Combining agent-based, trait-based and demographic approaches to model coral-community dynamics.

Journal: eLife

Published: 2020-07-23

DOI: 10.7554/elife.55993

Affiliations: 5

Authors: 5

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Research Highlight

Modelling coral reefs in all their diversity

© Georgette Douwma/Stone/Getty Images

© Georgette Douwma/Stone/Getty Images

A model that more accurately predicts the health of coral reefs will help inform efforts to save this important and endangered ecosystem.

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. But that diversity makes it challenging to predict how they will respond to existential threats such as global warming, pollution and invasive species.

Now, a computer model that draws on decades of data to simulate coral reefs has been developed by a researcher at Flinders University in South Australia and collaborators in Canada and France.

Extensive testing revealed that the model accurately simulates coral reefs. It can predict the life cycles of coral colonies and algae, and hence more accurately predict how reef communities respond to threats. This model will help identify reef resilience and help improve reef management and restoration strategies.

Supported content

  1. eLife 9, e55993 (2020). doi: 10.7554/elife.55993
Institutions Share
The University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBC Okanagan), Canada 0.60
Nova Blue Environment (NBE), France 0.20
Flinders University, Australia 0.20