Managing resilience to reverse phase shifts in coral reefs

Graham, Nicholas A.J., Bellwood, David R., Cinner, Joshua E., Hughes, Terry P., Norström, Albert V., and Nyström, Magnus (2013) Managing resilience to reverse phase shifts in coral reefs. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11 (10). pp. 541-548.

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Abstract

Both coral-dominated and degraded reef ecosystems can be resistant to change. Typically, research and management have focused on maintaining coral dominance and avoiding phase shifts to other species compositions, rather than on weakening the resilience of already degraded reefs to re-establish coral dominance. Reversing degraded coral-reef states will involve reducing local chronic drivers like fishing pressure and poor water quality. Reversals will also require management of key ecological processes - such as those performed by different functional groups of marine herbivores - that both weaken the resilience of the degraded state and strengthen the coral-dominated state. If detrimental human impacts are reduced and key ecological processes are enhanced, pulse disturbances, such as extreme weather events, and ecological variability may provide opportunities for a return to a coral-dominated state. Critically, achieving these outcomes will necessitate a diverse range of integrated approaches to alter human interactions with reef ecosystems.

Item ID: 31731
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 1540-9309
Funders: Queensland Smart Futures Fund, Australian Research Council (ARC), Stockholm Resilience Centre, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (MISTRA) core grant
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2014 09:46
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9612 Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments > 961201 Rehabilitation of Degraded Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
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