Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 3
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: June 2012

18 - Coral reef coda: what can we hope for?



Before heading into the future, a brief look at where we have come from and where we are now provides some perspective. Investigations of coral reefs began in earnest with the publication of Darwin's monograph The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs in 1842 (see Dobbs, 2005, for a history of the resulting controversy). However, their modern study, facilitated by the use of scuba, dates back only a little over half a century. Tom Goreau's pioneering work on Jamaican coral reefs (Goreau, 1959), the French research programme in Madagascar (reviewed by Thomassin, 1971), and the establishment by Joe Connell of the first permanent reef quadrats on the flats of Heron Island (summarized in Connell et al., 1997) represent important early research efforts of this period. The first International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) was held in Mandapam, India, in 1969 and has been followed by nine since. The Bulletin of Marine Science started a coral reef section in 1978, and in 1982 the first issue of Coral Reefs was published.

Over this interval, the rate of production of coral reef studies has increased several fold; annual totals from BIOSIS searches of articles with the words ‘coral’ and ‘reef’ average under 75 for the 1970s, nearly 130 for the 1980s, nearly 220 for the 1990s, and over 320 since 2000, a rate of increase that exceeds that of articles retrieved with the search word ‘marine’ (Fig. 18.1).

Allison, G. W., Lubchenco, J. and Carr, M. H. (1998). Marine reserves are necessary but not sufficient for marine conservation. Ecological Applications, 8 (suppl.), S79–S92
Baker, A. C., Starger, C. J., McClanahan, T. R. and Glynn, P. W. (2004). Corals' adaptive response to climate change. Nature, 430, 741
Bellwood, D. R. and Hughes, T. P. (2001). Regional-scale assembly rules and biodiversity of coral reefs. Science, 292, 1532–4
Bellwood, D. R., Hughes, T. P., Folke, C. and Nystrom, M. (2004). Confronting the coral reef crisis. Nature, 429, 827–33
Carlton, J. T., Geller, J. B., Reaka-Kudla, M. L. and Norse, E. A. (1999). Historical extinctions in the sea. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 30, 515–38
Connell, J. H., Hughes, T. P. and Wallace, C. C. (1997). A 30-year study of coral abundance, recruitment, and disturbance at several scales in space and time. Ecological Monographs, 67, 461–88
Daily, G. C., Ehrlich, P. R. and Sanchez-Azofeifa, G. A. (2001). Countryside biogeography: use of human-dominated landscapes by the avifauna of southern Costa Rica. Ecological Applications, 11, 1–13
Daily, G. C., Ceballos, G., Pacheco, J., Suzan, G. and Sanchez-Azofeifa, A. (2003). Countryside biogeography of neotropical mammals: conservation opportunities in agricultural landscapes of Costa Rica. Conservation Biology, 17, 1814–26
Darwin, C. (1842). The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs. London: John Murray
Diamond, J. (2004). Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking
Dobbs, D. (2005). Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral. New York: Pantheon Books
Dulvy, N. K., Sadovy, Y. and Reynolds, J. D. (2003). Extinction vulnerability in marine populations. Fish and Fisheries, 4, 25–64
Edmunds, P. J. and Carpenter, R. C. (2001). Recovery of Diadema antillarum reduces macroalgal cover and increases juvenile corals on a Caribbean reef. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 98, 5067–71
Endean, R. (1977). Acanthaster planci infestations of reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Proceedings 3rd International Coral Reef Symposium, 1, 185–91
Feely, R. A., Sabine, C. L., Lee, al. (2004). Impact of anthropogenic CO2 on the CaCO3 system in the oceans. Science, 305, 362–6
Frankel, E. (1977). Previous Acanthaster aggregations in the Great Barrier Reef. Proceedings 3rd International Coral Reef Symposium, 1, 201–15
Gardner, T. A., Côté, I. M., Gill, J. A., Grant, A. and Watkinson, A. R. (2003). Long-term region-wide declines in Caribbean corals. Science, 301, 958–60
Gardner, T. A., Côté, I. M., Gill, J. A., Grant, A. and Watkinson, A. R. (2005). Hurricanes and Caribbean coral reefs: immediate impacts, recovery trajectories and contribution to long-term coral decline. Ecology, 86, 174–84
Gascoigne, J. and Lipcius, R. N. (2004). Allee effects in marine systems. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 269, 49–59
Gell, F. R. and Roberts, C. M. (2003). Benefits beyond boundaries: the fishery effects of marine reserves. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 18, 448–55
Goreau, T. F. (1959). The ecology of Jamaican coral reefs. I. Species composition and zonation. Ecology, 40, 67–90
Harvell, C. D., Mitchell, C. E., Ward, J. al. (2002). Climate warming and disease risks for terrestrial and marine biota. Science, 296, 2158–62
Hatcher, B. G. (1984). A maritime accident provides evidence for alternate stable states in benthic communities on coral reefs. Coral Reefs, 3, 199–204
Hoegh-Guldberg, O. (1999). Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world's coral reefs. Marine and Freshwater Research, 50, 839–66
Hughes, T. P. (1994). Catastrophes, phase shifts, and large-scale degradation of a Caribbean coral reef. Science, 265, 1547–51
Jackson, J. B. C. (1977). Reefs since Columbus. Coral Reefs, 16 (suppl.), S23–S32
Jones, G. P., McCormick, M. I., Srinivasan, M. and Eagle, J. V. (2004). Coral decline threatens fish biodiversity in marine reserves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 101, 8251–3
Knowlton, N. (1992). Thresholds and multiple stable states in coral reef community dynamics. American Zoologist, 32, 674–82
Knowlton, N. (2001). The future of coral reefs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 98, 5419–25
Knowlton, N. (2004). Multiple ‘stable’ states and the conservation of marine ecosystsems. Progress in Oceanography, 60, 387–96
Levitan, D. R., Fukami, H., Jara, al. (2004). Mechanisms of reproductive isolation among sympatric broadcast-spawning corals of the Montastraea annularis species complex. Evolution, 58, 308–23
McWilliams, J. P., Côté, I. M., Gill, J. A., Sutherland, W. J. and Watkinson, A. R. (2005). Accelerating impacts of temperature-induced coral bleaching in the Caribbean. Ecology, 86, 2055–60
Miller, R. J., Adams, A. J., Ogden, N. B., Ogden, J. C. and Ebersole, J. P. (2003). Diadema antillarum 17 years after mass mortality: is recovery beginning in St Croix?Ecology, 22, 181–7
Mosqueira, I., Côté, I. M., Jennings, S. and Reynolds, J. D. (2000). Conservation benefits of marine reserves for fish populations. Animal Conservation 4, 321–32
Pandolfi, J. M. (1999). Response of Pleistocene corals to environmental change over long temporal scales. American Zoologist, 39, 113–30
Pandolfi, J. M. (2001). Geologically sudden extinction of two widespread late Pleistocene Caribbean reef corals. In Evolutionary Patterns: Growth, Form, and Tempo in the Fossil Record, eds. Jackson, J. B. C., Lidgard, S. and McKinney, R., pp. 120–158, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press
Pandolfi, J. M., Bradbury, R. H., Sala, al. (2003). Global trajectories of the long-term decline of coral reef ecosystems. Science, 301, 955–8
Parks, S. A. and Harcourt, A. H. (2002). Reserve size, local human density, and mammalian extinctions in US protected areas. Conservation Biology, 16, 800–8
Roberts, C. M., McClean, C. J., Veron, J. E. al. (2002). Marine biodiversity hotspots and conservation priorities for tropical reefs. Science, 295, 1280–4
Rogers, C. S. and Beets, J. (2001). Degradation of marine ecosystems and decline of fishery resources in marine protected areas in the US Virgin Islands. Environmental Conservation, 28, 312–22
Rowan, R. (2004). Thermal adaptation in reef coral symbionts. Nature, 430, 742
Sala, E., Ballesteros, E. and Starr, R. M. (2001). Rapid decline of Nassau grouper spawning aggregations in Belize: fishery management and conservation needs. Fisheries, 26, 23–30
Stoddart, D. R. (1982). Coral reefs: the coming crisis. Proceedings 4th International Coral Reef Symposium, 1, 33–6
Stone, L. (1995). Biodiversity and habitat destruction: a comparative study of model forest and coral reef ecosystems. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 261, 381–8
Stone, L., Eilam, E., Abelson, A. and Ilan, M. (1996). Modelling coral reef biodiversity and habitat destruction. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 134, 299–302
Thomassin, B. (1971). Revue bibliographique des travaux de la station marine de Tuléar (République Malgache) 1961–1970. Tethys (suppl.), 1, 3–50
Tilman, D., May, R. M., Lehman, C. L. and Nowak, M. A. (1994). Habitat destruction and the extinction debt. Nature, 371, 65–6