[Coral-List] NOAA seminar tomorrow: Feedbacks between small herbivores and habitat complexity: a new hope for degraded coral reefs?

Tracy Gill - NOAA Federal tracy.gill at noaa.gov
Mon Oct 30 12:22:12 EDT 2017

OneNOAA Science Seminar Series <https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/seminars/>

*Please forward to folks who might be interested; apologies for

*Title: Feedbacks between small herbivores and habitat complexity: a new
hope for degraded coral reefs?* Speakers: Robert Dunn, PhD Candidate, San
Diego State University & University of California, Davis, and Andrew
Altieri, Staff Scientist, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Sponsor:
NOAA's National Ocean Service Science Seminar,hosted by Tracy.Gill at noaa.gov

When: Tomorrow, Tuesday, 10/31/17, 12-1pm EDT

Where: Via webinar (see webinar login info below) or at NOAA SSMC4, Room

Remote Access: Mymeeting webinar uses phone for and internet. Audio is only
available over the phone: dial toll-free from US or CAN: 1-877-708-1667.
Enter code 7028688# For the webcast, go to www.mymeetings.com
Under "Participant Join", click "Join an Event", then add conf no:
744925156. No code is needed for the web. Be sure to install the correct
plug‐in for WebEx before the seminar starts (temporary plugin works fine).
Abstract: Habitat complexity plays a vital role in shaping ecological
communities, but many coral reef ecosystems are shifting to alternative
states with altered community assemblages and reduced structural
complexity. Small-bodied herbivores, such as sea urchins and small
parrotfish, are common inhabitants of reefs, and their importance for
controlling the distribution and abundance of algae in marine ecosystems is
well understood. Less understood is the role of habitat complexity and
species identity of foundational species in dictating the abundance of this
increasingly-important suite of herbivores. We explored the feedbacks
between habitat complexity and herbivory on fringing coral reefs of Bocas
del Toro, in Caribbean Panama, and showed that small-bodied species (sea
urchin: Echinometra viridis, parrotfish: Scarus iseri) make up the vast
majority of herbivore biomass and increase resilience of coral reefs by
consuming macroalgae. However, the ability of small-bodied herbivores to
provide this ecosystem function is dependent on the availability of
structurally complex habitats. Understanding the drivers of herbivore
habitat associations is vital for predicting the persistence of
coral-dominated reefs due to feedbacks between changing coral reef
communities (both species identity and habitat complexity) and shifts to
algal dominance. About the Speakers: Robert Dunn is a PhD candidate in the
Joint Doctoral Program in Ecology at San Diego State University and the
University of California, Davis. His research focuses broadly on the
community ecology of subtidal reefs in both temperate and tropical
ecosystems. For his dissertation, Robert is using a combination of
empirical and theoretical modeling studies to understand the effects of
habitat complexity, fishery harvest, and size-structured interactions on
predator-prey dynamics and ecosystem resilience. He earned his Bachelor's
in Environmental Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
and a Master's in Marine Science at North Carolina State University. See
for more information. Dr. Andrew Altieri's research explores human
interactions with coastal ecosystems. He examines drivers of change that
include overfishing, pollution, species invasions and extinctions, and
habitat loss. Using a combination of perspectives grounded in natural
history and ecological theory, he explores mechanisms of resilience in
biodiversity and ecosystem function of coral reefs, mangrove forests, rocky
shores and seagrass meadows. Andrew earned his B.A. at UC Santa Cruz and
his Ph.D. at Brown University, and he is now a staff scientist at the
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. More information at
Subscribe to the OneNOAA Science Seminar weekly email: Send an email to
OneNOAAscienceseminars-request at list.woc.noaa.gov with the word `subscribe'
in the subject or body. See http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/seminars/

Tracy A. Gill   tracy.gill at noaa.gov   240-533-0349
Physical Scientist
​, ​
Biogeography Branch, Marine Spatial Ecology Division
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
​, ​
NOAA's National Ocean Service
1305 East-West Hwy, N/SCI-1, # 9208, Silver Spring, MD  20910-3278

*Check out NOAA's **NCCOS Website <http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/>*
*for more on our projects, products and news.*

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