Jan 5 23:31:58 EST 2016

13th International Coral Reef Symposium
Hawaii Convention Center · 19-24 June 2016 · Honolulu, Hawaii USA

Abstract submission deadline is Midnight, Central Standard Time USA / 06:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), on Friday, 15 January 2016. Anyone who plans to present at this meeting must submit by this deadline in order to have the abstract considered. Submissions are invited in the next 9 days for:

Session summary
Interacting global (ocean warming, acidification, invasive pests) and local (overfishing, eutrophication, disease) pressures operating through direct and indirect pathways are changing coral reefs with significant impacts on ecosystem functions and services.
The session will focus on major drivers of ecosystem change, how these changes can be monitored, which factors including management intervention promote recovery and coral reorganization, and the implications of this for maintaining ecosystem functions and services. Specifically, we invite abstracts on topics relevant to the following sub-themes:

1)    Advancing coral reef ecosystem monitoring and assessment of ecological transitions

2)    Invasions, outbreaks and collapses: population instabilities on coral reefs with an emphasis on the impacts and management of crown-of-thorns starfish

3)    Recovery and reorganization of coral reefs following disturbance; environmental and social drivers.

4)    Coral reef engineers in a changing ocean – implications for ecosystem functions and services

Session 17 amalgamates four proposals informing the sub-themes. Contact any of the organisers at https://www.sgmeet.com/icrs2016/sessionschedule.asp?SessionID=17  for more information.

Advancing coral reef ecosystem monitoring and assessment to detect early warning signs of ecological transition
Benjamin Neal, Jessica Carilli, Neal Cantin, Anne Cohen, Hannah Barkley, Janice Lough
Assessments of reef health have become increasingly complex and sophisticated, allowing larger areas and finer details of the ecosystem to be studied. However, some of the most valuable coral reef monitoring programs rely on standardized monitoring techniques that have been established and repeatedly implemented since the early 1980’s for 35 years of historical ecological assessments of community dynamics. Assessing the status of reef health is an important step towards understanding dynamic reef processes and defining best management practices in order to manage for healthy, resilient communities rather than simply documenting decline with coral cover metrics. As technology advances and new indicators that define coral health emerge, it is crucial that these indicators are linked with historical monitoring techniques in order to maintain continuity and build on valuable long-term datasets. Methods could include advances in imagery, in-situ sensor networks of the physical environment, remote sensing, proxy-based methods, cutting edge molecular indicators or more traditional indices such as ecological trends (composition and cover), physiological traits, and long-term skeletal growth records (coral coring). This session invites presentations that describe refinements of existing and emerging reef health technologies in order to advance coral reef ecosystem assessments as well as current assessment applications to build stronger links between traditional ecological monitoring programs and new technology.

Invasions, outbreaks and collapses: population instabilities on coral reefs.
Peter Doherty, Morgan Pratchett, Ken Okaji, Maria Byrne
In the historical paradigm, pristine coral reef communities are highly diverse, resilient, and stable assemblages. In the last 50 years, outbreaks have been documented in fish and invertebrate populations with fishing and water quality implicated among the possible triggers. Recurrent outbreaks of coral-eating starfish since the sixties have seriously degraded coral cover on many reef systems in the Indian and Pacific Ocean basins. In Atlantic and Pacific examples, non-endemic species have invaded reef communities some as the result of deliberate introduction. What can reef managers learn from these examples about the causes, consequences, and appropriate responses to outbreaks and invasions? On the other side of the ledger, there are documented examples of population collapse. The most dramatic are the catastrophic die-offs associated with disease or acute physical stress, but this category could be broadened to include the ecological impacts of extirpation by overfishing. How do reef ecosystems respond to the loss of key functional groups like sea cucumbers, sea urchins and structure-forming corals?

Recovery and reorganisation of coral reefs following disturbance
Nicholas Graham, Gareth J Williams, Magnus Nyström
Disturbances ranging from tropical storms to mass bleaching events can cause major damage to coral reefs, including permanent ecosystem degradation. While we have detailed knowledge of how coral reefs degrade in response to disturbances, arguably the most useful information for management is what dictates the ability of some reefs to recover. In many cases recovering reefs have changed in composition, due to differential vulnerability and / or recovery potential among species. This session invites examples of coral reef recovery and reorganisation following disturbance, with a focus on identifying environmental and social determinates of post-disturbance trajectory. We are particularly interested in submissions related to the following topics:

·         What are the environmental and / or social processes that determine whether reefs recover from disturbances?

·         Do press disturbances (e.g. fishing) and pulse disturbances (e.g. crown-of-thorns starfish) interact to influence the probability of reef recovery?

·         Do recovering reefs have altered novel community compositions, or return to pre-disturbance assemblage structure, and how can this distinction best be tested?

·         How do ecosystem functions and services change on recovering reefs when community composition has been altered?

·         What are the relative roles of natural variation versus human-induced selective pressures in governing the trajectory of recovering reefs?

Coral reef engineers in a changing ocean – implications for ecosystem functions and services
Christian Wild, Malik Naumann, Ines Stuhldreier, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
Key coral reef organisms like hard corals, sponges, or algae act as ecosystem engineers by creating habitats for other organisms and by controlling the availability of resources. Reef ecosystem engineers produce and release inorganic (i.e. calcium carbonate structures) and organic (i.e. mucus and sugars) compounds, and fulfil important biogeochemical functions such as C and N fixation supported by associated microbes. Recent research revealed that the physiology of reef engineers and their ensuing production of compounds is highly and differently affected by global (e.g. ocean warming and acidification) and local (e.g. eutrophication and overfishing) stressors that likely interact. This implies cascading impacts on reef ecosystem functions and services such as primary productivity, nutrient recycling, coastal protection, provisioning of biodiversity, and human food security. Novel reef ecosystems, increasingly shaped by other benthic organisms than hard corals, likely respond differently to ongoing environmental change resulting in altered ecosystem functions and a potential loss of precious and unique services. This session invites abstracts on the latest findings related to coral reef ecosystem engineers and generation of ecosystem services. It aims to facilitate interdisciplinary exchange about future research priorities and implications for coral reef management.
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