Marine invertebrates: vulnerability and resilience to ocean acidification

Presented by: Sue-Ann Watson, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
When: Thursday, 14th February 2013; 09:00 to 10:00 hrs.
Where: Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room #106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville.

Abstract: Diverse and abundant, marine invertebrates have essential roles in ocean ecosystems and provide vital food and export resources for millions of people around the world through small-scale artisanal to large-scale commercial fisheries. However, ocean acidification, elevated seawater carbon dioxide and decreasing saturation states in our oceans may affect the persistence of many marine invertebrate species. In this talk I focus on non-coral benthic invertebrates and discuss how baseline data from equatorial to polar latitudes might highlight potential vulnerability or resilience for certain groups. Then focusing on tropical and coral reef marine molluscs, including giant clams, I will discuss effects of ocean acidification on ecologically-relevant characteristics including very recent findings demonstrating impacts on behaviour. I will also present a research plan to move forward beyond the likely effects of near-future global change on Indo-Pacific coral reef and fisheries species. This plan includes determining knowledge gaps and vulnerability, with the goal to develop enhanced resilience of tropical marine resources to ocean acidification and other pressures.

Biography: Sue-Ann’s research focuses on key ecological effects of global change, particularly ocean acidification, on marine organisms including invertebrates and fishes. Sue-Ann completed her BSc (Hons) Biology at the University of Nottingham and MSc Oceanography at the University of Southampton and National Oceanography Centre UK where she worked on deep-sea biology. She completed her PhD with the British Antarctic Survey and University of Southampton exploring latitudinal gradients in marine invertebrates in collaboration with James Cook University, National University of Singapore and University of Melbourne.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
, 8 February 2013. Web site.


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