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Book Sections Year : 2011

Coral Reef Biodiversity in the Face of Climatic Changes

Stéphane La Barre
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Loss of marine biodiversity seems inevitable in the 21st century. In benthic marine systems, survivors will have to acclimatize to seawater constantly increasing in temperature and evolving chemically, while also needing to out-compete new opportunistic neighbors and possibly facing increased predation pressure. Last but not the least, with a metabolism already pushed to its limits, survivors will have to fight against emerging diseases. The first section of this chapter is devoted to a presentation of the mechanisms involved in the climate-driven loss of coral reef biodiversity predicted within the next few decades in response to increasing anthropogenic pressure. Most of the arguments developed in the following sections reflect recent work published on reef-building corals, sponges and algae and their associated macro- and micro- biota, as major reef "engineers" (Wild et al., 2011). Biodiversity and chemodiversity have always been linked in the history of our planet. Both have undergone explosively creative periods, and at other times suffered dramatic losses or even extinctions followed by the emergence of better-adapted forms of life. The final part of this chapter is a reflection on how a few generations of humans have been able to overexploit the planet's biodiversity for their own immediate benefit, and harm it by producing and disseminating freak molecules and genomes for which the ocean is the final depository. We now need to apply our creativity or "intello-diversity" to preserving existing natural equilibriums to make the planet safe for future generations.
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hal-00698924 , version 1 (18-05-2012)



Stéphane La Barre. Coral Reef Biodiversity in the Face of Climatic Changes. Biodiversity Loss in a Changing Planet, Intech, pp.75, 2011, SBN 978-953-307-707-9. ⟨10.5772/1832⟩. ⟨hal-00698924⟩
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