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Featured Science:

In a Science perspective, 'Seeking resilience in marine systems', we argue that resilience may increasingly rely on the process of resistance, and recovery windows close for corals. Finding resistance in 'super coral' traits and environmental refuges are urgent priorities for coral reef conservation. 

 A full list of publications can be found on my Google Scholar page

  Acropora  corals thrive on a shallow reef on Samurai Island, Papua New Guinea. Photo: Emily Darling

Acropora corals thrive on a shallow reef on Samurai Island, Papua New Guinea. Photo: Emily Darling

Climate refuges and resilience

Increasing the resilience of global ecosystems to climate change is a crucial challenge. I am interested in portfolio approaches to conservation and examine how climate refuges - areas of unique oceanography that might escape the worst impacts of climate change - can be use in conservation and management. 
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Darling ES and Côté IM. 2018. Seeking resilience in marine ecosystems. Science 359: 986-7.

Beyer HL, Kennedy EV, Beger M, Chen CA, Cinner J, Darling ES, Eakin CM, Gates R, Heron SF, Knowlton N, Obura D, Palumbi SR, Possingham HP, Puotinen M, Runting RK, Skirving W, Spalding M, Wilson K, Wood S, Veron JE and O Hoegh-Guldberg. 2018. Risk-sensitive planning for conserving coral reefs under rapid climate change. Conservation Letters https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12587

Webster MS, Colton MA, Darling ES, Armstrong J, Pinsky ML, Knowlton N and DE Schindler. 2017. Who Should Pick the Winners of Climate Change? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 32: 167-173.

Darling ES. 2014. Conserve climate refugia. In “A to-do list for the world’s parks”. Nature 515: 28-30. 

Côté IM and ES Darling. 2010. Rethinking Ecosystem Resilience in the Face of Climate Change. PLOS Biology 8: e1000438.

Coral traits and life histories

 Traits like colony growth form, reproduction, growth rate, skeletal density and symbiont diversity can describe unique "life histories" that can inform predictions of community change under multiple stressors. Photo: Emily Darling

Traits like colony growth form, reproduction, growth rate, skeletal density and symbiont diversity can describe unique "life histories" that can inform predictions of community change under multiple stressors. Photo: Emily Darling

Scleractinian corals are a diverse and threatened group of species that provide critical habitat and architecture on tropical reefs. Trait-based approaches can be used to classify life-history strategies of reef corals and evaluate pattern and theory in community ecology. I am a Managing Editor of the online and open-source Coral Traits Database; R code for the original life histories classifications can be found here on GitHub.
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Wong JSY, Chang YKS, Ng L, Tun KPP, Darling ES and D Huang. 2018. Comparing patterns of coral taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity in Singapore. Coral Reefs 37:737-750. 

Zinke J, Gilmour JP, Fisher R, Puotinen M, Maina J, Darling ES, Stat M, Richards Z, McClanahan TR, Beger M, Moore C, Graham NAJ, Feng M, Hobbs J-P A, Evans SN, Field S, Shedrawi G, Babcock R and SK Wilson. 2018. Gradients of disturbance and environmental conditions shape coral community structure for south-eastern Indian Ocean reefs. Diversity and Distributions 24: 605-620.

Darling ES, Graham NAJ, Januchowski-Hartley FA, Nash KL, Pratchett MS and SK Wilson. 2017. Relationships between structural complexity, coral traits and reef fish assemblages. Coral Reefs, in press. 

Madin JS, Hoogenboom M, Connolly S, Darling ES, Falster D, Huang D, Keith S, Mizerek T, Pandolfi JM, Putnam H, Baird AH. 2016. A trait-based approach to advance coral reef science. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 31: 419-428. 

Madin JS, Anderson K, Andreason M, Bridge T, Cairns S, Connolly S, Darling ES, Diaz M, Falster D, et al., and A Baird. 2016. The Coral Trait Database, a curated database of trait information for coral species from the global oceans. Scientific Data 3: 160017.

Darling ES, TR McClanahan and IM Côté. 2013. Life histories predict coral community disassembly under multiple stressors. Global Change Biology 19: 1930-1940. 

Darling ES, Alvarez-Filip L, Oliver TA, McClanahan TR and IM Côté. 2012. Evaluating life-history strategies of reef corals from species traits. Ecology Letters 15:  1378-1386. *Selected by the Faculty of 1000

 Fishing boats in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. photo: Emily Darling

Fishing boats in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. photo: Emily Darling

Synergies and multiple stressors

The human footprint on global ecosystems is increasing as a consequence of climate change, overexploitation, habitat loss, pollution, and invasive species. Understanding synergies and stressor interactions can inform what increasing pressures mean for ecosystems in the real world, like coral reefs.  
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Côté IM, Darling ES and C Brown. 2016. Interactions among ecosystem stressors and their importance in conservation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 283: 20152592.

McClanahan TR, Graham NAJ and ES Darling. 2014. Coral reefs in a crystal ball: predicting the future from the vulnerability of corals and reef fishes to multiple stressors. Current Opinion in Sustainability and Environmental Science 7: 50-64.

Darling ES, McClanahan TR and IM Côté. 2010. Combined effects of two stressors on Kenyan coral reefs are additive or antagonistic, not synergistic. Conservation Letters 3: 122-130. 

Darling ES and IM Côté. 2008. Quantifying the evidence for ecological synergies. Ecology Letters 11: 1278-1286. **Highly cited article: 380 citations in August 2017. 

 Counting the day's catch in South Coast, Kenya. Photo: Emily Darling

Counting the day's catch in South Coast, Kenya. Photo: Emily Darling

Social-ecological systems and coral reef fisheries

Coral reefs support fisheries that provide food security and livelihoods for half a billion people worldwide. Increasingly, a social-ecological systems perspective is required to understand conservation and management of coupled social-ecological systems. 
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Darling ES and S D’agata. 2017. Coral Reefs: Fishing for Sustainability. Current Biology 27: R57-R76.

Darling ES. 2014. Assessing the effect of marine reserves on increase household food security in Kenyan fishing communities. In press, PLOS ONE 9: e113614.

Cinner JE, Huchery C, Darling ES, Humphries AT, Graham NAJ, Hicks CC, Marshall N and TR McClanahan. 2013. Evaluating social and ecological vulnerability of coral reef fisheries to climate change. PLOS ONE 8: e74321

McClanahan TR, Hicks CC and ES Darling. 2008. Fishing pressure, productivity and competition for resources: Malthusian overexploitation and efforts to overcome it on Kenyan coral reefs. Ecological Applications 18: 1516-1529. 

 Twitter can open up your science into a global faculty lounge, as well as allow you to access the wider public, politicians and the media.

Twitter can open up your science into a global faculty lounge, as well as allow you to access the wider public, politicians and the media.

Scientists and social media

Scientists are increasingly using social media for networking, communication and research impact. Every scientist can be a great communicator, and social media can be a valuable set of tools when used purposefully. 
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Côté IM and ES Darling. 2018 Scientists on Twitter: Preaching to the choir or singing from the rooftops? FACETS 3: 682-694.

Darling ES, D Shiffman, Côté IM and J Drew. 2013. The role of Twitter in the lifecycle of a scientific publication. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution 6: 32-43.

Parsons ECM, Shiffman DS, Darling ES, Spillman N and AJ Wright. 2014. Editorial: How Twitter literacy can benefit conservation scientists. Conservation Biology 28: 299-301.  

Darling ES and JR Rummer. 2015. Strategically Using Social Media. In Success Strategies from Women in Science (eds. P Pritchard and C Grant). In press, Elsevier, Inc.