Trade-offs between adaptive coral traits

Under climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of marine heatwaves, heat tolerance of corals is likely to determine their ability to survive future conditions. If high levels of heat tolerance come at the expense of other adaptive traits, this could have unforeseen implications for the adaptive capacity of coral populations or the potential benefit of interventions such as assisted migration or assisted evolution.

Our approach

We are investigating correlations and potential trade-offs among growth (3D photogrammetry), fecundity (number of eggs per polyp, egg diameter, and egg volume), and heat tolerance for populations of Acropora digitifera and Goniastrea retiformis in Palau. 

Lachs - IDEA WILD - Study species and ha

Our goal

Combining these datasets across all individual colonies provides an opportunity to assess the potential trade-offs between these key traits that are key to corals' adaptive potential under climate change.

Watch here a seminar by Ph. D. candidate Liam Lachs explaining trait trade-offs in corals