Coral reefs as novel ecosystems: embracing new futures

Author(s): Nicholas AJ Graham, Joshua E Cinner, Albert V Norström, Magnus Nyström
In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 7:9-14
Year: 2014
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Marine
Link to centre authors: Norström, Albert, Nyström, Magnus
Full reference: Nicholas AJ Graham, Joshua E Cinner, Albert V Norström, Magnus Nyström (2014) Coral reefs as novel ecosystems: embracing new futures, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 7:9-14, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2013.11.023

Summary

The composition and functions of many ecosystems are changing, giving
rise to the concept of novel ecosystems. Although some coral reefs are
becoming non-coral systems, others are becoming novel coral-dominated
ecosystems driven principally by differential species responses to
climate change and other drivers, but also due to species range shifts
at higher latitudes, and in some cases introduced species. Returning
many coral reefs to pristine baselines is unrealistic, whereas embracing
novel futures enables more pragmatic approaches to maintaining or
re-building the dominance of corals. Coral reefs are changing in
unprecedented ways, providing the impetus to improve our understanding
of reef compositions that may dominate in the future, explore new
management approaches, assess changes in ecosystem services, and
investigate how human societies can adapt and respond to novel futures.

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