Understanding how young coral and CCA are affected by ocean acidification
Graduate Student: Ananda Ellis
Before starting her graduate work at CSUN,
Ananda Ellis completed her undergraduate degree at Lewis and
Clark College in 2009. In the years between 2009
and 2013, she worked as the Education Director for
the Pigeon Key Foundation, a marine science education
non-profit organization located in the Florida Keys.
Coral reefs are beautiful,
colorful ocean ecosystems that create a lot of biodiversity (they
increase the amount of wildlife and species in the area). In fact,
25% of the animals in the oceans can be found on coral reefs even though
corals are only located on 1% of the ocean. Coral reefs themselves are
actually composed of animals. They look like tiny sea anemones and create
a skeleton that is responsible for creating the coral reef ecosystem that
other animals use as shelter and food.
However, coral reefs are under threat. Climate
change has caused the ocean to become more acidic,
a process known as ocean acidification. Many
scientists have tried to understand how this
will affect ocean ecosystems, like coral.
Ananda Ellis, a graduate student at California State
University, Northridge (CSUN), plans to study young corals, which are more
sensitive to ocean acidification than adults. When young coral settle
(take themselves out of water and plant themselves to the ocean floor
to live for the rest of their lives), they prefer to live on a pink algae
crust known as crustose coralline algae (CCA). Coral and CCA make a great
team, but CCA is also sensitive to acidification, which has caused coral to
settle less and less. Ananda wants to discover what mechanism is causing
this decreased rate of settlement.
Return to the index of current graduate students here. | Access the index of past graduate students here.