A virtual conversation with world-renowned coral reef biologist Dr. Rebecca Albright, Assistant Curator of Invertebrate Zoology and Patterson Scholar at The California Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Albright outlines the challenges that reefs are currently facing and the solutions being explored. She highlights the strengths and limitations of current approaches and discusses next steps towards saving these valuable ecosystems.
While they cover less than 1% of the ocean floor, coral reefs support approximately one-quarter of marine biodiversity and the livelihoods of tens of millions of people worldwide. The ecosystem services that coral reefs provide (i.e., fisheries, coastal protection, habitat, cultural services, tourism) are valued at nearly $400 billion per year. Already under severe pressure from a number of stressors, including overfishing and pollution, coral reefs are among the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change and ocean acidification. We have lost an estimated 50% of the world’s coral reefs over the last several decades and are projected to lose more than 90% by 2050. There is no question that today’s reefs are facing unprecedented struggle. However, challenge often breeds innovation, and there are novel and exciting ideas that are emerging to address the coral reef crisis.