University of Redlands

Coral reefs face significant dual threat, UR expert says

Monty Hempel, Ph.D.University of Redlands Professor of Environmental Studies Monty Hempel, Ph.D., an expert on environmental and marine science, is available to speak on the devastating loss of corals in Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the significant threat global warming poses to coral reefs in the United States. 

"In the past, overfishing has been the major threat to most coral reefs, but now the dual threats of climate change and ocean acidification are looming large,” Hempel says. “The key challenge is one of resilience: can previously healthy reefs bounce back from or adapt to the rapid changes in CO2 that threaten their existence."

Hempel has taught environmental science and policy, with an emphasis on international coral reef protection, at the University of Redlands since 1999 and currently serves as chair of the University’s Center for Environmental Studies. For the past nine years, Hempel has led an annual three-week University expedition to Palau to study marine ecology and sustainable development.

Prior to his role at Redlands, Hempel was a faculty member and administrator in the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University, where he directed the graduate program in environmental public policy. 

Hempel is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (B.A., ecology and public policy) and Claremont Graduate University (M.A., international environmental policy, Ph.D., government environmental policy). He is a founding board member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and a senior associate of the California Institute of Public Affairs. Author of Environmental Governance: The Global Challenge (Island Press, 1996), and Sustainable Communities: From Vision to Action (Hewlett Foundation/CGU, 1998), he has also written, filmed, and produced more than one dozen environmental video documentaries, with subjects ranging from coral reef protection in Palau to the evolution of sustainability in an era of global change.