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Webinar: Coral reef eco-evolutionary dynamics: Adaptation and connectivity in MPA networks under future climate change
Thursday, 25 February 2021, 1:00
Thursday, February 25, 2021. 1:00 PM. Webinar: Coral reef eco-evolutionary dynamics: Adaptation and connectivity in MPA networks under future climate change. Helen Fox, Coral Reef Alliance; Lisa McManus, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; Lukas DeFilippo, University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center. Sponsored by NOAA National MPA Center and OCTO (MPA News, OpenChannels, EBM Tools Network). More information here.
Description: While coral reefs face mounting threats, many coral populations are already well adapted to conditions unfavorable to the average coral (e.g., high temperatures, low pH, poor water quality). With the goal of better understanding the drivers of persistence and adaptive capacity and the role of management and MPAs, we developed a general eco-evolutionary framework to explore the influence of network structure and spatial management on a metapopulation’s adaptive response to temperature increase. This framework was applied to coral populations in the
Caribbean, Southwest Pacific, and Coral Triangle to determine the characteristics of individual reefs that lead to persistence or decline under climate scenarios and test the efficacy of spatial management strategies (MPAs) in these three regions. We also used eco-evolutionary simulations to explore scenarios of coral propagation, transplantation, and assisted evolution and identified potential benefits and risks of these interventions.
We find that corals’ vulnerability to climate change depends strongly on assumptions of their standing genetic variation, which determines the potential for an evolutionary response. One implication of this work is that MPA networks can promote persistence by protecting coral populations adapted to diverse environments so that corals with evolutionarily favored traits reproduce and spread throughout reef networks.