On Wildlife Conservation Day, Protect Climate Refuges to Help Corals

Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society survey coral communities to assess the impacts of climate change and identify climate refuges where coral diversity can escape marine heatwaves and survive into the future. Photo credit: Emily Darling ©WCS.

By Emily Darling

This year Wildlife Conservation Day, December 4, arrives as we have just completed the once-a-decade World Parks Congress. Thousands of representatives from the global conservation community – from academics and NGO staff to policy makers and agency representatives – gathered in Sydney, Australia to discuss how we may better protect and preserve critical protected areas for nature across the globe, both on land and in the sea.

Protected areas are a hallmark strategy in marine conservation. Yet when they were first created, a growing lethal threat had not yet fully revealed itself. Warming, acidifying, and rising seas have devastated the world’s sensitive coral reefs, widely regarded as “ground zero” for climate change. El Niños and marine heat waves can bleach and destroy vast areas of healthy, biodiverse reefs even where they occur within “protected” parks.

Scientists from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) survey coral communities to assess the impacts of climate change and identify climate refuges where coral diversity can escape marine heatwaves and survive into the future. Photo credit: Emily Darling ©WCS.

If the global impacts of climate change do not stop at park boundaries, what can scientists do? One strategy is to identify and protect climate —> Read More Here

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