March 14, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
State Library of Western Australia, 25 Francis St, Perth WA 6000, Australia
In this lecture Neil Bennett, WA Manager of Media and Communication for the Bureau of Meteorology, will provide a background into the science behind these findings and will include new information about Australia’s climate – past, present and future.
Since 1910, the air and sea temperatures in and around Australia have warmed by nearly 1 degree Celsius. May–July rainfall has reduced by around 19 per cent since 1970 in the southwest of WA, and the duration, frequency and intensity of extreme heat events have increased across large parts of Australia. Rainfall has increased across parts of northern Australia, oceans around Australia have warmed, acidity levels have increased and sea levels are rising around Australia.
The science underpinning these findings will help inform a range of economic, environmental and social decision-making and local vulnerability assessments by government, industry and communities.
Contact: 9321 6088
Entry Fees: Members $12, Adult $20, Conc. $15.
March 15, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
UWA Oceans Institute, The University of Western Australia, Fairway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
A public lecture by Professor Malcolm McCulloch, UWA Oceans Institute, ARC Laureate Fellow and Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
Reef building corals in partnership with their algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) have been spectacularly successful in building the tropical coral reef edifices that harbour over one-third of the oceans biodiversity. The ongoing viability of these tropical reef systems is however in question, with symbiont-bearing shallow-water corals now facing the combined challenges of global warming and ocean acidification from rapidly rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Nowhere is this more evident than in our iconic, Great Barrier Reef, which in the summers of 2015 and 2016, experienced some of the most devastating coral bleaching events yet recorded.
In this talk, new findings will be presented on some of the key processes responsible for both the success as well as the vulnerability of reef-building corals to climate change. From research undertaken at UWA’s new Watermans facility, together with field experiments conducted on corals living along our coastline, new insights have been obtained on the fundamentals of coral calcification and its response to climate change. Calcification is the process whereby corals efficiently extract dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) from seawater and convert it into calcium carbonate, the major constituent of their skeletons. We show that this is a ‘finely-tuned’ process, which although relatively resilient to ocean acidification, is highly sensitive to the thermally induced stress, bleaching, and subsequent coral mortality due to loss of symbionts. Thus the increasing prevalence of global-scale coral mass bleaching events due to abrupt pulses of extreme warming associated with human induced global warming, now represents the major threat to coral reefs worldwide.