Special Issue "Climate Change and Human Activities on Coral Reefs"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Sander Scheffers

Southern Cross University, National Marine Science Centre, Lismore, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: coral reef ecology; reef geomorphology; nutrient dynamics; climate change; coral and giant clam aquaculture; coral reef microbiology; coral reef restoration; coral adaptation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world. They are home to numerous species of marine life and offer many benefits to both natural ecosystems and to us humans. Coral reefs are economically very important to coastal countries through tourism, fishing, aquaculture, and new drugs (e.g. Hoegh-Guldberg 1999). Additionally, they provide the only working natural coastal protection against extreme wave events. However, coral reefs are experiencing massive mortality globally. Initially, some thought that threats to coral reefs were locally based such as eutrophication and tourism, but we now know that problems are much farther reaching. Rising global temperatures, and the “evil twin” ocean acidification, are all affecting coral reef ecosystems negatively. The recent catastrophic bleaching events on the GBR is of much concern to scientists, tourism operators and the general public. Such events are a major contributor to ongoing coral loss on reefs globally, thereby jeopardising productivity and biodiversity of these important marine ecosystems. There is much debate if climate change alone, or conjoining factors such as local overfishing, eutrophication or tourism impact are to blame. While climate change is arguably the most extensively studied impact lately, there remain considerable gaps in our knowledge of confounding effects of other local impacts. This Special Issue provides a platform to highlight new research and significant advances in understanding all human impacts on coral reefs and possible solutions to remedy such impacts.

Dr. Sander Scheffers
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 850 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Coral reefs
  • Disturbance
  • Ecology
  • Bleaching
  • Human impact
  • Climate Change
  • Overfishing
  • Tourism
  • Nutrients

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Beyond Capricornia: Tropical Sea Slugs (Gastropoda, Heterobranchia) Extend Their Distributions into the Tasman Sea
Diversity 2018, 10(3), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10030099
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 27 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 4 September 2018
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Abstract
There is increasing evidence of poleward migration of a broad range of taxa under the influence of a warming ocean. However, patchy research effort, the lack of pre-existing baseline data, and taxonomic uncertainty for some taxa means that unambiguous interpretation of observations is
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There is increasing evidence of poleward migration of a broad range of taxa under the influence of a warming ocean. However, patchy research effort, the lack of pre-existing baseline data, and taxonomic uncertainty for some taxa means that unambiguous interpretation of observations is often difficult. Here, we propose that heterobranch sea slugs provide a useful target group for monitoring shifts in distribution. As many sea slugs are highly colourful, popular with underwater photographers and rock-pool ramblers, and found in accessible habitats, they provide an ideal target for citizen scientist programs, such as the Sea Slug Census. This maximises our ability to rapidly gain usable diversity and distributional data. Here, we review records of recent range extensions by tropical species into the subtropical and temperate waters of eastern Australia and document, for the first time in Australian waters, observations of three tropical species of sea slug as well as range extensions for a further six to various locations in the Tasman Sea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Activities on Coral Reefs)
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Open AccessArticle Anthropogenic Impacts on Coral Reef Harpacticoid Copepods
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020032
Received: 20 February 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
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Abstract
The number of studies demonstrating the susceptibility of benthic reef communities to anthropogenic impacts is growing. However, for some of the components of reef fauna, such as meiobenthic harpacticoid copepods, information is still lacking. Here, different diversity and taxonomic distinctness indexes and multivariate
[...] Read more.
The number of studies demonstrating the susceptibility of benthic reef communities to anthropogenic impacts is growing. However, for some of the components of reef fauna, such as meiobenthic harpacticoid copepods, information is still lacking. Here, different diversity and taxonomic distinctness indexes and multivariate analyses were used to test whether the assemblage of harpacticoid copepods colonizing Artificial Substrate Units (ASUs) is an appropriate tool for the identification of reefs subjected to different levels of anthropogenic pressure. Furthermore, we also evaluate if diffused, persistent, anthropogenic impacts generate the homogenization and simplification of Harpacticoida assemblages. Six reefs were organized into two groups along the coast, depending on their proximity to very large urban centers. ASUs were used for meiofauna colonization and, for each reef, 320 Harpacticoida individuals were separated for identification at the species level. Abiotic parameters were analyzed, and significant differences were found between the two groups of reefs, with an increase in dissolved inorganic nutrients found in areas near large urban centers. Both the multivariate analyses and the indexes of diversity showed a clear separation between the reefs closer to the urban zones and those further away, as a response to the anthropogenic pressure. As hypothesized, in the impacted reef areas, there was a strong simplification and homogenization of the harpacticoid copepod assemblages. However, the results of the indexes, based on taxonomic distinctness, suggest that there was no phylogenetic signal of anthropogenic impact on coral reef harpacticoid copepods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Activities on Coral Reefs)
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Open AccessArticle Cumulative Human Impacts on Coral Reefs: Assessing Risk and Management Implications for Brazilian Coral Reefs
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020026
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
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Abstract
Effective management of coral reefs requires strategies tailored to cope with cumulative disturbances from human activities. In Brazil, where coral reefs are a priority for conservation, intensifying threats from local and global stressors are of paramount concern to management agencies. Using a cumulative
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Effective management of coral reefs requires strategies tailored to cope with cumulative disturbances from human activities. In Brazil, where coral reefs are a priority for conservation, intensifying threats from local and global stressors are of paramount concern to management agencies. Using a cumulative impact assessment approach, our goal was to inform management actions for coral reefs in Brazil by assessing their exposure to multiple stressors (fishing, land-based activities, coastal development, mining, aquaculture, shipping, and global warming). We calculated an index of the risk to cumulative impacts: (i) assuming uniform sensitivity of coral reefs to stressors; and (ii) using impact weights to reflect varying tolerance levels of coral reefs to each stressor. We also predicted the index in both the presence and absence of global warming. We found that 16% and 37% of coral reefs had high to very high risk of cumulative impacts, without and with information on sensitivity respectively, and 42% of reefs had low risk to cumulative impacts from both local and global stressors. Our outputs are the first comprehensive spatial dataset of cumulative impact on coral reefs in Brazil, and show that areas requiring attention mostly corresponded to those closer to population centres. We demonstrate how the relationships between risks from local and global stressors can be used to derive strategic management actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Activities on Coral Reefs)
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