Warm-water coral reefs and climate change

Mark D. Spalding, Barbara E. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Citations (Scopus)


Coral reefs are highly dynamic ecosystems that are regularly exposed to natural perturbations. Human activities have increased the range, intensity, and frequency of disturbance to reefs. Threats such as overfishing and pollution are being compounded by climate change, notably warming and ocean acidification. Elevated temperatures are driving increasingly frequent bleaching events that can lead to the loss of both coral cover and reef structural complexity. There remains considerable variability in the distribution of threats and in the ability of reefs to survive or recover from such disturbances. Without significant emissions reductions, however, the future of coral reefs is increasingly bleak.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-771
Number of pages3
Issue number6262
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2015


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