Global Warming: Changing Life on the Coral Reef (Final)

This topic submitted by Beth Brownson ( at 1:32 AM on 6/10/07.

The "Three Amigos" pose in the Bahamas

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Global warming is a very serioius threat to many ecosystems and our current way of life. I am interested in its impact on coral reefs, especially in regards to the bleaching of these usually vibrant communities. I want to discuss the human contribution to global warming and determine how its progression can be curtailed in the future to prevent serious devastation of the coral reefs. I am interested in the increased amount of ENSO events and tropical storms due to global warming. I will also investigate how coral bleaching affects marine species and look at methods for decreasing stress on the reefs, such as creating marine- protected areas.

I. Introduction
A. Debate regarding the issue of global warming
B. Scientific confirmation of its existence

II. Overview of Global Warming
A. Explanation of the greenhouse effect
B. Increase in CO2 due to burning fossil fuels and deforestation
C. Rise in global temperature

III. Impact on Coral Reefs
A. Benefits of coral reefs
B. Symbiotic algae loss due to heat stress
C. Recovery of zooxanthellae vs. death of coral
D. ENSO events
E. Increased intensity of tropical storms

IV. Impact on Marine Life
A. Local coral species death
B. Habitat loss for marine fish communities
C. Local and possible global species extinctions
D. Marine- protected areas to prevent overfishing

IV. Future Outlook
A. Research on coral regeneration and adaptation
B. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

V. Conclusion


Australian Institute of Marine Science. (2007). Coral Reefs and Climate Change 2007.

Davidson, O. G. (1998). The Enchanted Braid: Coming to terms with nature on the coral reef. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Fagoonee, I. (1999). The Dynamics of Zooxanthellae Populations: A Long-Term Study in the Field. Science, 283(5403), 843-845

Hughes, T. P. et al. (2003). Climate Change, Human Impacts, and the Resilience of Coral Reefs. Science, Vol. 301 Issue 5635, p929-933.

Munday. (2004). Habitat loss, resource specialization, and extinction on coral reefs. Global Change Biology, 10(10), 1642.

Stone, R. (2007). A World Without Corals? Science, 316(5825), 678-681.

Union of Concerned Scientists. (2006). Early Warning Signs: Coral Reef Bleaching.

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