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Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter Mumby, Emeritus Professor Alasdair Edwards

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Abstract

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to exceed 500 parts per million and global temperatures to rise by at least 2 degrees C by 2050 to 2100, values that significantly exceed those of at least the past 420,000 years during which most extant marine organisms evolved. Under conditions expected in the 21st century, global warming and ocean acidification will compromise carbonate accretion, with corals becoming increasingly rare on reef systems. The result will be less diverse reef communities and carbonate reef structures that fail to be maintained. Climate change also exacerbates local stresses from declining water quality and overexploitation of key species, driving reefs increasingly toward the tipping point for functional collapse. This review presents future scenarios for coral reefs that predict increasingly serious consequences for reef- associated fisheries, tourism, coastal protection, and people. As the International Year of the Reef 2008 begins, scaled- up management intervention and decisive action on global emissions are required if the loss of coral- dominated ecosystems is to be avoided.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Hoegh-Guldberg O, Mumby PJ, Hooten AJ, Steneck RS, Greenfield P, Gomez E, Harvell CD, Sale PF, Edwards AJ, Caldeira K, Knowlton N, Eakin CM, Iglesias-Prieto R, Muthiga N, Bradbury RH, Dubi A, Hatziolos ME

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science

Year: 2007

Volume: 318

Issue: 5857

Pages: 1737-1742

ISSN (print): 0036-8075

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9203

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1152509

DOI: 10.1126/science.1152509


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