Our Publications

Scientific Publications

CORAL Authored:

  • Who Should Pick the Winners of Climate Change? (Webster et al. 2017) Description:  Many conservation strategies identify a narrow subset of genotypes, species, or geographic locations that are predicted to be favored under different scenarios of future climate change. However, a focus on predicted winners, which might not prove to be correct, risks undervaluing the balance of biological diversity from which climate-change winners could otherwise emerge. Drawing on ecology, evolutionary biology, and portfolio theory, we propose a conservation approach designed to promote adaptation that is less dependent on uncertain predictions about the identity of winners and losers. By designing actions to facilitate numerous opportunities for selection across biological and environmental conditions, we can allow nature to pick the winners and increase the probability that ecosystems continue to provide services to humans and other species.
  • Management for network diversity speeds evolutionary adaptation to climate change (Walsworth et al. 2019) Description: The pioneering study is one of the first to demonstrate that management that takes evolution and adaptation into account can help rescue coral reefs from the effects of climate change. The results show that by making smart decisions to protect reefs today, conservation managers can generate the conditions that can help corals adapt to rising temperatures. 
  • Ecomorphological analyses reveal impact of land-based stressors on stock structure of two commercially important fish species (Lutjanus synagris and Haemulon plumierii) in the Caribbean (Nuñez-Vallecillo et al. 2020) Description: Many Caribbean nations lack information on the ecology and biology of marine species, which are essential for food security and livelihoods in the region. This study aimed to advance the knowledge of two commercially important fish species, lane snapper (Lutjanus synagris) and white grunt (Haemulon plumierii), using cost-efficient techniques. These results are key for the development of informed reef fisheries management policies in the Caribbean region.
  • Transitioning to co‑management in Caribbean reef fisheries: Tela Bay case study (Rivera et al. 2021) Description: We analyzed the 5-year transition process of a Caribbean reef fishery from top-down management to co-management. Despite previous research stating that the Caribbean in general, and Honduras in particular, are not ready for collaborative management approaches we saw that the Tela Bay was able to successfully implement a co-management system.
  • Evolution reverses the effect of network structure on metapopulation persistence (McManus et al. 2021) Current ecological theory predicts that random networks with dispersal shortcuts connecting distant sites can promote persistence when there is no capacity for evolution. This paper demonstrates that incorporating evolution and environmental heterogeneity fundamentally alters theoretical predictions regarding persistence in ecological networks.

CORAL Sponsored:

  • Quantifying global potential for coral evolutionary response to climate change (Logan et al. 2021) Description: Using a global ecological and evolutionary model of competing branching and mounding coral morphotypes, this study shows symbiont shuffling was more effective than symbiont evolution in delaying coral-cover declines, but stronger warming rates outpace the ability of these adaptive processes and limit coral persistence. Global patterns in coral reef vulnerability to climate are sensitive to the interaction of warming rate and adaptive capacity and cannot be predicted by either factor alone. Overall, the results show how models of spatially resolved adaptive mechanisms can inform conservation decisions.
  • Seasonal cycles of phytoplankton biomass and primary production in a tropical temporarily open-close estuarine lagoon–the effect of an extreme climatic event (Carrasco Navas-Parejo et al. 2020)   Description: The publication analyzes the impact of extreme climatic events on the primary production and phytoplankton biomass in an estuarine system, using the Los Micos Lagoon in the Tela Bay as a case study. Los Micos Lagoon is one of the most productive estuaries in the world. During severe tropical storms Los Micos exports the majority of its primary production to the sea. However, the estuary is very resilient and recovers within a 30-day timeframe.
  • Exploring determinants for the implementation of mixed TURF-aquaculture systems (C. Sepúlveda and A. Rivera et al. 2019).  Description: The publication analyzes the implementation of a mixed Territorial Use Rights for Fishing (TURFs)-aquaculture system in Chile, as a means to offset the costs of TURFs. Furthermore, it pinpoints social capital as the key driver for the successful implementation of the mixed systems.
  • Social attributes can drive or deter the sustainability of bottom-up management systems (A. Rivera et al. 2019). Description: The publication generates an integrated sustainability index (considering environmental, social and economic aspects) to assess the sustainability of bottom-up management systems. The gooseneck barnacle fishery in Northern Spain is used as a case study. According to the results social attributes are key for the sustainability of bottom-up management systems. Particularly, bottom-up management schemes can be weakened if user-defined social attributes are absent or deficient.
  • Exploring the adaptive capacity of the mussel mariculture industry in Chile (San Martín et al. 2019).  Description: The publication analyzes the adaptive capacity of the mariculture sector in Chile in the face of climate change. Furthermore, it analyzes the sector’s willingness to invest in adaptive strategies. The mariculture sector adaptive strategies in the face on environmental stressor are very heterogenous. However, willingness to invest in adaptation is usually driven by social capital and financial assets. 

Organizational Information

Resource Tools and Information


Low Impact Design and Best Management Practices to Safeguard Coral Reefs
Demonstration Projects to Safeguard Coral Reefs
Traditional Hawaiian Agriculture Infosheets
Guidelines and Best Practices
Case Studies
Developing Sustainable Fisheries in the Mesoamerica Region (Spanish)