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Ecological extinction caused by overfishing precedes all other pervasive human disturbance to coastal ecosystems, including pollution, degradation of water quality, and anthropogenic climate change. Historical abundances of large consumer species were fantastically large in comparison with recent observations. Paleoecological, archaeological, and historical(More)
The diversity, frequency, and scale of human impacts on coral reefs are increasing to the extent that reefs are threatened globally. Projected increases in carbon dioxide and temperature over the next 50 years exceed the conditions under which coral reefs have flourished over the past half-million years. However, reefs will change rather than disappear(More)
Many coral reefs have been degraded over the past two to three decades through a combination of human and natural disturbances. In Jamaica, the effects of overfishing, hurricane damage, and disease have combined to destroy most corals, whose abundance has declined from more than 50 percent in the late 1970s to less than 5 percent today. A dramatic phase(More)
Tropical reef fishes and corals exhibit highly predictable patterns of taxonomic composition across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Despite steep longitudinal and latitudinal gradients in total species richness, the composition of these key taxa is constrained within a remarkably narrow range of values. Regional-scale variation in reef biodiversity is best(More)
The world's coral reefs are in decline, with many exhibiting a phase shift from coral to macroalgal dominance . This change is often associated with habitat loss and overharvesting of herbivorous fishes, particularly parrotfishes and surgeonfishes . The challenge is to reverse this decline and enhance the resilience of coral-reef ecosystems . We(More)
Distributions of numerical abundance and resource use among species are fundamental aspects of community structure. Here we characterize these patterns for tropical reef fishes and corals across a 10,000-kilometer biodiversity gradient. Numerical abundance and resource-use distributions have similar shapes, but they emerge at markedly different scales.(More)
Social and ecological vulnerability to disasters and outcomes of any particular extreme event are influenced by buildup or erosion of resilience both before and after disasters occur. Resilient social-ecological systems incorporate diverse mechanisms for living with, and learning from, change and unexpected shocks. Disaster management requires multilevel(More)