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Coral Reef Resilience and Social Vulnerability to Climate Change: Guam

June 22, 2020

We present an analysis of exposure, resilience, and social vulnerability to climate change threats for the coral reefs of Guam, relative to the rest of the U.S. Pacific.

We focus primarily on the increases in ocean temperatures and the impact of coral bleaching on Guam’s coral reefs and the communities that depend on them. Ocean temperatures will rise across the region, with little potential for refuge areas from warming.

There are, however, important differences in reefs’ resilience; the ability of a reef to resist or recover from the impacts of warming and continue to provide ecosystem goods and services. Despite a diverse and thermally resistant coral community, high levels of fish depletion, macroalgae cover, and low coral recruitment pushed each of the three sectors analyzed in Guam into a rating of “Low” resilience. Guam’s human populations have a greater capacity for social change relative to the rest of the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands.

Oliver TA, Kleiber D, Hospital J, Maynard J, Tracey D. 2020. Coral Reef Resilience and Social Vulnerability to Climate Change: Guam. Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, PIFSC Special Publication, SP-20-002b, 6 p.  https://doi.org/10.25923/mpdz-jm19.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 12/06/2021

Coral Reefs Coral Reef Monitoring