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Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management
College of Science and Mathematics, University of the Virgin Islands, #2 Brewer’s Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802, 9990, USA
Received: 8 March 2010; in revised form: 14 April 2010 / Accepted: 28 April 2010 / Published: 11 May 2010
Abstract: Top-down controls of complex foodwebs maintain the balance among the critical groups of corals, algae, and herbivores, thus allowing the persistence of corals reefs as three-dimensional, biogenic structures with high biodiversity, heterogeneity, resistance, resilience and connectivity, and the delivery of essential goods and services to societies. On contemporary reefs world-wide, however, top-down controls have been weakened due to reduction in herbivory levels (overfishing or disease outbreak) while bottom-up controls have increased due to water quality degradation (increase in sediment and nutrient load) and climate forcing (seawater warming and acidification) leading to algal-dominated alternate benthic states of coral reefs, which are indicative of a trajectory towards ecological extinction. Management to reverse common trajectories of degradation for coral reefs necessitates a shift from optimization in marine resource use and conservation towards building socio-economic resilience into coral reef systems while attending to the most manageable human impacts (fishing and water quality) and the global-scale causes (climate change).
Keywords: alternate states; anthropogenic impacts; resilience management
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Dikou, A. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management. Diversity 2010, 2, 717-737.
Dikou A. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management. Diversity. 2010; 2(5):717-737.
Dikou, Angela. 2010. "Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management." Diversity 2, no. 5: 717-737.