Colorado mountains

The Moorea Coral Reef LTER Site

Poster Number: 
Presenter/Primary Author: 
Sally Holbrook
Russell J. Schmitt
Robert C. Carpenter
Peter J. Edmunds

The Moorea Coral Reef (MCR) LTER site, established in 2004, explores community and ecosystem effects of pulsed perturbations and slowly changing environmental drivers on coral reefs, ecologically and economically important ecosystems that are at high risk from local and global stressors.  The site is the coral reef complex surrounding the island of Moorea, French Polynesia.  The core issue that unifies MCR research centers on ecological resilience.  The MCR research program addresses two time horizons and hence our research activities are organized into two corresponding themes.  Research Theme 1 (Resilience of Contemporary Reefs) focuses on factors that promote or inhibit the return of a perturbed reef community to a coral-dominated state under current levels of stressors from Global Climate Change (GCC) and Ocean Acidification (OA).  Research Theme 2 (Structure and Function of Reefs in the Future) addresses the longer, multi-decadal time horizon and seeks insight into how forecasted changes in GCC- and OA-related drivers may alter the structure of the benthic community, together with the consequences of those changes to ecosystem processes.  Our integrated research program for these inter-related themes includes question-driven time series measurements, long term field experiments, shorter-term field and laboratory experiments and measurements, and modeling and synthesis activities to integrate and generalize the results.  Goals of MCR site include:

  1. Understanding the processes and attributes that affect the capacity of a coral reef to absorb perturbations and remain or reassemble to a coral dominated community without switching to an alternative state (e.g., macroalgae)
  2. Examining how GCC- and OA-related drivers likely will affect coral reefs in the future
  3. Continuation of our long term datasets on community dynamics, ecosystem processes and physical and chemical drivers
  4. Maintenance of long term resilience experiments
  5. Ddevelopment and testing of ecological theory
  6. Enhancement of our information management system to more fully meet the needs of the LTER network and the broader scientific community
  7. Sustaining an effective outreach program.

Background Photo by: Nicole Hansen - Jornada (JRN) LTER