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CORALASSIST: Assisting Coral Reef Survival in the Face of Climate Change

Friday 24 January, 7.00 pm-8.00 pm, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

with Dr Adriana Humanes, Newcastle University

Catastrophic coral mortalities due to seawater warming events are increasing in magnitude and frequency, highlighting the urgent need to decrease total greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, innovative approaches to help reefs withstand future warming events are being considered. Proposed methodologies include the generation of corals preadapted to higher temperatures via selective breeding. However, there may be resource trade-offs between adaptive traits, furthermore, it is not known if selected traits are heritable over multiple generations. Therefore, considerable research is still needed before selective breeding can be implemented as a conservation tool for coral reefs. This talk will summarise the work done by the Coralassist Lab that spans the disciplines of evolutionary biology, restoration ecology, microbiology, and proteomics to examine the role that selective breeding can play in sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services in the face of climate change.

Dr. Humanes is a marine ecologist interested in the impacts of climate change on coral reef ecosystems, with special emphasis on corals and their reproductive biology. Currently, she works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Newcastle University specifically in the Coralassist Lab investigating the feasibility of using selective breeding as a tool to restore coral reefs in the face of climate change.