The ability of coral reefs to survive in a globally-warming world may crucially depend on the levels of pollution to which they are exposed, new findings indicate.
Scientists studying reefs that were bleached in the late 1990s by high surface sea temperatures have found a link between recovery rates and the levels of contamination entering coastal waters from developments on the land.Resource Type: Reports
The deep sea is the oldest and largest biome on Earth, yet we have little knowledge of the ecosystems and processes in these dark, hidden depths. Only in the last two decades have new technologies enabled scientists to start exploring this last frontier – and their discoveries are fascinating but alarming: the deep sea is teeming with life but is already showing clear signs of anthropogenic impacts despite its remoteness. Many vulnerable deep-sea habitats and communities are being destroyed by fishing and are under threat from increasing exploitation of their mineral and living resources.Resource Type: Reports
Datasets Available from UNEP-WCMC: Excluding WDPA
Access to UNEP-WCMC datasets is provided on the understanding that you read and consent to be bound by the Terms and Conditions attached. For the purposes of this Agreement the “Data” comprise any of the spatial data and associated attribute data downloadable from the UNEP-WCMC website, excluding the World Database on Protected Areas.
This dataset provides spatial representation for the 234 “Data Sheet Sites” in the Centres of Plant Diversity (Davis et al. 1994-1997). In addition to the 234 priority sites selected for Data Sheet Site treatment, the Centres of Plant Diversity volumes recognize a number of additional sites in the Regional Summaries, but these are not included here. Theoretically, based on spatial information provided for some non-Data Sheet Sites in the CPD volumes (or even just the name of the sites in many cases), it would be possible to map many non-Data Sheet Sites. However, it would be difficult to do so consistently, and, furthermore, only the Data Sheet Sites are based on actual criteria. Specifically, to qualify for “Data Sheet” treatment in the volumes, mainland sites must have >1000 vascular plants, of which at least 100 are endemic to the site or to the phytogeographical region in which the site occurs; island floras must contain at least 50 endemic species or at least 10% of the flora must be endemic.
Resource Type: Spatial Data / Maps
Coral reefs are the most biologically diverse of shallow water marine ecosystems but are being degraded worldwide by human activities and climate warming. Analyses of the geographic ranges of 3235 species of reef fish, corals, snails, and lobsters revealed that between 7.2 and 53.6 of each taxon have highly restricted ranges, rendering them vulnerable to extinction. Restricted-range species are clustered into centers of endemism, like those described for terrestrial taxa. The 10 richest centers of endemism cover 15.8 of the world's coral reefs (0.012 of the oceans) but include between 44.8 and 54.2 of the restricted-range species. Many occur in regions where reefs are being severely affected by people, potentially leading to numerous extinctions. Threatened centers of endemism are major biodiversity hotspots, and conservation efforts targeted toward them could help avert the loss of tropical reef biodiversity.Resource Type: Journal Papers
These posters were designed to publicise the release of the World Atlas of Seagrasses and the World Atlas of Coral Reefs.Resource Type: Posters
South East Asia contains nearly 100,000 km2 of coral reefs, almost 34% of the world total. With over 600 of the almost 800 reef-building coral species, these reefs have the highest levels of marine biodiversity on earth. Heavy reliance on marine resources across South East Asia has resulted in the overexploitation and degradation of many coral reefs. An estimated 88% of them are threatened by human activity.Resource Type: Reports
Coral reefs are an integral part of the Caribbean fabric, threading along thousands of kilometres of coastline. Unfortunately, these valuable ecosystems are degrading rapidly under the mounting pressure of many human activities. Understanding the nature and extent of these threats and their likely economic impacts on the future productivity of Caribbean coral reefs is of central importance to conservation and planning efforts.
The Reefs at Risk in the Carribean project was launched to help protect and restore these valuable, threatened ecosystems by providing decision-makers and the public with information and tools to manage coastal habitats more effectively.
The forests of eastern Tanzania are a globally important biodiversity hotspot. In this study 361 eastern Tanzanian restricted range forest tree taxa were assessed. Of these taxa, 223 occurred in the Eastern Arc, 150 in Coastal forests, 17 in Northern forests and 21 in the Lake Nyasa forests. The majority of the taxa had restricted elevational ranges with 76.3 occurring in no more than two 200 m elevational bands out of a total potential elevation range of 3000 m. The majority of the taxa occupied a small area in the eastern Tanzanian forests, with 201 taxa being only found at a few sites. In determining priority areas for conservation, selection of taxon definitions can have important effects. For example, tree size varies with elevation, so if only large trees are used then site selection will be biased towards particular areas.Resource Type: Journal Papers
This study demonstrates the utility of carbon isotope discrimination in describing genetic adaptation to arid environments, although it is probably most useful in detecting differentiation when the strategy of the species under investigation is to increase water use efficiency, rather than drought-avoidance. The results suggest that populations on the eastern and western sides of the Andes should be treated as separate management units for the purposes of conserving the genetic resource of this species.Resource Type: Journal Papers
©2014 UNEP All rights reserved