University of Technology Sydney, UTS Great Hall

UTS Science in Focus: Will Coral Reefs Survive?

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The world’s coral reefs are under threat. Environmental changes such as warming waters and pollution are causing ocean acidification, coral disease and coral bleaching. Australia’s world heritage listed, the Great Barrier Reef is no exception.

Why are coral reefs important to us and our environment?  

At UTS, our marine scientists have been studying reef forming corals and coral reef fishes to better understand how environmental stressors and climate change will affect reefs—and the marine life they support.

With a temperature rise of just 1 degree Celsius over a four-week period enough to trigger a bleaching event, there is an urgent need for scientists and policy makers to work together to tackle this global issue.

Is it too late to save the Great Barrier Reef—our national icon and one of the wonders of the world? What will warmer waters mean for shifting fish populations? What are ‘super corals’? And are they the key to saving our reefs?

In this International Year of the Reef, join Marine Ecologist, Professor David Booth, and Marine Bio-Geochemist, Dr Emma Camp for UTS Science in Focus: Will coral reefs survive climate change?

About our speakers:

Prof David Booth is a Marine Ecologist who has been monitoring the southern Great Barrier Reef for over 25 years. He has published over 100 papers in reef-fish ecology, climate change and other anthropogenic impacts on fishes and fisheries, in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Great Barrier Reef; and studies how tropical fish travel down the East Australian Current past Sydney. Prof Booth also researches fishes in estuaries around Sydney, deep-sea fishes, and the ecology and behaviour of threatened fish, such as seadragons, black cod and white sharks. He is a former President of the Australian Coral Reef Society and a strong advocate for sustainable fisheries and marine parks.

Dr Emma Camp is a Marine Bio-Geochemist with research interests in the role marginal reef environments (e.g. mangrove habitats) can play in understanding the impact of future climate change on coral reefs. She is currently exploring differences in the microbial communities of corals found in these extreme systems and how they influence the coral holobiont. Another area of research interest is the role that Symbiodinium sp. diversity plays in the functional operation and stability of the coral symbiosis. Dr Camp is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate and member of the Climate Change Cluster (C3) working with Associate Professor David Suggett in the Future Reefs Research Program.

Our MC for the evening will be Associate Professor David Suggett, a marine biologist who leads C3 Future Reefs research program at UTS. Both talks will be followed by a Q and A session where audience members can ask questions.