About Us

Director's Message

Integrated Florida Reef Tract

CARRUS Program


Climate Change Focus

NCORE GIS Activities

DNav: South Florida

Bahamas Map Atlas Online

Agent-based Models

The CARRUS Alliance

NCORE Personnel

Advisory Committees (SAC/IAC)

NCORE Associate Members

Donors & Credits


Posters & Presentations

Press Links

Search & Webstatistics

NCORE Contact Information



 Climate Change



Global changes in the Earth's climate and chemistry of the ocean threaten to further stress coral reefs at a time when they are already declining due to local and regional stressors including high nutrient and sediment loading; unsustainable harvesting of fish, corals and other reef organisms; and, physical damage from boats, diving and destructive fishing practices.  While reefs have survived large fluctuations in climate during their 200 million years on earth there were mass extinction events and long periods of time when reefs were much less extensive than they are today.  We may be heading toward such a period now.  The question that needs to be asked is, "should we try to do something about it?"  Much is at stake.  Coral reefs provide ecological services worth many billions of dollars in the form of habitat for valuable fisheries, natural protection from shoreline erosion, potential source of new medicines and biomedical, and recreation.  Coral reefs contribute over one billion dollars each year to the economy of south Florida alone.  The global nature of greenhouse warming and the acidification of the ocean means that coral reef preservation and restoration efforts based on the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs) may not be effective because the encroachment of warm, acidic water will not respect park boundaries.  If we want to protect coral reefs from the threats of global change we will need to get serious about cutting the emissions of carbon dioxide that are creating the threat.

NCORE's global change initiative will focus on understanding the science behind the effects of rising temperature and falling pH on corals and other reef organisms.  Studies will include analysis of the geological record, geochemistry of corals and forams, short and long term micro- and mesocosm studies, field based observations and manipulations.



Events of Interest on Reefs and Climate Change


April 18-20, 2005: Impacts of Increasing Atmospheric CO2 on Coral Reefs and Other Marine Calcifiers. St Petersburg, FL, USA.


May 10-12, 2004: The Ocean in a High CO2 World: An International Science Symposium. Paris, France.



The Threat is Real


Greenhouse warming and ocean acidification threaten to push corals beyond their environmental limits within the next 50-100 years.

A: Sea surface temperatures are trending to levels that will regularly exceed the bleaching threshold of many coral species (Hoegh-Gulberg, O., in press).

B: Ocean acidification is driving down the saturation state of seawater. This parameter controls the calcification rate of corals. If the trend continues, a threshold may be crossed where corals will no longer be able to calcify quickly enough to build corals (Kleypass, J.A., et al, 1999).




Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Low coral cover in a high-CO2 world, J. Geophysical Res., in press.

Kleypas, J.A., R.R. Buddemeier, D. Archer, J.P. Gattuso, C. Langdon, and B.N. Opdyke, Geochemical consequences of increased atmospheric CO2 on corals and coral reefs, Science, 284, 118-120, 1999.




Copyright 1999-2006, NCORE University of Miami - RSMAS. All Rights Reserved.

View Privacy Statement