Coral reef structural complexity
Hubbard, Dennis Geology Department, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.
Last reviewed:September 2018
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A measure of the three-dimensional structure of live coral communities on reefs. Coral reef structural complexity is an intrinsic element of coral reef ecosystems and quantitates the surface area of coral in relation to its linear area. The structural complexity of coral reefs is important because it provides information on the health of coral reefs and the species that inhabit the coral reef's ecological neighborhood. When a coral reef is threatened by any of a variety of causes [for example, coral bleaching (Fig. 1) or coral diseases], as is the present case in marine locations around the world, the whole community of organisms that resides within and around that coral reef will be at risk. Thus, conservation and restoration efforts must be instituted to ensure the future survival of all coral reef communities. See also: Conservation (species); Conservation of resources; Coral bleaching; Coral diseases; Ecological communities; Ecology; Ecosystem; Marine ecology; Reef; Restoration ecology
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