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Quantitative modeling approaches are being developed to address our focus on the biological basis for variation in performance of stony corals; additionally, a collaborative meta-analysis project has been initiated.
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.
A fundamental goal of the MCR is to advance understanding that enables accurate forecasts of the behavior of coral reef ecosystems to environmental forcing. To this end, we seek to understand the mechanistic basis of change in coral reefs by determining how they are influenced by the press drivers to which they are increasingly being subjected, especially those associated with an increasing degree of ocean acidification.
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.
Even upon casual inspection, it is clear that a tropical coral reef is more than simply the sum of the parts. Our goal is to understand how abiotic and biotic forcing functions affect the functional biology of corals, and to incorporate these effects into a model with the capacity to integrate the understanding of reef corals across spatial, temporal and functional scales.
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.