Last week, members of the GRG, along with several collaborators from the Marine Biology/ Ecology lab groups at Sydney Uni had the chance to meet with the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Professor Terry Hughes. USyd early career researchers (including GRG members Kelsey Sanborn, Jing Wei, Dr Daniel Harris (UQ), and Dr Tristan Salles; Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Group members Dr Renata Ferrari Legorreta and Marine Lechene; and marine biologist Kenny Wolfe) gave short synopses of their research, spurring interesting interdisciplinary discussion on coral reef systems and the risks they face due to anthropogenic climate change. With insight from Terry, we discussed issues such as the utility of local action in the face of large scale threats to the Great Barrier Reef, including warming ocean temperatures, increased nutrient runoff, and ocean acidification. Aside from the great opportunity to share our current research with Terry, this meeting also helped foster ideas for future collaboration between our marine geology and biology peers, and will hopefully be one of many future meetings between our groups.
Following our meeting, Terry presented the findings of his recent Nature publication (Hughes et al., 2017. “Global Warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals”) to a very full lecture hall. This moving talk highlighted the severity of the ongoing bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, with the ultimate message that action must be taken to curb global warming if reefs are going to have a chance of survival. The talk was additionally followed by a Sydney Ideas panel discussion later that evening, co-hosted by the Sydney Environment Institute and Greenpeace Australia Pacific. See picture for some of the highlights of the day.