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How will coral reefs look like in the future? Adaptive mechanisms and sublethal effects in corals under global change

How will coral reefs look like in the future? Adaptive mechanisms and sublethal effects in corals under global change


Coral reefs are among the most diverse, spectacular and productive ecosystems on the planet. However, coral reefs are also among the marine ecosystems more susceptible to the adverse effects of the on-going global change. The frequency and severity of coral bleaching and mass mortality events increases every year, with serious consequences on the long-term viability of coral populations. However, during the last years, few studies have investigated the future of coral populations under different global change scenarios using demographic models. Moreover, these studies have not considered the capacity of corals to adjust their physiology to maintain performance despite environmental change (acclimatization) with the additional energetic cost of this adaptive mechanisms and their consequent transgenerational effects on the viability of future offspring. The CoralChange project will investigate, for the first time, the transgenerational effects induced by global change in stony coral and octocoral species in order to determine how their population dynamics and viability is compromised in the long-term. To achieve this goal, I will develop demographic predictive models combining field and experimental data that include coral physiological condition, trophic plasticity, reproductive success and larval viability. This new approach will identify the possible energetic costs of adaptive mechanisms to ocean warming and acidification that may undermine the early, and most vulnerable, life stages of corals. The results of this study will be essential to develop effective management and conservation strategies to safeguard coral reefs under multiple stressors, as well as identify coral species and populations with higher probability to survive in future conditions.
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Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 245 732,16

Partners (1)

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Project information

Grant agreement ID: 841875


Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 January 2020

  • End date

    31 December 2022

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 245 732,16

  • EU contribution

    € 245 732,16

Coordinated by: