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LTER Key Research Findings

Among the many research results from LTER sites, some findings stand out as being particularly important to achieve the LTER goal of providing information to conserve, protect, and manage the nation's ecosystems. Short descriptions of key findings at each site emphasize the importance of long-term data in understanding the pace and pattern of ecological change.

Coral Reef Observing Network (MCR LTER)
Coral reefs are complex, biologically diverse and highly valued ecosystems that are under increasing threat from both natural and human-induced disturbances. Timely ecosystem observations about the condition of coral reefs on a range of temporal and spatial scales are essential to assist policy makers and resource managers to address the challenges of their management and conservation, as well as...
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Diversity Matters (MCR LTER)
As the effects of human society on the global environment intensify, notably to elevate atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, coral reefs and reef-forming corals find themselves the colloquial "canary in the coal mine" in providing early warning of the dire effects of these changes. Nearly 30 years ago, scientists raised the alarm over the effects of unseasonably warm seawater in causing...
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Fish Grow Coral (MCR LTER)
There is an obvious relationship between coral and the tropical fishes that live in close association with them -- in general the more coral there is on a reef, the more fish will occur there. While it is clear that the amount of coral habitat on a reef influences the number of fishes present, MCR scientists have found that the reverse often is true as well -- the number of coral-dwelling fishes...
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Managing For Resilient Coral Reefs (MCR LTER)
Tropical reefs around the world are being disturbed more and more often by events that greatly reduce the amount of living coral on reefs. In some cases the disturbed reef returns to its previous state of high coral cover; however, in other instances, the reef becomes dominated by persistent stands of macroalgae that greatly slow or prevent the re-establishment of coral. Macroalgae can overgrow a...
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