Climate Change Adaptations in the Great Barrier Reef – Infographics

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Climate Change Adaptations in the Great Barrier Reef – Infographics 2017-08-06T11:09:07+00:00

Project Description

Climate Change and coral reefs

Climate Change has become perceptible. Its effects can already be noticed around the whole planet. season shifts, increasing temperatures and sea level rising are only some of the more obvious symptoms. However, we do not know yet how far these symptoms will extend and their future consequences. It is expected that these changes would affect our health and economy, and could jeopardize the continuity of many species.

Among these species are corals, marine organisms formed by colonies of small animals called polyps. for its survival, coral polyps need to live in balance with other organisms in specific temperature and depth conditions, and generally in clear water areas. Changes in the aforementioned conditions can break that equilibrium causing polyps decease, making corals one of the most vulnerable species to Climate Change effects.

There are different species of corals in the world, and among them some are capable to build large limestone structures known as coral reefs. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the planet, extending along more than 2,300 kilometers on the east coast of Australia. This system has great ecological importance as it holds a wide variety of marine species, including endangered ones and others that can only be found in this reef.

Climate Change’s consequences on the ecosystem and human population

On the other hand, the Great Barrier Reef is an important source of income. Its high biodiversity and clear and temperate waters where it resides make him one of the main tourist destinations in the world, especially for sport divers. It was estimated that in 2013, tourism activities based on this reef generated around 6.4 billion dollars and close to 64,000 jobs. For this reason, its conservation is critical for the inhabitants of this continent both in ecological and economic terms. Moved by this concern, researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Australia) assessed the possible consequences that Climate Change could have on the ecosystem and local communities of this area.

This analysis was published in the document How the Great Barrier Reef and Its industries can adapt to climate change: some scenarios. In it, four possible scenarios reflecting the possible impacts of Climate Change both on this reef ecosystem and on the its human activities are presented. With this analysis the study aims to facilitate the understanding of these changes in order to allow the local communities to anticipate them.

Visualizing technical information

In the framework of this study, the researcher L. E. of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies contacted us in order to design and develop some graphics that help non-scientist readers to understand the information included in it.  After reviewing the background information together, we focus on identifying which concepts were more relevant to be transmitted. With this, we studied the best way to represent the different parameters and their variations for the different scenarios so they could be  in a manner that could be easily appreciated when comparing each other. Finally, we decided to perform four separate infographics, one for each scenario.

Here you can see the infographic series as it was published:

Climate change adaptations infographic scenarios 1a & 1b
Climate change adaptations infographic scenarios 2a & 2b

Extracted from Evans, L S, Fidelman, P, Hicks, C, Perry, A, Tobin, R. How the Great Barrier Reef and its Industries Can Adapt to Climate Change: Some Scenarios. 2011.

Afterwards, this infographic series was published again within the scientific paper Future Scenarios as a Research Tool: Investigating Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation Options and Outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (Louisa S. Evans & Christina C. Hicks & Pedro Fidelman & Renae C. Tobin & Allison L. Perry). publicado en la revista Human Ecology:

Infographic series on climate change adaptations

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