Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A steep path

A combination of greenhouse gas mitigation and improved coral reef management will be required to avoid the degradation of the world’s coral reef ecosystems from frequent mass coral bleaching events. Actions that enhance reef resistance and reef resilience - including protection of bleaching-resistant reefs, reduction of other stressors, and possibly even more radical suggestions like “seeding” reefs with more temperature-tolerant species of Symbiodinium – may be necessary to help coral reef ecosystems endure through the committed warming over the next several decades. These management actions, while important, will alone prove to be insufficient to protect coral reefs through the latter half of the century. The difference between the future scenarios presented in this study demonstrates that protecting the world’s coral reefs from increasing thermal stress will require a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next several decades.
-- from Coping with Commitment (PLOS) by Simon Donner.