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Importance, Destruction and Recovery of Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are an incredibly valuable ecosystem. Coral reefs are being degraded worldwide by several reasons such as; human activities, increases in cyclone intensity, climate warming, bleaching and so on. The increasing frequency and severity of anthropogenic impacts throughout the global ocean have an impact on the coral reefs. This worldwide decline of coral reefs calls for an urgent reassessment of current management practices. Coral reefs are important for our world for several reasons.

Thirty Years of Research on Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (1986–2016): Scientific Advances and Emerging Opportunities

Research on the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS) has waxed and waned over the last few decades, mostly in response to population outbreaks at specific locations. This review considers advances in our understanding of the biology and ecology of CoTS based on the resurgence of research interest, which culminated in this current special issue on the Biology, Ecology and Management of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish. More specifically, this review considers progress in addressing 41 specific research questions posed in a seminal review by P.

Coral Reefs and People in a High-CO2 World: Where Can Science Make a Difference to People?

Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere put shallow, warm-water coral reef ecosystems, and the people who depend upon them at risk from two key global environmental stresses: 1) elevated sea surface temperature (that can cause coral bleaching and related mortality), and 2) ocean acidification. These global stressors: cannot be avoided by local management, compound local stressors, and hasten the loss of ecosystem services.

Monitoring Coral Reefs from Space

Coral reefs are one of the world’s most biologically diverse and productive ecosystems. However, these valuable resources are highly threatened by human activities. Satellite remotely sensed observations enhance our understanding of coral reefs and some of the threats facing them by providing global spatial and time-series data on reef habitats and the environmental conditions influencing them in near-real time.

A framework for understanding climate change impacts on coral reef social–ecological systems

Corals and coral-associated species are highly vulnerable to the emerging effects of global climate change. The widespread degradation of coral reefs, which will be accelerated by climate change, jeopardizes the goods and services that tropical nations derive from reef ecosystems. However, climate change impacts to reef social–ecological systems can also be bi-directional. For example, some climate impacts, such as storms and sea level rise, can directly impact societies, with repercussions for how they interact with the environment.

Marine spatial planing and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975: An evaluation

The Great Barrier Reef is internationally recognised for its natural and heritage value. Australian Government established the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act, 1975. The Act provides a legal regime for the protection of the natural and heritage values of the Reef. The Act incorporated spatial zoning and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) to achieve the objective of ecologically sustainable use and management. The Act applies many principles including Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) to achieve the objective.

Variable effects of local management on coral defenses against a thermally regulated bleaching pathogen

Bleaching and disease are decimating coral reefs especially when warming promotes bleaching pathogens, such as Vibrio coralliilyticus. We demonstrate that sterilized washes from three common corals suppress V. coralliilyticus but that this defense is compromised when assays are run at higher temperatures. For a coral within the ecologically critical genus Acropora, inhibition was 75 to 154% greater among colonies from coral-dominated marine protected areas versus adjacent fished areas that were macroalgae-dominated.

Variable effects of local management on coral defenses against a thermally regulated bleaching pathogen

Bleaching and disease are decimating coral reefs especially when warming promotes bleaching pathogens, such as Vibrio coralliilyticus. We demonstrate that sterilized washes from three common corals suppress V. coralliilyticus but that this defense is compromised when assays are run at higher temperatures. For a coral within the ecologically critical genus Acropora, inhibition was 75 to 154% greater among colonies from coral-dominated marine protected areas versus adjacent fished areas that were macroalgae-dominated.

Changing geo‐ecological functions of coral reefs in the Anthropocene

The ecology of many coral reefs has changed markedly over recent decades in response to various combinations of local and global stressors. These ecological changes have important implications for the abundance of taxa that regulate the production and erosion of skeletal carbonates, and thus for many of the geo‐ecological functions that coral reefs provide, including reef framework production and sediment generation, the maintenance of reef habitat complexity and reef growth potential.

Coral reef ecosystem services in the Anthropocene

Coral reefs underpin a range of ecosystem goods and services that contribute to the well‐being of millions of people. However, tropical coral reefs in the Anthropocene are likely to be functionally different from reefs in the past. In this perspective piece, we ask, what does the Anthropocene mean for the provision of ecosystem services from coral reefs? This synthesis of the coral reef ecosystem services literature suggests the field is poorly prepared to understand the changing service provision anticipated in the Anthropocene.