Diel Thermal Variability

Recent work has demonstrated that corals inhabiting environments with increased diel temperature variation (DTV) are more resistant to bleaching. We are investigating how different levels of DTV influence coral (i) fitness, (ii) response to stress, and (iii) recovery from stress. Coral were collected from the Bocas del Toro archipelago in Panama and we ran a relatively long-term (~50day) common garden experiment using our favorite ubiquitous reef-building coral Siderastrea siderea.

This project is being led by PhD candidate Hannah Aichelman. Our work suggests that sourcing corals from thermally variable environments as well as maintaining corals under more thermally variable conditions enhances growth. This work has potentially exciting implications for coral restoration efforts, particularly for building coral nurseries that are more resilient in the face of climate change.

Coral growth under experimental DTV. (A) DTV treatments over 24hr. (B) Mean weight gain of inshore and offshore coral under DTV for 60 days, suggesting that DTV increases growth. (C) Mean weight gain of corals from different DTV sites (ranked by 90th quantile of DTV), suggesting that corals sourced from high-DTV sites exhibit higher growth, especially under DTV.