IRCP
Pacific Coral Reef Institute
EPHE

Grants IRCP 2010: Jeffrey Maynard (Australia)

Jeffrey Maynard (Australia) – Grants IRCP 2010

Abstract :Climate change is now widely considered to be the single greatest
long-term threat to coral reefs. Evidence is increasing that the impacts of
climate change will be highly variable spatially, due in part to differences
in exposure to stressful episodic events. All of the following will also
contribute to spatial variability in the extent and severity of impacts in
coral reef areas: the resident coral and invertebrate communities, local and
regional connectivity, and the levels of anthropogenic stress. These
sources of variability in the relative exposure and sensitivity of coral
reef areas will largely determine their vulnerability. In our work under
the Perles grant, we started a collaboration between J. Maynard, S. Planes
and other members of CRIOBE, EPHE and CNRS to examine the relative
vulnerability of reefs in French Polynesia. We have found that exposure to
the key reef threats in French Polynesia – bleaching, cyclones, and
crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks – is highly variable across the
archipelago. We have also shown that corals bleached less severely in the
2007 event than is suggested from the relationship between temperature
stress and bleaching seen during events in Moorea in the early 1990’s (now
Pratchett et al. in press). The work started under the Perles grant then
led to two other successful research grant applications by Maynard and
Planes. That work led to publications in Nature Climate Change and Global
Change Biology on the future of the world’s coral reefs, based on ensembles
of the newest IPCC climate models. The Perles grant awarded to J. Maynard
thus advanced our understanding of the key threats to reefs in French
Polynesia. As or more importantly though, the visit to Moorea to undertake
the work for the Perles grant resulted in a lasting collaboration between
Maynard and several CRIOBE scientists. Those collaborations are still
yielding exciting results and further advances in our understanding of reefs
in French Polynesia that likely have lower relative vulnerability to climate
change than reefs in other parts of the Pacific.

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