Global Trajectories of the Long-Term Decline of Coral Reef Ecosystems

J Pandolfi, Roger Bradbury, Enric Sala, Terrence Hughes, Karen A Bjorndal, Richard G Cooke, Deborah McArdle, Loren McClenachan, Marah J H Newman, Gustavo Paredes, Robert R Warner, Jeremy B C Jackson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Degradation of coral reef ecosystems began centuries ago, but there is no global summary of the magnitude of change. We complied records, extending back thousands of years, of the status and trends of seven major guilds of carnivores, herbivores, and architectural species from 14 regions. Large animals declined before small animals and architectural species, and Atlantic reefs declined before reefs in the Red Sea and Australia, but the trajectories of decline were markedly similar worldwide. All reefs were substantially degraded long before outbreaks of coral disease and bleaching. Regardless of these new threats, reefs will not survive without immediate protection from human exploitation over large spatial scales.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)955-958
    JournalScience
    Volume301
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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