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Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au

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How does climate change impact coral reef critters? It’s complicated

14
Nov 2017

Posted By

ARC CoE for Coral Reef Studies

Ocean warming and ocean acidification due to climate change, are two key stressors impacting the marine environment. But how much of an impact will these threats have on coral reef ecosystems? In a paper published this week, the Coral CoE’s Dr Chris Cornwall and Dr Steeve Comeau suggest that to achieve the most accurate picture of response, researchers must consider the natural highs and lows of sea water temperature and pH, characteristic of reef habitats, as well as how current and future generations of affected species cope with changes on a daily and long-term basis.

In the natural environment, reef inhabitants might be exposed to a wide range of changes in temperature and pH, depending on the reef community composition and water movements. These shifts may occur on a daily basis, and can lessen the effects of the stressors, for example, by providing a window for recovery.

A suite of recommendations for maximizing research outcomes in this space are offered in the paper “The role of natural variability in shaping the response of coral reef organisms to climate change,” published in the journal Current Climate Change Reports.

More information can be found here.

Aerial reef survey of Western Australia's Kimberely Region. Image: Prof Steeve Comeau
Aerial reef survey of Western Australia's Kimberely Region. Image: Prof Steeve Comeau

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Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au