Thesis: Effects of marine heatwaves on canopy forming seaweeds and marine forests
Humans don't function best on really hot days and the same is true of seaweeds which only function and exist within an optimal temperature range. In recent years, our oceans have warmed up along the eastern and western coastline of Australia, with more hot days than ever before. My research will determine the sensitivity of important seaweeds to different profiles of future extreme temperature events - so called marine heatwaves. The aim is to determine at which temperature, and duration of increased temperature, are seaweeds negatively affected, and which species of seaweed are the winners and losers of a warming ocean.
Why my research is important
Seaweeds form important habitats along the coastline, so called marine forests. Larger brown species form a three-dimensional structure that provides habitat, food, shelter and mating grounds for many ecological and economical important species. Determining which foundation seaweed species are vulnerable helps us to understand the drivers behind marine forest decline and change, and help us to predict the future of our reefs.