Thursday December 7, 2023


Coral reefs are the most biodiverse systems in the sea and central to the life of many coastal human communities. Half a billion people rely on coral reefs for protection from storms, provision of seafood as well as promotion of tourism and recreation.

But climate change is compromising the health of coral reefs globally. Increasing sea temperatures are driving coral bleaching and death. So, the resilience of reefs in the face of climatic challenges is crucial to our collective future, and new research led by Arizona State University has delivered greater understanding of a key aspect of reef health.

In a paper published on December 6, 2023, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, ASU Assistant Professor Mary Donovan and colleagues report that the fishing of herbivore species such as surgeonfishes and parrotfishes to less than 80% of their unfished local density compromises reef resilience through the overgrowth of algae that these fish consume.

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