Scleractinian corals produce large amounts of calcium carbonate as they grow, sustaining the three-dimensional reef framework
that supports the high productivity and biodiversity associated with tropical coral reefs. The rate of skeletal growth of
corals is therefore not only essential for their fitness and ecological success, i.e. determining the ability of corals to
compete for space and light, and repair structural damage caused by humans, storms, grazers and bioeroders, but can also have
profound repercussions on the recovery and resilience of coral reef systems. This thesis investigates possible environmental
controls of coral growth through the analyses of emergent patterns on larger spatio-temporal scales. Past growth rates and
patterns in massive Porites corals sampled from around the Thai-Malay Peninsula at reef-island scales were reconstructed using
sclerochronology, and examined in the context of varying climate/environment. Located within the political boundaries of Singapore,
Thailand and Malaysia, the Thai-Malay Peninsula reefs sit on the western border of the 'Coral Triangle' and are among the
most productive and diverse in the world. Massive Porites species represent the dominant coral genera found throughout this
area, and any changes in their growth could contribute to regional change in reef accretion rates. Information provided in
this thesis is aimed at understanding environmentally-controlled coral calcification in order to better predict future trends
and responses of coral reefs to disturbances in similar changing environments.
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