Corals. in the. The State of Corals and Recommendations for Recovery

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1 Corals in the Red The State of Corals and Recommendations for Recovery

2 This report was written by Patty Debenham, Ph.D. Contributing authors and editorial assistance from: Andrew Baker, Ph.D., Elisabeth Banks, Shannon Crownover, Lauren Cuneo, Hollis A. Hope, Corinne Knutson, Cindy Krupp, Dawn M. Martin, Bruce McKay, Elizabeth Neeley, Eric Punkay, Julia Roberson, and Carl Safina, Ph.D. About Too Precious to Wear Too Precious to Wear is a program of SeaWeb that is working in collaboration with the fashion industry to create a demand for coral conservation. Too Precious to Wear raises awareness about the threats to global coral species and works to create stronger coral protection policies. The Tiffany & Co. Foundation is joined by other fashion leaders such as fashion designers Lela Rose of Lela Rose, Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock of Vena Cava, cosmetics innovator Chantecaille Beauté, and metalsmith designer Michael Aram of Michael Aram. For more information, visit About SeaWeb SeaWeb is a communications-based nonprofit organization that uses social marketing techniques to advance ocean conservation. By raising public awareness, advancing science-based solutions, and mobilizing decision-makers around ocean conservation, we are leading voices for a healthy ocean. For more information, visit

3 Corals in the Red The State of Corals and Recommendations for Recovery

4 Corals around the world are in jeopardy and urgent action is needed to stem their decline. With the fashion industry and scientists uniting, we have an opportunity to reduce consumer pressure on corals, and raise awareness of the global threats they face from climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and disease. Andrew Baker, Ph.D. University of Miami

5 Corals in the Red The State of Corals and Recommendations for Recovery Introduction Corals are among the most important animals in the sea. They provide marine life with places to find food, safe havens from predators, and areas for reproduction. Some coral reefs are so large it is possible to see them from space. For example, the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is more than one thousand miles long and covers an area of 135,000 square miles. Travelers to tropical destinations find corals in turquoise seas at the edge of white sand beaches. Consumers commonly come across coral products as jewelry and home décor items and in home aquariums. However, corals are not mere accessories or curios from the sea. They are vital components of a healthy ocean. Corals are experiencing a global crisis. Warmer, more acidic ocean conditions caused by greenhouse gas emissions are perhaps the biggest threat to these important marine species. They are also suffering from damage inflicted by overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. For centuries, corals have been hauled out of the sea for fashion, décor, art, and as marine curiosities. More recently, industry has fished corals for sale to consumers for home aquariums. Scientists believe that these important, slow-growing animals can no longer withstand these pressures. There is hope that corals can recover from hundreds of years of abuse if consumers, governments, and the business community put protection first. If we can reduce local impacts resulting from consumer demand, pollution, and overfishing, scientists believe that corals will have a better chance of surviving the threat of climate change. The most important steps we can take to help corals recover include: Reduce carbon emissions to slow the effects of climate change, Avoid purchasing and selling corals and associated organisms, and Support stronger policies and increase funding to protect corals. 1

6 What Is Coral? Corals Are Living Animals Despite their appearance, corals are neither rocks nor plants they are living animals. Corals can be divided into two main groups hard corals, which resemble rocks, boulders, or tree trunks, and soft corals, which look like tree branches or fans. Most corals are actually colonies of many individual coral animals, called polyps. Each polyp secretes a hard limestone skeleton to support its living tissues. Over time, as individual coral colonies die, their hard skeletons accumulate on top of each other to form permanent structures called reefs. A coral reef is an assemblage of many colonies, both living and dead, which have accumulated over many years. At almost 3,000 years old, some coral colonies are among the oldest living animals on earth. Coral Reefs Are the Most Diverse Ecosystem in the Ocean Coral reefs are the most diverse ecosystem in the ocean and are second only to tropical rainforests in terms of biological diversity. Just over 5,000 coral species are known to exist. Up to nine million marine species, or a third of all marine life, are estimated to be found on shallow water coral reefs. Corals Are Global Corals are found all over the world in shallow, tropical waters as well as on the deep, dark ocean floor. Shallow water coral reefs have adapted to warm water and rely on being close to sunlight for their survival. Other corals come from the deep sea and survive in cold waters without sunlight. The corals used in tropical fish tanks and as home décor items primarily come from shallow water environments. Most precious corals used in jewelry come from the deep sea, and are commonly found as deep as 3,000 feet underwater. 2

7 Corals Are Important to Humans and to the Ocean Twenty-five Percent of All Marine Fish Depend on Corals Corals are among the most important animals in the sea because coral reefs provide habitat that is crucial for the survival of many thousands of marine species. Specifically, 25 percent of marine fish depend on corals as a place to find food, mates, and safe havens from predators. The spaces and gaps between coral branches and other tiny crevices of the reef provide shelter and refuge for the eggs, larvae, and young of animals such as shrimp, crabs, and fish. Corals Feed People As many as one billion people in Asia alone depend on fish caught in coastal waters dominated by coral reefs. People from island nations such as Fiji and Micronesia obtain anywhere from 80 to 98 percent of their animal protein from marine life supported by the reefs. Corals May Offer Cures Because of the incredible biodiversity in coral reefs, some researchers estimate that the prospect of finding a new drug in the sea may be times more likely than finding one from terrestrial locations. The most well known pharmaceutical using chemicals from corals is AZT, a compound used to treat HIV infections. Another, Curacin A, is a leading anti-cancer drug candidate first derived from a bacterium found on Caribbean coral reefs. A further anti-cancer compound (bryostatin-1) was developed from a common coral reef species called a bryozoan, and is currently worth up to US$1 billion per year. Bamboo corals and other species of porous corals provide an important substance in orthopedic bone implants. Corals Protect Islands and Coastlines Coral reefs also can protect coastal communities from natural disasters. A study of the 2004 tsunami in Asia showed that the presence of healthy coral reefs could have reduced the tsunami s effects by 50 percent. In parts of Sri Lanka that had a history of heavy coral mining, the tsunami had higher waves, reached further inland, and resulted in more severe damage. Nearby areas with healthy reefs showed significantly less damage. 3

8 Corals Are Important to the Economy In 2003, WWF, a global conservation organization, calculated that corals provide a global total of nearly US$30 billion net economic benefits from fisheries, tourism, coastal protection, and biodiversity (see box). In 1997, a group of researchers working out of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis calculated that the global value of ecological services provided by corals (such as nursery areas for fish) equaled roughly US$375 billion per year. In a recent study by The Nature Conservancy, communities in Fiji and the Philippines saw direct economic benefits from protecting coral areas. The regions showed increases in fish and shellfish catches and related increases in incomes and a reduction in poverty that could be attributed to coral reef protection. Corals Are Important Economically Fisheries Tourism/recreation Coastal protection Biodiversity (i.e. medicine, conservation) Global net economic value from corals Ecological services provided by corals $5.7 billion $9.6 billion $9.0 billion $5.5 billion $29.8 billion a $375 billion b a) Source WWF b) Source NCEAS Sustainable Beauty Researchers in the Bahamas identified a class of natural products with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, pseudopterosins, from a gorgonian coral. These scientists, along with government managers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration s National Sea Grant College Program, worked together to develop a plan to collect this coral in a sustainable manner. As a result, over a 15-year period it has been possible to obtain sufficient supplies without devastating local populations. This effort ultimately led to use of coralderived substances in Resilience, a line of Estée Lauder skin care products. In 1995, pseudopterosin was among the University of California s top 10 royalty-producing discoveries. 4

9 Corals Are in Trouble Despite the tremendous services, income, and enjoyment these beautiful creatures provide, corals are in crisis. Global warming, increasing acidity in the oceans, overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution all threaten corals. In 2007, scientists documented that we are losing the tropical coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific, which represent 75 percent of all tropical coral reefs, at a rate of two percent per year, or approximately two times faster than rainforest destruction. Further predictions estimate that 24 percent of the world s reefs are under imminent risk of collapse through human pressures, and a further 26 percent are under a longer-term threat of elimination. Climate Change Projected increases in ocean temperatures over the next 50 years will exceed the conditions under which coral reefs have flourished over the past 500,000 years. Corals, especially those found on shallow reefs, are very sensitive to changes in water temperature. Reef-building corals normally host symbiotic algae inside their tissues. These plants are critical for the survival and growth of these corals. However, as corals become stressed by increasing water temperatures, they lose these algae, along with the pigment and energy they provide. This process is called coral bleaching. If the water is too hot for too long, bleached coral will eventually die. Ocean Acidification Another potentially devastating consequence of greenhouse gas emissions (specifically carbon dioxide) is a dramatic change in the chemistry of seawater. Higher ocean acidity changes the availability of the chemicals that corals and other animals need to build their limestone skeletons. By mid century, the ocean could be so acidic that corals would be unable to secrete their calcium carbonate skeletons. The result would be corals that are more fragile and more vulnerable to storms and disturbance. Overfishing Historical records dating back thousands of years show how excessive the current removal of fish from coral areas is, and what a significant threat to the survival of reefs this overfishing poses. Many coral reef fish act as gardeners by regularly eating the seaweeds that naturally grow on reefs. However, when too many reef fish are removed, these rapidly growing seaweeds can quickly take over and smother reef corals. Climate change and ocean acidification pose serious threats for corals. The left image represents a healthy reef at current carbon dioxide levels (375 ppm); the center image shows the degraded state of reefs in the future with carbon dioxide levels at ppm; the right image shows the future state of most reefs if carbon dioxide levels increase to 560 ppm. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Centre for Marine Studies, The University of Queensland. 5

10 Destructive Fishing Techniques In addition to overfishing, there are also several fishing methods that directly destroy corals: Blast Fishing: In some parts of the world, dynamite or other explosives are set off underwater to kill fish and float them to the surface. This makes it very easy for a fisher to collect the catch, but the explosion also kills the surrounding coral reefs and leaves them in rubble. Bottom Trawling: In the deeper ocean, trawl nets are often used to catch fish. Fish and other targets are caught by dragging a large, weighted net over the ocean floor. However, this method indiscriminately destroys everything in its path, including corals, which are ground into rubble or become entangled in nets and are brought to the surface. Poison Fishing: In some coral reef regions, poisons such as cyanide or bleach are squirted into coral crevices to stun fish, making them easier to catch. This form of fishing also severely damages the reef by killing and damaging surrounding corals. Pollution Pollution, in the form of untreated sewage, fertilizer runoff, agricultural pesticides, oil spills and leaks from motorboats, and sediment washed onto the reef from deforested lands, has long-term negative impacts on corals. Increased nutrients and pollutants create favorable conditions for harmful algae, seaweeds, and disease. A 1998 study by the World Resources Institute estimated that 22 percent of the world s reefs are under medium to high threat from inland sources of pollution and sediment. Direct Removal of Corals A variety of corals are removed from the ocean for use in jewelry, décor, and aquariums. Currently, the United States annually imports approximately one million live coral animals that are taken from tropical reefs for use in aquariums. An additional 129 metric tons of dead coral come into the United States for the home décor and curio trade. 6 Strain on the Great Barrier Reef The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is the world s largest coral reef system. It is in better shape than most other reefs in the world, in part because much of it is far from population centers, and also because the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority is one of the strongest marine management systems. But there are many ways that the Great Barrier Reef is showing the strains felt by all corals: Commercial fishing pressure on sharks and rays on the Great Barrier Reef has increased fourfold since 1993 in 40 years, the numbers of nesting turtles have plummeted 50 to 80 percent Coastal Queensland s population of dugong marine mammals has been reduced to three percent of its 1960s level nutrient and sediment discharge onto the Great Barrier Reef has quadrupled over the last century.

11 The United States is the largest documented consumer of precious red coral, with 26 million pieces imported between 2001 and Corals are also mined in large quantities to produce lime and construction material for homes, roads, and sewage treatment. These commodities support valuable economic activities all over the world. However, in many cases, the extraction of coral products is not conducted in a sustainable manner. In addition, corals grow so slowly that it can take decades for them to recover. Governments around the world need to improve management and to document and evaluate the long-term effects of coral removal. Red coral (Corallium) used for jewelry provides a striking example of the fact that coral extraction for consumer use is not sustainable. Commercial demand for red coral has permanently changed red coral populations by reducing average colony size and replacing large adults with small, immature colonies that are unable to reproduce. Disease The study of disease in marine organisms is a new discipline. However, there is clear evidence that new infectious diseases are emerging, and the impact of these diseases has increased significantly. Coral diseases (such as white band disease, which has decimated previously thriving species of Caribbean corals) are now considered a major threat to coral health and productivity worldwide. Latest Coral Science Finding Scientists Publication Date Coral reefs in much of the Pacific are dying faster than previously thought and at a rate that is twice as fast as rainforest destruction. Coral cover in the Indo-Pacific has dropped 56 percent in the past two decades. By 2100, the ocean could be so acidic that 70 percent of all known deep sea coral locations will no longer be habitable. This change is happening over decades, whereas historically, it occurred over many thousands of years. There are at least 5,080 known coral species in the ocean. Two-thirds (3,336) of them come from the deep sea and one-third (1,644) come from shallow waters. Evidence shows that Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in coral reef areas contribute to poverty reduction by increasing fish catches, providing new jobs, and improving local management of marine resources. Warmer ocean waters as a result of climate change can make healthy corals more vulnerable to disease outbreaks. Drs. John Bruno and Elizabeth Selig 2007 Dr. John Guinotte and colleagues 2006 Dr. Steve Cairns 2007 The Nature Conservancy 2007 Drs. Marc Bally and Joaquim Garrabou 2007 There is hope. Corals may be able to adapt or acclimatize to warmer ocean waters, although how long this will take is the subject of intense scientific debate. Dr. Andrew Baker and Adrienne Romanski

12 Despite their appearance, corals are neither rocks nor plants. Corals are living animals that provide thousands of marine species with food, fertile grounds for reproduction, and safe havens from predators. 8

13 It Is Not Too Late to Save Corals Following are recommendations on how to improve corals chance for recovery. Reduce Carbon Emissions to Slow the Effects of Climate Change Climate change, by creating warmer and more acidic oceans, is the single largest threat to corals. It is important that local, regional, and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are significant and successful. Governments around the world need to commit to real reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. There are also many organizations that can help you make simple changes in your life to reduce your contribution to climate change. Environmental Defense conducted a competitive process to identify high-quality carbon offset programs. The following list includes a few of these programs: Fight Global Warming Campaign Native Energy Carbon Fund e-blue Horizons Avoid Purchasing and Selling Corals and Associated Organisms It is important that we decrease the amount of corals that we remove from the sea. Corals can easily be simulated from other substances such as glass, resin, metal, or wood, to create products that are indistinguishable from the real animal. SeaWeb s Too Precious to Wear program is working with designers in the fashion, jewelry, beauty, and interior design industries to create and promote products that celebrate the beauty of corals without harming the ocean. Design leaders in these fields are using their influence to speak out for coral protection. In 2003, Tiffany & Co. was the first major company to publicly state that they will no longer sell coral items. Other companies, such as Chantecaille Beauté, Michael Aram, Lela Rose, and Vena Cava, are celebrating the beauty of coral by designing products that do not cause harm to the ocean. You can also join celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus by showing your support for coral conservation and choosing these beautiful products that are not made of real coral. For more information and to view alternative coral products, visit Nut Bowl from Michael Aram s Coral Collection is an example of a coral-inspired product that celebrates the beauty of corals without harming the ocean. 9

14 Support Stronger Policies and Increased Funding to Protect Corals The current international and domestic laws related to coral are inadequate. Many existing laws and regulations could be strengthened to improve coral conservation as follows: Control and Monitor Trade Because current U.S. and international management policies are weak, it is impossible to create meaningful assessments of U.S. and global coral trade. The evidence to quantify coral trade is scarce, convoluted, or non-existent. In the aquarium trade, for example, some import items are recorded by weight, while others are counted by number of pieces. For example, an import record of one piece may be small numerically, yet can represent a coral branch as large as three feet long or decades old. Stronger government policies need to ensure improved monitoring and enforcement of the coral trade. For example, Too Precious to Wear is seeking an Appendix II listing for precious red coral under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Such a listing would create a permit system and monitor global trade for the first time. Create Protected Areas coral Smuggling In November 2007, customs authorities in Argentina seized a five-ton shipment of corals and seashells from the Philippines. The shipment was intended for the black market in Buenos Aires. Some 1,500 pieces of corals and seashells were incorrectly declared as manufactured goods when they were unloaded at the Buenos Aires port. In the Philippines, it is illegal to gather, possess, send, or export ordinary, precious or semi-precious corals whether raw or in processed form except for research use. However, illegal smuggling of corals from Philippine reefs is common. In October 2007, 104 sacks of corals and shells were seized from a fashion jewelry factory in Barangay Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City by the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation. Allegedly the corals were heading to France and India for the commercial fashion market. Marine Protected Areas are sections of the sea that are managed to protect the natural resources within their boundaries. They can help protect plants and animals within their borders, and potentially can help replenish areas outside the boundaries. Numerous scientific studies have shown that marine reserves result in long-lasting and often rapid increases in the diversity, abundance, and size of fish and other marine organisms. Much like the value of a savings bank, Marine Protected Areas provide a buffer of resources that is available during times of ecological hardship. Support and Fund Scientific Research The United States and international governments need to support scientific inquiry to identify better management options. There is much that we need to understand in order to know how and where to protect corals. The scientific information about deep sea corals is particularly scant. The concept of coral resilience provides a good example of how scientific research could help save corals. Resilience is the natural capacity of all organisms and ecosystems to recover from damage. Scientists are finding that some reef areas are more resilient than others (meaning they have more survivors, and recover faster than other areas faced with similar threats). Understanding the factors underlying resilience and survivorship is a critical field of research. Managers can 10

15 use this information to identify and protect critical zones, to ensure that healthy areas can replenish damaged areas, and to minimize the chances that one catastrophic event will destroy an entire ecosystem. The following pieces of pending and approved legislation provide initial frameworks to improve coral protection. An Appendix II listing with CITES will improve monitoring and trade information for red corals used in the jewelry trade. A strong Coral Reef Conservation Act will help protect all corals located within or being imported into the United States. CITES Appendix II Listing for Red Coral Of all the deep sea species, red coral represents the largest and most valuable market, with an estimated global trade of metric tons per year. Seven red coral species are traded worldwide as jewelry and other decorative products. Yet no mechanisms are in place to monitor and control this environmentally harmful trade. CITES provides a powerful tool for improving environmental management without discouraging ecologicallysound trade. An Appendix II listing under the CITES regulatory framework gives both producer and consumer Corals in Decline 11

16 countries the responsibility to ensure that the coral trade is sustainable. It is important to continue to urge the CITES member countries to take coral conservation seriously and pass an Appendix II listing of red coral at the next Conference of Parties in Qatar in The U.S. Coral Reef Conservation Act In the United States, the Coral Reef Conservation Act (CRCA) has been awaiting congressional reauthorization since The 2007 versions of the CRCA that are currently in front of the U.S. Congress provide modest funding for conservation and scientific research. There are also minor changes in governance to improve cooperation between agencies. However, new additions to the CRCA could take a stronger position on issues such as climate change and overfishing, and include substantive measures to monitor trade of coral items. The CRCA and other government programs need to support sufficient funding for these activities as well as for ongoing scientific research. deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program In January 2007, President Bush signed into law the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. This law includes several provisions to conserve deep sea corals in national and international waters. It is important that the implementation of this law include: appropriate funding for the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program identified in the law, development of proactive approaches towards the conservation of deep sea coral habitat, and restrictions on the use of destructive types of fishing gear within areas of deep sea corals. ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act In 2007, both houses of the U.S. Congress introduced versions of the Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act. This legislation establishes an interagency committee directed to develop a strategic research plan designed to improve our understanding of the environmental and economic impacts of increased ocean acidification, including areas with coral reefs. The bill will also establish a comprehensive research and monitoring program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which includes grants for critical research projects that explore the effects of ocean acidification. Two Effective Coral Management Measures Protect Fish: In October 2007, the first coral reef fish spawning closure took place in Australia. Fishers and government officials agreed to stop fishing for nine days in an important area for fish reproduction. The goal is that this new program will result in increases in young fish populations. Reduce Pollution: Pollution from untreated waste water can devastate coral reefs. However, the cost of building a water treatment plant can be less than the potential costs of reduced tourism revenue. For example, in 1999 it was calculated that a water treatment plant in Florida would cost US$60-70 million to build and US$4 million to operate annually. However, the long-term financial benefit from tourism was estimated at US$700 million a clear case for investment to protect the future. 12

17 Summary Corals and coral reefs represent one of the most diverse and beautiful ecosystems on the planet, and one which offers many benefits to humans and our habitat. Yet, the environment in which corals thrive is under threat through our behavior, directly and indirectly. If we destroy this precious resource, we will not only lose marine life, we will lose a valuable source of human sustenance, coastal protection, tourism and recreation, and the potential to develop new and potent drugs. But it is not too late. We believe corals can recover, and, with changes in how we interact with our environment, we can affect the fate of these precious life forms for the benefit of all. 13

18 Coral Links Conservation Organizations ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies Corals & Coral Reefs: Conservation and Research conservation.htm Coral Reef Management (as part of the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme) International Year of the Reef Reef Relief: Coral Reef Conservation Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Conserving Coral Conservation/Coral/ The Coral Reef Alliance The Marine Conservation Biology Institute: Deep-Sea Coral Science coral_science.htm The Nature Conservancy: Coral Reefs: Rescue the Reef explore/explore.html World Research Institute Coral Reefs WWF Coral Triangle Initiative WWF: Increasing Protection: Coral Reefs and Mangrove Forests Government Sites Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority NASA: Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration s (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program NOAA s Coral Reef Information System US Coral Reef Task Force US Environmental Protection Agency: Habitat Protection: Coral Reef Protection Academic Sites Coral Reef Ecology: Research Database The Coral Reef Ecology Home Page The Coral Reef Targeted Research and Capacity Building for Management (CRTR) Program ReefBase: A Global Information System for Coral Reefs References Baker, A. C., A. M. Romanski Multiple symbiotic partnerships are common in scleractinian corals, but not in octocorals: Comment on Goulet (2006). Marine Ecology Progress Series 335: Bally, M. and J. Garrabou Thermodependent bacterial pathogens and mass mortalities in temperate benthic communities: a new case of emerging disease linked to climate change. Global Change Biology 13(10): Cairns, S. D Deep-water corals: an overview with special reference to diversity and distribution of deepwater scleractinian corals. Bulletin of Marine Science 81(3). Cesar, H., L. Burke, et al The Economics of Worldwide Coral Reef Degradation. Cesar Environmental Economics Consulting: 24. Gilman, E Precious corals fisheries. In: Gilman, E., Managing marine fisheries of the U.S. Pacific Islands Past, present and future. Prepared for the U.S. Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, 2003: Bruckner, A. W Life-saving products from coral reefs. Issues in Science and Technology. Bruno, J. F. and E. R. Selig Regional decline of coral cover in the Indo-Pacific: Timing, extent, and subregional comparisons. PLoS ONE 2(8): 8. Grigg, R. W Precious corals in Hawaii: Discovery of a new bed and revised management measures for existing beds. Marine Fisheries Review 64(1): 8. Gu, L. C., T. W. Geders, et al GNAT-like strategy for polyketide chain initiation. Science 318(5852): Bryant, D., L. Burke, et al Reefs at Risk: A Map- Based Indicator of Threats to the World s Coral Reefs. World Resources Institute: 57. Guinotte, J. M., J. Orr, et al Will human-induced changes in seawater chemistry alter the distribution of deep-sea scleractinian corals? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 4(3): 6.

19 Harvell, C. D., C. E. Mitchell, et al Climate warming and disease risks for terrestrial and marine biota. Science 296(5576): Hoegh-Guldberg, O Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world s coral reefs. Marine and Freshwater Research 50(8): Hoegh-Guldberg, O., P. J. Mumby, et al Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification. Science 318(5857): Hughes, T. P., A. H. Baird, et al Climate change, human impacts, and the resilience of coral reefs. Science 301: 5. Hughes, T. P., M. J. Rodrigues, et al Phase shifts, herbivory, and the resilience of coral reefs to climate change. Current Biology 17(4): Jackson, J., Michael X. Kirby, et al Historical overfishing and the recent collapse of coastal ecosystems. Science 293(5530): 12. Kleypas, J. A. and C. Langdon Coral reefs and changing seawater chemistry, chapter in Coral Reefs and Climate Change. Coastal and Estuarine Studies 61. Kleypas, J. A., J. W. McManus, et al Environmental limits to coral reef development: Where do we draw the line? American Zoologist 39(1): Knowlton, N Thresholds and multiple stable states in coral-reef community dynamics. American Zoologist 32(6): Knowlton, N Coral reef biodiversity habitat size matters. Science 292(5521): 3. Mumby, P. J The impact of exploiting grazers (scaridae) on the dynamics of Caribbean coral reefs. Ecological Applications 16(2): Mumby, P. J Connectivity of reef fish between mangroves and coral reefs: Algorithms for the design of marine reserves at seascape scales. Biological Conservation 128(2): Mumby, P. J., C. P. Dahlgren, et al Fishing, trophic cascades, and the process of grazing on coral reefs. Science 311(5757): Mumby, P. J., A. R. Harborne, et al Trophic cascade facilitates coral recruitment in a marine reserve. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104(20): Mumby, P. J., A. Hastings, et al Thresholds and the resilience of Caribbean coral reefs. Nature 450(7166): 4. Nonaka, M., K. Muzik, et al Capture, study and display of precious corals. Proceedings of 10th International Coral Reef Symposium: 11. Pandolfi, J. M., J. B. C. Jackson, et al Ecology Are US coral reefs on the slippery slope to slime? Science 307(5716): Richmond, R., T. Rongo, et al Watersheds and coral reefs: Conservation science, policy, and implementation. BioScience 57(7): Roark, E. B., T. P. Guilderson, et al Radiocarbonbased ages and growth rates of Hawaiian deep-sea corals. Marine Ecology Progress Series 327: 14. Roberts, J. M., A. J. Wheeler, et al Reefs of the deep: The biology and geology of cold-water coral ecosystems. Science 312: 6. Rowan, R., N. Knowlton, et al Landscape ecology of algal symbionts creates variation in episodes of coral bleaching. Nature 388(6639): Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K. B. Avery, M. Tignor, and H. L. Miller (eds) IPCC 2007: Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Nature Conservancy, et al Nature s Investment Bank: How Marine Protected Areas Contribute to Poverty Reduction. Turley, C. M., J. M. Roberts, et al Corals in deepwater: Will the unseen hand of ocean acidification destroy cold-water ecosystems? Coral Reefs 26: 4. Wabnitz, C., M. Taylor, et al The global trade in marine ornamental species. UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre: 65. Wilkinson, C The mass coral bleaching and mortality event: 2 years on. In: Wilkinson, C. (ed.). Status of coral reefs of the world: (Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Australia). Photography Cover: Alberto Lindner / NOAA p.3: Joshua E. Cinner / James Cook University p.5, p.6: Ove Hoegh-Guldberg / The University of Queensland p.9: Michael Aram p.13, top two photos: Chuck Savall 15

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