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A Research Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

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Coral reef declines have been recorded for all major tropical ocean basins since the 1980s, averaging approximately 30-50% reductions in reef cover globally. These losses are a result of numerous problems, including habitat destruction, pollution, overfishing, disease, and climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions and the associated increases in ocean temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have been implicated in increased reports of coral bleaching, disease outbreaks, and ocean acidification (OA). For the hundreds of millions of people who depend on reefs for food or livelihoods, the thousands of communities that depend on reefs for wave protection, the people whose cultural practices are tied to reef resources, and the many economies that depend on reefs for fisheries or tourism, the health and maintenance of this major global ecosystem is crucial.

A growing body of research on coral physiology, ecology, molecular biology, and responses to stress has revealed potential tools to increase coral resilience. Some of this knowledge is poised to provide practical interventions in the short-term, whereas other discoveries are poised to facilitate research that may later open the doors to additional interventions. A Research Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs reviews the state of science on genetic, ecological, and environmental interventions meant to enhance the persistence and resilience of coral reefs. The complex nature of corals and their associated microbiome lends itself to a wide range of possible approaches. This first report provides a summary of currently available information on the range of interventions present in the scientific literature and provides a basis for the forthcoming final report.

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National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Research Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25279.

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230 pages | 6 x 9
Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-309-48535-7
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/25279
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