Zoom Link: https://kaust.zoom.us/j/94733750972 | Meeting ID: 947 3375 0972
Tropical and subtropical shallow water coral reefs and communities harbor an amazing and often unexplored diversity of benthic organisms. As such, they are important bioresources, providing a variety of ecosystem services. Many studies on coral reefs have rightfully examined the ecology of scleractinian corals, as they are ecosystem engineers of these ecosystems. However, coral reefs are home to many other benthos, such as sea anemones, zoantharians, corallimorpharians, octocorals, sponges, and various algal taxa, and the ecological roles of these organisms are often less studied. In many studies, these taxa are lumped together into groups such as “other”, despite the diversity found within each group. As coral reefs and other marine ecosystems experience increasing levels of anthropogenic stress and ongoing climate change, reports of rises in abundance of such “other” taxa on coral reefs have been increasing, making the need for research on such understudied groups more important than ever. In this talk, after a general coral reef biodiversity introduction, I will introduce recent research on zoantharians on coral reefs in the Pacific, and discuss what research is needed to better understand the roles of such understudied taxa on coral reefs, so that researchers can better predict their roles in the coral reefs of the future.
Speaker: Prof. James Reimer
James Davis Reimer's research focuses on the biodiversity of understudied marine invertebrate groups (so-called "minor taxa"), primarily benthic cnidarians including zoantharians and their endosymbionts, as well as various other taxa, from shallow tropical coral reefs to the deep sea. Recent research has also examined the impact of coastal development on marine diversity and ecosystems. Since 2007, he has been based at the University of the Ryukyus, where he is currently an Associate Professor. In 2015, he was awarded the Okinawa Research Prize for science contributing to the well-being and understanding of the Ryukyu Islands, and in 2021, he was awarded the Narishige Prize by the Zoological Society of Japan in recognition of his unique research output.