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One-Third of Reef-Building Corals Face Elevated Extinction Risk from Climate Change and Local Impacts

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Alasdair Edwards

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Abstract

The conservation status of 845 zooxanthellate reef-building coral species was assessed by using International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Criteria. Of the 704 species that could be assigned conservation status, 32.8% are in categories with elevated risk of extinction. Declines in abundance are associated with bleaching and diseases driven by elevated sea surface temperatures, with extinction risk further exacerbated by local-scale anthropogenic disturbances. The proportion of corals threatened with extinction has increased dramatically in recent decades and exceeds that of most terrestrial groups. The Caribbean has the largest proportion of corals in high extinction risk categories, whereas the Coral Triangle (western Pacific) has the highest proportion of species in all categories of elevated extinction risk. Our results emphasize the widespread plight of coral reefs and the urgent need to enact conservation measures.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Carpenter KE, Abrar M, Aeby G, Aronson RB, Banks S, Bruckner A, Chiriboga A, Cortés J, Delbeek JC, DeVantier L, Edgar GJ, Edwards AJ, Fenner D, Guzmán HM, Hoeksema BW, Hodgson G, Johan O, Licuanan WY, Livingstone SR, Lovell ER, Moore JA, Obura DO, Ochavillo D, Polidoro BA, Precht WF, Quibilan MC, Reboton C, Richards ZT, Rogers AD, Sanciangco J, Sheppard A, Sheppard C, Smith J, Stuart S, Turak E, Veron JEN, Wallace C, Weil E, Wood E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science

Year: 2008

Volume: 321

Issue: 5888

Pages: 560-563

ISSN (print): 0036-8075

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9203

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1159196

DOI: 10.1126/science.1159196

PubMed id: 18653892


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