Coral reefs around the world are under threat because of climate change, overfishing, pollution, and more. Now, researchers reporting in the journal One Earth on September 17 offer the first comprehensive global look at what these impacts on coral reefs mean for ecosystem services, the ability of the reef to provide essential benefits and services to humans. Overall, the findings show that the significant loss in coral reef coverage has led to an equally significant loss in the ability of the reef to provide basic services, including food and livelihoods. “Coral reefs are known to be important habitats for biodiversity and are particularly sensitive to climate change, as marine heat waves can cause bleaching events,” said Tyler Eddy, a research scientist at the Fisheries & Marine Institute, Memorial University of Newfoundland who was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans & Fisheries when he started this research. “Coral reefs provide important ecosystem services to humans, through fisheries, economic opportunities, and protection from storms.”
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