Hundreds of millions of people depend upon resources from coral reefs, directly or indirectly, for survival. Under current climate projections, with no interventions or adaptation, 70-90% of coral reefs are predicted to disappear by 2100 (IPCC SROCC 2019). Interventions to stave off this fate are being researched (NASEM 2019a), and tropical communities throughout the world are increasingly investing in coral restoration and intervention. In 2019 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) completed a consensus study on Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs. The recommendation of the study was to “Create site-specific adaptive management frameworks. ...to .. identify when and where new coral interventions(s) will be beneficial or necessary. This framework should include … development of models tailored to the local environment and ecological setting, management objectives, and preferred intervention options.” (NASEM 2019b)
After completion of the Consensus Study in early 2020, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, along with members of the NAS committee, convened a Coral Decision-support Modeling Team (including NOAA, NASEM committee members, and associated academic colleagues) to begin addressing the charge. To date the team has 1) selected three locations for development of place-based models, where the management community is receptive to decision support, restoration is already taking place, and coral reef bio-physical data exist -- the Republic of the Maldives, Hawaii, and the Florida Keys, 2) identified reef management goals, potential interventions, modelling frameworks, and data sources, and 3) begun to develop bio-physical / ecological models for each location. In this opportunity, the Research Associate will work closely with the team to develop advanced ecological and biophysical models to apply to Coral Decision-support modeling. The scholar will have expertise and interest in decision-support, bio-physical, and/or ecological modelling, to improve decision-making among various intervention and restoration strategies proposed to increase the resilience and persistence of coral reefs as they face existential threats from climate change.