At the same time, we know almost nothing about what actually lives on coral reefs. Estimates suggest that 25-35% of all marine species live on reefs, despite the fact that their total area is about the size of the country France.
The number of crab species living in just 6.3 square meters of a central Pacific reef is equivalent to 70% of the entire described European crab fauna. Fortunately, remote reefs protected from local human impacts still remain healthy, so we know that damage from global change is not yet irrevocable.
The challenge for the future is to figure out how human wellbeing and coral health can co-exist.
About Prof. Knowlton
Dr. Knowlton's research focuses on coral reefs, and her analyses have led to the recognition that estimates of marine diversity are probably too low by a factor of ten.
Dr. Knowlton was professor at Yale University prior to moving to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Later, she joined the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego, where she became the founding Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.
She chairs the World Bank's Targeted Research Program for Coral Reefs, and is principle investigator of the Census of Marine Life's Coral Reef Initiative.
She is an elected fellow and member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, and a recipient of the Peter Benchley Prize for science in the service of conservation.
Beijer Hall, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Lilla Frescativägen 4, Stockholm