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Marine Biology Graduate Student Association

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Nicolas Evensen


Polyp Lab
Department of Biology
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330

Education: B.S. Marine Biology, University of Newcastle, 2011

Research Interests: Coral Ecology, Population & Community Ecology, Ocean Acidification

M.S. Thesis: Altered Competitive Interactions Between Corals in a High pCO2 Environment

As large amounts of information are becoming available describing the organismic responses of corals to ocean acidification (OA), attention is turning to the effects of OA on ecological processes that determine the community structure. One such process is interspecific competition, with the high degree of competitive interactions being one of the processes responsible for the high levels of diversity found on many coral reefs.

My research focuses on how OA affects the competitive interactions between corals. My experiments involve staging competitive encounters between corals by placing colonies of massive Porites spp. adjacent to (< 5 mm) colonies of Montipora aequituberculata (commonly occurring corals in Moorea, French Polynesia, where my research takes place) and incubating the pairs at ambient and elevated pCO2 and measuring their extension rates as an indicator of competitive ability. This study can give insight into how ecological processes such as competition are being affected by OA, and help forecast the community structure of reefs in the future.

diver setting up experiment