We can make sense of current ecological changes on coral reefs only by c0mparing their composition to historical baselines established by the earliest scientific surveys. We now have large databases of information on benthic composition and fish density on Caribbean coral reefs going back 40-50 years which are allowing us to measure the rates at which reefs have been changing and how these rates vary over space and time. This is giving us important insights into the relative importance of different drivers of change operating over large scales and how these drivers are interacting.
Some recent research in the TMEL that uses long-term and/or large-scale approaches includes understanding how multiple stressors interact to shape Kenyan coral reefs (Emily Darling), how fisheries are affecting the trophic ecology of sharks (Aleks Maljković) and the structure of reef fish assemblages around small island nations (Katie Newton).
Some of our publications on ecological change on coral reefs
- Alvarez Filip, L., Côté, I.M., Gill, J.A., Watkinson, A.R. and Dulvy, N.K. 2011. Region-wide temporal and spatial variation in Caribbean reef architecture: is coral cover the whole story? Global Change Biology 17, 2470-2477.
- Côté, I.M. and Darling, E.S. 2010. Rethinking ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change. PLOS Biology 8, e1000438
- Paddack, M. J., Reynolds, J.D., Aguilar, C., Appeldoorn, R.S., Beets, J., Burkett, E.W., Chittaro, P.M., Clarke, K., Esteves, R., Fonseca, A.C.,Forrester, G.E.,Friiedlander, A.M., García-Sais, J.,González-Sansón, G., Jordan, L.K.B., McClellan, D.B., Miller, M.W., Molloy, P.P., Mumby,P.J., Nagelkerken, I.,Nemeth, M., Navas-Camacho, R., Pitt, J., Polunin, N.V.C., Reyes-Nivia, M.C., Robertson, D.R., Rodríguez Ramírez, A., Salas, E., Smith, S.R., Spieler, R.E., Steele, M.A., Williams, I.D., Wormald, C., Watkinson,A.R., and Côté, I.M. 2009. Recent region-wide declines in Caribbean reef fish abundance. Current Biology 19, 590-595.
- Newton, K., Côté, I.M., Pilling, G.M, Jennings, S., and Dulvy, N.K. 2007. Current and future sustainability of island coral reef fisheries. Current Biology 17, 655-658.
- Gardner, T., Côté, I.M., Gill, J.A., Grant, A. and Watkinson, A.R. 2003. Long-term region-wide declines in Caribbean corals. Science 301, 958-960.