Effects of coral bleaching on coral habitats and associated fishes
Morgan S. Pratchett, Line K. Bay, Darren J. Coker, Andrew J. Cole, Rebecca J. Lawton, 2012. "Effects of coral bleaching on coral habitats and associated fishes", Wildlife and Climate Change: Towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna, Daniel Lunney, Hutchings Pat
Download citation file:
Coral reef ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to global climate change, owing to extreme environmental sensitivities and consequent bleaching of reef-building scleractinian corals. Severe coral bleaching often kills scleractinian coral, leading to longer-term declines in habitat and topographic complexity. The loss of corals, and corresponding changes in habitat quality, also has a significant effect on coral reef fishes. Coral loss has the greatest and most immediate effect on fishes that depend on live corals for food or shelter. Many coral-reef fishes that do not depend directly on live coral are nonetheless dependent on the topographic complexity provided by healthy coral growth. Sustained and ongoing climate change thus poses a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems and urgent action is required to minimize future effects of climate change and maximize resilience of coral reef ecosystems.