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Safeguarding Coastal Coral Communities on the Central Great Barrier Reef (Australia) Against Climate Change: Realizable Local and Global Actions

Wooldridge, Scott Andrew and Done, Terence J and Thomas, Colette R and Gordon, Iain I and Marshall, Paul A and Jones, Roger N (2012) Safeguarding Coastal Coral Communities on the Central Great Barrier Reef (Australia) Against Climate Change: Realizable Local and Global Actions. Climatic Change, 112 (3-4). pp. 945-961. ISSN 1573-1480

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Abstract

The threats of wide-scale coral bleaching and reef demise associated with anthropogenic (global) climate change are widely known. Less well considered is the contributing role of conditions local to the reef, in particular reef water quality, in codetermining the physiological tolerance of corals to increasing sea temperatures and declining pH. Here, the modelled benefit of reduced exposure to dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in terrestrial runoff, which raises the thermal tolerance of coastal coral communities on the central Great Barrier Reef (Australia), is considered alongside alternative future warming scenarios. The simulations highlight that an 80% reduction in DIN ‘buys’ an additional ~50–60 years of reef-building capacity for No Mitigation (‘business-as-usual’) bleaching projections. Moreover, the integrated management benefits provided by: (i) local reductions of ~50% in DIN contained in river loads, and (ii) global stabilisation of atmospheric CO2 below 450 ppm can help ensure the persistence of hardcoral- dominated reefscapes beyond 2100. The simulations reinforce the message that beyond the global imperative to mitigate future atmospheric CO2 emissions there still remains the need for effective local management actions that enhance the resistance and resilience of coral reef communities to the impacts of climate change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ResPubID24421, ResPubID25528, coral bleaching, reef demise, anthropogenic climate change, reef water quality, increasing sea temperatures, dissolved inorganic nitrogen, DIN, terrestrial runoff, CO2 emissions
Subjects: FOR Classification > 0502 Environmental Science and Management
FOR Classification > 1402 Applied Economics
SEO Classification > 970114 Expanding Knowledge in Economics
Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES)
Depositing User: VUIR
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2012 01:27
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2014 05:23
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/9439
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0229-z
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Citations in Scopus: 2 - View on Scopus

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