Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Marine Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Brent Lewis


Climate change is a very real phenomenon that currently affects many of the ecosystems on Earth. Climate change occurs on a global scale and can be very detrimental to different environments. This occurrence can cause ocean warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and increased storm intensity. According to the EPA, the ocean's temperature has increased 1.4°F over the past century, and sea levels have risen 3.2 millimeters through the past 20 years. These changes to the oceans can greatly affect many of the ecosystems that reside in them. One of the main ecosystems that are being affected by climate change is the coral reef habitat. Coral reefs are very susceptible to shifts in their surroundings so it is important to examine and understand how global climate change will affect these reef systems. With climate change occurring so rapidly due to increased anthropogenic influences, humans must consider how these changes will affect the planet in general and the highly susceptible coral reef ecosystems in particular. Spillman et al (2011) found that due to the increase of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere from the combustion of more fossil fuels, both the atmosphere and the oceans are warming and this rise in temperature is negatively affecting the coral reefs.

Included in

Oceanography Commons