Rising sea surface temperatures threaten tropical coral reefs, as these ecosystems are sensitive to a changing environment. The Priority Programme “Tropical Climate Variability & Coral Reefs” (SPP 2299), funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG) with about 12 Million Euro, aims to improve our understanding of tropical marine climate variability and its impacts on coral reef ecosystems in a warming world. This will be accomplished by quantifying climate and environmental changes both during the current warming and during past warm periods on time scales relevant to society.
Corals and coral reefs store information about how the ocean-atmosphere system functioned in the past, but also about what environmental stresses they were exposed to. For example, instrumental records of sea surface observations and reef monitoring can be extended to provide a near-monthly record of past conditions.
The Priority Programme is coordinated by Dr. Thomas Felis (University of Bremen, MARUM). More than 40 scientists from ten universities, three Helmholtz Centres, one Max-Planck Institute and one Leibniz Centre are meeting for the kick-off meeting for the first funding phase at the University of Bremen from October 3 until 5. The programme will run for six years and has a very strong interdisciplinary focus to combine expertise in climate, environmental and ecosystem research. “Ultra-high resolution coral geochemistry provides a tool to understand the temporal response of corals and coral reefs to ongoing climate and environmental changes, and to reconstruct past tropical climate and environmental fluctuations,” says Thomas Felis. “We can use these data in conjunction with advanced statistical methods, Earth system modeling, and observed ecosystem responses for improved predictions of future changes in tropical climate and coral reef ecosystems.”
The three overarching scientific topics that the researchers are working on jointly are:
- Large-scale ocean, climate and environment reconstructions
- Coral and reef-scale response to current environmental stress
- Climate, reef and proxy modelling – Climate and proxy advanced statistics
The second funding phase of the Priority Programme will be coordinated by Prof. Miriam Pfeiffer (University of Kiel).
Dr. Thomas Felis
University of Bremen
MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences
Phone: +49 421 218 65751
- Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Potsdam
- Freie Universität Berlin
- GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel
- Helmholtz Centre Potsdam German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), Potsdam
- MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen
- Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz
- University of Bremen
- University of Frankfurt
- University of Gießen
- University of Heidelberg
- University of Kiel
- University of Konstanz
- University of Leipzig
- University of Mainz
- University of Potsdam
- Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), Bremen
Original article published at MARUM.