Preparing to Manage Coral Reefs for Ocean Acidification: Lessons from Coral Bleaching

The authors examine the lessons learned from the implementation of management strategies to address the impacts of coral reef bleaching and how these strategies may be modified to address the impacts of ocean acidification. Because stabilizing CO2 emissions is the most critical need to address ocean acidification, and this is out of the scope of reef managers’ jobs, it is important to manage for local stressors and protect resilient areas.

The authors have several recommendations: First, because evidence suggests local-scale processes and local stressors have more impact on ocean chemistry, it is important to manage for local stressors (such as land-based sources of pollution and over-fishing). Second, the priority areas to protect include the most resilient, least vulnerable sites. These sites may already be adapted to large variations in pH, may have surrounding seagrass beds, or be connected to “source reefs” to maximize larval influx. Finally the authors recommend further research into the impacts of lowered pH on reef species and on how local and regional processes can affect ocean chemistry.

Author: McLeod, E., K.R.N. Anthony, A. Andersson, R. Beeden, Y. Golbuu, J. Kleypas, K. Kroeker, D. Manzello, R.V. Salm, H. Schuttenberg, and J.E. Smith 
Year: 2013
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Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11:20-27. doi:10.1890/110240

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