Last Friday we had a productive worskshop discussing the geomorphology of coral reefs with our Australian and Japanese colleagues. It was an inspiring day for sharing and discussing our latest research and there are now many projects in place for future collaboration. [Action for all!]. Acknowledgements go to the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and the School of Geosciences of The University of Sydney.
Here are some notes (with very little edits) from the conclusions of the workshop:
We learnt many things… we can do really detailed spatial analyses, through multibeam mapping, remote sensing, and GIS. We study sediment in a number of ways, composition, and sediment transport and flows really influence coral ecosystems, particularly growth (and we suspect it has even killed the reef several times!). We have incredibly sophisticated geochemical methods and we can establish pretty well past and present geomorphology of coral reefs. We have seen the incredible wealth of knwoledge that can be extracted of the cores that we already have, but we want more (mostly Jody wants more cores!).
Some hope for coral ecosystems in trouble at present? They have died many times in the past and they always came back. How can we improve the accuracy of the models we are using to forecast the future?
We have learn that morphodynamics of coral reefs is really in its infancy… lots of work to be done in terms of the role of reefs as wave dissipaters, especially in the forereef and the spur and groove zone, and we need to publish our wave dissipation rates… And what to say about sediment transport of carbonate sands?! We really know very little…. So to fully explain, and reproduce the evolution of some incredible islands made of carbonate sand, we might need to wait a bit.
We are also learning about interactions like between forams and surrounding algae that make these organisms more resilient. At the same time, we have learnt about effects of acidification (faster in coral reef clacifying fluid?) … And then combine our morphodynamic results with the ecological feedbacks to explain the non linear interactions in the self-organisation processes that create cellular reefs.
Finally we need to keep on incorporating our newly acquired knowledge to update and validate big-picture studies such as that presented by Hori-sense.
Thank you very much for making JASAG 2017 happen!