Cross-chapter box on the impact of climate change on freshwater ecosystems due to altered river flow regimes
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Coral reefs are shallow-water ecosystems that consist of reefs made of calcium carbonate which is mostly secreted by reef-building corals and encrusting macroalgae. They occupy less than 0.1% of the ocean floor yet play multiple important roles throughout the tropics, housing high levels of biological diversity as well as providing key ecosystem goods and services such as habitat for fisheries, coastal protection, and appealing environments for tourism (Wild et al., 2011). About 275 million people live within 30 km of a coral reef (Burke et al., 2011) and derive some benefits from the ecosystem services that coral reefs provide (Hoegh-Guldberg, 2011), including provisioning (food, livelihoods, construction material, medicine), regulating (shoreline protection, water quality), supporting (primary production, nutrient cycling), and cultural (religion, tourism) services. This is especially true for the many coastal and small island nations in the world's tropical regions (Section 22.214.171.124). Coral reefs are one of the most vulnerable marine ecosystems (high confidence; Sections 126.96.36.199, 6.3.1, 6.3.2, 6.3.5, 25.6.2, and 30.5), and more than half of the world's reefs are under medium or high risk of degradation (Burke et al., 2011). Most human-induced disturbances to coral reefs were local until the early 1980s (e.g., unsustainable coastal development, pollution, nutrient enrichment, and overfishing) when disturbances from ocean warming (principally mass coral bleaching and mortality) began to become widespread (Glynn, 1984). Concern about the impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs developed over the same period, primarily over the implications of ocean acidification for the building and maintenance of the calcium carbonate reef framework (Box CC-OA).
Climate change 2014 : impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part A: Global and sectoral aspects
© 2014 Cambridge University Press. This material has been published in Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works.