Coral reefs around the world are sustaining massive damage at an alarming rate. Geological Approaches to Coral Reef Ecology provides a uniquely historical perspective on the destruction-through both natural and human processes-of coral reef ecosystems. Chapters applying the principles of geophysics, paleontology, geochemistry, and physical and chemical oceanography supply novel insights into the workings of coral reefs, complementing real-time ecological studies and providing critical information for crafting realistic environmental policy.
By reconstructing the ecological history of coral reefs, the authors are able to evaluate whether or not recent, dramatic changes to reef ecosystems are novel events or part of a long-term trend or cycle. The contributions examine the interacting causes of change, which include hurricane damage, regional outbreaks of coral-consuming predators, disease epidemics, sea-level rise, nutrient loading, global warming and acidification of the oceans. Crucial predictions about the future of coral reefs lead to practical strategies for the successful restoration and management of reef ecosystems.
Part I Coral Reefs in Context: The Changing Fate of Coral Reefs: Lessons from the Deep Past
Part II Detecting Critical Events: Taphonomy: Detecting Critical Events in Fossil Reef-Coral Assemblages
- Species Turnover on Coral Reefs: A Probabilistic Approach
- Past Seastar Outbreaks Inferred from Scar Patterns on Reef-Coral Heads
- Influence of Terrigenous Runoff on Offshore Reefs: An Example from the Flower Garden Banks, Gulf of Mexico
- Fidelity of Annual Growth in Montastraea faveolata and the Recentness of Coral Bleaching in Florida
Part III Patterns of Reef Development and Their Implications: Demise, Regeneration, and Survival of Some Western Atlantic Reefs During the Holocene Transgression
- Broad-Scale Patterns in Pleistocene Coral Reef Communities: Implications for Ecology and Management
- Ecological Shifts Along the Florida Reef Tract: The Past is the Key to the Future
Part IV Coral Reefs and Global Change: Extreme Climatic Events and Coral Reefs: How Much Short-Term Threat from Global Change?
- Responses of Coral Reefs to El Nino-Southern Oscillation Sea-Warming Events
- Constraints on Predicting Coral Reef Response to Global Change
Dr. Richard B. Aronson is Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dauphin Island, Alabama and Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA.
"The editor has brought together as contributors 19 well-known coral-reef workers, including both biologists and geoscientists. At the end of the book there is a comprehensive index of over 650 items [...] the book represents a very good summary of current directions in reef ecology research, based on geological or historic approaches, including modern techniques and, for the most part, state-of-the-art knowledge. The book also includes a number of studies that make it quite clear that coral reefs are not only in decline, but that the decline is to a large part caused by human disturbance, and that we need to take actions to decelerate this process. I can highly recommend this book to both reef scientists and students of reef systems, either with a biological and a geoscientific background."
- Eberhard Gischler, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitat, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
"Geological Approaches to Coral Reef Ecology presents a historical perspective on contemporary natural and human-induced impacts on reef systems [...] . The book is well presented, and its content is a welcome addition to coral reef literature. [...] highlights the value of geological approaches in contextualizing reef ecology, and it should be of great interest to all reef scientists and students of coral reefs, particularly those with a keen interest in the Caribbean reef province."
- Paul Kench, Eos, Vol. 89 (38), 2008