Tara Pacific: Assessing the Health of Remote Coral Reefs

IRCAN (CNRS / INSERM / Université Côte d'Azur), Nice (France)

Responsibilities

Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging, Nice (IRCAN)
Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)

Distinctions

Biography

Supervisors

Paola Furla, Thamilla Zamoum, IRCAN

 

Context

Coral reefs are severely threatened by global and local environmental changes. Recent estimates indicate that about 20% of reefs have permanently disappeared, 25% are in grave danger and an additional 25% will be threatened by 2050.
Human derived stressors such as climate change and pollution are having devastating consequences on coral reefs, leading to disease and symbiosis breakdown, known as "bleaching", which may contribute to the high mortality rates. Over the past three decades, mass bleaching events of endosymbiotic cnidarians (mainly corals and sea anemones) were widely reported in tropical oceans and has led to both the disappearance of essential ecological niches which supported thousands of diverse marine species, as well as the loss of significant economic benefits. The symbiotic cnidarians’ response to stress in this ever-changing environment thus plays a key role in the survival of the entire coral reef ecosystem.

 

Objectives

The present immersion project will focus on the health assessment of three different species of corals, Pocillopora meandrina, Porites lobata, Millepora platyphylla, sampled during the on-going Tara Pacific expedition (Tara Expeditions) that is spanning the entire Pacific Ocean passing through more than 40 island stops. Alltogether, samples will then be collected in nearly every archipelago across the Pacific Ocean in very remote or more anthropized areas.

 

Universite Cote d'Azur