Professor Malcolm McCulloch heads the Centre’s research program on evolutionary and environmental change. The research interests focus on the modern part of the geological record using isotopic and trace element geochemical methods to determine how climate and anthropogenic processes have influenced both past and present marine environments with particular emphasis on coral reefs.
We are looking at the ecology and biogeochemistry of a variety of marine calcifiers across the Western Australian coast. Sites currently under investigation include the Kimberley, Exmouth, Abrolhos Islands, Perth, and Albany. Of particular interest is the influence of varying ocean temperature and pH on calcification rates. Our field studies of in situ calcification rates will be complemented by controlled experiments within laboratory flumes and mesocosms.
Coral Bleaching events are rare in Western Australia and provide insight into the survival of coral reefs under extreme conditions. We are actively involved in bleaching research and the monitoring of bleach affected sites.
Our aim is to improve understanding between hydrodynamics and other key processes occurring in marine environments, such as sediment transport, biogeochemical cycling and spatial ecology of reef systems.
The use of biogeochemical proxies with marine calcifiers allows us to gain rare information on past climatic conditions and events. We are particularly interested in measuring boron isotope and the boron calcium ratio into biogenic carbonates in order to reconstruct paleo ph and ocean acidification (anthropogenic).
Understanding the role of the southern Indian Ocean for Austral-Asian-African climate and associated rainfall/drought cycles, and its response to internal and remote climate forcing (teleconnections) from the Pacific region remains an outstanding milestone in future climate research. Our studies aim to provide a first comprehensive analysis of the importance of Southern Indian Ocean wide climate phenomena affecting circum Indian Ocean human societies and coral reef ecosystems from coral geochemical proxy data covering up to 300 years.