Temperature regimes impact coral assemblages along environmental gradients on lagoonal reefs in Belize:
I classified lagoonal reefs on the Belize MBRS into three thermal regimes and collected survey data at 13 reef locations to compare coral community structure within the thermal regimes.
A former undergraduate in the Castillo Lab, Joe Townsend, produced a short documentary about this work.
Declining coral skeletal extension on nearshore reefs on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System:
Through the extraction and analysis of 100+ coral cores collected across all reef environments in Belize we have assessed the historical growth records of both Siderastrea siderea and Pseudodiploria strigosa. Nearshore populations of both species appear to exhibit declining growth rates over the past century while offshore populations have stable growth rates. Interestingly, nearshore corals appear to have historically grown faster than offshore conspecifics.
Assessing acclimatization and/or adaptive capacity via reciprocal transplant:
My present research is focused on acclimatization capacity of nearshore corals on the MBRS. Utilizing S. siderea and P. strigosa again, I am currently conducting a reciprocal transplant experiment in collaboration with Fragments of Hope in Belize. This transplant experiment has been ongoing since December 2017.
(RT experiment photo credit: Mary Lide Parker, MLParkermedia)
UNC Research has highlighted this work
My research is funded by the Department of Defense NDSEG and the Rufford Foundation