This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Adaptive Governance of Coral Reefs: Cases of Florida and the Caribbean




Morris, Daniel

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Forestry and Wildlife Science


Coral reefs are one of the most imperiled yet one of the most valuable ecosystems on the planet, providing food, medicine, and property protection to hundreds of millions of coastal people all over the world. Coral reefs are being lost at an unprecedented rate throughout their range. In the Florida Reef Tract alone, 98% of hard coral has died due to heat waves, disease, and poor water quality, making modern reefs almost unrecognizable. Given the stress that coral reefs are facing due to human and natural causes, there are two key knowledge gaps that are essential to address: the significance of the losses of culturally important benefits that coral reefs provide to people, and the ways that people are adapting to the rapid loss of coral reefs. This dissertation aims to address both gaps.