Crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes

Wilson, S.K., Adjeroud, M., Bellwood, D.R., Berumen, M.L., Booth, D., Bozec, Y.-Marie, Chabanet, P., Cheal, A., Cinner, J., Depczynski, M., Feary, D.A., Gagliano, M., Graham, Nicholas, Halford, A.H., Halpern, B.S., Harborne, A.R., Hoey, A.S., Holbrook, S.J., Jones, G.P., Kulbiki, M., Letourneur, Y., De Loma, T.L., McClanahan, T, McCormick, M.I., Meekan, M.G., Mumby, P. J., Munday, P.L., Öhman, M.C., Pratchett, M.S., Riegl, B., Sano, M., Schmitt, R.J., and Syms, C. (2010) Crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213. pp. 894-900.

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Abstract

Expert opinion was canvassed to identify crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes. Scientists that had published three or more papers on the effects of climate and environmental factors on reef fishes were invited to submit five questions that, if addressed, would improve our understanding of climate change effects on coral reef fishes. Thirty-three scientists provided 155 questions, and 32 scientists scored these questions in terms of: (i) identifying a knowledge gap, (ii) achievability, (iii) applicability to a broad spectrum of species and reef habitats, and (iv) priority. Forty-two per cent of the questions related to habitat associations and community dynamics of fish, reflecting the established effects and immediate concern relating to climate-induced coral loss and habitat degradation. However, there were also questions on fish demographics, physiology, behaviour and management, all of which could be potentially affected by climate change. Irrespective of their individual expertise and background, scientists scored questions from different topics similarly, suggesting limited bias and recognition of a need for greater interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Presented here are the 53 highest-scoring unique questions. These questions should act as a guide for future research, providing a basis for better assessment and management of climate change impacts on coral reefs and associated fish communities.

Item ID: 10139
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: ecosystem management, fisheries, coral reef ecology, physiology, behaviour, conservation, global warming, ocean acidification, coral bleaching
ISSN: 1477-9145
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2010 05:15
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 20%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 60%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 32
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