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Mesophotic and turbid Reefs as Key ecosystems for the future?

Coral reefs are the most biodiverse marine ecosystem on Earth today. In the Anthropocene, their immense value is threatened by human activities and associated climate change.

Nadia Santodomingo

(University of Oxford, UK)

Lewis A. Jones

(Universidade de Vigo, Spain)

The last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report estimates that almost all warm-water coral reefs will suffer significant habitat losses and local extinctions, even if global warming is limited to 1.5°C. Under this gloomy forecast, one urgent research priority is the identification of potential ecological refugia or sites able to support biodiversity and ecological functions over timescales that would enable reef ecosystems to adapt to contemporary environmental stress.

Recent paleontological studies have revealed that mesophotic and turbid reefs might have been more common throughout the evolutionary history of reefs than previously considered. This working group will evaluate whether the current success of marginal coral ecosystems is related to their long-term geological resilience throughout the Phanerozoic.

Objectives (1) Establish an international and diverse network of interdisciplinary researchers, (2) Review and build upon the current techniques and knowledge in terms of (palaeo)biodiversity (3) Identify gaps of knowledge (4) Design a novel framework of actions for future studies. 

Group members

Mikołaj K. Zapalski (University of Warsaw, Poland), Francesca Bosellini (Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy), Anneleen Foubert (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), Juan Carlos Braga (University of Granada, Spain), Bernard Lathuilière (Université de Lorrain, France), Ken Johnson (Natural History Museum, London, UK), Kyle Morgan (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), John Pandolfi (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia), Addis Endeshaw (University of Fribourg / Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia), Angelina Ivkiç (University of Vienna, Austria), Wolfgang Kiessling (FAU), Danijela Dimitrijevic (FAU)