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Modelling coral reef futures to inform management: can reducing local-scale stressors conserve reefs under climate change?

Citation

Gurney, GG and Melbourne-Thomas, J and Geronimo, RC and Alino, PM and Johnson, CR, Modelling coral reef futures to inform management: can reducing local-scale stressors conserve reefs under climate change?, PLoS ONE, 8, (11) Article e80137. ISSN 1932-6203 (2013) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Gurney et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080137

Abstract

Climate change has emerged as a principal threat to coral reefs, and is expected to exacerbate coral reef degradation caused by more localised stressors. Management of local stressors is widely advocated to bolster coral reef resilience, but the extent to which management of local stressors might affect future trajectories of reef state remains unclear. This is in part because of limited understanding of the cumulative impact of multiple stressors. Models are ideal tools to aid understanding of future reef state under alternative management and climatic scenarios, but to date few have been sufficiently developed to be useful as decision support tools for local management of coral reefs subject to multiple stressors. We used a simulation model of coral reefs to investigate the extent to which the management of local stressors (namely poor water quality and fishing) might influence future reef state under varying climatic scenarios relating to coral bleaching. We parameterised the model for Bolinao, the Philippines, and explored how simulation modelling can be used to provide decision support for local management. We found that management of water quality, and to a lesser extent fishing, can have a significant impact on future reef state, including coral recovery following bleaching-induced mortality. The stressors we examined interacted antagonistically to affect reef state, highlighting the importance of considering the combined impact of multiple stressors rather than considering them individually. Further, by providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao’s reef system, such as which course of management action will most likely to be effective over what time scales and at which sites, we demonstrated the utility of simulation models for supporting management. Aside from providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao’s reef system, our study offers insights which could inform reef management more broadly, as well as general understanding of reef systems.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Ecosystem Assessment and Management
Objective Field:Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments
Author:Gurney, GG (Ms Georgina Gurney)
Author:Melbourne-Thomas, J (Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas)
Author:Johnson, CR (Professor Craig Johnson)
ID Code:89294
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-02-28
Last Modified:2015-07-08
Downloads:277 View Download Statistics

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