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Resistance and Resilience to Coral Bleaching: Implications for Coral Reef Conservation and Management
West, J. AND R. V. Salm. Resistance and Resilience to Coral Bleaching: Implications for Coral Reef Conservation and Management. CONSERVATION BIOLOGY Volume: 17/956-967, (2003).
The massive scale of the 1997-1998 El Nino-associated coral bleaching event underscores the need for strategies to mitigate biodiversity losses resulting from temperature-induced coral mortality. As baseline sea surface temperatures continue to rise, climate change may represent the single greatest threat to coral reefs worldwide. Based on evidence from the literature and systematically compiled observations from researchers in the field, this paper by Jordan M. West and Rodney V. Salm identifies likely environmental correlates of resistance and resilience to coral bleaching, including factors that reduce temperature stress, enhance water movement, decrease light stress, correlate with physiological tolerance, and provide physical or biological enhancement of recovery potential. As a tool for identifying reef areas that are likely to be robust in the face of continuing climate change and for determining priority areas for reducing direct anthropogenic impacts, this information has important implications for coral reef conservation and management.