Coral Reef Biodiversity Predicted To Shuffle Rather Than Collapse As Climate Changes With Ocean Warming and Acidification

Experimental set-up of mesocosms at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Credit: Chris Jury, HIMB

Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse, complex, and productive ecosystems on the planet. Most of coral reef biodiversity consists of tiny organisms living deep within the three-dimensional reef matrix. Although largely unseen, this diversity is essential to the survival and function of coral reef ecosystems, and many have worried that climate change will lead to dramatic loss of this diversity.

New research led by scientists at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) at Mānoa reveals that the species which dominate experimental coral reef communities shift due to climate change, but the total biodiversity does not decline under future ocean conditions of warming and…

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