The evolution of coral reef under changing climate: a scientometric review

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Coral reefs are vital ecosystems with high biodiversity and ecological services for coastal communities. Climate change is accelerating, with detrimental consequences on coral reefs and related communities, but it is challenging to keep up with the literature given its current rapid expansion. The current review foresees three future trends in the area of coral reefs and climate change, including (i) incorporating future scenarios, (ii) climate-induced temperature changes, and (iii) adaptation strategies, which are expected to move society closer to the following Sustainable Development Goal: 13 Climate Action.


In this scientometric review, we employ the Web of Science Core Collection to assess current publications and research trends regarding coral reefs in relation to climate change. Thirty-seven keywords for climate change and seven keywords for coral reefs were used in the analysis of 7743 articles on coral reefs and climate change. The field entered an accelerated uptrend phase in 2016, and it is anticipated that this phase will last for the next 5 to 10 years of research publication and citation. The United States and Australia have produced the greatest number of publications in this field. A cluster (i.e., focused issue) analysis showed that coral bleaching dominated the literature from 2000 to 2010, ocean acidification from 2010 to 2020, and sea-level rise, as well as the central Red Sea (Africa/Asia), in 2021. Three different types of keywords appear in the analysis based on which are the (i) most recent (2021), (ii) most influential (highly cited), and (iii) mostly used (frequently used keywords in the article) in the field. The Great Barrier Reef, which is found in the waters of Australia, is thought to be the subject of current coral reef and climate change research. Interestingly, climate-induced temperature changes in “ocean warming” and “sea surface temperature” are the most recent significant and dominant keywords in the coral reef and climate change area.

Thirukanthan C. S., Azra M. N., Lananan F., Sara G., Grinfelde I., Rudovica V., Vincevica-Gaile Z. & Burlakovs J., 2023. The evolution of coral reef under changing climate: a scientometric review. Animals 13(5): 949. doi: 10.3390/ani13050949. Article.

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