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Biodiversity of Coral Reef Shuffles but Does Not Decline Under Combined Stressors

September 01, 2021

We find that the combined pressures of ocean-warming and acidification, produces changes in the abundance but not in the occurrence of coral reef biodiversity.

Ocean-warming and acidification are predicted to reduce coral reef biodiversity, but the combined effects of these stressors on overall biodiversity are largely unmeasured. 

Here, we examined the individual and combined effects of elevated temperature and reduced pH on the biodiversity of coral reef communities. 

Rather than the predicted collapse of biodiversity under the dual stressors, we find significant changes in the relative abundance but not in the occurrence of species, resulting in a shuffling of coral reef community structure among the highly species-rich cryptobenthic community. 

Timmers MA, Jury CP, Vicente J, Bahr KD, Webb MK, Toonen RJ. 2021. Biodiversity of coral reef cryptobiota shuffles but does not decline under the combined stressors of ocean warming and acidification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Volume 118: Issue 39.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2103275118.

Last updated on 01/05/2022