Special Issue "Marginal Reef Systems: Resilience in A Rapidly Changing World"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 August 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Nicola Browne
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
Interests: marine ecology; paleoecology; coral physiology and morphology; carbonate sedimentology; habitat mapping; water quality; island geomorphology; sediment transport; oceanography; ecological modelling; conservation management
Dr. Andrew Bauman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore | NUS, Singapore
Interests: population dynamics of corals; extreme and degraded coral reef systems; fish-macroalgal-coral interactions; functional role of herbivorous fishes; predator-prey interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Marginal coral reefs live under sub-optimal environmental conditions (e.g., low light, high sediment inputs and variable temperatures) and include turbid and mesophotic reefs, high-latitude reefs, high-temperature reefs, and high CO2 seep reefs near volcanic vents. These reef systems are typically characterised by low biodiversity, reduced habitat complexity, and low coral cover, and are dominated by stress tolerant and weedy coral communities. Given that the range of marginal reefs will likely extend with future climate change, studying these reefs may provide potentially novel and useful insights into the effects of future climate change on coral reefs. Further, marginal reefs allows us to test hypotheses about resilience in the face of increasing local and global stressors that impact biodiversity, ecosystem function, and carbonate accretion. Biodiversity is considered to be a cornerstone of reef resilience, and as such, reef conservation has focused greatly on biodiversity hotspots. Yet there is increasing evidence that marginal reefs with lower biodiversity may have greater resilience to future ocean warming.

We invite submissions that focus on marginal reef types, their resilience to environmental stress and potential characteristics (e.g., species diversity, community composition, ecophysiology, functional coral traits, host symbiont associations) that contribute to their resilience and function.  These studies can include local to global studies and site-specific case studies to meta-analysis approaches and can focus on the coral micro-biome to reef communities on both fossil and contemporary reefs. In doing so, this Special Issue will highlight new research and significant advances on these understudied reef systems, and re-assess their conservation value.

Dr. Andrew Bauman
Dr. Nicola Browne
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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 monthly 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 1800 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.


  • Coral reefs
  • Marginal environments
  • Ocean warming
  • Resilience
  • Biodiversity
  • Coral reef conservation

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Turbid Coral Reefs: Past, Present and Future—A Review
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060251 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1122
Increasing evidence suggests that coral reefs exposed to elevated turbidity may be more resilient to climate change impacts and serve as an important conservation hotspot. However, logistical difficulties in studying turbid environments have led to poor representation of these reef types within the [...] Read more.
Increasing evidence suggests that coral reefs exposed to elevated turbidity may be more resilient to climate change impacts and serve as an important conservation hotspot. However, logistical difficulties in studying turbid environments have led to poor representation of these reef types within the scientific literature, with studies using different methods and definitions to characterize turbid reefs. Here we review the geological origins and growth histories of turbid reefs from the Holocene (past), their current ecological and environmental states (present), and their potential responses and resilience to increasing local and global pressures (future). We classify turbid reefs using new descriptors based on their turbidity regime (persistent, fluctuating, transitional) and sources of sediment input (natural versus anthropogenic). Further, by comparing the composition, function and resilience of two of the most studied turbid reefs, Paluma Shoals Reef Complex, Australia (natural turbidity) and Singapore reefs (anthropogenic turbidity), we found them to be two distinct types of turbid reefs with different conservation status. As the geographic range of turbid reefs is expected to increase due to local and global stressors, improving our understanding of their responses to environmental change will be central to global coral reef conservation efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marginal Reef Systems: Resilience in A Rapidly Changing World)
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