The resilience of coastal wetlands – an optimistic look to the future

Loss estimates for coastal wetlands by the end of the century are severe. Coastal communities depend on these critical systems for the services they provide. With rising sea levels and encroaching human populations, the fate of coastal wetlands remains uncertain. However, a new study suggests that there is hope for these habitats even if the direst rates of sea-level rise occur. As long as coastal wetlands are given space to build upwards and migrate inland, we could preserve these habitats and the benefits they provide.

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What happened to the Great Barrier Reef in 2016?

In 2016, a severe coral reef bleaching event killed ~30% of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. Abnormally warm global ocean temperatures are becoming more common and intense which will increase the frequency of bleaching events. Forward-looking projections indicate potential coral reef benefits associated with moving toward lower greenhouse gas emission futures. How do we get there?

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Ocean Acidification is in the Spotlight. How Can We Address Its Impacts?

The ocean has become 30% more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. This continuing change in ocean pH, or ocean acidification, will likely impact the economies of coastal communities. The science community must work together with industry, policymakers, other science disciplines, and coastal communities to find practical and applicable solutions to address the environmental impacts of ocean acidification. This integrated approach is known as transdisciplinary science and seeks to understand the interactions among ocean acidification, the ecosystem, and society.

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Ocean Acidification Steps into the Spotlight

The ocean absorbs nearly a quarter of the carbon dioxide humans emit. Since the Industrial Revolution the ocean has become 30% more acidic. This change in ocean carbon chemistry, or ocean acidification, has the potential to impact many socioeconomic resources. An increased scientific understanding of these risks has illustrated the need for collaboration across many disciplines to develop realistic solutions to mitigate the rising threat to vital marine resources. Transdisciplinary science will be critical in informing policy to protect our economic interests.

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