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Why some reefs survive warming seas

October 18, 2012

This free talk presents a fascinating discussion of a Nature Conservancy project which involves the careful selection and creation of Marine Protected Areas for coral reefs so that ocean currents carry coral larvae from resilient reefs to replenish dying ones.

Rod Salm, Ph.D., a senior adviser with the Nature Conservancy, discovered the ability of some coral reefs to tolerate warming sea water.Monday, October 22
5-6 p.m.
Clark Building, Room A101

Resilient coral reefs

The Environmental and Natural Resource Leadership Program Distinguished Speaker Series presents Rod Salm, Ph.D., in a talk titled, "Reef resilience revealed: The quest to understand and reinforce coral resilience."

The talk is being co-sponsored by the Center for Collaborative Conservation and is free and open to the public.

Salm, senior adviser, Marine Science and Strategies, The Nature Conservancy, Indo-Pacifico, will discuss the principle of coral resilience and its importance to ecosystems.

An astonishing revelation

In 1994, while snorkeling over a coral reef in Palau, Rod Salm had a revelation that would forever change the way that The Nature Conservancy and other conservation groups approach marine conservation in the face of global climate change.  

Salm saw the devastating effects of coral bleaching caused by warming seas—huge swaths of dead, white corals in an area that had previously been vibrant with life. But rather than focusing on the reefs that were destroyed, Salm decided to focus on the reefs that survived—and why.

The Marine Initiative

This principle of “coral resilience” is now a cornerstone of the Conservancy’s Marine Initiative and our site-based conservation programs in the Asia-Pacific region, the Caribbean, the West Indian Ocean, and the United States.

Today, the Conservancy is a recognized global leader in addressing climate change impacts through our work in the Asia-Pacific region.

Networks of protected areas

The Conservancy is helping governments and communities protect coral reefs that show natural resilience to climate change by capturing them in networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Through careful design, they are ensuring that these protected areas are connected by ocean currents, enabling coral larvae from resilient reefs to replenish damaged sites.

Goal: Millions of acres of protected reefs

The Conservancy's ultimate goal is to help establish millions of acres of effectively managed MPAs across Asia and the Pacific that provide tourism, fisheries, and coastal protection services to the region’s people.

Contact: Bryony Wardell (Fuller)
E-mail: Bryony.Fuller@ColoState.EDU
Phone: 970-491-2542