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Coral reef resilience to climate change in the Florida Reef Tract 

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Jeff Maynard, James Byrne, Kristi Kerrigan, Dieter Tracey, Karen Bohnsack, Francisco Pagan, Joanna Walczak and Gareth J. Williams

Climate change and a range of human activities threaten the natural resilience of coral reef
ecosystems. Reef resilience is the ability to resist and recover from disturbances while retaining
essentially the same function and structure. Managers can support the natural resilience of reefs
by reducing their sensitivity to climate-related disturbances, such as coral bleaching, by reducing
stress on reefs caused by human activities. The challenge for natural resource managers in
Florida, as with everywhere else reefs occur, lies in deciding which actions to implement and
where, to best support resilience. Understanding spatial variation in resilience to climate change
in the Florida Reef Tract was the goal of this project, with the aim being to produce information
that can inform management decisions. This project is a collaboration co-funded by NOAA’s
Coral Reef Conservation Program, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and The
Nature Conservancy’s Florida office. This study addresses this priority from Florida’s Climate
Change Action Plan – Determine and map areas of high and low resilience to climate change in
order to prioritize management efforts. 

Last Modified:
February 14, 2024 - 10:35am

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