Options for Managing Impacts of Climate Change on a Deep-Sea Community
The deep sea hosts some of the world's largest, oldest, and most sensitive ecosystems. Climate change and ocean acidification are likely to have severe implications for many deep-sea ecosystems and communities, but what, if anything, can be done to mitigate these threats is poorly understood. To begin to bridge this gap, we convened a stakeholder workshop to assess and prioritize options for conserving legislatively protected deep-sea coral reefs off southeast Australia that, without management intervention, are likely to be severely degraded within decades as a result of climate change. Seventeen possible options were explored that span biological, engineering and regulatory domains and that differed widely in their perceived costs, benefits, time to implementation, and risks. In the short term, the highest priority identified is the need to urgently locate and protect sites globally that are, or will become, refugia areas for the coral and its associated community as climate change progresses.