free and open to public
Megan Morikawa will be presenting her oral defense of her PhD dissertation on coral reefs and climate change. Natural ecosystems are faced with threats of climate change and rising temperatures are expected to exceed biological thresholds in many systems in the foreseeable future. However, ecosystems consist of individual organisms that vary in their inherent natural tolerance to changes in climate, in particular to thermal resilience. A better understanding of this variation in resilience will be critical to ensure the services from natural ecosystems persistence into future. In this thesis, Megan will present her body of work based in American Samoa and Palau with a focus on thermal tolerance in coral reef ecosystems. In this talk, she will explore variability in coral reefs across space (both at an individual and species level at small and large geographic scales) and time (through seasonal acclimatization) to better understand how to protect reef ecosystems in a changing climate.