Coral reefs in crisis

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The global decline of coral reefs calls for an urgent reassessment of reef management practices, a team of scientists has claimed in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

Bellwood Hughes Folke and Nystrom of the Centre for Coral Reef Biodiversity at the James Cook University's Department of Marine Biology say that management efforts need to be dramatically increased using knowledge of the ecological processes that determine reef resilience.

The scientists have provided a review of the ecological roles of critical groups, including both corals and fish, that are fundamental to resilience studies.

They claim to have found striking differences in species richness and the composition of funtional groups at different locations around the world which highlight Carribbean reefs as particularly vulnerable.

For more information read the paper: Bellwood DR, Hughes TP, Folke C, Nystrom M. (2004) - Confronting the coral reef crisis. Nature. 2004 Jun 24;429(6994):827-33.