A Research Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs (2018)Ocean Studies Board
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Around the world, coral reefs have seen major declines due to problems including climate change and widespread disease, in addition to local stress from pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction. Reduction and mitigation of carbon emissions will be required for successful global management of marine ecosystems. Even with such reductions, committed warming from the current accumulation of greenhouse gases is expected to expose the majority of the world’s reefs to bleaching conditions annually by 2050. In the face of these predictions, a growing body of research on coral physiology, ecology, molecular biology, and responses to stress has revealed potential tools to increase coral resilience.
This report is the first report of a two-phase study evaluating the benefits and risks of implementing novel approaches to increase coral reef survival in deteriorating environmental conditions. The report identifies and describes the state of research on a diversity of approaches that target the genetics, physiology, ecology, and local environment of coral reefs. This report is a benchmark that reflects current research, identifying efforts that range from those potentially feasible now to those that offer promise on a decadal time scale.
A second report, available in 2019, will include a risk assessment framework and decision pathway to guide progress of these interventions from the research phase to implementation when appropriate.