Coral reef connectivity: an empirical and theoretical synthesis (2008–2010)
Coral reef ecosystems are imperiled world-wide. Identifying and protecting key reef areas will be critical for long-term persistence of tropical marine biodiversity. However, existing theories and tools for reserve designs do not incorporate information about how marine larvae move among reefs. We will evaluate this connectivity for reefs in the Coral Triangle and Great Barrier Reef using both physical (oceanographic) and genetic methods. Novel metrics, incorporating these connectivity estimates, will be developed and tested. We will use these metrics to predict the impact of climate change and tropical storms on connections among reefs to prioritise reef conservation.