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Nadia Jogee

Ongoing at Edinburgh

Location: Honduras

Interest: Marine

My PhD project is entitled ‘The role of coralliths in coral reef recovery and expansion’. Coralliths are an overlooked group of corals that have a unique spheroidal or sub-spheroidal morphology. They form when a coral larvae settles on a mobile piece of coral rubble or via fragmentation of corallith forming species. This results in a mobile lifestyle, being moved passively by wave action or the grazing of corallivores. Therefore, coralliths regularly experience sub-optimal conditions including changes in light exposure, temperatures and mechanical stress. Understanding the driving forces that allow a handful of coral species, such as Porites lutea, to have this unusual lifestyle will provide knowledge of why some corals species are more resilient to climatic changes. Observations of coralliths suggest that they are able to recover more rapidly and expand their coverage post disturbance. My supervisors have also shown that coralliths are able to invade and stabilise what would usually be unsuitable habitat, allowing the expansion of the reef as a whole. Understanding the environmental conditions that allow for coralliths to perform stabilisation of new habitat and expand coral coverage can inform the management of reefs to accommodate for these coral oddities.

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