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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 as 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 are key framework corals that form the backbone of the entire reef ecosystem, shown here near Leleuvia Islands, Fiji. Photo: Emily Darling

Acropora corals are key framework corals that form the backbone of the entire reef ecosystem, shown here near Leleuvia Islands, Fiji. 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. 

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. 

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

Coral reef fisheries support the livelihoods, food security and cultural practices of 500 million people worldwide. Here, a group of fisheries consider the daily catch in Tofo, Mozambique. Photo: Emily Darling

Coral reef fisheries support the livelihoods, food security and cultural practices of 500 million people worldwide. Here, a group of fisheries consider the daily catch in Tofo, Mozambique. Photo: Emily Darling

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.

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.