On Campus Event: Vulnerability of the Great Barrier Reef to climate change and local pressure (Nick Wolff, Nature Conservancy Climate Change Scientist, 11/20

Vulnerability of the Great Barrier Reef to climate change and local pressures
November 20, 2017 | 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM | Visual Arts Center, Beam Classroom
Join Nick for dinner before the talk in the Hutchinson Room, Throne (5:30-7:00)

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is under pressure from a suite of stressors including cyclones, crown-of-thorns starfish, nutrients from river runoff and warming events that drive mass coral bleaching. Two key questions are: how vulnerable will the GBR be to future environmental scenarios, and to what extent can local management actions lower vulnerability in the face of climate change?  Nick Wolff will present new research that addresses these questions and discuss the implications for the GBR’s future.

In addition, he will present research examining the inequities that are likely to arise from climate change impacts on coral reef nations. Few countries are projected to experience coral reef impacts commensurate with their emissions. Of course, no coral reef ‘wins’ under climate change and ocean acidification, but some countries will likely experience relatively weak impacts of GHG emissions relative to emissions while most countries are relative losers. Not surprisingly, the greatest inequity will occur on the reefs of the world’s poorer nations.

Nick Wolff is a Climate Change Scientist with The Nature Conservancy where he applies climate change data to support decisions and strategy development across the Conservancy’s programs. His areas of expertise include spatial and climate modelling, data analysis, and the visualization, management and dissemination of data.

Figure 1. Photos from the GBR before, during and after the 2016 mass bleaching event

Trained in biological oceanography, Nick’s Ph.D. is based on integrating large-scale data sets with climate projections and ecological models to look at the relative benefits of different local management efforts for the Great Barrier Reef.

Nick has 30 publications on topics such as climate change vulnerability, climate change inequity, climate change adaptation, coral reef resilience, conservation planning, connectivity, ecosystem services, biodiversity, tropical cyclones and oceanography.

Nick is a dual American and Australian citizen and loves exploring and photographing the diverse landscapes in both countries