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Marine Biology Graduate Student Association

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Alex Yarid

Alex Yarid

Polyp Lab
Department of Biology
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8303

Education: B.S. Marine Biology, UCLA, 2010

M.S. Thesis: Effects of damage and ocean acidification on scleractinian corals

Coral reefs are important ecosystems that are facing a number of threats. One such threat is ocean acidification (OA). OA is the decrease in pH and alteration of seawater chemistry that results from the dissolution of increased amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the ocean. OA can disturb biological processes of corals including growth and reproduction. A key question facing researchers is how corals respond to the combined effects of OA and other stressors such as elevated temperature. For my Master’s thesis I am investigating the interactive effects of OA and damage on scleractinian corals. Corals are damaged from sources including storms, humans, and corallivores. A coral’s ability to recover from damage is critical for its survival. Environmental factors can have a strong influence on a coral’s ability to heal. I am interested in how a coral’s response to damage is modulated by OA. My research takes place in Moorea, French Polynesia at the Richard B. Gump South Pacific Research Station. Using experimental aquaria to mimic projected atmospheric concentrations of CO2 I am able to contrast how damage affects corals under current and predicted future conditions. By better understanding how OA interacts with other stressors, such as damage, researchers will be able to better predict what coral reefs of the future may look like.

Fish: Hypsypops rubicundus