Coral Bleaching RCN

Bleached Hawaiian Reef 2014

Bleached Hawaiian Reef 2014

Director: Andréa G. Grottoli , Professor, Ohio State University

Steering Committee:
Rebecca Vega Thurber , Associate Professor, Oregon State University
Robert van Woesik , Professor and Director of the Institute for Global Ecology, Florida Institute of Technology
Robert Toonen , Research Professor, University of Hawaii
Mark Warner , Professor and Associate Director of the Marine Bioscience Program, University of Delaware


Temperature stress is the single largest threat to coral reefs globally and is the focal topic of the newly established Coral Bleaching Research Coordination Network (RCN). In July 2016, coral scientists from across the US participated in a workshop and recognized that to most effectively improve the rate of coral bleaching discovery, we would need to explore ways to increase efficiencies in how we conduct research, bring together researchers that do not traditionally work together, and create an interdisciplinary collaborative network. One way to increase efficiency is to develop recommendations in experimental protocols and in sample archiving so that (i) comparisons can be made across studies, species, and locations more easily, and (ii) so that experiments do not necessarily need to be repeated, provided sufficient coral material is appropriately archived and made available to the research community. Our ability to determine how corals may or may not survive this century will be enhanced by implementing systematic methods and experimental protocols, and coordinating and integrating interdisciplinary research efforts. These activities alone should help increase the rate of discovery in the field of coral bleaching.

The goal of the Coral Bleaching RCN is to work with the broader coral research community to develop protocol recommendations over the course of three workshops, and to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative team formation. These goals will be addressed through four activity nodes: workshops, cyberseminars, student and Early Career Training, and RCN activity dissemination. The workshops are the centerpiece of the Coral Bleaching RCN and focus on three topics:

Workshop #1  Experimental Design Protocol Recommendations
22-24 May 2019 at Ohio State University, Columbus, OH USA

Workshop #2  Sample Archiving Protocol Recommendations
1-3 July 2020 at MARUM in Bremen, Germany

Workshop #3  Data Assimilation Protocol Recommendations
2-4 June 2021 at Ohio State University, Columbus, OH USA


Cyber-seminars: The results of each workshop will further be presented by a Steering Committee member as a live cyber-seminar.  The videos will be archived for future viewing and available to the entire coral bleaching research community.

Early Career Training Program: This program will make available, on a competitive basis, funds for 16 individuals to spend time in another lab to learn new skills, methods, or analytical approaches, thus furthering interdisciplinary training.