Modeling East Coast Reefs in a Changing Climate

South Africa’s East Coast subtropical reefs are nodes of high biodiversity that are subjected to considerable extractive utilization and non-extractive recreational use. Research on these resources by ORI over the years has advanced to a point where modelling ecological reef processes and connectivity has become possible within the context of climatic and environmental change. Coral communities on the northern reefs are threatened, in particular, by global warming. Less than a third of the east coast reefs lie in marine protected areas (MPAs), these falling principally within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site of great value and importance. While many of the protected reefs are subjected to regulated use, those lying outside the MPAs do not benefit from such protection and can be subject to various levels of exploitation.