Conclusions of Low Extinction Risk for Most Species of Reef-Building Corals are Premature

Muir, P.R., Obura, D.O., Hoeksema, B.W., Sheppard, C., Pichon, M., Richards, Z.T. (2022). Conclusions of low extinction risk for most species of reef-building corals are premature. Nature Ecology & Evolution.


Dietzel et al tackle a critical issue in biology: the likelihood of species extinctions of reef corals, the key foundation species of the most diverse and threatened marine ecosystem on the planet. Their analyses proffer an updated means of quantifying population sizes and the conclusions are bold, potentially affecting the future direction of reef management and research. They conclude that the risk of global extinction for most coral species is low and that many of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessments for reef corals, which list up to one-third of species at elevated risk, are flawed. However, we find problems with the suitability of the data used in their analyses that call into question these conclusions.

DOI: 10.1038/s41559-022-01659-5