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
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
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 threat posed to coral reefs by biological invasion is unlikely to diminish and should therefore be considered in analyses of the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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.
The coral reefs dataset has been compiled by UNEP-WCMC to show the global distribution of warm water coral reefs. This dataset has been created from multiple sources and was used in the creation of the World Atlas of Coral Reefs (2001). This polygon feature dataset is an update of the data used in the Atlas but is based on a 1km raster version of the dataset to enable distribution of the data. This is due to restrictions placed by some data sources and suppliers.Resource Type: Spatial Data / Maps
The WDPA-Marine is dedicated to providing the most comprehensive set of marine protected areas (MPAs) data available. The dataset focuses on MPAs and representation of the diverse species and habitats found in the marine environment. The tools itself features the attributes of each MPA, gives users an advanced search function, provides a viewer through Google Earth and links through to other detailed information such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.Resource Type: Tools / Applications
Global and regional coral reef area statistics are of considerable value in fields ranging from global environmental change to fisheries to conservation. Although widely quoted, Smith's 1978 figure of 600 000rkm2 is only an approximate calculation. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre has prepared a new estimate of reef coverage by mapping emergent reef crest and very shallow reef systems. These data were rasterised, using 1rkm grid squares, as a means of reducing errors arising from variation in scale. Global and regional reef coverages were calculated from the resultant grid. The total global area is estimated at 255 000rkm2, considerably lower than many previous estimates. Variation in reef area estimates is, in part, a function of variation in reef definition.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Technical report on the collection of geographic data, the regression analysis of explanatory factors of land use patterns, the development of a set of three alternative scenarios, and the modelling of land use changes using the CLUES model. This work was carried out as part of the ICRAN-MAR project's sub-result 1.2, "Trends in land use integrated with spatial, hydrological and oceanographic models for use in modelling".Resource Type: Reports
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