Are U.S. Coral Reefs on the Slippery Slope to Slime?

This article has received significant attention from researchers, managers, and the public. It is a bit controversial and the doom and gloom picture presented may or may not most accurately describe the current state of affairs. Regardless, the paper draws attention to issues of coral reef decline as part of Science’s Policy Forum. The author’s vision of how to reverse coral reef decline in the United States requires addressing multiple threats at the same time. Numerous responses to this paper are available in the 17 June 2005 Science issue (Volume 308).

Author: Pandolfi, J. M., J.B.C. Jackson, N. Baron, R.H. Bradbury, H.M. Guzman, T.P. Hughes, C.V. Kappel, F. Micheli, J.C. Ogden, H.P. Possingham, and E. Sala
Year: 2005
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Science 307: 1725-1726. doi: 10.1126/science.1104258

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Assessing Environmental Damage to Marine Protected Area: A Case of Perhentian Marine Park in Malaysia

Tourism (including diving, snorkeling, swimming and recreational fishing) in and around Perhentian Marine Park on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia is having a negative impact on coral reefs. The authors of this article looked at the most harmful activities that are threatening these ecosystems to guide more effective planning and management.

According to local stakeholders, the activities that are the most harmful to marine habitats in the MPA are littering, discarding fishing equipment, excess fishing, and damage due to too many divers. The researchers make the following recommendations to ensure more protection for coral reefs: reduce and regulate use of coral reefs for tourism activities, conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of land based development activities to determine marine ecosystem impacts, increase effective coordination between agencies and local stakeholders (including fishers), and provide education activities for local communities about the importance of protecting coral reef ecosystems.

Author: Islam, G.M.N., K.M. Noh, T.S. Yew, and A.F.M. Noh
Year: 2013
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Journal of Agricultural Science 5(8): 132-141

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Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching

A comprehensive overview and synthesis of coral bleaching and potential effects of climate change, discussions regarding the meaning of resistance and resilience, and future research opportunities are presented here. This papers reviews initiatives that are working on coral reef resilience and provides information on tools and management strategies. Additionally, a comprehensive glossary of relevant terms is provided. This document is an invaluable resource for MPA practitioners. 

Author: Grimsditch, G.D. and R.V. Salm
Year: 2005
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Produced by the IUCN World Conservation Union

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A Framework for Responding to Coral Disease Outbreaks that Facilitates Adaptive Management

In this study, investigators develop and present a framework for responding to coral disease outbreaks with implications for reef ecosystem health. The framework contains four components, including an early warning system, a tiered impact assessment program, scaled management actions, and a communication plan.

A combination of predictive tools with in situ observations of areas at risk for disease outbreak constitute the early warning system, while reports of increasing disease prevalence triggers a tiered response of assessment, research, or management actions. Response to the disease outbreak risk is scaled based on the severity and spatial extent of impacts incurred by a disease outbreak to coral species.

Additionally, the study reviews potential management actions to mitigate coral disease impacts and facilitate recovery of the reef ecosystem, and considers coral disease-specific strategies as well as strategies already used in reef resilience.

Author: Beeden R., J.A. Maynard, P.A. Marshall, S.F. Heron, and B.L. Willis
Year: 2012
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Environmental Management 49:1–13. doi:10.1007/s00267-011-9770-9

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