Loss of coral reef growth capacity to track future increases in sea level

Perry, Chris T., Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo, Graham, Nicholas A.J., Mumby, Peter J., Wilson, Shaun K., Kench, Paul S., Manzello, Derek P., Morgan, Kyle M., Slangen, Aimee B.A., Thomson, Damian P., Januchowski-hartley, Fraser, Smithers, Scott G., Steneck, Robert S., Carlton, Renee, Edinger, Evan N., Enochs, Ian C., Estrada-Saldivar, Nuria, Haywood, Michael D.E., Kolodziej, Graham, Murphy, Gary N., Perez-Cervantes, Esmeralda, Suchley, Adam, Valentino, Lauren, Boenish, Robert, Wilson, Margaret, and Macdonald, Chancey (2018) Loss of coral reef growth capacity to track future increases in sea level. Nature, 558. pp. 396-408.

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Abstract

Sea-level rise (SLR) is predicted to elevate water depths above coral reefs and to increase coastal wave exposure as ecological degradation limits vertical reef growth, but projections lack data on interactions between local rates of reef growth and sea level rise. Here we calculate the vertical growth potential of more than 200 tropical western Atlantic and Indian Ocean reefs, and compare these against recent and projected rates of SLR under different Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios. Although many reefs retain accretion rates close to recent SLR trends, few will have the capacity to track SLR projections under RCP4.5 scenarios without sustained ecological recovery, and under RCP8.5 scenarios most reefs are predicted to experience mean water depth increases of more than 0.5 m by 2100. Coral cover strongly predicts reef capacity to track SLR, but threshold cover levels that will be necessary to prevent submergence are well above those observed on most reefs. Urgent action is thus needed to mitigate climate, sea-level and future ecological changes in order to limit the magnitude of future reef submergence.

Item ID: 54587
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1476-4687
Copyright Information: © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Funders: Leverhulme Trust (LT), Royal Society (RS), National Coral Reef Monitoring Program, National Geographic (NG), Natural Environment Research Council, Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation, and the Department for International Development (NERC-ESPA-DFiD), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Australian Research Council (ARC), BHP-CSIRO Ningaloo Outlook Marine Research Partnership
Projects and Grants: LT International Research Network grant F/00426/G, RS Newton Advanced Research Fellowship NA-150360, NERC-ESPA-DFiD Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme Grant (NE/K01045X/1, NERC NE/K003143/1, LT Research Fellowship RF-2015-152, DEFRA Darwin Initiative grant 19-027, ARC grant DE130101705, RS RS-UF140691
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2018 07:46
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
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