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The Great Barrier Reef: vulnerabilities and solutions in the face of ocean acidification

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Linwood Pendleton
  • Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
  • Rebecca Albright
  • Anne Kaup
  • Paul Marshall
  • Nadine Marshall
  • Professor Steve Fletcher
  • Gunnar Haraldsson
  • Lina Hansson

As living carbonate-based structures, coral reefs are highly vulnerable to ocean acidification. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the largest continuous coral reef system in the world. Its economic, social, and icon assets are valued at AU$56 billion (Deloitte Access Economics, 2017), owing to its vast biodiversity and services related to commercial and recreational fisheries, shoreline protection, and reef-related tourism and recreation. Ocean acidification poses a significant risk to these ecological and socioeconomic services, threatening not only the structural foundation of the GBR but the livelihoods of reef-dependent sectors of society. To assess the vulnerabilities of the GBR to ocean acidification, we review the characteristics of the GBR and the current valuation and factors affecting potential losses across three major areas of socioeconomic concern: fisheries, shoreline protection, and reef-related tourism and recreation. We then discuss potential solutions, both conventional and unconventional, for mitigating ocean acidification impacts on the GBR and propose a suite of actions that would help assess and increase the region's preparedness for the effects of ocean acidification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100729
Number of pages16
JournalRegional Studies in Marine Science
Early online date10 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


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