SPCMSC and PCMSC scientists participating in 14th International Coral Reef Symposium

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USGS research will be presented by several USGS scientists during the virtual 14th International Coral Reef Symposium taking place 19-23 July 2021.

An underwater photo shows lumpy corals in the foreground with a wave breaking over them in the background at the top.

A wave breaking over a degraded reef crest at Buck Island National Monument in St. Croix. Wave-breaking in these habitats relies on reef framework built by the elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, which is now a threatened species throughout the western Atlantic. Without the structure these corals provide, the ability of reefs to protect coastal communities may be in jeopardy. (Credit: Lauren Toth, USGS. Public domain.)

USGS research results were pre-recorded in 15-minute talks to be presented during the week, and the talks will remain accessible to registered symposium participants for one year.

Coral reefs are degrading quickly from stress caused by warming oceans, diseases, and land-use change, and USGS is providing science to guide the management and restoration of these important coastal resources. The International Coral Reef Society (ICRS) normally facilitates an International Symposium every four years, but last year it was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the in-person meeting was again postponed this year, the 14th ICRS was changed to a solely virtual format, and the in-person meeting is now planned as the 15th ICRS in Bremen, Germany, next summer. Christina Kellogg, Ilsa Kuffner, and Lauren Toth from SPCMSC and Ben Norris, Ferdinand Oberle, and Curt Storlazzi from the PCMSC are presenting results that increase our understanding of coral reef processes, including the metabolic pathways of coral-associated microbes, factors driving rates of coral calcification and reef accretion today and in the past, the impact of groundwater discharge on reefs, and how coral reef restoration can protect coastal communities. Our findings help enable stakeholders to make decisions about where, when, how, and what corals to conserve and restore to enhance ecosystem services that support coastal communities throughout U.S. states and territories.

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