High Tech with a Human Touch
VAN WOESIK, Robert
Biological Sciences Department, College of Science
B.Sc. University of Queensland, Australia 1983
Ph.D. James Cook University, Australia 1993
I have have worked on the coral reefs of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans since 1982, and have written more than 100 scholarly research articles on coral reefs. My area of expertise is in the population and community ecology of scleractinian corals. For the last 7 years I have been the Environmental Editor of the international journal Coral Reefs.
My research interests are broad but ultimately linked to the ecology of reef-building corals, including the effects of land-use change and global-climate change. Most recently, my students and I have been particularly interested in examining which processes capture population performance, and the degree to which these processes vary with habitat, region, and across time. As in the past, under certain circumstances adaptation is expected. But success will depend on a number of conditions, including the nature of the regional gene pool, the life-history characteristics of the organisms involved, the frequency and strength of the disturbances, and the local and regional oceanography. Essentially, we are striving to understand coral-reef systems to provide information that will give corals' their best chance of survival through this modern period of extensive human pressure.
van Woesik's primary scientific goal is to assess the dynamics of coral populations by defining the key ecological processes, or vital rates, that regulate the populations. He is particularly interested in relationships between state and process variables and how they may relate to key environmental forcing functions. Understanding these processes, assessing their spatial variation and their relationship with state variables will lead to predictive models of population trajectories, relative population size distributions, and community change under different climate change scenarios.
Muller E & R. van Woesik (2012) Caribbean coral diseases: primary transmission or secondary infection? Global Change Biology 18: 3529-3535
van Woesik R, E. C. Franklin, J. O’Leary, T. R. McClanahan, J. Klaus, A.F. Budd (2012s) Hosts of the Plio-Pleistocene past reflect modern-day coral vulnerability. Proc Royal Society B. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.2621
Mosblech N.A, M.B Bush, W.D Gosling, L. Thomas, P. van Calsteren, A. Correa-Metrio, B.G. Valencia, J. Curtis, R. van Woesik. (2012) North Atlantic forcing of Amazonian precipitation through the last ice age. Nature Geosciences 5: 817-820
van Woesik R, P. Houk, A. L. Isechal, J. W. Idechong, S.Victor, Y. Golbuu (In Press) Climate-change microrefugia: nearshore reefs bleach less than outer reefs during a 2010 regional thermal stress event in Palau. Ecology and Evolution 2(10): 2474-2484
Toth LT, Aronson RB, Vollmer SV, Hobbs JW, Urrego DH, Cheng H, Enochs IC, Combosch DJ, van Woesik R, Macintyre IG (2012). ENSO-drove 2,500-year collapse of eastern Pacific coral reefs. Science 337: 81-84
van Woesik R and A. G. Jordan-Garza (2011) Coral populations in a rapidly changing environment. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 408: 11-20
van Woesik R, K. Sakai, A. Ganase, Y. Loya (2011) Revisiting the winners and loser a decade after coral bleaching. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 434: 67-76
Jordan-Garza A G, EM Muller, SG Burma, R. van Woesik (2011) Susceptibility of coral-disease models. PNAS: 1102711108v1-201102711
Sublette NA, Bush, MB, R. van Woesik (2011) On Metapopulations and Microrefugia: paleoecological insights. J Biogeography. 38(3): 419-429
van Woesik R (2010) Calm before the spawn: global coral-spawning synchronization is explained by regional wind fields. Proc Royal Society B, 277: 715-722
Thompson D and van Woesik R (2009) Corals escape bleaching in regions that recently and historically experienced frequent thermal stress. Proc Royal Society B: 276(1669): 2893-2901
Muller E and R. van Woesik (2009) Shading reduces coral-disease progression. Coral Reefs 28: 757-760
Rongo T, Bush M, van Woesik R (2009) Did Ciguatera prompt the late Holocene Polynesian voyages of Discovery? J Biogeography 36(8): 1423-1432