Coral reefs in a crystal ball: predicting the future from the vulnerability of corals and reef fishes to multiple stressors

McClanahan, Timothy R., Graham, Nicholas A.J., and Darling, Emily S. (2014) Coral reefs in a crystal ball: predicting the future from the vulnerability of corals and reef fishes to multiple stressors. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 7. pp. 59-64.

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Coral reef communities are likely to change in the future as reef organisms respond differently to various stressors. In order to predict future reef compositions, we apply estimates of coral and fish vulnerability to two key stressors; climate change (bleaching) and fishing. Most corals were vulnerable to one or both stressors, and future coral communities are likely to comprise stress-tolerant and weedy life histories. Fish assemblages displayed a negative relationship to the two stressors; climate impacts and fishing independently influenced a different suite of species. Most functionally important groups of fishes were more vulnerable to fishing than climate change. While climate change will negatively affect many taxa (particularly reef corals), reducing local fishing impacts should benefit reef futures by enhancing key ecosystem processes.

Item ID: 32974
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1877-3435
Funders: Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Associations Marine Science for Management Program (MASMA)., John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Australian Research Council (ARC), Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2014 09:57
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 30%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070403 Fisheries Management @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
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