Overview of Course
Though coral reefs are among the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on earth and buffer the shoreline against erosion, they are threatened by human and natural impacts. Fossil coral reefs provide a unique archive of the response of coral reefs to past climate, sea-level and coastal change. This class will investigate the interaction between reef ecosystems, coastal geomorphology, and sea-level and how impacts on reefs can be mitigated in the future. Our MV World Odyssey voyage will visit at least five ports near modern & fossil coral reefs in three ocean basins, giving us an unprecedented opportunity investigate specific field case studies and to compare/contrast: a) how coral reefs have shaped coastal landscapes and environments, and b) the condition of coral reefs in response to human and natural impacts. Discussions and our field class will focus on specific examples related to reefs near our voyage ports. Topics will include: reefs and coastal geomorphology, fossil reefs as archives of climate change, sea-level past and future, and environmental pressures on modern coral reefs.