How can “Super Corals” facilitate global coral reef survival under rapid environmental and climatic change?

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Journal Article
Global Change Biology, 2018, 24 (7), pp. 2755 - 2757
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© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Coral reefs are in a state of rapid global decline via environmental and climate change, and efforts have intensified to identify or engineer coral populations with increased resilience. Concurrent with these efforts has been increasing use of the popularized term “Super Coral” in both popular media and scientific literature without a unifying definition. However, how this subjective term is currently applied has the potential to mislead inference over factors contributing to coral survivorship, and the future trajectory of coral reef form and functioning. Here, we discuss that the information required to support a single definition does not exist, and in fact may never be appropriate, i.e. “How Super is Super”? Instead, we advocate caution of this term, and suggest a workflow that enables contextualization and clarification of superiority to ensure that inferred or asserted survivorship is appropriate into future reef projections. This is crucial to robustly unlock how “Super Corals” can be integrated into the suite of management options required to facilitate coral survival under rapid environmental and climate change.
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