Coral chimerism as an evolutionary rescue mechanism to mitigate global climate change impacts

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Climate change and anthropogenic pressures inflict a wide range of profound damages on coral reef ecosystems, reshaping coral reef communities due to their physiological and ecological intolerance to the newly developing environmental conditions. Here, I present coral chimerism as an evolutionary rescue tool for accelerating adaptive responses to global climate change impacts. The “evolutionary rescue” power is contingent on the premise that coral chimerism counters the erosion of genetic and phenotypic diversity. Further benefits are gained when flexible chimeric entities alter their somatic constituents following changes in environmental conditions, synergistically presenting the best-fitting combination of their genetic components to endure in a capricious environment, exhibiting always their environmentally matched physiological characteristics. Chimerism should be considered as an integral part of the ecological engineering toolbox being developed for active reef restoration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1198-1206
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • General Environmental Science


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