Jump to content Jump to navigation

Cenozoic fossil record of coral reefs

Fossil reefs provide insights into the response to past environmental change, and the role of biodiversity to accommodate these changes.

Coral reefs, and especially those in Southeast Asia, are the most diverse marine ecosystems. The cumulative effect of global change, including warming and ocean acidification, and local processes such as fisheries and pollution, have recently impacted reefs globally. In this project we look at the fossil record to address questions such as: ‘What did reefs look like in the past?’, ‘How did past reefs deal with environmental change?’, ‘Which processes did contribute to community composition and taxonomic diversity of Southeast Asian reefs?’. We approach these questions at a range of temporal and spatial scales, and using a range of fossilising model taxa, such as benthic foraminifera, molluscs, and corals. Recent results include the discovery of extremely well preserved coral reefs spanning from 18-5 million years ago in Kalimantan, highlighting past ecosystem reorganisations in relation to environmental change.