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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: coral reef ecology, algal physiology, ocean acidification, warming, coral-algal interactions

M.S. Thesis: Combined Effects of Elevated pCO2 with Various Abiotic Factors on Non-calcifying Macroalgae

With the shift in carbonate chemistry leading to a reduction in seawater pH, termed ocean acidification (OA), studies are focusing on the rising anthropogenic activities potentially altering community structure and relative abundances of benthic organisms in coral reefs. As dynamic interactions and relationships between benthic algae and corals are common, increasing studies have focused on the effects of OA in isolation on these reef organisms. However, this may not be representative of the environmental conditions experienced as various abiotic factors (e.g. temperature and flow) also contribute to their physiological responses.

With increasing CO2 absorption, macroalgal responses can shift depending on their utilization of inorganic carbon, thereby potentially increasing algal abundance. I am interested in how their physiology is affected and differ between various non-calcifying species based on their carbon use, by examining interactive effects of multiple stressors on dominant algal species (mainly Dictyota bartayresiana and Amansia rhodantha) in Moorea, French Polynesia. One focus is how different flow regimes combined with OA can affect the growth of various species, and another examines the synergistic effects of increased temperature and OA on various responses of the algae. In addition, as corals and algae are readily competing for space on a reef, I am interested in how coral-algal interactions are influenced under different flow regimes with OA as water motion plays an important role in distribution of nutrients and dissolved gases, potentially providing an advantage to certain algal species. Examining the effects of multiple stressors can be beneficial in understanding the variability and sensitivity of responses in benthic organisms and how these stressors will influence coastal ecosystems.

competition between coral and alga