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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Influence of Nutrient Starvation on Corals' Susceptibility to Thermal Bleaching (INCORALS)

Currently Active: 

INCORALS will establish a novel conceptual model that introduces a transition of symbiotic algae from a nutrient limited to a nutrient starved state as a process that renders reef building corals more susceptible to heat stress.

Image credit: J. Wiedenmann
Bleached staghorn coral (Acropora)


Elevated temperatures have been identified as a key driver for coral bleaching, which is the often fatal loss of corals' symbiotic algae. Thus, studies have estimated that reefs will be lost within the next one hundred years as a result of global warming.

INCORALS will conduct an in-depth study of nutrient starvation of reef corals, comparing the impact of nitrogen, phosphorus and iron. INCORALS will combine physiological experiments under tightly controlled laboratory conditions and field-based studies, using a suite of optical methods and cutting-edge molecular techniques to study this yet unexplored cause of coral bleaching and define its relevance for coral ecosystems. The improved understanding of coral bleaching gained during this interdisciplinary project is urgently required to develop knowledge-based management strategies to support reef resilience.

Call details: STARTING GRANT ERC-2012-StG, LS8
ERC funding: 1.29 million Euros
Duration: 60 months

Key Contacts

Prof. Jörg Wiedenmann (PI)

Related pages

The Coral Reef Laboratory


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