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James Cant

Ongoing at University of Leeds

My work centres around coral community demography, which involves following individual colonies over time documenting their growth, survival and reproduction, and how these change as the corals grow. This individual-level information can then be used to project population compositions into the future. In this way demographic assessments allow for the impacts of environmental conditions on the performance of individual organisms to be translated to the population-level, giving an idea of how different populations will respond to changes in their local environments. Specifically, the data I will be collecting with Operation Wallacea on Hoga from 2019 onwards (subject to RISTEK approval), will allow me to compare the demographic properties of tropical coral populations, with those of communities situated at higher latitudes in both Japan and Australia. As climate change continues to raise global see surface temperatures, the cooler waters of high latitude, subtropical environments have been put forward as possible refugia for many tropical coral species. Consequently, it is essential that we improve our understanding regarding the ecology and dynamics of these coral environments, and their capacity to facilitate the persistence of viable coral populations, despite the accelerating impacts of climate change.

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