Coral responses to anthropogenic stress in the 21st century - an ecophsyiological perspective

Barbara Brown, Michael Sweet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The number of ecophysiological studies involving reef corals has increased markedly over the last 20 years, driven primarily by the concern over the potential effects of anthropogenic change on coral communities. In particular, the evaluation of the effects of global climate change has prompted major research efforts into understanding the consequences of both rising seawater temperatures and ocean acidification on the physiology of corals. In recent years the recognition that corals harbour not only symbiotic algae but also a diverse microbial consortium, which may both influence and be influenced by the physiology of the animal host, has added an extra layer of complexity to this biological system known collectively as the 'coral holobiont'. The present review draws together an extensive literature on ecophysiological responses of the coral holobiont to anthropo-genic change, with specific references to the latest molecular and genetic developments in the field. It also highlights gaps in our basic understanding of coral physiology and draws attention to the value of extreme physical habitats in elucidating the acclimatory and adaptive scope of reef corals to climate change.

Coral Responses To Anthropogenic Stress... (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Apr 11 2018].
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOceanography and Marine Biology
Subtitle of host publicationAn Annual Review, Volume 54
PublisherTaylor and Francis / CRC Press (USA)
Number of pages43
ISBN (Print)9781498748001
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2016

Publication series

NameOceanography and Marine Biology -Annual Review


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