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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.

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References

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Bellwood, D.R., Hughes, T.P., Folke, C. and Nystrom, M. 2004. Confronting the coral reef crisis. Nature 429: 827-833.
Berkelmans, R. and van Oppen, M.J.H. 2006. The role of zooxanthellae in the thermal tolerance of corals: a ‘nugget of hope’ for coral reefs in an era of climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 273: 2305-2312.
Berumen, M.L. 2005. The importance of juveniles in modelling growth: butterflyfish at Lizard Island. Environmental Biology of Fishes 72: 409-413.
Berumen, M.L., Pratchett, M.S. and McCormick, M.I. 2005. Within-reef differences in diet and body condition of coral-feeding butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae). Marine Ecology Progress Series 287: 217-227.
Berumen, M.L. and Pratchett, M.S. 2006. Recovery without resilience: persistent disturbance and long-term shifts in the structure of fish and coral communities at Tiahura Reef, Moorea. Coral Reefs 25: 647-653.
Berumen, M.L. and Pratchett, M.S. 2008. Trade-offs associated with dietary specialization in corallivorous butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae: Chaetodon). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 62: 989-994.
Berumen, M.L. and Rotjan, R. 2010. New records of corallivory in the Red Sea. Coral Reefs 29: 727-727.
Brooker, R.M., Munday, P.L. and Ainsworth, T.D. 2010. Diets of coral-dwelling fishes of the genus Gobiodon with evidence of corallivory. Journal of Fish Biology 76: 2578-2583.
Cole, A.J., Pratchett, M.S. and Jones, G.P. 2008. Diversity and functional importance of coral-feeding fishes on tropical coral reefs. Fish and Fisheries 9: 286-307.
Cole, A.J., Pratchett, M.S. and Jones, G.P. 2010. Corallivory in tubelip wrasses: diet, feeding and trophic importance. Journal of Fish Biology 76: 818-835.
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Cox, E.F. 1994. Resource use by Corallivorous butterflyfishes (Family Chaetodontidae) in Hawaii. Bulletin of Marine Science 54: 535-545.
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Hoegh-Guldberg, O. 1999. Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world's coral reefs. Marine and Freshwater Research 50: 839-866.
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