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The Biology of Coral Reefs$
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Charles Sheppard, Simon Davy, Graham Pilling, and Nicholas Graham

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198787341

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198787341.001.0001

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Coral reefs in the modern world

Coral reefs in the modern world

(p.232) 8 Coral reefs in the modern world
The Biology of Coral Reefs

Charles R. C. Sheppard

Simon K. Davy

Graham M. Pilling

Nicholas A. J. Graham

Oxford University Press

Today coral reefs, perhaps more than other marine systems, are suffering from numerous pressures. As a result, many have collapsed as functioning ecosystems. Nutrient pollution, sewage pollution, industrial pollution, landfill, coral diseases and diseases of other important groups of organisms, as well as over-extraction of fish, invertebrates and even the limestone rock itself, have all contributed to the demise of over one-third of the world’s reefs. More recently, climate change, notably causing a sea temperature rise, which in turn has led to coral bleaching and the death of component corals, has added to the stress imposed on this ecosystem. In the future, ocean acidification, sea level rise and an increase in the frequency and severity of 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, coral disease, sea temperature rise, ocean acidification, sea level rise, coral bleaching

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