Coral reefs, which are one of the most productive and biodiverse ecosystems on Earth, serve various important roles, such as providing shelter and spawning grounds to a wide range of marine animals. However, the global decline of hard corals in tropical and subtropical regions is a growing concern. A recent review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicated that only 10%–30% of coral reefs would survive with an increase of 1.5 °C in global warming temperature. Of coral reefs around the world, the coral reefs in eastern Asia face one of the most industrially developed and high population areas in the world. Thus, coral reefs of eastern Asia have been affected by various anthropogenic factors, such as eutrophication, coastal development, anthropogenic pollutants, ocean acidification, disease, and overfishing. Therefore, urgent research is required to determine the levels at which different factors will affect coral health. Besides, we propose a perspective on coral reef (especially those in eastern Asia) conservation under climate change and various anthropogenic activities.
For the past 30 years, Ichiro Takeuchi has been conducting research in the following subject area: (1) species diversity and ecology of amphipod crustaceans based on fieldwork along the coasts from Antarctica to North America, and (2) the analysis of the distribution of anthropogenic chemicals in shallow-water ecosystems. Understanding how shallow-water ecosystems are changing due to various anthropogenic activities motivated him to study the conservation of the coral reef ecosystem.
Hideyuki Yamashiro has been studying corals and coral-associates for 40 years. His recent interests shifted to coral infectious diseases, including the coral-killing sponge, in Japanese coral reefs, where there is a rise in disease occurrence in corals, most of which are associated with global and local environmental disturbances.