Coral Reef

Coral reefs worldwide are facing impacts from climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. The cumulative effect of these impacts on global capacity of coral reefs to provide ecosystem services is unknown. Here, we evaluate global changes in extent of coral reef habitat, coral reef fishery catches and effort, Indigenous consumption of coral reef fishes, and coral-reef-associated biodiversity. Global coverage of living coral has declined by half since the 1950s.
The unprecedented global heatwave of 2014–2017 was a defining event for many ecosystems. Widespread degradation caused by coral bleaching, for example, highlighted the vulnerability of hundreds of millions of people dependent on reefs for their livelihoods, well-being, and food security. Scientists and policy makers are now reassessing long-held assumptions about coping with anthropogenic climate change, particularly the assumption that strong local institutions can maintain ecological and social resilience through ecosystem-based management, adaptation, and restoration.
Elsevier, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 33, December 2018
Rapid ocean warming as a result of climate change poses a key risk for coral reefs. Even if the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement are achieved, coral reefs are likely to decline by 70–90% relative to their current abundance by midcentury. Although alarming, coral communities that survive will play a key role in the regeneration of reefs by mid-to-late century.
Elsevier, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 136, November 2018
Increasing accessibility of coral reefs from the latter third of the 20th century led quickly to recognition of the vulnerability of coral reef communities to a combination of direct and indirect human impacts. Coral reefs are confronted by the stark threats of climate and ocean changes from the increasing number, intensity and forms of human use impacting global and marine systems. Management, particularly of accessible coral reefs, occurs in the context of multiple scale transboundary water column linkages of lifecycle processes and increasing human use of coastal and marine space.