Dynamic fragility of oceanic coral reef ecosystems

Graham, NAJ, Wilson, SK, Jennings, S, Polunin, NVC, Bijoux, JP and Robinson, J (2006) Dynamic fragility of oceanic coral reef ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103 (22). pp. 8425-8429. ISSN 0027-8424

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Abstract

As one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems known, and one of the first ecosystems to exhibit major climate-warming impacts (coral bleaching), coral reefs have drawn much scientific attention to what may prove to be their Achilles heel, the thermal sensitivity of reef-building corals. Here we show that climate change-driven loss of live coral, and ultimately structural complexity, in the Seychelles results in local extinctions, substantial reductions in species richness, reduced taxonomic distinctness, and a loss of species within key functional groups of reef fish. The importance of deteriorating physical structure to these patterns demonstrates the longer-term impacts of bleaching on reefs and raises questions over the potential for recovery. We suggest that isolated reef systems may be more susceptible to climate change, despite escaping many of the stressors impacting continental reefs.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
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Depositing User: Rosie Cullington
Date Deposited: 27 May 2011 11:46
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2018 16:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/31528
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0600693103

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