Understanding interactions between local and global stressors: A pathway to local action

Project Leader(s) Dr Christopher Cornwall (UoW), Dr Bridie Allan (UoO), Dr Henry Lane (NIWA)  

Project Team Richard Taylor, Nathan Kenny 

Our understanding of how stressors impact marine taxa has advanced dramatically in the last decade and we now know that effects manifesting at one level within a food web can cascade to other trophic levels and processes. This project will focus on how interactions between environmental stressors impact species groups that provide foundational roles in marine ecosystems (e.g. bacteria, seaweeds, coral, small invertebrates) and key processes (photosynthesis, calcification, bioerosion, grazing, respiration, decomposition). We will apply fundamental and novel methodology (e.g. geochemical, physiological, omics) using robust experimental designs to estimate these impacts. The individual impacts of change are measured on key ecosystem processes and pathways will be integrated through advanced ecosystem and habitat-based modelling techniques to provide meaningful predictions for future ecosystems states and values in a larger collaborative effort through different theme leaders. These models will predict future reef states of both temperate rocky reefs and tropical coral reefs that rely on key information that our project will obtain (e.g. growth rates and abundance of key taxa, as well as their responses to climate change stressors).