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Interdisciplinary Seminar: Aliyah Griffith
November 2, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
The UNC-CH Department of Marine Sciences presents the interdisciplinary seminar of graduate student, Aliyah Griffith. This event will be held on Monday, November 2nd, at 12:00 pm. This event will be held ONLINE ONLY and it will be available online via Zoom (Meeting ID: 974 6573 2747).
Seminar Title: Marine Heatwave Impacts on Coral Reef Systems
Abstract: Coral reefs are essential foundation species for marine life, but numerous natural and anthropogenic stressors threaten their survival. These stressors range from acute to chronic, resulting in a significant impact on reefs worldwide. Due to climate change, the oceans have absorbed more CO2 causing sea surface temperatures to increase in many parts of the ocean environment. Seawater temperature increases affect corals causing bleaching, even in areas known to maintain higher than average sea surface temperatures. When these regions experience abnormally high temperatures for at least five consecutive days, they are categorized as marine heatwaves (MHWs). MHWs have been studied more frequently in the last five years due to recent increases in their frequency and intensity. These MHWs are now imposing extreme pressures on reefs and will occur over longer spatiotemporal intervals as climate change worsens. As MHWs continue to occur, corals must acclimatize or face mass bleaching and impending mortality. Studies on MHWs show how corals respond to climate change, highlight which species are likely to survive, and reveal if there is hope for future reefs. Recent studies have derived algorithms that will track MHWs to better predict regions likely to be affected and evaluate their potential impact on marine species. In this seminar, Griffith discusses the impact of marine heatwaves on coral reef systems.