Impacts of eutrophication, pollution and harmful benthic microalgae blooms on coastal coral reef ecosystems
This ASI introduces advanced equipment and methodologies to local scientists to study coral reef physiology and ecosystem processes.
Large-scale loss of coral reefs can trigger a series of cascade effect in the food chain, changing ecological structures of reef areas and undermining their associated ecosystem services entirely. When coral dies, excessive nutrients support growth of benthic microalgae and or invertebrates. Benthic microalgae are known to cause harmful algal blooms, the frequency of which have increased globally in recent years. Unlike planktonic microalgae blooms, which exhibit visible environmental phenomena such as red tides, there are no visible characteristics can be easily linked to blooming benthic microalgae. Thus, outbreaks are often overlooked, and adverse effects of harmful benthic algae blooms on coral reef ecosystems are severely underestimated. This course introduces advanced equipment and methodologies for health assessment, standardised sampling methods for benthic microalgae and molecular techniques related to coral reef ecosystem research. It aims to establish a communication platform for the potential collaborations in coral reef ecosystem study, to nurture young scientists in relevant disciplines, and to generate new research ideas and provide guidance to government for the protection of coral ecosystems.