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On the Increasing Vulnerability of the World Ocean to Multiple Stresses

Annual Review of Environment and Resources

Annual Reviews

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      A Pacific Interdecadal Climate Oscillation with Impacts on Salmon Production

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        Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification.

        Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to exceed 500 parts per million and global temperatures to rise by at least 2 degrees C by 2050 to 2100, values that significantly exceed those of at least the past 420,000 years during which most extant marine organisms evolved. Under conditions expected in the 21st century, global warming and ocean acidification will compromise carbonate accretion, with corals becoming increasingly rare on reef systems. The result will be less diverse reef communities and carbonate reef structures that fail to be maintained. Climate change also exacerbates local stresses from declining water quality and overexploitation of key species, driving reefs increasingly toward the tipping point for functional collapse. This review presents future scenarios for coral reefs that predict increasingly serious consequences for reef-associated fisheries, tourism, coastal protection, and people. As the International Year of the Reef 2008 begins, scaled-up management intervention and decisive action on global emissions are required if the loss of coral-dominated ecosystems is to be avoided.
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          A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems.

          The management and conservation of the world's oceans require synthesis of spatial data on the distribution and intensity of human activities and the overlap of their impacts on marine ecosystems. We developed an ecosystem-specific, multiscale spatial model to synthesize 17 global data sets of anthropogenic drivers of ecological change for 20 marine ecosystems. Our analysis indicates that no area is unaffected by human influence and that a large fraction (41%) is strongly affected by multiple drivers. However, large areas of relatively little human impact remain, particularly near the poles. The analytical process and resulting maps provide flexible tools for regional and global efforts to allocate conservation resources; to implement ecosystem-based management; and to inform marine spatial planning, education, and basic research.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Annual Review of Environment and Resources
            Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour.
            Annual Reviews
            1543-5938
            1545-2050
            November 2009
            November 2009
            : 34
            : 1
            : 17-41
            10.1146/annurev.environ.33.041707.110117
            © 2009

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