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Oviatt Library Ferman Presentation Room

California State University, Northridge

CA 91330

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ORSP is pleased to host the 2017 Provost's Colloquium featuring CSUN's 2016-2017 Jerome Richfield Scholar, Dr. Peter Edmunds.


About the Research:
Tropical coral reefs have long been recognized as one of the most beautiful ecosystems on our planet, and biologists and geologists alike have been enthralled by their diversity of form and function. Yet in recent decades they have served as the poster child of ecosystem destruction through the effects of global climate change, and now there is serious discussion of the possibility that these ecosystems will disappear. Evidence in support of this dire warning can be found on almost any coral reef that has been quantitatively described for many decades, but the data and the changes that have taken place since the 1980’s are more complex with nuanced implications compared to the most pessimistic forecasts. In this presentation I will describe the state of coral reefs through two case-history examples in St. John, US Virgin Islands, and Moorea, French Polynesia, that have been the focus of my research for over 30 years. Much live coral has been lost over these decades, and the jigsaw puzzle represented by these complex ecosystems has been broken apart and the pieces scattered throughout shallow tropical seas. For the time being, however, the pieces of the puzzle remain, and there is reason to hope that they can reassemble to make a beautiful ecosystem. Such an ecosystem will differ from what was once in place, but it is likely to remain worthy of our attention, protection, and respect.


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Oviatt Library Ferman Presentation Room

California State University, Northridge

CA 91330

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