Richard B. Aronson

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In recent decades, the cover of fleshy macroalgae has increased and coral cover has decreased on most Caribbean reefs. Coral mortality precipitated this transition, and the accumulation of macroalgal biomass has been enhanced by decreased herbivory and increased nutrient input. Populations of Acropora palmata (elkhorn coral) and A. cervicornis (staghorn(More)
The conservation status of 845 zooxanthellate reef-building coral species was assessed by using International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Criteria. Of the 704 species that could be assigned conservation status, 32.8% are in categories with elevated risk of extinction. Declines in abundance are associated with bleaching and diseases driven by(More)
Beginning in the late 1980s, white-band disease nearly eliminated the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis from reefs in the central shelf lagoon of Belize. The lettuce coral Agaricia tenuifolia replaced Acropora cervicornis in the early 1990s, but anomalously high water temperatures in 1998 caused severe bleaching and catastrophic mortality of Agaricia(More)
Some authors argue that overfishing is an important reason that reef corals have declined in recent decades. Their reasoning is that overfishing removes herbivores, releasing macroalgae to overgrow and kill the corals. The evidence suggests, however, that global climate change and emergent marine diseases make a far greater contribution to coral mortality,(More)
Initial conditions can generate differences in the biotic composition of spatially disjunct communities, but intense, large-scale perturbations have the potential to reduce or eliminate those historical differences. The latter possibility is of particular concern with respect to coral reefs, which have undergone dramatic changes in the last 25–30 years.(More)
Antarctica is the most isolated continent on Earth, but it has not escaped the negative impacts of human activity. The unique marine ecosystems of Antarctica and their endemic faunas are affected on local and regional scales by overharvesting, pollution, and the introduction of alien species. Global climate change is also having deleterious impacts: rising(More)
 Well-preserved, Holocene coral reefs provide the opportunity to discriminate between models of intrinsically driven succession and extrinsically driven species replacement, especially when paleontological patterns can be combined with ecological observations of the underlying mechanisms. Rhomboid shoals in the central shelf lagoon of the Belizean Barrier(More)
BACKGROUND As Earth warms, temperate and subpolar marine species will increasingly shift their geographic ranges poleward. The endemic shelf fauna of Antarctica is especially vulnerable to climate-mediated biological invasions because cold temperatures currently exclude the durophagous (shell-breaking) predators that structure shallow-benthic communities(More)