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Climate refuges found where corals survive, grow

Date:
March 25, 2015
Source:
Florida Institute of Technology
Summary:
As rising ocean temperatures continue to fuel the disappearance of reef-building corals, a new study finds there may be some climate refuges where corals will survive in the future.
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Florida Tech scientists are forecasting that Porites lobata colonies like this one will actually gain new habitat at higher latitudes in a warming ocean.
Credit: Image courtesy of Florida Institute of Technology

Reef-building corals, already thought to be living near their upper thermal limits, are experiencing unprecedented declines as the world's oceans continue to warm. New evidence from scientists at Florida Institute of Technology shows there may be some climate refuges where corals will survive in the future.

The study appears in the March issue of Global Change Biology.

Ph.D. student Chris Cacciapaglia and his advisor, Robert van Woesik, hypothesized that not all regions of the oceans are warming at the same rate.

"The idea was to identify regions that will experience little temperature change by the year 2100 --refuges where coral survival is most likely," Cacciapaglia said.

Although their models show significant loss of corals as the oceans warm, they also highlight 12 areas -- five in the Indian Ocean and seven in the Pacific -- where corals are likely to survive at least until 2100.

"These refuges should be essential for coral survival into the future, and these locations deserve protection," said van Woesik.

Van Woesik emphasized that local marine protected areas are not the only viable management option. The new study points to global sanctuaries as a more comprehensive management strategy.


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Materials provided by Florida Institute of Technology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chris Cacciapaglia, Robert van Woesik. Reef-coral refugia in a rapidly changing ocean. Global Change Biology, 2015; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12851

Cite This Page:

Florida Institute of Technology. "Climate refuges found where corals survive, grow." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150325152309.htm>.
Florida Institute of Technology. (2015, March 25). Climate refuges found where corals survive, grow. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150325152309.htm
Florida Institute of Technology. "Climate refuges found where corals survive, grow." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150325152309.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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