1

People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.

2

Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution

3

Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

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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Scientists have taken a rare look at the depths of the Great Barrier Reef and have discovered they’re teeming with a kaleidoscope of life.

And they say conservation planners should take into account their findings to better protect the international icon.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University PhD candidate Tiffany Sih led the study, which used Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) and multi-beam sonar to examine the reef down to 260 metres.

“The ecology of deeper habitats along the Great Barrier Reef has rarely been investigated. While we know habitat like coral is important for shallower fish species, there was little understanding of how important reef habitat is to fish in deeper environments,” said Ms Sih.

She said the lack of information was due to the expense of doing research at these depths, which often requires specialist divers, remotely operated submersibles or mini-submarines.

Instead, the team sampled 48 sites between 54 and 260 metres deep in the central GBR using sonar and a relatively simple BRUVS rig, which attracts fish with bait and films them.

“We found the ecology of deeper reef fish communities is fundamentally different from those found at shallower depths. Depth and reef composition was important, but habitat preferences clearly had a role in determining the distribution of fish species.

Both the living components of the habitat – such as algae, soft corals and sponges, as well as big boulders or mud flats – contribute to the structure and complexity of the reef, which has an effect on what kind of fish you find there,” said Ms Sih. 

She said when the rules around fishing in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park were determined over a decade ago, less environmental data was available for the deeper habitats.

“They took into account what they did not know, and allowed for some uncertainty, by designating some of the deeper areas as no-take zones and zones where certain types of fishing, like bottom-trawling, were banned. But now the technology exists where we can map the deeper areas and fully document the fish community,” said Ms Sih.

She said that in the future it will be important to compare deeper fish communities in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and to consider deeper reefs as essential neighbourhoods where communities of fish thrive.

Contact: Tiffany Sih (now located in Ocean Grove, Victoria)
M: 0432 528 008
E: Tiffany.Sih@my.jcu.edu.au

Professor Mike Kingsford (Professor Kingsford works at JCU’s Townsville campus).
M: 0438 731 694
E: Michael.kingsford@jcu.edu.au
T: 07 4781 4312

Paper: Sih TL, Daniell JJ, Bridge TC, Beaman RJ, Cappo M, Kingsford MJ, (2019). Deep-Reef Fish Communities of the Great Barrier Reef Shelf-Break: Trophic Structure and Habitat Associations. Diversity. 11(2):26.

Link to journal here

Video here

Rat control should be considered an urgent conservation priority on many remote tropical islands to protect vulnerable coral reefs, according to an international team of scientists.

New research has confirmed that invasive rats decimate seabird populations, with previously unrecognised consequences for the extensive coral reefs that encircle and protect these islands.

Invasive predators such as rats – which feed on bird eggs, chicks, and even adults birds – are estimated to have decimated seabird populations within 90% of the world’s temperate and tropical island groups, but until now the extent of their impact on surrounding coral reefs wasn’t known.

The new study, led by researchers at Lancaster University (UK), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University and Dalhousie University (Canada), examined tropical ecosystems in the northern atolls of the Chagos Archipelago to uncover how rats have impacted surrounding reefs.

Lead author Professor Nick Graham of Lancaster University, said: “Seabirds are crucial to these kinds of islands because they are able to fly to highly productive areas of open ocean to feed. They then return to their island homes where they roost and breed, depositing guano – or bird droppings – on the soil.  This guano is rich in the nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus.  Until now, we didn’t know to what extent this made a difference to adjacent coral reefs.”

An extraordinary set of remote tropical islands in the central Indian Ocean, the Chagos islands provided a perfect ‘laboratory’ setting as some of the islands are rat-free, while others are infested with black rats – thought to have been introduced in the late 1700s and early 1800s. This unusual context enabled the researchers to undertake a unique, large-scale study directly comparing the reef ecosystems around these two types of islands.

By examining soil samples, algae, and counting fish numbers close to the six rat-free and six rat-infested islands, scientists uncovered evidence of severe ecological harm caused by the rats, which extended way beyond the islands and into the sea.

Rat-free islands had significantly more seabird life and nitrogen in their soils, and this increased nitrogen made its way into the sea, benefiting macroalgae, filter-feeding sponges, turf algae, and fish on adjacent coral reefs.

Fish life adjacent to rat-free islands was far more abundant with the mass of fish estimated to be 50% greater.

The team also found that grazing of algae – an important function where fish consume algae and dead coral, providing a stable base for new coral growth – was 3.2 times higher adjacent to rat free islands.

“These results not only show the dramatic effect that rats can have on the composition of biological communities, but also on the way these vulnerable ecosystems function (or operate),” said co-author Dr Andrew Hoey from Coral CoE at James Cook University.

“Critically, reductions in two key ecosystem functions (grazing and bioerosion) will likely compromise the ability of these reefs to recover from future disturbances.”

Professor Graham said: “The results of this study are clear. Rat eradication should be a high conservation priority on oceanic islands. Getting rid of the rats would be likely to benefit terrestrial ecosystems and enhance coral reef productivity and functioning by restoring seabird derived nutrient subsidies from large areas of ocean. It could tip the balance for the future survival of these reefs and their ecosystems.”

Associate Professor Aaron MacNeil from Dalhousie University said: “These results show how conservation can sometimes be a bloody business, where doing right by the ecosystem means there is a time to kill. For these invasive rats, that time is now.”

The paper “Seabirds enhance coral reef productivity and functioning in the absence of invasive rats,” is published in the prestigious journal Nature.

The research was led by  Lancaster University (UK) with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Australia), Dalhousie University (Canada), Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Perth, Australia, University of Western Australia, Australia, Zoological Society of London, UK, University of Exeter, UK, and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Denmark.

 

Note to Editors

Additional key points from the study:

Citation: Graham, NAJ, Wilson, SK, Carr, P, Hoey, AS, Jennings, S, MacNeil, MA (2018), Seabirds enhance coral reef productivity and functioning in the absence of invasive rats. Nature 559: 250-253 

Link to video and images here. Please credit as marked.

Contacts for interviews 

Prof Nick Graham
Lancaster University, Lancaster Environment Centre
Lancaster, U.K.
P: +44 (0) 7479 438 914 (GMT/UTC)
E: nick.graham@lancaster.ac.uk

Dr Andrew Hoey
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University
Townsville, QLD AUSTRALIA
P: +61 7 4781 5979 (AEST/UTC +10)
E: andrew.hoey1@jcu.edu.au

A/Prof Aaron MacNeil
Dalhousie University, Department of Biology
Halifax, NS, CANADA
P: +1 902 402-1273 (ADT/UTC -3)
E: a.macneil@dal.ca

For further information

Beth Broomby (U.K.)
Head of Press Office, Lancaster University
P: +44 (0) 1524 593719, +44 (0) 7881 813 831 (GMT/UTC)
El: b.broomby@lancaster.ac.uk

Catherine Naum (AUSTRALIA)
Communications Manager, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
P: +61 (0) 7 4781 6067, +61 (0) 428 785 895 (AEST/UTC +10)
E: catherine.naum1@jcu.edu.au

Niecole Comeau (CANADA)
Communications, Faculty of Science, Dalhousie University
P: +1 (902) 494-8443, +1 (902) 223-2446 (ADT/UCT -3)
E: niecole.comeau@dal.ca

Reports in recent years that marine protected areas (MPAs) aren’t effective in saving coral reefs from the damaging effects of global climate change have led some to argue that such expensive interventions are futile. But a study that spanned 700 kilometers of the eastern Caribbean reveals that MPAs can, indeed, help coral reefs.

An international team of scientists from the University of Maine, USA (UMaine) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at The University of Queensland, Australia (Coral CoE) conducted research on the leeward islands of the Caribbean and discovered that local reef protection efforts can work — contradicting several previous studies.

Local fisheries management resulted in a 62 percent increase in the density of young corals, which improves the ecosystem’s ability to recover from major impacts like hurricanes and coral bleaching, according to the team’s findings, published in Science Advances, a journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“MPAs can help coral reefs, but studies to the contrary just weren’t measuring the right things at the right scales,” says lead author and Professor of Marine Biology, Bob Steneck, of UMaine.

“The idea behind MPAs is that, by reducing fishing pressure, you increase the number of seaweed-eating fish, and they decrease the amount of harmful seaweed, which makes it easier for baby corals to get started and thrive on the reef. But coral reefs are complicated, and lots of other things can affect fish numbers, their ability to control the growth of algae and the ability of corals to take advantage of this.”

“Taking field measurements on coral reefs is time consuming, so many researchers are forced to take shortcuts and use simple, widely available data to analyse how reefs respond to protection,” says study co-author Professor Peter Mumby of Coral CoE.

“While it sounds obvious, we show that our ability to detect the benefits of MPAs on corals improves dramatically when you take more detailed measurements,” Prof Mumby says.

“For example, a simple option is to count the number of herbivorous fishes. But if, instead, you estimate how intensively these fishes feed, you obtain a much clearer and compelling insight.”

There is no management panacea for any ecosystem, and especially not for coral reefs, Prof Steneck notes.

“Certainly, stresses on coral reefs from climate and atmospheric changes are serious and beyond direct management control. However, we suggest that local management measures can bolster the recovery of corals after damaging events and, eventually, improve their overall condition.”

Doug Rasher of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science in East Boothbay, Maine, adds: “What we show is that relatively small changes can nudge this ecosystem toward one that can maintain and sustain itself.”

The research team, which also included researchers from James Cook University (Australia) and RARE (USA), concludes that the best way to measure the effectiveness of reef conservation is by using a suite of metrics, including the number of fish, amount of seaweed and the number of baby corals, rather than just one indicator of reef health.

This research was partially funded by the National Geographic Society.

Multimedia resources available here.

Video abstract courtesy of University of Maine here.

Citation: Steneck, RS, Mumby, PJ, MacDonald, C, Rasher, DB, Stoyle, G (2018). Attenuating effects of ecosystem management on coral reefs. Science Advances Vol. 4, no. 5, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aao5493

 

Contact:

Robert Steneck, steneck@maine.edu (EST)

Peter Mumby, p.j.mumby@uq.edu.au (AEST)

 

For More Information:

Margaret Nagle, nagle@maine.edu (EST)

Catherine Naum, catherine.naum1@jcu.edu.au (AEST)

Jan King, j.king@uq.edu.au (AEST)

An international team of scientists has developed a strategy to boost people’s ability to adapt to climate change, revealed in a new study published today in the prestigious journal, Nature Climate Change.

“Millions of coastal people in the tropics have been affected by the global coral bleaching event that unfolded over the previous two years. We need to find ways to help these people adapt to change,” said Professor Joshua Cinner from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

A group of social scientists from the USA, Australia, UK, and Chile, led by Prof. Cinner, have pooled their experience, and lessons from hundreds of research and development projects, to highlight five keys ways to build up the adaptive capacity of people living in the coastal tropics. These include:

1. Ensuring that people have the assets to draw upon in times of need. These assets can include household wealth or public goods such as health services, but they need to be developed in ways that don’t exacerbate existing inequalities;
2. Providing the flexibility to change. “Having some flexibility can enable people to minimise losses or even take advantage of climate-related change,” said Prof. Eddie Allison from the University of Washington, USA. “For example, fishers might need to change fishing grounds or target new species.”
3. Learning about climate change and adaptation options. “People need to learn about new techniques and strategies that can help them cope with changing circumstances,” said Prof. Katrina Brown at the University of Exeter, UK.
4. Investing in social relationships. “The formal and informal relationships that people have with each other and their communities can help them deal with change by providing social support and access to both knowledge and resources,” said Prof. Cinner.
5. Empowering people to have a say in what happens to them. “We also need to ensure that people have the ability to determine what is right for them,” said Prof. Brown.

The paper “Building adaptive capacity to climate change in tropical coastal communities,” will be published in the February 1 issue of Nature Climate Change, and is available online today.

Citation: Cinner JE, Adger WN, Allison EH, Barnes ML, Brown K, Cohen PJ, Gelcich S, Hicks CC, Hughes TP, Lau J, Marshall NA, Morrison TH (2018) Building adaptive capacity to climate change in tropical coastal communities. Nature Climate Change 8:117-123

Link to video and images here. Please credit as marked.

Contacts:

Australia: Prof. Josh Cinner.
E: Joshua.cinner@jcu.edu.au
M: +61(0)417714138

UK: Prof. Katrina Brown.
E: Katrina.Brown@exeter.ac.uk

North America (USA): Prof. Eddie Allison.
E: eha1@uw.edu
M: +1 206 859 3438 (mobile)

Latin America (Chile): Dr. Stefan Gelcich
E: sgelcich@bio.puc.cl
P: +569 9577 8574

For more information:

Catherine Naum
Communications Manager
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University
Townsville, QLD AUSTRALIA
P: +61 (0)7 4781 6067
M: +61 (0) 428 785 895 (AEST/UTC +10)
E: Catherine.Naum1@jcu.edu.au

New research into the impact of climate change has found that warming oceans will cause profound changes in the global distribution of marine biodiversity.

In a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change an international research team modelled the impacts of a changing climate on the distribution of almost 13 thousand marine species, more than twelve times as many species as previously studied.

The study found that a rapidly warming climate would cause many species to expand into new regions, which would impact on native species, while others with restricted ranges, particularly those around the tropics, are more likely to face extinction.

Professor John Pandolfi from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at the University of Queensland says global patterns of species richness will change significantly, with considerable regional variability.

“This study was particularly useful because it not only gave us hope that species have the potential to track and follow changing climates but it also gave us cause for concern, particularly in the tropics, where strong biodiversity losses were predicted,” says Professor Pandolfi.

“This is especially worrying, and highly germane to Australia’s coral reefs, because complementary studies have shown high levels of extinction risk in tropical biotas, where localized human impacts as well as climate change have resulted in substantial degradation.”

To model the projected impact of climate change on marine biodiversity, the researchers used climate-velocity trajectories, a measurement which combines the rate and direction of movement of ocean temperature bands over time, together with information about thermal tolerance and habitat preference.

They say the analysis provides the simplest expectation for the future distribution of marine biodiversity, showing recurring spatial patterns of high rates of species invasions coupled with local extinctions.

Professor Elvira Poloczanska from CSIRO says, “This study shows how climate change will mix up biodiversity patterns in the ocean. Ecological communities which are currently distinct, will become more similar to each other in many regions by the end of the century”

Dr David Schoeman from the University of the Sunshine Coast says the model suggests that there is still time to act to prevent major climate-related extinctions outside of the topics.

“Results under a scenario in which we start actively mitigating climate change over the next few decades indicates substantially fewer extinctions than results from a business-as-usual scenario,” Dr Schoeman says.

“Possibly more worrying, though, is the imminent development of novel biotic assemblages. We have little idea of how these new combinations of species in ocean systems around the world will affect ecosystem services, like fisheries. We should be prioritising ecological research aimed specifically at addressing this question.”

Professor Pandolfi warns the resultant novel combinations of resident and migrant species will present unprecedented challenges for conservation planning.

“Above all, this study shows the broad geographic connections of the effects of climate change – conservation efforts need to be facilitated by cooperation among countries to have any real chance of combating the potentially severe biodiversity losses that a changing climate might impose.”

 ~~~

Paper

The paper, Climate velocity and the future of global redistribution of marine biodiversity by Jorge Garcia Molinos, Benjamin S. Halpern, David S. Schoeman, Christopher J. Brown, Wolfgang Kiessling, Pippa J. Moore, John M. Pandolfi, Elvira S. Poloczanska, Anthony J. Richardson and Michael T. Burrows is published in the journal Nature Climate Change http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2769

Contact
Professor John Pandolfi, j.pandolfi@uq.edu.au, +61 (0) 400 982 301
Professor Elvira Poloczanska, Elvira.poloczanska@csiro.au, +61 (0) 428 741 328
Dr David Schoeman, dschoema@usc.edu.au, +61 (0) 423 982 898
Eleanor Gregory (media), eleanor.gregory@jcu.edu.au

A simple test of the number of fish living on a coral reef can be used as a roadmap to restore degraded reefs and fishers’ livelihoods according to a global study published in the journal Nature.

An international team of marine scientists surveyed more than 800 coral reefs worldwide to develop a diagnostic test of reef health.

“By studying remote and marine protected areas, we were able to estimate how many fish would be on a coral reef without fishing, and how long it should take newly protected areas to recover,” says study lead author, Dr Aaron MacNeil from the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

“This allows us to gauge the impact of reef fisheries, and make informed management decisions that include timeframes for recovery,” Dr MacNeil says.

Coral reefs are home to thousands of species of fish and provide food and income for millions of people, particularly those in the developing world. Yet the scientists found that the vast majority of fished reefs they examined have lost more than half of their fish.

Marine reserves are the most effective way to recover fish populations, however, there are no benchmarks to determine if the protection is effective, or whether a reserve has recovered enough to be fished again.

The authors say it is also not feasible to lock away reef resources indefinitely when so many people depend on them for their livelihoods.

Millions of people depend on fish for food and their livelihoods. Image: Andrew Baird

To solve this problem, the team studied the fish biomass on coral reefs around the world and discovered that near-pristine reefs contain 1,000 kilos (a tonne) of fish per hectare. Using this figure as a benchmark, they found that 83 per cent of fished reefs have lost more than half of their fish biomass (volume of fish).

From their work the scientists were able to determine that once protected, previously fished reefs take about 35 years to recover, while heavily depleted reefs take almost 60 years.

Co-author, Dr Nick Graham from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University says it was encouraging to find that substantial biomass remained where some form of management was in place.

“Changes in fishing practices can result in a significant return of key fish species over time,” Dr Graham says.

“Restrictions on types of gears, species caught, or local customs, all ensured substantial recovery in fish feeding groups. However, only completely closed marine protected areas successfully returned large predatory fish to the ecosystem,” Dr Graham says.

“Fish play important roles in the overall functioning of coral reef ecosystems, for example in controlling seaweed and invertebrates. By linking fisheries to ecology, we can now uncover important ecosystem functions for a given level of fish biomass.”

Dr MacNeil says fisheries managers have the potential to arrest a key threat to coral reefs.

“Where previously we have been managing reef fisheries not really knowing how depleted fish stocks were, we now have a roadmap for recovery that tells us not only where we are with fish biomass, but where we might want to go, and how long it will take to get there” he says

Co-author, Dr Tim McClanahan, from the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, says the findings will help fishers determine how much catch to take and how much to leave behind.

“The methods used in this study are simple enough that fishers and managers can take the weight and pulse of their reef and keep it in a healthy range that had not previously been defined,” Dr McClanahan says.

“By choosing to conserve resources, fishers and managers have the ability to plan for recovery and help reefs remain productive in the face of increasing stress from climate disturbances.”

~~~

 Paper

The paper, Recovery potential of the world’s coral reef fishes by M. Aaron MacNeil, Nicholas A.J. Graham, Joshua E. Cinner, Shaun K. Wilson, Ivor D. Williams, Joseph Maina, Steve Newman, Alan M. Friedlander, Stacy Jupiter. Nicholas V.C. Polunin, and Tim McClanahan is published in the journal Nature.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature14358.html

Contacts

Dr Aaron MacNeil, AIMS, +61 (0)437 409 019, a.macneil@aims.gov.au (AEDT)

Dr Nicholas Graham, Coral CoE, +61 (0)466 432 188, nick.graham@jcu.edu.au

Dr Tim McClanahan, WCS, +1 415 518 4604, tmcclanahan@wcs.org (EST)

Eleanor Gregory, Coral CoE communications, +61 (0) 428785 895, eleanor.gregory@jcu.edu.au

Researchers in Queensland have found that where baby corals choose to settle is influenced by ocean temperature and the presence of their symbiotic algae in the water.

Warmer than normal maximum temperatures are known to have a negative impact on the reproduction and survival of some corals. The researchers wanted to find out how a cooler climate, similar to that found south of the Great Barrier Reef, would affect coral larvae settlement.

“We were interested to see how temperature influenced the selection of where corals chose to settle,” says Dr Eugenia Sampayo from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at the University of Queensland.

“At colder than average ambient temperatures we found that the larvae settled on more exposed surfaces where they were more likely to be damaged or removed entirely by fish.”

Coral larvae actively search out a place to settle using a range of sensory cues. Once in place they can’t move, so a poor choice of location increases the risk of death.

As part of the experiment researchers exposed larvae from coral commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef, Acropora millepora, to several different temperatures; including normal temperatures for the Great Barrier Reef and cooler temperatures similar to those experienced south of the Great Barrier Reef.

Coral Spawning. Image: Natalia Winkler

Under normal conditions, the larvae prefer to settle on surfaces covered in crustose coralline algae, but the researchers found larvae in the cooler water were less likely to choose such a surface, reducing their chance of a successful settlement.

The researchers also examined the influence of dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium), microscopic single celled organisms that live inside coral tissue once it has settled. This so-called symbiotic relationship is essential to the survival of corals in tropical oceans.

“Perhaps the most surprising result is that the presence of these symbionts in the water also influenced whether the coral larvae settled on the algae encrusted surfaces or not,” says study lead author, Natalia Winkler from the Coral CoE.

“The fact that the symbionts can influence larval settlement without actually being inside the coral tissue highlights just how important the symbionts are for corals,” Ms Winkler says

Dr Sampayo adds the results suggest a link between crustose coralline algae and the symbionts.

“If symbionts cluster near favorable locations, the coral larvae kill two birds with one stone by finding a good spot to settle and a concentrated source of symbionts, which are normally sparse in the water,” Dr Sampayo says.

“We have discovered a previously unknown biological control over coral settlement, one that is likely to be influenced by warming oceans and that can change how corals select their life-long position on the reef.”

Paper

Symbiodinium identity alters the temperature-dependent settlement behaviour in Acropora millepora coral larvae before onset of symbiosis by Winkler NS, Pandolfi JM, Sampayo EM is published in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society London B. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2260

Contacts

Dr Eugenia Sampayo, Coral CoE, +61 (0) 7 3365 2729, e.sampayo@uq.edu.au

Natalia Winkler, Coral CoE, natalia.s.winkler@gmail.com

Eleanor Gregory, Communications Manager, +61 (0) 428 785 895,

eleanor.gregory@jcu.edu.au

 

Coral reefs provide a range of benefits, such as food, opportunities for income and education, but not everyone has the same access to them, according to a new study conducted by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

The researchers examined how people from 28 fishing communities in Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania and Seychelles benefit from the marine environment.

For many years conservation in developing countries has been based on the assumption that improvements in ecosystem conditions, such as increasing coral reef fish biomass, will benefit the community as a whole.

But Dr Christina Hicks, a social scientist, says this is approach is too simplistic.

“Increased supply tends to benefit the elite, not the community as a whole,” Dr Hicks says.

“We need to look at the social and economic access mechanisms that would enable a wider group of people to benefit from reefs and then develop policies based on that information,” she says.

Study co-author Professor Josh Cinner from the Coral CoE says the focus on increasing the supply of benefits isn’t enough.

“We need to pay more attention to how that benefit is distributed and how it is accessed by different people within a community,” Professor Cinner says.

The researchers argue that policy makers need a more inclusive approach to managing coral reefs, which includes a focus on improving wellbeing.

“We tend to focus on economic growth because it is easy to measure, but this should be greatly expanded to include the way people can share in the benefits that flow from reefs,” Dr Hicks says.

Paper

Social, institutional, and knowledge mechanisms mediate diverse ecosystem service benefits from coral reefs by Christina C. Hicks and Joshua E. Cinner is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/11/26/1413473111.long

Contacts

Dr Christina Hicks, +61 (0) 466 437 490 christina.hicks@jcu.edu.au

Professor Joshua Cinner, +61 (0) 417 714 138, joshua.cinner@jcu.edu.au

Eleanor Gregory, Coral CoE Media, +61 (0) 428 785 895, eleanor.gregory@jcu.edu.au

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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