Apr 4, 2016

Coral Reefs Highlight the Key Role of Existing Biodiversity for Climate Change Adaptation

Southampton WA 6253
Australia
by
Phys.org
Coral reefs show that hidden genetic diversity can prepare ecosystems for climate change. Photo: Prof. J. Wiedenmann, University of Southampton, UK
Coral reefs show that hidden genetic diversity can prepare ecosystems for climate change. Photo: Prof. J. Wiedenmann, University of Southampton, UK

New research on coral reefs led by the University of Southampton suggests that existing biodiversity will be essential for the successful adaptation of ecosystems to climate change. About 25% of all marine biodiversity depends on coral reefs, the three-dimensional calcareous framework laid down by the coral animals together with their algal symbionts. Climate change, in particular increasing seawater temperatures, threatens to disrupt the functionality of this productive association with potentially devastating knock-on effects to ecosystem services that are provided by coral reefs