What is it about?

The ongoing impacts of human disturbances could reach significant levels by the middle of the century and, when variables were analyzed in combination, the timelines of environmental unsuitability are actually halved what was previously believed. This shortening of the timelines of the environmental viability is due to a spatial and temporal complementarity in which disturbances impact coral reefs. The average date of unsuitable conditions for the world’s coral reefs remaining at 2005 was 2035 under worst-case projections of carbon emissions and human development. Numerous studies have already indicated the need for a broad portfolio of conservation strategies to save the world’s coral reefs. The results of this paper suggest that the window of opportunity for these strategies to be effective is quickly closing.

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Why is it important?

This research has critical implications on the welfare of humanity/society as it highlights the consequences of inaction on climate change to marine ecosystems and ripple effects on marine biodiversity, local economies, tourism, fisheries, and food sources. The findings of this research illustrate the large range of coral reefs that could be lost if greenhouse gas emissions continue under the current trajectory and how quickly reefs will face these conditions.


Policy action is needed quickly in order to change the current detrimental trajectory that coral reefs face.

Renee Setter
University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Co-occurring anthropogenic stressors reduce the timeframe of environmental viability for the world’s coral reefs, PLoS Biology, October 2022, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001821.
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