Recruit young scientists and local talent to safeguard coral reefs

World Wildlife Fund, Washington DC, USA. On behalf of 14 co-signatories (see Supplementary Information for full list).

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Coral reefs are again in the spotlight, having suffered mass mortality over the past two years from global bleaching events. Before reef resilience runs out, researchers must move beyond lamenting corals’ lost pristine state and develop pragmatic solutions. In our view, these are likely to stem from a more diverse set of stakeholders than have participated so far.

We must ensure that reefs can continue to provide well-being for millions of people in the future, despite widespread alterations in their biological state. Degraded reefs still have the potential to provide fisheries benefits, cultural value and other sources of revenue (such as tourism), although all of these are likely to be reduced.

With 2018 designated the International Year of the Reef, fresh perspectives and approaches are needed (S. A. Hewlett et al. Harvard Bus. Rev. 91, 30; 2013). New recruits should come from a greater variety of sectors (such as development, health and governance) and from a wider set of disciplines (such as the social sciences — including psychology, economics, political science and geography) than today’s conservationists. Young scientists and researchers from the global south will be particularly important contributors.

Nature 557, 492 (2018)

Supplementary Information

  1. Supplementary list of co-signatories

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