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One-third of Reef-building corals face elevated extinction risk from climate change and local impacts


Carpenter, KE and Abrar, M and Aeby, G and Aronson, RB and Banks, S and Bruckner, A and Chiriboga, A and Cortes, J and Delbeek, JC and DeVaniter, L and Edgar, GJ and Edwards, AJ and Fenner, D and Guzman, HM and Hoeksema, BW and Hodgson, G and Johan, O and Licuanan, WY and Livingstone, SR and Lovell, ER and Moore, JA and Obura, DA and Ochavillo, D and Polidoro, BA and Precht, WF and Quibilan, MC and Reboton, C and Richards, ZT and Rogers, AD and Sanciangco, J and Sheppard, A and Sheppard, C and Smith, J and Stuart, S and Turak, E and Veron, JEN and Wallace, C and Weil, E and Wood, E, One-third of Reef-building corals face elevated extinction risk from climate change and local impacts, Science, 321, (5888) pp. 560-563. ISSN 0036-8075 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1126/science.1159196


The conservation status of 845 zooxanthellate reef-building coral species was assessed by using International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Criteria. Of the 704 species that could be assigned conservation status, 32.8% are in categories with elevated risk of extinction. Declines in abundance are associated with bleaching and diseases driven by elevated sea surface temperatures, with extinction risk further exacerbated by local-scale anthropogenic disturbances. The proportion of corals threatened with extinction has increased dramatically in recent decades and exceeds that of most terrestrial groups. The Caribbean has the largest proportion of corals in high extinction risk categories, whereas the Coral Triangle (western Pacific) has the highest proportion of species in all categories of elevated extinction risk. Our results emphasize the widespread plight of coral reefs and the urgent need to enact conservation measures.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Coastal or estuarine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Edgar, GJ (Professor Graham Edgar)
ID Code:55683
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:873
Deposited By:TAFI - Marine Research Laboratory
Deposited On:2009-03-12
Last Modified:2014-12-18

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