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  • Perry et al - Nature 2018 accepted

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Loss of coral reef growth capacity to track future increases in sea level

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
  • C Perry
  • L Alvarez-Filip
  • PJ Mumby
  • SK Wilson
  • PS Kench
  • DP Manzello
  • KM Morgan
  • ABA Slangen
  • DP Thomson
  • F Janchowski-Hartley
  • SG Smithers
  • RS Steneck
  • R Carlton
  • EE Edinger
  • IC Enochs
  • N Estrada-Saldivar
  • MDE Haywood
  • G Kolodziej
  • GN Murphy
  • E Perez-Cervantes
  • A Suchley
  • L Valentino
  • R Boenish
  • M Wilson
  • C Macdonald
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/06/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Nature
Volume558
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)396–400
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Sea-level rise (SLR) is predicted to elevate water depths above coral reefs and to increase coastal wave exposure as ecological degradation limits vertical reef growth, but projections lack data on interactions between local rates of reef growth and sea level rise. Here we calculate the vertical growth potential of more than 200 tropical western Atlantic and Indian Ocean reefs, and compare these against recent and projected rates of SLR under different Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios. Although many reefs retain accretion rates close to recent SLR trends, few will have the capacity to track SLR projections under RCP4.5 scenarios without sustained ecological recovery, and under RCP8.5 scenarios most reefs are predicted to experience mean water depth increases of more than 0.5 m by 2100. Coral cover strongly predicts reef capacity to track SLR, but threshold cover levels that will be necessary to prevent submergence are well above those observed on most reefs. Urgent action is thus needed to mitigate climate, sea-level and future ecological changes in order to limit the magnitude of future reef submergence.

Bibliographic note

The Author's Accepted Manuscript (the accepted version of the manuscript as submitted by the author) may only be posted 6 months after the paper is published, consistent with our self-archiving embargo. Please note that the Author’s Accepted Manuscript may not be released under a Creative Commons license. For Nature Research Terms of Reuse of archived manuscripts please see: http://www.nature.com/authors/policies/license.html#terms