• Forum Speaker Spotlight #4

    by  • June 1, 2017 • Announcements, Events, Research

    In the lead up to our Annual Marine Science Forum on the 3rd and 4th of June, we will feature a post about each of the scientists presenting this year.hwbf-eventbrite-button

    This week we would like to introduce you to:

    Dr Maria Byrne

    Professor of Marine Biology, University of Sydney20161124 Maria Byrne

    Forum presentation: Corals feel it hot, hot ,hot!

    Record high temperatures during 2015–2016 triggered a pan-tropical coral bleaching event. It is now clear that bleaching is a recurrent stressor of corals with the recent event being the third global event since mass bleaching was first documented in the 1980s. Importantly, past exposure of reefs to bleaching in previous years did not lessen the severity of bleaching. In 2017 Mass coral bleaching is presently occurring on the Great Barrier Reef for the second consecutive year. Management actions to protect the reef such as water quality improvement affords little or no resistance in corals to extreme heat. It is imperative that we curb future warming to secure a future for coral reefs.


    Dr. Maria Byrne is Professor of Marine Biology at the University of Sydney.  Maria obtained her bachelors degree from the National University of Ireland, Galway and her doctorate from the University of Victoria, Canada. As a marine biologist Maria has conduct her work at marine research laboratories around the world.  For 12 years Maria was the director of One Tree Island Research Station, the University’s facility on the Great Barrier Reef. Over the years this iconic, fully protected reef system has provided a major platform for her research on the biology and ecology of marine invertebrates. Being based in the Southern GBR the research station provided the opportunity for Maria and colleagues to monitor corals near the southern range of the GBR for the incidence of bleaching and effects of other global change stressors.  In recent years Prof Byrne’s research on comparative evolutionary biology has involved the quantification of the impacts of climate change stressors, ocean warming and ocean acidification on fundamental biological processes including growth, physiology, development and calcification.  This work investigates the responses of marine invertebrates across life stages to climate change and has involved species from the tropics to the poles. Her current research investigates potential for climate adaptation merging her two main areas of research, evolution of development and global change.

    MB Orpheus


    Marine Education Officer for the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre. A qualified marine scientist and educator with a Bachelor degree in Global and Ocean Science obtained from the Australian National University and a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication.