Rising levels of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere are inducing significant changes in the marine environment. Particularly alarming is an observed rapid increase in sea surface temperature. Corals already live close to their upper thermal limit on most reefs and so additional warming is predicted to severely threaten their survival. Coral reefs are extremely economically (tourism, fishing) and environmentally (diversity, productivity) valuable. Therefore is it of utmost importance to urgently understand corals' response to global climate change and to identify and protect regions which may be resilient to change.
The Gulf of Aqaba has been putitatively identified as a such region where corals may exhibt increased thermotolerance. A refuge.
My research aims to investigate this reef refuge hypothesis further using dominant reef building corals on Eilat's reefs. I use the Red Sea Simulator experimental system in Prof. Fine's lab at the IUI to expose corals to near future predicted climate change senarios. I predominantly assess the physiological response to temperature stress to better under the thermal physiology of corals in the Gulf of Aqaba. In addition I am interested in the transgenerational aquisition of physical traits and how the experience of a parent colony can influence the early ontogeny and environmental plasiticity of offspring.
I am currently a Ph.D. student within the Life Sciences department at Bar Ilan University supervised by Prof. Maoz Fine.
2. Bellworthy, J., Gledhill, M., Esposito, M., Achterberg, E. P., Abundance of the Iron Containing Biomolecule, heme b, during the Progression of a Spring Phytoplankton Bloom in a Mesocosm Experiment. PLoS ONE. In review.
1. Bach, L.T., Taucher, J., Boxhammer, T., Ludwig, A., The Kristineberg KOSMOS Consortium, Achterberg, E. P., Algueró-Muñiz, M., Anderson, L. G., Bellworthy, J., Büdenbender, J., Czerny, J., Ericson, Y., Esposito, M., Fischer, M., Haunost, M., Hellemann, D., Horn, H. G., Hornick, T., Meyer, J., Sswat, M., Zark, M., Riebesell, U. Influence of ocean acidification on a natural winter-to-summer plankton succession: First insights from a long-term mesocosm study draw attention to periods of low nutrient concentrations. PLOS ONE. 11(8) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159068.
1. Bellworthy, J., Fine, M., The Influence of Parental Feeding upon the Fitness of Offspring under Thermal Stress; A Case Study from a Model Coral Species. 8th ILANIT/ FISEB Conference, Eilat, February 2017
4. Bellworthy, J., Fine, M., The influence of parental feeding upon coral planulae fitness under thermal stress. EPScon 2017, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, February 2017.
3. Bellworthy, J., Finding Super Corals: Environmentally mediated maternal effects in Stylophora pistillata from the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea. 13th International Coral Reef Symposium. Hawaii, June 2016.
2. Bellworthy, J., Gledhill, M., Esposito, M., Achterberg, E. P., The abundance of iron containing protein, heme b, during a natural spring bloom under ocean acidification conditions. Institute for Life Sciences: Life in a High Carbon World. University of Southampton, September 2015
1. Bellworthy, J., Fine, M., The Gulf of Aqaba as a coral reef refuge; Stylophora pistillata is resistant to water temperatures 5°C above the mean summer maximum. Reef Conservation UK. London, November 2014