Reef systems along tropical coastlines, formed by corals or calcifying algae, are hotspots of marine biodiversity. They provide a wide range of services to coastal societies and are often closely connected to adjacent ecosystems, such as seagrass beds or mangroves.
They serve as spawning, nursery and feeding grounds and are permanent habitats for a variety of fish and other species of commercial, touristic and livelihood relevance.
The reef structure, moreover, provides coastal protection against strong erosive forces of currents and surf waves. These reef systems are under threat through direct and indirect human activities such as pollution, eutrophication, physical damage and overfishing, caused by an intensified use of the areas through tourism and/or urbanisation of adjacent coasts.
The potential of regime shifts in reef systems and their surroundings as effect of global climate change (e.g. sea level and temperature rise or water acidification) calls for the identification of key drivers and tipping points in these processes of change.
The objective of the symposium is to present an overview on ecological research in reef systems and discuss needs for future research. Presenters will report on their own work and research results as well as on their ideas of burning issues in reef research.