The population sizes and global extinction risk of reef-building coral species at biogeographic scales

Dietzel, Andreas, Bode, Michael, Connolly, Sean R., and Hughes, Terry P. (2021) The population sizes and global extinction risk of reef-building coral species at biogeographic scales. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 5. pp. 663-669.

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Abstract

Knowledge of a species’ abundance is critically important for assessing its risk of extinction, but for the vast majority of wild animal and plant species such data are scarce at biogeographic scales. Here, we estimate the total number of reef-building corals and the population sizes of more than 300 individual species on reefs spanning the Pacific Ocean biodiversity gradient, from Indonesia to French Polynesia. Our analysis suggests that approximately half a trillion corals (0.3 × 1012–0.8 × 1012) inhabit these coral reefs, similar to the number of trees in the Amazon. Two-thirds of the examined species have population sizes exceeding 100 million colonies, and one-fifth of the species even have population sizes greater than 1 billion colonies. Our findings suggest that, while local depletions pose imminent threats that can have ecologically devastating impacts to coral reefs, the global extinction risk of most coral species is lower than previously estimated.

Item ID: 70444
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2397-334X
Copyright Information: © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited 2021.
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2022 01:01
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