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John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis

Powell Center Working Group Project Information
Local-scale ecosystem resilience amid global-scale ocean change: the coral reef example

Principal Investigator(s):
Peter J. Edmunds (California State University Northridge)
Ruth D. Gates (University of Hawaii)
Ilsa B Kuffner (USGS - Coastal Geology Science Center)
James Guest (University of Hawaii)

Lauren T Toth (Coastal Geology Science Center)
Caroline S Rogers (Southeast Ecological Science Center)
Iliana Chollett (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)
Kevin Gross (North Carolina State University)
Andreas Andersson (Scripps Institute of Oceanography)
Hollie Putnam (University of Hawaii)
Robin Elahi (Stanford University)
Brian Barnes (University of South Florida)
Britt Parker (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Peter Mumby (University of Queensland)
Satoshi Mitarai (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology)
Beth Lenz (University of Hawaii)
Hannah Nelson (California State University Northridge)

Award Date: 2016 
Title: Flat Cays, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands - Healthy Coral ReefTitle:

Coral reefs are massive, wave resistant structures found throughout the tropics, where they have long attracted attention for their beauty, ecological importance, and rich biological diversity. However, in recent years attention to these systems has focused on their downturn in health and the potential that they effectively could disappear within a century.  Yet while many coral reefs have deteriorated, a small number have flourished and now represent “oases” with the potential to drive repopulation of the denuded areas that surround them.  This working group focuses on the geographic, biological, ecological, and physical features that characterize oases in coral reef communities, and evaluates the potential of these oases to catalyze broader-scale ecosystem recovery.  Using recent and legacy data, we will answer two questions: (1) What combination of species, species traits, ecological properties, and physical conditions are associated with coral reefs that function as oases? and (2) What conditions favor reef oases catalyzing broad scale ecosystem recovery?

Guest, J.R., Edmunds, P.J., Gates, R.D., Ilsa B. Kuffner, I.B., Andersson, A.J., Barnes, B.B., Chollett, I., Courtney, T.A., Elahi, R., Gross, K., Lenz, E.A., Mitarai, S., Mumby, P.J., Nelson, H.R., Parker, B.A., Putnam, H.M., Rogers, C.S., Toth, L.T. (2018) “A Framework for Identifying and Characterising Coral Reef ‘Oases’ against a Backdrop of Degradation.” Journal of Applied Ecology. 2018;00:1-11.

Other relevant news:
"A tribute to Ruth Gates" by Ed Yong in The Atlantic

USGS Mission Areas:
Ecosystems Science
Water Science
Natural Hazards

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