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Climate effect on coral reef ecosystems

FALLBROOK – The Fallbrook Climate Action Team (FCAT) will present Orion McCarthy in a Zoom meeting Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 6:30 p.m. Originally from Maryland, fifth-year PhD student Orion McCarthy is studying marine biology with a focus on coral reef ecology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. His research has taken him to beautiful destinations to learn about changes in these critical ecosystems with changes in climate.

McCarthy studies how coral reefs in Maui are changing over time in response to climate change. Prior to graduate school at Scripps, he studied at the University of Maryland and received a bachelor's degree in ecology and evolution with a minor in geography. He is currently studying how coral reefs change over time using 3D imaging technology in marine biologist Jennifer Smith's lab.

McCarthy also authored a study, titled "Identifying the drivers of structural complexity on Hawaiian coral reefs," which was published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series.

McCarthy has been interested in marine life and conservation since he was a child, but his interest in coral reefs specifically sparked when he studied abroad in Australia. Situated at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland, he had access to the awe-inspiring Great Barrier Reef, as well as scientific leaders in the fields of coral reef science and marine conservation. That experience ignited his desire to become a scientific diver who conducts conservation research and set him on a path toward becoming a graduate student at Scripps.

Fallbrook Climate Action Team is an all volunteer group. FCAT presents monthly presentations about climate change and mitigation, usually on the last Tuesday of the month on Zoom. To receive the Zoom link, sign up for the group's e-blast at the

Submitted by Fallbrook Climate Action Team.


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