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Integrating Climate and Ocean Change Vulnerability into Conservation Planning

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Tropical coastal and marine ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to ocean warming, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise. Yet these projected climate and ocean change impacts are rarely considered in conservation planning due to the lack of guidance on how existing climate and ocean change models, tools, and data can be applied. Here, we address this gap by describing how conservation planning can use available tools and data for assessing the vulnerability of tropical marine ecosystems to key climate threats. Additionally, we identify limitations of existing tools and provide recommendations for future research to improve integration of climate and ocean change information and conservation planning. Such information is critical for developing a conservation response that adequately protects these ecosystems and dependent coastal communities in the face of climate and ocean change.

Keywords: climate change; conservation planning; increasing sea-surface temperature; marine conservation; marine protected area (MPA); ocean acidification; sea-level rise

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: The Nature Conservancy, Austin,Texas, USA 2: The Nature Conservancy, West End,QLD, Australia 3: The Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville,QLD, Australia 4: Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies,James Cook University, Townsville,QLD, Australia 5: NOAA Coral Reef Watch, Townsville,QLD, Australia 6: National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder,Colorado, USA 7: School of Biological Sciences,The University of Queensland, Brisbane,QLD, Australia 8: Australian Research Council of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, School of Biological Sciences,The University of Queensland, Brisbane,QLD, Australia 9: The Nature Conservancy, Honolulu,Hawaii, USA 10: The Nature Conservancy, Coral Gables,Florida, USA 11: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences,University of Wollongong, Wollongong,NSW, Australia

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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