International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 90, Issue 2, pp 426–437

The future of coral reefs in an age of global change

  • Joan A. Kleypas
  • Robert W. Buddemeier
  • Jean-Pierre Gattuso
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s005310000125

Cite this article as:
Kleypas, J.A., Buddemeier, R.W. & Gattuso, J. Int J Earth Sci (2001) 90: 426. doi:10.1007/s005310000125


Coral reefs are the only ecosystem that is strongly defined by a geological component – most definitions require that the biological community produces its own build-up of calcium carbonate. In terms of "reef-building," the geological record reveals that coral reefs have flourished over the past few million years, particularly during interglacial periods. Based on our observations of modern-day reefs, which are limited to the past few centuries, we tend to link "coral reef health" to carbonate production; however, reef ecosystems face future global-scale environmental changes that may decrease their reef-building capacity. In contrast to past discussions of the factors which determine reef-building potential by a coral reef community, the essential question that arises from this review is: How important is reef building to a coral reef community?

Coral reef Global change Calcium carbonate Saturation state Temperature CO2

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan A. Kleypas
    • 1
  • Robert W. Buddemeier
    • 2
  • Jean-Pierre Gattuso
    • 3
  1. 1.Oceanography Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307USA
  2. 2.Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66047USA
  3. 3.Observatoire Océanologique, ESA 7076 CNRS-UPMC, B.P. 28, 06234 Villefranche-sur-mer CedexFrance