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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.

Field Note - Silent killer: black reefs in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is in a naturally ironpoor region in the equatorial central Pacific. The main introduction of iron to this environment is from maritime debris, especially shipwrecks and anchor gear, and is linked to proliferation of turf algae and benthic bacterial communities, and the formation of degraded ‘black reefs’...

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Deep reefs of the Great Barrier Reef offer limited thermal refuge during mass coral bleaching

Our rapidly warming climate is threatening coral reefs as thermal anomalies trigger mass coral bleaching events. Deep (or “mesophotic”) coral reefs are hypothesised to act as major ecological refuges from mass bleaching, but empirical assessments are limited. We evaluated the potential of mesophotic reefs within the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and adjacent Coral Sea to act as thermal refuges by characterising long-term temperature conditions and assessing impacts during the 2016 mass bleaching event.