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Adapting to a Changing EnvironmentConfronting the Consequences of Climate Change$
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Tim R. McClanahan and Joshua Cinner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199754489

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199754489.001.0001

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Climate Change and the Resilience of Coral Reefs

Climate Change and the Resilience of Coral Reefs

(p.37) 4 Climate Change and the Resilience of Coral Reefs
Adapting to a Changing Environment

Tim R. McClanahan

Joshua E. Cinner

Oxford University Press

This chapter is a short introduction to the concepts of adaptation to environmental stress, followed by a review of climate change effect son coral reefs, and the environmental factors that cause coral bleaching. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how to prioritize management based on the exposure of reefs to climate change. Climate change is reducing the dominance of calcifying coral species that provide the important reef architecture needed to support fish and fisheries and other ecosystem services, including shoreline protection. Reefs are expected to change towards dominance by either slower growing and stress resistant corals, moderately fast growing calcifying algae, or fast-growing non-calcifying algae, or other groups such as various soft corals, depending on the level of other stress factor. Climate change disturbances are variable in space and time and associated with the spatial heterogeneity suggests that the impacts of climate change will not be simultaneous and uniform and this variability will provide time to implement management and human adaptations that can reduce detrimental consequences for people.

Keywords:   coral physiology, disturbances, management, recovery, species diversity, synergistic stress

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