Coral community in the Great Barrier Reef’s Palm Islands. Photo: Neil Maginnis.

PhD defence about global patterns of coral diversity

Wednesday 04 Nov 20

Contact

Neil Maginnis
PhD student
DTU Aqua

Contact

Martin Lindegren
Senior Researcher
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 92

Time & place

The defence takes place on Friday 13 November 2020 at 13:30 (CEST) via Zoom.

Please register for the Zoom meeting no later than 12 November at 14:00 by e-mail to Karin Stubgaard, stub@aqua.dtu.dk

On 13 November 2020, Neil Maginnis will defend his PhD thesis. The defence can be watched online.

Coral reefs are among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. Corals—the animals responsible for generating the reef structure itself—are highly sensitive to warming oceans and a range of anthropogenic pressures. However, it is uncertain how corals will respond to future changes.

Across the globe, coral reefs differ dramatically in the richness and identity of coral species present. Studying the causes of spatial biodiversity patterns can reveal the key factors that corals are sensitive to, thereby improving our understanding of both their basic ecology and the potential consequences of human impacts.

To identify the key factors determining global patterns of coral biodiversity, PhD Student Neil Maginnis from DTU Aqua and his colleagues have collected and modelled a large amount of data from across the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Oceans. The data cover coral distributions, environmental data (e.g. temperature, nutrients, salinity), spatial data, connectivity data (the probability of larvae moving between regions) and biological characteristics (i.e., traits) of coral species. 

The results presented in Neil Maginnis’ PhD thesis “The biogeography of Scleractinian reef corals: evidence from beta diversity” show for the first time that difficulty in dispersing between regions is a crucial factor on a global scale. Important roles for temperature and nutrient concentrations on coral composition are also found, together with a lesser influence of the amount of reef habitat available. 

Furthermore, the thesis indicates that the reproductive strategy of the corals influences dispersal ability, as communities of corals that reproduce by releasing eggs and sperm into the water show fewer regional differences than corals that reproduce by releasing fully developed larvae.

About the defence

Neil Maginnis will defend his PhD thesis "The biogeography of Scleractinian reef corals: evidence from beta diversity” on Friday 13 November 2020 at 13:30 (CEST) via Zoom.   

Supervisors

  • Principal supervisor: Senior Researcher Martin Lindegren, DTU Aqua
  • Co-supervisor: Senior Lecturer Sally A. Keith, Lancaster University, UK

Examiners

  • Professor Brian Mackenzie, DTU Aqua
  • Reader Maria Dornelas, University of St Andrews, UK
  • Professor Janne Soininen, University of Helsinki, Finland 

Chairperson at defence

  • Professor Andre Visser, DTU Aqua

Registration
Please register for the Zoom meeting no later than 12 November at 14:00 by e-mail to Karin Stubgaard, stub@aqua.dtu.dk. You will receive an e-mail with a link to Zoom the day before the defence.

Learn more
Download a popular science summary of the thesis

A copy of the thesis can be forwarded by e-mail. Please contact Karin Stubgaard, stub@aqua.dtu.dk

 

https://www.aqua.dtu.dk/english/news/Nyhed?id=%7BC61063EA-8D25-434D-B6DF-6094B1889619%7D
26 NOVEMBER 2020