Abstract:

The deep sea hosts some of the world’s largest, oldest, and most sensitive ecosystems. Climate change and ocean acidification
are likely to have severe implications for many deep-sea ecosystems and communities, but what, if anything, can be done to
mitigate these threats is poorly understood. To begin to bridge this gap, we convened a stakeholder workshop to assess and
prioritize options for conserving legislatively protected deep-sea coral reefs off southeast Australia that, without management
intervention, are likely to be severely degraded within decades as a result of climate change. Seventeen possible options were
explored that span biological, engineering and regulatory domains and that differed widely in their perceived costs, benefits,
time to implementation, and risks. In the short term, the highest priority identified is the need to urgently locate and protect
sites globally that are, or will become, refugia areas for the coral and its associated community as climate change progresses.

The findings published in this article were generated in a workshop facilitated by the Marine Biodiversity Hub in 2013, bringing together ideas of CSIRO scientists and Parks Australia officers.

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