578 words • 2~2 min read

#SciFund Returns: Coping with stress: Coral reefs in Kiribati

#SciFund, a month long initiative to raise funds for a variety of scientific research projects, is once again upon us. Project leaders post a project description and an appeal for funds, and members of the public are invited to make small donations to projects that they deem worthy. Donations come with rewards such as access to project logs, images from fieldwork, your name in the acknowledgements of publications, among other possibilities. Many of these projects are marine or conservation themed. Once again, we’re highlighting some of our favorite marine science proposals. Please take a look at these projects and, should you so desire, send some financial support their way. If you do make a donation, let them know how you found out about their project and leave a comment (anonymous if you’d like) on this post letting us know.

Coping with stress: Coral reefs in Kiribati

Corals, the animals that famously build reefs get most of their energy, and most of their colour, from microscopic algae that live inside the coral tissue. This unique arrangement, however, is very sensitive to the surroundings. When the water gets too hot, the corals expel or consume the algae, and literally turn white. If the hot water persists, this “bleaching” process can effectively starve corals to death. The long-term survival of coral reefs will depend on the ability of corals to deal with increasing heat stress.


Dr. Simon Donner’s research focuses on “climate change and coral bleaching, the El Nino phenomenon, climate change adaptation in the Pacific Islands, and obstacles to public education about climate change”. Funding for this project will all be spent in Kiribati, one of the coolest island nations. Head on over to Simon’s project page and send some rocket fuel his way!

Marine science and conservation. Deep-sea ecology. Population genetics. Underwater robots. Open-source instrumentation. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.

Connect with SFS