Preparing to manage coral reefs for ocean acidification: lessons from coral bleaching
Ocean acidification is a direct consequence of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and is predicted to compromise the structure and function of coral reefs within this century. Research into the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs has focused primarily on measuring and predicting changes in seawater carbon (C) chemistry and the biological and geochemical responses of reef organisms to such changes. To date, few ocean acidification studies have been designed to address conservation planning and management priori- ties. Here, we discuss how existing marine protected area design principles developed to address coral bleach- ing may be modified to address ocean acidification. We also identify five research priorities needed to incor- porate ocean acidification into conservation planning and management: (1) establishing an ocean C chemistry baseline, (2) establishing ecological baselines, (3) determining species/habitat/community sensitivity to ocean acidification, (4) projecting changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, and (5) identifying potentially synergis- tic effects of multiple stressors.