“Coral Health in Changing Times”

Marine Care Ricketts Point Free Zoom Speaker Evening
On Thursday 5 August 2021 at 7.30pm

presents Emeritus Professor Bette Willis speaking on “Coral Health in Changing Times”

About the Speaker:  

Bette Willis, Emeritus Professor, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University. 

Bette left Canada in the mid ‘70’s to study marine biology in Australia and has lived here ever since. She spent over 40 years researching corals until retiring in 2016. She was part of the research team that discovered mass spawning of corals on the Great Barrier Reef, for which they were jointly awarded the Eureka Prize for Environmental Science in 1992.  Most recently, the focus of her research has been on understanding coral disease on the Great Barrier Reef, and the links between coral disease human-related activities. A second focus has been on determining the capacity of corals to cope with climate change. In 2016, she received the ISRS Eminence in Research Award from the International Society for Reef Studies.

Reef Corals and their future in a changing environment

Challenges facing corals and the reefs they build are escalating as global sea temperatures rise and a range of human-related activities undermine their persistence.  In recognition of these challenges, UNESCO recently released a draft decision recommending that the Great Barrier Reef be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Bette will speak on the biology of coral polyps and the symbioses that underpin coral health. She will give an overview of coral bleaching and disease, and will review evidence identifying drivers of deteriorating coral health. She will discuss the role of reef protection in relation to human recreational activities, such as snorkelling and diving. Bette will then ask the question ‘What needs to be done to preserve our beautiful coral reefs for future generations?’   


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