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Seminar: Dr. Danielle Dixson, University of Delaware, College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment
November 8, 2017 @ 3:35 pm - 4:45 pm
UNC Marine Sciences’ is proud to host a seminar by Danielle Dixson, Ph.D.
Title: Smelling your way home: The importance of chemically mediated behavior in effective marine management
Abstract: Coral cover has declined by more than 80% in the Caribbean and more than 50% throughout the tropical Pacific. Reef decline is driven by many factors, including overfishing, climate change, disease, pollution, invasive species, and predation. Most coral reef organisms have a dispersal stage early in development, where larvae are exported from the parental reef, develop in the open ocean and at the conclusion of the larval stage are challenged to locate a new reef habitat. Stressors affecting adult corals are better understood than are processes preventing recruitment. As corals cover declines, species-rich and topographically complex reefs transition into flattened, species-poor beds of seaweeds and coral rubble with compromised ecosystem function. Adequate coral cover is essential for producing the topographic complexity that supports reef organisms. Loss of corals leads to loss of reef fish. Loss of reef fish leads to coral decline because intact fish communities aid coral recovery after coral loss to bleaching, predation, and other disturbances. The loss of both fishes and corals is catastrophic for coral reefs, which make up <0.1% of the ocean areas but supports 32 of 34 animal phyla (rainforests contain 9), are valued at $29 billion/year in fishing and tourism and provide critical protein to hundreds of millions of humans. If we are to understand reef ecology or to wisely manage threatened reefs, we need to recognize and understand the connectivity patterns exporting and importing new individuals to reef systems and the behaviors components of settlement site selection, which may be promoting or retarding reef recovery.