Ocean Acidification is an Emerging Threat

Moorea Coral Reef LTER
Researchers at MCR LTER have been at the forefront of evaluating how OA will affect the structure and function of future reefs. The ecosystem engineers that structure coral reefs – stony corals and calcified algae – are uniquely threatened by low seawater pH. Using time series data to determine experimental conditions, researchers have tested for... Read more »

Unprecedented Resilience of Coral Communities

Moorea Coral Reef LTER
The diverse coral community on Moorea’s outer reefs has repeatedly shown a remarkable ability to recover rapidly following massive disturbances. In the last decade, a predator outbreak and cyclone devastated coral across the seascape, yet recovery was more rapid than has been observed anywhere in the world. Moorea Coral Reef LTER researchers have gained critical... Read more »

Coral Reefs are Vulnerable to Disturbances

Moorea Coral Reef LTER
Reefs worldwide have abruptly and increasingly shifted from coral to seaweed dominated communities. Experiments at MCR LTER revealed that a large disturbance can cause a coral reef to flip to seaweeds indefinitely. Experiments and models showed that multiple stable states (e.g. corals or seaweeds) can continue to thrive under the same levels of herbivory. They... Read more »

Microbes and the Future of Coral Reef Function

Moorea Coral Reef LTER
The powerhouse mutualism between the coral animal and its symbiotic dinoflagellate algae is the backbone of coral reef ecosystems. Moorea Coral Reef LTER research has produced counter-intuitive results, specifically that flexibility with respect to symbionts does not automatically make corals resilient – a finding that has had profound implications for understanding the susceptibility of coral... Read more »