Prof. Terry Hughes Discusses Impacts of Climate Change on Coral Reefs at Pardee Center Co-Hosted Lecture

On November 4, the BU Marine Program, the Department of Biology, and the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future co-hosted a special lecture titled “Responses of Coral Reefs to Global Warming,” by Prof. Terry Hughes, Director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

In his talk, Prof. Hughes discussed how heat exposure is a driver of ecological change, particularly as it relates to coral bleaching events. He explained that 93 percent of UNESCO World Heritage reefs have bleached at least once, and that the Great Barrier Reef has bleached four times since 1998. He also discussed in depth the concept of coral reef resilience as, after extensive Great Barrier Reef bleaching in 2016 and 2017, coral were able to adapt and tougher species survived. He concluded that reef management and restoration is not the sole answer, but rather that reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be the top priority for ensuring the wellbeing of coral ecosystems.

Read more in Prof. Hughes’ recent article in Nature.