A brave new world for coral reefs—1 June 2017

Research by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University predicts that the coral reefs of the future will be radically different from today or 30 years ago, but if we take the right steps now, we can secure the future for our reefs.

Professor Terry Hughes, Director of the Coral CoE, has led a study on reef futures and their capacity for rapid shifts from global warming, overfishing and pollution. These combined elements are transforming reefs into new configurations, where the mix of species is rapidly changing.

Their findings are captured in a new Nature article ‘Coral reefs in the Anthropocene’ published today. Professor Hughes describes the article as a solutions-oriented paper that asks the question, What do we have to do to save the world’s coral reefs?

The article explains that the window of opportunity to save coral reefs remains open and the global challenge now is to steer reefs into the future, to ensure that they remain biologically functional, and retain their ability to support the livelihoods and wellbeing of the hundreds of millions of people who depend on them.

In December 2016, Nature named Professor Hughes, as one of the elite list of ‘top ten people who mattered’ in the world for his ground-breaking coral reef research. At the time Nature described Professor Hughes as a ‘reef sentinel’ for keeping watch over one of Australia’s most precious icons.

Media issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

Image: Coral reef in Queensland, Australia.
Image credit  Sburel | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images.

Original Published Date: 
Thursday, June 1, 2017