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Marine Biology Graduate Student Association

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Maureen Ho

Maureen Ho

Algae Lab
Department of Biology
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA, 91330-8303

Education: B.S. Marine Biology, California State University, Long Beach, 2012

Research Interests: Ecology of coral reefs and marine algae

M.S. Thesis: Effects of Elevated pCO2 levels on Algal-Coral Interactions

Benthic algae and reef-building corals interact, compete, and share a variety of resources in a reef ecosystem. The dynamic interactions and relationships between benthic algae and corals are common, but can be detrimental to corals. Environmental factors, such as food and light availability, can result in a population shift among species due to competition. Competition is an important process that influences population dynamics and community structure. Coral mortality is increasing due to coral diseases and anthropogenic activities. Under ocean acidification, coral reefs may become increasingly susceptible to algal overgrowth. This overgrowth can further increase coral mortality and decrease recruitment due to rising competition for space.

Coral calcification has been shown to decrease in high pCO2 environments. I’m interested in studying algal-coral interactions and how elevated pCO2 levels affect competition between live corals and a fleshy brown macroalgae, Dictyota bartayresiana, at my study site, Moorea, French Polynesia. The threat of carbonate chemistry changing is thought to be critical to the health of marine ecosystems. Understanding algal-coral interactions will have important implications for the context of reef degradation and management.

competition between coral and algalife of competition between coral and alga