Special Issue "Coral Reef Diversity: Climate Change and Coral Reef Degradation"
A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2011).
Interests: Coral ecology; coral bleaching; coral adaptation; climate change; environmental structuring
Coral reefs make up only a tiny fraction of the global ecosystem. Yet their contribution to biodiversity is highly disproportionate in relation to their size, rivalling that of tropical rainforests. Coral reefs are in crisis, not only because of local and regional-scale human impacts, but now also from climate change. Reef-building corals are in obligate symbiosis with single-celled, dynoflagellates called “zooxanthellae”, on which they rely for the majority of their energy needs. Warming summers and increasing duration of extreme temperatures have resulted in unprecedented “coral bleaching”, or breakdown of the symbiosis, since the early 1980’s resulting in widespread mortality and decline in coral reefs. In addition to the thermal environment, the chemical environment of coral reefs is also under threat from increasing CO2 levels causing the world’s oceans to become more acidic, making it increasingly difficult for corals and other marine calcifying organisms to make their skeleton. Major impacts from all these sources affect not only corals but a myriad of other creatures whose niche is either directly or indirectly dependent on them. It is therefore timely that we devote a special issue on the plight of coral reefs and their conservation in an era of climate change.
- climate change
- coral bleaching