Can corals cope with annual coral bleaching?

For my PhD dissertation under the supervision of Dr. Andréa Grottoli at the Ohio State University, I studied the impacts of annual coral bleaching on the bleaching susceptibility and recovery capacity of three Caribbean coral species. As the world’s oceans continue to warm, bleaching events will increase in both frequency and intensity, eventually becoming annual events.

I showed that susceptibility to single bleaching is a poor predictor of susceptibility to repeat bleaching, and that cumulative bleaching stress can promote acclimation in some species while eroding resilience in others. These findings have important implications for predicting the frequency and severity of future bleaching events and are critically needed as, for example, Hawaii and other locations have only recently experienced annual bleaching for the first time.

See Publications and In the News for publications and media coverage.

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