Coral research: past efforts and future horizons

Richmond, Robert H., and Wolanski, Eric (2011) Coral research: past efforts and future horizons. In: Dubinsky, Zvy, and Stambler, Noga, (eds.) Coral Reefs: An Ecosystem in Transition. Springer, London, pp. 3-10.

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Abstract

Modern coral reefs had their origins in the Triassic Period, and over the past 65 million years, have expanded and contracted due to a variety of extrinsic factors such as sea level and climatic changes. As humans evolved, so did a new era for coral reefs: that of exposure to anthropogenic stressors on top of the already persistent natural events such as hurricanes/typhoons, volcanic eruptions and Acanthaster plancii outbreaks. Early studies of corals and coral reefs focused on taxonomy, ecology and physiology. The establishment of reef-based marine laboratories and technological advances in SCUBA enabled a rapid expansion of in situ studies and the ability to compare reef processes and changes over both space and time. The documented declines in the state of coral reefs worldwide have shifted the focus of many research programs from basic to applied and management-directed research. Expanded studies of reproductive processes, animal-algal symbioses, molecular genetics, ecotoxicology, connectivity, ecological modelling, calcification, cellular biology and biochemistry have allowed researchers to better understand how coral reefs function and how best to respond to a variety of stressors. Coral reef research has necessarily become multidisciplinary in nature, embracing the social and economic as well as the biophysical sciences. In the face of increasing effects of stressors tied to local activities such as poor land-use practices, and mounting concerns tied to global climate change, the bridging of science to policy development, management and conservation is critical if there is to be a legacy of vital reefs left for future generations to enjoy.

Item ID: 20759
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: pollution, climate change, management, biophysical research, modeling
ISBN: 978-94-007-0114-4
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2012 04:22
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960509 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Mountain and High Country Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 50%
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