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The Biology of Coral Reefs$
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Charles R. C. Sheppard, Simon K. Davy, and Graham M. Pilling

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780198566359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566359.001.0001

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Coral Reefs in the Modern World

Coral Reefs in the Modern World

Chapter:
(p.223) 8 Coral Reefs in the Modern World
Source:
The Biology of Coral Reefs
Author(s):

Charles R. C. Sheppard

Simon K. Davy

Graham M. Pilling

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566359.003.0008

Today coral reefs, perhaps more than other marine systems, are suffering from numerous pressures. As a result many have succumbed as functioning ecosystems. Nutrients and industrial pollution, shoreline alterations, diseases of corals and other important groups of organisms, and over-extraction of fish, invertebrates and even the limestone rock itself, have all contributed to the demise of about one third of the world's reefs. More recently, climate change, notably a rise in sea temperature which has led to coral bleaching and then death of component corals, has added to the stress imposed on this ecosystem. In future, ocean acidification, sea level rise and increased storms will add further stress. Many of these factors interact, making the precise responses of reefs to these changes very complex.

Keywords:   industrial pollution, sewage pollution, landfill, marine diseases, sea surface warming, ocean acidification, sea level rise

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