Climate Change
Reef Science Corner: Climate Change and Coral Loss
Written by Dr. John Bruno
  

John Bruno kicks off another part of his Reef Science coral series, excerpting a modified version of an article he published last year on the Earth Portal about Coral Reefs and Climate Change. He covers global patterns of coral loss and several of the mechanisms through which anthropogenic climate change is contributing to this trend including coral bleaching, disease and ocean acidification.  Let him know know if there are particular topics you want to hear about.  You can reach him at jbruno@unc.edu.

There are many causes of local and global coral loss but human-induced climate change is one of the main and undeniable threats.  Climate change is having negative effects on coral populations via at least three mechanisms.  

 
Reef Science Corner: Patterns of Coral Loss
Written by Dr. John Bruno
  

John Bruno kicks off Part 2 of his Reef Science coral series, excerpting a modified version of an article he published last year on the Earth Portal about Coral Reefs and Climate Change. He covers global patterns of coral loss and several of the mechanisms through which anthropogenic climate change is contributing to this trend including coral bleaching, disease and ocean acidification.  Let him know know if there are particular topics you want to hear about.  You can reach him at jbruno@unc.edu.

Patterns of coral loss

We know very little about the historical biological baseline of coral reefs because we didn’t really begin to study them until they were already being degraded.  Based on surveys in the 1960s and early 1970s and recent studies of relatively “pristine” reefs, it appears that historically, coral cover (the percentage of the ocean floor covered by living coral) on undisturbed reefs was 70% or higher.  However, even before people began degrading reefs, natural disturbances such as storms and predator outbreaks reduced coral locally.  Thus the historical average (i.e., across all reefs in a region, including disturbed and undisturbed reefs) was surely lower and probably closer to 50 or 60%.

 
Reef Science Corner: Coral Climate Change
Written by Dr. John Bruno
  

A reefscape from the Great Barrier Reef. (Photo credit: AIMS LTMP)
 
Starting next Monday I will begin making regular posts, excerpting a modified version of an article I published last year on the Earth Portal about Coral Reefs and Climate Change.  The complete original article is archived here in the Coral Reefs Collection of the Encyclopedia of Earth. Ill cover global patterns of coral loss and several of the mechanisms through which anthropogenic climate change is contributing to this trend including coral bleaching, disease and ocean acidification.  I will also include links to lots of further reading.  Let me know if there are particular topics you want to hear about. 

You can reach me at jbruno@unc.edu.

 


Page 3 of 3