I am broadly interested in how global climate and environmental change affect tropical coral reefs, the “rainforests of the sea”. Coral reefs are biodiversity hotspots of immense socio-economic importance; yet, warming and acidifying oceans as well as environmental degradation severely threaten coral reefs and the ecosystem services they provide for millions of people worldwide.
Coral reefs and climate change
My research explores how multiple climate change stressors impact reef-building corals, the ecosystem engineers responsible for creating habitat for millions of species. I am particularly interested in marine heatwaves, coral bleaching and ocean acidification, what traits make some coral species more resistant to these stressors than others, and how they may be able to acclimatize or adapt to global change over the coming decades. A special focus lies on understanding how combined and repeat stressors interact, how corals can survive in naturally extreme coral reef environments, and the role of environmental history in altering coral stress tolerance.
An interdisciplinary research approach
My educational background in both biological and earth sciences has resulted in a unique interdisciplinary research approach. By integrating eco-physiological, stable isotope, trace element and biogeochemical analyses, my research has provided insights into the mechanisms and traits that enable resistance to multiple climate change stressors and promote the adaptive capacity of corals in a changing ocean.
Specific research interests
Effects of multiple climate change stressors on reef-building corals
Ocean warming, marine heatwaves and coral bleaching
Ocean acidification and coral calcification mechanisms
Naturally extreme coral reef environments
Environmental variability, environmental history and stress tolerance
Coral skeletal geochemical proxies, especially boron-based proxies