Understanding how climate change will impact the wellbeing of people and coral reefs

21 September 2015

A team of Australian, European and American early career scientists (including Dr. Chris Fulton and Dr Jennie Mallela from the ANU Climate Change Institute) have explored how climate change will affect coral reefs and the many millions of people who depend on these stunning storehouses of marine biodiversity. 

Taking a holistic view, the team considered not just the direct impacts of climate change on coral reefs, but how people responding to climate change may shift how they value and use coral reef resources (e.g., value as shoreline protection may increase in the face of more coastal storms).   

The study highlights the diversity of pathways that climate change can affect via different parts of these intricate and diverse social-ecological systems. Importantly, the paper provides a framework for managers to develop adaptive plans for sustaining coral reef systems and the critical ecosystem goods and services they provide to people throughout the tropical world. 

More information: Cinner, JE, Pratchett, MS, Graham, NAJ, Messmer, V,F, Mariana MPB, Ainsworth, T, Ban, N, Bay, LK, Blythe, J, Dissard, D, Dunn, S, Evans, L, Fabinyi, M, Fidelman, P, Figueiredo, J, Frisch, AJ, Fulton, CJ, Hicks, CC, Lukoschek, V, Mallela, J, Moya, A, Penin, L, Rummer, JL, Walker, S, Williamson, DH  (2015) A framework for understanding climate change impacts on coral reef social–ecological systems, Regional Environmental Change, doi:10.1007/s10113-015-0832-z

Read the paper.