Monitoring ecosystem function of coral reefs has become essential to assess impacts from climate change, anthropogenic stress, and can evaluate effectiveness of conservation and management strategies. Ecosystem function is made up several dynamic processes, which include primary production and calcification. These two processes provide the basic energy input and physical structure that support such a highly diverse system. Monitoring primary production and calcification has been limited by constraints on methodology, which leads to question how to monitor these processes for whole reef systems. Remote sensing is a useful tool that has been previously applied to scale up these processes by assuming rates are constant across functional groups and is additive with area. Since light is the primary driver of photosynthesis, this project will apply the light use efficiency model, which uses the amount of light absorbed to estimate production. This model will be tested with calcification as well, which has been demonstrated to be indirectly enhanced by light. The end goal of this project is to then map variable rates of production and calcification rates for a reef with remote sensing.

Advisors: Prof Stuart Phinn, Dr Chris Roelfsema

Project members

Denise Perez

Denise PEREZ

PhD candidate - Conferred February 2020