Scientists and students associated with the Moorea Coral Reef LTER site are conducting research in the following areas:
Time Series Program:
a comprehensive set of spatially explicit time series measurements was designed and implemented (during Year 1)
to describe decadal trends in the reef ecosystem and forcing functions on a landscape scale.
Process-Oriented Field Studies:
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.
Reef Resistance and Resilience:
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.
Modeling and Synthesis:
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.