The CLIMACT seminar series “How to move forward and act on climate change” is an interactive online event. It takes place twice a month, every second Monday during your lunch break, with two new speakers. Each episode aims to strengthen the dialogue and collaboration between key UNIL and EPFL scientists, swiss politicians, entrepreneurs and various actors from the civil society, through collective reflection. A wide range of climate change-related topics will be discussed, integrating perspectives from all sectors and academic disciplines in order to generate new leads and initiatives towards systemic solutions. Participants are welcome to take part in the discussion in English or French.
Zoom link: epfl.zoom.us/j/63821341998
The unique corals of the Red Sea and the Transnational Red Sea Center
Presented by Anders Meibom I Professor at the Laboratory for Biological Geochemistry, EPFL and Professor ad personam at the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne
A recent scientific breakthrough shows that Red Sea corals are unique in the world in their capability to resist global warming beyond this century. Despite this resilience, local sources of pollution may easily destroy these reefs without an effective, regional-scale protection strategy, and we would lose the last refuge of corals on Earth.
In March 2019, the EPFL-based Transnational Red Sea Center was established during an event organized by the Swiss Foreign Ministry in the presence of Foreign Minister Mr. Ignazio Cassis and EPFL President Martin Vetterli. The Transnational Red Sea Center is a politically and culturally neutral scientific organization working to establish regional scale scientific studies of the coral reef ecosystems in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba and transform cutting-edge science into environmental protection through regional collaboration across the broad cultural, religious, and political spectrum of the Red Sea region.
Innovating coral reef conservation with the power of environmental genomics
Presented by Oliver Selmoni I Postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems (LASIG) I EPFL
Coral reefs are the most biodiverse ecosystem in the oceans, providing shelter to up to one-quarter of all marine species. Over the past decades, anomalous heat waves have caused a dramatic decline of corals and now threaten the future of reefs worldwide. Despite the catastrophic perspectives, hope remains: some corals, persisting at reefs exposed to natural thermal stresses, have developed genetic characteristics greatly enhancing their heat tolerance. These corals, while rare, will be the key for the future survival of the reef ecosystem.
In collaboration with French Institute of Research for Development, we developed a framework at the intersection of environmental and genomics analyses to find such heat-adapted corals. Working alongside with coral reef stakeholders from developing countries, our aim is now to transpose our research findings in practical conservation actions. For instance, marine protected areas could be established at reefs acting as source of heat adapted corals; and underwater coral gardens could be used to propagate heat-adapted corals for future restoration of damaged reefs.