USGS - science for a changing world

Fact Sheet 2008–3057


Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST)

By D.Z. Poore

Cover Photo


Coral reefs provide important ecosystem services such as shoreline protection and the support of lucrative industries including fisheries and tourism. Such ecosystem services are being compromised as reefs decline due to coral disease, climate change, overfishing, and pollution. There is a need for focused, integrated science to understand the complex ecological interactions and effects of these many stressors and to provide information that will effectively guide policies and best management practices to preserve and restore these important resources.

The U.S. Geological Survey Florida Integrated Science Center (USGS–FISC) is conducting a coordinated Coral Reef Research Project beginning in 2009. Specific research topics are aimed at addressing priorities identified in the “Strategic Science for Coral Ecosystems 2007-2011” document (U.S. Geological Survey, 2007).

Planned research will include a blend of historical, monitoring, and process studies aimed at improving our understanding of the development, current status and function, and likely future changes in coral ecosystems. Topics such as habitat characterization and distribution, coral disease, and trends in biogenic calcification are major themes of understanding reef structure, ecological integrity, and responses to global change.

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