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Objectives

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Tropical Climate Variability and Coral Reefs – A Past to Future Perspective on Current Rates of Change at Ultra-High Resolution” (SPP 2299) in 2020. The programme is designed to run for six years. The 19 projects of the first three-year funding period (2022-2025) started in the summer of 2022.

The strongly in­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary Pri­or­ity Pro­gramme brings to­gether the ex­pert­ise of the Ger­man sci­ence com­munity in the fields of cli­mate, en­vir­on­mental and eco­sys­tem re­search in a sus­tain­able man­ner, and will benefit from the participation of more than 40 researchers from various institutions (10 Universities, 3 Helmholtz Centres, 1 Max-Planck Institute, 1 Leibniz Centre).

A coral reef in Aqaba, Jordan. Photo: MARUM/​T.Felis

Aims and Scope

Climate change, in particular the rise in tropical sea surface temperatures, is the greatest threat to coral reef ecosystems today and causes climatic extremes affecting the livelihood of tropical societies. Assessing how future warming will change coral reef ecosystems and tropical climate variability is therefore of extreme urgency.

Ultra-high resolution coral geochemistry provides a tool to understand the temporal response of corals and coral reefs to ongoing climate and environmental change, to reconstruct past tropical climate and environmental variability and to use these data in conjunction with advanced statistical methods, earth system modelling and observed ecosystem responses for improved projections of future changes in tropical climate and coral reef ecosystems.

The priority programme aims to enhance our current understanding of tropical marine climate variability and its impact on coral reef ecosystems in a warming world, by quantifying climatic and environmental changes during both the ongoing warming and past warm periods. Additionally the programme aims to understand the stress response of major reef-building corals in today’s coral reef ecosystems.


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