Penin, L., M. Adjeroud, M. Schrimm and H.S. Lenihan. 2007. High spatial variability in coral bleaching around Moorea (French Polynesia): patterns across locations and water depths. Comptes Rendus Biologies 330:171-181.
The Socio-ecological Systems topic is part of a Strategic Research Initiative developed by the Research Initiatives Subcommittee of the LTER Planning Process Conference Committee and the Cyberinfrastructure Core Team.
A series of process-oriented field studies motivated by our initial focused questions have been initiated to explore gaps in our understanding of physical and biological processes and events that affect structure, function and dynamics of the reef ecosystem of Moorea; additional integration is achieved by focusing on common model systems.
In general there are two contrasting attributes of an ecosystem with respect to external drivers: 1) resistance, the amount of external forcing a system can absorb without a qualitative change and 2) resilience, the tendency of a system to return to its previous state after a perturbation. Resilience in particular is a major MCR research focus because Moorea recently was subjected to a pulse disturbance, an outbreak of the crown-of-thorns seastar, that killed most living coral on the fore reef.
Many of the features defining coral reefs are products of the interaction of biological and physical processes acting over multiple spatio-temporal and functional scales. We are exploring the scale-dependence of physical processes around the island of Moorea, focusing initially on waves and water fluxes and temperature characteristics at several scales.
MCR has a diverse range of projects that focus on the physiology and population dynamics of corals and organisms with which they interact, on ecosystem processes on and near coral reefs, and on the physical environment. We are developing a unified body of theory and a suite of models that can support individual projects and (more importantly) contribute to synthesis.
Coral reefs have exceptionally high levels of biodiversity that generate complex webs of interacting species. Our ability to forecast population and community dynamics requires greater understanding of the manner by which individuals and species interact within coral reef ecosystems.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Moorea Coral Reef Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreement #OCE-0417412, #OCE-1026851, and #OCE-1236905. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.