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Sample records for barrier reef sponge

  1. A decadal analysis of bioeroding sponge cover on the inshore Great Barrier Reef.

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    Ramsby, Blake D; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Whalan, Steve; Webster, Nicole S; Thompson, Angus

    2017-06-02

    Decreasing coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) may provide opportunities for rapid growth and expansion of other taxa. The bioeroding sponges Cliona spp. are strong competitors for space and may take advantage of coral bleaching, damage, and mortality. Benthic surveys of the inshore GBR (2005-2014) revealed that the percent cover of the most abundant bioeroding sponge species, Cliona orientalis, has not increased. However, considerable variation in C. orientalis cover, and change in cover over time, was evident between survey locations. We assessed whether biotic or environmental characteristics were associated with variation in C. orientalis distribution and abundance. The proportion of fine particles in the sediments was negatively associated with the presence-absence and the percent cover of C. orientalis, indicating that the sponge requires exposed habitat. The cover of corals and other sponges explained little variation in C. orientalis cover or distribution. The fastest increases in C. orientalis cover coincided with the lowest macroalgal cover and chlorophyll a concentration, highlighting the importance of macroalgal competition and local environmental conditions for this bioeroding sponge. Given the observed distribution and habitat preferences of C. orientalis, bioeroding sponges likely represent site-specific - rather than regional - threats to corals and reef accretion.

  2. Diversity of sponges (Porifera) from cryptic habitats on the Belize barrier reef near Carrie Bow Cay.

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    Rützler, Klaus; Piantoni, Carla; Van Soest, Rob W M; Díaz, M Cristina

    2014-05-29

    The Caribbean barrier reef near Carrie Bow Cay, Belize, has been a focus of Smithsonian Institution (Washington) reef and mangrove investigations since the early 1970s. Systematics and biology of sponges (Porifera) were addressed by several researchers but none of the studies dealt with cryptic habitats, such as the shaded undersides of coral rubble, reef crevices, and caves, although a high species diversity was recognized and samples were taken for future reference and study. This paper is the result of processing samples taken between 1972 and 2012. In all, 122 species were identified, 14 of them new (including one new genus). The new species are Tetralophophora (new genus) mesoamericana, Geodia cribrata, Placospongia caribica, Prosuberites carriebowensis, Timea diplasterina, Timea oxyasterina, Rhaphidhistia belizensis, Wigginsia curlewensis, Phorbas aurantiacus, Myrmekioderma laminatum, Niphates arenata, Siphonodictyon occultum, Xestospongia purpurea, and Aplysina sciophila. We determined that about 75 of the 122 cryptic sponge species studied (61%) are exclusive members of the sciophilic community, 47 (39 %) occur in both, light-exposed and shaded or dark habitats. Since we estimate the previously known sponge population of Carrie Bow reefs and mangroves at about 200 species, the cryptic fauna makes up 38 % of total diversity.

  3. Reproductive biology of three sponge species of the genus Xestospongia (Porifera: Demospongiae: Petrosida) from the Great Barrier Reef

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    Fromont, J.; Bergquist, P. R.

    1994-05-01

    The reproductive development of three species of the Petrosida, Xestospongia bergquistia, X. exigua, and X. testudinaria, was monitored for four years on a fringing reef at Orpheus Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. All three species were oviparous and female reproductive activity began prior to males becoming active. X. bergquistia and X. testudinaria were gonochoric and broadcast eggs in spawning events that were synchronous within species. Egg development occurred over more than five months in X. bergquistia and X. testudinaria and two months in X. exigua. Spawning was during periods of warm temperature and occurred in October or November for X. bergquistia and X. testudinaria, and January or February for X. exigua. Lunar phase was implicated in timing of spawning of X. testudinaria. Diel timing of spawning in X. testudinaria and X. bergquistia was consistently a morning event.

  4. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    1990-01-01

    This detailed view of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia (19.5S, 149.5E) shows several small patch reefs within the overall reef system. The Great Barrier Reef, largest in the world, comprises thousands of individual reefs of great variety and are closely monitored by marine ecologists. These reefs are about 6000 years old and sit on top of much older reefs. The most rapid coral growth occurs on the landward side of the reefs.

  5. Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    2002-01-01

    A better than average view of the Great Barrier Reef was captured by SeaWiFS on a recent overpass. There is sunglint northeast of the reef and there appears to be some sort of filamentous bloom in the Capricorn Channel.

  6. Purification and characterization of a collagenolytic enzyme from a pathogen of the great barrier reef sponge, Rhopaloeides odorabile.

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    Joydeep Mukherjee

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: In recent years there has been a global increase in reports of disease affecting marine sponges. While disease outbreaks have the potential to seriously impact on the survival of sponge populations, the ecology of the marine environment and the health of associated invertebrates, our understanding of sponge disease is extremely limited. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A collagenolytic enzyme suspected to enhance pathogenicity of bacterial strain NW4327 against the sponge Rhopaloeides odorabile was purified using combinations of size exclusion and anion exchange chromatography. After achieving a 77-fold increase in specific activity, continued purification decreased the yield to 21-fold with 7.2% recovery (specific activity 2575 collagen degrading units mg(-1protein possibly due to removal of co-factors. SDS-PAGE of the partially pure enzyme showed two proteins weighing approximately 116 and 45 kDa with the heavier band being similar to reported molecular weights of collagenases from Clostridium and marine Vibrios. The enzyme degraded tissue fibres of several sponge genera suggesting that NW4327 could be deleterious to other sponge species. Activity towards casein and bird feather keratin indicates that the partially purified collagenase is either a non-selective protease able to digest collagen or is contaminated with non-specific proteases. Enzyme activity was highest at pH 5 (the internal pH of R. odorabile and 30 degrees C (the average ambient seawater temperature. Activity under partially anaerobic conditions also supports the role of this enzyme in the degradation of the spongin tissue. Cultivation of NW4327 in the presence of collagen increased production of collagenase by 30%. Enhanced enzyme activity when NW4327 was cultivated in media formulated in sterile natural seawater indicates the presence of other factors that influence enzyme synthesis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Several aspects of the sponge disease etiology were

  7. Sponge bioerosion on changing reefs: ocean warming poses physiological constraints to the success of a photosymbiotic excavating sponge.

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    Achlatis, Michelle; van der Zande, Rene M; Schönberg, Christine H L; Fang, James K H; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Dove, Sophie

    2017-09-06

    Excavating sponges are prominent bioeroders on coral reefs that in comparison to other benthic organisms may suffer less or may even benefit from warmer, more acidic and more eutrophic waters. Here, the photosymbiotic excavating sponge Cliona orientalis from the Great Barrier Reef was subjected to a prolonged simulation of both global and local environmental change: future seawater temperature, partial pressure of carbon dioxide (as for 2100 summer conditions under "business-as-usual" emissions), and diet supplementation with particulate organics. The individual and combined effects of the three factors on the bioerosion rates, metabolic oxygen and carbon flux, biomass change and survival of the sponge were monitored over the height of summer. Diet supplementation accelerated bioerosion rates. Acidification alone did not have a strong effect on total bioerosion or survival rates, yet it co-occurred with reduced heterotrophy. Warming above 30 °C (+2.7 °C above the local maximum monthly mean) caused extensive bleaching, lower bioerosion, and prevailing mortality, overriding the other factors and suggesting a strong metabolic dependence of the sponge on its resident symbionts. The growth, bioerosion capacity and likelihood of survival of C. orientalis and similar photosymbiotic excavating sponges could be substantially reduced rather than increased on end-of-the-century reefs under "business-as-usual" emission profiles.

  8. Indirect effects of overfishing on Caribbean reefs: sponges overgrow reef-building corals.

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    Loh, Tse-Lynn; McMurray, Steven E; Henkel, Timothy P; Vicente, Jan; Pawlik, Joseph R

    2015-01-01

    Consumer-mediated indirect effects at the community level are difficult to demonstrate empirically. Here, we show an explicit indirect effect of overfishing on competition between sponges and reef-building corals from surveys of 69 sites across the Caribbean. Leveraging the large-scale, long-term removal of sponge predators, we selected overfished sites where intensive methods, primarily fish-trapping, have been employed for decades or more, and compared them to sites in remote or marine protected areas (MPAs) with variable levels of enforcement. Sponge-eating fishes (angelfishes and parrotfishes) were counted at each site, and the benthos surveyed, with coral colonies scored for interaction with sponges. Overfished sites had >3 fold more overgrowth of corals by sponges, and mean coral contact with sponges was 25.6%, compared with 12.0% at less-fished sites. Greater contact with corals by sponges at overfished sites was mostly by sponge species palatable to sponge predators. Palatable species have faster rates of growth or reproduction than defended sponge species, which instead make metabolically expensive chemical defenses. These results validate the top-down conceptual model of sponge community ecology for Caribbean reefs, as well as provide an unambiguous justification for MPAs to protect threatened reef-building corals. An unanticipated outcome of the benthic survey component of this study was that overfished sites had lower mean macroalgal cover (23.1% vs. 38.1% for less-fished sites), a result that is contrary to prevailing assumptions about seaweed control by herbivorous fishes. Because we did not quantify herbivores for this study, we interpret this result with caution, but suggest that additional large-scale studies comparing intensively overfished and MPA sites are warranted to examine the relative impacts of herbivorous fishes and urchins on Caribbean reefs.

  9. Coral mucus fuels the sponge loop in warm- and cold-water coral reef ecosystems.

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    Rix, Laura; de Goeij, Jasper M; Mueller, Christina E; Struck, Ulrich; Middelburg, Jack J; van Duyl, Fleur C; Al-Horani, Fuad A; Wild, Christian; Naumann, Malik S; van Oevelen, Dick

    2016-01-07

    Shallow warm-water and deep-sea cold-water corals engineer the coral reef framework and fertilize reef communities by releasing coral mucus, a source of reef dissolved organic matter (DOM). By transforming DOM into particulate detritus, sponges play a key role in transferring the energy and nutrients in DOM to higher trophic levels on Caribbean reefs via the so-called sponge loop. Coral mucus may be a major DOM source for the sponge loop, but mucus uptake by sponges has not been demonstrated. Here we used laboratory stable isotope tracer experiments to show the transfer of coral mucus into the bulk tissue and phospholipid fatty acids of the warm-water sponge Mycale fistulifera and cold-water sponge Hymedesmia coriacea, demonstrating a direct trophic link between corals and reef sponges. Furthermore, 21-40% of the mucus carbon and 32-39% of the nitrogen assimilated by the sponges was subsequently released as detritus, confirming a sponge loop on Red Sea warm-water and north Atlantic cold-water coral reefs. The presence of a sponge loop in two vastly different reef environments suggests it is a ubiquitous feature of reef ecosystems contributing to the high biogeochemical cycling that may enable coral reefs to thrive in nutrient-limited (warm-water) and energy-limited (cold-water) environments.

  10. Recruitment Variability of Coral Reef Sessile Communities of the Far North Great Barrier Reef.

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    Luter, Heidi M; Duckworth, Alan R; Wolff, Carsten W; Evans-Illidge, Elizabeth; Whalan, Steve

    2016-01-01

    One of the key components in assessing marine sessile organism demography is determining recruitment patterns to benthic habitats. An analysis of serially deployed recruitment tiles across depth (6 and 12 m), seasons (summer and winter) and space (meters to kilometres) was used to quantify recruitment assemblage structure (abundance and percent cover) of corals, sponges, ascidians, algae and other sessile organisms from the northern sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Polychaetes were most abundant on recruitment titles, reaching almost 50% of total recruitment, yet covered reefs.

  11. Tetradiid-siliceous sponge patch reefs from the Xiazhen Formation (late Katian), southeast China: A new Late Ordovician reef association

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    Kwon, Sung-Wook; Park, Jino; Choh, Suk-Joo; Lee, Dong-Chan; Lee, Dong-Jin

    2012-08-01

    Decimetre-scale domal to tabular patch reefs consisting of dendroid tetradiids are found in the Late Ordovician (late Katian) Xiazhen Formation, southeast China. It is intriguing to observe that siliceous sponges occur together with the tetradiids in many patch reefs, as this has not been previously reported. The tetradiid Rhabdotetradium jiangshanense are preserved in situ and the siliceous sponges, where present, as spicule networks. Calcimicrobe Ortonella encrusting tetradiid tubes and burrows filled with faecal pellets also constitute as subordinate components of the patch reef. The tetradiid tubes are regarded as frame-builders that are commonly surrounded and encrusted by the siliceous sponges. The sponges, wherever observed, form the bulk of the patch reef and are regarded as a primary constructor as well as binder of the patch reef. Burrows filled with faecal pellets often penetrate the area between tetradiids and sponge spicule networks in the boundstone and these are considered to be the loci of dweller. Where the sponges and tetradiids co-occur, the tetradiid tubes are sparsely distributed and commonly display non-quadripartite fission (i.e., bipartite or tripartite). In contrast, where the sponges are rare in the patch reef, the tetradiid tubes are densely spaced and predominantly display quadripartite fission. This indicates that the tetradiid growth was influenced by the presence of siliceous sponges. This finding of the new Late Ordovician reef association and their mutual interplay extend our understanding of the Early Palaeozoic carbonate reefs. It reaffirms the need for multidisciplinary studies of carbonate buildups where similar interactions with siliceous sponges might have been overlooked.

  12. Morphological and molecular analyses of microorganisms in Caribbean reef adult sponges and in corresponding reproductive material

    OpenAIRE

    Schmitt, Susanne; Wehrl, M.; Lindquist, N.; Weisz, J. B.; Hentschel, Ute

    2008-01-01

    Caribbean reef sponges were surveyed for the presence of microorganisms in the mesohyl tissue of adult sponges and the respective reproductive material (embryos, larvae). A clear correlation was found in that high microbial abundance (HMA) sponges always contained microorganisms in their reproductive stages. In contrast, low microbial abundance (LMA) sponges did not contain microorganisms in their reproductive stages. Based on these data, Ircinia felix Duchassaing and Michelotti, ...

  13. Crustose coralline algae and a cnidarian neuropeptide trigger larval settlement in two coral reef sponges.

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    Steve Whalan

    Full Text Available In sessile marine invertebrates, larval settlement is fundamental to population maintenance and persistence. Cues contributing to the settlement choices and metamorphosis of larvae have important implications for the success of individuals and populations, but cues mediating larval settlement for many marine invertebrates are largely unknown. This study assessed larval settlement in two common Great Barrier Reef sponges, Coscinoderma matthewsi and Rhopaloeides odorabile, to cues that enhance settlement and metamorphosis in various species of scleractinian coral larvae. Methanol extracts of the crustose coralline algae (CCA, Porolithon onkodes, corresponding to a range of concentrations, were used to determine the settlement responses of sponge larvae. Cnidarian neuropeptides (GLW-amide neuropeptides were also tested as a settlement cue. Settlement in both sponge species was approximately two-fold higher in response to live chips of CCA and optimum concentrations of CCA extract compared to 0.2 µm filtered sea water controls. Metamorphosis also increased when larvae were exposed to GLW-amide neuropeptides; R. odorabile mean metamorphosis reached 42.0±5.8% compared to 16.0±2.4% in seawater controls and in C. matthewsi mean metamorphosis reached 68.3±5.4% compared to 36.7±3.3% in seawater controls. These results demonstrate the contributing role chemosensory communication plays in the ability of sponge larvae to identify suitable habitat for successful recruitment. It also raises the possibility that larvae from distinct phyla may share signal transduction pathways involved in metamorphosis.

  14. Coral mucus fuels the sponge loop in warm- and cold-water coral reef ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rix, L.; de Goeij, J.M.; Mueller, C.E.; Struck, U.; Middelburg, J.J.; van Duyl, F.C.; Al-Horani, F.A.; Wild, C.; Naumann, M.S.; van Oevelen, D.

    2016-01-01

    Shallow warm-water and deep-sea cold-water corals engineer the coral reef framework and fertilize reef communities by releasing coral mucus, a source of reef dissolved organic matter (DOM). By transforming DOM into particulate detritus, sponges play a key role in transferring the energy and

  15. Composition of Archaea in seawater, sediment, and sponges in the Kepulauan Seribu reef system, Indonesia.

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    Polónia, Ana R M; Cleary, Daniel F R; Duarte, Leticia N; de Voogd, Nicole J; Gomes, Newton C M

    2014-04-01

    Coral reefs are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world. Most research has, however, focused on eukaryotes such as corals and fishes. Recently, there has been increasing interest in the composition of prokaryotes, particularly those inhabiting corals and sponges, but these have mainly focused on bacteria. There have been very few studies of coral reef Archaea, despite the fact that Archaea have been shown to play crucial roles in nutrient dynamics, including nitrification and methanogenesis, of oligotrophic environments such as coral reefs. Here, we present the first study to assess Archaea in four different coral reef biotopes (seawater, sediment, and two sponge species, Stylissa massa and Xestospongia testudinaria). The archaeal community of both sponge species and sediment was dominated by Crenarchaeota, while the seawater community was dominated by Euryarchaeota. The biotope explained more than 72% of the variation in archaeal composition. The number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was highest in sediment and seawater biotopes and substantially lower in both sponge hosts. No "sponge-specific" archaeal OTUs were found, i.e., OTUs found in both sponge species but absent from nonhost biotopes. Despite both sponge species hosting phylogenetically distinct microbial assemblages, there were only minor differences in Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) functional pathways. In contrast, most functional pathways differed significantly between microbiomes from sponges and nonhost biotopes including all energy metabolic pathways. With the exception of the methane and nitrogen metabolic pathway, all energy metabolic pathways were enriched in sponges when compared to nonhost biotopes.

  16. Effects of submarine power transmission cables on a glass sponge reef and associated megafaunal community.

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    Dunham, A; Pegg, J R; Carolsfeld, W; Davies, S; Murfitt, I; Boutillier, J

    2015-06-01

    We examined the effects of submarine power transmission cable installation and operation on glass sponge reef condition and associated megafauna. Video and still imagery were collected using a Remotely Operated Vehicle twice a year for 4 years following cable installation. The effects of cables on glass sponges were assessed by comparing sponge cover along fixed transects and at marked index sites. Megafauna counts along transects were used to explore the effects on associated community. We found no evidence of cable movement across the sponge reef surface. Live sponge cover was found to be consistently lower along cable transects and at cable index sites compared to controls. Live sponge cover was the lowest (55 ± 1.1% decrease) at cable index sites 1.5 years after installation and recovered to 85 ± 30.6% of the original size over the following 2 years. Our data suggest 100% glass sponge mortality along the direct cable footprint and 15% mortality in the surrounding 1.5 m corridor 3.5 years after cable installation. Growth rate of a new glass sponge was 1 and 3 cm/year in first and second year, respectively, and appeared to be seasonal. We observed a diverse megafaunal community with representatives from 7 phyla and 14 classes. Total megafauna, spot prawn, and other Arthropoda abundances were slightly lower along cable transects although the effect of cable presence was not statistically significant. The following measures could be taken to reduce the amount of damage to glass sponge reefs and associated fauna: routing the cable around reefs, whenever possible, minimizing cable movement across the surface of the reef at installation and routine operation, and assessing potential damage to glass sponges prior to decommissioning. Crown Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. CHAMBERED HEXACTINELLID SPONGES FROM UPPER TRIASSIC(NORIAN-RHAETIAN? REEFS OF NAYBAND FORMATION IN CENTRAL IRAN

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    B. SENOWBARI-DARYAN

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available This paper describes several chambered hexactinellid sponges, including Casearia iranica n.sp., C. vezvanensis n. sp., C. delijanensis n. sp., Esfahanella magna gen. n. n. sp., and E. parva gen. n. n. sp. from reefs of the Upper Triassic (Norian-Rhaetian Nayband Formation exposed south of the town of Delijan in central Iran. The relative abundance of chambered and non-chambered hexactinellid sponges at this locality - as compared to hypercalcified representatives - highlight the importance of this group of sponges in reef and reefal limestones in central and east Tethys (China, Caucasia, Iran. 

  18. Relationships between Host Phylogeny, Host Type and Bacterial Community Diversity in Cold-Water Coral Reef Sponges

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    Schöttner, Sandra; Hoffmann, Friederike; Cárdenas, Paco; Rapp, Hans Tore; Boetius, Antje; Ramette, Alban

    2013-01-01

    Cold-water coral reefs are known to locally enhance the diversity of deep-sea fauna as well as of microbes. Sponges are among the most diverse faunal groups in these ecosystems, and many of them host large abundances of microbes in their tissues. In this study, twelve sponge species from three cold-water coral reefs off Norway were investigated for the relationship between sponge phylogenetic classification (species and family level), as well as sponge type (high versus low microbial abundance), and the diversity of sponge-associated bacterial communities, taking also geographic location and water depth into account. Community analysis by Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) showed that as many as 345 (79%) of the 437 different bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) detected in the dataset were shared between sponges and sediments, while only 70 (16%) appeared purely sponge-associated. Furthermore, changes in bacterial community structure were significantly related to sponge species (63% of explained community variation), sponge family (52%) or sponge type (30%), whereas mesoscale geographic distances and water depth showed comparatively small effects (sponge phylogenetic distance was observed within the ancient family of the Geodiidae. Overall, the high diversity of sponges in cold-water coral reefs, combined with the observed sponge-related variation in bacterial community structure, support the idea that sponges represent heterogeneous, yet structured microbial habitats that contribute significantly to enhancing bacterial diversity in deep-sea ecosystems. PMID:23393586

  19. Biological characterisation of Haliclona (?gellius) sp.: sponge and associated microorganisms.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sipkema, D.; Holmes, B.; Nichols, S.A.; Blanch, H.W.

    2009-01-01

    We have characterised the northern Pacific undescribed sponge Haliclona (?gellius) sp. based on rDNA of the sponge and its associated microorganisms. The sponge is closely related to Amphimedon queenslandica from the Great Barrier Reef as the near-complete 18S rDNA sequences of both sponges were

  20. Catchment management and the Great Barrier Reef.

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    Brodie, J; Christie, C; Devlin, M; Haynes, D; Morris, S; Ramsay, M; Waterhouse, J; Yorkston, H

    2001-01-01

    Pollution of coastal regions of the Great Barrier Reef is dominated by runoff from the adjacent catchment. Catchment land-use is dominated by beef grazing and cropping, largely sugarcane cultivation, with relatively minor urban development. Runoff of sediment, nutrients and pesticides is increasing and for nitrogen is now four times the natural amount discharged 150 years ago. Significant effects and potential threats are now evident on inshore reefs, seagrasses and marine animals. There is no effective legislation or processes in place to manage agricultural pollution. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act does not provide effective jurisdiction on the catchment. Queensland legislation relies on voluntary codes and there is no assessment of the effectiveness of the codes. Integrated catchment management strategies, also voluntary, provide some positive outcomes but are of limited success. Pollutant loads are predicted to continue to increase and it is unlikely that current management regimes will prevent this. New mechanisms to prevent continued degradation of inshore ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area are urgently needed.

  1. Thermal and sedimentation stress are unlikely causes of brown spot syndrome in the coral reef sponge, Ianthella basta.

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    Heidi M Luter

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Marine diseases are being increasingly linked to anthropogenic factors including global and local stressors. On the Great Barrier Reef, up to 66% of the Ianthella basta population was recently found to be afflicted by a syndrome characterized by brown spot lesions and necrotic tissue. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Manipulative experiments were undertaken to ascertain the role of environmental stressors in this syndrome. Specifically, the effects of elevated temperature and sedimentation on sponge health and symbiont stability in I. basta were examined. Neither elevated temperature nor increased sedimentation were responsible for the brown spot lesions, but sponges exposed to 32°C developed substantial discoloration and deterioration of their tissues, resulting in death after eight days and a higher microbial diversity in those samples. No shifts in the microbial community of I. basta were observed across a latitudinal gradient or with increased sedimentation, with three previously described symbionts dominating the community of all sponges (Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria and Thaumarchaea. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Results from this study highlight the stable microbial community of I. basta and indicate that thermal and sedimentation stress are not responsible for the brown spot lesions currently affecting this abundant and ecologically important sponge species.

  2. Exploring seascape genetics and kinship in the reef sponge Stylissa carteri in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Giles, Emily C.

    2015-06-01

    A main goal of population geneticists is to study patterns of gene flow to gain a better understanding of the population structure in a given organism. To date most efforts have been focused on studying gene flow at either broad scales to identify barriers to gene flow and isolation by distance or at fine spatial scales in order to gain inferences regarding reproduction and local dispersal. Few studies have measured connectivity at multiple spatial scales and have utilized novel tools to test the influence of both environment and geography on shaping gene flow in an organism. Here a seascape genetics approach was used to gain insight regarding geographic and ecological barriers to gene flow of a common reef sponge, Stylissa carteri in the Red Sea. Furthermore, a small-scale (<1 km) analysis was also conducted to infer reproductive potential in this organism. At the broad scale, we found that sponge connectivity is not structured by geography alone, but rather, genetic isolation in the southern Red Sea correlates strongly with environmental heterogeneity. At the scale of a 50-m transect, spatial autocorrelation analyses and estimates of full-siblings revealed that there is no deviation from random mating. However, at slightly larger scales (100–200 m) encompassing multiple transects at a given site, a greater proportion of full-siblings was found within sites versus among sites in a given location suggesting that mating and/or dispersal are constrained to some extent at this spatial scale. This study adds to the growing body of literature suggesting that environmental and ecological variables play a major role in the genetic structure of marine invertebrate populations.

  3. New bioeroding sponges from Mingulay coldwater reefs, north-west Scotland

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    van Soest, R.W.M.; Beglinger, E.J.

    2009-01-01

    The relatively shallow coldwater coral reefs growing off the eastern coast of Mingulay, north-west Scotland, are excavated by five sponge species, three of which, Alectona millari, Pione vastifica and Cliona lobata, were known previously from Scottish waters. The other two species are new to

  4. Novel polymorphic microsatellite markers developed for a common reef sponge, Stylissa carteri

    KAUST Repository

    Giles, E.C.

    2013-04-04

    Despite the ubiquitous role sponges play in reef ecosystem dynamics, little is known about population-level connectivity in these organisms. The general field of population genetics in sponges remains in its infancy. To date, microsatellite markers have only been developed for few sponge species and no sponge population genetics studies using microsatellites have been conducted in the Red Sea. Here, with the use of next-generation sequencing, we characterize 12 novel polymorphic loci for the common reef sponge, Stylissa carteri. The number of alleles per loci ranged between three and eight. Observed heterozygosity frequencies (Ho) ranged from 0.125 to 0.870, whereas expected (He) heterozygosity frequencies ranged from 0.119 to 0.812. Only one locus showed consistent deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) in both populations and two loci consistently showed the possible presence of null alleles. No significant linkage disequilibrium was detected for any pairs of loci. These microsatellites will be of use for numerous ecological studies focused on this common and abundant sponge. 2013 The Author(s).

  5. Chemical and mechanical bioerosion of boring sponges from Mexican Pacific coral reefs.

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    Nava, Héctor; Carballo, José Luis

    2008-09-01

    Species richness (S) and frequency of invasion (IF) by boring sponges on living colonies of Pocillopora spp. from National Park Isla Isabel (México, East Pacific Ocean) are presented. Twelve species belonging to the genera Aka, Cliona, Pione, Thoosa and Spheciospongia were found, and 56% of coral colonies were invaded by boring sponges, with Cliona vermifera Hancock 1867 being the most abundant species (30%). Carbonate dissolution rate and sediment production were quantified for C. vermifera and Cliona flavifodina Rützler 1974. Both species exhibited similar rates of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution (1.2+/-0.4 and 0.5+/-0.2 kg CaCO3 m(-2) year(-1), respectively, mean +/- s.e.m.), and sediment production (3.3+/-0.6 and 4.6+/-0.5 kg CaCO3 m(-2) year(-1)), resulting in mean bioerosion rates of 4.5+/-0.9 and 5.1+/-0.5 kg CaCO3 m(-2) year(-1), respectively. These bioerosion rates are close to previous records of coral calcification per unit of area, suggesting that sponge bioerosion alone can promote disequilibrium in the reef accretion/destruction ratio in localities that are heavily invaded by boring sponges. The proportion of dissolved material by C. vermifera and C. flavifodina (27 and 10.2%, respectively) confirms that chemical bioerosion plays an important role in sponge bioerosion and in the CaCO3 cycle in coral reefs.

  6. Bleaching and stress in coral reef ecosystems: hsp70 expression by the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta.

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    López-Legentil, Susanna; Song, Bongkeun; McMurray, Steven E; Pawlik, Joseph R

    2008-04-01

    Sponges are a prominent component of coral reef ecosystems. Like reef-building corals, some sponges have been reported to bleach and die. The giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta is one of the largest and most important components of Caribbean coral reef communities. Tissues of X. muta contain cyanobacterial symbionts of the Synechococcus group. Two types of bleaching have been described: cyclic bleaching, from which sponges recover, and fatal bleaching, which usually results in sponge death. We quantified hsp70 gene expression as an indicator of stress in X. muta undergoing cyclic and fatal bleaching and in response to thermal and salinity variability in both field and laboratory settings. Chlorophyll a content of sponge tissue was estimated to determine whether hsp70 expression was related to cyanobacterial abundance. We found that fatally bleached sponge tissue presented significantly higher hsp70 gene expression, but cyclically bleached tissue did not, yet both cyclic and fatally bleached tissues had lower chlorophyll a concentrations than nonbleached tissue. These results corroborate field observations suggesting that cyclic bleaching is a temporary, nonstressful state, while fatal bleaching causes significant levels of stress, leading to mortality. Our results support the hypothesis that Synechococcus symbionts are commensals that provide no clear advantage to their sponge host. In laboratory experiments, sponge pieces incubated at 30 degrees C exhibited significantly higher hsp70 expression than control pieces after 1.5 h, with sponge mortality after less than 15 h. In contrast, sponges at different salinities were not significantly stressed after the same period of time. Stress associated with increasing seawater temperatures may result in declining sponge populations in coral reef ecosystems.

  7. Coral reefs on the edge? Carbon chemistry on inshore reefs of the great barrier reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sven Uthicke

    Full Text Available While increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 concentration alters global water chemistry (Ocean Acidification; OA, the degree of changes vary on local and regional spatial scales. Inshore fringing coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR are subjected to a variety of local pressures, and some sites may already be marginal habitats for corals. The spatial and temporal variation in directly measured parameters: Total Alkalinity (TA and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC concentration, and derived parameters: partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2; pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωar were measured at 14 inshore reefs over a two year period in the GBR region. Total Alkalinity varied between 2069 and 2364 µmol kg-1 and DIC concentrations ranged from 1846 to 2099 µmol kg-1. This resulted in pCO2 concentrations from 340 to 554 µatm, with higher values during the wet seasons and pCO2 on inshore reefs distinctly above atmospheric values. However, due to temperature effects, Ωar was not further reduced in the wet season. Aragonite saturation on inshore reefs was consistently lower and pCO2 higher than on GBR reefs further offshore. Thermodynamic effects contribute to this, and anthropogenic runoff may also contribute by altering productivity (P, respiration (R and P/R ratios. Compared to surveys 18 and 30 years ago, pCO2 on GBR mid- and outer-shelf reefs has risen at the same rate as atmospheric values (∼1.7 µatm yr-1 over 30 years. By contrast, values on inshore reefs have increased at 2.5 to 3 times higher rates. Thus, pCO2 levels on inshore reefs have disproportionately increased compared to atmospheric levels. Our study suggests that inshore GBR reefs are more vulnerable to OA and have less buffering capacity compared to offshore reefs. This may be caused by anthropogenically induced trophic changes in the water column and benthos of inshore reefs subjected to land runoff.

  8. Clones or clans: the genetic structure of a deep-sea sponge, Aphrocallistes vastus, in unique sponge reefs of British Columbia, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Rachel R; Davis, Corey S; Leys, Sally P

    2017-02-01

    Understanding patterns of reproduction, dispersal and recruitment in deep-sea communities is increasingly important with the need to manage resource extraction and conserve species diversity. Glass sponges are usually found in deep water (>1000 m) worldwide but form kilometre-long reefs on the continental shelf of British Columbia and Alaska that are under threat from trawling and resource exploration. Due to their deep-water habitat, larvae have not yet been found and the level of genetic connectivity between reefs and nonreef communities is unknown. The genetic structure of Aphrocallistes vastus, the primary reef-building species in the Strait of Georgia (SoG) British Columbia, was studied using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Pairwise comparisons of multilocus genotypes were used to assess whether sexual reproduction is common. Structure was examined 1) between individuals in reefs, 2) between reefs and 3) between sites in and outside the SoG. Sixty-seven SNPs were genotyped in 91 samples from areas in and around the SoG, including four sponge reefs and nearby nonreef sites. The results show that sponge reefs are formed through sexual reproduction. Within a reef and across the SoG basin, the genetic distance between individuals does not vary with geographic distance (r = -0.005 to 0.014), but populations within the SoG basin are genetically distinct from populations in Barkley Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Population structure was seen across all sample sites (global F ST  = 0.248), especially between SoG and non-SoG locations (average pairwise F ST  = 0.251). Our results suggest that genetic mixing occurs across sponge reefs via larvae that disperse widely. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  9. Coral Reef Community Composition in the Context of Disturbance History on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    OpenAIRE

    Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Chong-Seng, Karen M.; Huchery, Cindy; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; Nash, Kirsty L.

    2014-01-01

    Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, an...

  10. High spatial variability of coral, sponges and gorgonian assemblages in a well preserved reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patricia González-Díaz

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available The main goal of this research was to obtain baseline field data of the composition of sponges, corals, and gorgonian assemblages that can be used as a reference for future analyses of anthropogenic impact. We tested the hypothesis that relatively homogeneous and well preserved reef units can present notable natural variability in the composition of their communities which are unassociated with changes in land proximity or a human impact gradient. Research was carried out in July 2006 at Los Colorados reef, located in the northwestern region of Pinar del Río Province, Cuba at 12 sampling stations. The biotopes selected were crest, terrace edge and spur and grove. Ecological indicators were diversity of corals, species composition, density of corals, hydrocorals, gorgonians and sponges, and density of selected coral species. A total of 2659 colonies of scleractineans corals representing 36 species were counted. The most abundant species in the crest biotope were Millepora alcicornis, Acropora palmata and Porites astreoides; in the terrace edge and spur and grove, the most abundant species were Siderastrea siderea, Stephanocoenia intersepta, Porites astreoides, Agaricia agaricites and Montastraea cavernosa. We found differences among sites for several indicators (e.g. density of corals, sponges and gorgonians and for selected species, but they could not be associated to any gradient of land influence or human impact. Therefore, sites inside a relatively homogeneous reef unit can present notable natural differences in the composition of their communities. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (2: 621-634. Epub 2010 June 02.

  11. High spatial variability of coral, sponges and gorgonian assemblages in a well preserved reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Díaz, Patricia; González-Sansón, Gaspar; Alvarez Fernández, Sergio; Perera Pérez, Orlando

    2010-06-01

    The main goal of this research was to obtain baseline field data of the composition of sponges, corals, and gorgonian assemblages that can be used as a reference for future analyses of anthropogenic impact. We tested the hypothesis that relatively homogeneous and well preserved reef units can present notable natural variability in the composition of their communities which are unassociated with changes in land proximity or a human impact gradient. Research was carried out in July 2006 at Los Colorados reef, located in the northwestern region of Pinar del Río Province, Cuba at 12 sampling stations. The biotopes selected were crest, terrace edge and spur and grove. Ecological indicators were diversity of corals, species composition, density of corals, hydrocorals, gorgonians and sponges, and density of selected coral species. A total of 2659 colonies of scleractineans corals representing 36 species were counted. The most abundant species in the crest biotope were Millepora alcicornis, Acropora palmata and Porites astreoides; in the terrace edge and spur and grove, the most abundant species were Siderastrea siderea, Stephanocoenia intersepta, Porites astreoides, Agaricia agaricites and Montastraea cavernosa. We found differences among sites for several indicators (e.g. density of corals, sponges and gorgonians and for selected species), but they could not be associated to any gradient of land influence or human impact. Therefore, sites inside a relatively homogeneous reef unit can present notable natural differences in the composition of their communities.

  12. Perilous proximity: Does the Janzen-Connell hypothesis explain the distribution of giant barrel sponges on a Florida coral reef?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deignan, Lindsey K.; Pawlik, Joseph R.

    2015-06-01

    One popular concept used to explain the high biodiversity of some ecosystems is the Janzen-Connell hypothesis, which states that the distribution of conspecifics is controlled by species-specific pathogens or predators that are attracted to adults or to their reproductive output. The distribution of the affected species would then display a distinct pattern, with survivorship increasing at greater distance from the conspecific adult (negative density dependence), leaving a vacant area around the adult where other species can survive. The giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta, is an abundant and long-lived sponge on Caribbean coral reefs that is actively grazed by sponge-eating fishes and is susceptible to disease. We tested the Janzen-Connell hypothesis on barrel sponges on Conch Reef, Florida, by examining their distribution as a function of size using spatial point pattern analyses. Clark and Evans tests and a series of Ripley's K function analyses revealed no consistent distribution pattern, with most analyses resulting in a random pattern of sponge distribution. While predation by sponge-eating fishes has recently been discovered to structure sponge communities on reefs across the Caribbean, these top-down effects do not translate to spatial distributions of X. muta that support Janzen-Connell predictions.

  13. Wave attenuation over the Great Barrier Reef matrix

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gallop, S.; Young, I.; Ranasinghe, Ranasinghe W M R J B; Durrant, T.; Haigh, I.; Mynett, Arthur

    2015-01-01

    This is the first large-scale study of the influence of an offshore reef matrix on wave transmission. The focus was on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, utilizing a 16 yr-record of wave height, from seven satellite altimeters. Within the GBR matrix, wave height is not strongly dependent on

  14. Coral Reef Community Composition in the Context of Disturbance History on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Chong-Seng, Karen M.; Huchery, Cindy; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; Nash, Kirsty L.

    2014-01-01

    Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed) and reef zone (slope, crest and flat) into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral communities to persist into

  15. Coral reef community composition in the context of disturbance history on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Chong-Seng, Karen M; Huchery, Cindy; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A; Nash, Kirsty L

    2014-01-01

    Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed) and reef zone (slope, crest and flat) into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral communities to persist into

  16. Coral reef community composition in the context of disturbance history on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A J Graham

    Full Text Available Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed and reef zone (slope, crest and flat into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral

  17. Climate change and the Great Barrier Reef

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Johnson, Johanna; Marshall, Paul

    2007-01-01

    Full text: Full text: Climate change is now recognised as the greatest long-term threat to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Managers face a future in which the impacts of climate change on tropical marine ecosystems are becoming increasingly frequent and severe. Further degradation is inevitable as the climate continues to change but the extent of the decline will depend on the rate and magnitude of climate change and the resilience of the ecosystem. Changes to the ecosystem have implications for the industries and regional communities that depend on the GBR. Climate projections for the GBR region include increasing air and sea temperatures, ocean acidification, nutrient enrichment (via changes in rainfall), altered light levels, more extreme weather events, changes to ocean circulation and sea level rise. Impacts have already been observed, with severe coral bleaching events in 1998 and 2002, and mass mortalities of seabirds linked to anomalously warm summer conditions. Climate change also poses significant threats to the industries and communities that depend on the GBR ecosystem, both directly and indirectly through loss of natural resources; industries such as recreational and commercial fishing, and tourism, which contributes to a regional tourism industry worth $6.1 billion (Access Economics 2005). A vulnerability assessment undertaken by leading experts in climate and marine science identified climate sensitivities for GBR species, habitats, key processes, GBR industries and communities (Johnson and Marshall 2007). This information has been used to develop a Climate Change Action Plan for the GBR. The Action Plan is a five-year program aimed at facilitating targeted science, building a resilient ecosystem, assisting adaptation of industries and communities, and reducing climate footprints. The Action Plan identifies strategies to review current management arrangements and raise awareness of the issue in order to work towards a resilient ecosystem. Integral to

  18. Bacterial Diversity Associated with Cinachyra cavernosa and Haliclona pigmentifera, Cohabiting Sponges in the Coral Reef Ecosystem of Gulf of Mannar, Southeast Coast of India.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C Jasmin

    Full Text Available Sponges are abundant, diverse and functionally important organisms of coral reef ecosystems. Sponge-associated microorganisms have been receiving greater attention because of their significant contribution to sponge biomass, biogeochemical cycles and biotechnological potentials. However, our understanding of the sponge microbiome is limited to a few species of sponges from restricted geographical locations. Here, we report for the first time the bacterial diversity of two cohabiting sponges, viz. Cinachyra cavernosa and Haliclona pigmentifera, as well as that in the ambient water from the coral reef ecosystems of the Gulf of Mannar, located along the southeast coast of India. Two hundred and fifty two clones in the 16S rRNA gene library of these sponges were grouped into eight distinct phyla, of which four belonged to the core group that are associated only with sponges. Phylogenetic analysis of the core bacteria showed close affinity to other sponge-associated bacteria from different geographical locations. γ-Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Planctomycetes and Deferribacter were the core groups in C. cavernosa while β and δ-Proteobacteria performed this role in H. pigmentifera. We observed greater OTU diversity for C. cavernosa (Hǀ 2.07 compared to H. pigmentifera (Hǀ 1.97. UniFrac analysis confirmed the difference in bacterial diversity of the two sponge species and also between the sponges and the reef water (p<0.001. The results of our study restate the existence of a host driven force in shaping the sponge microbiome.

  19. Estimating Surface Area of Sponges and Marine Gorgonians as Indicators of Habitat Availability on Caribbean Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Surface area and topographical complexity are fundamental attributes of shallow tropical coral reefs and can be used to estimate habitat for fish and invertebrates. This study presents empirical methods for estimating surface area provided by sponges and gorgonians in the Central...

  20. Bacterial Diversity Associated with Cinachyra cavernosa and Haliclona pigmentifera, Cohabiting Sponges in the Coral Reef Ecosystem of Gulf of Mannar, Southeast Coast of India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jasmin, C; Anas, Abdulaziz; Nair, Shanta

    2015-01-01

    Sponges are abundant, diverse and functionally important organisms of coral reef ecosystems. Sponge-associated microorganisms have been receiving greater attention because of their significant contribution to sponge biomass, biogeochemical cycles and biotechnological potentials. However, our understanding of the sponge microbiome is limited to a few species of sponges from restricted geographical locations. Here, we report for the first time the bacterial diversity of two cohabiting sponges, viz. Cinachyra cavernosa and Haliclona pigmentifera, as well as that in the ambient water from the coral reef ecosystems of the Gulf of Mannar, located along the southeast coast of India. Two hundred and fifty two clones in the 16S rRNA gene library of these sponges were grouped into eight distinct phyla, of which four belonged to the core group that are associated only with sponges. Phylogenetic analysis of the core bacteria showed close affinity to other sponge-associated bacteria from different geographical locations. γ-Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Planctomycetes and Deferribacter were the core groups in C. cavernosa while β and δ-Proteobacteria performed this role in H. pigmentifera. We observed greater OTU diversity for C. cavernosa (Hǀ 2.07) compared to H. pigmentifera (Hǀ 1.97). UniFrac analysis confirmed the difference in bacterial diversity of the two sponge species and also between the sponges and the reef water (psponge microbiome.

  1. Distribution and covering percentage of sponge (Porifera in different coral reef condition and depth in Barranglompo Island, South Sulawesi

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    SUHARYANTO

    2008-07-01

    Full Text Available In 1996, four specieses of sponge namely Auletta sp., Callyspongia pseudoreticulata, Callyspongia sp., and Halichondria sp. have been potentially identified as bacteriside for fishery commodities. Nevertheless, information on sponge distribution, its covering percentage, and its habitate are still very little. Observation on distribution and abundance of sponge was conducted in the Southeastern and the Northwestern part of Barranglompo Island, South Sulawesi, using scuba diving set and under water writting tools. At first, coral reef condition in 3 and 10 m depths up to 100 m length of shore line were observed in both stations, using “lifeform method”. Then distribution and covering percentage of sponge, biotic and abiotic factor in 3, 6, 9, and 12 m depths in both stations were examined using “square transect method”. The result showed that different coral reef condition qualitatively causes different of sponge species distribution, but quantitatively not significantly different (P>0,05 on its covering percentage. It was also found that generally sponge grows better at the dead coral where no other biotic organism around.

  2. A modern soft-bottom, shallow-water crinoid fauna (Echinodermata) from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Messing, C. G.; Meyer, D. L.; Siebeck, U. E.; Jermiin, L. S.; Vaney, D. I.; Rouse, G. W.

    2006-03-01

    A recent preliminary survey revealed that 12 species of unstalked crinoids occur on a gentle sandy slope (12 18 m depth) at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia; five of which are also found on coral reefs. The other seven appear to constitute a unique assemblage restricted to unconsolidated substrates, where most cling to algae or hide beneath rubble or sponges. Members of this assemblage exhibit all of the basic feeding postures found among reef-dwelling species. However, Comatula rotalaria, which lacks anchoring cirri and bears uniquely differentiated short and long arms, exhibits a posture different from other living crinoids. Quantitative transects reveal apparent depth-related differences in species composition: C. rotalaria dominated the 12 transects in 12 13 m (84% of 82 specimens), while Comatella nigra, Comatula cf. purpurea, Amphimetra cf. tessellata and Zygometra microdiscus accounted for 96% of 54 specimens observed along 12 transects in 16 17 m.

  3. Connectivity and systemic resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karlo Hock

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef (GBR continues to suffer from repeated impacts of cyclones, coral bleaching, and outbreaks of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS, losing much of its coral cover in the process. This raises the question of the ecosystem's systemic resilience and its ability to rebound after large-scale population loss. Here, we reveal that around 100 reefs of the GBR, or around 3%, have the ideal properties to facilitate recovery of disturbed areas, thereby imparting a level of systemic resilience and aiding its continued recovery. These reefs (1 are highly connected by ocean currents to the wider reef network, (2 have a relatively low risk of exposure to disturbances so that they are likely to provide replenishment when other reefs are depleted, and (3 have an ability to promote recovery of desirable species but are unlikely to either experience or spread COTS outbreaks. The great replenishment potential of these 'robust source reefs', which may supply 47% of the ecosystem in a single dispersal event, emerges from the interaction between oceanographic conditions and geographic location, a process that is likely to be repeated in other reef systems. Such natural resilience of reef systems will become increasingly important as the frequency of disturbances accelerates under climate change.

  4. Connectivity and systemic resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hock, Karlo; Wolff, Nicholas H; Ortiz, Juan C; Condie, Scott A; Anthony, Kenneth R N; Blackwell, Paul G; Mumby, Peter J

    2017-11-01

    Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef (GBR) continues to suffer from repeated impacts of cyclones, coral bleaching, and outbreaks of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), losing much of its coral cover in the process. This raises the question of the ecosystem's systemic resilience and its ability to rebound after large-scale population loss. Here, we reveal that around 100 reefs of the GBR, or around 3%, have the ideal properties to facilitate recovery of disturbed areas, thereby imparting a level of systemic resilience and aiding its continued recovery. These reefs (1) are highly connected by ocean currents to the wider reef network, (2) have a relatively low risk of exposure to disturbances so that they are likely to provide replenishment when other reefs are depleted, and (3) have an ability to promote recovery of desirable species but are unlikely to either experience or spread COTS outbreaks. The great replenishment potential of these 'robust source reefs', which may supply 47% of the ecosystem in a single dispersal event, emerges from the interaction between oceanographic conditions and geographic location, a process that is likely to be repeated in other reef systems. Such natural resilience of reef systems will become increasingly important as the frequency of disturbances accelerates under climate change.

  5. Benthic Foraminifera from the Capricorn Group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mamo, Briony L

    2016-12-23

    Effective reef management and monitoring has become increasingly important as anthropogenic processes impact upon natural ecosystems. One locality that is under direct threat due to human activities is the Australian Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Marine foraminifera represent an abundant and readily applicable tool that can be used in reef studies to investigate a variety of ecological parameters and assist in understanding reef dynamics and influence management protocols. The first step is to establish a baseline knowledge of taxonomic composition within the region to facilitate comparative studies and monitor how assemblages change in order to maximise effective management. A detailed taxonomic assessment is provided of 133 species of benthic foraminifera in 76 genera from Heron Island, One Tree Island, Wistari and Sykes Reefs, which form the core of the Capricorn Group (CG) at the southern end of the GBR. Of these 133 species, 46% belong to the order Miliolida, 34% to Rotaliida, 7% to Textulariida, 5% to Lagenida, 3% to Lituolida, 3% to Spirillinida, 1% to Loftusiida and 1% to Robertinida. Samples were collected from a variety of shallow shelf reef environments including reef flat, lagoonal and channel environments. Seventy species, representing the most abundant forms, are formally described with detailed distribution data for the remaining 63 species supplied.

  6. A Checklist of the Curaçao Sponges (Porifera Demospongiae) including a pictorial key to the more common reef-forms

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Soest, van R.W.M.

    1981-01-01

    Although sponges are by no means unimportant organisms, in biomass and diversity, of the Curaçao coral reefs, very few scientific studies have been undertaken in this area involving sponges. To date, apart from taxonomie studies by Arndt (1927) and myself (Van Soest, 1978, 1980), only the boring

  7. Patterns of population structure and dispersal in the long-lived "redwood" of the coral reef, the giant barrel sponge ( Xestospongia muta)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richards, Vincent P.; Bernard, Andrea M.; Feldheim, Kevin A.; Shivji, Mahmood S.

    2016-09-01

    Sponges are one of the dominant fauna on Florida and Caribbean coral reefs, with species diversity often exceeding that of scleractinian corals. Despite the key role of sponges as structural components, habitat providers, and nutrient recyclers in reef ecosystems, their dispersal dynamics are little understood. We used ten microsatellite markers to study the population structure and dispersal patterns of a prominent reef species, the giant barrel sponge ( Xestospongia muta), the long-lived "redwood" of the reef, throughout Florida and the Caribbean. F-statistics, exact tests of population differentiation, and Bayesian multi-locus genotype analyses revealed high levels of overall genetic partitioning ( F ST = 0.12, P = 0.001) and grouped 363 individuals collected from the Bahamas, Honduras, US Virgin Islands, Key Largo (Florida), and the remainder of the Florida reef tract into at minimum five genetic clusters ( K = 5). Exact tests, however, revealed further differentiation, grouping sponges sampled from five locations across the Florida reef tract (~250 km) into three populations, suggesting a total of six genetic populations across the eight locations sampled. Assignment tests showed dispersal over ecological timescales to be limited to relatively short distances, as the only migration detected among populations was within the Florida reef tract. Consequently, populations of this major coral reef benthic constituent appear largely self-recruiting. A combination of levels of genetic differentiation, genetic distance, and assignment tests support the important role of the Caribbean and Florida currents in shaping patterns of contemporary and historical gene flow in this widespread coral reef species.

  8. Predicting the location and spatial extent of submerged coral reef habitat in the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bridge, Tom; Beaman, Robin; Done, Terry; Webster, Jody

    2012-01-01

    Coral reef communities occurring in deeper waters have received little research effort compared to their shallow-water counterparts, and even such basic information as their location and extent are currently unknown throughout most of the world. Using the Great Barrier Reef as a case study, habitat suitability modelling is used to predict the distribution of deep-water coral reef communities on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. We test the effectiveness of a range of geophysical and environmental variables for predicting the location of deep-water coral reef communities on the Great Barrier Reef. Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Maximum entropy modelling is used to identify the spatial extent of two broad communities of habitat-forming megabenthos phototrophs and heterotrophs. Models were generated using combinations of geophysical substrate properties derived from multibeam bathymetry and environmental data derived from Bio-ORACLE, combined with georeferenced occurrence records of mesophotic coral communities from autonomous underwater vehicle, remotely operated vehicle and SCUBA surveys. Model results are used to estimate the total amount of mesophotic coral reef habitat on the GBR. Our models predict extensive but previously undocumented coral communities occurring both along the continental shelf-edge of the Great Barrier Reef and also on submerged reefs inside the lagoon. Habitat suitability for phototrophs is highest on submerged reefs along the outer-shelf and the deeper flanks of emergent reefs inside the GBR lagoon, while suitability for heterotrophs is highest in the deep waters along the shelf-edge. Models using only geophysical variables consistently outperformed models incorporating environmental data for both phototrophs and heterotrophs. Extensive submerged coral reef communities that are currently undocumented are likely to occur throughout the Great Barrier Reef. High-quality bathymetry data can be used to identify these reefs, which may play an

  9. Patterns of biophonic periodicity on coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McWilliam, Jamie N; McCauley, Robert D; Erbe, Christine; Parsons, Miles J G

    2017-12-12

    The coral reefs surrounding Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef have a diverse soundscape that contains an array of bioacoustic phenomena, notably choruses produced by fishes. Six fish choruses identified around Lizard Island exhibited distinctive spatial and temporal patterns from 2014 to 2016. Several choruses displayed site fidelity, indicating that particular sites may represent important habitat for fish species, such as fish spawning aggregations sites. The choruses displayed a broad range of periodicities, from diel to annual, which provides new insights into the ecology of vocalising reef fish species and the surrounding ecosystem. All choruses were affected by one or more environmental variables including temperature and moonlight, the latter of which had a significant influence on the timing and received sound levels. These findings highlight the utility of passive acoustic tools for long-term monitoring and management of coral reefs, which is highly relevant in light of recent global disturbance events, particularly coral bleaching.

  10. An observational heat budget analysis of a coral reef, Heron Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacKellar, Mellissa C.; McGowan, Hamish A.; Phinn, Stuart R.

    2013-03-01

    Measurements of the surface energy balance, the structure and evolution of the convective atmospheric reef layer (CARL), and local meteorology and hydrodynamics were made during June 2009 and February 2010 at Heron Reef, Australia, to establish the relative partitioning of heating within the water and atmosphere. Horizontal advection was shown to moderate temperature in the CARL and the water, having a cooling influence on the atmosphere, and providing an additional source or sink of energy to the water overlying the reef, depending on tide. The key driver of atmospheric heating was surface sensible heat flux, while heating of the reef water was primarily due to solar radiation, and thermal conduction and convection from the reef substrate. Heating and cooling processes were more defined during winter due to higher sensible and latent heat fluxes and strong diurnal evolution of the CARL. Sudden increases in water temperature were associated with inundation of warmer oceanic water during the flood tide, particularly in winter due to enhanced nocturnal cooling of water overlying the reef. Similarly, cooling of the water over the reef occurred during the ebb tide as heat was transported off the reef to the surrounding ocean. While these results are the first to shed light on the heat budget of a coral reef and overlying CARL, longer-term, systematic measurements of reef thermal budgets are needed under a range of meteorological and hydrodynamic conditions, and across various reef types to elucidate the influence on larger-scale oceanic and atmospheric processes. This is essential for understanding the role of coral reefs in tropical and sub-tropical meteorology; the physical processes that take place during coral bleaching events, and coral and algal community dynamics on coral reefs.

  11. Reduced diversity and high sponge abundance on a sedimented Indo-Pacific reef system: implications for future changes in environmental quality.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Abigail Powell

    Full Text Available Although coral reef health across the globe is declining as a result of anthropogenic impacts, relatively little is known of how environmental variability influences reef organisms other than corals and fish. Sponges are an important component of coral reef fauna that perform many important functional roles and changes in their abundance and diversity as a result of environmental change has the potential to affect overall reef ecosystem functioning. In this study, we examined patterns of sponge biodiversity and abundance across a range of environments to assess the potential key drivers of differences in benthic community structure. We found that sponge assemblages were significantly different across the study sites, but were dominated by one species Lamellodysidea herbacea (42% of all sponges patches recorded and that the differential rate of sediment deposition was the most important variable driving differences in abundance patterns. Lamellodysidea herbacea abundance was positively associated with sedimentation rates, while total sponge abundance excluding Lamellodysidea herbacea was negatively associated with rates of sedimentation. Overall variation in sponge assemblage composition was correlated with a number of variables although each variable explained only a small amount of the overall variation. Although sponge abundance remained similar across environments, diversity was negatively affected by sedimentation, with the most sedimented sites being dominated by a single sponge species. Our study shows how some sponge species are able to tolerate high levels of sediment and that any transition of coral reefs to more sedimented states may result in a shift to a low diversity sponge dominated system, which is likely to have subsequent effects on ecosystem functioning.

  12. Reduced diversity and high sponge abundance on a sedimented Indo-Pacific reef system: implications for future changes in environmental quality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Powell, Abigail; Smith, David J; Hepburn, Leanne J; Jones, Timothy; Berman, Jade; Jompa, Jamaluddin; Bell, James J

    2014-01-01

    Although coral reef health across the globe is declining as a result of anthropogenic impacts, relatively little is known of how environmental variability influences reef organisms other than corals and fish. Sponges are an important component of coral reef fauna that perform many important functional roles and changes in their abundance and diversity as a result of environmental change has the potential to affect overall reef ecosystem functioning. In this study, we examined patterns of sponge biodiversity and abundance across a range of environments to assess the potential key drivers of differences in benthic community structure. We found that sponge assemblages were significantly different across the study sites, but were dominated by one species Lamellodysidea herbacea (42% of all sponges patches recorded) and that the differential rate of sediment deposition was the most important variable driving differences in abundance patterns. Lamellodysidea herbacea abundance was positively associated with sedimentation rates, while total sponge abundance excluding Lamellodysidea herbacea was negatively associated with rates of sedimentation. Overall variation in sponge assemblage composition was correlated with a number of variables although each variable explained only a small amount of the overall variation. Although sponge abundance remained similar across environments, diversity was negatively affected by sedimentation, with the most sedimented sites being dominated by a single sponge species. Our study shows how some sponge species are able to tolerate high levels of sediment and that any transition of coral reefs to more sedimented states may result in a shift to a low diversity sponge dominated system, which is likely to have subsequent effects on ecosystem functioning.

  13. Herbicides: A new threat to the Great Barrier Reef

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lewis, Stephen E.; Brodie, Jon E.; Bainbridge, Zoe T.; Rohde, Ken W.; Davis, Aaron M.; Masters, Bronwyn L.; Maughan, Mirjam; Devlin, Michelle J.; Mueller, Jochen F.; Schaffelke, Britta

    2009-01-01

    The runoff of pesticides (insecticides, herbicides and fungicides) from agricultural lands is a key concern for the health of the iconic Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Relatively low levels of herbicide residues can reduce the productivity of marine plants and corals. However, the risk of these residues to Great Barrier Reef ecosystems has been poorly quantified due to a lack of large-scale datasets. Here we present results of a study tracing pesticide residues from rivers and creeks in three catchment regions to the adjacent marine environment. Several pesticides (mainly herbicides) were detected in both freshwater and coastal marine waters and were attributed to specific land uses in the catchment. Elevated herbicide concentrations were particularly associated with sugar cane cultivation in the adjacent catchment. We demonstrate that herbicides reach the Great Barrier Reef lagoon and may disturb sensitive marine ecosystems already affected by other pressures such as climate change. - Herbicide residues have been detected in Great Barrier Reef catchment waterways and river water plumes which may affect marine ecosystems.

  14. Colomastigids (Amphipoda: Gammaridea: Colomastigidae from the Veracruz Coral Reef System, SW Gulf of Mexico, with a description of two new species associated with sponges

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ignacio Winfield

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available Two new species of the genus Colomastix (Amphipoda: Colomastigidae associated with sponges from the Veracruz Coral Reef System, Mexico, SW Gulf of Mexico, are described. The specimens were collected from the sponges Amphimedon compressa and Desmapsamma anchorata at depths between 3 and 12 m. Colomastix sarae n. sp. and Colomastix escobarae n. sp. are compared to other, very similar species of the genus Colomastix. In addition, we provide ecological and distribution information of sponge-inhabiting Colomastix halichondriae, C. irciniae, and C. tridentata collected from this coral reef system.

  15. The influence of sea level and cyclones on Holocene reef flat development: Middle Island, central Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ryan, E. J.; Smithers, S. G.; Lewis, S. E.; Clark, T. R.; Zhao, J. X.

    2016-09-01

    The geomorphology and chronostratigraphy of the reef flat (including microatoll ages and elevations) were investigated to better understand the long-term development of the reef at Middle Island, inshore central Great Barrier Reef. Eleven cores across the fringing reef captured reef initiation, framework accretion and matrix sediments, allowing a comprehensive appreciation of reef development. Precise uranium-thorium ages obtained from coral skeletons revealed that the reef initiated ~7873 ± 17 years before present (yBP), and most of the reef was emplaced in the following 1000 yr. Average rates of vertical reef accretion ranged between 3.5 and 7.6 mm yr-1. Reef framework was dominated by branching corals ( Acropora and Montipora). An age hiatus of ~5000 yr between 6439 ± 19 and 1617 ± 10 yBP was observed in the core data and attributed to stripping of the reef structure by intense cyclones during the mid- to late-Holocene. Large shingle ridges deposited onshore and basset edges preserved on the reef flat document the influence of cyclones at Middle Island and represent potential sinks for much of the stripped material. Stripping of the upper reef structure around the outer margin of the reef flat by cyclones created accommodation space for a thin (reef growth after 1617 ± 10 yBP that grew over the eroded mid-Holocene reef structure. Although limited fetch and open-water exposure might suggest the reef flat at Middle Island is quite protected, our results show that high-energy waves presumably generated by cyclones have significantly influenced both Holocene reef growth and contemporary reef flat geomorphology.

  16. Coral reef origins of atmospheric dimethylsulfide at Heron Island, southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swan, Hilton B.; Jones, Graham B.; Deschaseaux, Elisabeth S. M.; Eyre, Bradley D.

    2017-01-01

    Atmospheric dimethylsulfide (DMSa), continually derived from the world's oceans, is a feed gas for the tropospheric production of new sulfate particles, leading to cloud condensation nuclei that influence the formation and properties of marine clouds and ultimately the Earth's radiation budget. Previous studies on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, have indicated coral reefs are significant sessile sources of DMSa capable of enhancing the tropospheric DMSa burden mainly derived from phytoplankton in the surface ocean; however, specific environmental evidence of coral reef DMS emissions and their characteristics is lacking. By using on-site automated continuous analysis of DMSa and meteorological parameters at Heron Island in the southern GBR, we show that the coral reef was the source of occasional spikes of DMSa identified above the oceanic DMSa background signal. In most instances, these DMSa spikes were detected at low tide under low wind speeds, indicating they originated from the lagoonal platform reef surrounding the island, although evidence of longer-range transport of DMSa from a 70 km stretch of coral reefs in the southern GBR was also observed. The most intense DMSa spike occurred in the winter dry season at low tide when convective precipitation fell onto the aerially exposed platform reef. This co-occurrence of events appeared to biologically shock the coral resulting in a seasonally aberrant extreme DMSa spike concentration of 45.9 nmol m-3 (1122 ppt). Seasonal DMS emission fluxes for the 2012 wet season and 2013 dry season campaigns at Heron Island were 5.0 and 1.4 µmol m-2 day-1, respectively, of which the coral reef was estimated to contribute 4 % during the wet season and 14 % during the dry season to the dominant oceanic flux.

  17. High spatial variability of coral, sponges and gorgonian assemblages in a well preserved reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patricia González-Díaz

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available The main goal of this research was to obtain baseline field data of the composition of sponges, corals, and gorgonian assemblages that can be used as a reference for future analyses of anthropogenic impact. We tested the hypothesis that relatively homogeneous and well preserved reef units can present notable natural variability in the composition of their communities which are unassociated with changes in land proximity or a human impact gradient. Research was carried out in July 2006 at Los Colorados reef, located in the northwestern region of Pinar del Río Province, Cuba at 12 sampling stations. The biotopes selected were crest, terrace edge and spur and grove. Ecological indicators were diversity of corals, species composition, density of corals, hydrocorals, gorgonians and sponges, and density of selected coral species. A total of 2659 colonies of scleractineans corals representing 36 species were counted. The most abundant species in the crest biotope were Millepora alcicornis, Acropora palmata and Porites astreoides; in the terrace edge and spur and grove, the most abundant species were Siderastrea siderea, Stephanocoenia intersepta, Porites astreoides, Agaricia agaricites and Montastraea cavernosa. We found differences among sites for several indicators (e.g. density of corals, sponges and gorgonians and for selected species, but they could not be associated to any gradient of land influence or human impact. Therefore, sites inside a relatively homogeneous reef unit can present notable natural differences in the composition of their communities. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (2: 621-634. Epub 2010 June 02.El objetivo principal de la investigación fue obtener una línea base de la composición de las comunidades de esponjas, corales y gorgonias que pueda ser utilizada como referencia para futuros análisis de impacto antrópico. Nuestra hipótesis es que un arrecife relativamente homogéneo y bien conservado, presenta una variabilidad natural

  18. Sponges

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cortés, J.; van der Hal, N.; van Soest, R.W.M.; Wehrtmann, I.S.; Cortés, J.

    2009-01-01

    A total of 127 species of sponges distributed in two classes, 14 orders, 42 families, and 72 genera are reported for Costa Rica in this part. Sixty-five species from the Caribbean coast are included here, belonging to 1 class, 10 orders, 29 families, and 45 genera; and 62 species in 2 classes, 13

  19. A Paddock to reef monitoring and modelling framework for the Great Barrier Reef: Paddock and catchment component.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carroll, Chris; Waters, David; Vardy, Suzanne; Silburn, David M; Attard, Steve; Thorburn, Peter J; Davis, Aaron M; Halpin, Neil; Schmidt, Michael; Wilson, Bruce; Clark, Andrew

    2012-01-01

    Targets for improvements in water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have been set through the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan). To measure and report on progress towards the targets set a program has been established that combines monitoring and modelling at paddock through to catchment and reef scales; the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program (Paddock to Reef Program). This program aims to provide evidence of links between land management activities, water quality and reef health. Five lines of evidence are used: the effectiveness of management practices to improve water quality; the prevalence of management practice adoption and change in catchment indicators; long-term monitoring of catchment water quality; paddock & catchment modelling to provide a relative assessment of progress towards meeting targets; and finally marine monitoring of GBR water quality and reef ecosystem health. This paper outlines the first four lines of evidence. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Oil spill prevention and response initiatives in the Great Barrier Reef

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Watkinson, John

    2000-01-01

    The national and international interest in the marine environment, in particular the Great Barrier Reef has escalated at an exponential rate in the last decade and this trend is expected to continue. Australians are extremely conscious of the amenity and economic value of the Great Barrier Reef. There is a real potential to inflict enormous damage to the Great Barrier Reef and to the shipping industry should a major Oil Spill occur on the reef. A major catastrophic incident within the Great Barrier Reef would have extreme environmental, social and economic consequences. (Author)

  1. Diet and cross-shelf distribution of rabbitfishes (f. Siganidae) on the northern Great Barrier Reef: implications for ecosystem function

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoey, A. S.; Brandl, S. J.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2013-12-01

    Herbivorous fishes are a critical functional group on coral reefs, and there is a clear need to understand the role and relative importance of individual species in reef processes. While numerous studies have quantified the roles of parrotfishes and surgeonfishes on coral reefs, the rabbitfishes (f. Siganidae) have been largely overlooked. Consequently, they are typically viewed as a uniform group of grazing or browsing fishes. Here, we quantify the diet and distribution of rabbitfish assemblages on six reefs spanning the continental shelf in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Our results revealed marked variation in the diet and distribution of rabbitfish species. Analysis of stomach contents identified four distinct groups: browsers of leathery brown macroalgae ( Siganus canaliculatus, S. javus), croppers of red and green macroalgae ( S. argenteus, S. corallinus, S. doliatus, S. spinus) and mixed feeders of diverse algal material, cyanobacteria, detritus and sediment ( S. lineatus, S. punctatissimus, S. punctatus, S. vulpinus). Surprisingly, the diet of the fourth group ( S. puellus) contained very little algal material (22.5 %) and was instead dominated by sponges (69.1 %). Together with this variation in diet, the distribution of rabbitfishes displayed clear cross-shelf variation. Biomass was greatest on inner-shelf reefs (112.7 ± 18.2 kg.ha-1), decreasing markedly on mid- (37.8 ± 4.6 kg.ha-1) and outer-shelf reefs (9.7 ± 2.2 kg.ha-1). This pattern was largely driven by the browsing S. canaliculatus that accounted for 50 % of the biomass on inner-shelf reefs, but was absent in mid- and outer-shelf reefs. Mixed feeders, although primarily restricted to the reef slope and back reef habitats, also decreased in abundance and biomass from inshore to offshore, while algal cropping taxa were the dominant group on mid-shelf reefs. These results clearly demonstrate the extent to which diet and distribution vary within the Siganidae and emphasise the importance of

  2. Reef core insights into mid-Holocene water temperatures of the southern Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sadler, James; Webb, Gregory E.; Leonard, Nicole D.; Nothdurft, Luke D.; Clark, Tara R.

    2016-10-01

    The tropical and subtropical oceans of the Southern Hemisphere are poorly represented in present-day climate models, necessitating an increased number of paleoclimate records from this key region to both understand the Earth's climate system and help constrain model simulations. Here we present a site-specific calibration of live collected massive Porites Sr/Ca records against concomitant in situ instrumental water temperature data from the fore-reef slope of Heron Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The resultant calibration, and a previously published Acropora calibration from the same site, was applied to subfossil coral material to investigate Holocene water temperatures at Heron Reef. U-Th-dated samples of massive Porites suggest cooler water temperatures with reduced seasonal amplitude at 5.2 ka (2.76-1.31°C cooler than present) and 7 ka (1.26°C cooler than present) at Heron Reef. These results contrast the previous suggestion of a mid-Holocene Thermal Maximum in the central GBR around 5.35 ka and 4.48 ka, yet may be explained by differences in temperature of the shallow ponded reef flat (central GBR) and the deeper reef slope waters (this study) and potential large reservoir correction errors associated with early radiocarbon dates. Combining coral-based water temperature anomaly reconstructions from the tropical and subtropical western Pacific indicates a coherent temperature response across the meridional gradient from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea down to the southern GBR. This similarity in reconstructed temperature anomalies suggests a high probability of an earlier expression of a mid-Holocene Thermal Maximum on the GBR between 6.8 and 6.0 ka.

  3. Radiocarbon ages from the northern Great Barrier Reef

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Polach, H.A.; McLean, R.F.; Caldwell, J.R.; Thom, B.G.

    1978-01-01

    Results are reported from the 1973 Great Barrier Reef Expedition's radiocarbon dating programme with respect to all ages determined to date. Field and laboratory methods used are described and the reliability of the ages in terms of (i) the actual materials dated and (ii) the geomorphic, ecological or stratigraphic units from which the samples were obtained are assessed. Seventy-nine determinations based on 74 samples are reported. No interpretation of the results is attempted. (U.K.)

  4. The exposure of the Great Barrier Reef to ocean acidification

    KAUST Repository

    Mongin, Mathieu

    2016-02-23

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is founded on reef-building corals. Corals build their exoskeleton with aragonite, but ocean acidification is lowering the aragonite saturation state of seawater (Ωa). The downscaling of ocean acidification projections from global to GBR scales requires the set of regional drivers controlling Ωa to be resolved. Here we use a regional coupled circulation–biogeochemical model and observations to estimate the Ωa experienced by the 3,581 reefs of the GBR, and to apportion the contributions of the hydrological cycle, regional hydrodynamics and metabolism on Ωa variability. We find more detail, and a greater range (1.43), than previously compiled coarse maps of Ωa of the region (0.4), or in observations (1.0). Most of the variability in Ωa is due to processes upstream of the reef in question. As a result, future decline in Ωa is likely to be steeper on the GBR than currently projected by the IPCC assessment report.

  5. The exposure of the Great Barrier Reef to ocean acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mongin, Mathieu; Baird, Mark E; Tilbrook, Bronte; Matear, Richard J; Lenton, Andrew; Herzfeld, Mike; Wild-Allen, Karen; Skerratt, Jenny; Margvelashvili, Nugzar; Robson, Barbara J; Duarte, Carlos M; Gustafsson, Malin S M; Ralph, Peter J; Steven, Andrew D L

    2016-02-23

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is founded on reef-building corals. Corals build their exoskeleton with aragonite, but ocean acidification is lowering the aragonite saturation state of seawater (Ωa). The downscaling of ocean acidification projections from global to GBR scales requires the set of regional drivers controlling Ωa to be resolved. Here we use a regional coupled circulation-biogeochemical model and observations to estimate the Ωa experienced by the 3,581 reefs of the GBR, and to apportion the contributions of the hydrological cycle, regional hydrodynamics and metabolism on Ωa variability. We find more detail, and a greater range (1.43), than previously compiled coarse maps of Ωa of the region (0.4), or in observations (1.0). Most of the variability in Ωa is due to processes upstream of the reef in question. As a result, future decline in Ωa is likely to be steeper on the GBR than currently projected by the IPCC assessment report.

  6. Coral reef aerosol emissions in response to irradiance stress in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cropp, Roger; Gabric, Albert; van Tran, Dien; Jones, Graham; Swan, Hilton; Butler, Harry

    2018-02-03

    We investigate the correlation between stress-related compounds produced by corals of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and local atmospheric properties-an issue that goes to the core of the coral ecosystem's ability to survive climate change. We relate the variability in a satellite decadal time series of fine-mode aerosol optical depth (AOD) to a coral stress metric, formulated as a function of irradiance, water clarity, and tide, at Heron Island in the southern GBR. We found that AOD was correlated with the coral stress metric, and the correlation increased at low wind speeds, when horizontal advection of air masses was low and the production of non-biogenic aerosols was minimal. We posit that coral reefs may be able to protect themselves from irradiance stress during calm weather by affecting the optical properties of the atmosphere and local incident solar radiation.

  7. Coral bleaching: one disturbance too many for near-shore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, A. A.; Dolman, A. M.

    2010-09-01

    The dynamic nature of coral communities can make it difficult to judge whether a reef system is resilient to the current disturbance regime. To address this question of resilience for near-shore coral communities of the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) a data set consisting of 350 annual observations of benthic community change was compiled from existing monitoring data. These data spanned the period 1985-2007 and were derived from coral reefs within 20 km of the coast. During years without major disturbance events, cover increase of the Acroporidae was much faster than it was for other coral families; a median of 11% per annum compared to medians of less than 4% for other coral families. Conversely, Acroporidae were more severely affected by cyclones and bleaching events than most other families. A simulation model parameterised with these observations indicated that while recovery rates of hard corals were sufficient to compensate for impacts associated with cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish, the advent of mass bleaching has lead to a significant change in the composition of the community and a rapid decline in hard coral cover. Furthermore, if bleaching events continue to occur with the same frequency and severity as in the recent past, the model predicts that the cover of Acroporidae will continue to decline. Although significant cover of live coral remains on near-shore reefs, and recovery is observed during inter-disturbance periods, it appears that this system will not be resilient to the recent disturbance regime over the long term. Conservation strategies for coral reefs should focus on both mitigating local factors that act synergistically to increase the susceptibility of Acroporidae to climate change while promoting initiatives that maximise the recovery potential from inevitable disturbances.

  8. Bacterial diversity associated with Cinachyra cavernosa and Haliclona pigmentifera, cohabiting sponges in the coral reef ecosystem of Gulf of Mannar, southeast coast of India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Jasmin, C.; Anas, A.; Nair, S.

    . cavernosa and they clustered with core microorganisms of sponges reported from different geographical locations [41,43]. Deferribacteres have been reported to play functional role in sulfur cycles in oxygen minimum environments [54]. Cyanobacteria were... coupling in coral reef ecosys- tems, with varied functional roles ranging from biogeochemical cycling of nutrients to facilitat- ing primary production and eroding the carbonate reef structure [3,4]. Many of these diverse metabolic functions are strongly...

  9. Impact Of Coral Structures On Wave Directional Spreading Across A Shallow Reef Flat - Lizard Island, Northern Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leon, J. X.; Baldock, T.; Callaghan, D. P.; Hoegh-guldberg, O.; Mumby, P.; Phinn, S. R.; Roelfsema, C. M.; Saunders, M. I.

    2013-12-01

    Coral reef hydrodynamics operate at several and overlapping spatial-temporal scales. Waves have the most important forcing function on shallow (stress, directly mixing water (temperature and nutrients) and transporting sediments, nutrients and plankton. Reef flats are very effective at dissipating wave energy and providing an important ecosystem service by protecting highly valued shorelines. The effectiveness of reef flats to dissipate wave energy is related to the extreme hydraulic roughness of the benthos and substrate composition. Hydraulic roughness is usually obtained empirically from frictional-dissipation calculations, as detailed field measurements of bottom roughness (e.g. chain-method or profile gauges) is a very labour and time-consuming task. In this study we measured the impact of coral structures on wave directional spreading. Field data was collected during October 2012 across a reef flat on Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef. Wave surface levels were measured using an array of self-logging pressure sensors. A rapid in situ close-range photogrammetric method was used to create a high-resolution (0.5 cm) image mosaic and digital elevation model. Individual coral heads were extracted from these datasets using geo-morphometric and object-based image analysis techniques. Wave propagation was modelled using a modified version of the SWAN model which includes the measured coral structures in 2m by 1m cells across the reef. The approach followed a cylinder drag approach, neglecting skin friction and inertial components. Testing against field data included bed skin friction. Our results show, for the first time, how the variability of the reef benthos structures affects wave dissipation across a shallow reef flat. This has important implications globally for coral reefs, due to the large extent of their area occupied by reef flats, particularly, as global-scale degradation in coral reef health is causing a lowering of reef carbonate production that

  10. Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) diversity in reef-invertebrates along an offshore to inshore reef gradient near Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tonk, Linda; Sampayo, Eugenia M; LaJeunesse, Todd C; Schrameyer, Verena; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2014-06-01

    Despite extensive work on the genetic diversity of reef invertebrate-dinoflagellate symbioses on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR; Australia), large information gaps exist from northern and inshore regions. Therefore, a broad survey was done comparing the community of inshore, mid-shelf and outer reefs at the latitude of Lizard Island. Symbiodinium (Freudenthal) diversity was characterized using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting and sequencing of the ITS2 region of the ribosomal DNA. Thirty-nine distinct Symbiodinium types were identified from four subgeneric clades (B, C, D, and G). Several Symbiodinium types originally characterized from the Indian Ocean were discovered as well as eight novel types (C1kk, C1LL, C3nn, C26b, C161a, C162, C165, C166). Multivariate analyses on the Symbiodinium species diversity data showed a strong link with host identity, consistent with previous findings. Of the four environmental variables tested, mean austral winter sea surface temperature (SST) influenced Symbiodinium distribution across shelves most significantly. A similar result was found when the analysis was performed on Symbiodinium diversity data of genera with an open symbiont transmission mode separately with chl a and PAR explaining additional variation. This study underscores the importance of SST and water quality related variables as factors driving Symbiodinium distribution on cross-shelf scales. Furthermore, this study expands our knowledge on Symbiodinium species diversity, ecological partitioning (including host-specificity) and geographic ranges across the GBR. The accelerating rate of environmental change experienced by coral reef ecosystems emphasizes the need to comprehend the full complexity of cnidarian symbioses, including the biotic and abiotic factors that shape their current distributions. © 2014 Phycological Society of America.

  11. The distribution and abundance of reef-associated predatory fishes on the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emslie, Michael J.; Cheal, Alistair J.; Logan, Murray

    2017-09-01

    Predatory fishes are important components of coral-reef ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) through both the ecological functions they perform and their high value to recreational and commercial fisheries, estimated at 30 million in 2014. However, management of GBR predatory fish populations is hampered by a lack of knowledge of their distribution and abundance, aside from that of the highly targeted coral trout ( Plectropomus spp. and Variola spp.). Furthermore, there is little information on how these fishes respond to environmental stressors such as coral bleaching, outbreaks of coral-feeding starfishes ( Acanthaster planci) and storms, which limits adaptive management of their populations as the frequency or severity of such natural disturbances increases under climate change. Here, we document the distribution and abundance of 48 species of reef-associated predatory fishes and assess their vulnerability to a range of natural disturbances. There were clear differences in predatory fish assemblages across the continental shelf, but many species were widespread, with few species restricted to either inshore or offshore waters. There was weak latitudinal structure with only a few species restricted to either the northern or southern GBR. On the whole, predatory fishes were surprisingly resistant to the effects of disturbance, with few clear changes in abundance or species richness following 66 documented disturbances of varying magnitudes.

  12. Intrusive upwelling in the Central Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benthuysen, Jessica A.; Tonin, Hemerson; Brinkman, Richard; Herzfeld, Michael; Steinberg, Craig

    2016-11-01

    In the Central Great Barrier Reef, the outer continental shelf has an open reef matrix that facilitates the exchange of waters with the Coral Sea. During austral summer, cool water intrudes onto the shelf along the seafloor. Temperature observations reveal cool, bottom intrusions during a 6 year period from the Queensland Integrated Marine Observing System's Palm Passage mooring. A metric is used to identify 64 intrusion events. These intrusions predominantly occur from October to March including the wet season. During an event, the outer-shelf's near-bottom temperature decreases by 1-3°C typically over 1 week. The near-bottom salinity tends to increase, while near-surface changes do not reflect these tendencies. Intrusion events occur predominantly with either weakening equatorward winds or poleward wind bursts. A regional hydrodynamic model for the Great Barrier Reef captures the timing and amplitude of these intrusions. During intrusion events, isotherms tend to uplift over the continental slope and onto the shelf and the East Australian Current intensifies poleward. Over the shelf, a bottom-intensified onshore current coincides with bottom cooling. For numerous events, the model diagnostics reveal that the cross-shelf flow is dominated by the geostrophic contribution. A vertical circulation tilts the isopycnals upward on the southern side of the passage, causing an along-shelf density gradient and geostrophic onshore flow with depth. While wind fluctuations play a major role in controlling the along-shelf currents, model results indicate that a concurrent topographically induced circulation can assist the onshore spread of cool water.

  13. A preliminary distributional study of fish larvae near a ribbon coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leis, J. M.; Goldman, B.

    1984-04-01

    Fish larvae from horizontal plankton tows along a single transect near outer ribbon reefs of the Great Barrier Reef in spring 1979 and summer 1980 had persistent distributional patterns. Larvae were identified to family and divided into young (preflexion) and old (postflexion) larvae, thus giving 28 taxa abundant enough for analysis. Non-uniform larval distributions were found for 81% of the 16 reef fish taxa with non-pelagic eggs, but for only 17% of the six reef fish taxa with pelagic eggs. Most differences in larval concentration were between the lagoonal and seaward sides of the reef. Only tripterygiid larvae had highest concentration just seaward of the reef, while larvae of 12 reef and three oceanic fish taxa occurred in highest concentrations on the lagoonal side of the reef. In five taxa of reef fishes, higher larval concentrations were found in the lagoonal backreef compared with the mid-lagoon habitat; but the reverse was not found in any taxon. Eleven taxa had indeterminate distributions, (i.e. no difference in concentration between stations). Mechanisms responsible for the distribution remain unknown, but we suggest that the view which considers fish larvae to be passively-drifting particles is unjustified without more information on larval behaviour.

  14. Soft coral abundance on the central Great Barrier Reef: effects of Acanthaster planci, space availability, and aspects of the physical environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabricius, K. E.

    1997-07-01

    The distribution and abundance of soft coral genera on reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef was investigated in relation to reef position, recent history of disturbance, wave exposure, substratum slope and depth. Eighty-five 25 m long transects were surveyed at 10 m depth on windward sides of 14 mid- and outer-shelf reefs. A further 75 transects in different zones on one mid-shelf reef (Davies Reef) between 5 and 30 m depth were investigated. The crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci had caused large-scale mortality of scleractinians on eight of these reefs five to ten years prior to the study, and as a result, scleractinian cover was only 35-55% of that on the six unimpacted reefs. On the impacted reefs, stony corals with massive and encrusting growths form had smaller average colony diameters but similar or slightly lower numerical abundance. In contrast, mean colony size, cover and abundance of branching stony corals showed no difference between impacted and unimpacted reefs. Twenty-four genera of soft corals (in eight families) were recorded, and none showed different abundance or cover in areas of former A. planci impact, compared to unaffected sites. Similarly, no difference was detected among locations in the numbers or area cover of sponges, tunicates, zoanthids, Halimeda or other macro-algae. Mean soft coral cover was 2 to 5% at 10 m on sheltered mid-shelf reefs, and 12 to 17% on more current-exposed reefs. Highest cover and abundances generally occurred on platforms of outer-shelf reefs exposed to relatively strong currents but low wave energy. On Davies Reef, cover and colony numbers of the families Nephtheidae and Xeniidae were low within the zone of wave impact, in flow-protected bays and lagoons, on shaded steep slopes, and at depths above 10 and below 25 m. In contrast, distributions of genera of the family Alcyoniidae were not related to these physical parameters. The physical conditions of a large proportion of habitats appear "sub

  15. Two new desma-less species of Theonella Gray, 1868 (Demospongiae: Astrophorida: Theonellidae), from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia,and a re-evaluation of one species assigned previously to Dercitus Gray, 1867.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hall, Kathryn A; Ekins, Merrick G; Hooper, John N A

    2014-06-11

    Extensive surveys of the biodiversity on the seafloor of the inter-reef regions of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, have resulted in the collection of large numbers of sponges, many of which are likely new to science. Identification of these sponges, however, was made difficult by the absence in some specimens of key diagnostic characters, such as megascleres. We used an integrated approach to the taxonomy of these sponges, incorporating morphological examination by SEM, analysis of DNA sequence data (using the COI barcoding fragment of mtDNA) and preliminary studies of the chemistry of the sponges, to describe the new species, which were found to contain no native spicules other than acanthose microrhabds. Here, we propose two new species of Theonella Gray, 1868: Theonella deliqua n. sp. (found in association with a single unidentified species of siliquariid mollusc) and Theonella maricae n. sp. from the Great Barrier Reef. Further, we propose the new combination of Theonella xantha (Sutcliffe, Hooper and Pitcher 2010) n. comb. for another microrhabd-only-bearing species. On the basis of our gene trees, we recognise Theonella (and Theonellidae Lendenfeld, 1903) within Astrophorida Sollas, 1887. We discuss the potential for chemotaxonomic and DNA-based insights into the origins and radiation of species of Theonella and explore the evolutionary significance of the reduced morphology of the three additional species recognised here.

  16. A Biodegradable Trilayered Barrier Membrane Composed of Sponge and Electrospun Layers: Hemostasis and Antiadhesion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xia, Qinghua; Liu, Ziwen; Wang, Chenhong; Zhang, Zixin; Xu, Shanshan; Han, Charles C

    2015-09-14

    Placing a physical barrier between the injured site and the adjacent tissues is a very common and highly effective approach to prevent abdominal adhesions in these days. A biodegradable trilayered barrier was fabricated to prevent formation of abdominal adhesions, in which a poly(lactide-co-glycolide)/poly(lactide)-b-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLGA/PLA-b-PEG) electrospun layer was sandwiched between layers of carboxymethyl chitosan (CMCS) sponge. The hydrophilic CMCS sponge layers with glycerin (GL) could adhere to the surface of wound easily, and present great hemostatic capability. The mechanism of the formation of adhesion related to blood clots acting with fibroblast cells was evaluated in detail. The blood clot acted as a "medium" inducing the fibroblast cells growth and proliferation, but had no special attraction on epithelial cells. CMCS sponge layer took away the blood clots during the swelling and dissolution stages. The electrospun layer promoted the growth of epithelial cells, but exhibited inhibition on the adhesion and spread of fibroblast cells, which ensured excellent effect of adhesion prevention. Evaluated by a rat model of sidewall defect-bowel abrasion, significant reductions of postoperative adhesion in its level and occurrence were observed in animals treated by the trilayered barrier.

  17. Impacts and recovery from severe tropical cyclone Yasi on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beeden, Roger; Maynard, Jeffrey; Puotinen, Marjetta; Marshall, Paul; Dryden, Jen; Goldberg, Jeremy; Williams, Gareth

    2015-01-01

    Full recovery of coral reefs from tropical cyclone (TC) damage can take decades, making cyclones a major driver of habitat condition where they occur regularly. Since 1985, 44 TCs generated gale force winds (≥17 metres/second) within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). Of the hurricane strength TCs (≥H1-Saffir Simpson scale; ≥ category 3 Australian scale), TC Yasi (February, 2011) was the largest. In the weeks after TC Yasi crossed the GBRMP, participating researchers, managers and rangers assessed the extent and severity of reef damage via 841 Reef Health and Impact Surveys at 70 reefs. Records were scaled into five damage levels representing increasingly widespread colony-level damage (1, 2, 3) and reef structural damage (4, 5). Average damage severity was significantly affected by direction (north vs south of the cyclone track), reef shelf position (mid-shelf vs outer-shelf) and habitat type. More outer-shelf reefs suffered structural damage than mid-shelf reefs within 150 km of the track. Structural damage spanned a greater latitudinal range for mid-shelf reefs than outer-shelf reefs (400 vs 300 km). Structural damage was patchily distributed at all distances, but more so as distance from the track increased. Damage extended much further from the track than during other recent intense cyclones that had smaller circulation sizes. Just over 15% (3,834 km2) of the total reef area of the GBRMP is estimated to have sustained some level of coral damage, with ~4% (949 km2) sustaining a degree of structural damage. TC Yasi likely caused the greatest loss of coral cover on the GBR in a 24-hour period since 1985. Severely impacted reefs have started to recover; coral cover increased an average of 4% between 2011 and 2013 at re-surveyed reefs. The in situ assessment of impacts described here is the largest in scale ever conducted on the Great Barrier Reef following a reef health disturbance.

  18. Impact of an experimental eutrophication on the processes of bioerosion on the reef: One Tree Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chazottes, Veronique; Hutchings, Pat; Osorno, Alicia

    2017-05-15

    The components of bioerosion were investigated during ENCORE (The Effect of Nutrient Enrichment on Coral Reefs) over 2years of controlled additions of dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus. The study was carried out at One Tree Island, southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Rates of microbioerosion and external erosion by grazing were significantly higher at the enriched sites than at the control sites. Rates of accretion by coralline algae were also significantly higher at enriched sites. In contrast, rates of macroboring were not significantly different between enriched and control sites. This study highlights the importance of improving water quality on the reef to reduce rates of bioerosion given that quantities of dead coral substrates have recently substantially increased as a result of coral bleaching (Hughes et al., 2015) and several Crown of Thorns plagues (Fabricius et al., 2010; De'ath et al., 2012), on the Great Barrier Reef. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Prey Density Threshold and Tidal Influence on Reef Manta Ray Foraging at an Aggregation Site on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Armstrong, Asia O; Armstrong, Amelia J; Jaine, Fabrice R A; Couturier, Lydie I E; Fiora, Kym; Uribe-Palomino, Julian; Weeks, Scarla J; Townsend, Kathy A; Bennett, Mike B; Richardson, Anthony J

    2016-01-01

    Large tropical and sub-tropical marine animals must meet their energetic requirements in a largely oligotrophic environment. Many planktivorous elasmobranchs, whose thermal ecologies prevent foraging in nutrient-rich polar waters, aggregate seasonally at predictable locations throughout tropical oceans where they are observed feeding. Here we investigate the foraging and oceanographic environment around Lady Elliot Island, a known aggregation site for reef manta rays Manta alfredi in the southern Great Barrier Reef. The foraging behaviour of reef manta rays was analysed in relation to zooplankton populations and local oceanography, and compared to long-term sighting records of reef manta rays from the dive operator on the island. Reef manta rays fed at Lady Elliot Island when zooplankton biomass and abundance were significantly higher than other times. The critical prey density threshold that triggered feeding was 11.2 mg m-3 while zooplankton size had no significant effect on feeding. The community composition and size structure of the zooplankton was similar when reef manta rays were feeding or not, with only the density of zooplankton changing. Higher zooplankton biomass was observed prior to low tide, and long-term (~5 years) sighting data confirmed that more reef manta rays are also observed feeding during this tidal phase than other times. This is the first study to examine prey availability at an aggregation site for reef manta rays and it indicates that they feed in locations and at times of higher zooplankton biomass.

  20. Nereididae (Annelida: Phyllodocida) of Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glasby, Christopher J

    2015-09-18

    Nereididae is one of the most ubiquitous of polychaete families, yet knowledge of their diversity in the northern Great Barrier Reef is poor; few species have been previously reported from any of the atolls or islands including Lizard Island. In this study, the diversity of the family from Lizard Island and surrounding reefs is documented based on museum collections derived from surveys conducted mostly over the last seven years. The Lizard Island nereidid fauna was found to be represented by 14 genera and 38 species/species groups, including 11 putative new species. Twelve species are newly reported from Lizard Island; four of these are also first records for Australia. For each genus and species, diagnoses and/or taxonomic remarks are provided in addition to notes on their habitat on Lizard Island, and general distribution; the existence of tissue samples tied to vouchered museum specimens is indicated. Fluorescence photography is used to help distinguish closely similar species of Nereis and Platynereis. A key is provided to facilitate identification and encourage further taxonomic, molecular and ecological studies on the group.

  1. Effects of Great Barrier Reef degradation on recreational reef-trip demand: a contingent behaviour approach

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kragt, M.E.; Roebeling, P.C.; Ruijs, A.J.W.

    2009-01-01

    There is a growing concern that increased nutrient and sediment runoff from river catchments are a potential source of coral reef degradation. Degradation of reefs may affect the number of tourists visiting the reef and, consequently, the economic sectors that rely on healthy reefs for their income

  2. Broadcast spawning by Pocillopora species on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt-Roach, Sebastian; Miller, Karen J; Woolsey, Erika; Gerlach, Gabriele; Baird, Andrew H

    2012-01-01

    The coral genus Pocillopora is one of the few to include some species that broadcast spawn gametes and some species that brood larvae, although reports of reproductive mode and timing vary within and among species across their range. Notably, the ubiquitous Pocillopora damicornis has been described as both a brooder and spawner, although evidence of broadcast spawning is rare. Here, we report observations of broadcast-spawning in four species of Pocillopora on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), including P. damicornis. All species spawned predictably during the early morning, two days following the full moon, and spawning was observed in multiple months over the summer period (November to February). Eggs and sperm were free-spawned concurrently. Eggs were negatively buoyant and contained Symbiodinium. This newfound knowledge on the mode, timing and regularity of broadcast spawning in Pocillopora spp. on the GBR brings us one step closer to elucidating the complex reproductive ecology of these species.

  3. Fluorescence color diversity of great barrier reef corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Grigory Lapshin

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available A group of variously colored proteins belonging to the green fluorescent protein (GFP family are responsible for coloring coral tissues. Corals of the Great Barrier Reef were studied with the custom-built fiber laser fluorescence spectrometers. Spectral analysis showed that most of the examined corals contained multiple fluorescent peaks ranging from 470 to 620 nm. This observation was attributed to the presence of multiple genes of GFP-like proteins in a single coral, as well as by the photo-induced post-translational modifications of certain GFP-like proteins. We isolated a novel photo-convertible fluorescent protein (FP from one of the tested corals. We propose that two processes may explain the observed diversity of the fluorescent spectra in corals: (1 dark post-translational modification (maturation, and (2 color photo-conversion of certain maturated proteins in response to sunlight.

  4. Cold-water coral reefs and adjacent sponge grounds: Hotspots of benthic respiration and organic carbon cycling in the deep sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cecile eCathalot

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Cold-water coral reefs and adjacent sponge grounds are distributed widely in the deep ocean, where only a small fraction of the surface productivity reaches the seafloor as detritus. It remains elusive how these hotspots of biodiversity can thrive in such a food-limited environment, as data on energy flow and organic carbon utilization are critically lacking. Here we report in situ community respiration rates for cold-water coral and sponge ecosystems obtained by the non-invasive aquatic Eddy Correlation technique. Oxygen uptake rates over coral reefs and adjacent sponge grounds in the Træna Coral Field (Norway were 9-20 times higher than those of the surrounding soft sediments. These high respiration rates indicate strong organic matter consumption, and hence suggest a local focusing onto these ecosystems of the downward flux of organic matter that is exported from the surface ocean. Overall, our results show that coral reefs and adjacent sponge grounds are hotspots of carbon processing in the food-limited deep ocean, and that these deep-sea ecosystems play a more prominent role in marine biogeochemical cycles than previously recognized.

  5. Deep-reef fish assemblages of the Great Barrier Reef shelf-break (Australia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sih, Tiffany L; Cappo, Mike; Kingsford, Michael

    2017-09-07

    Tropical mesophotic and sub-mesophotic fish ecology is poorly understood despite increasing vulnerability of deeper fish assemblages. Worldwide there is greater fishing pressure on continental shelf-breaks and the effects of disturbances on deeper fish species have not yet been assessed. Difficult to access, deeper reefs host undocumented fish diversity and abundance. Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) with lights were used to sample deeper habitats (54-260 m), in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Here we describe fish biodiversity, relative abundance and richness, assessing the prediction that depth would drive assemblage structure in the GBR. Distinct groups of fishes were found with depth whilst overall richness and abundance decreased steeply between 100 and 260 m. Commercially-valuable Lutjanidae species from Pristipomoides and Etelis genera, were absent from shallower depths. Few fish species overlapped between adjacent depth strata, indicating unique assemblages with depth. We also detected new location records and potential new species records. The high biodiversity of fish found in shelf-break environments is poorly appreciated and depth is a strong predictor of assemblage composition. This may pose a challenge for managers of commercial fisheries as distinct depth ranges of taxa may translate to more readily targeted habitats, and therefore, an inherent vulnerability to exploitation.

  6. Surviving in a Marine Desert: The Sponge Loop Retains Resources Within Coral Reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Goeij, de J.M.; Oevelen, van D.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Osinga, R.; Middelburg, J.J.; Goeij, de A.F.P.M.; Admiraal, W.

    2013-01-01

    Ever since Darwin’s early descriptions of coral reefs, scientists have debated how one of the world’s most productive and diverse ecosystems can thrive in the marine equivalent of a desert. It is an enigma how the flux of dissolved organic matter (DOM), the largest resource produced on reefs, is

  7. Surviving in a marine desert: The sponge loop retains resources within coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Goeij, J.M.; van Oevelen, D.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Osinga , R.; Middelburg, J.J.; de Goeij, A.F.P.M.; Admiraal, W.

    2013-01-01

    Ever since Darwin’s early descriptions of coral reefs, scientists have debated how one of the world’s most productive and diverse ecosystems can thrive in the marine equivalent of a desert. It is an enigma how the flux of dissolved organic matter (DOM), the largest resource produced on reefs, is

  8. Surviving in a marine desert: the sponge loop retains resources within coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Goei, J.M.; van Oevelen, D.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Osinga, R.; Middelburg, J.J.; de Goei, A.F.P.M.; Admiraal, W.

    2013-01-01

    Ever since Darwin’s early descriptions of coral reefs, scientists have debated how one of the world’s most productive and diverse ecosystems can thrive in the marine equivalent of a desert. It is an enigma how the flux of dissolved organic matter (DOM), the largest resource produced on reefs, is

  9. The putative functional ecology and distribution of archaeal communities in sponges, sediment and seawater in a coral reef environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Polónia, Ana R M; Cleary, Daniel F R; Freitas, Rossana; de Voogd, Nicole J; Gomes, Newton C M

    2015-01-01

    Archaea play crucial roles in a number of key ecological processes including nitrification and methanogenesis. Although several studies have been conducted on these organisms, the roles and dynamics of coral reef archaeal communities are still poorly understood, particularly in host and nonhost biotopes and in high (HMA) and low microbial abundance (LMA) sponges. Here, archaeal communities detected in six distinct biotopes, namely, sediment, seawater and four different sponge species Stylissa carteri, Stylissa massa, Xestospongia testudinaria and Hyrtios erectus from the Spermonde Archipelago, SW Sulawesi, Indonesia were investigated using 454-pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes (OTU cut-off 97%). Archaeal communities from sediment and sponges were dominated by Crenarchaeota, while the seawater community was dominated by Euryarchaeota. The biotope explained almost 75% of the variation in archaeal composition, with clear separation between microbial assemblages from sediment, X. testudinaria and H. erectus (HMA). In contrast, samples from seawater and both Stylissa species (LMA) showed considerable overlap in the ordination and, furthermore, shared most abundant OTUs with the exception of a single dominant OTU specifically enriched in both Stylissa species. Predicted functional gene content in archaeal assemblages also revealed significant differences among biotopes. Different ammonia assimilation strategies were exhibited by the archaeal communities: X. testudinaria, H. erectus and sediment archaeal communities were enriched for glutamate dehydrogenase with mixed specificity (NAD(P)(+) ) pathways, while archaeal planktonic communities were enriched for specific glutamate dehydrogenase (NADP(+) ) and glutamate synthase pathways. Archaeal communities in Stylissa had intermediate levels of enrichment. Our results indicate that archaeal communities in different biotopes have distinct ecophysiological roles. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  10. Water quality and coral bleaching thresholds: formalising the linkage for the inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wooldridge, Scott A

    2009-05-01

    The threats of wide-scale coral bleaching and reef demise associated with anthropogenic climate change are widely known. Here, the additional role of poor water quality in lowering the thermal tolerance (i.e. bleaching 'resistance') of symbiotic reef corals is considered. In particular, a quantitative linkage is established between terrestrially-sourced dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) loading and the upper thermal bleaching thresholds of inshore reefs on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Significantly, this biophysical linkage provides concrete evidence for the oft-expressed belief that improved coral reef management will increase the regional-scale survival prospects of corals reefs to global climate change. Indeed, for inshore reef areas with a high runoff exposure risk, it is shown that the potential benefit of this 'local' management imperative is equivalent to approximately 2.0-2.5 degrees C in relation to the upper thermal bleaching limit; though in this case, a potentially cost-prohibitive reduction in end-of-river DIN of >50-80% would be required. An integrated socio-economic modelling framework is outlined that will assist future efforts to understand (optimise) the alternate tradeoffs that the water quality/coral bleaching linkage presents.

  11. The Great Barrier Reef:The chronological record from a new borehole

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Braithwaite, C.J.; Dalmasso, H.; Gilmour, M.A.; Harkness, D.D.; Henderson, G.M.; Kay, R.L.F.; Kroon, D.; Montaggioni, L.F.; Wilson, P.A.

    2004-01-01

    A new borehole, 210 mbsf (meters below sea floor) deep, drilled in Ribbon Reef 5 on the Great Barrier Reef off Cooktown, NE Australia, reveals a shallowing-upwards succession, the younger part of which is punctuated by a series of erosion surfaces. Nine depositional units have been defined by

  12. Carbon budget of coral reef systems: an overview of observations in fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls in the Indo-Pacific regions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Suzuki, Atsushi; Kawahata, Hodaka

    2003-01-01

    The seawater CO 2 system and carbon budget were examined in coral reefs of wide variety with respect to topographic types and oceanographic settings in the Indo-Pacific oceans. A system-level net organic-to-inorganic carbon production ratio (ROI) is a master parameter for controlling the carbon cycle in coral reef systems, including their sink/source behavior for atmospheric CO 2 . A reef system with ROI less than approximately 0.6 has a potential for releasing CO 2 . The production ratio, however, is not easy to estimate on a particular reef. Instead, observations planned to detect the offshore-lagoon difference in partial pressure of CO 2 (pCO 2 ) and a graphic approach based on a total alkalinity-dissolved inorganic carbon diagram can reveal system-level performance of the carbon cycle in coral reefs. Surface pCO 2 values in the lagoons of atolls and barrier reefs were consistently higher than those in their offshore waters, showing differences between 6 and 46 atm, together with a depletion in total alkalinity up to 100 mol/kg, indicating predominant carbonate production relative to net organic carbon production. Reef topography, especially residence time of lagoon water, has a secondary effect on the magnitude of the offshore-lagoon pCO 2 difference. Terrestrial influence was recognized in coastal reefs, including the GBR lagoon and a fringing reef of the Ryukyu Islands. High carbon input appears to enhance CO 2 efflux to the atmosphere because of their high dissolved C:P ratios. Coral reefs, in general, act as an alkalinity sink and a potentially CO 2 -releasing site due to carbonate precipitation and land-derived carbon

  13. Rapid survey protocol that provides dynamic information on reef condition to managers of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beeden, R J; Turner, M A; Dryden, J; Merida, F; Goudkamp, K; Malone, C; Marshall, P A; Birtles, A; Maynard, J A

    2014-12-01

    Managing to support coral reef resilience as the climate changes requires strategic and responsive actions that reduce anthropogenic stress. Managers can only target and tailor these actions if they regularly receive information on system condition and impact severity. In large coral reef areas like the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP), acquiring condition and impact data with good spatial and temporal coverage requires using a large network of observers. Here, we describe the result of ~10 years of evolving and refining participatory monitoring programs used in the GBR that have rangers, tourism operators and members of the public as observers. Participants complete Reef Health and Impact Surveys (RHIS) using a protocol that meets coral reef managers' needs for up-to-date information on the following: benthic community composition, reef condition and impacts including coral diseases, damage, predation and the presence of rubbish. Training programs ensure that the information gathered is sufficiently precise to inform management decisions. Participants regularly report because the demands of the survey methodology have been matched to their time availability. Undertaking the RHIS protocol we describe involves three ~20 min surveys at each site. Participants enter data into an online data management system that can create reports for managers and participants within minutes of data being submitted. Since 2009, 211 participants have completed a total of more than 10,415 surveys at more than 625 different reefs. The two-way exchange of information between managers and participants increases the capacity to manage reefs adaptively, meets education and outreach objectives and can increase stewardship. The general approach used and the survey methodology are both sufficiently adaptable to be used in all reef regions.

  14. Combined Effects of Experimental Acidification and Eutrophication on Reef Sponge Bioerosion Rates

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Webb, A.E.; van Heuven, S.M.A.C.; de Bakker, D.M.; van Duyl, F.C.; Reichart, G.-J.; de Nooijer, L.J.

    2017-01-01

    Health of tropical coral reefs depends largely on the balance between constructive (calcification and cementation) and destructive forces (mechanical-chemical degradation). Gradual increase in dissolved CO2 and the resulting decrease in carbonate ion concentration ('ocean acidification') in ocean

  15. Seasonal Dynamical Prediction of Coral Bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spillman, C. M.; Alves, O.

    2009-05-01

    Sea surface temperature (SST) is now recognised as the primary cause of mass coral bleaching events. Coral bleaching occurs during times of stress, particularly when SSTs exceed the coral colony's tolerance level. Global warming is potentially a serious threat to the future of the world's reef systems with predictions by the international community that bleaching will increase in both frequency and severity. Advance warning of anomalous sea surface temperatures, and thus potential bleaching events, would allow for the implementation of management strategies to minimise reef damage. Seasonal SST forecasts from the coupled ocean-atmosphere model POAMA (Bureau of Meteorology) have skill in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) several months into the future. We will present model forecasts and probabilistic products for use in reef management, and assess model skill in the region. These products will revolutionise the way in which coral bleaching events are monitored and assessed in the Great Barrier Reef and Australian region.

  16. Bacterial community composition and predicted functional ecology of sponges, sediment and seawater from the thousand islands reef complex, West Java, Indonesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Voogd, Nicole J; Cleary, Daniel F R; Polónia, Ana R M; Gomes, Newton C M

    2015-04-01

    In the present study, we assessed the composition of Bacteria in four biotopes namely sediment, seawater and two sponge species (Stylissa massa and Xestospongia testudinaria) at four different reef sites in a coral reef ecosystem in West Java, Indonesia. In addition to this, we used a predictive metagenomic approach to estimate to what extent nitrogen metabolic pathways differed among bacterial communities from different biotopes. We observed marked differences in bacterial composition of the most abundant bacterial phyla, classes and orders among sponge species, water and sediment. Proteobacteria were by far the most abundant phylum in terms of both sequences and Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs). Predicted counts for genes associated with the nitrogen metabolism suggested that several genes involved in the nitrogen cycle were enriched in sponge samples, including nosZ, nifD, nirK, norB and nrfA genes. Our data show that a combined barcoded pyrosequencing and predictive metagenomic approach can provide novel insights into the potential ecological functions of the microbial communities. Not only is this approach useful for our understanding of the vast microbial diversity found in sponges but also to understand the potential response of microbial communities to environmental change. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  17. Evolving polycentric governance of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morrison, Tiffany H

    2017-04-11

    A growing field of sustainability science examines how environments are transformed through polycentric governance. However, many studies are only snapshot analyses of the initial design or the emergent structure of polycentric regimes. There is less systematic analysis of the longitudinal robustness of polycentric regimes. The problem of robustness is approached by focusing not only on the structure of a regime but also on its context and effectiveness. These dimensions are examined through a longitudinal analysis of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) governance regime, drawing on in-depth interviews and demographic, economic, and employment data, as well as organizational records and participant observation. Between 1975 and 2011, the GBR regime evolved into a robust polycentric structure as evident in an established set of multiactor, multilevel arrangements addressing marine, terrestrial, and global threats. However, from 2005 onward, multiscale drivers precipitated at least 10 types of regime change, ranging from contextual change that encouraged regime drift to deliberate changes that threatened regime conversion. More recently, regime realignment also has occurred in response to steering by international organizations and shocks such as the 2016 mass coral-bleaching event. The results show that structural density and stability in a governance regime can coexist with major changes in that regime's context and effectiveness. Clear analysis of the vulnerability of polycentric governance to both diminishing effectiveness and the masking effects of increasing complexity provides sustainability science and governance actors with a stronger basis to understand and respond to regime change.

  18. Large-scale pesticide monitoring across Great Barrier Reef catchments--Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Rachael; Middlebrook, Rachael; Turner, Ryan; Huggins, Rae; Vardy, Suzanne; Warne, Michael

    2012-01-01

    The transport and potential toxicity of pesticides in Queensland (QLD) catchments from agricultural areas is a key concern for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). In 2009, a pesticide monitoring program was established as part of the Australian and QLD Governments' Reef Plan (2009). Samples were collected at eight End of System sites (above the tidal zone) and three sub-catchment sites. At least two pesticides were detected at every site including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and the Reef Plan's (2009) five priority photosystem II (PSII) herbicides (diuron, atrazine, hexazinone, tebuthiuron and ametryn). Diuron, atrazine and metolachlor exceeded Australian and New Zealand water quality guideline trigger values (TVs) at eight sites. Accounting for PSII herbicide mixtures increased the estimated toxicity and led to larger exceedances of the TVs at more sites. This study demonstrates the widespread contamination of pesticides, particularly PSII herbicides, across the GBR catchment area which discharges to the GBR. Crown Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Nutrient Fluxes and Ecological Functions of Coral Reef Sponges in a Changing Ocean

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Goeij, J.M.; Lesser, M.P.; Pawlik, J.R.; Carballo, J.L.; Bell, J.J.

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs are iconic examples of biological hotspots, highly appreciated because of their ecosystem services. Yet, they are threatened by human impact and climate change, highlighting the need to develop tools and strategies to curtail changes in these ecosystems. Remarkably, ever since Darwin’s

  20. Invasive lionfish had no measurable effect on prey fish community structure across the Belizean Barrier Reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Serena Hackerott

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Invasive lionfish are assumed to significantly affect Caribbean reef fish communities. However, evidence of lionfish effects on native reef fishes is based on uncontrolled observational studies or small-scale, unrepresentative experiments, with findings ranging from no effect to large effects on prey density and richness. Moreover, whether lionfish affect populations and communities of native reef fishes at larger, management-relevant scales is unknown. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of lionfish on coral reef prey fish communities in a natural complex reef system. We quantified lionfish and the density, richness, and composition of native prey fishes (0–10 cm total length at sixteen reefs along ∼250 km of the Belize Barrier Reef from 2009 to 2013. Lionfish invaded our study sites during this four-year longitudinal study, thus our sampling included fish community structure before and after our sites were invaded, i.e., we employed a modified BACI design. We found no evidence that lionfish measurably affected the density, richness, or composition of prey fishes. It is possible that higher lionfish densities are necessary to detect an effect of lionfish on prey populations at this relatively large spatial scale. Alternatively, negative effects of lionfish on prey could be small, essentially undetectable, and ecologically insignificant at our study sites. Other factors that influence the dynamics of reef fish populations including reef complexity, resource availability, recruitment, predation, and fishing could swamp any effects of lionfish on prey populations.

  1. Assessing the value of Earth Observation for managing coral reefs: an example from the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bouma, Jetske A; Kuik, Onno; Dekker, Arnold G

    2011-10-01

    The Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS, 2003) argues that further investments in Earth Observation information are required to improve coral reef protection worldwide. The IGOS Strategy does not specify what levels of investments are needed nor does it quantify the benefits associated with better-protected reefs. Evaluating costs and benefits is important for determining optimal investment levels and for convincing policy-makers that investments are required indeed. Few studies have quantitatively assessed the economic benefits of Earth Observation information or evaluated the economic value of information for environmental management. This paper uses an expert elicitation approach based on Bayesian Decision Theory to estimate the possible contribution of global Earth Observation to the management of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef including its lagoon is a World Heritage Area affected by anthropogenic changes in land-use as well as climate change resulting in increased flows of sediments, nutrients and carbon to the GBR lagoon. Since European settlement, nutrient and sediment loads having increased 5-10 times and the change in water quality is causing damages to the reef. Earth Observation information from ocean and coastal color satellite sensors can provide spatially and temporally dense information on sediment flows. We hypothesize that Earth Observation improves decision-making by enabling better-targeted run-off reduction measures and we assess the benefits (cost savings) of this improved targeting by optimizing run-off reductions under different states of the world. The analysis suggests that the benefits of Earth Observation can indeed be substantial, depending on the perceived accuracy of the information and on the prior beliefs of decision-makers. The results indicate that increasing informational accuracy is the most effective way for developers of Earth Observation information to increase the added value of Earth Observation for

  2. Elevated land runoff after European settlement perturbs persistent foraminiferal assemblages on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uthicke, S; Patel, F; Ditchburn, R

    2012-01-01

    Coral reefs are under pressure from a variety of human-induced disturbances, but demonstration of ecosystem changes and identification of stressors are often difficult. We tested whether global change or increased agricultural runoff after European settlement of Northeast Australia (ca. 1860) has affected inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Eleven sediment cores were retrieved from inner reefs, intermediate reefs, and outer-island reefs, and benthic foraminiferal assemblages were analyzed in dated (14C, 210Pb, 137Cs) core sections (N = 82 samples). Data were grouped into six age bands ( 1500 yr). Principal component analysis and two-factor (Zone and Age) permutational analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) suggested that assemblages from the three zones were significantly different from each other over several millennia, with symbiont-bearing (mixotrophic) species dominating the outer reefs. A significant interaction term indicated that within-zone patterns varied. Assemblages in outer reefs unaffected from increased land runoff were persistent until present times. In both other zones, assemblages were also persistent until 150 yr ago, suggesting that benthic foraminiferal assemblages are naturally highly persistent over long (> 2000 yr) timescales. Assemblages in core sections old from inner reefs were significantly (post hoc t test) different from those older than 150 yr. Similarly, assemblages old from intermediate reefs were significantly different compared to older assemblages. A multivariate regression tree (environmental variables: Zone and Age) explained 56.8% of the variance in foraminiferal assemblages and confirmed patterns identified by PERMANOVA. With some exceptions, changes on the inner and intermediate reefs were consistent with a model predicting that increased nutrients and higher turbidity enhance relative abundance of heterotrophic species. Given that assemblages did not change in outer-island reefs (not impacted by runoff) we argue that changes

  3. Congruent patterns of connectivity can inform management for broadcast spawning corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Riginos, Cynthia; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2016-07-01

    Connectivity underpins the persistence and recovery of marine ecosystems. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world's largest coral reef ecosystem and managed by an extensive network of no-take zones; however, information about connectivity was not available to optimize the network's configuration. We use multivariate analyses, Bayesian clustering algorithms and assignment tests of the largest population genetic data set for any organism on the GBR to date (Acropora tenuis, >2500 colonies; >50 reefs, genotyped for ten microsatellite loci) to demonstrate highly congruent patterns of connectivity between this common broadcast spawning reef-building coral and its congener Acropora millepora (~950 colonies; 20 reefs, genotyped for 12 microsatellite loci). For both species, there is a genetic divide at around 19°S latitude, most probably reflecting allopatric differentiation during the Pleistocene. GBR reefs north of 19°S are essentially panmictic whereas southern reefs are genetically distinct with higher levels of genetic diversity and population structure, most notably genetic subdivision between inshore and offshore reefs south of 19°S. These broadly congruent patterns of higher genetic diversities found on southern GBR reefs most likely represent the accumulation of alleles via the southward flowing East Australia Current. In addition, signatures of genetic admixture between the Coral Sea and outer-shelf reefs in the northern, central and southern GBR provide evidence of recent gene flow. Our connectivity results are consistent with predictions from recently published larval dispersal models for broadcast spawning corals on the GBR, thereby providing robust connectivity information about the dominant reef-building genus Acropora for coral reef managers. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  4. Large-scale, multidirectional larval connectivity among coral reef fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williamson, David H; Harrison, Hugo B; Almany, Glenn R; Berumen, Michael L; Bode, Michael; Bonin, Mary C; Choukroun, Severine; Doherty, Peter J; Frisch, Ashley J; Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2016-12-01

    Larval dispersal is the key process by which populations of most marine fishes and invertebrates are connected and replenished. Advances in larval tagging and genetics have enhanced our capacity to track larval dispersal, assess scales of population connectivity, and quantify larval exchange among no-take marine reserves and fished areas. Recent studies have found that reserves can be a significant source of recruits for populations up to 40 km away, but the scale and direction of larval connectivity across larger seascapes remain unknown. Here, we apply genetic parentage analysis to investigate larval dispersal patterns for two exploited coral reef groupers (Plectropomus maculatus and Plectropomus leopardus) within and among three clusters of reefs separated by 60-220 km within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia. A total of 69 juvenile P. maculatus and 17 juvenile P. leopardus (representing 6% and 9% of the total juveniles sampled, respectively) were genetically assigned to parent individuals on reefs within the study area. We identified both short-distance larval dispersal within regions (200 m to 50 km) and long-distance, multidirectional dispersal of up to ~250 km among regions. Dispersal strength declined significantly with distance, with best-fit dispersal kernels estimating median dispersal distances of ~110 km for P. maculatus and ~190 km for P. leopardus. Larval exchange among reefs demonstrates that established reserves form a highly connected network and contribute larvae for the replenishment of fished reefs at multiple spatial scales. Our findings highlight the potential for long-distance dispersal in an important group of reef fishes, and provide further evidence that effectively protected reserves can yield recruitment and sustainability benefits for exploited fish populations. © 2016 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  5. Large-scale, multidirectional larval connectivity among coral reef fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

    KAUST Repository

    Williamson, David H.

    2016-11-15

    Larval dispersal is the key process by which populations of most marine fishes and invertebrates are connected and replenished. Advances in larval tagging and genetics have enhanced our capacity to track larval dispersal, assess scales of population connectivity, and quantify larval exchange among no-take marine reserves and fished areas. Recent studies have found that reserves can be a significant source of recruits for populations up to 40 km away, but the scale and direction of larval connectivity across larger seascapes remain unknown. Here, we apply genetic parentage analysis to investigate larval dispersal patterns for two exploited coral reef groupers (Plectropomus maculatus and Plectropomus leopardus) within and among three clusters of reefs separated by 60–220 km within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia. A total of 69 juvenile P. maculatus and 17 juvenile P. leopardus (representing 6% and 9% of the total juveniles sampled, respectively) were genetically assigned to parent individuals on reefs within the study area. We identified both short-distance larval dispersal within regions (200 m to 50 km) and long-distance, multidirectional dispersal of up to ~250 km among regions. Dispersal strength declined significantly with distance, with best-fit dispersal kernels estimating median dispersal distances of ~110 km for P. maculatus and ~190 km for P. leopardus. Larval exchange among reefs demonstrates that established reserves form a highly connected network and contribute larvae for the replenishment of fished reefs at multiple spatial scales. Our findings highlight the potential for long-distance dispersal in an important group of reef fishes, and provide further evidence that effectively protected reserves can yield recruitment and sustainability benefits for exploited fish populations.

  6. Large-scale bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, T P; Kerry, J T; Simpson, T

    2018-02-01

    In 2015-2016, record temperatures triggered a pan-tropical episode of coral bleaching. In the southern hemisphere summer of March-April 2016, we used aerial surveys to measure the level of bleaching on 1,156 individual reefs throughout the 2,300 km length of the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system. The accuracy of the aerial scores was ground-truthed with detailed underwater surveys of bleaching at 260 sites (104 reefs), allowing us to compare aerial and underwater bleaching data with satellite-derived temperatures and with associated model predictions of bleaching. The severity of bleaching on individual reefs in 2016 was tightly correlated with the level of local heat exposure: the southernmost region of the Great Barrier Reef escaped with only minor bleaching because summer temperatures there were close to average. Gradients in nutrients and turbidity from inshore to offshore across the Great Barrier Reef had minimal effect on the severity of bleaching. Similarly, bleaching was equally severe on reefs that are open or closed to fishing, once the level of satellite-derived heat exposure was accounted for. The level of post-bleaching mortality, measured underwater after 7-8 months, was tightly correlated with the aerial scores measured at the peak of bleaching. Similarly, reefs with a high aerial bleaching score also experienced major shifts in species composition due to extensive mortality of heat-sensitive species. Reefs with low bleaching scores did not change in composition, and some showed minor increases in coral cover. Two earlier mass bleaching events occurred on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 and 2002, that were less severe than 2016. In 2016, reefs had no bleaching, compared to 42% in 2002 and 44% in 1998. Conversely, the proportion of reefs that were severely bleached (>60% of corals affected) was four times higher in 2016. The geographic footprint of each of the three events is distinctive, and matches satellite-derived sea

  7. The importance of large benthic foraminifera to reef island sediment budget and dynamics at Raine Island, northern Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dawson, John L.; Smithers, Scott G.; Hua, Quan

    2014-10-01

    Low-lying reef islands are among the most vulnerable environments on earth to anthropogenic-induced climate change and sea-level rise over the next century because they are low, composed of unconsolidated sediment that is able to be mobilised by waves and currents, and depend on sediments supplied by reef organisms that are particularly sensitive to environmental changes (e.g. ocean temperatures and chemistry). Therefore, the spatial and temporal links between active carbonate production and island formation and dynamics are fundamental to predicting future island resilience, yet remain poorly quantified. In this paper we present results of a detailed geomorphological and sedimentological study of a reef and sand cay on the northern Great Barrier Reef. We provide an empirical investigation of the temporal linkages between sediment production and reef island development using a large collection of single grain AMS 14C dates. Large benthic foraminifera (LBF) are the single most important contributor to contemporary island sand mass (47%; ranging from 36% to 63%) at Raine Island, reflecting rapid rates of sediment production and delivery. Standing stock data reveal extremely high production rates on the reef (1.8 kg m- 2 yr- 1), while AMS 14C dates of single LBF tests indicate rapid rates of sediment transferral across the reef. We also demonstrate that age is statistically related to preservation and taphonomic grade (severely abraded tests > moderately abraded tests > pristine tests). We construct a contemporary reef and island sediment budget model for Raine Island that shows that LBF (Baculogypsina, Marginopora and Amphistegina) contribute 55% of the sediment produced on the reef annually, of which a large proportion (54%) contribute to the net annual accretion of the island. The tight temporal coupling between LBF growth and island sediment supply combined with the sensitivity of LBF to bleaching and ocean acidification suggests that islands dominated by LBF are

  8. Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) community patterns in invertebrate hosts from inshore marginal reefs of the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tonk, Linda; Sampayo, Eugenia M; Chai, Aaron; Schrameyer, Verena; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2017-06-01

    The broad range in physiological variation displayed by Symbiodinium spp. has proven imperative during periods of environmental change and contribute to the survival of their coral host. Characterizing how host and Symbiodinium community assemblages differ across environmentally distinct habitats provides useful information to predict how corals will respond to major environmental change. Despite the extensive characterizations of Symbiodinium diversity found amongst reef cnidarians on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) substantial biogeographic gaps exist, especially across inshore habitats. Here, we investigate Symbiodinium community patterns in invertebrates from inshore and mid-shelf reefs on the southern GBR, Australia. Dominant Symbiodinium types were characterized using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting and sequencing of the ITS2 region of the ribosomal DNA. Twenty one genetically distinct Symbiodinium types including four novel types were identified from 321 reef-invertebrate samples comprising three sub-generic clades (A, C, and D). A range of host genera harbored C22a, which is normally rare or absent from inshore or low latitude reefs in the GBR. Multivariate analysis showed that host identity and sea surface temperature best explained the variation in symbiont communities across sites. Patterns of changes in Symbiodinium community assemblage over small geographic distances (100s of kilometers or less) indicate the likelihood that shifts in Symbiodinium distributions and associated host populations, may occur in response to future climate change impacting the GBR. © 2017 Phycological Society of America.

  9. Dynamical seasonal prediction of summer sea surface temperatures in the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spillman, C. M.; Alves, O.

    2009-03-01

    Coral bleaching is a serious problem threatening the world coral reef systems, triggered by high sea surface temperatures (SST) which are becoming more prevalent as a result of global warming. Seasonal forecasts from coupled ocean-atmosphere models can be used to predict anomalous SST months in advance. In this study, we assess the ability of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology seasonal forecast model (POAMA) to forecast SST anomalies in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with particular focus on the major 1998 and 2002 bleaching events. Advance warning of potential bleaching events allows for the implementation of management strategies to minimise reef damage. This study represents the first attempt to apply a dynamical seasonal model to the problem of coral bleaching and predict SST over a reef system for up to 6 months lead-time, a potentially invaluable tool for reef managers.

  10. Modelling Growth of Juvenile Crown-of-Thorns Starfish on the Northern Great Barrier Reef

    OpenAIRE

    Jennifer Wilmes; Samuel Matthews; Daniel Schultz; Vanessa Messmer; Andrew Hoey; Morgan Pratchett

    2016-01-01

    The corallivorous crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster spp.) is a major cause of coral mortality on Indo-Pacific reefs. Despite considerable research into the biology of crown-of-thorns starfish, our understanding of the early post-settlement life stage has been hindered by the small size and cryptic nature of recently settled individuals. Most growth rates are derived from either laboratory studies or field studies conducted in Fiji and Japan. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently exper...

  11. Same, same but different: symbiotic bacterial associations in GBR sponges

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicole S Webster

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Symbioses in marine sponges involve diverse consortia of microorganisms that contribute to the health and ecology of their hosts. The microbial communities of 13 taxonomically diverse Great Barrier Reef (GBR sponge species were assessed by DGGE and 16S rRNA gene sequencing to determine intra and inter species variation in bacterial symbiont composition. Microbial profiling revealed communities that were largely conserved within different individuals of each species with intra species similarity ranging from 65-100%. 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed that the communities were dominated by Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Nitrospira and Cyanobacteria. Sponge-associated microbes were also highly host-specific with no operational taxonomic units (OTUs common to all species and the most ubiquitous OTU found in only 5 of the 13 sponge species. In total, 91% of the OTUs were restricted to a single sponge species. However, GBR sponge microbes were more closely related to other sponge-derived bacteria than they were to environmental communities with sequences falling within 50 of the 173 previously defined sponge-(or sponge-coral specific sequence clusters. These sequence clusters spanned the Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Cyanobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, Nitrospira and the Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae superphylum. The number of sequences assigned to these sponge-specific clusters across all species ranged from 0% to 92%. No relationship between host phylogeny and symbiont communities were observed across the different sponge orders, although the highest level of similarity was detected in two closely related Xestospongia species. This study identifies the core microbial inhabitants in a range of GBR sponges thereby providing the basis for future studies on sponge symbiotic function and research aiming to predict how sponge holobionts will respond to environmental

  12. Same, same but different: symbiotic bacterial associations in GBR sponges.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, N S; Luter, H M; Soo, R M; Botté, E S; Simister, R L; Abdo, D; Whalan, S

    2012-01-01

    Symbioses in marine sponges involve diverse consortia of microorganisms that contribute to the health and ecology of their hosts. The microbial communities of 13 taxonomically diverse Great Barrier Reef (GBR) sponge species were assessed by DGGE and 16S rRNA gene sequencing to determine intra and inter species variation in bacterial symbiont composition. Microbial profiling revealed communities that were largely conserved within different individuals of each species with intra species similarity ranging from 65-100%. 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed that the communities were dominated by Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Nitrospira, and Cyanobacteria. Sponge-associated microbes were also highly host-specific with no operational taxonomic units (OTUs) common to all species and the most ubiquitous OTU found in only 5 of the 13 sponge species. In total, 91% of the OTUs were restricted to a single sponge species. However, GBR sponge microbes were more closely related to other sponge-derived bacteria than they were to environmental communities with sequences falling within 50 of the 173 previously defined sponge-(or sponge-coral) specific sequence clusters (SC). These SC spanned the Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Cyanobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, Nitrospira, and the Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae superphylum. The number of sequences assigned to these sponge-specific clusters across all species ranged from 0 to 92%. No relationship between host phylogeny and symbiont communities were observed across the different sponge orders, although the highest level of similarity was detected in two closely related Xestospongia species. This study identifies the core microbial inhabitants in a range of GBR sponges thereby providing the basis for future studies on sponge symbiotic function and research aiming to predict how sponge holobionts will respond to environmental perturbation.

  13. Same, same but different: symbiotic bacterial associations in GBR sponges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, N. S.; Luter, H. M.; Soo, R. M.; Botté, E. S.; Simister, R. L.; Abdo, D.; Whalan, S.

    2012-01-01

    Symbioses in marine sponges involve diverse consortia of microorganisms that contribute to the health and ecology of their hosts. The microbial communities of 13 taxonomically diverse Great Barrier Reef (GBR) sponge species were assessed by DGGE and 16S rRNA gene sequencing to determine intra and inter species variation in bacterial symbiont composition. Microbial profiling revealed communities that were largely conserved within different individuals of each species with intra species similarity ranging from 65–100%. 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed that the communities were dominated by Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Nitrospira, and Cyanobacteria. Sponge-associated microbes were also highly host-specific with no operational taxonomic units (OTUs) common to all species and the most ubiquitous OTU found in only 5 of the 13 sponge species. In total, 91% of the OTUs were restricted to a single sponge species. However, GBR sponge microbes were more closely related to other sponge-derived bacteria than they were to environmental communities with sequences falling within 50 of the 173 previously defined sponge-(or sponge-coral) specific sequence clusters (SC). These SC spanned the Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Cyanobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, Nitrospira, and the Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae superphylum. The number of sequences assigned to these sponge-specific clusters across all species ranged from 0 to 92%. No relationship between host phylogeny and symbiont communities were observed across the different sponge orders, although the highest level of similarity was detected in two closely related Xestospongia species. This study identifies the core microbial inhabitants in a range of GBR sponges thereby providing the basis for future studies on sponge symbiotic function and research aiming to predict how sponge holobionts will respond to environmental perturbation. PMID:23346080

  14. Main features of the geological structure of upper-Frasnian barrier reefs in relation to their petroleum content

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nikonov, N.I.

    1981-01-01

    Analysis of new geological geophysical and industrial materials has made it possible to distinguish in the boundary part of the late Devonician shoal carbonate shelf barrier reefs of various ages. In confines of individual distinguished reefs there have been established deposits of oil (Western Tebuksk, Pashsor and Khar'yatinsk). There are given prospecting features of classification of buried reefs and prognoses for the finding possible oil deposits in them (Beyaksk, Sandiveis reefs).

  15. Trematodes of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: emerging patterns of diversity and richness in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cribb, Thomas H; Bott, Nathan J; Bray, Rodney A; McNamara, Marissa K A; Miller, Terrence L; Nolan, Mathew J; Cutmore, Scott C

    2014-10-15

    The Great Barrier Reef holds the richest array of marine life found anywhere in Australia, including a diverse and fascinating parasite fauna. Members of one group, the trematodes, occur as sexually mature adult worms in almost all Great Barrier Reef bony fish species. Although the first reports of these parasites were made 100 years ago, the fauna has been studied systematically for only the last 25 years. When the fauna was last reviewed in 1994 there were 94 species known from the Great Barrier Reef and it was predicted that there might be 2,270 in total. There are now 326 species reported for the region, suggesting that we are in a much improved position to make an accurate prediction of true trematode richness. Here we review the current state of knowledge of the fauna and the ways in which our understanding of this fascinating group is changing. Our best estimate of the true richness is now a range, 1,100-1,800 species. However there remains considerable scope for even these figures to be incorrect given that fewer than one-third of the fish species of the region have been examined for trematodes. Our goal is a comprehensive characterisation of this fauna, and we outline what work needs to be done to achieve this and discuss whether this goal is practically achievable or philosophically justifiable. Copyright © 2014 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Effectiveness of benthic foraminiferal and coral assemblages as water quality indicators on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uthicke, S.; Thompson, A.; Schaffelke, B.

    2010-03-01

    Although the debate about coral reef decline focuses on global disturbances (e.g., increasing temperatures and acidification), local stressors (nutrient runoff and overfishing) continue to affect reef health and resilience. The effectiveness of foraminiferal and hard-coral assemblages as indicators of changes in water quality was assessed on 27 inshore reefs along the Great Barrier Reef. Environmental variables (i.e., several water quality and sediment parameters) and the composition of both benthic foraminiferal and hard-coral assemblages differed significantly between four regions (Whitsunday, Burdekin, Fitzroy, and the Wet Tropics). Grain size and organic carbon and nitrogen content of sediments, and a composite water column parameter (based on turbidity and concentrations of particulate matter) explained a significant amount of variation in the data (tested by redundancy analyses) in both assemblages. Heterotrophic species of foraminifera were dominant in sediments with high organic content and in localities with low light availability, whereas symbiont-bearing mixotrophic species were dominant elsewhere. A similar suite of parameters explained 89% of the variation in the FORAM index (a Caribbean coral reef health indicator) and 61% in foraminiferal species richness. Coral richness was not related to environmental setting. Coral assemblages varied in response to environmental variables, but were strongly shaped by acute disturbances (e.g., cyclones, Acanthaster planci outbreaks, and bleaching), thus different coral assemblages may be found at sites with the same environmental conditions. Disturbances also affect foraminiferal assemblages, but they appeared to recover more rapidly than corals. Foraminiferal assemblages are effective bioindicators of turbidity/light regimes and organic enrichment of sediments on coral reefs.

  17. Assessing the additive risks of PSII herbicide exposure to the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, Stephen E; Schaffelke, Britta; Shaw, Melanie; Bainbridge, Zoë T; Rohde, Ken W; Kennedy, Karen; Davis, Aaron M; Masters, Bronwyn L; Devlin, Michelle J; Mueller, Jochen F; Brodie, Jon E

    2012-01-01

    Herbicide residues have been measured in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon at concentrations which have the potential to harm marine plant communities. Monitoring on the Great Barrier Reef lagoon following wet season discharge show that 80% of the time when herbicides are detected, more than one are present. These herbicides have been shown to act in an additive manner with regards to photosystem-II inhibition. In this study, the area of the Great Barrier Reef considered to be at risk from herbicides is compared when exposures are considered for each herbicide individually and also for herbicide mixtures. Two normalisation indices for herbicide mixtures were calculated based on current guidelines and PSII inhibition thresholds. The results show that the area of risk for most regions is greatly increased under the proposed additive PSII inhibition threshold and that the resilience of this important ecosystem could be reduced by exposure to these herbicides. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Seismic evidence of glacial-age river incision into the Tahaa barrier reef, French Polynesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toomey, Michael; Woodruff, Jonathan D.; Ashton, Andrew D.; Perron, J. Taylor

    2016-01-01

    Rivers have long been recognized for their ability to shape reef-bound volcanic islands. On the time-scale of glacial–interglacial sea-level cycles, fluvial incision of exposed barrier reef lagoons may compete with constructional coral growth to shape the coastal geomorphology of ocean islands. However, overprinting of Pleistocene landscapes by Holocene erosion or sedimentation has largely obscured the role lowstand river incision may have played in developing the deep lagoons typical of modern barrier reefs. Here we use high-resolution seismic imagery and core stratigraphy to examine how erosion and/or deposition by upland drainage networks has shaped coastal morphology on Tahaa, a barrier reef-bound island located along the Society Islands hotspot chain in French Polynesia. At Tahaa, we find that many channels, incised into the lagoon floor during Pleistocene sea-level lowstands, are located near the mouths of upstream terrestrial drainages. Steeper antecedent topography appears to have enhanced lowstand fluvial erosion along Tahaa's southwestern coast and maintained a deep pass. During highstands, upland drainages appear to contribute little sediment to refilling accommodation space in the lagoon. Rather, the flushing of fine carbonate sediment out of incised fluvial channels by storms and currents appears to have limited lagoonal infilling and further reinforced development of deep barrier reef lagoons during periods of highstand submersion.

  19. The Great Barrier Reef Ocean Observing System Mooring array: Monitoring the Western Boundary Currents of the Coral Sea and Impacts on the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steinberg, C. R.; McAllister, F.; Brinkman, B. W.; Pitcher, C.; Luetchford, J.; Rigby, P.

    2009-05-01

    Since 1987 Great Barrier Reef weather and water temperature observations have been transmitted in near real time using HF radio from pontoons or towers on coral reefs by AIMS. In contrast oceanographic measurements have however been restricted to loggers serviced at quarterly to half yearly downloads. The Great Barrier Reef Ocean Observing System (GBROOS) is a regional node of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). IMOS is an Australian Government initiative established under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and has been supported by Queensland Government since 2006. GBROOS comprises real time observations from weather stations, oceanographic moorings, underway ship observations, ocean surface radar, satellite image reception and reef based sensor networks. This paper focuses on an array of in-line moorings that have been deployed along the outer Great Barrier Reef in order to monitor the Western Boundary currents of the Coral Sea. The Westward flowing Southern Equatorial Current bifurcates into the poleward flowing East Australian Current and the equatorward North Queensland Current. The 4 mooring pairs consist of a continental slope mooring, nominally in 200m of water and one on the outer continental shelf within the GBR matrix in depths of 30 to 70m. The array is designed to detect any changes in circulation, temperature response, mixed layer depth and ocean-shelf interactions. A review of likely impacts of climate change on the physical oceanography of the GBR is providing a basis upon which to explore what processes may be affected by climate change. Sample data and results from the initial year of observations will be presented.

  20. Differential responses of emergent intertidal coral reef fauna to a large-scale El-Niño southern oscillation event: sponge and coral resilience.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelmo, Francisco; Bell, James J; Moraes, Simone Souza; Gomes, Rilza da Costa Tourinho; Mariano-Neto, Eduardo; Attrill, Martin J

    2014-01-01

    There is a paucity of information on the impacts of the 1997-8 El Niño event and subsequent climatic episodes on emergent intertidal coral reef assemblages. Given the environmental variability intertidal reefs experience, such reefs may potentially be more resilient to climatic events and provide important insights into the adaptation of reef fauna to future ocean warming. Here we report the results of a 17-year (1995-2011) biodiversity survey of four emergent coral reef ecosystems in Bahia, Brazil, to assess the impact of a major El Niño event on the reef fauna, and determine any subsequent recovery. The densities of two species of coral, Favia gravida and Siderastrea stellata, did not vary significantly across the survey period, indicating a high degree of tolerance to the El Niño associated stress. However, there were marked decreases in the diversity of other taxa. Molluscs, bryozoans and ascidians suffered severe declines in diversity and abundance and had not recovered to pre-El Niño levels by the end of the study. Echinoderms were reduced to a single species in 1999, Echinometra lucunter, although diversity levels had recovered by 2002. Sponge assemblages were not impacted by the 1997-8 event and their densities had increased by the study end. Multivariate analysis indicated that a stable invertebrate community had re-established on the reefs after the El Niño event, but it has a different overall composition to the pre-El Niño community. It is unclear if community recovery will continue given more time, but our study highlights that any increase in the frequency of large-scale climatic events to more than one a decade is likely to result in a persistent lower-diversity state. Our results also suggest some coral and sponge species are particularly resilient to the El Niño-associated stress and therefore represent suitable models to investigate temperature adaptation in reef organisms.

  1. Antifoulant (butyltin and copper) concentrations in sediments from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Haynes, David; Loong, Dominica

    2002-01-01

    Antifoulant concentrations are generally low in the Great Barrier Reef, although ship grounding sites present a previously unidentified significant source of antifoulant pollutants in the Great Barrier Reef. - Antifoulant concentrations were determined in marine sediments collected from commercial harbours, marinas, mooring locations on mid-shelf continental islands, and outer reef sites in four regions within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in 1999. Highest copper concentrations were present in sediments collected from commercial harbour sampling sites (28-233 μg Cu g -1 dry wt.). In contrast, copper concentrations in sediments collected from boat mooring sites on mid-shelf continental islands and outer reef sites were at background concentrations (i.e. -1 dry wt.). Butyltin was only detectable in four of the 42 sediments sampled for analysis, and was only present in sediments collected from commercial harbours (18-1275 ng Sn g -1 dry wt.) and from marinas (4-5 ng Sn g -1 dry wt.). The detection of tributyltin at marina sites implies that this antifoulant may continue to be used illegally on the hulls of smaller recreational vessels. Sediment samples were also collected opportunistically from the site of a 22,000 t cargo ship grounding in May 1999 at Heath Reef, in the far northern Great Barrier Reef. Butyltin concentrations were grossly elevated (660-340,000 ng Sn g -1 dry wt.) at the grounding site. The impact of residual antifoulants at large ship grounding sites should be recognised as a significant, long-term environmental problem unless antfoulant clean-up strategies are undertaken

  2. Coral skeletons provide historical evidence of phosphorus runoff on the great barrier reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennie Mallela

    Full Text Available Recently, the inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef have declined rapidly because of deteriorating water quality. Increased catchment runoff is one potential culprit. The impacts of land-use on coral growth and reef health however are largely circumstantial due to limited long-term data on water quality and reef health. Here we use a 60 year coral core record to show that phosphorus contained in the skeletons (P/Ca of long-lived, near-shore Porites corals on the Great Barrier Reef correlates with annual records of fertiliser application and particulate phosphorus loads in the adjacent catchment. Skeletal P/Ca also correlates with Ba/Ca, a proxy for fluvial sediment loading, again linking near-shore phosphorus records with river runoff. Coral core records suggest that phosphorus levels increased 8 fold between 1949 and 2008 with the greatest levels coinciding with periods of high fertiliser-phosphorus use. Periods of high P/Ca correspond with intense agricultural activity and increased fertiliser application in the river catchment following agricultural expansion and replanting after cyclone damage. Our results demonstrate how coral P/Ca records can be used to assess terrestrial nutrient loading of vulnerable near-shore reefs.

  3. Coral skeletons provide historical evidence of phosphorus runoff on the great barrier reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallela, Jennie; Lewis, Stephen E; Croke, Barry

    2013-01-01

    Recently, the inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef have declined rapidly because of deteriorating water quality. Increased catchment runoff is one potential culprit. The impacts of land-use on coral growth and reef health however are largely circumstantial due to limited long-term data on water quality and reef health. Here we use a 60 year coral core record to show that phosphorus contained in the skeletons (P/Ca) of long-lived, near-shore Porites corals on the Great Barrier Reef correlates with annual records of fertiliser application and particulate phosphorus loads in the adjacent catchment. Skeletal P/Ca also correlates with Ba/Ca, a proxy for fluvial sediment loading, again linking near-shore phosphorus records with river runoff. Coral core records suggest that phosphorus levels increased 8 fold between 1949 and 2008 with the greatest levels coinciding with periods of high fertiliser-phosphorus use. Periods of high P/Ca correspond with intense agricultural activity and increased fertiliser application in the river catchment following agricultural expansion and replanting after cyclone damage. Our results demonstrate how coral P/Ca records can be used to assess terrestrial nutrient loading of vulnerable near-shore reefs.

  4. The 27-year decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef and its causes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De'ath, Glenn; Fabricius, Katharina E; Sweatman, Hugh; Puotinen, Marji

    2012-10-30

    The world's coral reefs are being degraded, and the need to reduce local pressures to offset the effects of increasing global pressures is now widely recognized. This study investigates the spatial and temporal dynamics of coral cover, identifies the main drivers of coral mortality, and quantifies the rates of potential recovery of the Great Barrier Reef. Based on the world's most extensive time series data on reef condition (2,258 surveys of 214 reefs over 1985-2012), we show a major decline in coral cover from 28.0% to 13.8% (0.53% y(-1)), a loss of 50.7% of initial coral cover. Tropical cyclones, coral predation by crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), and coral bleaching accounted for 48%, 42%, and 10% of the respective estimated losses, amounting to 3.38% y(-1) mortality rate. Importantly, the relatively pristine northern region showed no overall decline. The estimated rate of increase in coral cover in the absence of cyclones, COTS, and bleaching was 2.85% y(-1), demonstrating substantial capacity for recovery of reefs. In the absence of COTS, coral cover would increase at 0.89% y(-1), despite ongoing losses due to cyclones and bleaching. Thus, reducing COTS populations, by improving water quality and developing alternative control measures, could prevent further coral decline and improve the outlook for the Great Barrier Reef. Such strategies can, however, only be successful if climatic conditions are stabilized, as losses due to bleaching and cyclones will otherwise increase.

  5. Effects of different disturbance types on butterflyfish communities of Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emslie, M. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Cheal, A. J.

    2011-06-01

    The effects of disturbances on coral reef fishes have been extensively documented but most studies have relied on opportunistic sampling following single events. Few studies have the spatial and temporal extent to directly compare the effects of multiple disturbances over a large geographic scale. Here, benthic communities and butterflyfishes on 47 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef were surveyed annually to examine their responses to physical disturbances (cyclones and storms) and/or biological disturbances (bleaching, outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish and white syndrome disease). The effects on benthic and butterflyfish communities varied among reefs depending on the structure and geographical setting of each community, on the size and type of disturbance, and on the disturbance history of that reef. There was considerable variability in the response of butterflyfishes to different disturbances: physical disturbances (occurring with or without biological disturbances) produced substantial declines in abundance, whilst biological disturbances occurring on their own did not. Butterflyfishes with the narrowest feeding preferences, such as obligate corallivores, were always the species most affected. The response of generalist feeders varied with the extent of damage. Wholesale changes to the butterflyfish community were only recorded where structural complexity of reefs was drastically reduced. The observed effects of disturbances on butterflyfishes coupled with predictions of increased frequency and intensity of disturbances sound a dire warning for the future of butterflyfish communities in particular and reef fish communities in general.

  6. Coral reefs of the turbid inner-shelf of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: An environmental and geomorphic perspective on their occurrence, composition and growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Browne, N. K.; Smithers, S. G.; Perry, C. T.

    2012-10-01

    Investigations of the geomorphic and sedimentary context in which turbid zone reefs exist, both in the modern and fossil reef record, can inform key ecological debates regarding species tolerances and adaptability to elevated turbidity and sedimentation. Furthermore, these investigations can address critical geological and palaeoecological questions surrounding longer-term coral-sediment interactions and reef growth histories. Here we review current knowledge about turbid zone reefs from the inner-shelf regions of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia to consider these issues and to evaluate reef growth in the period prior to and post European settlement. We also consider the future prospects of these reefs under reported changing water quality regimes. Turbid zone reefs on the GBR are relatively well known compared to those in other reef regions. They occur within 20 km of the mainland coast where reef development may be influenced by continual or episodic terrigenous sediment inputs, fluctuating salinities (24-36 ppt), and reduced water quality through increased nutrient and pollutant delivery from urban and agricultural runoff. Individually, and in synergy, these environmental conditions are widely viewed as unfavourable for sustained and vigorous coral reef growth, and thus these reefs are widely perceived as marginal compared to clear water reef systems. However, recent research has revealed that this view is misleading, and that in fact many turbid zone reefs in this region are resilient, exhibit relatively high live coral cover (> 30%) and have distinctive community assemblages dominated by fast growing (Acropora, Montipora) and/or sediment tolerant species (Turbinaria, Goniopora, Galaxea, Porites). Palaeoecological reconstructions based on the analysis of reef cores show that community assemblages are relatively stable at millennial timescales, and that many reefs are actively accreting (average 2-7 mm/year) where accommodation space is available

  7. Biological characterisation of Haliclona (?gellius) sp.: sponge and associated microorganisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sipkema, Detmer; Holmes, Bradley; Nichols, Scott A; Blanch, Harvey W

    2009-11-01

    We have characterised the northern Pacific undescribed sponge Haliclona (?gellius) sp. based on rDNA of the sponge and its associated microorganisms. The sponge is closely related to Amphimedon queenslandica from the Great Barrier Reef as the near-complete 18S rDNA sequences of both sponges were identical. The microbial fingerprint of three specimens harvested at different times and of a transplanted specimen was compared to identify stably associated microorganisms. Most bacterial phyla were detected in each sample, but only a few bacterial species were determined to be stably associated with the sponge. A sponge-specific beta- and gamma-Proteobacterium were abundant clones and both of them were present in three of the four specimens analysed. In addition, a Planctomycete and a Crenarchaea were detected in all sponge individuals. Both were closely related to operational taxonomic units that have been found in other sponges, but not exclusively in sponges. Interestingly, also a number of clones that are closely related to intracellular symbionts from insects and amoeba were detected.

  8. Disease outbreaks, bleaching and a cyclone drive changes in coral assemblages on an inshore reef of the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haapkylä, J.; Melbourne-Thomas, J.; Flavell, M.; Willis, B. L.

    2013-09-01

    Coral disease is a major threat to the resilience of coral reefs; thus, understanding linkages between disease outbreaks and disturbances predicted to increase with climate change is becoming increasingly important. Coral disease surveys conducted twice yearly between 2008 and 2011 at a turbid inshore reef in the central Great Barrier Reef spanned two disturbance events, a coral bleaching event in 2009 and a severe cyclone (cyclone `Yasi') in 2011. Surveys of coral cover, community structure and disease prevalence throughout this 4-yr study provide a unique opportunity to explore cumulative impacts of disturbance events and disease for inshore coral assemblages. The principal coral disease at the study site was atramentous necrosis (AtN), and it primarily affected the key inshore, reef-building coral Montipora aequituberculata. Other diseases detected were growth anomalies, white syndrome and brown band syndrome. Diseases affected eight coral genera, although Montipora was, by far, the genus mostly affected. The prevalence of AtN followed a clear seasonal pattern, with disease outbreaks occurring only in wet seasons. Mean prevalence of AtN on Montipora spp. (63.8 % ± 3.03) was three- to tenfold greater in the wet season of 2009, which coincided with the 2009 bleaching event, than in other years. Persistent wet season outbreaks of AtN combined with the impacts of bleaching and cyclone events resulted in a 50-80 % proportional decline in total coral cover. The greatest losses of branching and tabular acroporids occurred following the low-salinity-induced bleaching event of 2009, and the greatest losses of laminar montiporids occurred following AtN outbreaks in 2009 and in 2011 following cyclone Yasi. The shift to a less diverse coral assemblage and the concomitant loss of structural complexity are likely to have long-term consequences for associated vertebrate and invertebrate communities on Magnetic Island reefs.

  9. The evolution of the Great Barrier Reef during the Last Interglacial Period

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dechnik, Belinda; Webster, Jody M.; Webb, Gregory E.; Nothdurft, Luke; Dutton, Andrea; Braga, Juan-Carlos; Zhao, Jian-xin; Duce, Stephanie; Sadler, James

    2017-02-01

    Reef response to Last Interglacial (LIG) sea level and palaeoenvironmental change has been well documented at a limited number of far-field sites remote from former ice sheets. However, the age and development of LIG reefs in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) remain poorly understood due to their location beneath modern living reefs. Here we report thirty-nine new mass spectrometry U-Th ages from seven LIG platform reefs across the northern, central and southern GBR. Two distinct geochemical populations of corals were observed, displaying activity ratios consistent with either closed or open system evolution. Our closed-system ages ( 129-126 ka) provide the first reliable LIG ages for the entire GBR. Combined with our open-system model ages, we are able to constrain the interval of significant LIG reef growth in the southern GBR to between 129-121 ka. Using age-elevation data in conjunction with newly defined coralgal assemblages and sedimentary facies analysis we have defined three distinct phases of LIG reef development in response to major sea level and oceanographic changes. These phases include: Phase 1 (> 129 ka), a shallow-water coralgal colonisation phase following initial flooding of the older, likely Marine Isotope Stage 7 (MIS7) antecedent platform; Phase 2 ( 129 ka), a near drowning event in response to rapid sea level rise and greater nutrient-rich upwelling and; Phase 3 ( 128-121 ka), establishment of significant reef framework through catch-up reef growth, initially characterised by deeper, more turbid coralgal assemblages (Phase 3a) that transition to shallow-water assemblages following sea level stabilisation (Phase 3b). Coralgal assemblage analysis indicates that the palaeoenvironments during initial reef growth phases (1 and 2) of the LIG were significantly different than the initial reef growth phases in the Holocene. However, the similar composition of ultimate shallow-water coralgal assemblages and slow reef accretion rates following stabilisation

  10. Dynamics of seawater carbonate chemistry, production, and calcification of a coral reef flat, central Great Barrier Reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Albright

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Ocean acidification is projected to shift coral reefs from a state of net accretion to one of net dissolution this century. Presently, our ability to predict global-scale changes to coral reef calcification is limited by insufficient data relating seawater carbonate chemistry parameters to in situ rates of reef calcification. Here, we investigate diel and seasonal trends in carbonate chemistry of the Davies Reef flat in the central Great Barrier Reef and relate these trends to benthic carbon fluxes by quantifying net ecosystem calcification (nec and net community production (ncp. Results show that seawater carbonate chemistry of the Davies Reef flat is highly variable over both diel and seasonal cycles. pH (total scale ranged from 7.92 to 8.17, pCO2 ranged from 272 to 542 μatm, and aragonite saturation state (Ωarag ranged from 2.9 to 4.1. Diel cycles in carbonate chemistry were primarily driven by ncp, and warming explained 35% and 47% of the seasonal shifts in pCO2 and pH, respectively. Daytime ncp averaged 37 ± 19 mmol C m−2 h−1 in summer and 33 ± 13 mmol C m−2 h−1 in winter; nighttime ncp averaged −30 ± 25 and −7 ± 6 mmol C m−2 h−1 in summer and winter, respectively. Daytime nec averaged 11 ± 4 mmol CaCO3 m−2 h−1 in summer and 8 ± 3 mmol CaCO3 m−2 h−1 in winter, whereas nighttime nec averaged 2 ± 4 mmol and −1 ± 3 mmol CaCO3 m−2 h−1 in summer and winter, respectively. Net ecosystem calcification was highly sensitive to changes in Ωarag for both seasons, indicating that relatively small shifts in Ωarag may drive measurable shifts in calcification rates, and hence carbon budgets, of coral reefs throughout the year.

  11. Remote sensing of sea surface temperatures during 2002 Barrier Reef coral bleaching

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Gang; Strong, Alan E.; Skirving, William

    Early in 2002, satellites of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) detected anomalously high sea surface temperatures (SST) developing in the western Coral Sea, midway along Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR). This was the beginning of what was to become the most significant GBR coral bleaching event on record [Wilkinson, 2002]. During this time, NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) provided satellite data as part of ongoing collaborative work on coral reef health with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). These data proved invaluable to AIMS and GBRMPA as they monitored and assessed the development and evolution of SSTs throughout the austral summer, enabling them to keep stakeholders, government, and the general public informed and up to date.

  12. Climate change and environmentally responsible behavior on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jee In Yoon; Gerard Kyle; Carena J. vanRiper; Stephen G. Sutton

    2012-01-01

    This study explored the relationship between Australians' perceptions of climate change, its impact on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and predictors of environmentally responsible behavior (ERB). Our hypothesized model suggested that general attitudes toward climate change, social pressure for engaging in ERBs (subjective norms), and perceived behavioral control (...

  13. SPATIAL HETEROGENEITY OF PHOTOSYNTHETIC ACTIVITY WITHIN DISEASED CORALS FROM THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Roff, George; Ulstrup, Karin Elizabeth; Fine, Maoz

    2008-01-01

    Morphological diagnosis and descriptions of seven disease-like syndromes affecting scleractinian corals were characterized from the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Chl a fluorescence of PSII was measured using an Imaging-PAM (pulse amplitude modulated) fluorometer, enabling visualization of th...

  14. Australian community members' attitudes toward climate change impacts at the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carena J. vanRiper; Gerard Kyle; Jee In Yoon; Stephen G. Sutton

    2012-01-01

    This research identified homogenous groups of Australian community members that share similar attitudes toward climate change impacts within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). A questionnaire was administered to a random sample of adult residents living near the GBRWHA (n = 1,623) in order to assess public awareness of climate change, concern about...

  15. Jerbarnia stocki, a new species from the Barrier Reef (Crustacea, Amphipoda)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Thomas, James Darwin; Barnard, J.L.

    1990-01-01

    A new species of Jerbarnia is described in 2 meters of depth from Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef. It is the first species from depths shallower than 13 m. The species differs from all but J. aquilopacifica (Japan) in the lack of major teeth on pleonites 1-3 and from the latter species in

  16. Angler segmentation using perceptions of experiential quality in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

    Science.gov (United States)

    William Smith; Gerard Kyle; Stephen G. Sutton

    2012-01-01

    This study investigated the efficacy of segmenting anglers using their perceptions of trip quality in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). Analysis revealed five segments of anglers whose perceptions differed on trip quality.We named the segments: slow action, plenty of action, weather sensitive, gloomy gusses, and ok corral and assessed variation among them...

  17. Mid-Holocene sea surface conditions and riverine influence on the inshore Great Barrier Reef

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roche, R.C.; Perry, C.T.; Smithers, S.G.; Leng, M.J.; Grove, C.A.; Sloane, H.J.; Unsworth, C.E.

    2014-01-01

    We present measurements of Sr/Ca, d18O, and spectral luminescence ratios (G/B) from a mid-Holocene Porites sp. microatoll recovered from the nearshore Great Barrier Reef (GBR). These records were used as proxies to reconstruct sea surface temperature (SST), the d18O of surrounding seawater (d18Osw),

  18. Ocean acidification: Linking science to management solutions using the Great Barrier Reef as a case study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albright, Rebecca; Anthony, Kenneth R N; Baird, Mark; Beeden, Roger; Byrne, Maria; Collier, Catherine; Dove, Sophie; Fabricius, Katharina; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Kelly, Ryan P; Lough, Janice; Mongin, Mathieu; Munday, Philip L; Pears, Rachel J; Russell, Bayden D; Tilbrook, Bronte; Abal, Eva

    2016-11-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to ocean acidification. While our understanding of the potential impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems is growing, gaps remain that limit our ability to translate scientific knowledge into management action. To guide solution-based research, we review the current knowledge of ocean acidification impacts on coral reefs alongside management needs and priorities. We use the world's largest continuous reef system, Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), as a case study. We integrate scientific knowledge gained from a variety of approaches (e.g., laboratory studies, field observations, and ecosystem modelling) and scales (e.g., cell, organism, ecosystem) that underpin a systems-level understanding of how ocean acidification is likely to impact the GBR and associated goods and services. We then discuss local and regional management options that may be effective to help mitigate the effects of ocean acidification on the GBR, with likely application to other coral reef systems. We develop a research framework for linking solution-based ocean acidification research to practical management options. The framework assists in identifying effective and cost-efficient options for supporting ecosystem resilience. The framework enables on-the-ground OA management to be the focus, while not losing sight of CO2 mitigation as the ultimate solution. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Environmental Records from Great Barrier Reef Corals: inshore versus offshore drivers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walther, Benjamin D; Kingsford, Michael J; McCulloch, Malcolm T

    2013-01-01

    The biogenic structures of stationary organisms can be effective recorders of environmental fluctuations. These proxy records of environmental change are preserved as geochemical signals in the carbonate skeletons of scleractinian corals and are useful for reconstructions of temporal and spatial fluctuations in the physical and chemical environments of coral reef ecosystems, including The Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We compared multi-year monitoring of water temperature and dissolved elements with analyses of chemical proxies recorded in Porites coral skeletons to identify the divergent mechanisms driving environmental variation at inshore versus offshore reefs. At inshore reefs, water Ba/Ca increased with the onset of monsoonal rains each year, indicating a dominant control of flooding on inshore ambient chemistry. Inshore multi-decadal records of coral Ba/Ca were also highly periodic in response to flood-driven pulses of terrigenous material. In contrast, an offshore reef at the edge of the continental shelf was subject to annual upwelling of waters that were presumed to be richer in Ba during summer months. Regular pulses of deep cold water were delivered to the reef as indicated by in situ temperature loggers and coral Ba/Ca. Our results indicate that although much of the GBR is subject to periodic environmental fluctuations, the mechanisms driving variation depend on proximity to the coast. Inshore reefs are primarily influenced by variable freshwater delivery and terrigenous erosion of catchments, while offshore reefs are dominated by seasonal and inter-annual variations in oceanographic conditions that influence the propensity for upwelling. The careful choice of sites can help distinguish between the various factors that promote Ba uptake in corals and therefore increase the utility of corals as monitors of spatial and temporal variation in environmental conditions.

  20. Temporal clustering of tropical cyclones on the Great Barrier Reef and its ecological importance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolff, Nicholas H.; Wong, Aaron; Vitolo, Renato; Stolberg, Kristin; Anthony, Kenneth R. N.; Mumby, Peter J.

    2016-06-01

    Tropical cyclones have been a major cause of reef coral decline during recent decades, including on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). While cyclones are a natural element of the disturbance regime of coral reefs, the role of temporal clustering has previously been overlooked. Here, we examine the consequences of different types of cyclone temporal distributions (clustered, stochastic or regular) on reef ecosystems. We subdivided the GBR into 14 adjoining regions, each spanning roughly 300 km, and quantified both the rate and clustering of cyclones using dispersion statistics. To interpret the consequences of such cyclone variability for coral reef health, we used a model of observed coral population dynamics. Results showed that clustering occurs on the margins of the cyclone belt, being strongest in the southern reefs and the far northern GBR, which also has the lowest cyclone rate. In the central GBR, where rates were greatest, cyclones had a relatively regular temporal pattern. Modelled dynamics of the dominant coral genus, Acropora, suggest that the long-term average cover might be more than 13 % greater (in absolute cover units) under a clustered cyclone regime compared to stochastic or regular regimes. Thus, not only does cyclone clustering vary significantly along the GBR but such clustering is predicted to have a marked, and management-relevant, impact on the status of coral populations. Additionally, we use our regional clustering and rate results to sample from a library of over 7000 synthetic cyclone tracks for the GBR. This allowed us to provide robust reef-scale maps of annual cyclone frequency and cyclone impacts on Acropora. We conclude that assessments of coral reef vulnerability need to account for both spatial and temporal cyclone distributions.

  1. Diel coral reef acidification driven by porewater advection in permeable sands, Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Santos, Isaac R.; Glud, Ronnie N.; Maher, Damien

    2011-01-01

    Little is known about how biogeochemical processes in permeable sediments affect the pH of coastal waters. We demonstrate that seawater recirculation in permeable sands can play a major role in proton (H+) cycling in a coral reef lagoon. The diel pH range (up to 0.75 units) in the Heron Island la...... that the metabolism of advection‐dominated carbonate sands may provide a currently unknown feedback to ocean acidification....

  2. Compositional analysis of bacterial communities in seawater, sediment, and sponges in the Misool coral reef system, Indonesia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cleary, Daniel Francis Richard; Polónia, Ana Rita Moura; Becking, Leontine E.; Voogd, de Nicole Joy; Purwanto,; Gomes, Helder; Gomes, Newton Carlos Marcial

    2017-01-01

    Sponge species have been deemed high microbial abundance (HMA) or low microbial abundance (LMA) based on the composition and abundance of their microbial symbionts. In the present study, we evaluated the richness and composition of bacterial communities associated with one HMA sponge (Xestospongia

  3. Factors affecting adoption of improved management practices in the pastoral industry in Great Barrier Reef catchments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rolfe, John; Gregg, Daniel

    2015-07-01

    Substantial efforts are being made by industry and government in Australia to reduce adverse impacts of pastoral operations on water quality draining to the Great Barrier Reef. A key target is to achieve rapid adoption of better management practices by landholders, but current theoretical frameworks provide limited guidance about priorities for improving adoption. In this study information from direct surveys with landholders in the two largest catchments draining into the Great Barrier Reef has been collected and analysed. Study outcomes have important implications for policy settings, because they confirm that substantial variations in adoption drivers exist across landholders, enterprises and practices. The results confirm that the three broad barriers to adoption of information gaps, financial incentives and risk perceptions are relevant. This implies that different policy mechanisms, including extension and incentive programs, remain important, although financial incentives were only identified as important to meet capital and transformational costs rather than recurrent costs. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Evidence of reduced mid-Holocene ENSO variance on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leonard, N. D.; Welsh, K. J.; Lough, J. M.; Feng, Y.-x.; Pandolfi, J. M.; Clark, T. R.; Zhao, J.-x.

    2016-09-01

    Globally, coral reefs are under increasing pressure both through direct anthropogenic influence and increases in climate extremes. Understanding past climate dynamics that negatively affected coral reef growth is imperative for both improving management strategies and for modeling coral reef responses to a changing climate. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the primary source of climate variability at interannual timescales on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), northeastern Australia. Applying continuous wavelet transforms to visually assessed coral luminescence intensity in massive Porites corals from the central GBR we demonstrate that these records reliably reproduce ENSO variance patterns for the period 1880-1985. We then applied this method to three subfossil corals from the same reef to reconstruct ENSO variance from ~5200 to 4300 years before present (yBP). We show that ENSO events were less extreme and less frequent after ~5200 yBP on the GBR compared to modern records. Growth characteristics of the corals are consistent with cooler sea surface temperatures (SSTs) between 5200 and 4300 yBP compared to both the millennia prior (~6000 yBP) and modern records. Understanding ENSO dynamics in response to SST variability at geological timescales will be important for improving predictions of future ENSO response to a rapidly warming climate.

  5. Variation in growth rates of branching corals along Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Kristen D; Cantin, Neal E; Heron, Scott F; Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2017-06-07

    Coral growth is an important component of reef health and resilience. However, few studies have investigated temporal and/or spatial variation in growth of branching corals, which are important contributors to the structure and function of reef habitats. This study assessed growth (linear extension, density, and calcification) of three branching coral species (Acropora muricata, Pocillopora damicornis and Isopora palifera) at three distinct locations (Lizard Island, Davies/Trunk Reef, and Heron Island) along Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Annual growth rates of all species were highest at Lizard Island and declined with increasing latitude, corresponding with differences in temperature. Within locations, however, seasonal variation in growth did not directly correlate with temperature. Between October 2012 and October 2014, the highest growth of A. muricata was in the 2013-14 summer at Lizard Island, which was unusually cool and ~0.5 °C less than the long-term summer average temperature. At locations where temperatures reached or exceeded the long-term summer maxima, coral growth during summer periods was equal to, if not lower than, winter periods. This study shows that temperature has a significant influence on spatiotemporal patterns of branching coral growth, and high summer temperatures in the northern GBR may already be constraining coral growth and reef resilience.

  6. Lista de esponjas marinas asociadas al arrecife Tuxpan, Veracruz, México Checklist of marine sponges from Tuxpan Reef, Veracruz, Mexico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carlos González-Gándara

    2009-04-01

    Full Text Available Se presenta la lista de esponjas marinas (Porifera: Demospongiae del arrecife Tuxpan, Veracruz, México, colectadas en 2004, 2005 y 2006 mediante buceo libre y con equipo autónomo SCUBA. Los resultados muestran la presencia de 18 especies pertenecientes a 13 géneros y 13 familias, 17 de estas especies son nuevos registros para los arrecifes coralinos del norte de Veracruz y una (Aplysina cauliformis Carter, 1882 para el estado. La información puede auxiliar para definir las estrategias de manejo, monitoreo y protección de estas formaciones arrecifales que recientemente han sido propuestas como área de protección de flora y fauna.A checklist of marine sponge species (Porifera: Demospongiae from Tuxpan reef, Veracruz, Mexico, collected during 2004, 2005 and 2006 by free and SCUBA diving equipment, is presented. The results show the presence of 18 species belonging to 13 genera and 13 families. 17 speices represent new records for the northern coral reefs of Veracruz, and the 18th species (Aplysina cauliformis Carter, 1882 is a new record for the state. This information may help to define appropriate management, monitoring and protection strategies for the coral reefs of the north of Veracruz, which have been proposed as a natural preserve area recently.

  7. New species of Alcyonacea (Octocorallia) from the Great Barrier Reef, South-East Asia, and the Red Sea

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Verseveldt, J.

    1982-01-01

    In this paper four new alcyonaceans are described. They are Alcyonium monticulum from the Great Barrier Reef, Cladiella steinen from Thailand, Lemnalia benayahui from the Red Sea, and Siphonogorgia lobata from Taiwan.

  8. Spatial variation in background mortality among dominant coral taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries) and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries), in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91%) and Montipora encrusting (85%) and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned greatly among colonies within the same site and habitat. This study suggests that intraspecific variation in partial mortality between adjacent colonies may be more important than variation between colonies in different latitudinal sectors or reefs. Differences in the prevalence and severity of background partial mortality have significant ramifications for coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances.

  9. The 27–year decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef and its causes

    OpenAIRE

    De’ath, Glenn; Fabricius, Katharina E.; Sweatman, Hugh; Puotinen, Marji

    2012-01-01

    The world’s coral reefs are being degraded, and the need to reduce local pressures to offset the effects of increasing global pressures is now widely recognized. This study investigates the spatial and temporal dynamics of coral cover, identifies the main drivers of coral mortality, and quantifies the rates of potential recovery of the Great Barrier Reef. Based on the world’s most extensive time series data on reef condition (2,258 surveys of 214 reefs over 1985–2012), we show a major decline...

  10. Spatial and temporal genetic structure of Symbiodinium populations within a common reef-building coral on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howells, Emily J; Willis, Bette L; Bay, Line K; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2013-07-01

    The dinoflagellate photosymbiont Symbiodinium plays a fundamental role in defining the physiological tolerances of coral holobionts, but little is known about the dynamics of these endosymbiotic populations on coral reefs. Sparse data indicate that Symbiodinium populations show limited spatial connectivity; however, no studies have investigated temporal dynamics for in hospite Symbiodinium populations following significant mortality and recruitment events in coral populations. We investigated the combined influences of spatial isolation and disturbance on the population dynamics of the generalist Symbiodinium type C2 (ITS1 rDNA) hosted by the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora in the central Great Barrier Reef. Using eight microsatellite markers, we genotyped Symbiodinium in a total of 401 coral colonies, which were sampled from seven sites across a 12-year period including during flood plume-induced coral bleaching. Genetic differentiation of Symbiodinium was greatest within sites, explaining 70-86% of the total genetic variation. An additional 9-27% of variation was explained by significant differentiation of populations among sites separated by 0.4-13 km, which is consistent with low levels of dispersal via water movement and historical disturbance regimes. Sampling year accounted for 6-7% of total genetic variation and was related to significant coral mortality following severe bleaching in 1998 and a cyclone in 2006. Only 3% of the total genetic variation was related to coral bleaching status, reflecting generally small (8%) reductions in allelic diversity within bleached corals. This reduction probably reflected a loss of genotypes in hospite during bleaching, although no site-wide changes in genetic diversity were observed. Combined, our results indicate the importance of disturbance regimes acting together with limited oceanographic transport to determine the genetic composition of Symbiodinium types within reefs. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  11. Three new species of Calyptotheca (Bryozoa: Lanceoporidae) from the Great Barrier Reef, tropical Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sebastian, Pascal; Cumming, Robyn L

    2016-02-15

    The cheilostome bryozoans Calyptotheca wulguru n. sp. and Calyptotheca tilbrooki n. sp. (Lanceoporidae) are described from inter-reefal, sediment-dominated habitats of the Great Barrier Reef, and Calyptotheca churro n. sp. was washed up on a Heron Island beach, with uncertain origin. Calyptotheca wulguru n. sp. and C. churro n. sp. belong to a subgroup of Calyptotheca species with numerous small, oval, marginal adventitious avicularia and suboral nodular thickening or umbones. The vicarious avicularia of C. tilbrooki n. sp. are elongate-oval, unlike those of other known Calyptotheca species, and C. tilbrooki n. sp. has more pronounced orificial dimorphism than in any other known Calyptotheca species. Calyptotheca churro n. sp. has the most pronounced suboral umbo of all known Calyptotheca species. This study increases the known Calyptotheca species of the Great Barrier Reef to ten, and of tropical Australia to 14.

  12. Diurnal warming in shallow coastal seas: Observations from the Caribbean and Great Barrier Reef regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, X.; Minnett, P. J.; Berkelmans, R.; Hendee, J.; Manfrino, C.

    2014-07-01

    A good understanding of diurnal warming in the upper ocean is important for the validation of satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) against in-situ buoy data and for merging satellite SSTs taken at different times of the same day. For shallow coastal regions, better understanding of diurnal heating could also help improve monitoring and prediction of ecosystem health, such as coral reef bleaching. Compared to its open ocean counterpart which has been studied extensively and modeled with good success, coastal diurnal warming has complicating localized characteristics, including coastline geometry, bathymetry, water types, tidal and wave mixing. Our goal is to characterize coastal diurnal warming using two extensive in-situ temperature and weather datasets from the Caribbean and Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Results showed clear daily warming patterns in most stations from both datasets. For the three Caribbean stations where solar radiation is the main cause of daily warming, the mean diurnal warming amplitudes were about 0.4 K at depths of 4-7 m and 0.6-0.7 K at shallower depths of 1-2 m; the largest warming value was 2.1 K. For coral top temperatures of the GBR, 20% of days had warming amplitudes >1 K, with the largest >4 K. The bottom warming at shallower sites has higher daily maximum temperatures and lower daily minimum temperatures than deeper sites nearby. The averaged daily warming amplitudes were shown to be closely related to daily average wind speed and maximum insolation, as found in the open ocean. Diurnal heating also depends on local features including water depth, location on different sections of the reef (reef flat vs. reef slope), the relative distance from the barrier reef chain (coast vs. lagoon stations vs. inner barrier reef sites vs. outer rim sites); and the proximity to the tidal inlets. In addition, the influence of tides on daily temperature changes and its relative importance compared to solar radiation was quantified by

  13. Modeling environmental risk and land management trade-offs in the Great Barrier Reef catchment

    OpenAIRE

    Mallawaarachchi, Thilak; Mazur, Kasia; Lawson, Kenton

    2007-01-01

    We develop a catchment scale modeling framework to identify cost-effective strategies for joint onsite abatement and offsite mitigation of land-based pollution from agricultural activities that pose a risk to water quality in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). An illustrative example of the Barron catchment in north Queensland is used to demonstrate an approach to specify social planner's problem for non-point source pollution management as a cost minimisation model to meet a specified reduction i...

  14. Conservation objectives and sea-surface temperature anomalies in the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ban, Natalie C; Pressey, Robert L; Weeks, Scarla

    2012-10-01

    Spatial and temporal dynamics of ecological processes have long been considered important in marine systems, but seldom have conservation objectives been set for them. Climate change makes the consideration of the dynamics of ecological processes in the design of marine protected areas critical. We analyzed sea-surface temperature (SST) trends and variability in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) for 25 years and formulated and tested whether three sets of notional conservation objectives were met to illustrate the potential for planning to address climate change. Given mixed and limited evidence that no-take areas increase resilience to disturbances such as anomalously high temperatures (i.e., temperatures ≥1 °C above weekly mean temperature), our conservation objectives focused on areas less likely to be affected by such events at extents ranging from the entire Great Barrier Reef to the system of no-take zones and individual no-take zones. The objective sets were (1) at least 50% of temperature refugia (i.e., pixels that had high-temperature anomalies Great Barrier Reef increased significantly in some regions, and some of the conservation objectives were met by the park's current zoning plan. Dialogue between conservation scientists and managers is needed to develop appropriate conservation objectives under climate change and strategies to meet them. ©2012 Society for Conservation Biology.

  15. Surviving coral bleaching events: porites growth anomalies on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cantin, Neal E; Lough, Janice M

    2014-01-01

    Mass coral bleaching affected large parts of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in 1998 and 2002. In this study, we assessed if signatures of these major thermal stress events were recorded in the growth characteristics of massive Porites colonies. In 2005 a suite of short (reefs in the central GBR (18-19°S) that have documented observations of widespread bleaching. Sites included inshore (Nelly Bay, Pandora Reef), annually affected by freshwater flood events, midshelf (Rib Reef), only occasionally affected by freshwater floods and offshore (Myrmidon Reef) locations primarily exposed to open ocean conditions. Annual growth characteristics (extension, density and calcification) were measured in 144 cores from 79 coral colonies and analysed over the common 24-year period, 1980-2003. Visual examination of the annual density bands revealed growth hiatuses associated with the bleaching years in the form of abrupt decreases in annual linear extension rates, high density stress bands and partial mortality. The 1998 mass-bleaching event reduced Porites calcification by 13 and 18% on the two inshore locations for 4 years, followed by recovery to baseline calcification rates in 2002. Evidence of partial mortality was apparent in 10% of the offshore colonies in 2002; however no significant effects of the bleaching events were evident in the calcification rates at the mid shelf and offshore sites. These results highlight the spatial variation of mass bleaching events and that all reef locations within the GBR were not equally stressed by the 1998 and 2002 mass bleaching events, as some models tend to suggest, which enabled recovery of calcification on the GBR within 4 years. The dynamics in annual calcification rates and recovery displayed here should be used to improve model outputs that project how coral calcification will respond to ongoing warming of the tropical oceans.

  16. Symbiosis and microbiome flexibility in calcifying benthic foraminifera of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prazeres, Martina; Ainsworth, Tracy; Roberts, T Edward; Pandolfi, John M; Leggat, William

    2017-03-23

    Symbiosis is a phenomenon that allows organisms to colonise a wide range of environments and occupy a variety of ecological niches in marine environments. Large benthic foraminifera (LBF) are crucial marine calcifiers that rely on photo-endosymbionts for growth and calcification, yet the influence of environmental conditions in shaping their interactions with prokaryotic and eukaryotic associates is poorly known. Here, we used next-generation sequencing to identify eukaryotic photosynthesizing and prokaryotic microbes associated with the common LBF Amphistegina lobifera across a physio-chemical gradient on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We collected samples from three reef sites located in the inner-, mid- and outer-shelf regions of the northern section of the GBR. Results showed the consistent presence of Bacillaryophyta as the main eukaryotic taxa associated with A. lobifera across all reef sites analysed; however, the abundance and the diversity of prokaryotic organisms varied among reef sites. Inner-shelf specimens showed the highest diversity of prokaryote associates, with a total of 231 genotypes in their core microbiome. A total of 30 taxa were identified in the core microbiome across all reef sites. Within these taxa, Proteobacteria was the most abundant bacteria present. The presence of groups such as Actinobacteria was significantly correlated with inner-shelf populations, whereas the abundance of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes was associated with A. lobifera collected from mid- and outer-shelf reef sites. We found that benthic foraminifera form stable and persistent symbiosis with eukaryotic partners, but flexible and site-specific associations with prokaryotic microbes that likely influence the ecological success of these crucial calcifying organisms on the GBR.

  17. Surviving coral bleaching events: porites growth anomalies on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Neal E Cantin

    Full Text Available Mass coral bleaching affected large parts of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR in 1998 and 2002. In this study, we assessed if signatures of these major thermal stress events were recorded in the growth characteristics of massive Porites colonies. In 2005 a suite of short (<50 cm cores were collected from apparently healthy, surviving Porites colonies, from reefs in the central GBR (18-19°S that have documented observations of widespread bleaching. Sites included inshore (Nelly Bay, Pandora Reef, annually affected by freshwater flood events, midshelf (Rib Reef, only occasionally affected by freshwater floods and offshore (Myrmidon Reef locations primarily exposed to open ocean conditions. Annual growth characteristics (extension, density and calcification were measured in 144 cores from 79 coral colonies and analysed over the common 24-year period, 1980-2003. Visual examination of the annual density bands revealed growth hiatuses associated with the bleaching years in the form of abrupt decreases in annual linear extension rates, high density stress bands and partial mortality. The 1998 mass-bleaching event reduced Porites calcification by 13 and 18% on the two inshore locations for 4 years, followed by recovery to baseline calcification rates in 2002. Evidence of partial mortality was apparent in 10% of the offshore colonies in 2002; however no significant effects of the bleaching events were evident in the calcification rates at the mid shelf and offshore sites. These results highlight the spatial variation of mass bleaching events and that all reef locations within the GBR were not equally stressed by the 1998 and 2002 mass bleaching events, as some models tend to suggest, which enabled recovery of calcification on the GBR within 4 years. The dynamics in annual calcification rates and recovery displayed here should be used to improve model outputs that project how coral calcification will respond to ongoing warming of the tropical oceans.

  18. Algal Turf Sediments and Sediment Production by Parrotfishes across the Continental Shelf of the Northern Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tebbett, Sterling B; Goatley, Christopher H R; Bellwood, David R

    2017-01-01

    Sediments are found in the epilithic algal matrix (EAM) of all coral reefs and play important roles in ecological processes. Although we have some understanding of patterns of EAM sediments across individual reefs, our knowledge of patterns across broader spatial scales is limited. We used an underwater vacuum sampler to quantify patterns in two of the most ecologically relevant factors of EAM sediments across the Great Barrier Reef: total load and grain size distribution. We compare these patterns with rates of sediment production and reworking by parrotfishes to gain insights into the potential contribution of parrotfishes to EAM sediments. Inner-shelf reef EAMs had the highest sediment loads with a mean of 864.1 g m-2, compared to 126.8 g m-2 and 287.4 g m-2 on mid- and outer-shelf reefs, respectively. High sediment loads were expected on inner-shelf reefs due to their proximity to the mainland, however, terrigenous siliceous sediments only accounted for 13-24% of total mass. On inner-shelf reef crests parrotfishes would take three months to produce the equivalent mass of sediment found in the EAM. On the outer-shelf it would take just three days, suggesting that inner-shelf EAMs are characterised by low rates of sediment turnover. By contrast, on-reef sediment production by parrotfishes is high on outer-shelf crests. However, exposure to oceanic swells means that much of this production is likely to be lost. Hydrodynamic activity also appears to structure sediment patterns at within-reef scales, with coarser sediments (> 250 μm) typifying exposed reef crest EAMs, and finer sediments (reef EAMs. As both the load and grain size of EAM sediments mediate a number of important ecological processes on coral reefs, the observed sediment gradients are likely to play a key role in the structure and function of the associated coral reef communities.

  19. Spionidae (Annelida) from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia: the genera Aonides, Dipolydora, Polydorella, Prionospio, Pseudopolydora, Rhynchospio, and Tripolydora.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Radashevsky, Vasily I

    2015-09-18

    Nineteen species in seven genera of spionid polychaetes are described and illustrated based on new material collected from the intertidal and shallow waters around the Lizard Island Group, northern Great Barrier Reef. Only one of these species had been previously reported from the Reef. Six species are described as new to science, and the taxonomy of seven species should be clarified in the future. Prionospio sensu lato is the most diverse group with 11 species identified in the present study. One species is identified in each of the genera Dipolydora, Polydorella, Rhynchospio and Tripolydora, and two species are identified in each of the genera Aonides and Pseudopolydora. The fauna of spionid polychaetes of the Great Barrier Reef seems to be more diverse than previously described and more species are expected to be found in the future. An identification key is provided to 16 genera of Spionidae reported from or likely to be found on the Great Barrier Reef.

  20. Phytoplankton, bacterioplankton and virioplankton structure and function across the southern Great Barrier Reef shelf

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alongi, Daniel M.; Patten, Nicole L.; McKinnon, David; Köstner, Nicole; Bourne, David G.; Brinkman, Richard

    2015-02-01

    Bacterioplankton and phytoplankton dynamics, pelagic respiration, virioplankton abundance, and the diversity of pelagic diazotrophs and other bacteria were examined in relation to water-column nutrients and vertical mixing across the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) shelf where sharp inshore to offshore gradients in water chemistry and hydrology prevail. A principal component analysis (PCA) revealed station groups clustered geographically, suggesting across-shelf differences in plankton function and structure driven by changes in mixing intensity, sediment resuspension, and the relative contributions of terrestrial, reef and oceanic nutrients. At most stations and sampling periods, microbial abundance and activities peaked both inshore and at channels between outer shelf reefs of the Pompey Reef complex. PCA also revealed that virioplankton numbers and biomass correlated with bacterioplankton numbers and production, and that bacterial growth and respiration correlated with net primary production, suggesting close virus-bacteria-phytoplankton interactions; all plankton groups correlated with particulate C, N, and P. Strong vertical mixing facilitates tight coupling of pelagic and benthic shelf processes as, on average, 37% and 56% of N and P demands of phytoplankton are derived from benthic nutrient regeneration and resuspension. These across-shelf planktonic trends mirror those of the benthic microbial community.

  1. Deepwater Chondrichthyan Bycatch of the Eastern King Prawn Fishery in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rigby, Cassandra L; White, William T; Simpfendorfer, Colin A

    2016-01-01

    The deepwater chondrichthyan fauna of the Great Barrier Reef is poorly known and life history information is required to enable their effective management as they are inherently vulnerable to exploitation. The chondrichthyan bycatch from the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery at the Swain Reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef was examined to determine the species present and provide information on their life histories. In all, 1533 individuals were collected from 11 deepwater chondrichthyan species, with the Argus skate Dipturus polyommata, piked spurdog Squalus megalops and pale spotted catshark Asymbolus pallidus the most commonly caught. All but one species is endemic to Australia with five species restricted to waters offshore from Queensland. The extent of life history information available for each species varied but the life history traits across all species were characteristic of deep water chondrichthyans with relatively large length at maturity, small litters and low ovarian fecundity; all indicative of low biological productivity. However, variability among these traits and spatial and bathymetric distributions of the species suggests differing degrees of resilience to fishing pressure. To ensure the sustainability of these bycatch species, monitoring of their catches in the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery is recommended.

  2. Deepwater Chondrichthyan Bycatch of the Eastern King Prawn Fishery in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cassandra L Rigby

    Full Text Available The deepwater chondrichthyan fauna of the Great Barrier Reef is poorly known and life history information is required to enable their effective management as they are inherently vulnerable to exploitation. The chondrichthyan bycatch from the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery at the Swain Reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef was examined to determine the species present and provide information on their life histories. In all, 1533 individuals were collected from 11 deepwater chondrichthyan species, with the Argus skate Dipturus polyommata, piked spurdog Squalus megalops and pale spotted catshark Asymbolus pallidus the most commonly caught. All but one species is endemic to Australia with five species restricted to waters offshore from Queensland. The extent of life history information available for each species varied but the life history traits across all species were characteristic of deep water chondrichthyans with relatively large length at maturity, small litters and low ovarian fecundity; all indicative of low biological productivity. However, variability among these traits and spatial and bathymetric distributions of the species suggests differing degrees of resilience to fishing pressure. To ensure the sustainability of these bycatch species, monitoring of their catches in the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery is recommended.

  3. Deepwater Chondrichthyan Bycatch of the Eastern King Prawn Fishery in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rigby, Cassandra L.; White, William T.; Simpfendorfer, Colin A.

    2016-01-01

    The deepwater chondrichthyan fauna of the Great Barrier Reef is poorly known and life history information is required to enable their effective management as they are inherently vulnerable to exploitation. The chondrichthyan bycatch from the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery at the Swain Reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef was examined to determine the species present and provide information on their life histories. In all, 1533 individuals were collected from 11 deepwater chondrichthyan species, with the Argus skate Dipturus polyommata, piked spurdog Squalus megalops and pale spotted catshark Asymbolus pallidus the most commonly caught. All but one species is endemic to Australia with five species restricted to waters offshore from Queensland. The extent of life history information available for each species varied but the life history traits across all species were characteristic of deep water chondrichthyans with relatively large length at maturity, small litters and low ovarian fecundity; all indicative of low biological productivity. However, variability among these traits and spatial and bathymetric distributions of the species suggests differing degrees of resilience to fishing pressure. To ensure the sustainability of these bycatch species, monitoring of their catches in the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery is recommended. PMID:27218654

  4. Molecular confirmation of hybridization between Dascyllus reticulatus × Dascyllus aruanus from the Great Barrier Reef

    KAUST Repository

    He, Song

    2017-11-17

    To date, more than 81 species of tropical coral reef fish have been reported to hybridize in nature, spanning multiple families, including the Chaetodontidae, Pomacanthidae, and Labridae. Hybridization, however, is seemingly rare among benthic nesting species that engage in pair spawning, such as the Pomacentridae. Here, we present evidence for the first molecularly confirmed record of hybridization within the genus Dascyllus; D. aruanus and D. reticulatus. Interestingly, although many hybridization events are attributed to peripheral range effects or areas of limited overlap among otherwise allopatric species, this hybrid individual was collected from the northern Great Barrier Reef, centrally located within the distribution ranges of both species. The hybrid exhibited coloration and meristic counts intermediate between D. aruanus and D. reticulatus. Diagnostic genetic markers and subsequent microsatellites analysis confirmed that this individual was a hybrid offspring of D. aruanus and D. reticulatus, with the latter providing the maternal contribution. The occurrence of the D. aruanus × D. reticulatus hybrid on the Great Barrier Reef represents an exception to the otherwise species-specific haplotypes. The nuclear diagnostic marker which was identified during this study could serve as a hybrid indicator and benefit future hybrid investigations for hybridization between these two species.

  5. Keeping the ‘Great’ in the Great Barrier Reef: large-scale governance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Louisa S. Evans

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available As part of an international collaboration to compare large-scale commons, we used the Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database (SESMAD to systematically map out attributes of and changes in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP in Australia. We focus on eight design principles from common-pool resource (CPR theory and other key social-ecological systems governance variables, and explore to what extent they help explain the social and ecological outcomes of park management through time. Our analysis showed that commercial fisheries management and the re-zoning of the GBRMP in 2004 led to improvements in ecological condition of the reef, particularly fisheries. These boundary and rights changes were supported by effective monitoring, sanctioning and conflict resolution. Moderate biophysical connectivity was also important for improved outcomes. However, our analysis also highlighted that continued challenges to improved ecological health in terms of coral cover and biodiversity can be explained by fuzzy boundaries between land and sea, and the significance of external drivers to even large-scale social-ecological systems (SES. While ecological and institutional fit in the marine SES was high, this was not the case when considering the coastal SES. Nested governance arrangements become even more important at this larger scale. To our knowledge, our paper provides the first analysis linking the re-zoning of the GBRMP to CPR and SES theory. We discuss important challenges to coding large-scale systems for meta-analysis.

  6. Climate change disables coral bleaching protection on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ainsworth, Tracy D; Heron, Scott F; Ortiz, Juan Carlos; Mumby, Peter J; Grech, Alana; Ogawa, Daisie; Eakin, C Mark; Leggat, William

    2016-04-15

    Coral bleaching events threaten the sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Here we show that bleaching events of the past three decades have been mitigated by induced thermal tolerance of reef-building corals, and this protective mechanism is likely to be lost under near-future climate change scenarios. We show that 75% of past thermal stress events have been characterized by a temperature trajectory that subjects corals to a protective, sub-bleaching stress, before reaching temperatures that cause bleaching. Such conditions confer thermal tolerance, decreasing coral cell mortality and symbiont loss during bleaching by over 50%. We find that near-future increases in local temperature of as little as 0.5°C result in this protective mechanism being lost, which may increase the rate of degradation of the GBR. Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  7. Summer hot snaps and winter conditions: modelling white syndrome outbreaks on Great Barrier Reef corals.

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    Scott F Heron

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are under increasing pressure in a changing climate, one such threat being more frequent and destructive outbreaks of coral diseases. Thermal stress from rising temperatures has been implicated as a causal factor in disease outbreaks observed on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and elsewhere in the world. Here, we examine seasonal effects of satellite-derived temperature on the abundance of coral diseases known as white syndromes on the Great Barrier Reef, considering both warm stress during summer and deviations from mean temperatures during the preceding winter. We found a high correlation (r(2 = 0.953 between summer warm thermal anomalies (Hot Snap and disease abundance during outbreak events. Inclusion of thermal conditions during the preceding winter revealed that a significant reduction in disease outbreaks occurred following especially cold winters (Cold Snap, potentially related to a reduction in pathogen loading. Furthermore, mild winters (i.e., neither excessively cool nor warm frequently preceded disease outbreaks. In contrast, disease outbreaks did not typically occur following warm winters, potentially because of increased disease resistance of the coral host. Understanding the balance between the effects of warm and cold winters on disease outbreak will be important in a warming climate. Combining the influence of winter and summer thermal effects resulted in an algorithm that yields both a Seasonal Outlook of disease risk at the conclusion of winter and near real-time monitoring of Outbreak Risk during summer. This satellite-derived system can provide coral reef managers with an assessment of risk three-to-six months in advance of the summer season that can then be refined using near-real-time summer observations. This system can enhance the capacity of managers to prepare for and respond to possible disease outbreaks and focus research efforts to increase understanding of environmental impacts on coral disease in

  8. Sea spray aerosol in the Great Barrier Reef and the presence of nonvolatile organics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallet, Marc; Cravigan, Luke; Miljevic, Branka; Vaattovaara, Petri; Deschaseaux, Elisabeth; Swan, Hilton; Jones, Graham; Ristovski, Zoran

    2016-06-01

    Sea spray aerosol (SSA) particles produced from the ocean surface in regions of biological activity can vary greatly in size, number and composition, and in their influence on cloud formation. Algal species such as phytoplankton can alter the SSA composition. Numerous studies have investigated nascent SSA properties, but all of these have focused on aerosol particles produced by seawater from noncoral related phytoplankton and in coastal regions. Bubble chamber experiments were performed with seawater samples taken from the reef flat around Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef during winter 2011. Here we show that the SSA from these samples was composed of an internal mixture of varying fractions of sea salt, semivolatile organics, as well as nonvolatile (below 550°C) organics. A relatively constant volume fraction of semivolatile organics of 10%-13% was observed, while nonvolatile organic volume fractions varied from 29% to 49% for 60 nm SSA. SSA organic fractions were estimated to reduce the activation ratios of SSA to cloud condensation nuclei by up to 14% when compared with artificial sea salt. Additionally, a sea-salt calibration was applied so that a compact time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer could be used to quantify the contribution of sea salt to submicron SSA, which yielded organic volume fractions of 3%-6%. Overall, these results indicate a high fraction of organics associated with wintertime Aitken mode SSA generated from Great Barrier Reef seawater. Further work is required to fully distinguish any differences coral reefs have on SSA composition when compared to open oceans.

  9. Spatial variation in background mortality among dominant coral taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

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    Chiara Pisapia

    Full Text Available Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching, corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries, in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91% and Montipora encrusting (85% and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned <10-m apart. Similarly, severity of background partial mortality was surprisingly high (between 5% and 21% but varied greatly among colonies within the same site and habitat. This study suggests that intraspecific variation in partial mortality between adjacent colonies may be more important than variation between colonies in different latitudinal sectors or reefs. Differences in the prevalence and severity of background partial mortality have significant ramifications for coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances.

  10. Coral-macroalgal phase shifts or reef resilience: links with diversity and functional roles of herbivorous fishes on the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheal, A. J.; MacNeil, M. Aaron; Cripps, E.; Emslie, M. J.; Jonker, M.; Schaffelke, B.; Sweatman, H.

    2010-12-01

    Changes from coral to macroalgal dominance following disturbances to corals symbolize the global degradation of coral reefs. The development of effective conservation measures depends on understanding the causes of such phase shifts. The prevailing view that coral-macroalgal phase shifts commonly occur due to insufficient grazing by fishes is based on correlation with overfishing and inferences from models and small-scale experiments rather than on long-term quantitative field studies of fish communities at affected and resilient sites. Consequently, the specific characteristics of herbivorous fish communities that most promote reef resilience under natural conditions are not known, though this information is critical for identifying vulnerable ecosystems. In this study, 11 years of field surveys recorded the development of the most persistent coral-macroalgal phase shift (>7 years) yet observed on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). This shift followed extensive coral mortality caused by thermal stress (coral bleaching) and damaging storms. Comparisons with two similar reefs that suffered similar disturbances but recovered relatively rapidly demonstrated that the phase shift occurred despite high abundances of one herbivore functional group (scraping/excavating parrotfishes: Labridae). However, the shift was strongly associated with low fish herbivore diversity and low abundances of algal browsers (predominantly Siganidae) and grazers/detritivores (Acanthuridae), suggesting that one or more of these factors underpin reef resilience and so deserve particular protection. Herbivorous fishes are not harvested on the GBR, and the phase shift was not enhanced by unusually high nutrient levels. This shows that unexploited populations of herbivorous fishes cannot ensure reef resilience even under benign conditions and suggests that reefs could lose resilience under relatively low fishing pressure. Predictions of more severe and widespread coral mortality due to global

  11. Nearshore Turbid-Zone Corals Exhibit High Bleaching Tolerance on the Great Barrier Reef Following the 2016 Ocean Warming Event

    OpenAIRE

    Morgan, Kyle M.; Perry, Chris T.; Johnson, Jamie A.; Smithers, Scott G.

    2017-01-01

    High sea surface temperatures (SSTs) on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) during summer 2015/2016 caused extensive coral bleaching, with aerial and in-water surveys confirming high (but variable) bleaching-related coral mortality. In contrast, bleaching impacts on nearshore turbid-zone reefs, traditionally considered more “marginal” coral habitats, remain poorly documented. This is because rapid ecological surveys are difficult in these turbid water settings, and baseline coral community data from...

  12. Inadequate evaluation and management of threats in Australia's Marine Parks, including the Great Barrier Reef, misdirect Marine conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kearney, Bob; Farebrother, Graham

    2014-01-01

    The magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef and its worthiness of extraordinary efforts to protect it from whatever threats may arise are unquestioned. Yet almost four decades after the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia's most expensive and intensely researched Marine Protected Area, the health of the Reef is reported to be declining alarmingly. The management of the suite of threats to the health of the reef has clearly been inadequate, even though there have been several notable successes. It is argued that the failure to prioritise correctly all major threats to the reef, coupled with the exaggeration of the benefits of calling the park a protected area and zoning subsets of areas as 'no-take', has distracted attention from adequately addressing the real causes of impact. Australia's marine conservation efforts have been dominated by commitment to a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas. In so doing, Australia has displaced the internationally accepted primary priority for pursuing effective protection of marine environments with inadequately critical adherence to the principle of having more and bigger marine parks. The continuing decline in the health of the Great Barrier Reef and other Australian coastal areas confirms the limitations of current area management for combating threats to marine ecosystems. There is great need for more critical evaluation of how marine environments can be protected effectively and managed efficiently.

  13. Two new species of Phyllodistomum Braun, 1899 (Trematoda: Gorgoderidae Looss, 1899) from Great Barrier Reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ho, Hei Wa; Bray, Rodney A; Cutmore, Scott C; Ward, Selina; Cribb, Thomas H

    2014-03-19

    Two new species of Phyllodistomum Braun, 1899 are described from the urinary bladder of fishes of the Great Barrier Reef. Phyllodistomum hoggettae n. sp. is described from Plectropomus leopardus (leopard coralgrouper) (Serranidae) and P. vaili n. sp. is described from Mulloidichthys vanicolensis (yellowfin goatfish) and M. flavolineatus (yellowstripe goatfish) (Mullidae). These species are compared with 26 previously described marine Phyllodistomum species and found to be distinct in combinations of body shape, sucker ratio and shape of the gonads. Preliminary molecular data also demonstrate that they are distinct from each other and for those other species for which data are available.

  14. Intensification of the meridional temperature gradient in the Great Barrier Reef following the Last Glacial Maximum

    OpenAIRE

    Felis, Thomas; McGregor, Helen V.; Linsley, Braddock K.; Tudhope, Alexander; Gagan, M. K.; Suzuki, Atsushi; Inoue, Mayuri; Thomas, Alex; Esat, T. M.; Thompson, William G.; Tiwari, Manish; Potts, Don; Mudelsee, Manfred; Yokoyama, Y.; Webster, Jody M.

    2014-01-01

    Tropical south-western Pacific temperatures are of vital importance to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), but the role of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the growth of the GBR since the Last Glacial Maximum remains largely unknown. Here we present records of Sr/Ca and d18O for Last Glacial Maximum and deglacial corals that show a considerably steeper meridional SST gradient than the present day in the central GBR. We find a 1–2 C larger temperaturedecrease between 17 and 20S about 20,000 to 13,...

  15. Modelling Growth of Juvenile Crown-of-Thorns Starfish on the Northern Great Barrier Reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer Wilmes

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available The corallivorous crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster spp. is a major cause of coral mortality on Indo-Pacific reefs. Despite considerable research into the biology of crown-of-thorns starfish, our understanding of the early post-settlement life stage has been hindered by the small size and cryptic nature of recently settled individuals. Most growth rates are derived from either laboratory studies or field studies conducted in Fiji and Japan. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR is currently experiencing its fourth recorded outbreak and population models to inform the progression of outbreaks lack critical growth rates of early life history stages. High numbers of 0+ year juveniles (n = 3532 were measured during extensive surveys of 64 reefs on the northern GBR between May and December 2015. An exponential growth model was fitted to the size measurement data to estimate monthly ranges of growth rates for 0+ year juveniles. Estimated growth rates varied considerably and increased with age (e.g., 0.028–0.041 mm·day−1 for one-month-old juveniles versus 0.108–0.216 mm·day−1 for twelve-month-old juveniles. This pioneering study of 0+ year juveniles on the GBR will inform population models and form the basis for more rigorous ongoing research to understand the fate of newly settled Acanthaster spp.

  16. MtDNA barcode identification of fish larvae in the southern Great Barrier Reef – Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Graham G. Pegg

    2006-10-01

    Full Text Available Planktonic larvae were captured above a shallow coral reef study site on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR around spring-summer new moon periods (October-February using light trap or net capture devices. Larvae were identified to the genus or species level by comparison with a phylogenetic tree of tropical marine fish species using mtDNA HVR1 sequence data. Further analysis showed that within-species HVR1 sequence variation was typically 1-3%, whereas between-species variation for the same genus ranged up to 50%, supporting the suitability of HVR1 for species identification. Given the current worldwide interest in DNA barcoding and species identification using an alternative mtDNA gene marker (cox1, we also explored the efficacy of different primer sets for amplification of cox1 in reef fish, and its suitability for species identification. Of those tested, the Fish-F1 and -R1 primer set recently reported by Ward et al. (2005 gave the best results.

  17. Great Barrier Reef coral luminescence reveals rainfall variability over northeastern Australia since the 17th century

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lough, Janice M.

    2011-06-01

    Northeast tropical Queensland rainfall is concentrated in the summer half year and characterized by high interannual variability, partly related to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. This results in highly variable river flows affecting nearshore coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Freshwater flood events are recorded in long-lived, annually banded massive coral skeletons as luminescent lines. Quantitative measurements of luminescence intensity were made for 20 Porites coral cores from nearshore reef sites between 11°S and 23°S. Seventeen of the coral luminescence series were significantly correlated with an instrumental record of northeast Queensland summer rainfall and were used to develop seven significantly calibrated and verified rainfall reconstructions based on between 17 (starting 1891) and 1 (starting 1639) coral series. The longest reconstruction, based on more than one coral, provides insights into northeast Queensland rainfall variability from the late 17th century. Comparisons with various independent climate proxies are equivocal: the magnitude and significance of relationships with, for example, a proxy ENSO index vary through time. An extended drier period reconstructed from approximately the 1760s to the 1850s is associated with lower interannual rainfall variability. Since the late 19th century average rainfall and its variability have significantly increased, with wet and dry extremes becoming more frequent than in earlier centuries. This suggests that a warming global climate maybe associated with more variable tropical Queensland rainfall.

  18. Towards environmental management of water turbidity within open coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macdonald, Rachael K; Ridd, Peter V; Whinney, James C; Larcombe, Piers; Neil, David T

    2013-09-15

    Water turbidity and suspended sediment concentration (SSC) are commonly used as part of marine monitoring and water quality plans. Current management plans utilise threshold SSC values derived from mean-annual turbidity concentrations. Little published work documents typical ranges of turbidity for reefs within open coastal waters. Here, time-series turbidity measurements from 61 sites in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and Moreton Bay, Australia, are presented as turbidity exceedance curves and derivatives. This contributes to the understanding of turbidity and SSC in the context of environmental management in open-coastal reef environments. Exceedance results indicate strong spatial and temporal variability in water turbidity across inter/intraregional scales. The highest turbidity across 61 sites, at 50% exceedance (T50) is 15.3 NTU and at 90% exceedance (T90) 4.1 NTU. Mean/median turbidity comparisons show strong differences between the two, consistent with a strongly skewed turbidity regime. Results may contribute towards promoting refinement of water quality management protocols. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Reef Sharks Exhibit Site-Fidelity and Higher Relative Abundance in Marine Reserves on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bond, Mark E.; Babcock, Elizabeth A.; Pikitch, Ellen K.; Abercrombie, Debra L.; Lamb, Norlan F.; Chapman, Demian D.

    2012-01-01

    Carcharhinid sharks can make up a large fraction of the top predators inhabiting tropical marine ecosystems and have declined in many regions due to intense fishing pressure. There is some support for the hypothesis that carcharhinid species that complete their life-cycle within coral reef ecosystems, hereafter referred to as “reef sharks”, are more abundant inside no-take marine reserves due to a reduction in fishing pressure (i.e., they benefit from marine reserves). Key predictions of this hypothesis are that (a) individual reef sharks exhibit high site-fidelity to these protected areas and (b) their relative abundance will generally be higher in these areas compared to fished reefs. To test this hypothesis for the first time in Caribbean coral reef ecosystems we combined acoustic monitoring and baited remote underwater video (BRUV) surveys to measure reef shark site-fidelity and relative abundance, respectively. We focused on the Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi), the most common reef shark in the Western Atlantic, at Glover's Reef Marine Reserve (GRMR), Belize. Acoustically tagged sharks (N = 34) were detected throughout the year at this location and exhibited strong site-fidelity. Shark presence or absence on 200 BRUVs deployed at GRMR and three other sites (another reserve site and two fished reefs) showed that the factor “marine reserve” had a significant positive effect on reef shark presence. We rejected environmental factors or site-environment interactions as predominant drivers of this pattern. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that marine reserves can benefit reef shark populations and we suggest new hypotheses to determine the underlying mechanism(s) involved: reduced fishing mortality or enhanced prey availability. PMID:22412965

  20. Disturbance and the dynamics of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995-2009).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osborne, Kate; Dolman, Andrew M; Burgess, Scott C; Johns, Kerryn A

    2011-03-10

    Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently lacking. Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009. Subregional trends (10-100 km) in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families. Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral. Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980's suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10-100 km), driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery.

  1. Disturbance and the dynamics of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995-2009.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kate Osborne

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR is currently lacking. Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years with no net decline between 1995 and 2009. Subregional trends (10-100 km in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families. Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral. Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980's suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10-100 km, driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery.

  2. Expectations and Outcomes of Reserve Network Performance following Re-zoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emslie, Michael J; Logan, Murray; Williamson, David H; Ayling, Anthony M; MacNeil, M Aaron; Ceccarelli, Daniela; Cheal, Alistair J; Evans, Richard D; Johns, Kerryn A; Jonker, Michelle J; Miller, Ian R; Osborne, Kate; Russ, Garry R; Sweatman, Hugh P A

    2015-04-20

    Networks of no-take marine reserves (NTMRs) are widely advocated for preserving exploited fish stocks and for conserving biodiversity. We used underwater visual surveys of coral reef fish and benthic communities to quantify the short- to medium-term (5 to 30 years) ecological effects of the establishment of NTMRs within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). The density, mean length, and biomass of principal fishery species, coral trout (Plectropomus spp., Variola spp.), were consistently greater in NTMRs than on fished reefs over both the short and medium term. However, there were no clear or consistent differences in the structure of fish or benthic assemblages, non-target fish density, fish species richness, or coral cover between NTMR and fished reefs. There was no indication that the displacement and concentration of fishing effort reduced coral trout populations on fished reefs. A severe tropical cyclone impacted many survey reefs during the study, causing similar declines in coral cover and fish density on both NTMR and fished reefs. However, coral trout biomass declined only on fished reefs after the cyclone. The GBRMP is performing as expected in terms of the protection of fished stocks and biodiversity for a developed country in which fishing is not excessive and targets a narrow range of species. NTMRs cannot protect coral reefs directly from acute regional-scale disturbance but, after a strong tropical cyclone, impacted NTMR reefs supported higher biomass of key fishery-targeted species and so should provide valuable sources of larvae to enhance population recovery and long-term persistence. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Excess seawater nutrients, enlarged algal symbiont densities and bleaching sensitive reef locations: 2. A regional-scale predictive model for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wooldridge, Scott A; Heron, Scott F; Brodie, Jon E; Done, Terence J; Masiri, Itsara; Hinrichs, Saskia

    2017-01-15

    A spatial risk assessment model is developed for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia) that helps identify reef locations at higher or lower risk of coral bleaching in summer heat-wave conditions. The model confirms the considerable benefit of discriminating nutrient-enriched areas that contain corals with enlarged (suboptimal) symbiont densities for the purpose of identifying bleaching-sensitive reef locations. The benefit of the new system-level understanding is showcased in terms of: (i) improving early-warning forecasts of summer bleaching risk, (ii) explaining historical bleaching patterns, (iii) testing the bleaching-resistant quality of the current marine protected area (MPA) network (iv) identifying routinely monitored coral health attributes, such as the tissue energy reserves and skeletal growth characteristics (viz. density and extension rates) that correlate with bleaching resistant reef locations, and (v) targeting region-specific water quality improvement strategies that may increase reef-scale coral health and bleaching resistance. Crown Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. The ecology of 'Acroporid white syndrome', a coral disease from the southern Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George Roff

    Full Text Available Outbreaks of coral disease have increased worldwide over the last few decades. Despite this, remarkably little is known about the ecology of disease in the Indo-Pacific Region. Here we report the spatiotemporal dynamics of a coral disease termed 'Acroporid white syndrome' observed to affect tabular corals of the genus Acropora on the southern Great Barrier Reef. The syndrome is characterised by rapid tissue loss initiating in the basal margins of colonies, and manifests as a distinct lesion boundary between apparently healthy tissue and exposed white skeleton. Surveys of eight sites around Heron Reef in 2004 revealed a mean prevalence of 8.1±0.9%, affecting the three common species (Acropora cytherea, A. hyacinthus, A. clathrata and nine other tabular Acropora spp. While all sizes of colonies were affected, white syndrome disproportionately affected larger colonies of tabular Acroporids (>80 cm. The prevalence of white syndrome was strongly related to the abundance of tabular Acroporids within transects, yet the incidence of the syndrome appears unaffected by proximity to other colonies, suggesting that while white syndrome is density dependant, it does not exhibit a strongly aggregated spatial pattern consistent with previous coral disease outbreaks. Acroporid white syndrome was not transmitted by either direct contact in the field or by mucus in aquaria experiments. Monitoring of affected colonies revealed highly variable rates of tissue loss ranging from 0 to 1146 cm(-2 week(-1, amongst the highest documented for a coral disease. Contrary to previous links between temperature and coral disease, rates of tissue loss in affected colonies increased threefold during the winter months. Given the lack of spatial pattern and non-infectious nature of Acroporid white syndrome, further studies are needed to determine causal factors and longer-term implications of disease outbreaks on the Great Barrier Reef.

  5. Relationship of internal macrobioeroder densities in living massive Porites to turbidity and chlorophyll on the Australian Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le Grand, H. M.; Fabricius, K. E.

    2011-03-01

    This study investigates the relationship between the density of internal macrobioeroders in living massive Porites and nutrient status. The study was conducted along turbidity and chlorophyll gradients towards river mouths on 12 reefs in four regions of the inshore Great Barrier Reef. Mean internal macrobioeroder densities doubled from 2 to 8 m depth, and at the 8 m sites, densities increased 4- to 7-fold towards the river mouths in all regions. Densities also increased 1.6-fold for each additional 1 NTU turbidity and 650-fold per 1 μg L-1 additional chlorophyll a. The study shows that the density of macrobioeroder boreholes in living massive Porites is a simple bioindicator measure for changing turbidity and chlorophyll concentrations on the Great Barrier Reef for sites from which direct water quality measurements are unavailable.

  6. Geochemical Records of Bleaching Events and the Associated Stressors From the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roark, E. B.; McCulloch, M.; Ingram, B. L.; Marshall, J. F.

    2003-12-01

    The health of coral reefs world-wide is increasingly threatened by a wide array of stressors. On the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) these stressors include increased sediment flux associated with land use changes, increased sea surface temperatures (SST) and salinity changes due to large floods, the latter two of which are factors in an increased number of bleaching events. The ability to document long-term change in these stressors along with changes in the number of bleaching events would help discern what are natural and anthropogenic changes in this ecosystem. Here we present results of an initial calibration effort aimed at identifying bleaching events and the associated stressors using stable isotopic and trace element analysis in coral cores. Three ˜15-year time series of geochemical measurements (δ 13C, δ 18O, and Sr/Ca) on Porites coral cores obtained from Pandora Reef and the Keppel Islands on the GBR have been developed at near weekly resolution. Since the δ 13C of the coral skeletal carbonate is known to be affected by both environmental factors (e.g. insolation and temperature) and physiological factors (e.g. photosynthesis, calcification, and the statues of the symbiotic relationship between corals and zooxanthellae) it is the most promising proxy for reconstructing past bleaching events. The first record (PAN-98) comes from a coral head that had undergone bleaching and died shortly after the large-scale bleaching events on Pandora Reef in 1998. A second core (PAN-02) was collected from a living coral within 10m of PAN-98 in 2002. Sr/Ca ratios in both cores tracked even the smallest details of an in situ SST record. The increase in SST that occurred three to four weeks prior to bleaching was faithfully recorded by a similar decrease in the Sr/Ca ratio in PAN-98, indicating that calcification continued despite the high SST of 30-31° C. The δ 13C values decreased by about 5‰ , one week after the SST increase, and remained at this value for about 4

  7. The importance of coastal altimetry retracking and detiding: A case study around the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Idris, Nurul H.; Deng, Xiaoli; Andersen, Ole Baltazar

    2014-01-01

    waveforms in the area of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Comparing the retrieved SLAs with in situ tide gauge data from Townsville and Bundaberg stations showed that the SLAs from this study generally outperform those from conventional methods, demonstrating that adequate waveform retracking and detiding...

  8. The Gulf of Carpentaria heated Torres Strait and the Northern Great Barrier Reef during the 2016 mass coral bleaching event

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wolanski, E.; Andutta, Fernando P.; Deleersnijder, E.L.C.; Li, Y.; Thomas, C.J.

    The 2015/16 ENSO event increased the temperature of waters surrounding northeast Australia to above 30 °C, with large patches of water reaching 32 °C, for over two months, which led to severe bleaching of corals of the Northern Great Barrier Reef (NGBR). This study provides evidence gained from

  9. Taxonomy, host specificity and dietary implications of Hurleytrematoides (Digenea: Monorchiidae) from chaetodontid fishes on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNamara, M K A; Cribb, T H

    2011-09-01

    Five new and five previously described species of Hurleytrematoides are reported from 19 of 34 chaetodontid species examined from the Great Barrier Reef; new species are H. faliexae n. sp., H. galzini n. sp., H. loi n. sp., H. morandi n. sp., and H. sasali n. sp. Previously described species are H. coronatum, H. fijiensis, H. prevoti, H. bartolii, and H. zebrasomae. The genus is rediagnosed in the light of morphological variation of the new species; the degree of spination and shape of the terminal genitalia distinguish individual species. Species of Hurleytrematoides infect almost every clade of the family Chaetodontidae found on the Great Barrier Reef, but obligate corallivores are not infected. All ten species were found at Heron Island on the southern Great Barrier Reef, but only six at Lizard Island on the northern Great Barrier Reef. For three of the four species not present at Lizard Island, the absence appears to be statistically significant. Although all species are apparently restricted to chaetodontids on the GBR, specificity within the family varies from oioxenous to euryxenous; a core/satellite host paradigm explains the distribution of several species. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Risk analysis of the governance system affecting outcomes in the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dale, Allan P; Vella, Karen; Pressey, Robert L; Brodie, Jon; Gooch, Margaret; Potts, Ruth; Eberhard, Rachel

    2016-12-01

    The state and trend of the Great Barrier Reef's (GBR's) ecological health remains problematic, influencing United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) statements regarding GBR governance. While UNESCO's concerns triggered separate strategic assessments by the Australian and Queensland governments, there has been no independent and integrated review of the key risks within the overall system of governance influencing GBR outcomes. As a case study of international significance, this paper applies Governance Systems Analysis (GSA), a novel analytical framework that identifies the governance themes, domains and subdomains most likely to influence environmental and socio-economic outcomes in complex natural systems. This GBR-focussed application of GSA identifies governance subdomains that present high, medium, or low risk of failure to produce positive outcomes for the Reef. This enabled us to determine that three "whole of system" governance problems could undermine GBR outcomes. First, we stress the integrative importance of the Long Term Sustainability Plan (LTSP) Subdomain. Sponsored by the Australian and Queensland governments, this subdomain concerns the primary institutional arrangements for coordinated GBR planning and delivery, but due to its recent emergence, it faces several internal governance challenges. Second, we find a major risk of implementation failure in the achievement of GBR water quality actions due to a lack of system-wide focus on building strong and stable delivery systems at catchment scale. Finally, we conclude that the LTSP Subdomain currently has too limited a mandate/capacity to influence several high-risk subdomains that have not been, but must be more strongly aligned with Reef management (e.g. the Greenhouse Gas Emission Management Subdomain). Our analysis enables exploration of governance system reforms needed to address environmental trends in the GBR and reflects on the potential application of GSA in

  11. Temporal consistency in background mortality of four dominant coral taxa along Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, C.; Anderson, K. D.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2016-09-01

    Studies on the population and community dynamics of scleractinian corals typically focus on catastrophic mortality associated with acute disturbances (e.g., coral bleaching and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish), though corals are subject to high levels of background mortality and injuries caused by routine and chronic processes. This study quantified prevalence (proportion of colonies with injuries) and severity (areal extent of injuries on individual colonies) of background mortality and injuries for four common coral taxa (massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and branching Pocillopora) on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Sampling was conducted over three consecutive years during which there were no major acute disturbances. A total of 2276 adult colonies were surveyed across 27 sites, within nine reefs and three distinct latitudinal sectors. The prevalence of injuries was very high (>83%) across all four taxa, but highest for Porites (91%) and Montipora (85%). For these taxa ( Montipora and Pocillopora), there was also significant temporal and spatial variation in prevalence of partial mortality. The severity of injuries ranged from 3% to more than 80% and varied among coral taxa, but was fairly constant spatially and temporally. This shows that some injuries have considerable longevity and that corals may invest relatively little in regenerating tissue over sites of previous injuries. Inter-colony variation in the severity of injury also had no apparent effect on the realized growth of individual colonies, suggesting that energy diverted to regeneration has a limited bearing on overall energetic allocation, or impacts on other life-history processes (e.g., reproduction) rather than growth. Establishing background levels of injury and regeneration is important for understanding energy investment and life-history consequences for reef-building corals as well as for predicting susceptibility to, and capacity to recover from, acute

  12. Vulnerability of the Great Barrier Reef to climate change and local pressures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolff, Nicholas H; Mumby, Peter J; Devlin, Michelle; Anthony, Kenneth R N

    2018-05-01

    Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is under pressure from a suite of stressors including cyclones, crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), nutrients from river run-off and warming events that drive mass coral bleaching. Two key questions are: how vulnerable will the GBR be to future environmental scenarios, and to what extent can local management actions lower vulnerability in the face of climate change? To address these questions, we use a simple empirical and mechanistic coral model to explore six scenarios that represent plausible combinations of climate change projections (from four Representative Concentration Pathways, RCPs), cyclones and local stressors. Projections (2017-2050) indicate significant potential for coral recovery in the near-term, relative to current state, followed by climate-driven decline. Under a scenario of unmitigated emissions (RCP8.5) and business-as-usual management of local stressors, mean coral cover on the GBR is predicted to recover over the next decade and then rapidly decline to only 3% by year 2050. In contrast, a scenario of strong carbon mitigation (RCP2.6) and improved water quality, predicts significant coral recovery over the next two decades, followed by a relatively modest climate-driven decline that sustained coral cover above 26% by 2050. In an analysis of the impacts of cumulative stressors on coral cover relative to potential coral cover in the absence of such impacts, we found that GBR-wide reef performance will decline 27%-74% depending on the scenario. Up to 66% of performance loss is attributable to local stressors. The potential for management to reduce vulnerability, measured here as the mean number of years coral cover can be kept above 30%, is spatially variable. Management strategies that alleviate cumulative impacts have the potential to reduce the vulnerability of some midshelf reefs in the central GBR by 83%, but only if combined with strong mitigation of carbon emissions. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Contrasting Impact of Floodwaters on Coastal Biogeochemistry in the Great Barrier Reef Ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crosswell, J.; Carlin, G.; Steven, A. D.; Franklin, H.

    2017-12-01

    Delivery of terrestrial nutrients and organic material to Great Barrier Reef (GBR) ecosystem is dominated by episodic floods, and the biogeochemical impact of these events is expected to change under future climatic and man-made stressors. Here we compare the biogeochemical response of coastal waters to floods from two of the largest catchment in northeast Australia, the Fitzroy and Normanby River basins. The Fitzroy catchment is dominated by agriculture, principally grazing, whereas the Normanby is regarded as relatively pristine. High-resolution spatial surveys showed that flood plumes in both regions extended 30-100 km seaward and along the coast, reaching interior reefs and islands of the GBR. Floodwaters from both catchments were characterized by elevated nutrients and dissolved organic carbon (DOC), but the fate of flood-borne material in coastal waters showed significant differences between the two systems. In the Normanby, nutrients were rapidly removed near the estuary mouth and chlorophyll a was low throughout the adjacent Princess Charlotte Bay. Elevated DOC levels persisted in the Normanby flood plume, but high dissolved oxygen and low CO2 throughout a stratified water column suggested that the flood-borne organic matter was recalcitrant. By contrast, there was a clear source of DOC and nutrients in the hypoxic bottom waters of the Fitzroy flood plume, suggesting that the flood-borne particulate organic matter was highly labile. Decoupling of autotrophic surface waters from heterotrophic bottom waters in the Fitzroy plume supported a large phytoplankton bloom that extended >100 km and led to low pH and low light availability at nearby reefs. The contrasting impact of major floods in these two coastal systems appeared to be primarily driven by the quality of flood-borne organic matter, as well as differences in coastal morphology.

  14. Impacts of Cyclone Yasi on nearshore, terrigenous sediment-dominated reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perry, C. T.; Smithers, S. G.; Kench, P. S.; Pears, B.

    2014-10-01

    Tropical Cyclone (TC) Yasi (Category 5) was a large (~ 700 km across) cyclone that crossed Australia's Queensland coast on the 3rd of February 2011. TC Yasi was one of the region's most powerful recorded cyclones, with winds gusting to 290 km/h and wave heights exceeding 7 m. Here we describe the impacts of TC Yasi on a number of nearshore, turbid-zone coral reefs, that include several in the immediate vicinity of the cyclone's landfall path (King Reef, Lugger Shoal and Dunk Island), as well as a more distally located reef (Paluma Shoals) ~ 150 km to the south in Halifax Bay. These reefs were the focus of recent (between 2006 and 2009) pre-Yasi studies into their geomorphology, sedimentology and community structure, and here we discuss data from a recent (August 2011) post-Yasi re-assessment. This provided a unique opportunity to identify and describe the impacts of an intense tropical cyclone on nearshore reefs, which are often assumed to be vulnerable to physical disturbance and reworking due to their poorly lithified framework. Observed impacts of TC Yasi were site specific and spatially highly heterogeneous, but appear to have been strongly influenced by the contemporary evolutionary stage and ecological make-up of the individual reefs, with site setting (i.e. exposure to prevailing wave action) apparently more important than proximity to the landfall path. The most significant ecological impacts occurred at King Reef (probably a result of freshwater bleaching) and at Paluma Shoals, where widespread physical destruction of branched Acropora occurred. New coral recruits are, however, common at all sites and colony re-growth clearly evident at King Reef. Only localised geomorphic change was evident, mainly in the form of coral fracturing, rubble deposition, and sediment movement, but again these impacts were highly site specific. The dominant impact at Paluma Shoals was localised storm ridge/shingle sheet deposition, at Lugger Shoal major offshore fine sediment

  15. New evidence of an early Pridoli barrier reef in the southern part of the Baltic Silurian basin based on three-dimensional seismic survey, Lithuania

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Donatas Kaminskas

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Reefs and a barrier reef have been newly identified and mapped by three-dimensional (3D seismic survey in Lithuania. Seismic data analysis has allowed the size and geometry of these reefs to be determined. The largest reefs occur at Pavasaris and South Bliudziai. They have a similar shape and are about 1.5 km long and 1 km wide. A circle-shaped smaller patch reef at North Bliudziai is 1 km in diameter. The overall heights of the studied structures do not exceed 30–40 m. The reefs consist of coarse-grained bioclastic stromatoporoid limestone. A barrier reef rising structurally from SW to NE was established in the west of the mapped area. The stratigraphic position (early Minija Regional Stage and lateral distribution of the barrier reef suggest it started to form earlier than the group of patch reefs. The development of patch reefs was related to the transgression of the Silurian Baltic basin.

  16. A method for risk analysis across governance systems: a Great Barrier Reef case study

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dale, Allan; Vella, Karen; Potts, Ruth; Pressey, Robert L; Brodie, Jon; Yorkston, Hugh

    2013-01-01

    Healthy governance systems are key to delivering sound environmental management outcomes from global to local scales. There are, however, surprisingly few risk assessment methods that can pinpoint those domains and sub-domains within governance systems that are most likely to influence good environmental outcomes at any particular scale, or those if absent or dysfunctional, most likely to prevent effective environmental management. This paper proposes a new risk assessment method for analysing governance systems. This method is then tested through its preliminary application to a significant real-world context: governance as it relates to the health of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The GBR exists at a supra-regional scale along most of the north eastern coast of Australia. Brodie et al (2012 Mar. Pollut. Bull. 65 81–100) have recently reviewed the state and trend of the health of the GBR, finding that overall trends remain of significant concern. At the same time, official international concern over the governance of the reef has recently been signalled globally by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These environmental and political contexts make the GBR an ideal candidate for use in testing and reviewing the application of improved tools for governance risk assessment. (letter)

  17. Joint estimation of crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci densities on the Great Barrier Reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Aaron MacNeil

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS; Acanthaster spp. are an outbreaking pest among many Indo-Pacific coral reefs that cause substantial ecological and economic damage. Despite ongoing CoTS research, there remain critical gaps in observing CoTS populations and accurately estimating their numbers, greatly limiting understanding of the causes and sources of CoTS outbreaks. Here we address two of these gaps by (1 estimating the detectability of adult CoTS on typical underwater visual count (UVC surveys using covariates and (2 inter-calibrating multiple data sources to estimate CoTS densities within the Cairns sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR. We find that, on average, CoTS detectability is high at 0.82 [0.77, 0.87] (median highest posterior density (HPD and [95% uncertainty intervals], with CoTS disc width having the greatest influence on detection. Integrating this information with coincident surveys from alternative sampling programs, we estimate CoTS densities in the Cairns sector of the GBR averaged 44 [41, 48] adults per hectare in 2014.

  18. Joint estimation of crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) densities on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacNeil, M Aaron; Mellin, Camille; Pratchett, Morgan S; Hoey, Jessica; Anthony, Kenneth R N; Cheal, Alistair J; Miller, Ian; Sweatman, Hugh; Cowan, Zara L; Taylor, Sascha; Moon, Steven; Fonnesbeck, Chris J

    2016-01-01

    Crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS; Acanthaster spp.) are an outbreaking pest among many Indo-Pacific coral reefs that cause substantial ecological and economic damage. Despite ongoing CoTS research, there remain critical gaps in observing CoTS populations and accurately estimating their numbers, greatly limiting understanding of the causes and sources of CoTS outbreaks. Here we address two of these gaps by (1) estimating the detectability of adult CoTS on typical underwater visual count (UVC) surveys using covariates and (2) inter-calibrating multiple data sources to estimate CoTS densities within the Cairns sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We find that, on average, CoTS detectability is high at 0.82 [0.77, 0.87] (median highest posterior density (HPD) and [95% uncertainty intervals]), with CoTS disc width having the greatest influence on detection. Integrating this information with coincident surveys from alternative sampling programs, we estimate CoTS densities in the Cairns sector of the GBR averaged 44 [41, 48] adults per hectare in 2014.

  19. ENSO Weather and Coral Bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGowan, Hamish; Theobald, Alison

    2017-10-01

    The most devastating mass coral bleaching has occurred during El Niño events, with bleaching reported to be a direct result of increased sea surface temperatures (SSTs). However, El Niño itself does not cause SSTs to rise in all regions that experience bleaching. Nor is the upper ocean warming trend of 0.11°C per decade since 1971, attributed to global warming, sufficient alone to exceed the thermal tolerance of corals. Here we show that weather patterns during El Niño that result in reduced cloud cover, higher than average air temperatures and higher than average atmospheric pressures, play a crucial role in determining the extent and location of coral bleaching on the world's largest coral reef system, the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Accordingly, synoptic-scale weather patterns and local atmosphere-ocean feedbacks related to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and not large-scale SST warming due to El Niño alone and/or global warming are often the cause of coral bleaching on the GBR.

  20. Unique Sequence of Events Triggers Manta Ray Feeding Frenzy in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia

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    Scarla J. Weeks

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Manta rays are classified as Vulnerable to Extinction on the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species. In Australia, a key aggregation site for reef manta rays is Lady Elliot Island (LEI on the Great Barrier Reef, ~7 km from the shelf edge. Here, we investigate the environmental processes that triggered the largest manta ray feeding aggregation yet observed in Australia, in early 2013. We use MODIS sea surface temperature (SST, chlorophyll-a concentration and photic depth data, together with in situ data, to show that anomalous river discharges led to high chlorophyll (anomalies: 10–15 mg∙m−3 and turbid (photic depth anomalies: −15 m river plumes extending out to LEI, and that these became entrained offshore around the periphery of an active cyclonic eddy. Eddy dynamics led to cold bottom intrusions along the shelf edge (6 °C temperature decrease, and at LEI (5 °C temperature decrease. Strongest SST gradients (>1 °C∙km−1 were at the convergent frontal zone between the shelf and eddy-influenced waters, directly overlying LEI. Here, the front intensified on the spring ebb tide to attract and shape the aggregation pattern of foraging manta rays. Future research could focus on mapping the probability and persistence of these ecologically significant frontal zones via remote sensing to aid the management and conservation of marine species.

  1. Diversity and Activity of Diazotrophs in Great Barrier Reef Surface Waters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Messer, Lauren F; Brown, Mark V; Furnas, Miles J; Carney, Richard L; McKinnon, A D; Seymour, Justin R

    2017-01-01

    Discrepancies between bioavailable nitrogen (N) concentrations and phytoplankton growth rates in the oligotrophic waters of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) suggest that undetermined N sources must play a significant role in supporting primary productivity. One such source could be biological dinitrogen (N 2 ) fixation through the activity of "diazotrophic" bacterioplankton. Here, we investigated N 2 fixation and diazotroph community composition over 10° S of latitude within GBR surface waters. Qualitative N 2 fixation rates were found to be variable across the GBR but were relatively high in coastal, inner and outer GBR waters, reaching 68 nmol L -1 d -1 . Diazotroph assemblages, identified by amplicon sequencing of the nifH gene, were dominated by the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium erythraeum , γ-proteobacteria from the Gamma A clade, and δ-proteobacterial phylotypes related to sulfate-reducing genera. However, diazotroph communities exhibited significant spatial heterogeneity, correlated with shifts in dissolved inorganic nutrient concentrations. Specifically, heterotrophic diazotrophs generally increased in relative abundance with increasing concentrations of phosphate and N, while Trichodesmium was proportionally more abundant when concentrations of these nutrients were low. This study provides the first in-depth characterization of diazotroph community composition and N 2 fixation dynamics within the oligotrophic, N-limited surface waters of the GBR. Our observations highlight the need to re-evaluate N cycling dynamics within oligotrophic coral reef systems, to include diverse N 2 fixing assemblages as a potentially significant source of dissolved N within the water column.

  2. Bayesian adaptive design: improving the effectiveness of monitoring of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kang, Su Yun; McGree, James M; Drovandi, Christopher C; Caley, M Julian; Mengersen, Kerrie L

    2016-12-01

    Monitoring programs are essential for understanding patterns, trends, and threats in ecological and environmental systems. However, such programs are costly in terms of dollars, human resources, and technology, and complex in terms of balancing short- and long-term requirements. In this work, We develop new statistical methods for implementing cost-effective adaptive sampling and monitoring schemes for coral reef that can better utilize existing information and resources, and which can incorporate available prior information. Our research was motivated by developing efficient monitoring practices for Australia's Great Barrier Reef. We develop and implement two types of adaptive sampling schemes, static and sequential, and show that they can be more informative and cost-effective than an existing (nonadaptive) monitoring program. Our methods are developed in a Bayesian framework with a range of utility functions relevant to environmental monitoring. Our results demonstrate the considerable potential for adaptive design to support improved management outcomes in comparison to set-and-forget styles of surveillance monitoring. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.

  3. Relationships between temperature, bleaching and white syndrome on the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ban, S. S.; Graham, N. A. J.; Connolly, S. R.

    2013-03-01

    Coral bleaching and disease have often been hypothesized to be mutually reinforcing or co-occurring, but much of the research supporting this has only drawn an implicit connection through common environmental predictors. In this study, we examine whether an explicit relationship between white syndrome and bleaching exists using assemblage-level monitoring data from up to 112 sites on reef slopes spread throughout the Great Barrier Reef over 11 years of monitoring. None of the temperature metrics commonly used to predict mass bleaching performed strongly when applied to these data. Furthermore, the inclusion of bleaching as a predictor did not improve model skill over baseline models for predicting white syndrome. Similarly, the inclusion of white syndrome as a predictor did not improve models of bleaching. Evidence for spatial co-occurrence of bleaching and white syndrome at the assemblage level in this data set was also very weak. These results suggest the hypothesized relationship between bleaching and disease events may be weaker than previously thought, and more likely to be driven by common responses to environmental stressors, rather than directly facilitating one another.

  4. DMSP in Corals and Benthic Algae from the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Broadbent, A. D.; Jones, G. B.; Jones, R. J.

    2002-10-01

    In this study the first measurements of DMSP in six species of corals and ten species of benthic algae collected from four coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef are reported, together with DMSP measurements made on cultured zooxanthellae. Concentrations ranged from 21 to 3831 (mean=743) fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1 in corals, 0·16 to 2·96 nmol DMSP cm -2 (mean=90) for benthic macroalgae, and 48-285 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1 (mean=153) for cultured zooxanthellae. The highest concentrations of DMSP in corals occurred in Acropora formosa (mean=371 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1) and Acropora palifera (mean=3341 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1) with concentrations in A. palifera the highest DMSP concentrations reported in corals examined to date. As well as inter-specific differences in DMSP, intra-specific variation was also observed. Adjacent colonies of A. formosa that are known to have different thermal bleaching thresholds and morphologically distinct zooxanthellae, were also observed to have different DMSP concentrations, with the zooxanthellae in the colony that bleached containing DMSP at an average concentration of 436 fmol zooxanthellae -1, whilst the non-bleaching colony contained DMSP at an average concentration of 171 fmol zooxanthellae -1. The results of the present study have been used to calculate the area normalized DMSP concentrations in benthic algae (mean=0·015 mmol m -2) and corals (mean=2·22 mmol m -2) from the GBR. This data indicates that benthic algae and corals are a significant reservoir of DMSP in GBR waters.

  5. Towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef from land-based pollution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kroon, Frederieke J; Thorburn, Peter; Schaffelke, Britta; Whitten, Stuart

    2016-06-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is an iconic coral reef system extending over 2000 km along the north-east coast of Australia. Global recognition of its Outstanding Universal Value resulted in the listing of the 348 000 km(2) GBR World Heritage Area (WHA) by UNESCO in 1981. Despite various levels of national and international protection, the condition of GBR ecosystems has deteriorated over the past decades, with land-based pollution from the adjacent catchments being a major and ongoing cause for this decline. To reduce land-based pollution, the Australian and Queensland Governments have implemented a range of policy initiatives since 2003. Here, we evaluate the effectiveness of existing initiatives to reduce discharge of land-based pollutants into the waters of the GBR. We conclude that recent efforts in the GBR catchments to reduce land-based pollution are unlikely to be sufficient to protect the GBR ecosystems from declining water quality within the aspired time frames. To support management decisions for desired ecological outcomes for the GBR WHA, we identify potential improvements to current policies and incentives, as well as potential changes to current agricultural land use, based on overseas experiences and Australia's unique potential. The experience in the GBR may provide useful guidance for the management of other marine ecosystems, as reducing land-based pollution by better managing agricultural sources is a challenge for coastal communities around the world. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  6. Ocean acidification accelerates reef bioerosion.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Max Wisshak

    Full Text Available In the recent discussion how biotic systems may react to ocean acidification caused by the rapid rise in carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO(2 in the marine realm, substantial research is devoted to calcifiers such as stony corals. The antagonistic process - biologically induced carbonate dissolution via bioerosion - has largely been neglected. Unlike skeletal growth, we expect bioerosion by chemical means to be facilitated in a high-CO(2 world. This study focuses on one of the most detrimental bioeroders, the sponge Cliona orientalis, which attacks and kills live corals on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Experimental exposure to lowered and elevated levels of pCO(2 confirms a significant enforcement of the sponges' bioerosion capacity with increasing pCO(2 under more acidic conditions. Considering the substantial contribution of sponges to carbonate bioerosion, this finding implies that tropical reef ecosystems are facing the combined effects of weakened coral calcification and accelerated bioerosion, resulting in critical pressure on the dynamic balance between biogenic carbonate build-up and degradation.

  7. The demise of a major Acropora palmata bank-barrier reef off the southeast coast of Barbados, West Indies

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacIntyre, I. G.; Glynn, P. W.; Toscano, M. A.

    2007-12-01

    Formerly attributed to human activity, the demise of a bank-barrier reef off southeastern Barbados known as Cobbler’s Reef is now thought to be largely the result of late Holocene, millennial-scale storm damage. Eleven surface samples of the reef crest coral Acropora palmata from nine sites along its 15-km length plot above the western Atlantic sea-level curve from 3,000 to 4,500 cal years ago (calibrated, calendar 14C years). These elevated clusters suggest that the reef complex suffered extensive storm damage during this period. The constant heavy wave action typical of this area and consequent low herbivory maintain conditions favoring algal growth, thereby limiting the reestablishment of post-storm reef framework. Site descriptions and detailed line surveys show a surface now composed mainly of reworked fragments of A. palmata covered with algal turf, macroalgae and crustose coralline algae. The reef contains no live A. palmata and only a few scattered coral colonies consisting primarily of Diploria spp . and Porites astreoides, along with the hydrocoral Millepora complanata. A few in situ framework dates plot at expected depths for normal coral growth below the sea-level curve during and after the period of intense storm activity. The most recent of these in situ samples are 320 and 400 cal years old. Corals of this late period likely succumbed to high turbidity associated with land clearance for sugarcane agriculture in the mid-1600s.

  8. Spatial patterns in benthic communities and the dynamics of a mosaic ecosystem on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ninio, R.; Meekan, M.

    2002-04-01

    The benthic communities of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have been characterized as a mosaic with patches at scales of tens to hundreds of kilometres formed by clusters of reefs with comparable environmental settings and histories of disturbance. We use data sets of changes in cover of abundant benthic organisms to examine the relationship between community composition and the dynamics of this mosaic. Our data were compiled from seven annual video surveys of permanent transects on the north-east flanks of up to 52 reefs at different shelf positions throughout most of the GBR. Classification analysis of these data sets identified three distinct groups of reefs, the first dominated by poritid hard corals and alcyoniid soft corals, the second by hard corals of the genus Acropora, and the third by xeniid soft corals. These groups underwent different amounts of change in cover during the period of our study. As acroporan corals are fast growing but susceptible to mortality due to predators and wave action, the group of reefs dominated by this genus displayed rapid rates of growth and loss of cover. In contrast, cover in the remaining groups changed very slowly or remained stable. Some evidence suggests that competition for space may limit growth of acroporan corals and thus rates of change in the group dominated by xeniid soft corals. These contrasting patterns imply that susceptibility to, and recovery from, disturbances such as cyclones, predators, and bleaching events will differ among these groups of reefs.

  9. High genetic differentiation and cross-shelf patterns of genetic diversity among Great Barrier Reef populations of Symbiodinium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howells, E. J.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Willis, B. L.

    2009-03-01

    The resilience of Symbiodinium harboured by corals is dependent on the genetic diversity and extent of connectivity among reef populations. This study presents genetic analyses of Great Barrier Reef (GBR) populations of clade C Symbiodinium hosted by the alcyonacean coral, Sinularia flexibilis. Allelic variation at four newly developed microsatellite loci demonstrated that Symbiodinium populations are genetically differentiated at all spatial scales from 16 to 1,360 km (pairwise ΦST = 0.01-0.47, mean = 0.22); the only exception being two neighbouring populations in the Cairns region separated by 17 km. This indicates that gene flow is restricted for Symbiodinium C hosted by S. flexibilis on the GBR. Patterns of population structure reflect longshore circulation patterns and limited cross-shelf mixing, suggesting that passive transport by currents is the primary mechanism of dispersal in Symbiodinium types that are acquired horizontally. There was no correlation between the genetic structure of Symbiodinium populations and their host S. flexibilis, most likely because different factors affect the dispersal and recruitment of each partner in the symbiosis. The genetic diversity of these Symbiodinium reef populations is on average 1.5 times lower on inshore reefs than on offshore reefs. Lower inshore diversity may reflect the impact of recent bleaching events on Sinularia assemblages, which have been more widespread and severe on inshore reefs, but may also have been shaped by historical sea level fluctuations or recent migration patterns.

  10. Sponge-microbe associations survive high nutrients and temperatures.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rachel Simister

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are under considerable pressure from global stressors such as elevated sea surface temperature and ocean acidification, as well as local factors including eutrophication and poor water quality. Marine sponges are diverse, abundant and ecologically important components of coral reefs in both coastal and offshore environments. Due to their exceptionally high filtration rates, sponges also form a crucial coupling point between benthic and pelagic habitats. Sponges harbor extensive microbial communities, with many microbial phylotypes found exclusively in sponges and thought to contribute to the health and survival of their hosts. Manipulative experiments were undertaken to ascertain the impact of elevated nutrients and seawater temperature on health and microbial community dynamics in the Great Barrier Reef sponge Rhopaloeides odorabile. R. odorabile exposed to elevated nutrient levels including 10 µmol/L total nitrogen at 31°C appeared visually similar to those maintained under ambient seawater conditions after 7 days. The symbiotic microbial community, analyzed by 16S rRNA gene pyrotag sequencing, was highly conserved for the duration of the experiment at both phylum and operational taxonomic unit (OTU (97% sequence similarity levels with 19 bacterial phyla and 1743 OTUs identified across all samples. Additionally, elevated nutrients and temperatures did not alter the archaeal associations in R. odorabile, with sequencing of 16S rRNA gene libraries revealing similar Thaumarchaeota diversity and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE revealing consistent amoA gene patterns, across all experimental treatments. A conserved eukaryotic community was also identified across all nutrient and temperature treatments by DGGE. The highly stable microbial associations indicate that R. odorabile symbionts are capable of withstanding short-term exposure to elevated nutrient concentrations and sub-lethal temperatures.

  11. Reef Fish Community Biomass and Trophic Structure Changes across Shallow to Upper-Mesophotic Reefs in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dominic A Andradi-Brown

    Full Text Available Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; reefs 30-150m depth are of increased research interest because of their potential role as depth refuges from many shallow reef threats. Yet few studies have identified patterns in fish species composition and trophic group structure between MCEs and their shallow counterparts. Here we explore reef fish species and biomass distributions across shallow to upper-MCE Caribbean reef gradients (5-40m around Utila, Honduras, using a diver-operated stereo-video system. Broadly, we found reef fish species richness, abundance and biomass declining with depth. At the trophic group level we identified declines in herbivores (both total and relative community biomass with depth, mostly driven by declines in parrotfish (Scaridae. Piscivores increased as a proportion of the community with increased depth while, in contrast to previous studies, we found no change in relative planktivorous reef fish biomass across the depth gradient. In addition, we also found evidence of ontogenetic migrations in the blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus, striped parrotfish (Scarus iserti, blue chromis (Chromis cyanea, creole wrasse (Clepticus parrae, bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum and yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus, with a higher proportion of larger individuals at mesophotic and near-mesophotic depths than on shallow reefs. Our results highlight the importance of using biomass measures when considering fish community changes across depth gradients, with biomass generating different results to simple abundance counts.

  12. Submarine groundwater discharge into the near-shore zone of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stieglitz, Thomas [Marine Geophysical Laboratory, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811 (Australia) and Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville QLD 4810 (Australia)]. E-mail: thomas.stieglitz@jcu.edu.au

    2005-07-01

    Along the tropical coastline of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region, little is known to date about submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) into the near-shore ocean. In an oceanographic sense, SGD consists of freshwater flow from land as well as seawater circulated through sediments. Recent radiochemical and geophysical studies, using the tracer {sup 222}Rn and apparent ground conductivity respectively, provide evidence for SGD to occur in a variety of hydrogeological settings. In this paper, a non-quantitative overview of different settings of SGD in the region is presented: (1) recirculation of seawater through animal burrows in mangrove forests, (2) freshwater SGD from unconfined aquifers as a narrow coastal fringe of freshwater along Wet Tropics beaches, (3) SGD from coastal dune systems in form of localised freshwater springs in the intertidal zone, (4) inner-shelf SGD from confined submarine aquifer systems comprised of riverine paleochannels incised into the shelf.

  13. Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon world heritage areas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terence P; Gunderson, Lance H; Folke, Carl; Baird, Andrew H; Bellwood, David; Berkes, Fikret; Crona, Beatrice; Helfgott, Ariella; Leslie, Heather; Norberg, Jon; Nyström, Magnus; Olsson, Per; Osterblom, Henrik; Scheffer, Marten; Schuttenberg, Heidi; Steneck, Robert S; Tengö, Maria; Troell, Max; Walker, Brian; Wilson, James; Worm, Boris

    2007-11-01

    Conventional perceptions of the interactions between people and their environment are rapidly transforming. Old paradigms that view humans as separate from nature, natural resources as inexhaustible or endlessly substitutable, and the world as stable, predictable, and in balance are no longer tenable. New conceptual frameworks are rapidly emerging based on an adaptive approach that focuses on learning and flexible management in a dynamic social-ecological landscape. Using two iconic World Heritage Areas as case studies (the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon) we outline how an improved integration of the scientific and social aspects of natural resource management can guide the evolution of multiscale systems of governance that confront and cope with uncertainty, risk, and change in an increasingly human-dominated world.

  14. An assessment of an environmental gradient using coral geochemical records, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lewis, S.E.; Brodie, J.E.; McCulloch, M.T.; Mallela, J.; Jupiter, S.D.; Stuart Williams, H.; Lough, J.M.; Matson, E.G.

    2012-01-01

    Coral cores were collected along an environmental and water quality gradient through the Whitsunday Island group, Great Barrier Reef (Australia), for trace element and stable isotope analysis. The primary aim of the study was to examine if this gradient could be detected in coral records and, if so, whether the gradient has changed over time with changing land use in the adjacent river catchments. Y/Ca was the trace element ratio which varied spatially across the gradient, with concentrations progressively decreasing away from the river mouths. The Ba/Ca and Y/Ca ratios were the only indicators of change in the gradient through time, increasing shortly after European settlement. The Mn/Ca ratio responded to local disturbance related to the construction of tourism infrastructure. Nitrogen isotope ratios showed no apparent trend over time. This study highlights the importance of site selection when using coral records to record regional environmental signals.

  15. Submarine groundwater discharge into the near-shore zone of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stieglitz, Thomas

    2005-01-01

    Along the tropical coastline of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region, little is known to date about submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) into the near-shore ocean. In an oceanographic sense, SGD consists of freshwater flow from land as well as seawater circulated through sediments. Recent radiochemical and geophysical studies, using the tracer 222 Rn and apparent ground conductivity respectively, provide evidence for SGD to occur in a variety of hydrogeological settings. In this paper, a non-quantitative overview of different settings of SGD in the region is presented: (1) recirculation of seawater through animal burrows in mangrove forests, (2) freshwater SGD from unconfined aquifers as a narrow coastal fringe of freshwater along Wet Tropics beaches, (3) SGD from coastal dune systems in form of localised freshwater springs in the intertidal zone, (4) inner-shelf SGD from confined submarine aquifer systems comprised of riverine paleochannels incised into the shelf

  16. Guiding principles for the improved governance of port and shipping impacts in the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grech, A; Bos, M; Brodie, J; Coles, R; Dale, A; Gilbert, R; Hamann, M; Marsh, H; Neil, K; Pressey, R L; Rasheed, M A; Sheaves, M; Smith, A

    2013-10-15

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region of Queensland, Australia, encompasses a complex and diverse array of tropical marine ecosystems of global significance. The region is also a World Heritage Area and largely within one of the world's best managed marine protected areas. However, a recent World Heritage Committee report drew attention to serious governance problems associated with the management of ports and shipping. We review the impacts of ports and shipping on biodiversity in the GBR, and propose a series of guiding principles to improve the current governance arrangements. Implementing these principles will increase the capacity of decision makers to minimize the impacts of ports and shipping on biodiversity, and will provide certainty and clarity to port operators and developers. A 'business as usual' approach could lead to the GBR's inclusion on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2014. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Advances in monitoring the human dimension of natural resource systems: an example from the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, N. A.; Bohensky, E.; Curnock, M.; Goldberg, J.; Gooch, M.; Nicotra, B.; Pert, P.; Scherl, L. M.; Stone-Jovicich, S.; Tobin, R. C.

    2016-11-01

    The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the feasibility and potential utility of decision-centric social-economic monitoring using data collected from Great Barrier Reef (Reef) region. The social and economic long term monitoring program (SELTMP) for the Reef is a novel attempt to monitor the social and economic dimensions of social-ecological change in a globally and nationally important region. It represents the current status and condition of the major user groups of the Reef with the potential to simultaneously consider trends, interconnections, conflicts, dependencies and vulnerabilities. Our approach was to combine a well-established conceptual framework with a strong governance structure and partnership arrangement that enabled the co-production of knowledge. The framework is a modification of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and it was used to guide indicator choice. Indicators were categorised as; (i) resource use and dependency, (ii) ecosystem benefits and well-being, and (iii) drivers of change. Data were collected through secondary datasets where existing and new datasets were created where not, using standard survey techniques. Here we present an overview of baseline results of new survey data from commercial-fishers (n = 210), marine-based tourism operators (n = 119), tourists (n = 2877), local residents (n = 3181), and other Australians (n = 2002). The indicators chosen describe both social and economic components of the Reef system and represent an unprecedented insight into the ways in which people currently use and depend on the Reef, the benefits that they derive, and how they perceive, value and relate to the Reef and each other. However, the success of a program such as the SELTMP can only occur with well-translated cutting-edge data and knowledge that are collaboratively produced, adaptive, and directly feeds into current management processes. We discuss how data from the SELTMP have already been incorporated into Reef management decision

  18. The potential benefits of herbicide regulation: a cautionary note for the Great Barrier Reef catchment area.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, A M; Lewis, S E; Brodie, J E; Benson, Ash

    2014-08-15

    Industry transitions away from traditional photosystem II inhibiting (PSII) herbicides towards an 'alternative' herbicide suite are now widely advocated as a key component of improved environmental outcomes for Australia's Great Barrier Reef and improved environmental stewardship on the part of the Queensland sugar industry. A systematic desktop risk analysis found that based on current farming practices, traditional PSII herbicides can pose significant environmental risks. Several of the 'alternatives' that can directly fill a specific pre-emergent ('soil residual') weed control function similar to regulated PSII herbicides also, however, presented a similar environmental risk profile, regardless of farming systems and bio-climatic zones being considered. Several alternatives with a pre-emergent residual function as well as alternative post-emergent (contact or 'knockdown') herbicides were, predicted to pose lower environmental risks than the regulated PSII herbicides to most trophic levels, although environmental risks could still be present. While several herbicides may well be viable alternatives in terms of weed control, they can still present equal or possibly higher risks to the environment. Imposing additional regulations (or even de-registrations) on particular herbicides could result in marginal, and possibly perverse environmental impacts in the long term, if usage shifts to alternative herbicides with similar risk profiles. Regardless of any regulatory efforts, improved environmental sustainability outcomes in pesticide practices within the Great Barrier Reef catchment area will hinge primarily on the continuing adoption of integrated, strategic pest management systems and technologies applied to both traditional and 'alternative' herbicides. One of the emerging policy challenges is ensuring the requisite technical and extension support for cane growers to ensure effective adoption of rapidly evolving farming system technologies, in a very dynamic and

  19. Ecosystem health of the Great Barrier Reef: Time for effective management action based on evidence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brodie, Jon; Pearson, Richard G.

    2016-12-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a World Heritage site off the north-eastern coast of Australia. The GBR is worth A 15-20 billion/year to the Australian economy and provides approximately 64,000 full time jobs. Many of the species and ecosystems of the GBR are in poor condition and continue to decline. The principal causes of the decline are catchment pollutant runoff associated with agricultural and urban land uses, climate change impacts and the effects of fishing. Many important ecosystems of the GBR region are not included inside the boundaries of the World Heritage Area. The current management regime for catchment pollutant runoff and climate change is clearly inadequate to prevent further decline. We propose a refocus of management on a "Greater GBR" (containing not only the major ecosystems and species of the GBR, but also its catchment) and on a set of management actions to halt the decline of the GBR. Proposed actions include: (1) Strengthen management in the areas of the Greater GBR where ecosystems are in good condition, with Torres Strait, northern Cape York and Hervey Bay being the systems with highest current integrity; (2) Investigate methods of cross-boundary management to achieve simultaneous cost-effective terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystem protection in the Greater GBR; (3) Develop a detailed, comprehensive, costed water quality management plan for the Greater GBR; (4) Use the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to regulate catchment activities that lead to damage to the Greater GBR, in conjunction with the relevant Queensland legislation; (5) Fund catchment and coastal management to the required level to solve pollution issues for the Greater GBR by 2025, before climate change impacts on Greater GBR ecosystems become overwhelming; (6) Continue enforcement of the zoning plan; (7) Australia to show commitment to protecting the Greater GBR through greenhouse gas emissions

  20. Sponge biomass and bioerosion rates increase under ocean warming and acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fang, James K H; Mello-Athayde, Matheus A; Schönberg, Christine H L; Kline, David I; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Dove, Sophie

    2013-12-01

    The combination of ocean warming and acidification as a result of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is considered to be a significant threat to calcifying organisms and their activities on coral reefs. How these global changes impact the important roles of decalcifying organisms (bioeroders) in the regulation of carbonate budgets, however, is less understood. To address this important question, the effects of a range of past, present and future CO2 emission scenarios (temperature + acidification) on the excavating sponge Cliona orientalis Thiele, 1900 were explored over 12 weeks in early summer on the southern Great Barrier Reef. C. orientalis is a widely distributed bioeroder on many reefs, and hosts symbiotic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. Our results showed that biomass production and bioerosion rates of C. orientalis were similar under a pre-industrial scenario and a present day (control) scenario. Symbiodinium population density in the sponge tissue was the highest under the pre-industrial scenario, and decreased towards the two future scenarios with sponge replicates under the 'business-as-usual' CO2 emission scenario exhibiting strong bleaching. Despite these changes, biomass production and the ability of the sponge to erode coral carbonate materials both increased under the future scenarios. Our study suggests that C. orientalis will likely grow faster and have higher bioerosion rates in a high CO2 future than at present, even with significant bleaching. Assuming that our findings hold for excavating sponges in general, increased sponge biomass coupled with accelerated bioerosion may push coral reefs towards net erosion and negative carbonate budgets in the future. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. Lower Mesophotic Coral Communities (60-125 m Depth of the Northern Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Norbert Englebert

    Full Text Available Mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific remain relatively unexplored, particularly at lower mesophotic depths (≥60 m, despite their potentially large spatial extent. Here, we used a remotely operated vehicle to conduct a qualitative assessment of the zooxanthellate coral community at lower mesophotic depths (60-125 m at 10 different locations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Lower mesophotic coral communities were present at all 10 locations, with zooxanthellate scleractinian corals extending down to ~100 metres on walls and ~125 m on steep slopes. Lower mesophotic coral communities were most diverse in the 60-80 m zone, while at depths of ≥100 m the coral community consisted almost exclusively of the genus Leptoseris. Collections of coral specimens (n = 213 between 60 and 125 m depth confirmed the presence of at least 29 different species belonging to 18 genera, including several potential new species and geographic/depth range extensions. Overall, this study highlights that lower mesophotic coral ecosystems are likely to be ubiquitous features on the outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and atolls of the Coral Sea, and harbour a generic and species richness of corals that is much higher than thus far reported. Further research efforts are urgently required to better understand and manage these ecosystems as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve.

  2. Lower Mesophotic Coral Communities (60-125 m Depth) of the Northern Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Englebert, Norbert; Bongaerts, Pim; Muir, Paul R; Hay, Kyra B; Pichon, Michel; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2017-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific remain relatively unexplored, particularly at lower mesophotic depths (≥60 m), despite their potentially large spatial extent. Here, we used a remotely operated vehicle to conduct a qualitative assessment of the zooxanthellate coral community at lower mesophotic depths (60-125 m) at 10 different locations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Lower mesophotic coral communities were present at all 10 locations, with zooxanthellate scleractinian corals extending down to ~100 metres on walls and ~125 m on steep slopes. Lower mesophotic coral communities were most diverse in the 60-80 m zone, while at depths of ≥100 m the coral community consisted almost exclusively of the genus Leptoseris. Collections of coral specimens (n = 213) between 60 and 125 m depth confirmed the presence of at least 29 different species belonging to 18 genera, including several potential new species and geographic/depth range extensions. Overall, this study highlights that lower mesophotic coral ecosystems are likely to be ubiquitous features on the outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and atolls of the Coral Sea, and harbour a generic and species richness of corals that is much higher than thus far reported. Further research efforts are urgently required to better understand and manage these ecosystems as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve.

  3. Anthropogenic contaminants in Indo-Pacific humpback and Australian snubfin dolphins from the central and southern Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cagnazzi, Daniele; Fossi, Maria Cristina; Parra, Guido J; Harrison, Peter L; Maltese, Silvia; Coppola, Daniele; Soccodato, Alice; Bent, Michael; Marsili, Letizia

    2013-11-01

    We present the first evidence of accumulation of organochlorine compounds (DDTs, PCBs, HCB) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Indo-Pacific humpback and Australian snubfin dolphins from the central and southern Great Barrier Reef. These dolphins are considered by the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority to be high priority species for management. Analyses of biopsy samples, collected from free ranging individuals, showed PAHs levels comparable to those reported from highly industrialized countries. DDTs and HCB were found at low levels, while in some individuals, PCBs were above thresholds over which immunosuppression and reproductive anomalies occur. These results highlight the need for ongoing monitoring of these and other contaminants, and their potential adverse effects on dolphins and other marine fauna. This is particularly important given the current strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area being undertaken by the Australian Government and the Queensland Government. Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  4. Quantifying water flow within aquatic ecosystems using load cell sensors: a profile of currents experienced by coral reef organisms around Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johansen, Jacob L

    2014-01-01

    Current velocity in aquatic environments has major implications for the diversity, abundance and ecology of aquatic organisms, but quantifying these currents has proven difficult. This study utilises a simple and inexpensive instrument (reef system around Lizard Island (Great Barrier Reef, Australia) at a spatial and temporal scale relevant to the ecology of individual benthos and fish. The instrument uses load-cell sensors to provide a correlation between sensor output and ambient current velocity of 99%. Each instrument is able to continuously record current velocities to >500 cms⁻¹ and wave frequency to >100 Hz over several weeks. Sensor data are registered and processed at 16 MHz and 10 bit resolution, with a measuring precision of 0.06±0.04%, and accuracy of 0.51±0.65% (mean ±S.D.). Each instrument is also pressure rated to 120 m and shear stresses ≤20 kNm⁻² allowing deployment in harsh environments. The instrument was deployed across 27 coral reef sites covering the crest (3 m), mid-slope (6 m) and deep-slope (9 m depth) of habitats directly exposed, oblique or sheltered from prevailing winds. Measurements demonstrate that currents over the reef slope and crest varies immensely depending on depth and exposure: currents differ up to 9-fold within habitats only separated by 3 m depth and 15-fold between exposed, oblique and sheltered habitats. Comparisons to ambient weather conditions reveal that currents around Lizard Island are largely wind driven. Zero to 22.5 knot winds correspond directly to currents of 0 to >82 cms⁻¹, while tidal currents rarely exceed 5.5 cms⁻¹. Rather, current velocity increases exponentially as a function of wave height (0 to 1.6 m) and frequency (0.54 to 0.20 Hz), emphasizing the enormous effect of wind and waves on organisms in these shallow coral reef habitats.

  5. Barrier Methods of Birth Control: Spermicide, Condom, Sponge, Diaphragm, and Cervical Cap

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... chemical called nonoxynol-9 . Spermicide can be used alone or with all other barrier methods except the ... foams, creams, gels, suppositories, and films. When used alone, a spermicide should be inserted into the vagina ...

  6. Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef: A globally significant demonstration of the benefits of networks of marine reserves

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCook, Laurence J.; Ayling, Tony; Cappo, Mike; Choat, J. Howard; Evans, Richard D.; De Freitas, Debora M.; Heupel, Michelle; Hughes, Terry P.; Jones, Geoffrey P.; Mapstone, Bruce; Marsh, Helene; Mills, Morena; Molloy, Fergus J.; Pitcher, C. Roland; Pressey, Robert L.; Russ, Garry R.; Sutton, Stephen; Sweatman, Hugh; Tobin, Renae; Wachenfeld, David R.; Williamson, David H.

    2010-01-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) provides a globally significant demonstration of the effectiveness of large-scale networks of marine reserves in contributing to integrated, adaptive management. Comprehensive review of available evidence shows major, rapid benefits of no-take areas for targeted fish and sharks, in both reef and nonreef habitats, with potential benefits for fisheries as well as biodiversity conservation. Large, mobile species like sharks benefit less than smaller, site-attached fish. Critically, reserves also appear to benefit overall ecosystem health and resilience: outbreaks of coral-eating, crown-of-thorns starfish appear less frequent on no-take reefs, which consequently have higher abundance of coral, the very foundation of reef ecosystems. Effective marine reserves require regular review of compliance: fish abundances in no-entry zones suggest that even no-take zones may be significantly depleted due to poaching. Spatial analyses comparing zoning with seabed biodiversity or dugong distributions illustrate significant benefits from application of best-practice conservation principles in data-poor situations. Increases in the marine reserve network in 2004 affected fishers, but preliminary economic analysis suggests considerable net benefits, in terms of protecting environmental and tourism values. Relative to the revenue generated by reef tourism, current expenditure on protection is minor. Recent implementation of an Outlook Report provides regular, formal review of environmental condition and management and links to policy responses, key aspects of adaptive management. Given the major threat posed by climate change, the expanded network of marine reserves provides a critical and cost-effective contribution to enhancing the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef. PMID:20176947

  7. Assessing loss of coral cover on Australia's Great Barrier Reef over two decades, with implications for longer-term trends

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sweatman, H.; Delean, S.; Syms, C.

    2011-06-01

    While coral reefs in many parts of the world are in decline as a direct consequence of human pressures, Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is unusual in that direct human pressures are low and the entire system of ~2,900 reefs has been managed as a marine park since the 1980s. In spite of these advantages, standard annual surveys of a large number of reefs showed that from 1986 to 2004, average live coral cover across the GBR declined from 28 to 22%. This overall decline was mainly due to large losses in six (21%) of 29 subregions. Declines in live coral cover on reefs in two inshore subregions coincided with thermal bleaching in 1998, while declines in four mid-self subregions were due to outbreaks of predatory starfish. Otherwise, living coral cover increased in one subregion (3%) and 22 subregions (76%) showed no substantial change. Reefs in the great majority of subregions showed cycles of decline and recovery over the survey period, but with little synchrony among subregions. Two previous studies examined long-term changes in live coral cover on GBR reefs using meta-analyses including historical data from before the mid-1980s. Both found greater rates of loss of coral and recorded a marked decrease in living coral cover on the GBR in 1986, coinciding exactly with the start of large-scale monitoring. We argue that much of the apparent long-term decrease results from combining data from selective, sparse, small-scale studies before 1986 with data from both small-scale studies and large-scale monitoring surveys after that date. The GBR has clearly been changed by human activities and live coral cover has declined overall, but losses of coral in the past 40-50 years have probably been overestimated.

  8. Assessing the value of Earth Observation for managing coral reefs: An example from the Great Barrier Reef

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bouma, J.A.; Kuik, O.J.; Dekker, A.G.

    2011-01-01

    The Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS, 2003) argues that further investments in Earth Observation information are required to improve coral reef protection worldwide. The IGOS Strategy does not specify what levels of investments are needed nor does it quantify the benefits associated with

  9. Anthropogenic contaminants in Indo-Pacific humpback and Australian snubfin dolphins from the central and southern Great Barrier Reef

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cagnazzi, Daniele; Fossi, Maria Cristina; Parra, Guido J.; Harrison, Peter L.; Maltese, Silvia; Coppola, Daniele; Soccodato, Alice; Bent, Michael; Marsili, Letizia

    2013-01-01

    We present the first evidence of accumulation of organochlorine compounds (DDTs, PCBs, HCB) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Indo-Pacific humpback and Australian snubfin dolphins from the central and southern Great Barrier Reef. These dolphins are considered by the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority to be high priority species for management. Analyses of biopsy samples, collected from free ranging individuals, showed PAHs levels comparable to those reported from highly industrialized countries. DDTs and HCB were found at low levels, while in some individuals, PCBs were above thresholds over which immunosuppression and reproductive anomalies occur. These results highlight the need for ongoing monitoring of these and other contaminants, and their potential adverse effects on dolphins and other marine fauna. This is particularly important given the current strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area being undertaken by the Australian Government and the Queensland Government. -- Potentially hazardous levels of some coastal contaminants were found in two species of dolphins inhabiting the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park coastal region

  10. Biodiversity, zoogeography and affinity of Orissa sponges

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Thomas, P.A.; Sree, A.; Bapuji, M.; Rao, K.M.; Murthy, K.S.R.

    from these reefs. The diversity, bio-zeo-distribution and affinity of these sponges are discussed. The analysis of data is mainly arrived at by quasi-quantitative sampling supported by observations and video documentation. Community structure...

  11. Diuron tolerance and potential degradation by pelagic microbiomes in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pantos, Olga; Morgan, Thomas C.; Rich, Virginia; Tonin, Hemerson; Bourne, David G.; Mercurio, Philip; Negri, Andrew P.; Tyson, Gene W.

    2016-01-01

    Diuron is a herbicide commonly used in agricultural areas where excess application causes it to leach into rivers, reach sensitive marine environments like the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon and pose risks to marine life. To investigate the impact of diuron on whole prokaryotic communities that underpin the marine food web and are integral to coral reef health, GBR lagoon water was incubated with diuron at environmentally-relevant concentration (8 µg/L), and sequenced at specific time points over the following year. 16S rRNA gene amplicon profiling revealed no significant short- or long-term effect of diuron on microbiome structure. The relative abundance of prokaryotic phototrophs was not significantly altered by diuron, which suggests that they were largely tolerant at this concentration. Assembly of a metagenome derived from waters sampled at a similar location in the GBR lagoon did not reveal the presence of mutations in the cyanobacterial photosystem that could explain diuron tolerance. However, resident phages displayed several variants of this gene and could potentially play a role in tolerance acquisition. Slow biodegradation of diuron was reported in the incubation flasks, but no correlation with the relative abundance of heterotrophs was evident. Analysis of metagenomic reads supports the hypothesis that previously uncharacterized hydrolases carried by low-abundance species may mediate herbicide degradation in the GBR lagoon. Overall, this study offers evidence that pelagic phototrophs of the GBR lagoon may be more tolerant of diuron than other tropical organisms, and that heterotrophs in the microbial seed bank may have the potential to degrade diuron and alleviate local anthropogenic stresses to inshore GBR ecosystems. PMID:26989611

  12. Diuron tolerance and potential degradation by pelagic microbiomes in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angly, Florent E; Pantos, Olga; Morgan, Thomas C; Rich, Virginia; Tonin, Hemerson; Bourne, David G; Mercurio, Philip; Negri, Andrew P; Tyson, Gene W

    2016-01-01

    Diuron is a herbicide commonly used in agricultural areas where excess application causes it to leach into rivers, reach sensitive marine environments like the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon and pose risks to marine life. To investigate the impact of diuron on whole prokaryotic communities that underpin the marine food web and are integral to coral reef health, GBR lagoon water was incubated with diuron at environmentally-relevant concentration (8 µg/L), and sequenced at specific time points over the following year. 16S rRNA gene amplicon profiling revealed no significant short- or long-term effect of diuron on microbiome structure. The relative abundance of prokaryotic phototrophs was not significantly altered by diuron, which suggests that they were largely tolerant at this concentration. Assembly of a metagenome derived from waters sampled at a similar location in the GBR lagoon did not reveal the presence of mutations in the cyanobacterial photosystem that could explain diuron tolerance. However, resident phages displayed several variants of this gene and could potentially play a role in tolerance acquisition. Slow biodegradation of diuron was reported in the incubation flasks, but no correlation with the relative abundance of heterotrophs was evident. Analysis of metagenomic reads supports the hypothesis that previously uncharacterized hydrolases carried by low-abundance species may mediate herbicide degradation in the GBR lagoon. Overall, this study offers evidence that pelagic phototrophs of the GBR lagoon may be more tolerant of diuron than other tropical organisms, and that heterotrophs in the microbial seed bank may have the potential to degrade diuron and alleviate local anthropogenic stresses to inshore GBR ecosystems.

  13. Diuron tolerance and potential degradation by pelagic microbiomes in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florent E. Angly

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Diuron is a herbicide commonly used in agricultural areas where excess application causes it to leach into rivers, reach sensitive marine environments like the Great Barrier Reef (GBR lagoon and pose risks to marine life. To investigate the impact of diuron on whole prokaryotic communities that underpin the marine food web and are integral to coral reef health, GBR lagoon water was incubated with diuron at environmentally-relevant concentration (8 µg/L, and sequenced at specific time points over the following year. 16S rRNA gene amplicon profiling revealed no significant short- or long-term effect of diuron on microbiome structure. The relative abundance of prokaryotic phototrophs was not significantly altered by diuron, which suggests that they were largely tolerant at this concentration. Assembly of a metagenome derived from waters sampled at a similar location in the GBR lagoon did not reveal the presence of mutations in the cyanobacterial photosystem that could explain diuron tolerance. However, resident phages displayed several variants of this gene and could potentially play a role in tolerance acquisition. Slow biodegradation of diuron was reported in the incubation flasks, but no correlation with the relative abundance of heterotrophs was evident. Analysis of metagenomic reads supports the hypothesis that previously uncharacterized hydrolases carried by low-abundance species may mediate herbicide degradation in the GBR lagoon. Overall, this study offers evidence that pelagic phototrophs of the GBR lagoon may be more tolerant of diuron than other tropical organisms, and that heterotrophs in the microbial seed bank may have the potential to degrade diuron and alleviate local anthropogenic stresses to inshore GBR ecosystems.

  14. Predicting outbreaks of a climate-driven coral disease in the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maynard, J. A.; Anthony, K. R. N.; Harvell, C. D.; Burgman, M. A.; Beeden, R.; Sweatman, H.; Heron, S. F.; Lamb, J. B.; Willis, B. L.

    2011-06-01

    Links between anomalously high sea temperatures and outbreaks of coral diseases known as White Syndromes (WS) represent a threat to Indo-Pacific reefs that is expected to escalate in a changing climate. Further advances in understanding disease aetiologies, determining the relative importance of potential risk factors for outbreaks and in trialing management actions are hampered by not knowing where or when outbreaks will occur. Here, we develop a tool to target research and monitoring of WS outbreaks in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The tool is based on an empirical regression model and takes the form of user-friendly interactive ~1.5-km resolution maps. The maps denote locations where long-term monitoring suggests that coral cover exceeds 26% and summer temperature stress (measured by a temperature metric termed the mean positive summer anomaly) is equal to or exceeds that experienced at sites in 2002 where the only severe WS outbreaks documented on the GBR to date were observed. No WS outbreaks were subsequently documented at 45 routinely surveyed sites from 2003 to 2008, and model hindcasts for this period indicate that outbreak likelihood was never high. In 2009, the model indicated that outbreak likelihood was high at north-central GBR sites. The results of the regression model and targeted surveys in 2009 revealed that the threshold host density for an outbreak decreases as thermal stress increases, suggesting that bleaching could be a more important precursor to WS outbreaks than previously anticipated, given that bleaching was severe at outbreak sites in 2002 but not at any of the surveyed sites in 2009. The iterative approach used here has led to an improved understanding of disease causation, will facilitate management responses and can be applied to other coral diseases and/or other regions.

  15. New constraints on the spatial distribution and morphology of the Halimeda bioherms of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNeil, Mardi A.; Webster, Jody M.; Beaman, Robin J.; Graham, Trevor L.

    2016-12-01

    Halimeda bioherms occur as extensive geological structures on the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. We present the most complete, high-resolution spatial mapping of the northern GBR Halimeda bioherms, based on new airborne lidar and multibeam echosounder bathymetry data. Our analysis reveals that bioherm morphology does not conform to the previous model of parallel ridges and troughs, but is far more complex than previously thought. We define and describe three morphological sub-types: reticulate, annulate, and undulate, which are distributed in a cross-shelf pattern of reduced complexity from east to west. The northern GBR bioherms cover an area of 6095 km2, three times larger than the original estimate, exceeding the area and volume of calcium carbonate in the adjacent modern shelf-edge barrier reefs. We have mapped a 1740 km2 bioherm complex north of Raine Island in the Cape York region not previously recorded, extending the northern limit by more than 1° of latitude. Bioherm formation and distribution are controlled by a complex interaction of outer-shelf geometry, regional and local currents, coupled with the morphology and depth of continental slope submarine canyons determining the delivery of cool, nutrient-rich water upwelling through inter-reef passages. Distribution and mapping of Halimeda bioherms in relation to Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority bioregion classifications and management zones are inconsistent and currently poorly defined due to a lack of high-resolution data not available until now. These new estimates of bioherm spatial distribution and morphology have implications for understanding the role these geological features play as structurally complex and productive inter-reef habitats, and as calcium carbonate sinks which record a complete history of the Holocene post-glacial marine transgression in the northern GBR.

  16. Utility of Photochemical Traits as Diagnostics of Thermal Tolerance amongst Great Barrier Reef Corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew R. Nitschke

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Light availability is considered a key factor regulating the thermal sensitivity of reef building corals, where excessive excitation of photosystem II (PSII further exacerbates pressure on photochemical pathways already compromised by heat stress. Coral symbionts acclimate to changes in light availability (photoacclimation by continually fine-tuning the photochemical operating efficiency of PSII. However, how this process adjusts throughout the warmest months in naturally heat-tolerant or sensitive species is unknown, and whether this influences the capacity to tolerate transient heat stress is untested. We therefore examined the PSII photophysiology of 10 coral species (with known thermal tolerances from shallow reef environments at Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef, Australia, in spring (October-November, 2015 vs. summer (February-March, 2016. Corals were maintained in flow-through aquaria and rapid light curve (RLC protocols using pulse amplitude modulated (PAM fluorometry captured changes in the PSII photoacclimation strategy, characterized as the minimum saturating irradiance (Ek, and the extent of photochemical ([1 – C], operating efficiency vs. non-photochemical ([1 – Q] energy dissipation. Values of Ek across species were >2-fold higher in all coral species in spring, consistent with a climate of higher overall light exposure (i.e., higher PAR from lower cloud cover, rainfall and wind speed compared with summer. Summer decreases in Ek were combined with a shift toward preferential photochemical quenching in all species. All coral species were subsequently subjected to thermal stress assays. An equivalent temperature-ramping profile of 1°C increase per day and then maintenance at 32°C was applied in each season. Despite the significant seasonal photoacclimation, the species hierarchy of thermal tolerance [maximum quantum yields of PSII (Fv/Fm, monitored at dawn and dusk] did not shift between seasons, except for Pocillopora

  17. CaCO3 dissolution by holothurians (sea cucumber): a case study from One Tree Reef, Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schneider, K.; Silverman, J.; Kravitz, B.; Woolsey, E.; Eriksson, H.; Schneider-Mor, A.; Barbosa, S.; Rivlin, T.; Byrne, M.; Caldeira, K.

    2012-12-01

    Holothurians (sea cucumbers) are among the largest and most important deposit feeder in coral reefs. They play a role in nutrient and CaCO3 cycling within the reef structure. As a result of their digestive process they secrete alkalinity due to CaCO3 dissolution and organic matter degradation forming CO2 and ammonium. In a survey at station DK13 on One Three Reef we found that the population density of holothurians was > 1 individual m-2. The dominant sea cucumber species Holothuria leucospilota was collected from DK13. The increase in alkalinity due to CaCO3 dissolution in aquaria incubations was measured to be 47±7 μmol kg-1 in average per individual. Combining this dissolution rate with the sea cucumbers concentrations at DK13 suggest that they may account for a dissolution rate of 34.9±17.8 mmol m-2 day-1, which is equivalent to about half of night time community dissolution measured in DK13. This indicates that in reefs where the sea cucumber population is healthy and protected from fishing they can be locally important in the CaCO3 cycle. Preliminary result suggests that the CaCO3 dissolution rates are not affected by the chemistry of the sea water they are incubated in. Measurements of the empty digestive track volume of two sea cucumbers H. atra and Stichopus herrmanni were 36 ± 4 ml and 151 ± 14 ml, respectively. Based on these measurements it is estimated that these species process 19 ± 2kg and 80 ± 7kg CaCO3 sand yr-1 per individual, respectively. The annual dissolution rates of H. atra and S. herrmanni are 6.5±1.9g and 9.6±1.4g, respectively, suggest that 0.05±0.02% and 0.1±0.02% of the CaCO3 processed through their gut annually is dissolved. During the incubations the CaCO3 dissolution was 0.07±0.01%, 0.04±0.01% and 0.21±0.05% of the fecal casts for H. atra, H. leucospilota and S. herrmanni, respectively. Our result that the primary parameter determining the CaCO3 dissolution by sea cucumber is the amount of carbonate send in their gut

  18. Substrate as driver of sponge distributions in mangrove ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hunting, E.R.; Franken, O.; Knopperts, F.; Kraak, M.H.S.; Vargas, R.; Rölling, W.F.M.; van der Geest, H.G.

    2013-01-01

    Caribbean mangrove-associated sponge communities are very distinct from sponge communities living on nearby reefs, but the mechanisms that underlie this distinction remain uncertain. This study aimed to elucidate the relative importance of substrate and habitat in determining the ability of sponges

  19. pH homeostasis during coral calcification in a free ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiment, Heron Island reef flat, Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Georgiou, Lucy; Falter, James; Trotter, Julie; Kline, David I.; Holcomb, Michael; Dove, Sophie G.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; McCulloch, Malcolm

    2015-01-01

    Geochemical analyses (δ11B and Sr/Ca) are reported for the coral Porites cylindrica grown within a free ocean carbon enrichment (FOCE) experiment, conducted on the Heron Island reef flat (Great Barrier Reef) for a 6-mo period from June to early December 2010. The FOCE experiment was designed to simulate the effects of CO2-driven acidification predicted to occur by the end of this century (scenario RCP4.5) while simultaneously maintaining the exposure of corals to natural variations in their environment under in situ conditions. Analyses of skeletal growth (measured from extension rates and skeletal density) showed no systematic differences between low-pH FOCE treatments (ΔpH = ∼−0.05 to −0.25 units below ambient) and present day controls (ΔpH = 0) for calcification rates or the pH of the calcifying fluid (pHcf); the latter was derived from boron isotopic compositions (δ11B) of the coral skeleton. Furthermore, individual nubbins exhibited near constant δ11B compositions along their primary apical growth axes (±0.02 pHcf units) regardless of the season or treatment. Thus, under the highly dynamic conditions of the Heron Island reef flat, P. cylindrica up-regulated the pH of its calcifying fluid (pHcf ∼8.4–8.6), with each nubbin having near-constant pHcf values independent of the large natural seasonal fluctuations of the reef flat waters (pH ∼7.7 to ∼8.3) or the superimposed FOCE treatments. This newly discovered phenomenon of pH homeostasis during calcification indicates that coral living in highly dynamic environments exert strong physiological controls on the carbonate chemistry of their calcifying fluid, implying a high degree of resilience to ocean acidification within the investigated ranges. PMID:26438833

  20. Biology and ecology of the vulnerable holothuroid, Stichopus herrmanni, on a high-latitude coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolfe, Kennedy; Byrne, Maria

    2017-12-01

    Tropical aspidochirotid holothuroids are among the largest coral reef invertebrates, but gaps remain in our understanding of their ecological roles in lagoon sediment habitats, a vast component of coral-reef ecosystems. Stichopus herrmanni, listed as vulnerable (IUCN), is currently a major fishery species on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and throughout the Indo-Pacific. It is critical to characterise how this species interacts with its environment to understand how its removal may impact ecosystem functionality. We investigated seasonal variation in movement, bioturbation, feeding and gonad development of S. herrmanni over 3 yr at One Tree Reef, which has been a no-take area for decades. We determined the direct influence of the deposit-feeding activity of S. herrmanni on sediment turnover and granulometry, and on the abundance of infauna and benthic productivity in a comprehensive in situ analysis of tropical holothuroid feeding ecology. This species is highly mobile with identifiable individuals exhibiting site fidelity over 3 yr. With the potential to turn over an estimated 64-250 kg individual-1 yr-1, S. herrmanni is a major bioturbator. Stichopus herrmanni is a generalist feeder and influences trophic interactions by altering the abundance of infauna and microalgae. Stichopus herrmanni exhibited decreased feeding activity and gonad development in winter, the first documentation of a seasonal disparity in the bioturbation activity of a tropical holothuroid. Sediment digestion and dissolution by S. herrmanni has the potential to influence seawater chemistry, a particularly important feature in a changing ocean. Our results provide essential baseline data on the functional roles of this ecologically important species to inform development of ecosystem-based bêche-de-mer fisheries management on the GBR.

  1. pH homeostasis during coral calcification in a free ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiment, Heron Island reef flat, Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Georgiou, Lucy; Falter, James; Trotter, Julie; Kline, David I; Holcomb, Michael; Dove, Sophie G; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; McCulloch, Malcolm

    2015-10-27

    Geochemical analyses (δ(11)B and Sr/Ca) are reported for the coral Porites cylindrica grown within a free ocean carbon enrichment (FOCE) experiment, conducted on the Heron Island reef flat (Great Barrier Reef) for a 6-mo period from June to early December 2010. The FOCE experiment was designed to simulate the effects of CO2-driven acidification predicted to occur by the end of this century (scenario RCP4.5) while simultaneously maintaining the exposure of corals to natural variations in their environment under in situ conditions. Analyses of skeletal growth (measured from extension rates and skeletal density) showed no systematic differences between low-pH FOCE treatments (ΔpH = ∼-0.05 to -0.25 units below ambient) and present day controls (ΔpH = 0) for calcification rates or the pH of the calcifying fluid (pHcf); the latter was derived from boron isotopic compositions (δ(11)B) of the coral skeleton. Furthermore, individual nubbins exhibited near constant δ(11)B compositions along their primary apical growth axes (±0.02 pHcf units) regardless of the season or treatment. Thus, under the highly dynamic conditions of the Heron Island reef flat, P. cylindrica up-regulated the pH of its calcifying fluid (pHcf ∼8.4-8.6), with each nubbin having near-constant pHcf values independent of the large natural seasonal fluctuations of the reef flat waters (pH ∼7.7 to ∼8.3) or the superimposed FOCE treatments. This newly discovered phenomenon of pH homeostasis during calcification indicates that coral living in highly dynamic environments exert strong physiological controls on the carbonate chemistry of their calcifying fluid, implying a high degree of resilience to ocean acidification within the investigated ranges.

  2. Extracting growth rates from the non-laminated coralline sponge Astrosclera willeyana using "bomb" radiocarbon

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fallon, S; Guilderson, T

    2004-06-30

    Coralline sponges have the potential to fill in gaps in our understanding of subsurface oceanographic variability. However, one disadvantage they have compared to hermatypic reef building coral proxies is that they do not have annual density bands and need to be radiometrically dated for an age determination. To elucidate growth rate variability we have measured radiocarbon in 1 mm increments from Astrosclera willeyana sponges collected off the Central and Northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and from Truk in the Caroline Islands and compared these radiocarbon profiles to independently dated coral radiocarbon records. Growth rates of the GBR sponges average 1.2 {+-} 0.3 and 1.0 {+-} 0.3 mm yr{sup -1}, north and central respectively but can vary by a factor of two. The growth rate of the Truk sponge averages 1.2 {+-} 0.1 mm yr{sup -1}. These growth rates are significantly faster to those measured for other GBR Astrosclera willeyana sponges (0.2 mm yr{sup -1}) by Calcein staining (Woerheide 1988).

  3. Joeropsididae Nordenstam, 1933 (Crustacea, Isopoda, Asellota from the Lizard Island region of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Niel L. Bruce

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The marine isopod family Joeropsididae (Asellota is documented for the Lizard Island region of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Fifteen species of Joeropsis are recorded, including ten new species; descriptive notes are provided for five species that lacked adequate material for description. A revised family and genus diagnosis is presented together with comments on the most useful characters for species identification and a key to Joeropsis of the Lizard Island region.

  4. Origins and Implications of a Primary Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Outbreak in the Southern Great Barrier Reef

    OpenAIRE

    Ian Miller; Hugh Sweatman; Alistair Cheal; Mike Emslie; Kerryn Johns; Michelle Jonker; Kate Osborne

    2015-01-01

    The crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) is a major predator of hard corals. Repeated COTS outbreaks in the Cairns and Central sections of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have been responsible for greater declines in coral cover than any other type of disturbance, including cyclones, disease, and coral bleaching. Knowledge of the precise timing and location of primary outbreaks could reveal the initial drivers of outbreaks and so could indicate possible management measures. In the central GBR, COTS o...

  5. An analysis of sponge diversity and distribution at three taxonomic levels in the Thousand Islands/Jakarta Bay reef complex, West-Java, Indonesia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Voogd, N.J.; Cleary, D.F.R.

    2008-01-01

    Very few coral reefs are located close enough to large cities to study the influence of large urban populations on reef assemblages. An exception is the Thousand Islands reef complex to the north of Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, and one of the largest conurbations in the world. Here we

  6. Structural and Psycho-Social Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Barrier Reef Region.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Louisa S Evans

    Full Text Available Adaptation, as a strategy to respond to climate change, has limits: there are conditions under which adaptation strategies fail to alleviate impacts from climate change. Research has primarily focused on identifying absolute bio-physical limits. This paper contributes empirical insight to an emerging literature on the social limits to adaptation. Such limits arise from the ways in which societies perceive, experience and respond to climate change. Using qualitative data from multi-stakeholder workshops and key-informant interviews with representatives of the fisheries and tourism sectors of the Great Barrier Reef region, we identify psycho-social and structural limits associated with key adaptation strategies, and examine how these are perceived as more or less absolute across levels of organisation. We find that actors experience social limits to adaptation when: i the effort of pursuing a strategy exceeds the benefits of desired adaptation outcomes; ii the particular strategy does not address the actual source of vulnerability, and; iii the benefits derived from adaptation are undermined by external factors. We also find that social limits are not necessarily more absolute at higher levels of organisation: respondents perceived considerable opportunities to address some psycho-social limits at the national-international interface, while they considered some social limits at the local and regional levels to be effectively absolute.

  7. Structural and Psycho-Social Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Barrier Reef Region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Louisa S; Hicks, Christina C; Adger, W Neil; Barnett, Jon; Perry, Allison L; Fidelman, Pedro; Tobin, Renae

    2016-01-01

    Adaptation, as a strategy to respond to climate change, has limits: there are conditions under which adaptation strategies fail to alleviate impacts from climate change. Research has primarily focused on identifying absolute bio-physical limits. This paper contributes empirical insight to an emerging literature on the social limits to adaptation. Such limits arise from the ways in which societies perceive, experience and respond to climate change. Using qualitative data from multi-stakeholder workshops and key-informant interviews with representatives of the fisheries and tourism sectors of the Great Barrier Reef region, we identify psycho-social and structural limits associated with key adaptation strategies, and examine how these are perceived as more or less absolute across levels of organisation. We find that actors experience social limits to adaptation when: i) the effort of pursuing a strategy exceeds the benefits of desired adaptation outcomes; ii) the particular strategy does not address the actual source of vulnerability, and; iii) the benefits derived from adaptation are undermined by external factors. We also find that social limits are not necessarily more absolute at higher levels of organisation: respondents perceived considerable opportunities to address some psycho-social limits at the national-international interface, while they considered some social limits at the local and regional levels to be effectively absolute.

  8. An assessment of an environmental gradient using coral geochemical records, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, S E; Brodie, J E; McCulloch, M T; Mallela, J; Jupiter, S D; Williams, H Stuart; Lough, J M; Matson, E G

    2012-01-01

    Coral cores were collected along an environmental and water quality gradient through the Whitsunday Island group, Great Barrier Reef (Australia), for trace element and stable isotope analysis. The primary aim of the study was to examine if this gradient could be detected in coral records and, if so, whether the gradient has changed over time with changing land use in the adjacent river catchments. Y/Ca was the trace element ratio which varied spatially across the gradient, with concentrations progressively decreasing away from the river mouths. The Ba/Ca and Y/Ca ratios were the only indicators of change in the gradient through time, increasing shortly after European settlement. The Mn/Ca ratio responded to local disturbance related to the construction of tourism infrastructure. Nitrogen isotope ratios showed no apparent trend over time. This study highlights the importance of site selection when using coral records to record regional environmental signals. Crown Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Intensification of the meridional temperature gradient in the Great Barrier Reef following the Last Glacial Maximum

    Science.gov (United States)

    Felis, Thomas; McGregor, Helen V.; Linsley, Braddock K.; Tudhope, Alexander W.; Gagan, Michael K.; Suzuki, Atsushi; Inoue, Mayuri; Thomas, Alexander L.; Esat, Tezer M.; Thompson, William G.; Tiwari, Manish; Potts, Donald C.; Mudelsee, Manfred; Yokoyama, Yusuke; Webster, Jody M.

    2014-01-01

    Tropical south-western Pacific temperatures are of vital importance to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), but the role of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the growth of the GBR since the Last Glacial Maximum remains largely unknown. Here we present records of Sr/Ca and δ18O for Last Glacial Maximum and deglacial corals that show a considerably steeper meridional SST gradient than the present day in the central GBR. We find a 1–2 °C larger temperature decrease between 17° and 20°S about 20,000 to 13,000 years ago. The result is best explained by the northward expansion of cooler subtropical waters due to a weakening of the South Pacific gyre and East Australian Current. Our findings indicate that the GBR experienced substantial meridional temperature change during the last deglaciation, and serve to explain anomalous deglacial drying of northeastern Australia. Overall, the GBR developed through significant SST change and may be more resilient than previously thought. PMID:24937320

  10. Understanding Recreational Fishers' Compliance with No-take Zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adrian Arias

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Understanding fishers' compliance is essential for the successful management of marine protected areas. We used the random response technique (RRT to assess recreational fishers' compliance with no-take zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP. The RRT allowed the asking of a sensitive question, i.e., "Did you, knowingly, fish within in a Green Zone during the last 12 months?" while protecting respondents' confidentiality. Application of the RRT through a survey of recreational fishers indicated that the majority of recreational fishers, 90%, comply with no-take zones. Likewise, most fishers, 92%, reported not personally knowing anyone who had intentionally fished in a no-take zone, indicating that fishers' perceive high levels of compliance among their peers. Fishers were motivated to comply with no-take zones primarily by their beliefs about penalties for noncompliance, followed by beliefs about the fishery benefits of no-take zones. Results suggest that compliance-related communication efforts by the managing authority have partially succeeded in maintaining appropriate compliance levels and that future efforts should accentuate normative compliance drivers that will encourage voluntary compliance. We conclude that compliance monitoring should be integrated into the adaptive management of the GBRMP and other protected areas; in this case social surveys using the RRT are effective tools.

  11. The effects of river run-off on water clarity across the central Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabricius, K E; Logan, M; Weeks, S; Brodie, J

    2014-07-15

    Changes in water clarity across the shallow continental shelf of the central Great Barrier Reef were investigated from ten years of daily river load, oceanographic and MODIS-Aqua data. Mean photic depth (i.e., the depth of 10% of surface irradiance) was related to river loads after statistical removal of wave and tidal effects. Across the ∼25,000 km(2) area, photic depth was strongly related to river freshwater and phosphorus loads (R(2)=0.65 and 0.51, respectively). In the six wetter years, photic depth was reduced by 19.8% and below water quality guidelines for 156 days, compared to 9 days in the drier years. After onset of the seasonal river floods, photic depth was reduced for on average 6-8 months, gradually returning to clearer baseline values. Relationships were strongest inshore and midshelf (∼12-80 km from the coast), and weaker near the chronically turbid coast. The data show that reductions in river loads would measurably improve shelf water clarity, with significant ecosystem health benefits. Crown Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Structural and Psycho-Social Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Barrier Reef Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Louisa S.; Hicks, Christina C.; Adger, W. Neil; Barnett, Jon; Perry, Allison L.; Fidelman, Pedro; Tobin, Renae

    2016-01-01

    Adaptation, as a strategy to respond to climate change, has limits: there are conditions under which adaptation strategies fail to alleviate impacts from climate change. Research has primarily focused on identifying absolute bio-physical limits. This paper contributes empirical insight to an emerging literature on the social limits to adaptation. Such limits arise from the ways in which societies perceive, experience and respond to climate change. Using qualitative data from multi-stakeholder workshops and key-informant interviews with representatives of the fisheries and tourism sectors of the Great Barrier Reef region, we identify psycho-social and structural limits associated with key adaptation strategies, and examine how these are perceived as more or less absolute across levels of organisation. We find that actors experience social limits to adaptation when: i) the effort of pursuing a strategy exceeds the benefits of desired adaptation outcomes; ii) the particular strategy does not address the actual source of vulnerability, and; iii) the benefits derived from adaptation are undermined by external factors. We also find that social limits are not necessarily more absolute at higher levels of organisation: respondents perceived considerable opportunities to address some psycho-social limits at the national-international interface, while they considered some social limits at the local and regional levels to be effectively absolute. PMID:26960200

  13. Avoiding Implementation Failure in Catchment Landscapes: A Case Study in Governance of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dale, Allan P; Vella, Karen; Gooch, Margaret; Potts, Ruth; Pressey, Robert L; Brodie, Jon; Eberhard, Rachel

    2017-10-04

    Water quality outcomes affecting Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are governed by multi-level and multi-party decision-making that influences forested and agricultural landscapes. With international concern about the GBR's declining ecological health, this paper identifies and focuses on implementation failure (primarily at catchment scale) as a systemic risk within the overall GBR governance system. There has been limited integrated analysis of the full suite of governance subdomains that often envelop defined policies, programs and delivery activities that influence water quality in the GBR. We consider how the implementation of separate purpose-specific policies and programs at catchment scale operate against well-known, robust design concepts for integrated catchment governance. We find design concerns within ten important governance subdomains that operate within GBR catchments. At a whole-of-GBR scale, we find a weak policy focus on strengthening these delivery-oriented subdomains and on effort integration across these subdomains within catchments. These governance problems when combined may contribute to failure in the implementation of major national, state and local government policies focused on improving water quality in the GBR, a lesson relevant to landscapes globally.

  14. The density-driven circulation of the coastal hypersaline system of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salamena, Gerry G; Martins, Flávio; Ridd, Peter V

    2016-04-15

    The coastal hypersaline system of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in the dry season, was investigated for the first time using a 3D baroclinic model. In the shallow coastal embayments, salinity increases to c.a. 1‰ above typical offshore salinity (~35.4‰). This salinity increase is due to high evaporation rates and negligible freshwater input. The hypersalinity drifts longshore north-westward due to south-easterly trade winds and may eventually pass capes or headlands, e.g. Cape Cleveland, where the water is considerably deeper (c.a. 15m). Here, a pronounced thermohaline circulation is predicted to occur which flushes the hypersalinity offshore at velocities of up to 0.08m/s. Flushing time of the coastal embayments is around 2-3weeks. During the dry season early summer, the thermohaline circulation reduces and therefore, flushing times are predicted to be slight longer due to the reduced onshore-offshore density gradient compared to that in the dry season winter period. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Diazotroph diversity and nitrogen fixation in the coral Stylophora pistillata from the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lesser, Michael P; Morrow, Kathleen M; Pankey, Sabrina M; Noonan, Sam H C

    2018-03-01

    Diazotrophs, both Bacteria and Archaea, capable of fixing nitrogen (N 2 ), are present in the tissues and mucous, of corals and can supplement the coral holobiont nitrogen budget with fixed nitrogen (N) in the form of ammonia (NH 3 ). Stylophora pistillata from Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef collected at 5 and 15 m, and experimentally manipulated in the laboratory, showed that the rates of net photosynthesis, steady state quantum yields of photosystem II (PSII) fluorescence (∆F v /F m ') and calcification varied based on irradiance as expected. Rates of N 2 fixation were, however, invariant across treatments while the amount of fixed N contributing to Symbiodinium spp. N demand is irradiance dependent. Additionally, both the Symbiodinium and diazotrophic communities are significantly different based on depth, and novel Cluster V nifH gene phylotypes, which are not known to fix nitrogen, were recovered. A functional analysis using PICRUSt also showed that shallow corals were enriched in genes involved in nitrogen metabolism, and N 2 fixation specifically. Corals have evolved a number of strategies to derive nitrogen from organic (e.g., heterotrophic feeding) and inorganic sources (e.g., N 2 fixation) to maintain critical pathways such as protein synthesis to succeed ecologically in nitrogen-limited habitats.

  16. Does behaviour affect the dispersal of flatback post-hatchlings in the Great Barrier Reef?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wildermann, Natalie; Critchell, Kay; Fuentes, Mariana M P B; Limpus, Colin J; Wolanski, Eric; Hamann, Mark

    2017-05-01

    The ability of individuals to actively control their movements, especially during the early life stages, can significantly influence the distribution of their population. Most marine turtle species develop oceanic foraging habitats during different life stages. However, flatback turtles ( Natator depressus ) are endemic to Australia and are the only marine turtle species with an exclusive neritic development. To explain the lack of oceanic dispersal of this species, we predicted the dispersal of post-hatchlings in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, using oceanographic advection-dispersal models. We included directional swimming in our models and calibrated them against the observed distribution of post-hatchling and adult turtles. We simulated the dispersal of green and loggerhead turtles since they also breed in the same region. Our study suggests that the neritic distribution of flatback post-hatchlings is favoured by the inshore distribution of nesting beaches, the local water circulation and directional swimming during their early dispersal. This combination of factors is important because, under the conditions tested, if flatback post-hatchlings were entirely passively transported, they would be advected into oceanic habitats after 40 days. Our results reinforce the importance of oceanography and directional swimming in the early life stages and their influence on the distribution of a marine turtle species.

  17. Metagenomic analysis of the coral holobiont during a natural bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Littman, Raechel; Willis, Bette L; Bourne, David G

    2011-12-01

    Understanding the effects of elevated seawater temperatures on each member of the coral holobiont (the complex comprised of coral polyps and associated symbiotic microorganisms, including Bacteria, viruses, Fungi, Archaea and endolithic algae) is becoming increasingly important as evidence accumulates that microbial members contribute to overall coral health, particularly during thermal stress. Here we use a metagenomic approach to identify metabolic and taxonomic shifts in microbial communities associated with the hard coral Acropora millepora throughout a natural thermal bleaching event at Magnetic Island (Great Barrier Reef). A direct comparison of metagenomic data sets from healthy versus bleached corals indicated major shifts in microbial associates during heat stress, including Bacteria, Archaea, viruses, Fungi and micro-algae. Overall, metabolism of the microbial community shifted from autotrophy to heterotrophy, including increases in genes associated with the metabolism of fatty acids, proteins, simple carbohydrates, phosphorus and sulfur. In addition, the proportion of virulence genes was higher in the bleached library, indicating an increase in microorganisms capable of pathogenesis following bleaching. These results demonstrate that thermal stress results in shifts in coral-associated microbial communities that may lead to deteriorating coral health. © 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  18. A population genetic assessment of coral recovery on highly disturbed reefs of the Keppel Island archipelago in the southern Great Barrier Reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Madeleine J.H. van Oppen

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs surrounding the islands lying close to the coast are unique to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR in that they are frequently exposed to disturbance events including floods caused by cyclonic rainfall, strong winds and occasional periods of prolonged above-average temperatures during summer. In one such group of islands in the southern GBR, the Keppel Island archipelago, climate-driven disturbances frequently result in major coral mortality. Whilst these island reefs have clearly survived such dramatic disturbances in the past, the consequences of extreme mortality events may include the loss of genetic diversity, and hence adaptive potential, and a reduction in fitness due to inbreeding, especially if new recruitment from external sources is limited. Here we examined the level of isolation of the Keppel Island group as well as patterns of gene flow within the Keppel Islands using 10 microsatellite markers in nine populations of the coral, Acropora millepora. Bayesian cluster analysis and assignment tests indicated gene flow is restricted, but not absent, between the outer and inner Keppel Island groups, and that extensive gene flow exists within each of these island groups. Comparison of the Keppel Island data with results from a previous GBR-wide study that included a single Keppel Island population, confirmed that A. millepora in the Keppel Islands is genetically distinct from populations elsewhere on the GBR, with exception of the nearby inshore High Peak Reef just north of the Keppel Islands. We compared patterns of genetic diversity in the Keppel Island populations with those from other GBR populations and found them to be slightly, but significantly lower, consistent with the archipelago being geographically isolated, but there was no evidence for recent bottlenecks or deviation from mutation-drift equilibrium. A high incidence of private alleles in the Keppel Islands, particularly in the outer islands, supports their relative

  19. A population genetic assessment of coral recovery on highly disturbed reefs of the Keppel Island archipelago in the southern Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Berkelmans, Ray; Peplow, Lesa M; Jones, Alison M

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs surrounding the islands lying close to the coast are unique to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in that they are frequently exposed to disturbance events including floods caused by cyclonic rainfall, strong winds and occasional periods of prolonged above-average temperatures during summer. In one such group of islands in the southern GBR, the Keppel Island archipelago, climate-driven disturbances frequently result in major coral mortality. Whilst these island reefs have clearly survived such dramatic disturbances in the past, the consequences of extreme mortality events may include the loss of genetic diversity, and hence adaptive potential, and a reduction in fitness due to inbreeding, especially if new recruitment from external sources is limited. Here we examined the level of isolation of the Keppel Island group as well as patterns of gene flow within the Keppel Islands using 10 microsatellite markers in nine populations of the coral, Acropora millepora. Bayesian cluster analysis and assignment tests indicated gene flow is restricted, but not absent, between the outer and inner Keppel Island groups, and that extensive gene flow exists within each of these island groups. Comparison of the Keppel Island data with results from a previous GBR-wide study that included a single Keppel Island population, confirmed that A. millepora in the Keppel Islands is genetically distinct from populations elsewhere on the GBR, with exception of the nearby inshore High Peak Reef just north of the Keppel Islands. We compared patterns of genetic diversity in the Keppel Island populations with those from other GBR populations and found them to be slightly, but significantly lower, consistent with the archipelago being geographically isolated, but there was no evidence for recent bottlenecks or deviation from mutation-drift equilibrium. A high incidence of private alleles in the Keppel Islands, particularly in the outer islands, supports their relative isolation and contributes

  20. Assessing community values for reducing agricultural emissions to improve water quality and protect coral health in the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rolfe, John; Windle, Jill

    2011-12-01

    Policymakers wanting to increase protection of the Great Barrier Reef from pollutants generated by agriculture need to identify when measures to improve water quality generate benefits to society that outweigh the costs involved. The research reported in this paper makes a contribution in several ways. First, it uses the improved science understanding about the links between management changes and reef health to bring together the analysis of costs and benefits of marginal changes, helping to demonstrate the appropriate way of addressing policy questions relating to reef protection. Second, it uses the scientific relationships to frame a choice experiment to value the benefits of improved reef health, with the results of mixed logit (random parameter) models linking improvements explicitly to changes in "water quality units." Third, the research demonstrates how protection values are consistent across a broader population, with some limited evidence of distance effects. Fourth, the information on marginal costs and benefits that are reported provide policymakers with information to help improve management decisions. The results indicate that while there is potential for water quality improvements to generate net benefits, high cost water quality improvements are generally uneconomic. A major policy implication is that cost thresholds for key pollutants should be set to avoid more expensive water quality proposals being selected.

  1. RESEARCH: Influence of Social, Biophysical, and Managerial Conditions on Tourism Experiences Within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shafer; Inglis

    2000-07-01

    / Managing protected areas involves balancing the enjoyment of visitors with the protection of a variety of cultural and biophysical resources. Tourism pressures in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) are creating concerns about how to strike this balance in a marine environment. Terrestrial-based research has led to conceptual planning and management frameworks that address issues of human use and resource protection. The limits of acceptable change (LAC) framework was used as a conceptual basis for a study of snorkeling at reef sites in the GBRWHA. The intent was to determine if different settings existed among tourism operators traveling to the reef and, if so, to identify specific conditions relating to those settings. Snorkelers (N = 1475) traveling with tourism operations of different sizes who traveled to different sites completed surveys. Results indicated that snorkelers who traveled with larger operations (more people and infrastructure) differed from those traveling with smaller operations (few people and little on-site infrastructure) on benefits received and in the way that specific conditions influenced their enjoyment. Benefits related to nature, escape, and family helped to define reef experiences. Conditions related to coral, fish, and operator staff had a positive influence on the enjoyment of most visitors but, number of people on the trip and site infrastructure may have the greatest potential as setting indicators. Data support the potential usefulness of visitor input in applying the LAC concept to a marine environment where tourism and recreational uses are rapidly changing.

  2. Ecologically based targets for bioavailable (reactive) nitrogen discharge from the drainage basins of the Wet Tropics region, Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wooldridge, Scott A; Brodie, Jon E; Kroon, Frederieke J; Turner, Ryan D R

    2015-08-15

    A modelling framework is developed for the Wet Tropics region of the Great Barrier Reef that links a quantitative river discharge parameter (viz. dissolved inorganic nitrogen concentration, DIN) with an eutrophication indicator within the marine environment (viz. chlorophyll-a concentration, chl-a). The model predicts catchment-specific levels of reduction (%) in end-of-river DIN concentrations (as a proxy for total potentially reactive nitrogen, PRN) needed to ensure compliance with chl-a 'trigger' guidelines for the ecologically distinct, but PRN-related issues of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) outbreaks, reef biodiversity loss, and thermal bleaching sensitivity. The results indicate that even for river basins dominated by agricultural land uses, quite modest reductions in end-of-river PRN concentrations (∼20-40%) may assist in mitigating the risk of primary COTS outbreaks from the mid-shelf reefs of the Wet Tropics. However, more significant reductions (∼60-80%) are required to halt and reverse declines in reef biodiversity, and loss of thermal bleaching resistance. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Environmental triggers for primary outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wooldridge, Scott A; Brodie, Jon E

    2015-12-30

    In this paper, we postulate a unique environmental triggering sequence for primary outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS, Acanthaster planci) on the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia). Notably, we extend the previous terrestrial runoff hypothesis, viz. nutrient-enriched terrestrial runoff → elevated phytoplankton 'bloom' concentrations → enhanced COTS larval survival, to include the additional importance of strong larvae retention around reefs or within reef groups (clusters) that share enhanced phytoplankton concentrations. For the central GBR, this scenario is shown to occur when El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) linked hydrodynamic conditions cause the 'regional' larval connectivity network to fragment into smaller 'local' reef clusters due to low ocean current velocities. As inter-annual variations in hydrodynamic circulation patterns are not amenable to direct management intervention, the ability to reduce the future frequency of COTS outbreaks on the central GBR is shown to be contingent on reducing terrestrial bioavailable nutrient loads ~20-40%. Crown Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Palaeoecological evidence of a historical collapse of corals at Pelorus Island, inshore Great Barrier Reef, following European settlement

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roff, George; Clark, Tara R.; Reymond, Claire E.; Zhao, Jian-xin; Feng, Yuexing; McCook, Laurence J.; Done, Terence J.; Pandolfi, John M.

    2013-01-01

    The inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have undergone significant declines in water quality following European settlement (approx. 1870 AD). However, direct evidence of impacts on coral assemblages is limited by a lack of historical baselines prior to the onset of modern monitoring programmes in the early 1980s. Through palaeoecological reconstructions, we report a previously undocumented historical collapse of Acropora assemblages at Pelorus Island (central GBR). High-precision U-series dating of dead Acropora fragments indicates that this collapse occurred between 1920 and 1955, with few dates obtained after 1980. Prior to this event, our results indicate remarkable long-term stability in coral community structure over centennial scales. We suggest that chronic increases in sediment flux and nutrient loading following European settlement acted as the ultimate cause for the lack of recovery of Acropora assemblages following a series of acute disturbance events (SST anomalies, cyclones and flood events). Evidence for major degradation in reef condition owing to human impacts prior to modern ecological surveys indicates that current monitoring of inshore reefs on the GBR may be predicated on a significantly shifted baseline. PMID:23135672

  5. Seasonal organic matter dynamics in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon: Contribution of carbohydrates and proteins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lønborg, Christian; Doyle, Jason; Furnas, Miles; Menendez, Patricia; Benthuysen, Jessica A.; Carreira, Cátia

    2017-04-01

    Organic matter (OM) plays a fundamental role in sustaining the high productivity of coral reef ecosystems. Carbohydrates and proteins constitute two of the major chemical classes identified in the OM pool and are used as indicators of bioavailability due to their fast turn-over. We conducted three cruises across the southern shelf of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) during the early dry, late dry and wet seasons in 2009-2010 to 1) assess the relative bioavailability of particulate (POM) and dissolved (DOM) organic matter, 2) track the temporal and spatial variability in the carbohydrate and protein contribution to the OM pool, and 3) assess factors influencing protein and carbohydrate fractions of the OM pool. Generally, higher concentrations of particulate carbohydrates were found during the wet season, while similar concentrations of particulate protein were found during the three seasons. Both the dissolved carbohydrates and proteins had highest levels during the early dry season and lowest during the wet season, suggesting seasonal variations in the chemical composition of the DOM pool. Spatially, carbohydrates showed higher concentrations at the inshore stations, while no clear spatial pattern was found for the protein concentrations. On average carbohydrates and proteins accounted for a similar fraction (13±5 and 12±6% respectively) of POM, while carbohydrates accounted for a smaller fraction of the DOM than the proteins (6±3 and 13±10%). This suggests that the POM bioavailability was similar between seasons, while the DOM bioavailability varied seasonally with highest levels during the early dry season. This demonstrates that carbohydrates and proteins in the GBR have temporal and spatial variations. Our statistical analysis showed that 1) both carbohydrates and proteins were related with the POM and DOM C:N:P stoichiometry, demonstrating that both bulk estimates (stoichiometry) and specific compounds (CHO and Prot) provide useful measures of OM

  6. Monitoring the environment and human sentiment on the Great Barrier Reef: Assessing the potential of collective sensing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Becken, Susanne; Stantic, Bela; Chen, Jinyan; Alaei, Ali Reza; Connolly, Rod M

    2017-12-01

    With the growth of smartphone usage the number of social media posts has significantly increased and represents potentially valuable information for management, including of natural resources and the environment. Already, evidence of using 'human sensor' in crises management suggests that collective knowledge could be used to complement traditional monitoring. This research uses Twitter data posted from the Great Barrier Reef region, Australia, to assess whether the extent and type of data could be used to Great Barrier Reef organisations as part of their monitoring program. The analysis reveals that large amounts of tweets, covering the geographic area of interest, are available and that the pool of information providers is greatly enhanced by the large number of tourists to this region. A keyword and sentiment analysis demonstrates the usefulness of the Twitter data, but also highlights that the actual number of Reef-related tweets is comparatively small and lacks specificity. Suggestions for further steps towards the development of an integrative data platform that incorporates social media are provided. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Stability of coral-endosymbiont associations during and after a thermal stress event in the southern Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stat, M.; Loh, W. K. W.; Lajeunesse, T. C.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Carter, D. A.

    2009-09-01

    Shifts in the community of symbiotic dinoflagellates to those that are better suited to the prevailing environmental condition may provide reef-building corals with a rapid mechanism by which to adapt to changes in the environment. In this study, the dominant Symbiodinium in 10 coral species in the southern Great Barrier Reef was monitored over a 1-year period in 2002 that coincided with a thermal stress event. Molecular genetic profiling of Symbiodinium communities using single strand conformational polymorphism of the large subunit rDNA and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the internal transcribed spacer 2 region did not detect any changes in the communities during and after this thermal-stress event. Coral colonies of seven species bleached but recovered with their original symbionts. This study suggests that the shuffling or switching of symbionts in response to thermal stress may be restricted to certain coral species and is probably not a universal feature of the coral-symbiont relationship.

  8. Interactions between a Trawl fishery and spatial closures for biodiversity conservation in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alana Grech

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (ECOTF for penaeid shrimp fishes within Australia's Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA. The past decade has seen the implementation of conservation and fisheries management strategies to reduce the impact of the ECOTF on the seabed and improve biodiversity conservation. New information from electronic vessel location monitoring systems (VMS provides an opportunity to review the interactions between the ECOTF and spatial closures for biodiversity conservation. METHODOLOGY AND RESULTS: We used fishing metrics and spatial information on the distribution of closures and modelled VMS data in a geographical information system (GIS to assess change in effort of the trawl fishery from 2001-2009 and to quantify the exposure of 70 reef, non-reef and deep water bioregions to trawl fishing. The number of trawlers and the number of days fished almost halved between 2001 and 2009 and new spatial closures introduced in 2004 reduced the area zoned available for trawl fishing by 33%. However, we found that there was only a relatively minor change in the spatial footprint of the fishery as a result of new spatial closures. Non-reef bioregions benefited the most from new spatial closures followed by deep and reef bioregions. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Although the catch of non target species remains an issue of concern for fisheries management, the small spatial footprint of the ECOTF relative to the size of the GBRWHA means that the impact on benthic habitats is likely to be negligible. The decline in effort as a result of fishing industry structural adjustment, increasing variable costs and business decisions of fishers is likely to continue a trend to fish only in the most productive areas. This will provide protection for most benthic habitats without any further legislative or management intervention.

  9. Interactions between a Trawl fishery and spatial closures for biodiversity conservation in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grech, Alana; Coles, Rob

    2011-01-01

    The Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (ECOTF) for penaeid shrimp fishes within Australia's Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). The past decade has seen the implementation of conservation and fisheries management strategies to reduce the impact of the ECOTF on the seabed and improve biodiversity conservation. New information from electronic vessel location monitoring systems (VMS) provides an opportunity to review the interactions between the ECOTF and spatial closures for biodiversity conservation. We used fishing metrics and spatial information on the distribution of closures and modelled VMS data in a geographical information system (GIS) to assess change in effort of the trawl fishery from 2001-2009 and to quantify the exposure of 70 reef, non-reef and deep water bioregions to trawl fishing. The number of trawlers and the number of days fished almost halved between 2001 and 2009 and new spatial closures introduced in 2004 reduced the area zoned available for trawl fishing by 33%. However, we found that there was only a relatively minor change in the spatial footprint of the fishery as a result of new spatial closures. Non-reef bioregions benefited the most from new spatial closures followed by deep and reef bioregions. Although the catch of non target species remains an issue of concern for fisheries management, the small spatial footprint of the ECOTF relative to the size of the GBRWHA means that the impact on benthic habitats is likely to be negligible. The decline in effort as a result of fishing industry structural adjustment, increasing variable costs and business decisions of fishers is likely to continue a trend to fish only in the most productive areas. This will provide protection for most benthic habitats without any further legislative or management intervention.

  10. Host-specific interactions with environmental factors shape the distribution of symbiodinium across the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Linda Tonk

    Full Text Available The endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium within coral reef invertebrates are critical to the survival of the holobiont. The genetic variability of Symbiodinium may contribute to the tolerance of the symbiotic association to elevated sea surface temperatures (SST. To assess the importance of factors such as the local environment, host identity and biogeography in driving Symbiodinium distributions on reef-wide scales, data from studies on reef invertebrate-Symbiodinium associations from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR were compiled.The resulting database consisted of 3717 entries from 26 studies. It was used to explore ecological patterns such as host-specificity and environmental drivers structuring community complexity using a multi-scalar approach. The data was analyzed in several ways: (i frequently sampled host species were analyzed independently to investigate the influence of the environment on symbiont distributions, thereby excluding the influence of host specificity, (ii host species distributions across sites were added as an environmental variable to determine the contribution of host identity on symbiont distribution, and (iii data were pooled based on clade (broad genetic groups dividing the genus Symbiodinium to investigate factors driving Symbiodinium distributions using lower taxonomic resolution. The results indicated that host species identity plays a dominant role in determining the distribution of Symbiodinium and environmental variables shape distributions on a host species-specific level. SST derived variables (especially SSTstdev most often contributed to the selection of the best model. Clade level comparisons decreased the power of the predictive model indicating that it fails to incorporate the main drivers behind Symbiodinium distributions.Including the influence of different host species on Symbiodinium distributional patterns improves our understanding of the drivers behind the complexity of Symbiodinium

  11. Do clouds save the great barrier reef? satellite imagery elucidates the cloud-SST relationship at the local scale.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Susannah M Leahy

    Full Text Available Evidence of global climate change and rising sea surface temperatures (SSTs is now well documented in the scientific literature. With corals already living close to their thermal maxima, increases in SSTs are of great concern for the survival of coral reefs. Cloud feedback processes may have the potential to constrain SSTs, serving to enforce an "ocean thermostat" and promoting the survival of coral reefs. In this study, it was hypothesized that cloud cover can affect summer SSTs in the tropics. Detailed direct and lagged relationships between cloud cover and SST across the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR shelf were investigated using data from satellite imagery and in situ temperature and light loggers during two relatively hot summers (2005 and 2006 and two relatively cool summers (2007 and 2008. Across all study summers and shelf positions, SSTs exhibited distinct drops during periods of high cloud cover, and conversely, SST increases during periods of low cloud cover, with a three-day temporal lag between a change in cloud cover and a subsequent change in SST. Cloud cover alone was responsible for up to 32.1% of the variation in SSTs three days later. The relationship was strongest in both El Niño (2005 and La Niña (2008 study summers and at the inner-shelf position in those summers. SST effects on subsequent cloud cover were weaker and more variable among study summers, with rising SSTs explaining up to 21.6% of the increase in cloud cover three days later. This work quantifies the often observed cloud cooling effect on coral reefs. It highlights the importance of incorporating local-scale processes into bleaching forecasting models, and encourages the use of remote sensing imagery to value-add to coral bleaching field studies and to more accurately predict risks to coral reefs.

  12. Host-specific interactions with environmental factors shape the distribution of symbiodinium across the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tonk, Linda; Sampayo, Eugenia M; Weeks, Scarla; Magno-Canto, Marites; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2013-01-01

    The endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium) within coral reef invertebrates are critical to the survival of the holobiont. The genetic variability of Symbiodinium may contribute to the tolerance of the symbiotic association to elevated sea surface temperatures (SST). To assess the importance of factors such as the local environment, host identity and biogeography in driving Symbiodinium distributions on reef-wide scales, data from studies on reef invertebrate-Symbiodinium associations from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) were compiled. The resulting database consisted of 3717 entries from 26 studies. It was used to explore ecological patterns such as host-specificity and environmental drivers structuring community complexity using a multi-scalar approach. The data was analyzed in several ways: (i) frequently sampled host species were analyzed independently to investigate the influence of the environment on symbiont distributions, thereby excluding the influence of host specificity, (ii) host species distributions across sites were added as an environmental variable to determine the contribution of host identity on symbiont distribution, and (iii) data were pooled based on clade (broad genetic groups dividing the genus Symbiodinium) to investigate factors driving Symbiodinium distributions using lower taxonomic resolution. The results indicated that host species identity plays a dominant role in determining the distribution of Symbiodinium and environmental variables shape distributions on a host species-specific level. SST derived variables (especially SSTstdev) most often contributed to the selection of the best model. Clade level comparisons decreased the power of the predictive model indicating that it fails to incorporate the main drivers behind Symbiodinium distributions. Including the influence of different host species on Symbiodinium distributional patterns improves our understanding of the drivers behind the complexity of Symbiodinium

  13. Interactions between a Trawl Fishery and Spatial Closures for Biodiversity Conservation in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grech, Alana; Coles, Rob

    2011-01-01

    Background The Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (ECOTF) for penaeid shrimp fishes within Australia's Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). The past decade has seen the implementation of conservation and fisheries management strategies to reduce the impact of the ECOTF on the seabed and improve biodiversity conservation. New information from electronic vessel location monitoring systems (VMS) provides an opportunity to review the interactions between the ECOTF and spatial closures for biodiversity conservation. Methodology and Results We used fishing metrics and spatial information on the distribution of closures and modelled VMS data in a geographical information system (GIS) to assess change in effort of the trawl fishery from 2001–2009 and to quantify the exposure of 70 reef, non-reef and deep water bioregions to trawl fishing. The number of trawlers and the number of days fished almost halved between 2001 and 2009 and new spatial closures introduced in 2004 reduced the area zoned available for trawl fishing by 33%. However, we found that there was only a relatively minor change in the spatial footprint of the fishery as a result of new spatial closures. Non-reef bioregions benefited the most from new spatial closures followed by deep and reef bioregions. Conclusions/Significance Although the catch of non target species remains an issue of concern for fisheries management, the small spatial footprint of the ECOTF relative to the size of the GBRWHA means that the impact on benthic habitats is likely to be negligible. The decline in effort as a result of fishing industry structural adjustment, increasing variable costs and business decisions of fishers is likely to continue a trend to fish only in the most productive areas. This will provide protection for most benthic habitats without any further legislative or management intervention. PMID:21695155

  14. Do clouds save the great barrier reef? satellite imagery elucidates the cloud-SST relationship at the local scale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leahy, Susannah M; Kingsford, Michael J; Steinberg, Craig R

    2013-01-01

    Evidence of global climate change and rising sea surface temperatures (SSTs) is now well documented in the scientific literature. With corals already living close to their thermal maxima, increases in SSTs are of great concern for the survival of coral reefs. Cloud feedback processes may have the potential to constrain SSTs, serving to enforce an "ocean thermostat" and promoting the survival of coral reefs. In this study, it was hypothesized that cloud cover can affect summer SSTs in the tropics. Detailed direct and lagged relationships between cloud cover and SST across the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) shelf were investigated using data from satellite imagery and in situ temperature and light loggers during two relatively hot summers (2005 and 2006) and two relatively cool summers (2007 and 2008). Across all study summers and shelf positions, SSTs exhibited distinct drops during periods of high cloud cover, and conversely, SST increases during periods of low cloud cover, with a three-day temporal lag between a change in cloud cover and a subsequent change in SST. Cloud cover alone was responsible for up to 32.1% of the variation in SSTs three days later. The relationship was strongest in both El Niño (2005) and La Niña (2008) study summers and at the inner-shelf position in those summers. SST effects on subsequent cloud cover were weaker and more variable among study summers, with rising SSTs explaining up to 21.6% of the increase in cloud cover three days later. This work quantifies the often observed cloud cooling effect on coral reefs. It highlights the importance of incorporating local-scale processes into bleaching forecasting models, and encourages the use of remote sensing imagery to value-add to coral bleaching field studies and to more accurately predict risks to coral reefs.

  15. Excess seawater nutrients, enlarged algal symbiont densities and bleaching sensitive reef locations: 1. Identifying thresholds of concern for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wooldridge, Scott A

    2016-05-23

    Here, I contribute new insight into why excess seawater nutrients are an increasingly identified feature at reef locations that have low resistance to thermal stress. Specifically, I link this unfavourable synergism to the development of enlarged (suboptimal) zooxanthellae densities that paradoxically limit the capacity of the host coral to build tissue energy reserves needed to combat periods of stress. I explain how both theoretical predictions and field observations support the existence of species-specific 'optimal' zooxanthellae densities ~1.0-3.0×10 6 cellscm- 2 . For the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR), excess seawater nutrients that permit enlarged zooxanthellae densities beyond this optimum range are linked with seawater chlorophyll a>0.45μg·L -1 ; a eutrophication threshold previously shown to correlate with a significant loss in species for hard corals and phototrophic octocorals on the central GBR, and herein shown to correlate with enhanced bleaching sensitivity during the 1998 and 2002 mass bleaching events. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Organic biomarkers to describe the major carbon inputs and cycling of organic matter in the central Great Barrier Reef region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burns, Kathryn; Brinkman, Diane

    2011-06-01

    Controversy surrounds the sources and transport of land derived pollutants in the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem because there is insufficient knowledge of the mechanism of movement of organic contaminants and the cycling of organic matter in this dynamic system. Thus a sediment and sediment trap study was used to describe the composition of resuspended and surface sediments in the south central Great Barrier Reef and its lagoon. This region is characterised by strong tides (6-8 m at Mackay) and trade winds regularly about 15-20 knots. A series of organic biomarkers detailed the cyclical processes of sediment resuspension, recolonising with marine algae and bacteria, packaging into zooplankton faecal pellets and resettlement to sediments where the organics undergo further diagenesis. With each cycle the inshore sediments are diluted with CaCO 3 reef sediments and moved further offshore with the strong ebb tide currents. This results in transport of land derived materials offshore and little storage of organic materials in the lagoon or reef sediments. These processes were detailed by inorganic measurements such as %CaCO 3 and Al/Ca ratios, and by the compositions of hydrocarbon, sterol, alcohol, and fatty acid lipid fractions. Persistent contaminants such as coal dust from a coastal loading facility can be detected in high concentration inshore and decreasing out to the shelf break at 180 m approximately 40 nautical miles offshore. The normal processes would likely be amplified during cyclonic and other storms. The lipids show the sources of carbon to include diatoms and other phytoplankton, creanaerchaeota, sulfate reducing and other bacteria, land plants including mangrove leaves, plus coal dust and other petroleum contaminants.

  17. Evidence for ocean acidification in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wei, Gangjian; McCulloch, Malcolm T.; Mortimer, Graham; Deng, Wengfeng; Xie, Luhua

    2009-04-01

    Geochemical records preserved in the long-lived carbonate skeleton of corals provide one of the few means to reconstruct changes in seawater pH since the commencement of the industrial era. This information is important in not only determining the response of the surface oceans to ocean acidification from enhanced uptake of CO 2, but also to better understand the effects of ocean acidification on carbonate secreting organisms such as corals, whose ability to calcify is highly pH dependent. Here we report an ˜200 year δ 11B isotopic record, extracted from a long-lived Porites coral from the central Great Barrier Reef of Australia. This record covering the period from 1800 to 2004 was sampled at yearly increments from 1940 to the present and 5-year increments prior to 1940. The δ 11B isotopic compositions reflect variations in seawater pH, and the δ 13C changes in the carbon composition of surface water due to fossil fuel burning over this period. In addition complementary Ba/Ca, δ 18O and Mg/Ca data was obtained providing proxies for terrestrial runoff, salinity and temperature changes over the past 200 years in this region. Positive thermal ionization mass spectrometry (PTIMS) method was utilized in order to enable the highest precision and most accurate measurements of δ 11B values. The internal precision and reproducibility for δ 11B of our measurements are better than ±0.2‰ (2 σ), which translates to a precision of better than ±0.02 pH units. Our results indicate that the long-term pre-industrial variation of seawater pH in this region is partially related to the decadal-interdecadal variability of atmospheric and oceanic anomalies in the Pacific. In the periods around 1940 and 1998 there are also rapid oscillations in δ 11B compositions equivalent changes in pH of almost 0.5 U. The 1998 oscillation is co-incident with a major coral bleaching event indicating the sensitivity of skeletal δ 11B compositions to loss of zooxanthellate symbionts

  18. Nearshore Turbid-Zone Corals Exhibit High Bleaching Tolerance on the Great Barrier Reef Following the 2016 Ocean Warming Event

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kyle M. Morgan

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available High sea surface temperatures (SSTs on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR during summer 2015/2016 caused extensive coral bleaching, with aerial and in-water surveys confirming high (but variable bleaching-related coral mortality. In contrast, bleaching impacts on nearshore turbid-zone reefs, traditionally considered more “marginal” coral habitats, remain poorly documented. This is because rapid ecological surveys are difficult in these turbid water settings, and baseline coral community data from which to quantify disturbance are rare. However, models suggest that the extreme environmental conditions characteristic of nearshore settings (e.g., fluctuating turbidity, light, and temperature may acclimate corals to the thermal anomalies associated with bleaching on offshore reefs, although validation by field evidence has to-date been sparse. Here we present a novel pre- (June 2013/2014 and post-warming (August 2016 assessment of turbid-zone coral communities and examine the response of corals to prolonged and acute heat stress within the Paluma Shoals reef complex, located on the central GBR. Our analysis of 2,288 still video frames (~1,200 m2 which include 11,374 coral colonies (24 coral genera suggest a high tolerance of turbid-zone corals to bleaching, with no significant changes in coral cover (pre: 48 ± 20%; post: 55 ± 26% or coral community structure (e.g., Acropora, Montipora, Turbinaria, Porites following the warming event. Indeed, only one coral colony (Lobophyllia sp. exhibited full colony bleaching, and just 1.5% of colonies displayed partial pigmentation loss (<20% colony surface. Taxa-specific responses to this thermal stress event contrast with clear-water assessments, as Acropora corals which are normally reported as highly susceptible to bleaching on clear-water reefs were least impacted at Paluma Shoals, a phenomena that has been observed within other turbid settings. Importantly, field surveys confirm regional SSTs were

  19. Social Resilience and Commercial Fishers' Responses to Management Changes in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephen G. Sutton

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Understanding how social resilience influences resource users' responses to policy change is important for ensuring the sustainability of social-ecological systems and resource-dependent communities. We use the conceptualization and operationalization of social resilience proposed by Marshall and Marshall (2007 to investigate how resilience level influenced commercial fishers' perceptions about and adaptation to the 2004 rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We conducted face-to-face interviews with 114 commercial and charter fishers to measure their social resilience level and their responses and adaptation strategies to the 2004 zoning plan. Fishers with higher resilience were more likely to believe that the zoning plan was necessary, more likely to be supportive of the plan, and more likely to have adapted their fishing business and fishing activity to the plan than were fishers with lower social resilience. High-resilience fishers were also less likely to perceive negative impacts of the plan on their fishing business, less likely to have negative attitudes toward the consultation process used to develop and implement the plan, and less likely to have applied for financial compensation under the structural adjustment program. Results confirm the utility of the social resilience construct for identifying fishers who are likely to be vulnerable to changes, and those who are struggling to cope with change events. We conclude that managing for social resilience in the GBR would aid in the design and implementation of policies that minimize the impacts on resource users and lead to more inclusive and sustainable management, but that further research is necessary to better understand social resilience, how it can be fostered and sustained, and how it can be effectively incorporated into management.

  20. Modelling the fate of marine debris along a complex shoreline: Lessons from the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Critchell, K.; Grech, A.; Schlaefer, J.; Andutta, F. P.; Lambrechts, J.; Wolanski, E.; Hamann, M.

    2015-12-01

    The accumulation of floating anthropogenic debris in marine and coastal areas has environmental, economic, aesthetic, and human health impacts. Until now, modelling the transport of such debris has largely been restricted to the large-scales of open seas. We used oceanographic modelling to identify potential sites of debris accumulation along a rugged coastline with headlands, islands, rocky coasts and beaches. Our study site was the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area that has an emerging problem with debris accumulation. We found that the classical techniques of modelling the transport of floating debris models are only moderately successful due to a number of unknowns or assumptions, such as the value of the wind drift coefficient, the variability of the oceanic forcing and of the wind, the resuspension of some floating debris by waves, and the poorly known relative contribution of floating debris from urban rivers and commercial and recreational shipping. Nevertheless the model was successful in reproducing a number of observations such as the existence of hot spots of accumulation. The orientation of beaches to the prevailing wind direction affected the accumulation rate of debris. The wind drift coefficient and the exact timing of the release of the debris at sea affected little the movement of debris originating from rivers but it affected measurably that of debris originating from ships. It was thus possible to produce local hotspot maps for floating debris, especially those originating from rivers. Such modelling can be used to inform local management decisions, and it also identifies likely priority research areas to more reliably predict the trajectory and landing points of floating debris.

  1. A species pair of Bivesicula Yamaguti, 1934 (Trematoda: Bivesiculidae) in unrelated Great Barrier Reef fishes: implications for the basis of speciation in coral reef fish trematodes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trieu, Nancy; Cutmore, Scott C; Miller, Terrence L; Cribb, Thomas H

    2015-07-01

    Combined morphological and molecular analysis shows that a species of Bivesicula Yamaguti, 1934 from four species of Apogonidae Günther [Nectamia fusca (Quoy & Gaimard), Ostorhinchus angustatus (Smith & Radcliffe), O. cookii (Macleay) and Taeniamia fucata (Cantor)] on the Great Barrier Reef is morphologically similar to, but clearly distinct from B. unexpecta Cribb, Bray & Barker, 1994 which infects a sympatric pomacentrid, Acanthochromis polyacanthus (Bleeker). Bivesicula neglecta n. sp. is proposed for the form from apogonids. Novel ITS2 rDNA sequences generated for the two species differ at just one consistent base position, implying that the two species are closely related. The combination of their close relationship, high but distinct specificity and co-occurrence suggests that speciation was driven by a recent host switching event enabled by similar dietary ecomorphology.

  2. The use of otolith morphology to indicate the stock structure of common coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus) on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    OpenAIRE

    Bergenius, Mikaela A. J.; Begg, Gavin A.; Mapstone, Bruce D.

    2006-01-01

    We investigated the use of otolith morphology to indicate the stock structure of an exploited serranid coral reef fish, Plectropomus leopardus, on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Otoliths were measured by traditional one-and two-dimensional measures (otolith length, width, area, perimeter, circularity, and rectangularity), as well as by Fourier analysis to capture the finer details of otolith shape. Variables were compared among four regions of the GBR separated by hundreds of kilome...

  3. Relative impact of parrotfish grazing scars on massive Porites corals at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef

    OpenAIRE

    Bonaldo, RM; Krajewski, JP; Bellwood, DR

    2011-01-01

    Scraping and excavating parrotfishes are well known for their marked differences in jaw morphology and feeding behaviour. Despite the importance of parrotfishes to reef systems and the well-known differences within the group, few studies have compared the functional importance of scraping versus excavating parrotfishes in shaping coral reef benthic communities. We compared the abundance, depth and dynamics of scraping and excavating parrotfish grazing scars on massive Porites spp. colonies al...

  4. Variation in the composition of corals, fishes, sponges, echinoderms, ascidians, molluscs, foraminifera and macroalgae across a pronounced in-to-offshore environmental gradient in the Jakarta Bay-Thousand Islands coral reef complex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cleary, D F R; Polónia, A R M; Renema, W; Hoeksema, B W; Rachello-Dolmen, P G; Moolenbeek, R G; Budiyanto, A; Yahmantoro; Tuti, Y; Giyanto; Draisma, S G A; Prud'homme van Reine, W F; Hariyanto, R; Gittenberger, A; Rikoh, M S; de Voogd, N J

    2016-09-30

    Substrate cover, water quality parameters and assemblages of corals, fishes, sponges, echinoderms, ascidians, molluscs, benthic foraminifera and macroalgae were sampled across a pronounced environmental gradient in the Jakarta Bay-Thousand Islands reef complex. Inshore sites mainly consisted of sand, rubble and turf algae with elevated temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH and chlorophyll concentrations and depauperate assemblages of all taxa. Live coral cover was very low inshore and mainly consisted of sparse massive coral heads and a few encrusting species. Faunal assemblages were more speciose and compositionally distinct mid- and offshore compared to inshore. There were, however, small-scale differences among taxa. Certain midshore sites, for example, housed assemblages resembling those typical of the inshore environment but this differed depending on the taxon. Substrate, water quality and spatial variables together explained from 31% (molluscs) to 72% (foraminifera) of the variation in composition. In general, satellite-derived parameters outperformed locally measured parameters. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. The relative abundance of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) among other zwitterions in branching coral at Heron Island, southern Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swan, Hilton B; Deschaseaux, Elisabeth S M; Jones, Graham B; Eyre, Bradley D

    2017-07-01

    Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and eleven other target zwitterions were quantified in the branch tips of six Acropora species and Stylophora pistillata hard coral growing on the reef flat surrounding Heron Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (HILIC-MS) was used for sample analysis with isotope dilution MS applied to quantify DMSP. The concentration of DMSP was ten times greater in A. aspera than A. valida, with this difference being maintained throughout the spring, summer and winter seasons. In contrast, glycine betaine was present in significantly higher concentrations in these species during the summer than the winter. Exposure of branch tips of A. aspera to air and hypo-saline seawater for up to 1 h did not alter the concentrations of DMSP present in the coral when compared with control samples. DMSP was the most abundant target zwitterion in the six Acropora species examined, ranging from 44-78% of all target zwitterions in A. millepora and A. aspera, respectively. In contrast, DMSP only accounted for 7% in S. pistillata, with glycine betaine and stachydrine collectively accounting for 88% of all target zwitterions in this species. The abundance of DMSP in the six Acropora species examined points to Acropora coral being an important source for the biogeochemical cycling of sulfur throughout the GBR, since this reef-building branching coral dominates the coral cover of the GBR. Graphical Abstract HILIC-MS extracted ion chromatogram showing zwitterionic metabolites from the branching coral Acropora isopora.

  6. Flood impacts in Keppel Bay, southern great barrier reef in the aftermath of cyclonic rainfall.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison M Jones

    Full Text Available In December 2010, the highest recorded Queensland rainfall associated with Tropical Cyclone 'Tasha' caused flooding of the Fitzroy River in Queensland, Australia. A massive flood plume inundated coral reefs lying 12 km offshore of the Central Queensland coast near Yeppoon and caused 40-100% mortality to coral fringing many of the islands of Keppel Bay down to a depth of ∼8 m. The severity of coral mortality was influenced by the level of exposure to low salinity seawater as a result of the reef's distance from the flood plume and to a lesser extent, water depth and whether or not the reef faced the plume source. There was no evidence in this study of mortality resulting from pollutants derived from the nearby Fitzroy Catchment, at least in the short term, suggesting that during a major flood, the impact of low salinity on corals outweighs that of pollutants. Recovery of the reefs in Keppel Bay from the 2010/2011 Fitzroy River flood is likely to take 10-15 years based on historical recovery periods from a similar event in 1991; potentially impacting visitor numbers for tourism and recreational usage. In the meantime, activities like snorkeling, diving and coral viewing will be focused on the few shallow reefs that survived the flood, placing even further pressure on their recovery. Reef regeneration, restoration and rehabilitation are measures that may be needed to support tourism in the short term. However, predictions of a warming climate, lower rainfall and higher intensity summer rain events in the Central and Coastal regions of Australia over the next decade, combined with the current anthropogenic influences on water quality, are likely to slow regeneration with consequent impact on long-term reef resilience.

  7. Flood impacts in Keppel Bay, southern great barrier reef in the aftermath of cyclonic rainfall.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Alison M; Berkelmans, Ray

    2014-01-01

    In December 2010, the highest recorded Queensland rainfall associated with Tropical Cyclone 'Tasha' caused flooding of the Fitzroy River in Queensland, Australia. A massive flood plume inundated coral reefs lying 12 km offshore of the Central Queensland coast near Yeppoon and caused 40-100% mortality to coral fringing many of the islands of Keppel Bay down to a depth of ∼8 m. The severity of coral mortality was influenced by the level of exposure to low salinity seawater as a result of the reef's distance from the flood plume and to a lesser extent, water depth and whether or not the reef faced the plume source. There was no evidence in this study of mortality resulting from pollutants derived from the nearby Fitzroy Catchment, at least in the short term, suggesting that during a major flood, the impact of low salinity on corals outweighs that of pollutants. Recovery of the reefs in Keppel Bay from the 2010/2011 Fitzroy River flood is likely to take 10-15 years based on historical recovery periods from a similar event in 1991; potentially impacting visitor numbers for tourism and recreational usage. In the meantime, activities like snorkeling, diving and coral viewing will be focused on the few shallow reefs that survived the flood, placing even further pressure on their recovery. Reef regeneration, restoration and rehabilitation are measures that may be needed to support tourism in the short term. However, predictions of a warming climate, lower rainfall and higher intensity summer rain events in the Central and Coastal regions of Australia over the next decade, combined with the current anthropogenic influences on water quality, are likely to slow regeneration with consequent impact on long-term reef resilience.

  8. Environmental Factors Controlling the Distribution of Symbiodinium Harboured by the Coral Acropora millepora on the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooper, Timothy F.; Berkelmans, Ray; Ulstrup, Karin E.; Weeks, Scarla; Radford, Ben; Jones, Alison M.; Doyle, Jason; Canto, Marites; O'Leary, Rebecca A.; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.

    2011-01-01

    Background The Symbiodinium community associated with scleractinian corals is widely considered to be shaped by seawater temperature, as the coral's upper temperature tolerance is largely contingent on the Symbiodinium types harboured. Few studies have challenged this paradigm as knowledge of other environmental drivers on the distribution of Symbiodinium is limited. Here, we examine the influence of a range of environmental variables on the distribution of Symbiodinium associated with Acropora millepora collected from 47 coral reefs spanning 1,400 km on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Methodology/Principal Findings The environmental data included Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite data at 1 km spatial resolution from which a number of sea surface temperature (SST) and water quality metrics were derived. In addition, the carbonate and mud composition of sediments were incorporated into the analysis along with in situ water quality samples for a subset of locations. Analyses were conducted at three spatio-temporal scales [GBR (regional-scale), Whitsunday Islands (local-scale) and Keppel Islands/Trunk Reef (temporal)] to examine the effects of scale on the distribution patterns. While SST metrics were important drivers of the distribution of Symbiodinium types at regional and temporal scales, our results demonstrate that spatial variability in water quality correlates significantly with Symbiodinium distribution at local scales. Background levels of Symbiodinium types were greatest at turbid inshore locations of the Whitsunday Islands where SST predictors were not as important. This was not the case at regional scales where combinations of mud and carbonate sediment content coupled with SST anomalies and mean summer SST explained 51.3% of the variation in dominant Symbiodinium communities. Conclusions/Significance Reef corals may respond to global-scale stressors such as climate change through changes in their resident symbiont

  9. Fore reef upper slope mixed sedimentation response to penultimate glacial interglacial sea level fluctuations: IODP Hole 325-M0058A , Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harper, B.; Bernabéu; Droxler, A. W.; Webster, J. M.; Thomas, A. L.; Tiwari, M.; Gischler, E.; Jovane, L.; Morgan, S.; Lado-Insua, T.

    2012-12-01

    High resolution stratigraphy in IODP Expedition 325 Hole-M0058A(58A) shows that the mixed carbonate siliciclastic sedimentary section, cored on the upper slope of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) SE of Cairns, corresponds to the last 200 ky or almost two full late Quaternary glacial-interglacial cycles. Contrary to what has been observed in similar settings, strontium (Sr) and silica (Si) X-ray Fluorescence counts-proxies for reef-derived carbonate and terrigenous exports to the upper slope, respectively-appear to be out of phase of well-established models such as highstand shedding for periplatform sediment and lowstand shedding for siliciclastics systems. Hole 58A, drilled at 167 mbsl, is the deepest site along a 7 site transect SE of Cairns offshore the GBR. The recovered 41.4 m-long sedimentary sequence is mainly composed of three unconsolidated green mud sections intercalated with two distinct sandy intervals. The close proximity to the modern GBR and shallow water depth of this hole allows for dramatic changes in sedimentation and energy as a result of the glacial-interglacial high amplitude sea level fluctuations. Planktic foraminifer tests of the species Globigerinoides ruber (white) were picked and analyzed every 10 cm to produce a high resolution oxygen isotope record at Hole 58A. This record clearly exhibits δ18O cyclic variations that are interpreted to correspond with Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 1-7 or the last 200ky. The disappearance of G. ruber (pink) at 28.5 m, in addition to several uranium/thorium dates, confirm that the interval between 30 and 28 m characterized by a sharp δ18O decrease corresponds to Termination II; moreover three radiocarbon ages (6550 years BP or younger) within the top 6 m of Hole 58A confirm the Holocene. Throughout Hole 58A, Sr and Si count variations appear to be out of phase suggesting periods of alternating neritic and terrigenous input dominance to the upper slope. The pattern, however, does not follow the typical

  10. The Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment: Mangrove, Tidal Emergent Marsh, Barrier Islands, and Oyster Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watson, Amanda; Reece, Joshua S.; Tirpak, Blair; Edwards, Cynthia Kallio; Geselbracht, Laura; Woodrey, Mark; LaPeyre, Megan K.; Dalyander, P. Soupy

    2015-01-01

    Climate, sea level rise, and urbanization are undergoing unprecedented levels of combined change and are expected to have large effects on natural resources—particularly along the Gulf of Mexico coastline (Gulf Coast). Management decisions to address these effects (i.e., adaptation) require an understanding of the relative vulnerability of various resources to these stressors. To meet this need, the four Landscape Conservation Cooperatives along the Gulf partnered with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to conduct this Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment (GCVA). Vulnerability in this context incorporates the aspects of exposure and sensitivity to threats, coupled with the adaptive capacity to mitigate those threats. Potential impact and adaptive capacity reflect natural history features of target species and ecosystems. The GCVA used an expert opinion approach to qualitatively assess the vulnerability of four ecosystems: mangrove, oyster reef, tidal emergent marsh, and barrier islands, and a suite of wildlife species that depend on them. More than 50 individuals participated in the completion of the GCVA, facilitated via Ecosystem and Species Expert Teams. Of the species assessed, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was identified as the most vulnerable species across the Gulf Coast. Experts identified the main threats as loss of nesting habitat to sea level rise, erosion, and urbanization. Kemp’s ridley also had an overall low adaptive capacity score due to their low genetic diversity, and higher nest site fidelity as compared to other assessed species. Tidal emergent marsh was the most vulnerable ecosystem, due in part to sea level rise and erosion. In general, avian species were more vulnerable than fish because of nesting habitat loss to sea level rise, erosion, and potential increases in storm surge. Assessors commonly indicated a lack of information regarding impacts due to projected changes in the disturbance regime, biotic interactions, and synergistic effects in both

  11. Multivariate analysis of water quality and environmental variables in the Great Barrier Reef catchments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ryu, D.; Liu, S.; Western, A. W.; Webb, J. A.; Lintern, A.; Leahy, P.; Wilson, P.; Watson, M.; Waters, D.; Bende-Michl, U.

    2016-12-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon has been experiencing significant water quality deterioration due in part to agricultural intensification and urban settlement in adjacent catchments. The degradation of water quality in rivers is caused by land-derived pollutants (i.e. sediment, nutrient and pesticide). A better understanding of dynamics of water quality is essential for land management to improve the GBR ecosystem. However, water quality is also greatly influenced by natural hydrological processes. To assess influencing factors and predict the water quality accurately, selection of the most important predictors of water quality is necessary. In this work, multivariate statistical techniques - cluster analysis (CA), principal component analysis (PCA) and factor analysis (FA) - are used to reduce the complexity derived from the multidimensional water quality monitoring data. Seventeen stations are selected across the GBR catchments, and the event-based measurements of 12 variables monitored during 9 years (2006 - 2014) were analysed by means of CA and PCA/FA. The key findings are: (1) 17 stations can be grouped into two clusters according to the hierarchical CA, and the spatial dissimilarity between these sites is characterised by the different climatic and land use in the GBR catchments. (2) PCA results indicate that the first 3 PCs explain 85% of the total variance, and FA on the entire data set shows that the varifactor (VF) loadings can be used to interpret the sources of spatial variation in water quality on the GBR catchments level. The impact of soil erosion and non-point source of pollutants from agriculture contribution to VF1 and the variability in hydrological conditions and biogeochemical processes can explain the loadings in VF2. (3) FA is also performed on two groups of sites identified in CA individually, to evaluate the underlying sources that are responsible for spatial variability in water quality in the two groups. For the Cluster 1 sites

  12. Interactive effects of temperature and pCO2 on sponges: from the cradle to the grave.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, Holly M; Altenrath, Christine; Woods, Lisa; Davy, Simon K; Webster, Nicole S; Bell, James J

    2017-05-01

    As atmospheric CO 2 concentrations rise, associated ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA) are predicted to cause declines in reef-building corals globally, shifting reefs from coral-dominated systems to those dominated by less sensitive species. Sponges are important structural and functional components of coral reef ecosystems, but despite increasing field-based evidence that sponges may be 'winners' in response to environmental degradation, our understanding of how they respond to the combined effects of OW and OA is limited. To determine the tolerance of adult sponges to climate change, four abundant Great Barrier Reef species were experimentally exposed to OW and OA levels predicted for 2100, under two CO 2 Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). The impact of OW and OA on early life-history stages was also assessed for one of these species to provide a more holistic view of species impacts. All species were generally unaffected by conditions predicted under RCP6.0, although environmental conditions projected under RCP8.5 caused significant adverse effects: with elevated temperature decreasing the survival of all species, increasing levels of tissue necrosis and bleaching, elevating respiration rates and decreasing photosynthetic rates. OA alone had little adverse effect, even under RCP8.5 concentrations. Importantly, the interactive effect of OW and OA varied between species with different nutritional modes, with elevated pCO 2 exacerbating temperature stress in heterotrophic species but mitigating temperature stress in phototrophic species. This antagonistic interaction was reflected by reduced mortality, necrosis and bleaching of phototrophic species in the highest OW/OA treatment. Survival and settlement success of Carteriospongia foliascens larvae were unaffected by experimental treatments, and juvenile sponges exhibited greater tolerance to OW than their adult counterparts. With elevated pCO 2 providing phototrophic species with protection

  13. The first records of Stenobermuda Schultz, 1982 and Tenupedunculus Schultz, 1979 from Australia, with description of two new species from the Great Barrier Reef (Isopoda, Asellota, Stenetriidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Song, Ji-Hun; Bruce, Niel L; Min, Gi-Sik

    2018-01-01

    The genera Tenupedunculus Schultz, 1982 and Stenobermuda Schultz, 1979 are recorded for the first time from beyond the Southern Ocean, at the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Tenupedunculus serrulatus sp. n. and Stenobermuda warooga sp. n. are described from Heron Island and Lizard Island respectively, both in the Great Barrier Reef. The genus Tenupedunculus is revised and a new diagnosis presented, with Tenupedunculus virginale Schultz, 1982, T. pulchrum (Schultz, 1982), and T. serrulatus sp. n. being retained within the genus, and the remaining species here regarded as Stenetriidae incertae sedis (eight species).

  14. Nitrification in reef corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.; Wafar, S.; David, J.J.

    . An estimate of the density of nitrifying bacteria on living corals can be made by comparing the nitrifying rates of bacterial cells and the rate of production of NO,-. Kaplan (1983) summarized the growth con- stants of marine nitrifying bacteria... Reef Con=. 3: 395-399. -, C. R. WILKINSON, V. p. VICENTE, J. M. MORELL, AND E. OTERO. 1988. Nitrate release by Carib- bean reef sponges. Limnol. Oceanogr. 33: 114- 120. CROSSLAND, C. J., AND D. J. BARNES. 1983. Dissolved nutrients and organic...

  15. The Gulf of Carpentaria heated Torres Strait and the Northern Great Barrier Reef during the 2016 mass coral bleaching event

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolanski, E.; Andutta, F.; Deleersnijder, E.; Li, Y.; Thomas, C. J.

    2017-07-01

    The 2015/16 ENSO event increased the temperature of waters surrounding northeast Australia to above 30 °C, with large patches of water reaching 32 °C, for over two months, which led to severe bleaching of corals of the Northern Great Barrier Reef (NGBR). This study provides evidence gained from remote-sensing data, oceanographic data and oceanographic modeling, that three factors caused this excessive heating, namely: 1) the shutdown of the North Queensland Coastal Current, which would otherwise have flushed and cooled the Northern Coral Sea and the NGBR through tidal mixing 2) the advection of warm (>30 °C) water from the Gulf of Carpentaria eastward through Torres Strait and then southward over the NGBR continental shelf, and 3) presumably local solar heating. The eastward flux of this warm water through Torres Strait was driven by a mean sea level difference on either side of the strait that in turn was controlled by the wind, which also generated the southward advection of this warm water onto the NGBR shelf. On the NGBR shelf, the residence time of this warm water was longer inshore than offshore, and this may explain the observed cross-shelf gradient of coral bleaching intensity. The fate of the Great Barrier Reef is thus controlled by the oceanography of surrounding seas.

  16. Impact of sea-level rise on cross-shore sediment transport on fetch-limited barrier reef island beaches under modal and cyclonic conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baldock, T E; Golshani, A; Atkinson, A; Shimamoto, T; Wu, S; Callaghan, D P; Mumby, P J

    2015-08-15

    A one-dimensional wave model is combined with an analytical sediment transport model to investigate the likely influence of sea-level rise on net cross-shore sediment transport on fetch-limited barrier reef and lagoon island beaches. The modelling considers if changes in the nearshore wave height and wave period in the lagoon induced by different water levels over the reef flat are likely to lead to net offshore or onshore movement of sediment. The results indicate that the effects of SLR on net sediment movement are highly variable and controlled by the bathymetry of the reef and lagoon. A significant range of reef-lagoon bathymetry, and notably shallow and narrow reefs, appears to lead hydrodynamic conditions and beaches that are likely to be stable or even accrete under SLR. Loss of reef structural complexity, particularly on the reef flat, increases the chance of sediment transport away from beaches and offshore. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Diversity and abundance of photosynthetic sponges in temperate Western Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brümmer Franz

    2009-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Photosynthetic sponges are important components of reef ecosystems around the world, but are poorly understood. It is often assumed that temperate regions have low diversity and abundance of photosynthetic sponges, but to date no studies have investigated this question. The aim of this study was to compare the percentages of photosynthetic sponges in temperate Western Australia (WA with previously published data on tropical regions, and to determine the abundance and diversity of these associations in a range of temperate environments. Results We sampled sponges on 5 m belt transects to determine the percentage of photosynthetic sponges and identified at least one representative of each group of symbionts using 16S rDNA sequencing together with microscopy techniques. Our results demonstrate that photosynthetic sponges are abundant in temperate WA, with an average of 63% of sponge individuals hosting high levels of photosynthetic symbionts and 11% with low to medium levels. These percentages of photosynthetic sponges are comparable to those found on tropical reefs and may have important implications for ecosystem function on temperate reefs in other areas of the world. A diverse range of symbionts sometimes occurred within a small geographic area, including the three "big" cyanobacterial clades, Oscillatoria spongeliae, "Candidatus Synechococcus spongiarum" and Synechocystis species, and it appears that these clades all occur in a wide range of sponges. Additionally, spongin-permeating red algae occurred in at least 7 sponge species. This study provides the first investigation of the molecular phylogeny of rhodophyte symbionts in sponges. Conclusion Photosynthetic sponges are abundant and diverse in temperate WA, with comparable percentages of photosynthetic to non-photosynthetic sponges to tropical zones. It appears that there are three common generalist clades of cyanobacterial symbionts of sponges which occur in a wide

  18. Terrestrial Runoff Into the Great Barrier Reef: Direct Evidence From the Coral Record for Major Increases in Anthropogenic Fluxes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fallon, S. J.; McCulloch, M. T.

    2001-12-01

    Inshore regions of the central and northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are regularly impacted by runoff from large rivers. The river flows are highly episodic, being associated with cyclones or occasionally intense monsoonal depressions. During these high intensity rainfall events, there can be massive discharges of freshwater and suspended sediments into the GBR lagoon. It is shown here how long-lived (300-400 year old) corals from the inshore region of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia provide a unique long-term quantitative record of suspended sediment loads delivered to the GBR by river flood plumes. Porites corals from the inshore Pandora and Havannah Reefs, experience episodic discharge of freshwater flood plumes from the Burdekin River. Barium acts as a monitor for suspended sediment as it is desorbed from suspended particles as the freshwater flood plumes enter the marine environment. Ba/Ca ratios in coral cores therefore provide a proxy of long-term changes in suspended sediment loads, which are entering inshore coral reefs prior to and following European settlement. The Ba/Ca systematics in the coral core analyzed in this study reveal two distinctive patterns. For the period prior to European settlement, there is only limited evidence for flood-plume related suspended sediment fluxes entering the inner GBR, although this period is mainly dominated by droughts. From 1800 to 1860, which includes major flood events in the years, 1801, 1811, 1817, 1819 and 1831, the coral fluorescent flood-bands still do not exhibit any Ba peaks. Immediately following European settlement, in the 1860's, there is a dramatic change in the Ba/Ca ratios of the coral core. For example in the 1870 flood-band there is a large Ba/Ca spike, indicative of a significant increase in suspended load being delivered to the inner GBR. This is coincident with the first grazing activities by European settlers in the Burdekin catchment. It is hypothesized that the initial spike in Ba/Ca is a

  19. Strange bedfellows - A deep-water hermatypic coral reef superimposed on a drowned barrier island; Southern Pulley Ridge, SW Florida platform margin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jarrett, B.D.; Hine, A.C.; Halley, R.B.; Naar, D.F.; Locker, S.D.; Neumann, A.C.; Twichell, D.; Hu, C.; Donahue, B.T.; Jaap, W.C.; Palandro, D.; Ciembronowicz, K.

    2005-01-01

    The southeastern component of a subtle ridge feature extending over 200 km along the western ramped margin of the south Florida platform, known as Pulley Ridge, is composed largely of a non-reefal, coastal marine deposit. Modern biostromal reef growth caps southern Pulley Ridge (SPR), making it the deepest hermatypic reef known in American waters. Subsurface ridge strata are layered, lithified, and display a barrier island geomorphology. The deep-water reef community is dominated by platy scleractinian corals, leafy green algae, and coralline algae. Up to 60% live coral cover is observed in 60-75 m of water, although only 1-2% of surface light is available to the reef community. Vertical reef accumulation is thin and did not accompany initial ridge submergence during the most recent sea-level rise. The delayed onset of reef growth likely resulted from several factors influencing Gulf waters during early stages of the last deglaciation (???14 kyr B.P.) including; cold, low-salinity waters derived from discrete meltwater pulses, high-frequency sea-level fluctuations, and the absence of modern oceanic circulation patterns. Currently, reef growth is supported by the Loop Current, the prevailing western boundary current that impinges upon the southwest Florida platform, providing warm, clear, low-nutrient waters to SPR. The rare discovery of a preserved non-reefal lowstand shoreline capped by rich hermatypic deep-reef growth on a tectonically stable continental shelf is significant for both accurate identification of late Quaternary sea-level position and in better constraining controls on the depth limits of hermatypic reefs and their capacity for adaptation to extremely low light levels. ?? 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Coral Luminescence Identifies the Pacific Decadal Oscillation as a Primary Driver of River Runoff Variability Impacting the Southern Great Barrier Reef

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rodriguez-Ramirez, A.; Grove, C.A.; Zinke, J.; Pandolfi, J.M.; Zhao, J.-X.

    2014-01-01

    The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is a large-scale climatic phenomenon modulating ocean-atmosphere variability on decadal time scales. While precipitation and river flow variability in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchments are sensitive to PDO phases, the extent to which the PDO influences

  1. Marine debris is selected as nesting material by the brown booby (Sula leucogaster) within the Swain Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verlis, K M; Campbell, M L; Wilson, S P

    2014-10-15

    Many seabirds are impacted by marine debris through its presence in foraging and nesting areas. To determine the extent of this problem, marine debris use in nest material of the brown booby (Sula leucogaster) in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, was investigated. Nine cays were examined using beach and nest surveys. On average, four marine debris items were found per nest (n=96) with 58.3% of surveyed nests containing marine debris. The source of marine debris in nests and transects were primarily oceanic. Hard plastic items dominated both nest (56.8%) and surveyed beaches (72.8%), however only two item types were significantly correlated between these surveys. Nest surveys indicated higher levels of black and green items compared to beach transects. This selectivity for colours and items suggest these nests are not good indicators of environmental loads. This is the first study to examine S. leucogaster nests for marine debris in this location. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Differences in demographic traits of four butterflyfish species between two reefs of the Great Barrier Reef separated by 1,200 km

    KAUST Repository

    Berumen, Michael L.

    2011-11-16

    Many species demonstrate variation in life history attributes in response to gradients in environmental conditions. For fishes, major drivers of life history variation are changes in temperature and food availability. This study examined large-scale variation in the demography of four species of butterflyfishes (Chaetodon citrinellus, Chaetodon lunulatus, Chaetodon melannotus, and Chaetodon trifascialis) between two locations on Australia\\'s Great Barrier Reef (Lizard Island and One Tree Island, separated by approximately 1,200 km). Variation in age-based demographic parameters was assessed using the re-parameterised von Bertalanffy growth function. All species displayed measurable differences in body size between locations, with individuals achieving a larger adult size at the higher latitude site (One Tree Island) for three of the four species examined. Resources and abundances of the study species were also measured, revealing some significant differences between locations. For example, for C. trifascialis, there was no difference in its preferred resource or in abundance between locations, yet it achieved a larger body size at the higher latitude location, suggesting a response to temperature. For some species, resources and abundances did vary between locations, limiting the ability to distinguish between a demographic response to temperature as opposed to a response to food or competition. Future studies of life histories and demographics at large spatial scales will need to consider the potentially confounding roles of temperature, resource usage and availability, and abundance/competition to disentangle the effects of these environmental variables. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

  3. Effect of colony size and surrounding substrate on corals experiencing a mild bleaching event on Heron Island reef flat (southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ortiz, J. C.; Gomez-Cabrera, M. Del C.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.

    2009-12-01

    In January-May 2006, Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef experienced a mild bleaching event. The effect of colony size, morphology and surrounding substrate on the extent of bleaching was explored. In contrast with previous studies, colony size did not influence bleaching sensitivity, suggesting that there may be a threshold of light and temperature stress beyond which size plays a role. Also contrasting with previous studies, massive corals were more affected by bleaching than branching corals. Massive corals surrounded by sand were more affected than the ones surrounded by rubble or dead coral. It is hypothesized that light reflectance from sand increases stress levels experienced by the colonies. This effect is maximized in massive corals as opposed to branching corals that form dense thickets on Heron Island. These results emphasize the importance of the ecological dynamics of coral communities experiencing low, moderate and high levels of bleaching for the understanding of how coral communities may change under the stress of climate change.

  4. Marine microbial communities of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon are influenced by riverine floodwaters and seasonal weather events

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florent E. Angly

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The role of microorganisms in maintaining coral reef health is increasingly recognized. Riverine floodwater containing herbicides and excess nutrients from fertilizers compromises water quality in the inshore Great Barrier Reef (GBR, with unknown consequences for planktonic marine microbial communities and thus coral reefs. In this baseline study, inshore GBR microbial communities were monitored along a 124 km long transect between 2011 and 2013 using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Members of the bacterial orders Rickettsiales (e.g., Pelagibacteraceae and Synechococcales (e.g., Prochlorococcus, and of the archaeal class Marine Group II were prevalent in all samples, exhibiting a clear seasonal dynamics. Microbial communities near the Tully river mouth included a mixture of taxa from offshore marine sites and from the river system. The environmental parameters collected could be summarized into four groups, represented by salinity, rainfall, temperature and water quality, that drove the composition of microbial communities. During the wet season, lower salinity and a lower water quality index resulting from higher river discharge corresponded to increases in riverine taxa at sites near the river mouth. Particularly large, transient changes in microbial community structure were seen during the extreme wet season 2010–11, and may be partially attributed to the effects of wind and waves, which resuspend sediments and homogenize the water column in shallow near-shore regions. This work shows that anthropogenic floodwaters and other environmental parameters work in conjunction to drive the spatial distribution of microorganisms in the GBR lagoon, as well as their seasonal and daily dynamics.

  5. Assessing Different Causes of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Outbreaks and Appropriate Responses for Management on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Babcock, Russell C; Dambacher, Jeffrey M; Morello, Elisabetta B; Plagányi, Éva E; Hayes, Keith R; Sweatman, Hugh P A; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2016-01-01

    The crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci (COTS) has contributed greatly to declines in coral cover on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and remains one of the major acute disturbances on Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Despite uncertainty about the underlying causes of outbreaks and the management responses that might address them, few studies have critically and directly compared competing hypotheses. This study uses qualitative modelling to compare hypotheses relating to outbreak initiation, explicitly considering the potential role of positive feedbacks, elevated nutrients, and removal of starfish predators by fishing. When nutrients and fishing are considered in isolation, the models indicate that a range of alternative hypotheses are capable of explaining outbreak initiation with similar levels of certainty. The models also suggest that outbreaks may be caused by multiple factors operating simultaneously, rather than by single proximal causes. As the complexity and realism of the models increased, the certainty of outcomes decreased, but key areas that require further research to improve the structure of the models were identified. Nutrient additions were likely to result in outbreaks only when COTS larvae alone benefitted from nutrients. Similarly, the effects of fishing on the decline of corals depended on the complexity of interactions among several categories of fishes. Our work suggests that management approaches which seek to be robust to model structure uncertainty should allow for multiple potential causes of outbreaks. Monitoring programs can provide tests of alternative potential causes of outbreaks if they specifically monitor all key taxa at reefs that are exposed to appropriate combinations of potential causal factors.

  6. Marine microbial communities of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon are influenced by riverine floodwaters and seasonal weather events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angly, Florent E; Heath, Candice; Morgan, Thomas C; Tonin, Hemerson; Rich, Virginia; Schaffelke, Britta; Bourne, David G; Tyson, Gene W

    2016-01-01

    The role of microorganisms in maintaining coral reef health is increasingly recognized. Riverine floodwater containing herbicides and excess nutrients from fertilizers compromises water quality in the inshore Great Barrier Reef (GBR), with unknown consequences for planktonic marine microbial communities and thus coral reefs. In this baseline study, inshore GBR microbial communities were monitored along a 124 km long transect between 2011 and 2013 using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Members of the bacterial orders Rickettsiales (e.g., Pelagibacteraceae) and Synechococcales (e.g., Prochlorococcus), and of the archaeal class Marine Group II were prevalent in all samples, exhibiting a clear seasonal dynamics. Microbial communities near the Tully river mouth included a mixture of taxa from offshore marine sites and from the river system. The environmental parameters collected could be summarized into four groups, represented by salinity, rainfall, temperature and water quality, that drove the composition of microbial communities. During the wet season, lower salinity and a lower water quality index resulting from higher river discharge corresponded to increases in riverine taxa at sites near the river mouth. Particularly large, transient changes in microbial community structure were seen during the extreme wet season 2010-11, and may be partially attributed to the effects of wind and waves, which resuspend sediments and homogenize the water column in shallow near-shore regions. This work shows that anthropogenic floodwaters and other environmental parameters work in conjunction to drive the spatial distribution of microorganisms in the GBR lagoon, as well as their seasonal and daily dynamics.

  7. Assessing Different Causes of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Outbreaks and Appropriate Responses for Management on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Russell C Babcock

    Full Text Available The crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci (COTS has contributed greatly to declines in coral cover on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and remains one of the major acute disturbances on Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Despite uncertainty about the underlying causes of outbreaks and the management responses that might address them, few studies have critically and directly compared competing hypotheses. This study uses qualitative modelling to compare hypotheses relating to outbreak initiation, explicitly considering the potential role of positive feedbacks, elevated nutrients, and removal of starfish predators by fishing. When nutrients and fishing are considered in isolation, the models indicate that a range of alternative hypotheses are capable of explaining outbreak initiation with similar levels of certainty. The models also suggest that outbreaks may be caused by multiple factors operating simultaneously, rather than by single proximal causes. As the complexity and realism of the models increased, the certainty of outcomes decreased, but key areas that require further research to improve the structure of the models were identified. Nutrient additions were likely to result in outbreaks only when COTS larvae alone benefitted from nutrients. Similarly, the effects of fishing on the decline of corals depended on the complexity of interactions among several categories of fishes. Our work suggests that management approaches which seek to be robust to model structure uncertainty should allow for multiple potential causes of outbreaks. Monitoring programs can provide tests of alternative potential causes of outbreaks if they specifically monitor all key taxa at reefs that are exposed to appropriate combinations of potential causal factors.

  8. Regional-scale variation in the distribution and abundance of farming damselfishes on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    KAUST Repository

    Emslie, Michael J.

    2012-03-15

    Territorial damselfishes that manipulate ("farm") the algae in their territories can have a marked effect on benthic community structure and may influence coral recovery following disturbances. Despite the numerical dominance of farming species on many reefs, the importance of their grazing activities is often overlooked, with most studies only examining their roles over restricted spatial and temporal scales. We used the results of field surveys covering 9.5° of latitude of the Great Barrier Reef to describe the distribution, abundance and temporal dynamics of farmer communities. Redundancy analysis revealed unique subregional assemblages of farming species that were shaped by the combined effects of shelf position and, to a lesser extent, by latitude. These spatial patterns were largely stable through time, except when major disturbances altered the benthic community. Such disturbances affected the functional guilds of farmers in different ways. Since different guilds of farmers modify benthic community structure and affect survival of juvenile corals in different ways, these results have important implications for coral recovery following disturbances. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

  9. A multi-criteria approach to Great Barrier Reef catchment (Queensland, Australia) diffuse-source pollution problem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greiner, R; Herr, A; Brodie, J; Haynes, D

    2005-01-01

    This paper presents a multi-criteria based tool for assessing the relative impact of diffuse-source pollution to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) from the river basins draining into the GBR lagoon. The assessment integrates biophysical and ecological data of water quality and pollutant concentrations with socio-economic information pertaining to non-point source pollution and (potential) pollutant impact. The tool generates scores for each river basin against four criteria, thus profiling the basins and enabling prioritization of management alternatives between and within basins. The results support policy development for pollution control through community participation, scientific data integration and expert knowledge contributed by people from across the catchment. The results specifically provided support for the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan, released in October 2003. The aim of the plan is to provide a framework for reducing discharge of sediment, nutrient and other diffuse-source loads and (potential) impact of that discharge and for prioritising management actions both between and within river basins.

  10. Exposure of clownfish larvae to suspended sediment levels found on the Great Barrier Reef: Impacts on gill structure and microbiome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hess, Sybille; Wenger, Amelia S; Ainsworth, Tracy D; Rummer, Jodie L

    2015-06-22

    Worldwide, increasing coastal development has played a major role in shaping coral reef species assemblages, but the mechanisms underpinning distribution patterns remain poorly understood. Recent research demonstrated delayed development in larval fishes exposed to suspended sediment, highlighting the need to further understand the interaction between suspended sediment as a stressor and energetically costly activities such as growth and development that are essential to support biological fitness. We examined the gill morphology and the gill microbiome in clownfish larvae (Amphiprion percula) exposed to suspended sediment concentrations (using Australian bentonite) commonly found on the inshore Great Barrier Reef. The gills of larvae exposed to 45 mg L(-1) of suspended sediment had excessive mucous discharge and growth of protective cell layers, resulting in a 56% thicker gill epithelium compared to fish from the control group. Further, we found a shift from 'healthy' to pathogenic bacterial communities on the gills, which could increase the disease susceptibility of larvae. The impact of suspended sediments on larval gills may represent an underlying mechanism behind the distribution patterns of fish assemblages. Our findings underscore the necessity for future coastal development to consider adverse effects of suspended sediments on fish recruitment, and consequently fish populations and ecosystem health.

  11. Origins and Implications of a Primary Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Outbreak in the Southern Great Barrier Reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ian Miller

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available The crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS is a major predator of hard corals. Repeated COTS outbreaks in the Cairns and Central sections of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR have been responsible for greater declines in coral cover than any other type of disturbance, including cyclones, disease, and coral bleaching. Knowledge of the precise timing and location of primary outbreaks could reveal the initial drivers of outbreaks and so could indicate possible management measures. In the central GBR, COTS outbreaks appear to follow major flooding events, but despite many years of observations, no primary outbreak has ever been unequivocally identified in the central and northern GBR. Here we locate a primary outbreak of COTS on the southern GBR which is not correlated with flooding. Instead it appears to have been the result of a combination of life history traits of COTS and prevailing oceanographic conditions. The hydrodynamic setting implies that the outbreak could disperse larvae to other reefs in the region.

  12. Essential requirements for catchment sediments to have ongoing impacts to water clarity in the great barrier reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibbs, Mark T

    2016-12-15

    Increasing concerns over decreasing water quality and the state of coral reefs and seagrass meadows along the inshore and mid-shelf regions of the Great Barrier Reef has led to a large-scale government catchment sediment and nutrient reduction program. However the mechanistic understanding of how fine sediments washed out of catchments and transported within flood plumes leads to ongoing increases in turbidity at locations far downstream from estuaries long after flood plumes have dissipated is poorly understood. Essential criteria which need to be met in order for catchment-derived sediments to play a major role in nearshore water quality are proposed. Preliminary estimates of these essential criteria suggest that it is dynamically possible for fine sediments washed out of catchments during floods to be preferentially re-mobilised at downstream locations following the dissipation of flood plumes. However the longer-term influence of catchment-derived material on water quality is dependent upon the rate of degradation of floc particles that fall out of flood plumes and the rate of background deposition; neither of which are well quantified. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Historical photographs revisited: A case study for dating and characterizing recent loss of coral cover on the inshore Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Tara R; Leonard, Nicole D; Zhao, Jian-Xin; Brodie, Jon; McCook, Laurence J; Wachenfeld, David R; Duc Nguyen, Ai; Markham, Hannah L; Pandolfi, John M

    2016-01-27

    Long-term data with high-precision chronology are essential to elucidate past ecological changes on coral reefs beyond the period of modern-day monitoring programs. In 2012 we revisited two inshore reefs within the central Great Barrier Reef, where a series of historical photographs document a loss of hard coral cover between c.1890-1994 AD. Here we use an integrated approach that includes high-precision U-Th dating specifically tailored for determining the age of extremely young corals to provide a robust, objective characterisation of ecological transition. The timing of mortality for most of the dead in situ corals sampled from the historical photograph locations was found to coincide with major flood events in 1990-1991 at Bramston Reef and 1970 and 2008 at Stone Island. Evidence of some recovery was found at Bramston Reef with living coral genera similar to what was described in c.1890 present in 2012. In contrast, very little sign of coral re-establishment was found at Stone Island suggesting delayed recovery. These results provide a valuable reference point for managers to continue monitoring the recovery (or lack thereof) of coral communities at these reefs.

  14. Degradation of mangrove-derived organic matter in mangrove associated sponges

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hunting, E.R.; de Goeij, J.M.; Asselman, M.; van Soest, R.W.M.; van der Geest, H.G.

    2010-01-01

    Sponge communities found in Caribbean mangroves are typical to this habitat: partly endemic and very distinct from sponge communities on nearby reefs. A trade-off between resistance to competitors and predators appears to influence success of individual sponge species in mangrove habitats. We

  15. Future Scenarios as a Research Tool: Investigating Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation Options and Outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Louisa S; Hicks, Christina C; Fidelman, Pedro; Tobin, Renae C; Perry, Allison L

    2013-01-01

    Climate change is a significant future driver of change in coastal social-ecological systems. Our knowledge of impacts, adaptation options, and possible outcomes for marine environments and coastal industries is expanding, but remains limited and uncertain. Alternative scenarios are a way to explore potential futures under a range of conditions. We developed four alternative future scenarios for the Great Barrier Reef and its fishing and tourism industries positing moderate and more extreme (2-3 °C above pre-industrial temperatures) warming for 2050 and contrasting 'limited' and 'ideal' ecological and social adaptation. We presented these scenarios to representatives of key stakeholder groups to assess the perceived viability of different social adaptation options to deliver desirable outcomes under varied contexts.

  16. Inferring coastal processes from regional-scale mapping of 222Radon and salinity: examples from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stieglitz, Thomas C.; Cook, Peter G.; Burnett, William C.

    2010-01-01

    The radon isotope 222 Rn and salinity in coastal surface water were mapped on regional scales, to improve the understanding of coastal processes and their spatial variability. Radon was measured with a surface-towed, continuously recording multi-detector setup on a moving vessel. Numerous processes and locations of land-ocean interaction along the Central Great Barrier Reef coastline were identified and interpreted based on the data collected. These included riverine fluxes, terrestrially-derived fresh submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) and the tidal pumping of seawater through mangrove forests. Based on variations in the relationship of the tracers radon and salinity, some aspects of regional freshwater inputs to the coastal zone and to estuaries could be assessed. Concurrent mapping of radon and salinity allowed an efficient qualitative assessment of land-ocean interaction on various spatial and temporal scales, indicating that such surveys on coastal scales can be a useful tool to obtain an overview of SGD locations and processes.

  17. Impact of wet season river flood discharge on phytoplankton absorption properties in the southern Great Barrier Reef region coastal waters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cherukuru, Nagur; Brando, Vittorio E.; Blondeau-Patissier, David; Ford, Phillip W.; Clementson, Lesley A.; Robson, Barbara J.

    2017-09-01

    Light absorption due to particulate and dissolved material plays an important role in controlling the underwater light environment and the above water reflectance signature. Thorough understanding of absorption properties and their variability is important to estimate light propagation in the water column. However, knowledge of light absorption properties in flood impacted coastal waters is limited. To address this knowledge gap we investigated a bio-optical dataset collected during a flood (2008) in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region coastal waters. Results presented here show strong impact of river flood discharges on water column stratification, distribution of suspended substances and light absorption properties in the study area. Bio-optical analysis showed phytoplankton absorption efficiency to reduce in response to increased coloured dissolved organic matter presence in flood impacted coastal waters. Biogeophysical property ranges, relationships and parametrisation presented here will help model realistic underwater light environment and optical signature in flood impacted coastal waters.

  18. Rainfall contributes ~30% of the dissolved inorganic nitrogen exported from a southern Great Barrier Reef river basin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Packett, Robert

    2017-08-15

    A study was conducted to estimate how much of the annual load of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) from Great Barrier Reef (GBR) river basins could come from rainfall. Results suggest rainfall contributed ~37% of the average annual DIN load from the Fitzroy Basin over three wet seasons. Rainfall DIN contribution at plot to sub-catchment scale ranged from 5 to >100% for study sites in the Fitzroy and Pioneer Basins. An estimate using measured and modelled data indicates ~28% of the longer-term average annual DIN load from the entire GBR catchment may originate from rainfall. These estimates may affect current GBR management and water quality targets. Numerous studies predict increases in atmospheric nitrogen pollution from Asia via fossil fuel combustion and more frequent severe La Nina events via global warming. Future GBR rainfall chemistry data may be required for assessing catchment management outcomes and regional trends in atmospheric DIN deposition. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. A rapid genetic assay for the identification of the most common Pocillopora damicornis genetic lineages on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gergely Torda

    Full Text Available Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus, 1758; Scleractinia, Pocilloporidae has recently been found to comprise at least five distinct genetic lineages in Eastern Australia, some of which likely represent cryptic species. Due to similar and plastic gross morphology of these lineages, field identification is often difficult. Here we present a quick, cost effective genetic assay as well as three novel microsatellite markers that distinguish the two most common lineages found on the Great Barrier Reef. The assay is based on PCR amplification of two regions within the mitochondrial putative control region, which show consistent and easily identifiable fragment size differences for the two genetic lineages after Alu1 restriction enzyme digestion of the amplicons.

  20. The ugly face of tourism: Marine debris pollution linked to visitation in the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Scott P; Verlis, Krista M

    2017-04-15

    Marine debris is one of the most significant issues facing oceans worldwide. The sources of this debris vary depending on proximity to urban centres and the nature of activities within an area. This paper examines the influence of tourism in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and its contribution to litter levels in the region. By conducting beach debris surveys on occupied and unoccupied islands, this study found that debris was prevalent throughout the region with significant differences in material types between locations. The greatest source of debris from publically accessible islands was tourist-related, with this source also influencing debris loads on nearby uninhabited islands. A focus on debris at Heron Island, showed that sites close to amenities had greater levels of tourist-sourced items like cigarette butts. These findings indicate the contribution of tourists to this problem and that working with operators and managers is needed to minimise visitor impacts. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Combined amplicon pyrosequencing assays reveal presence of the apicomplexan "type-N" (cf. Gemmocystis cylindrus and Chromera velia on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Slapeta

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The coral is predominantly composed of the metabolically dependent coral host and the photosynthetic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium sp. The system as a whole interacts with symbiotic eukaryotes, bacteria and viruses. Gemmocystiscylindrus (cf. "type-N" symbiont belonging to the obligatory parasitic phylum Apicomplexa (Alveolata is ubiquitous in the Caribbean coral, but its presence in the Great Barrier Reef coral has yet to be documented. Approaches allowing identification of the healthy community from the pathogenic or saprobic organisms are needed for sustainable coral reef monitoring. METHODS & PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We investigated the diversity of eukaryotes associated with a common reef-building corals from the southern Great Barrier Reef. We used three tag encoded 454 amplicon pyrosequencing assays targeting eukaryote small-subunit rRNA gene to demonstrate the presence of the apicomplexan type-N and a photosynthetic sister species to Apicomplexa-Chromeravelia. Amplicon pyrosequencing revealed presence of the small-subunit rRNA genes of known eukaryotic pathogens (Cryptosporidium and Cryptococcus. We therefore conducted bacterial tag encoded amplicon pyrosequencing assay for small-subunit rRNA gene to support effluent exposure of the coral. Bacteria of faecal origin (Enterobacteriales formed 41% of total sequences in contrast to 0-2% of the coral-associated bacterial communities with and without C. velia, respectively. SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first time apicomplexan type-N has been detected in the Great Barrier Reef. Eukaryote tag encoded amplicon pyrosequencing assays demonstrate presence of apicomplexan type-N and C. Velia in total coral DNA. The data highlight the need for combined approaches for eukaryotic diversity studies coupled with bacterial community assessment to achieve a more realistic goals of defining the holobiont community and assessing coral disease. With increasing evidence of Apicomplexa in coral reef

  2. Combined amplicon pyrosequencing assays reveal presence of the apicomplexan "type-N" (cf. Gemmocystis cylindrus) and Chromera velia on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slapeta, Jan; Linares, Marjorie C

    2013-01-01

    The coral is predominantly composed of the metabolically dependent coral host and the photosynthetic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium sp. The system as a whole interacts with symbiotic eukaryotes, bacteria and viruses. Gemmocystiscylindrus (cf. "type-N" symbiont) belonging to the obligatory parasitic phylum Apicomplexa (Alveolata) is ubiquitous in the Caribbean coral, but its presence in the Great Barrier Reef coral has yet to be documented. Approaches allowing identification of the healthy community from the pathogenic or saprobic organisms are needed for sustainable coral reef monitoring. We investigated the diversity of eukaryotes associated with a common reef-building corals from the southern Great Barrier Reef. We used three tag encoded 454 amplicon pyrosequencing assays targeting eukaryote small-subunit rRNA gene to demonstrate the presence of the apicomplexan type-N and a photosynthetic sister species to Apicomplexa-Chromeravelia. Amplicon pyrosequencing revealed presence of the small-subunit rRNA genes of known eukaryotic pathogens (Cryptosporidium and Cryptococcus). We therefore conducted bacterial tag encoded amplicon pyrosequencing assay for small-subunit rRNA gene to support effluent exposure of the coral. Bacteria of faecal origin (Enterobacteriales) formed 41% of total sequences in contrast to 0-2% of the coral-associated bacterial communities with and without C. velia, respectively. This is the first time apicomplexan type-N has been detected in the Great Barrier Reef. Eukaryote tag encoded amplicon pyrosequencing assays demonstrate presence of apicomplexan type-N and C. Velia in total coral DNA. The data highlight the need for combined approaches for eukaryotic diversity studies coupled with bacterial community assessment to achieve a more realistic goals of defining the holobiont community and assessing coral disease. With increasing evidence of Apicomplexa in coral reef environments, it is important not only to understand the evolution of these

  3. Sponge-Associated Bacteria Are Strictly Maintained in Two Closely Related but Geographically Distant Sponge Hosts ▿ † ‡ §

    OpenAIRE

    Montalvo, Naomi F.; Hill, Russell T.

    2011-01-01

    The giant barrel sponges Xestospongia muta and Xestospongia testudinaria are ubiquitous in tropical reefs of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, respectively. They are key species in their respective environments and are hosts to diverse assemblages of bacteria. These two closely related sponges from different oceans provide a unique opportunity to examine the evolution of sponge-associated bacterial communities. Mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene sequences from X. muta and X. testu...

  4. Mortality rates of juvenile starfish Acanthaster planci and Nardoa spp measured on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia and in Okinawa, Japan

    OpenAIRE

    Keesing, Jk; Wiedermeyer, Wl; Okaji, K; Halford, Ar; Hall, Kc; Cartwright, Cm

    1996-01-01

    Acanthaster planci (L.) and Nardoa novaecaladoniae (Perrier, 1875) are two coral reef asteroids having planktotrophic and lecithotrophic larval development, respectively. Comparative sizes at metamorphosis are 0.5 to 0.7 mm for A. planci and 1.2 to 1.6 mm for N. novaecaladonine. Mortality rates of small juveniles (one month old) of each species were measured experimentally in the field on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Mortality rates of N. novaecaladoniae were low (1.5 %.d(-1)) compared ...

  5. A new species of Numbakullidae Guţu & Heard, 2002 (Tanaidacea, Peracarida, Crustacea from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anna Stępień

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available A new species of Numbakulla Guţu & Heard, 2002 (Tanaidacea is described from Heron Island (southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland collected during the Census of Coral Reefs Ecosystem (CReefs program. The new species is the third member of the family and can be recognized by the combination of characters as: length/width ratio of the body, which is 6:7, pereonite 4 longer than the rest, the presence of eyes, a blunt rostrum, antenna article 2 elongated, cheliped carpus with row of inner setae, pereopod 6 carpus with spines, pleopod endopod with denticles.

  6. Strategies of dissolved inorganic carbon use in macroalgae across a gradient of terrestrial influence: implications for the Great Barrier Reef in the context of ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo; Cornwall, Christopher; Gartrell, Patrick; Hurd, Catriona; Tran, Dien V.

    2016-12-01

    Macroalgae are generally used as indicators of coral reef status; thus, understanding the drivers and mechanisms leading to increased macroalgal abundance are of critical importance. Ocean acidification (OA) due to elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations has been suggested to stimulate macroalgal growth and abundance on reefs. However, little is known about the physiological mechanisms by which reef macroalgae use CO2 from the bulk seawater for photosynthesis [i.e., (1) direct uptake of bicarbonate (HCO3 -) and/or CO2 by means of carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCM) and (2) the diffusive uptake of CO2], which species could benefit from increased CO2 or which habitats may be more susceptible to acidification-induced algal proliferations. Here, we provide the first quantitative examination of CO2-use strategies in coral reef macroalgae and provide information on how the proportion of species and the proportional abundance of species utilising each of the carbon acquisition strategies varies across a gradient of terrestrial influence (from inshore to offshore reefs) in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Four macroalgal groups were identified based on their carbon uptake strategies: (1) CCM-only (HCO3 - only users); (2) CCM-HCO3 -/CO2 (active uptake HCO3 - and/or CO2 use); (3) Non-CCM species (those relying on diffusive CO2 uptake); and (4) Calcifiers. δ13C values of macroalgae, confirmed by pH drift assays, show that diffusive CO2 use is more prevalent in deeper waters, possibly due to low light availability that limits activity of CCMs. Inshore shallow reefs had a higher proportion of CCM-only species, while reefs further away from terrestrial influence and exposed to better water quality had a higher number of non-CCM species than inshore and mid-shelf reefs. As non-CCM macroalgae are more responsive to increased seawater CO2 and OA, reef slopes of the outer reefs are probably the habitats most vulnerable to the impacts of OA. Our results suggest a potentially

  7. Sponge-associated bacteria are strictly maintained in two closely related but geographically distant sponge hosts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montalvo, Naomi F; Hill, Russell T

    2011-10-01

    The giant barrel sponges Xestospongia muta and Xestospongia testudinaria are ubiquitous in tropical reefs of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, respectively. They are key species in their respective environments and are hosts to diverse assemblages of bacteria. These two closely related sponges from different oceans provide a unique opportunity to examine the evolution of sponge-associated bacterial communities. Mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene sequences from X. muta and X. testudinaria showed little divergence between the two species. A detailed analysis of the bacterial communities associated with these sponges, comprising over 900 full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences, revealed remarkable similarity in the bacterial communities of the two species. Both sponge-associated communities include sequences found only in the two Xestospongia species, as well as sequences found also in other sponge species and are dominated by three bacterial groups, Chloroflexi, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria. While these groups consistently dominate the bacterial communities revealed by 16S rRNA gene-based analysis of sponge-associated bacteria, the depth of sequencing undertaken in this study revealed clades of bacteria specifically associated with each of the two Xestospongia species, and also with the genus Xestospongia, that have not been found associated with other sponge species or other ecosystems. This study, comparing the bacterial communities associated with closely related but geographically distant sponge hosts, gives new insight into the intimate relationships between marine sponges and some of their bacterial symbionts.

  8. Variation in the health and biochemical condition of the coral Acropora tenuis along two water quality gradients on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocker, Melissa M; Francis, David S; Fabricius, Katharina E; Willis, Bette L; Bay, Line K

    2017-06-30

    This study explores how plasticity in biochemical attributes, used as indicators of health and condition, enables the coral Acropora tenuis to respond to differing water quality regimes in inshore regions of the Great Barrier Reef. Health attributes were monitored along a strong and weak water quality gradient, each with three reefs at increasing distances from a major river source. Attributes differed significantly only along the strong gradient; corals grew fastest, had the least dense skeletons, highest symbiont densities and highest lipid concentrations closest to the river mouth, where water quality was poorest. High nutrient and particulate loads were only detrimental to skeletal density, which decreased as linear extension increased, highlighting a trade-off. Our study underscores the importance of assessing multiple health attributes in coral reef monitoring. For example, autotrophic indices are poor indicators of coral health and condition, but improve when combined with attributes like lipid content and biomass. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. A novel reef coral symbiosis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pantos, O.; Bythell, J. C.

    2010-09-01

    Reef building corals form close associations with unicellular microalgae, fungi, bacteria and archaea, some of which are symbiotic and which together form the coral holobiont. Associations with multicellular eukaryotes such as polychaete worms, bivalves and sponges are not generally considered to be symbiotic as the host responds to their presence by forming physical barriers with an active growth edge in the exoskeleton isolating the invader and, at a subcellular level, activating innate immune responses such as melanin deposition. This study describes a novel symbiosis between a newly described hydrozoan ( Zanclea margaritae sp. nov.) and the reef building coral Acropora muricata (= A. formosa), with the hydrozoan hydrorhiza ramifying throughout the coral tissues with no evidence of isolation or activation of the immune systems of the host. The hydrorhiza lacks a perisarc, which is typical of symbiotic species of this and related genera, including species that associate with other cnidarians such as octocorals. The symbiosis was observed at all sites investigated from two distant locations on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and appears to be host species specific, being found only in A. muricata and in none of 30 other species investigated at these sites. Not all colonies of A. muricata host the hydrozoans and both the prevalence within the coral population (mean = 66%) and density of emergent hydrozoan hydranths on the surface of the coral (mean = 4.3 cm-2, but up to 52 cm-2) vary between sites. The form of the symbiosis in terms of the mutualism-parasitism continuum is not known, although the hydrozoan possesses large stenotele nematocysts, which may be important for defence from predators and protozoan pathogens. This finding expands the known A. muricata holobiont and the association must be taken into account in future when determining the corals’ abilities to defend against predators and withstand stress.

  10. Contraceptive Sponge

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... strap. If you can't find the strap, bear down or grasp the contraceptive sponge between your ... Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are ...

  11. The Açu Reef morphology, distribution, and inter reef sedimentation on the outer shelf of the NE Brazil equatorial margin

    Science.gov (United States)

    do Nascimento Silva, Luzia Liniane; Gomes, Moab Praxedes; Vital, Helenice

    2018-05-01

    Submerged reefs, referred to as the Açu Reefs, have been newly observed on both sides of the Açu Incised Valley on the northeastern equatorial Brazilian outer shelf. This study aims to understand the roles of shelf physiography, its antecedent morphologies, and its inter reef sedimentation on the different development stages of the biogenic reef during last deglacial sea-level rise. The data sets consist of side-scan sonar imagery, one sparker seismic profile, 76 sediment samples, and underwater photography. Seven backscatter patterns (P1 to P7) were identified and associated with eleven sedimentary carbonate and siliciclastic facies. The inherited relief, the mouth of the paleo incised valley, and the interreef sediment distribution play major controls on the deglacial reef evolution. The reefs occur in a depth-limited 25-55 m water depth range and in a 6 km wide narrow zone of the outer shelf. The reefs crop out in a surface area over 100 km2 and occur as a series of NW-SE preferentially orientated ridges composed of three parallel ridge sets at 45, 35, and 25 m of water depth. The reefs form a series of individual, roughly linear ridges, tens of km in length, acting as barriers in addition to scattered reef mounds or knolls, averaging 4 m in height and grouped in small patches and aggregates. The reefs, currently limited at the transition between the photic and mesophotic zones, are thinly covered by red algae and scattered coral heads and sponges. Taking into account the established sea-level curves from the equatorial Brazilian northeastern shelf / Rochas Atoll and Barbados, the shelf physiography, and the shallow bedrock, the optimal conditions for reef development had to occur during a time interval (11-9 kyr BP) characterized by a slowdown of the outer shelf flooding, immediately following Meltwater Pulse-1B. This 2 kyr short interval provided unique conditions for remarkable reef backstepping into distinct parallel ridge sets. Furthermore, the Açu Reefs

  12. Does size matter? An assessment of quota market evolution and performance in the Great Barrier Reef fin-fish fishery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James Innes

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available In fisheries managed using individual transferable quotas (ITQs it is generally assumed that quota markets are well-functioning, allowing quota to flow on either a temporary or permanent basis to those able to make best use of it. However, despite an increasing number of fisheries being managed under ITQs, empirical assessments of the quota markets that have actually evolved in these fisheries remain scarce. The Queensland Coral Reef Fin-Fish Fishery (CRFFF on the Great Barrier Reef has been managed under a system of ITQs since 2004. Data on individual quota holdings and trades for the period 2004-2012 were used to assess the CRFFF quota market and its evolution through time. Network analysis was applied to assess market structure and the nature of lease-trading relationships. An assessment of market participants' abilities to balance their quota accounts, i.e., gap analysis, provided insights into market functionality and how this may have changed in the period observed. Trends in ownership and trade were determined, and market participants were identified as belonging to one out of a set of seven generalized types. The emergence of groups such as investors and lease-dependent fishers is clear. In 2011-2012, 41% of coral trout quota was owned by participants that did not fish it, and 64% of total coral trout landings were made by fishers that owned only 10% of the quota. Quota brokers emerged whose influence on the market varied with the bioeconomic conditions of the fishery. Throughout the study period some quota was found to remain inactive, implying potential market inefficiencies. Contribution to this inactivity appeared asymmetrical, with most residing in the hands of smaller quota holders. The importance of transaction costs in the operation of the quota market and the inequalities that may result are discussed in light of these findings.

  13. Chimerism in wild adult populations of the broadcast spawning coral Acropora millepora on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eneour Puill-Stephan

    2009-11-01

    Full Text Available Chimeras are organisms containing tissues or cells of two or more genetically distinct individuals, and are known to exist in at least nine phyla of protists, plants, and animals. Although widespread and common in marine invertebrates, the extent of chimerism in wild populations of reef corals is unknown.The extent of chimerism was explored within two populations of a common coral, Acropora millepora, on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, by using up to 12 polymorphic DNA microsatellite loci. At least 2% and 5% of Magnetic Island and Pelorus Island populations of A. millepora, respectively, were found to be chimeras (3% overall, based on conservative estimates. A slightly less conservative estimate indicated that 5% of colonies in each population were chimeras. These values are likely to be vast underestimates of the true extent of chimerism, as our sampling protocol was restricted to a maximum of eight branches per colony, while most colonies consist of hundreds of branches. Genotypes within chimeric corals showed high relatedness, indicating that genetic similarity is a prerequisite for long-term acceptance of non-self genotypes within coral colonies.While some brooding corals have been shown to form genetic chimeras in their early life history stages under experimental conditions, this study provides the first genetic evidence of the occurrence of coral chimeras in the wild and of chimerism in a broadcast spawning species. We hypothesize that chimerism is more widespread in corals than previously thought, and suggest that this has important implications for their resilience, potentially enhancing their capacity to compete for space and respond to stressors such as pathogen infection.

  14. The role of marine reserves in the replenishment of a locally impacted population of anemonefish on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonin, Mary C; Harrison, Hugo B; Williamson, David H; Frisch, Ashley J; Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo; Berumen, Michael L; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2016-01-01

    The development of parentage analysis to track the dispersal of juvenile offspring has given us unprecedented insight into the population dynamics of coral reef fishes. These tools now have the potential to inform fisheries management and species conservation, particularly for small fragmented populations under threat from exploitation and disturbance. In this study, we resolve patterns of larval dispersal for a population of the anemonefish Amphiprion melanopus in the Keppel Islands (southern Great Barrier Reef). Habitat loss and fishing appear to have impacted this population and a network of no-take marine reserves currently protects 75% of the potential breeders. Using parentage analysis, we estimate that 21% of recruitment in the island group was generated locally and that breeding adults living in reserves were responsible for 79% (31 of 39) of these of locally produced juveniles. Overall, the network of reserves was fully connected via larval dispersal; however, one reserve was identified as a critical source of larvae for the island group. The population in the Keppel Islands also appears to be well-connected to other source populations at least 60 km away, given that 79% (145 of 184) of the juveniles sampled remained unassigned in the parentage analysis. We estimated the effective size of the A. melanopus metapopulation to be 745 (582-993 95% CI) and recommend continued monitoring of its genetic status. Maintaining connectivity with populations beyond the Keppel Islands and recovery of local recruitment habitat, potentially through active restoration of host anemone populations, will be important for its long-term persistence. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. A new genus of Stenetriidae Hansen, 1905 (Asellota: Isopoda: Crustacea) from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia and the southwestern Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruce, Niel L; Cumming, R L

    2015-04-02

    Onychatrium gen. nov. is described, with five included species: Onychatrium forceps sp. nov., the type species and Onychatrium torosus sp. nov., both from the Great Barrier Reef; Onychatrium entale (Nordenstam, 1946) comb. nov., from Tapateuen (= Tabiteue Island), Gilbert Islands; Onychatrium thomasi (Bolstad & Kensley, 1999) comb. nov., from Madang, Papua New Guinea; and Onychatrium echiurum (Nobili, 1906) comb. nov., and species inquirenda from the Tumaotu Islands, Eastern French Polynesia. The primary distinguishing characters for Onychatrium gen. nov. are a trapezoid pseudosrostrum, the male pereopod 1 with elongate dactylus (4.7-7.3 as long as proximal width), propodus with strongly produced and acute lobe, carpus with a distally acute, flat, ventrally directed process (except O. torosus sp. nov., which has a short and truncate process) and the merus with a distally directed inferodistal lobe. The genus is known only from the southern Pacific, from the Tuamotus (eastern French Polynesia) to the Great Barrier Reef and northern Papua New Guinea.

  16. Recent brachiopod-coralline sponge communities and their paleoecological significance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, J B; Goreau, T F; Hartman, W D

    1971-08-13

    Brachiopods and coralline sponges are the dominant taxa of a series of parallel pantropical communities found in cryptic habitats of Recent coral reefs, where these organisms may cover almost the entire available surface area. It is suggested that the continued survival and success of these and other groups of considerable paleontological importance resulted from their occupation of cryptic reef habitats after competition with more rapidly growing hermatypic corals in the Middle Jurassic when scleractinian reefs first appeared.

  17. Exploring the role of microorganisms in the disease-like syndrome affecting the sponge Ianthella basta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luter, Heidi M; Whalan, Steve; Webster, Nicole S

    2010-09-01

    A disease-like syndrome is currently affecting a large percentage of the Ianthella basta populations from the Great Barrier Reef and central Torres Strait. Symptoms of the syndrome include discolored, necrotic spots leading to tissue degradation, exposure of the skeletal fibers, and disruption of the choanocyte chambers. To ascertain the role of microbes in the disease process, a comprehensive comparison of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other eukaryotes was performed in healthy and diseased sponges using multiple techniques. A low diversity of microbes was observed in both healthy and diseased sponge communities, with all sponges dominated by an Alphaproteobacteria, a Gammaproteobacteria, and a group I crenarchaeota. Bacterial cultivation, community analysis by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (Bacteria and Eukarya), sequencing of 16S rRNA clone libraries (Bacteria and Archaea), and direct visual assessment by electron microscopy failed to reveal any putative pathogens. In addition, infection assays could not establish the syndrome in healthy sponges even after direct physical contact with affected tissue. These results suggest that microbes are not responsible for the formation of brown spot lesions and necrosis in I. basta.

  18. Long-term records of coral calcification across the central Great Barrier Reef: assessing the impacts of river runoff and climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Olivo, J. P.; McCulloch, M. T.; Judd, K.

    2013-12-01

    Calcification rates are reported for 41 long-lived Porites corals from 7 reefs, in an inshore to offshore transect across the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Over multi-decadal timescales, corals in the mid-shelf (1947-2008) and outer reef (1952-2004) regions of the GBR exhibit a significant increase in calcification of 10.9 ± 1.1 % (1.4 ± 0.2 % per decade; ±1 SE) and 11.1 ± 3.9 % (2.1 ± 0.8 % per decade), respectively, while inner-shelf (1930-2008), reefs show a decline of 4.6 ± 1.3 % (0.6 ± 0.2 % per decade). This long-term decline in calcification for the inner GBR is attributed to the persistent ongoing effects of high sediment/nutrients loads from wet season river discharges, compounded by the effects of thermal stress, especially during the 1998 bleaching event. For the recent period (1990-2008), our data show recovery from the 1998 bleaching event, with no significant trend in the rates of calcification (1.1 ± 2.0 %) for the inner reefs, while corals from the mid-shelf central GBR show a decline of 3.3 ± 0.9 %. These results are in marked contrast to the extreme reef-wide declines of 14.2 % reported by De'ath et al. (2009) for the period of 1990-2005. The De'ath et al. (2009) results are, however, found to be compromised by the inclusion of incomplete final years, duplicated records, together with a bias toward inshore reefs strongly affected by the 1998 bleaching. Our new findings nevertheless continue to raise concerns, with the inner-shelf reefs continuing to show long-term declines in calcification consistent with increased disturbance from land-based effects. In contrast, the more `pristine' mid- and outer-shelf reefs appear to be undergoing a transition from increasing to decreasing rates of calcification, possibly reflecting the effects of CO2-driven climate change. Our study highlights the importance of properly undertaken, regular assessments of coral calcification that are representative of the distinctive cross-shelf environments and

  19. Trace and minor element ratios in Halimeda aragonite from the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delaney, M. L.; Linn, L. J.; Davies, P. J.

    1996-09-01

    The calcareous green alga Halimeda can be a substantial contributor to aragonite sediment in reef ecosystems. In contrast to coral aragonite, little is known about the trace and minor element composition of Halimeda aragonite, so it is difficult to test oceanographic hypotheses about factors controlling its past growth. We investigated adapting trace element cleaning protocols for modern and Holocene Halimeda aragonite, modern and Holocene Halimeda trace and minor element compositions, and the potential utility of Halimeda aragonite for paleoceanographic investigations. We successfully adapted and applied sample treatment protocols developed for measuring trace elements in coral aragonite (generally less than 500 y old) to Halimeda aragonite (modern to approximately 5000 y old in this study). Modern Halimeda aragonite from John Brewer Reef in the Central GBR had mean Cd/Ca ratios of 5.19 ± 1.68 nmol/mol( ± 2σ /sqrt n ) for Halimeda micronesica and 2.35 ± 0.38 nmol/mol for three closely related species important in bioherm accumulation Halimeda copiosa, Halimeda hederacea, and Halimeda opuntia. Mn/Ca ratios, with means from 89 239 nmol/mol for these four species, showed both intra-and inter-specific variability. Sr/Ca ratios (10.9 ± O.1 mmol/mol) and Mg/Ca ratios (1.35 ± 0.26 mmol/mol) were similar for all samples. Holocene Halimeda aragonite samples from cores of two bioherms in the northern GBR seemed well preserved on the basis of mineralogy and Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios similar to those in modern Halimeda aragonite. Cd/Ca ratios (overall mean 0.96 ± 0.15 nmol/mol) were lower than those measured in the modern Halimeda from the central GBR location. However, Mn/Ca ratios in both cores were substantially higher than in modern Halimeda aragonite. While it may be possible to extract paleoceanographic information from Halimeda aragonite, substantial care is needed to evaluate and avoid the effects of post-depositional alteration.

  20. Effects of High Dissolved Inorganic and Organic Carbon Availability on the Physiology of the Hard Coral Acropora millepora from the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Friedrich W Meyer

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are facing major global and local threats due to climate change-induced increases in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC and because of land-derived increases in organic and inorganic nutrients. Recent research revealed that high availability of labile dissolved organic carbon (DOC negatively affects scleractinian corals. Studies on the interplay of these factors, however, are lacking, but urgently needed to understand coral reef functioning under present and near future conditions. This experimental study investigated the individual and combined effects of ambient and high DIC (pCO2 403 μatm/ pHTotal 8.2 and 996 μatm/pHTotal 7.8 and DOC (added as Glucose 0 and 294 μmol L-1, background DOC concentration of 83 μmol L-1 availability on the physiology (net and gross photosynthesis, respiration, dark and light calcification, and growth of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora (Ehrenberg, 1834 from the Great Barrier Reef over a 16 day interval. High DIC availability did not affect photosynthesis, respiration and light calcification, but significantly reduced dark calcification and growth by 50 and 23%, respectively. High DOC availability reduced net and gross photosynthesis by 51% and 39%, respectively, but did not affect respiration. DOC addition did not influence calcification, but significantly increased growth by 42%. Combination of high DIC and high DOC availability did not affect photosynthesis, light calcification, respiration or growth, but significantly decreased dark calcification when compared to both controls and DIC treatments. On the ecosystem level, high DIC concentrations may lead to reduced accretion and growth of reefs dominated by Acropora that under elevated DOC concentrations will likely exhibit reduced primary production rates, ultimately leading to loss of hard substrate and reef erosion. It is therefore important to consider the potential impacts of elevated DOC and DIC simultaneously to assess real world

  1. Effects of High Dissolved Inorganic and Organic Carbon Availability on the Physiology of the Hard Coral Acropora millepora from the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Friedrich W; Vogel, Nikolas; Diele, Karen; Kunzmann, Andreas; Uthicke, Sven; Wild, Christian

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are facing major global and local threats due to climate change-induced increases in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and because of land-derived increases in organic and inorganic nutrients. Recent research revealed that high availability of labile dissolved organic carbon (DOC) negatively affects scleractinian corals. Studies on the interplay of these factors, however, are lacking, but urgently needed to understand coral reef functioning under present and near future conditions. This experimental study investigated the individual and combined effects of ambient and high DIC (pCO2 403 μatm/ pHTotal 8.2 and 996 μatm/pHTotal 7.8) and DOC (added as Glucose 0 and 294 μmol L-1, background DOC concentration of 83 μmol L-1) availability on the physiology (net and gross photosynthesis, respiration, dark and light calcification, and growth) of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora (Ehrenberg, 1834) from the Great Barrier Reef over a 16 day interval. High DIC availability did not affect photosynthesis, respiration and light calcification, but significantly reduced dark calcification and growth by 50 and 23%, respectively. High DOC availability reduced net and gross photosynthesis by 51% and 39%, respectively, but did not affect respiration. DOC addition did not influence calcification, but significantly increased growth by 42%. Combination of high DIC and high DOC availability did not affect photosynthesis, light calcification, respiration or growth, but significantly decreased dark calcification when compared to both controls and DIC treatments. On the ecosystem level, high DIC concentrations may lead to reduced accretion and growth of reefs dominated by Acropora that under elevated DOC concentrations will likely exhibit reduced primary production rates, ultimately leading to loss of hard substrate and reef erosion. It is therefore important to consider the potential impacts of elevated DOC and DIC simultaneously to assess real world scenarios, as

  2. Can Foraminifera be used to Identify Storm Deposits in Shallow-Water Tropical Reef Settings?: Examining the Impact of Cyclone Hamish on the Foraminiferal Assemblages of Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strotz, L. C.; Mamo, B. L.

    2009-12-01

    Foraminifera (marine microfossils) represent a valuable tool in identifying significant storm events in the geological past. Much of the previous work in this area however, has concentrated on temperate settings and marsh deposits. Little work has focused on tropical marine settings and no studies have looked to identify distinct foraminiferal assemblages associated with cyclone events in tropical reef settings in the South-West Pacific. In April 2008, samples were collected from the reef flat surrounding Heron Island as part of a study of foraminiferal biodiversity. On March 9th 2009, Cyclone Hamish, a Category 5 cyclone and the most significant cyclone event, in terms of impact and damage, to occur in the southern Great Barrier Reef region in over 30 years, passed in close proximity to Heron Island. With a pre-cyclone baseline collected less than 1 year previous, this presented an ideal opportunity to recollect, with the aim to determining if a discernable cyclone generated deposit could be identified. A distinct difference in composition or character of the foraminiferal assemblage identified in the pre- and post-cyclone samples could be directly attributed to the cyclone and would represent a ‘fingerprint assemblage’. This would provide a mechanism for determining cyclonic activity in the sub-recent and geological past for both the Great Barrier Reef region as well as throughout the South-west Pacific. Analysis of the total foraminiferal assemblage in the two sample lots reveals little difference between the pre- and post-cyclone assemblage. In both cases, the assemblage is dominated by the same two epiphytic taxa, Calcarina hispida Brady and Baculogypsina sphaerulata (Parker and Jones). No taxa are restricted to either pre- or post-cyclone samples and the post-cyclone assemblage bears no resemblance to the assemblage recovered from samples collected in the inter-reef channels. This suggests that the cyclone is only mobilising and redepositing material on

  3. Epizoic zoanthids reduce pumping in two Caribbean vase sponges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, T. B.; Finelli, C. M.

    2015-03-01

    Sponges are common sessile benthic suspension feeders that play a critical role in carbon and nitrogen cycling within reef ecosystems via their filtration capabilities. Due to the contribution of sponges in benthic-pelagic coupling, it is critical to assess factors that may affect their role in the healthy function of coral reefs. Several factors can influence the rate at which an individual sponge pumps water, including body size, environmental conditions, mechanical blockage, and reduction of inhalant pores (ostia). Symbiotic zoanthid colonization is a common occurrence on Caribbean sponges, and the presence of zoanthids on the surface of a sponge may occlude or displace the inhalant ostia. We quantified pumping rates of the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta ( N = 22 uncolonized, 37 colonized) and the common vase sponge, Niphates digitalis ( N = 21 uncolonized, 17 colonized), with and without zoanthid symbionts, Parazoanthus catenularis and Parazoanthus parasiticus, respectively. For X. muta, biovolume-normalized pumping rates of individuals colonized by zoanthids were approximately 75 % lower than those of uncolonized sponges. Moreover, colonization with zoanthids was related to a difference in morphology relative to uncolonized individuals: Colonized sponges exhibited an osculum area to biovolume ratio that was nearly 65 % less than uncolonized sponges. In contrast, the presence of zoanthids on N. digitalis resulted in only a marginal decrease in pumping rates and no detectable difference in morphology. The difference in zoanthid effects between X. muta and N. digitalis is likely due to the differences in wall thickness and architecture between the two species. The probable cause of reduced pumping in affected sponges is occupation of the sponge surface that leads to blockage or displacement of inhalant ostia. To partially test this hypothesis, zoanthid colonization on specimens of X. muta was simulated by wrapping sponges with plastic mesh of varying

  4. Evidence of antibiotic resistance in Enterobacteriales isolated from green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahasan, Md Shamim; Picard, Jacqueline; Elliott, Lisa; Kinobe, Robert; Owens, Leigh; Ariel, Ellen

    2017-07-15

    This study investigated Enterobacteriales and their antimicrobial resistance in green sea turtles captured adjacent to the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and proximate to urban development. Cloacal swabs were taken from 73 green turtles between 2015 and 2016. A total of 154 out of 341 Gram-negative bacterial isolates were identified as Enterobacteriales that represent 16 different species from 9 different genera. The dominant isolates were Citrobacter (30.52%), Edwardsiella (21.43%) and Escherichia (12.34%). The resistance against 12 antibiotics belonging to 6 different classes was determined. The isolates showed highest resistance to β-lactam antibiotics (78.57%) followed by quinolone (50%) and tetracycline classes (46.1%). Approximately one-third (37.7%) of the isolates identified exhibited multidrug-resistance. Isolates recovered from rehabilitated turtles were significantly multidrug resistant (p<0.009) compared to isolates from other study sites. These results provide baseline information on antimicrobial resistance while revealing gaps for further research to evaluate the level of pollution in the GBR. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Four new species of Paradiscogaster Yamaguti, 1934 (Digenea: Faustulidae) from batfishes (Perciformes: Ephippidae) on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diaz, Pablo E; Cutmore, Scott C; Cribb, Thomas H

    2017-03-01

    Examination of three species of batfishes (Teleostei: Epphippidae) from off Lizard and Heron Islands on the Great Barrier Reef led to the discovery of specimens of the trematode genus Paradiscogaster Yamaguti, 1934 (Digenea: Faustulidae). Morphological analysis demonstrated that the new specimens represented four morphotypes which we interpret to be new species: Paradiscogaster martini n. sp., P. vichovae n. sp. and P. brayi n. sp. from Platax orbicularis (Forsskål) and P. pinnatus (Linnaeus) off Lizard Island, and P. nitschkei n. sp. from P. teira (Forsskål) off Heron Island. Published material was re-examined and the specimens identified as P. chaetodontis okinawensis Yamaguti, 1971 from P. pinnatus from Okinawa, Japan, actually represent the new species P. brayi n. sp., demonstrating that some species of Paradiscogaster have wide geographical distributions. ITS2 rDNA data for the four morphotypes differ by 4-39 base pairs confirming the delineation of the four species proposed. A feature of this study is the recognition of Platax spp. as an important host group for Paradiscogaster, with the new species placing them as the second richest host group for these parasites after the Chaetodontidae.

  6. Isorchis cannoni n. sp. (Digenea: Atractotrematidae) from Great Barrier Reef rabbitfishes and the molecular elucidation of its life cycle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huston, D C; Cutmore, S C; Cribb, T H

    2017-11-02

    We describe Isorchis cannoni n. sp. from the rabbitfishes Siganus fuscescens (Houttuyn) and Siganus lineatus (Valenciennes) (Siganidae) collected off Heron Island, southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia and, using molecular data, demonstrate that 'Cercariae queenslandae II' of Cannon (1978) from the gastropod Clypeomorus batillariaeformis Habe & Kosuge (Cerithiidae) is the larval form of this new species. The cercariae of I. cannoni n. sp. develop in rediae, encyst in the environment after emergence, and are inferred to then be consumed by grazing rabbitfish. Additionally, we provide a new report of Isorchis currani Andres, Pulis & Overstreet, 2016 from the type host, Selenotoca multifasciata (Richardson) (Scatophagidae) collected in Moreton Bay, south-east Queensland, Australia, greatly expanding the known geographical range of this species. Molecular sequence data (ITS1, ITS2 and 28S rDNA) generated for I. cannoni n. sp. and the new specimens of I. currani, confirm the identification of I. currani and demonstrate a distinct genotype for I. cannoni n. sp. relative to other species of Isorchis Durio & Manter, 1969, for which molecular data are available. Isorchis cannoni n. sp. is morphologically distinct from all other species in the genus, and is further distinguished by utilizing species of Siganidae as definitive hosts, rather than species of Chanidae or Scatophagidae. Because haploporid and atractotrematid cercariae have well-developed reproductive organs, we find cercariae of these closely related families morphologically distinguishable in the same way as adult trematodes: atractotrematids have two symmetrical testes and haploporids have a single testis or, rarely, two tandem or oblique testes.

  7. Comparing bleaching and mortality responses of hard corals between southern Kenya and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClanahan, T R; Baird, A H; Marshall, P A; Toscano, M A

    2004-02-01

    We compared the bleaching and mortality response (BMI) of 19 common scleractinian corals to an anomalous warm-water event in 1998 to determine the degree of variation between depths, sites, and regions. Mombasa corals experienced a greater temperature anomaly than those on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) sites and this was reflected in the greater BMI response of most taxa. Comparing coral taxa in different sites at the same depth produced high correlation coefficients in the bleaching response in Kenya at 2 m (r=0.86) and GBR at 6 m depth sites (r=0.80) but less in the GBR for shallow 2 m sites (r=0.49). The pattern of taxa susceptibility was remarkably consistent between the regions. Coral taxa explained 52% of the variation in the response of colonies to bleaching between these two regions (Kenya BMI=0.90 GBR BMI+26; F(1,19) - 18.3; p bleaching is phylogenetically constrained, emphasizing the importance of features of the host's physiology or morphology in determining the response to thermal stress.

  8. Linking the Local and the Global. What Today’s Environmental Humanities Movement Can Learn from Their Predecessor’s Successful Leadership of the 1965–1975 War to Save the Great Barrier Reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Iain McCalman

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available For a decade from 1965–1975, an Australian poet, Judith Wright, and a Reef artist, John Busst, played a major role in helping to save the Great Barrier Reef. The Queensland State Government had declared its intention of mining up to eighty percent of the Reef’s corals for oil, gas, fertiliser and cement. The campaign of resistance led by these two humanists, in alliance with a forester, Dr. Len Webb, contributed substantively to the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 1975 and to then to the Reef’s World Heritage listing in 1983 as ‘the most impressive marine environment in the world’. This paper explains the challenges facing today’s environmental scholars and activists as they attempt to replicate the success of their 1970s predecessors in helping to save the Great Barrier Reef from even graver and more immediate threats to its survival.

  9. Climate change in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region. Scope and Focus for an Integrated Assessment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crimp, S.; Balston, J.; Ash, A.; Anderson-Berry, L.; Done, T.; Greiner, R.; Hilbert, D.; Howden, M.; Jones, R.; Stokes, C.; Stoeckl, N.; Sutherst, B.; Whetton, P.

    2004-07-01

    This study was undertaken to determine the scope and focus for an integrated assessment of climate change impacts on, and adaptation options for, the Cairns Great Barrier Reef (CGBR) region. To achieve this, the authors employed both technical expertise and regional stakeholder input. This document describes the study objectives and the process used to meet these objectives, and provides an overview of the CGBR region, the views of technical experts on potential climate change impacts, stakeholder prioritisation of impacts and adaptation options, a list of perceived knowledge gaps, and a recommended structure for a future integrated assessment in the region. The aim of the study was to determine the scope and focus for an integrated regional assessment of climate change impacts on, and adaptation options for, the CGBR region. The key objectives of the study were: Define and describe the study region; Develop a process for the study, which includes key stakeholders in the region; Prepare a comprehensive list of the regional stakeholders; Brief regional stakeholders about potential climate changes in the region; Gain insight from stakeholders into the climatic dependencies of key sectors and issues in the region (agriculture, fishing, forestry, tourism, natural ecosystems, infrastructure, pests, diseases and human health); Identify possible adaptation and/or amelioration strategies for each sector; Identify synergies with other sectors, and possible barriers to undertaking climate change adaptation strategies; Identify knowledge gaps, research priorities and current activities that may need alteration or enhancement; Define the scope of a possible integrated assessment of climate change impacts on, and adaptation options for, the region

  10. Two distinct microbial communities revealed in the sponge Cinachyrella

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuvelier, Marie L.; Blake, Emily; Mulheron, Rebecca; McCarthy, Peter J.; Blackwelder, Patricia; Thurber, Rebecca L. Vega; Lopez, Jose V.

    2014-01-01

    Marine sponges are vital components of benthic and coral reef ecosystems, providing shelter and nutrition for many organisms. In addition, sponges act as an essential carbon and nutrient link between the pelagic and benthic environment by filtering large quantities of seawater. Many sponge species harbor a diverse microbial community (including Archaea, Bacteria and Eukaryotes), which can constitute up to 50% of the sponge biomass. Sponges of the genus Cinachyrella are common in Caribbean and Floridian reefs and their archaeal and bacterial microbiomes were explored here using 16S rRNA gene tag pyrosequencing. Cinachyrella specimens and seawater samples were collected from the same South Florida reef at two different times of year. In total, 639 OTUs (12 archaeal and 627 bacterial) belonging to 2 archaeal and 21 bacterial phyla were detected in the sponges. Based on their microbiomes, the six sponge samples formed two distinct groups, namely sponge group 1 (SG1) with lower diversity (Shannon-Weiner index: 3.73 ± 0.22) and SG2 with higher diversity (Shannon-Weiner index: 5.95 ± 0.25). Hosts' 28S rRNA gene sequences further confirmed that the sponge specimens were composed of two taxa closely related to Cinachyrella kuekenthalli. Both sponge groups were dominated by Proteobacteria, but Alphaproteobacteria were significantly more abundant in SG1. SG2 harbored many bacterial phyla (>1% of sequences) present in low abundance or below detection limits (sponge host may exert a pivotal influence on the nature and structure of the microbial community and may only be marginally affected by external environment parameters. PMID:25408689

  11. Microsatellites Reveal Genetic Homogeneity among Outbreak Populations of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris) on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo

    2017-03-10

    Specific patterns in the initiation and spread of reef-wide outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish are important, both to understand potential causes (or triggers) of outbreaks and to develop more effective and highly targeted management and containment responses. Using analyses of genetic diversity and structure (based on 17 microsatellite loci), this study attempted to resolve the specific origin for recent outbreaks of crown-of-thorns on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We assessed the genetic structure amongst 2705 starfish collected from 13 coral reefs in four regions that spanned ~1000 km of the GBR. Our results indicate that populations sampled across the full length of the GBR are genetically homogeneous (G’ST = −0.001; p = 0.948) with no apparent genetic structure between regions. Approximate Bayesian computational analyses suggest that all sampled populations had a common origin and that current outbreaking populations of crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS) in the Swains are not independent of outbreak populations in the northern GBR. Despite hierarchical sampling and large numbers of CoTS genotyped from individual reefs and regions, limited genetic structure meant we were unable to determine a putative source population for the current outbreak of CoTS on the GBR. The very high genetic homogeneity of sampled populations and limited evidence of inbreeding indicate rapid expansion in population size from multiple, undifferentiated latent populations.

  12. Holocene sea level instability in the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia: high-precision U-Th dating of fossil microatolls

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leonard, Nicole D.; Zhao, J.-x.; Welsh, K. J.; Feng, Y.-x.; Smithers, S. G.; Pandolfi, J. M.; Clark, T. R.

    2016-06-01

    Three emergent subfossil reef flats from the inshore Keppel Islands, Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, were used to reconstruct relative sea level (RSL). Forty-two high-precision uranium-thorium (U-Th) dates obtained from coral microatolls and coral colonies (2σ age errors from ±8 to 37 yr) in conjunction with elevation surveys provide evidence in support of a nonlinear RSL regression throughout the Holocene. RSL was as least 0.75 m above present from ~6500 to 5500 yr before present (yr BP; where "present" is 1950). Following this highstand, two sites indicated a coeval lowering of RSL of at least 0.4 m from 5500 to 5300 yr BP which was maintained for ~200 yr. After the lowstand, RSL returned to higher levels before a 2000-yr hiatus in reef flat corals after 4600 yr BP at all three sites. A second possible RSL lowering event of ~0.3 m from ~2800 to 1600 yr BP was detected before RSL stabilised ~0.2 m above present levels by 900 yr BP. While the mechanism of the RSL instability is still uncertain, the alignment with previously reported RSL oscillations, rapid global climate changes and mid-Holocene reef "turn-off" on the GBR are discussed.

  13. Air-sea energy exchanges measured by eddy covariance during a localised coral bleaching event, Heron Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacKellar, Mellissa C.; McGowan, Hamish A.

    2010-12-01

    Despite the widely claimed association between climate change and coral bleaching, a paucity of data exists relating to exchanges of heat, moisture and momentum between the atmosphere and the reef-water surface. We present in situ measurements of reef-water-air energy exchanges made using the eddy covariance method during a summer coral bleaching event at Heron Reef, Australia. Under settled, cloud-free conditions and light winds, daily net radiation exceeded 800 W m-2, with up to 95% of the net radiation during the morning partitioned into heating the water column, substrate and benthic cover including corals. Heating was exacerbated by a mid-afternoon low tide when shallow reef flat water reached 34°C and near-bottom temperatures 33°C, exceeding the thermal tolerance of corals, causing bleaching. Results suggest that local to synoptic scale meteorology, particularly clear skies, solar heating, light winds and the timing of low tide were the primary controls on coral bleaching.

  14. Barrier efficiency of sponge-like La{sub 2}Zr{sub 2}O{sub 7} buffer layers for YBCO-coated conductors

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Molina, Leopoldo; Tan, Haiyan; Biermans, Ellen; Verbeeck, Jo; Bals, Sara; Tendeloo, Gustaaf Van [EMAT, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, BE-2020 Antwerp (Belgium); Batenburg, Kees J, E-mail: leopoldo.molina-luna@ua.ac.be [Vision Lab, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, BE-2020 Wilrijk (Belgium)

    2011-06-15

    Solution derived La{sub 2}Zr{sub 2}O{sub 7} films have drawn much attention for potential applications as thermal barriers or low-cost buffer layers for coated conductor technology. Annealing and coating parameters strongly affect the microstructure of La{sub 2}Zr{sub 2}O{sub 7}, but different film processing methods can yield similar microstructural features such as nanovoids and nanometer-sized La{sub 2}Zr{sub 2}O{sub 7} grains. Nanoporosity is a typical feature found in such films and the implications for the functionality of the films are investigated by a combination of scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) and quantitative electron tomography. Chemical solution based La{sub 2}Zr{sub 2}O{sub 7} films deposited on flexible Ni-5 at.%W substrates with a {l_brace}100{r_brace}(001) biaxial texture were prepared for an in-depth characterization. A sponge-like structure composed of nanometer-sized voids is revealed by high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy in combination with electron tomography. A three-dimensional quantification of nanovoids in the La{sub 2}Zr{sub 2}O{sub 7} film is obtained on a local scale. Mostly non-interconnected highly faceted nanovoids compromise more than one-fifth of the investigated sample volume. The diffusion barrier efficiency of a 170 nm thick La{sub 2}Zr{sub 2}O{sub 7} film is investigated by STEM-EELS, yielding a 1.8 {+-} 0.2 nm oxide layer beyond which no significant nickel diffusion can be detected and intermixing is observed. This is of particular significance for the functionality of YBa{sub 2}Cu{sub 3}O{sub 7-{delta}} coated conductor architectures based on solution derived La{sub 2}Zr{sub 2}O{sub 7} films as diffusion barriers.

  15. Preliminary assessment of sponge biodiversity on Saba Bank, Netherlands Antilles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert W Thacker

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Saba Bank Atoll, Netherlands Antilles, is one of the three largest atolls on Earth and provides habitat for an extensive coral reef community. To improve our knowledge of this vast marine resource, a survey of biodiversity at Saba Bank included a multi-disciplinary team that sampled fishes, mollusks, crustaceans, macroalgae, and sponges. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A single member of the dive team conducted surveys of sponge biodiversity during eight dives at six locations, at depths ranging from 15 to 30 m. This preliminary assessment documented the presence of 45 species pooled across multiple locations. Rarefaction analysis estimated that only 48 to 84% of species diversity was sampled by this limited effort, clearly indicating a need for additional surveys. An analysis of historical collections from Saba and Saba Bank revealed an additional 36 species, yielding a total of 81 sponge species recorded from this area. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This observed species composition is similar to that found on widespread Caribbean reefs, indicating that the sponge fauna of Saba Bank is broadly representative of the Caribbean as a whole. A robust population of the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta, appeared healthy with none of the signs of disease or bleaching reported from other Caribbean reefs; however, more recent reports of anchor chain damage to these sponges suggests that human activities can have dramatic impacts on these communities. Opportunities to protect this extremely large habitat should be pursued, as Saba Bank may serve as a significant reservoir of sponge species diversity.

  16. Preliminary assessment of sponge biodiversity on Saba Bank, Netherlands Antilles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thacker, Robert W; Díaz, M Cristina; de Voogd, Nicole J; van Soest, Rob W M; Freeman, Christopher J; Mobley, Andrew S; LaPietra, Jessica; Cope, Kevin; McKenna, Sheila

    2010-05-21

    Saba Bank Atoll, Netherlands Antilles, is one of the three largest atolls on Earth and provides habitat for an extensive coral reef community. To improve our knowledge of this vast marine resource, a survey of biodiversity at Saba Bank included a multi-disciplinary team that sampled fishes, mollusks, crustaceans, macroalgae, and sponges. A single member of the dive team conducted surveys of sponge biodiversity during eight dives at six locations, at depths ranging from 15 to 30 m. This preliminary assessment documented the presence of 45 species pooled across multiple locations. Rarefaction analysis estimated that only 48 to 84% of species diversity was sampled by this limited effort, clearly indicating a need for additional surveys. An analysis of historical collections from Saba and Saba Bank revealed an additional 36 species, yielding a total of 81 sponge species recorded from this area. This observed species composition is similar to that found on widespread Caribbean reefs, indicating that the sponge fauna of Saba Bank is broadly representative of the Caribbean as a whole. A robust population of the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta, appeared healthy with none of the signs of disease or bleaching reported from other Caribbean reefs; however, more recent reports of anchor chain damage to these sponges suggests that human activities can have dramatic impacts on these communities. Opportunities to protect this extremely large habitat should be pursued, as Saba Bank may serve as a significant reservoir of sponge species diversity.

  17. Contrasting responses of coral reef fauna and foraminiferal assemblages to human influence in La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reef biota including stony corals, sponges, gorgonians, fish, benthic macroinvertebrates and foraminifera were surveyed in coastal waters near La Parguera, in southwestern Puerto Rico. The goal was to evaluate sensitivity of coral reef biological indicators to human distur...

  18. U-Th dating reveals regional-scale decline of branching Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef over the past century

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Tara R.; Roff, George; Zhao, Jian-xin; Feng, Yue-xing; Done, Terence J.; McCook, Laurence J.; Pandolfi, John M.

    2017-09-01

    Hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is on a trajectory of decline. However, little is known about past coral mortality before the advent of long-term monitoring (circa 1980s). Using paleoecological analysis and high-precision uranium-thorium (U-Th) dating, we reveal an extensive loss of branching Acropora corals and changes in coral community structure in the Palm Islands region of the central GBR over the past century. In 2008, dead coral assemblages were dominated by large, branching Acropora and living coral assemblages by genera typically found in turbid inshore environments. The timing of Acropora mortality was found to be occasionally synchronous among reefs and frequently linked to discrete disturbance events, occurring in the 1920s to 1960s and again in the 1980s to 1990s. Surveys conducted in 2014 revealed low Acropora cover (shifted baseline.

  19. A complex of species related to Paradiscogaster glebulae (Digenea: Faustulidae) in chaetodontid fishes (Teleostei: Perciformes) of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diaz, Pablo E; Bray, Rodney A; Cutmore, Scott C; Ward, Selina; Cribb, Thomas H

    2015-10-01

    A total of 1523 individuals of 34 species of chaetodontids from the Great Barrier Reef were examined for faustulid trematodes. Specimens resembling Paradiscogaster glebulae Bray, Cribb & Barker, 1994 were found in nine chaetodontid species at three localities. These specimens are shown, on the basis of combined morphological and molecular analyses, to comprise a complex of morphologically similar and partly cryptic species. The complex may comprise as many as six distinct species of which three are resolved here. The true P. glebulae is identified in Chaetodon ornatissimus Cuvier, 1831, Chaetodon aureofasciatus Macleay, 1878, Chaetodon plebeius Cuvier, 1831, Chaetodon rainfordi McCulloch, 1923 and Chaetodon speculum Cuvier, 1831. Two new species are described, Paradiscogaster munozae n. sp. from Heniochus varius (Cuvier, 1829), Heniochus chrysostomus Cuvier, 1831 and Chaetodon citrinellus Cuvier, 1831 and Paradiscogaster melendezi n. sp. from Chaetodon kleinii Bloch, 1790. In terms of morphology the three species differ most clearly in the development of the appendages on the ventral sucker. The three species differ at 3-6consistent bp of ITS2 rDNA. The host-specificity of the three species differs strikingly. P. melendezi n. sp. infects just one fish species, P. glebulae infects species of only one clade of Chaetodon, and P. munozae n. sp. infects quite unrelated species. The basis of this unusual pattern of host-specificity requires further exploration. Two of the species recognised here, P. glebulae and P. munozae n. sp., showed apparent intra-individual variation in the ITS2 rDNA sequences as demonstrated by clear, replicated double peaks in the electropherograms. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Tolerance of endolithic algae to elevated temperature and light in the coral Montipora monasteriata from the southern Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fine, Maoz; Meroz-Fine, Efrat; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2005-01-01

    Photosynthetic endolithic algae and cyanobacteria live within the skeletons of many scleractinians. Under normal conditions, less than 5% of the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) reaches the green endolithic algae because of the absorbance of light by the endosymbiotic dinoflagellates and the carbonate skeleton. When corals bleach (loose dinoflagellate symbionts), however, the tissue of the corals become highly transparent and photosynthetic microendoliths may be exposed to high levels of both thermal and solar stress. This study explores the consequence of these combined stresses on the phototrophic endoliths inhabiting the skeleton of Montipora monasteriata, growing at Heron Island, on the southern Great Barrier Reef. Endoliths that were exposed to sun after tissue removal were by far more susceptible to thermal photoinhibition and photo-damage than endoliths under coral tissue that contained high concentrations of brown dinoflagellate symbionts. While temperature or light alone did not result in decreased photosynthetic efficiency of the endoliths, combined thermal and solar stress caused a major decrease and delayed recovery. Endoliths protected under intact tissue recovered rapidly and photoacclimated soon after exposure to elevated sea temperatures. Endoliths under naturally occurring bleached tissue of M. monasteriata colonies (bleaching event in March 2004 at Heron Island) acclimated to increased irradiance as the brown symbionts disappeared. We suggest that two major factors determine the outcome of thermal bleaching to the endolith community. The first is the microhabitat and light levels under which a coral grows, and the second is the susceptibility of the coral-dinoflagellates symbiosis to thermal stress. More resistant corals may take longer to bleach allowing endoliths time to acclimate to a new light environment. This in turn may have implications for coral survival.

  1. Fecal bacterial communities of wild-captured and stranded green turtles (Chelonia mydas) on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahasan, Md Shamim; Waltzek, Thomas B; Huerlimann, Roger; Ariel, Ellen

    2017-12-01

    Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) are endangered marine herbivores that break down food particles, primarily sea grasses, through microbial fermentation. However, the microbial community and its role in health and disease is still largely unexplored. In this study, we investigated and compared the fecal bacterial communities of eight wild-captured green turtles to four stranded turtles in the central Great Barrier Reef regions that include Bowen and Townsville. We used high-throughput sequencing analysis targeting the hypervariable V1-V3 regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. At the phylum level, Firmicutes predominated among wild-captured green turtles, followed by Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria. In contrast, Proteobacteria (Gammaproteobacteria) was the most significantly dominant phylum among all stranded turtles, followed by Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. In addition, Fusobacteria was also significantly abundant in stranded turtles. No significant differences were found between the wild-captured turtles in Bowen and Townsville. At the family level, the core bacterial community consisted of 25 families that were identified in both the wild-captured and stranded green turtles, while two unique sets of 14 families each were only found in stranded or wild-captured turtles. The predominance of Bacteroides in all groups indicates the importance of these bacteria in turtle gut health. In terms of bacterial diversity and richness, wild-captured green turtles showed a higher bacterial diversity and richness compared with stranded turtles. The marked differences in the bacterial communities between wild-captured and stranded turtles suggest the possible dysbiosis in stranded turtles in addition to potential causal agents. © FEMS 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  2. Sponge-Associated Bacteria Are Strictly Maintained in Two Closely Related but Geographically Distant Sponge Hosts ▿ † ‡ §

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montalvo, Naomi F.; Hill, Russell T.

    2011-01-01

    The giant barrel sponges Xestospongia muta and Xestospongia testudinaria are ubiquitous in tropical reefs of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, respectively. They are key species in their respective environments and are hosts to diverse assemblages of bacteria. These two closely related sponges from different oceans provide a unique opportunity to examine the evolution of sponge-associated bacterial communities. Mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene sequences from X. muta and X. testudinaria showed little divergence between the two species. A detailed analysis of the bacterial communities associated with these sponges, comprising over 900 full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences, revealed remarkable similarity in the bacterial communities of the two species. Both sponge-associated communities include sequences found only in the two Xestospongia species, as well as sequences found also in other sponge species and are dominated by three bacterial groups, Chloroflexi, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria. While these groups consistently dominate the bacterial communities revealed by 16S rRNA gene-based analysis of sponge-associated bacteria, the depth of sequencing undertaken in this study revealed clades of bacteria specifically associated with each of the two Xestospongia species, and also with the genus Xestospongia, that have not been found associated with other sponge species or other ecosystems. This study, comparing the bacterial communities associated with closely related but geographically distant sponge hosts, gives new insight into the intimate relationships between marine sponges and some of their bacterial symbionts. PMID:21856832

  3. Quantifying water flow within aquatic ecosystems using load cell sensors: a profile of currents experienced by coral reef organisms around Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jacob L Johansen

    Full Text Available Current velocity in aquatic environments has major implications for the diversity, abundance and ecology of aquatic organisms, but quantifying these currents has proven difficult. This study utilises a simple and inexpensive instrument (500 cms⁻¹ and wave frequency to >100 Hz over several weeks. Sensor data are registered and processed at 16 MHz and 10 bit resolution, with a measuring precision of 0.06±0.04%, and accuracy of 0.51±0.65% (mean ±S.D.. Each instrument is also pressure rated to 120 m and shear stresses ≤20 kNm⁻² allowing deployment in harsh environments. The instrument was deployed across 27 coral reef sites covering the crest (3 m, mid-slope (6 m and deep-slope (9 m depth of habitats directly exposed, oblique or sheltered from prevailing winds. Measurements demonstrate that currents over the reef slope and crest varies immensely depending on depth and exposure: currents differ up to 9-fold within habitats only separated by 3 m depth and 15-fold between exposed, oblique and sheltered habitats. Comparisons to ambient weather conditions reveal that currents around Lizard Island are largely wind driven. Zero to 22.5 knot winds correspond directly to currents of 0 to >82 cms⁻¹, while tidal currents rarely exceed 5.5 cms⁻¹. Rather, current velocity increases exponentially as a function of wave height (0 to 1.6 m and frequency (0.54 to 0.20 Hz, emphasizing the enormous effect of wind and waves on organisms in these shallow coral reef habitats.

  4. Water Quality and River Plume Monitoring in the Great Barrier Reef: An Overview of Methods Based on Ocean Colour Satellite Data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michelle J. Devlin

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available A strong driver of water quality change in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR is the pulsed or intermittent nature of terrestrial inputs into the GBR lagoon, including delivery of increased loads of sediments, nutrients, and toxicants via flood river plumes (hereafter river plumes during the wet season. Cumulative pressures from extreme weather with a high frequency of large scale flooding in recent years has been linked to the large scale reported decline in the health of inshore seagrass systems and coral reefs in the central areas of the GBR, with concerns for the recovery potential of these impacted ecosystems. Management authorities currently rely on remotely-sensed (RS and in situ data for water quality monitoring to guide their assessment of water quality conditions in the GBR. The use of remotely-sensed satellite products provides a quantitative and accessible tool for scientists and managers. These products, coupled with in situ data, and more recently modelled data, are valuable for quantifying the influence of river plumes on seagrass and coral reef habitat in the GBR. This article reviews recent remote sensing techniques developed to monitor river plumes and water quality in the GBR. We also discuss emerging research that integrates hydrodynamic models with remote sensing and in situ data, enabling us to explore impacts of different catchment management strategies on GBR water quality.

  5. Can paddock scale data integration achieve more cost effective outcomes in the Great Barrier Reef? A case study in the Fitzroy Basin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Star, Megan; Rolfe, John; East, Miriam; Beutel, Terry; McCosker, Kevin; Ellis, Robin; Darr, Shaun; Coughlin, Tom

    2017-11-01

    The decline in health of the Great Barrier Reef and the pressure on allocating funds efficiently has increased efforts to prioritise where public funds are invested. The Fitzroy basin and coastal catchments is 152,000 square kilometres and geographically diverse. Past work has identified that sediment loads leaving the catchment are posing a high risk to the ongoing health of the Reef and that there is a need to prioritise funds to achieve cost effective outcomes. In this paper we aim to present an alternative approach to effective prioritisation of sediment reductions. The approach integrates spatial information regarding the sediment source and process, levels of adoption, bare ground cover, and cost into a function to rank neighbourhood catchments. The results demonstrate the complexity of the issue and the challenge the Fitzroy Basin Association faces when allocating funds. They also illustrate that there are effective opportunities in particular priority areas within the catchment in which on-ground actions could be undertaken, proving it to be a useful approach in prioritising future investments aimed at achieving cost effective sediment reductions to the Reef. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Variation in Incidence and Severity of Injuries among Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vanessa Messmer

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Despite the presence of numerous sharp poisonous spines, adult crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS are vulnerable to predation, though the importance and rates of predation are generally unknown. This study explores variation in the incidence and severity of injuries for Acanthaster cf. solaris from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The major cause of such injuries is presumed to be sub-lethal predation such that the incidence of injuries may provide a proxy for overall predation and mortality rates. A total of 3846 Acanthaster cf. solaris were sampled across 19 reefs, of which 1955 (50.83% were injured. Both the incidence and severity of injuries decreased with increasing body size. For small CoTS (<125 mm total diameter >60% of individuals had injuries, and a mean 20.7% of arms (±2.9 SE were affected. By comparison, <30% of large (>450 mm total diameter CoTS had injuries, and, among those, only 8.3% of arms (±1.7 SE were injured. The incidence of injuries varied greatly among reefs but was unaffected by the regulations of local fisheries.

  7. Root-derived organic matter confines sponge community composition in mangrove ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hunting, E.R.; Ubels, S.M.; Kraak, M.H.S.; van der Geest, H.G.

    2013-01-01

    Introduction Caribbean mangrove-associated sponge communities are very distinct from sponge communities living on nearby reefs, but the mechanisms that underlie this distinction remain uncertain. It has been hypothesized that dissolved organic matter (DOM) leaching from mangrove roots and the

  8. Use of remote-sensing reflectance to constrain a data assimilating marine biogeochemical model of the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Emlyn M.; Baird, Mark E.; Mongin, Mathieu; Parslow, John; Skerratt, Jenny; Lovell, Jenny; Margvelashvili, Nugzar; Matear, Richard J.; Wild-Allen, Karen; Robson, Barbara; Rizwi, Farhan; Oke, Peter; King, Edward; Schroeder, Thomas; Steven, Andy; Taylor, John

    2016-12-01

    Skillful marine biogeochemical (BGC) models are required to understand a range of coastal and global phenomena such as changes in nitrogen and carbon cycles. The refinement of BGC models through the assimilation of variables calculated from observed in-water inherent optical properties (IOPs), such as phytoplankton absorption, is problematic. Empirically derived relationships between IOPs and variables such as chlorophyll-a concentration (Chl a), total suspended solids (TSS) and coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) have been shown to have errors that can exceed 100 % of the observed quantity. These errors are greatest in shallow coastal regions, such as the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), due to the additional signal from bottom reflectance. Rather than assimilate quantities calculated using IOP algorithms, this study demonstrates the advantages of assimilating quantities calculated directly from the less error-prone satellite remote-sensing reflectance (RSR). To assimilate the observed RSR, we use an in-water optical model to produce an equivalent simulated RSR and calculate the mismatch between the observed and simulated quantities to constrain the BGC model with a deterministic ensemble Kalman filter (DEnKF). The traditional assumption that simulated surface Chl a is equivalent to the remotely sensed OC3M estimate of Chl a resulted in a forecast error of approximately 75 %. We show this error can be halved by instead using simulated RSR to constrain the model via the assimilation system. When the analysis and forecast fields from the RSR-based assimilation system are compared with the non-assimilating model, a comparison against independent in situ observations of Chl a, TSS and dissolved inorganic nutrients (NO3, NH4 and DIP) showed that errors are reduced by up to 90 %. In all cases, the assimilation system improves the simulation compared to the non-assimilating model. Our approach allows for the incorporation of vast quantities of remote-sensing observations

  9. Satellite-Derived Photic Depth on the Great Barrier Reef: Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Water Clarity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Scarla Weeks

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Detecting changes to the transparency of the water column is critical for understanding the responses of marine organisms, such as corals, to light availability. Long-term patterns in water transparency determine geographical and depth distributions, while acute reductions cause short-term stress, potentially mortality and may increase the organisms’ vulnerability to other environmental stressors. Here, we investigated the optimal, operational algorithm for light attenuation through the water column across the scale of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia. We implemented and tested a quasi-analytical algorithm to determine the photic depth in GBR waters and matched regional Secchi depth (ZSD data to MODIS-Aqua (2002–2010 and SeaWiFS (1997–2010 satellite data. The results of the in situ ZSD/satellite data matchup showed a simple bias offset between the in situ and satellite retrievals. Using a Type II linear regression of log-transformed satellite and in situ data, we estimated ZSD and implemented the validated ZSD algorithm to generate a decadal satellite time series (2002–2012 for the GBR. Water clarity varied significantly in space and time. Seasonal effects were distinct, with lower values during the austral summer, most likely due to river runoff and increased vertical mixing, and a decline in water clarity between 2008–2012, reflecting a prevailing La Niña weather pattern. The decline in water clarity was most pronounced in the inshore area, where a significant decrease in mean inner shelf ZSD of 2.1 m (from 8.3 m to 6.2 m occurred over the decade. Empirical Orthogonal Function Analysis determined the dominance of Mode 1 (51.3%, with the greatest variation in water clarity along the mid-shelf, reflecting the strong influence of oceanic intrusions on the spatio-temporal patterns of water clarity. The newly developed photic depth product has many potential applications for the GBR from water quality monitoring to analyses of

  10. Using MODIS data for mapping of water types within river plumes in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: towards the production of river plume risk maps for reef and seagrass ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petus, Caroline; da Silva, Eduardo Teixeira; Devlin, Michelle; Wenger, Amelia S; Alvarez-Romero, Jorge G

    2014-05-01

    River plumes are the major transport mechanism for nutrients, sediments and other land-based pollutants into the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia) and are a major threat to coastal and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and seagrass beds. Understanding the spatial extent, frequency of occurrence, loads and ecological impacts of land-based pollutants discharged through river plumes is essential to drive catchment management actions. In this study, a framework to produce river plume risk maps for seagrass and coral ecosystems, using supervised classification of MODIS Level 2 (L2) satellite products, is presented. Based on relevant L2 thresholds, river plumes are classified into Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary water types, which represent distinct water quality (WQ) parameters concentrations and combinations. Annual water type maps are produced over three wet seasons (2010-2013) as a case of study. These maps provide a synoptic basis to assess the likelihood and magnitude of the risk of reduced coastal WQ associated with the river discharge (river plume risk) and in combination with sound knowledge of the regional ecosystems can serve as the basis to assess potential ecological impacts for coastal and marine GBR ecosystems. The methods described herein provide relevant and easily reproducible large-scale information for river plume risk assessment and management. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. 137Cs and excess 210Pb deposition patterns in estuarine and marine sediment in the central region of the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon, north-eastern Australia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pfitzner, John; Brunskill, Gregg; Zagorskis, Irena

    2004-01-01

    This paper focuses on the distribution of 137 Cs and 210 Pb xs in 51 estuarine and marine sediment cores collected between the Upstart Bay and Rockingham Bay in the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon, north-eastern Australia. Historical records of 210 Pb xs and 137 Cs atmospheric deposition and present day terrestrial inventories in north-eastern Australia are presented. 210 Pb xs and 137 Cs fluxes measured on suspended sediments in the Burdekin River are considered to be a source of recent inputs of these nuclides to the nearshore region of this part of the Great Barrier Reef. Direct correlations between sediment nuclide inventories, maximum detectable depths, and sediment mass accumulation rates (MARs), calculated using both 137 Cs and 210 Pb xs , are explored. In relation to inventories of 210 Pb xs , 60% of atmospheric fallout 137 Cs appears to be missing from the sediments. The reasons for these differences in two tracers, primarily of atmospheric origin, are discussed in terms of the geochemical properties of these two nuclides. Evidence is presented to support the hypothesis that the 137 Cs distribution in these cores can be a useful independent tracer which provides confirmation of MARs calculated from the decay of 210 Pb xs

  12. The Status of Coral Reefs in the Remote Region of Andavadoaka ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Three reef systems (fringing, barrier and patch reefs) were surveyed in the region of Andavadoaka, southwest Madagascar. Patch reefs had the highest coral cover and highest density of coral recruits (~45% and 1.8 m-2 recruits), followed by barrier reefs (~12% and 1.3 m-2 recruits) and fringing reefs (~8% and 0.8 m-2 ...

  13. Using an isolated population boom to explore barriers to recovery in the keystone Caribbean coral reef herbivore Diadema antillarum

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bodmer, Max D. V.; Rogers, Alex D.; Speight, Martin R.; Lubbock, Natalie; Exton, Dan A.

    2015-12-01

    Recovery of the keystone herbivore Diadema antillarum after the 1983-1984 mass mortality event poses one of the greatest challenges to Caribbean coral reef conservation, yet our understanding of the problem remains severely limited. Whilst some recovery has been observed, this has been restricted to the shallows (≤5 m). We report a newly discovered, isolated population recovery on Banco Capiro, Honduras, representing the largest recorded post-mortality densities beyond the shallowest environments (0.74-2.27 individuals m-2 at depths ≥10 m) alongside an unusually high mean percentage scleractinian coral cover of 49-62 %, likely no coincidence. On the nearby island of Utila, we report D. antillarum densities of 0.003-0.012 individuals m-2 and scleractinian coral cover of 12 % at depths ≥10 m, "typical" for a contemporary Caribbean coral reef. The three order of magnitude disparity in population density between sites separated by account for population differences. Instead, we highlight a lack of structural complexity on contemporary Caribbean reefs as the most likely explanation for the limited recovery through a lack of provision of juvenile predation refugia, representing a further consequence of the recent ubiquitous phase shifts throughout the region. Using these findings, we propose future management strategies to stimulate recovery and, consequently, reef health throughout the Caribbean.

  14. Assessment of Invasiveness of the Orange Keyhole Sponge Mycale Armata in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii Based on Surveys 2005-2006, Year 2 of Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative (NODC Accession 0033380)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Orange Keyhole Sponge, Mycale armata Thiele, was unknown in Hawaii prior to 1996. It was first reported in Pearl Harbor and has been reported in low abundance...

  15. Phosphorus sequestration in the form of polyphosphate by microbial symbionts in marine sponges.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Fan; Blasiak, Leah C; Karolin, Jan O; Powell, Ryan J; Geddes, Chris D; Hill, Russell T

    2015-04-07

    Marine sponges are major habitat-forming organisms in coastal benthic communities and have an ancient origin in evolution history. Here, we report significant accumulation of polyphosphate (polyP) granules in three common sponge species of the Caribbean coral reef. The identity of the polyP granules was confirmed by energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and by the fluorescence properties of the granules. Microscopy images revealed that a large proportion of microbial cells associated with sponge hosts contained intracellular polyP granules. Cyanobacterial symbionts cultured from sponges were shown to accumulate polyP. We also amplified polyphosphate kinase (ppk) genes from sponge DNA and confirmed that the gene was expressed. Based on these findings, we propose here a potentially important phosphorus (P) sequestration pathway through symbiotic microorganisms of marine sponges. Considering the widespread sponge population and abundant microbial cells associated with them, this pathway is likely to have a significant impact on the P cycle in benthic ecosystems.

  16. Nitrogen isotopic composition of organic matter from a 168 year-old coral skeleton: Implications for coastal nutrient cycling in the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erler, Dirk V.; Wang, Xingchen T.; Sigman, Daniel M.; Scheffers, Sander R.; Martínez-García, Alfredo; Haug, Gerald H.

    2016-01-01

    Ongoing human activities are known to affect nitrogen cycling on coral reefs, but the full history of anthropogenic impact is unclear due to a lack of continuous records. We have used the nitrogen isotopic composition of skeleton-bound organic matter (CS-δ15N) in a coastal Porites coral from Magnetic Island in the Great Barrier Reef as a proxy for N cycle changes over a 168 yr period (1820-1987 AD). The Magnetic Island inshore reef environment is considered to be relatively degraded by terrestrial runoff; given prior CS-δ15N studies from other regions, there was an expectation of both secular change and oscillations in CS-δ15N since European settlement of the mainland in the mid 1800s. Surprisingly, CS-δ15N varied by less than 1.5‰ despite significant land use change on the adjacent mainland over the 168-yr measurement period. After 1930, CS-δ15N may have responded to changes in local river runoff, but the effect was weak. We propose that natural buffering against riverine nitrogen load in this region between 1820 and 1987 is responsible for the observed stability in CS-δ15N. In addition to coral derived skeletal δ15N, we also report, for the first time, δ15N measurements of non-coral derived organic N occluded within the coral skeleton, which appear to record significant changes in the nature of terrestrial N inputs. In the context of previous CS-δ15N records, most of which yield CS-δ15N changes of at least 5‰, the Magnetic Island coral suggests that the inherent down-core variability of the CS-δ15N proxy is less than 2‰ for Porites.

  17. The physiological response of two green calcifying algae from the Great Barrier Reef towards high dissolved inorganic and organic carbon (DIC and DOC) availability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Friedrich Wilhelm; Vogel, Nikolas; Teichberg, Mirta; Uthicke, Sven; Wild, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Increasing dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentrations associated with ocean acidification can affect marine calcifiers, but local factors, such as high dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations through sewage and algal blooms, may interact with this global factor. For calcifying green algae of the genus Halimeda, a key tropical carbonate producer that often occurs in coral reefs, no studies on these interactions have been reported. These data are however urgently needed to understand future carbonate production. Thus, we investigated the independent and combined effects of DIC (pCO2 402 μatm/ pHtot 8.0 and 996 μatm/ pHtot 7.7) and DOC (added as glucose in 0 and 294 μmol L-1) on growth, calcification and photosynthesis of H. macroloba and H. opuntia from the Great Barrier Reef in an incubation experiment over 16 days. High DIC concentrations significantly reduced dark calcification of H. opuntia by 130 % and led to net dissolution, but did not affect H. macroloba. High DOC concentrations significantly reduced daily oxygen production of H. opuntia and H. macroloba by 78 % and 43 %, respectively, and significantly reduced dark calcification of H. opuntia by 70%. Combined high DIC and DOC did not show any interactive effects for both algae, but revealed additive effects for H. opuntia where the combination of both factors reduced dark calcification by 162 % compared to controls. Such species-specific differences in treatment responses indicate H. opuntia is more susceptible to a combination of high DIC and DOC than H. macroloba. From an ecological perspective, results further suggest a reduction of primary production for Halimeda-dominated benthic reef communities under high DOC concentrations and additional decreases of carbonate accretion under elevated DIC concentrations, where H. opuntia dominates the benthic community. This may reduce biogenic carbonate sedimentation rates and hence the buffering capacity against further ocean acidification.

  18. The physiological response of two green calcifying algae from the Great Barrier Reef towards high dissolved inorganic and organic carbon (DIC and DOC availability.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Friedrich Wilhelm Meyer

    Full Text Available Increasing dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC concentrations associated with ocean acidification can affect marine calcifiers, but local factors, such as high dissolved organic carbon (DOC concentrations through sewage and algal blooms, may interact with this global factor. For calcifying green algae of the genus Halimeda, a key tropical carbonate producer that often occurs in coral reefs, no studies on these interactions have been reported. These data are however urgently needed to understand future carbonate production. Thus, we investigated the independent and combined effects of DIC (pCO2 402 μatm/ pHtot 8.0 and 996 μatm/ pHtot 7.7 and DOC (added as glucose in 0 and 294 μmol L-1 on growth, calcification and photosynthesis of H. macroloba and H. opuntia from the Great Barrier Reef in an incubation experiment over 16 days. High DIC concentrations significantly reduced dark calcification of H. opuntia by 130 % and led to net dissolution, but did not affect H. macroloba. High DOC concentrations significantly reduced daily oxygen production of H. opuntia and H. macroloba by 78 % and 43 %, respectively, and significantly reduced dark calcification of H. opuntia by 70%. Combined high DIC and DOC did not show any interactive effects for both algae, but revealed additive effects for H. opuntia where the combination of both factors reduced dark calcification by 162 % compared to controls. Such species-specific differences in treatment responses indicate H. opuntia is more susceptible to a combination of high DIC and DOC than H. macroloba. From an ecological perspective, results further suggest a reduction of primary production for Halimeda-dominated benthic reef communities under high DOC concentrations and additional decreases of carbonate accretion under elevated DIC concentrations, where H. opuntia dominates the benthic community. This may reduce biogenic carbonate sedimentation rates and hence the buffering capacity against further ocean

  19. SOME INOZOID SPONGES FROM UPPER TRIASSIC (NORIAN-RHAETIAN NAYBAND FORMATION OF CENTRAL IRAN

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    BABA SENOWBARI-DARYAN

    1997-11-01

    Full Text Available Some small-scaled Norian-Rhaetian reefs and reef mounds are imbedded within the shales, siltstones and siliciclastic-carbonate deposits of the Nayband Formation in central Iran. These deposits belong to the central Iranian plate as part of the Cimmerian Continent. Most of the biogenic rocks have a biostromal geometry, biohermal constructions are rare. Inozoid, sphinctozoid, and chaetetid sponges are, beside of corals and other reef builders, the most important reef organisms within these bioconstructions. In some reefs a variety of hexactinellid sponges also occur. The following inozoid sponges are described in this paper: Radiofibra norica n. sp., Permocorynella maxima n. sp., ?Sestrostomella robusta, Marawandia iranica, n. gen., n. sp. and Enaulofungia? triassica n. sp. The first four taxa are among the most abundant sponges within the Nayband Formation where it is exposed in several localities in central Iran. Enaulofungia? triassica, however, is not an abundant sponge there. These inozoid sponges have never been reported from the Triassic deposits of this region. Radiofibra, until now known only from the Upper Permian of Djebel Tebaga (Tunisia, is reported here for the first time from Triassic rocks. The stratigraphic as well as the paleogeographic distribution of all the genera are discussed.   

  20. Elucidating the sponge stress response; lipids and fatty acids can facilitate survival under future climate scenarios.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, Holly; Bell, James J; Davy, Simon K; Webster, Nicole S; Francis, David S

    2018-03-05

    Ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA) are threatening coral reef ecosystems, with a bleak future forecast for reef-building corals, which are already experiencing global declines in abundance. In contrast, many coral reef sponge species are able to tolerate climate change conditions projected for 2100. To increase our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning this tolerance, we explored the lipid and fatty acid (FA) composition of four sponge species with differing sensitivities to climate change, experimentally exposed to OW and OA levels predicted for 2100, under two CO 2 Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). Sponges with greater concentrations of storage lipid, phospholipids, sterols and elevated concentrations of n-3 and n-6 long-chain polyunsaturated FA (LC PUFA), were more resistant to OW. Such biochemical constituents likely contribute to the ability of these sponges to maintain membrane function and cell homeostasis in the face of environmental change. Our results suggest that n-3 and n-6 LC PUFA are important components of the sponge stress response potentially via chain elongation and the eicosanoid stress-signalling pathways. The capacity for sponges to compositionally alter their membrane lipids in response to stress was also explored using a number of specific homeoviscous adaptation (HVA) indicators. This revealed a potential mechanism via which additional CO 2 could facilitate the resistance of phototrophic sponges to thermal stress through an increased synthesis of membrane-stabilising sterols. Finally, OW induced an increase in FA unsaturation in phototrophic sponges but a decrease in heterotrophic species, providing support for a difference in the thermal response pathway between the sponge host and the associated photosymbionts. Here we have shown that sponge lipids and FA are likely to be an important component of the sponge stress response and may play a role in facilitating sponge survival under future climate conditions

  1. Estimating the Exposure of Coral Reefs and Seagrass Meadows to Land-Sourced Contaminants in River Flood Plumes of the Great Barrier Reef: Validating a Simple Satellite Risk Framework with Environmental Data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Caroline Petus

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available River runoff and associated flood plumes (hereafter river plumes are a major source of land-sourced contaminants to the marine environment, and are a significant threat to coastal and marine ecosystems worldwide. Remote sensing monitoring products have been developed to map the spatial extent, composition and frequency of occurrence of river plumes in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia. There is, however, a need to incorporate these monitoring products into Risk Assessment Frameworks as management decision tools. A simple Satellite Risk Framework has been recently proposed to generate maps of potential risk to seagrass and coral reef ecosystems in the GBR focusing on the Austral tropical wet season. This framework was based on a “magnitude × likelihood” risk management approach and GBR plume water types mapped from satellite imagery. The GBR plume water types (so called “Primary” for the inshore plume waters, “Secondary” for the midshelf-plume waters and “Tertiary” for the offshore plume waters represent distinct concentrations and combinations of land-sourced and marine contaminants. The current study aimed to test and refine the methods of the Satellite Risk Framework. It compared predicted pollutant concentrations in plume water types (multi-annual average from 2005–2014 to published ecological thresholds, and combined this information with similarly long-term measures of seagrass and coral ecosystem health. The Satellite Risk Framework and newly-introduced multi-annual risk scores were successful in demonstrating where water conditions were, on average, correlated to adverse biological responses. Seagrass meadow abundance (multi-annual change in % cover was negatively correlated to the multi-annual risk score at the site level (R2 = 0.47, p < 0.05. Relationships between multi-annual risk scores and multi-annual changes in proportional macroalgae cover (as an index for coral reef health were more complex (R2 = 0.04, p

  2. Defining wet season water quality target concentrations for ecosystem conservation using empirical light attenuation models: A case study in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petus, Caroline; Devlin, Michelle; Teixera da Silva, Eduardo; Lewis, Stephen; Waterhouse, Jane; Wenger, Amelia; Bainbridge, Zoe; Tracey, Dieter

    2018-05-01

    Optically active water quality components (OAC) transported by flood plumes to nearshore marine environments affect light levels. The definition of minimum OAC concentrations that must be maintained to sustain sufficient light levels for conservation of light-dependant coastal ecosystems exposed to flood waters is necessary to guide management actions in adjacent catchments. In this study, a framework for defining OAC target concentrations using empirical light attenuation models is proposed and applied to the Wet Tropics region of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) (Queensland, Australia). This framework comprises several steps: (i) light attenuation (Kd(PAR)) profiles and OAC measurements, including coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM), chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) and suspended particulate matter (SPM) concentrations collected in flood waters; (ii) empirical light attenuation models used to define the contribution of CDOM, Chl-a and SPM to the light attenuation, and; (iii) translation of empirical models into manageable OAC target concentrations specific for wet season conditions. Results showed that (i) Kd(PAR) variability in the Wet Tropics flood waters is driven primarily by SPM and CDOM, with a lower contribution from Chl-a (r2 = 0.5, p reefs and seagrass ecosystems exposed to 'brownish' flood waters. Additional data will be collected to validate the light attenuation models and the wet season target concentration which in future will be incorporated into wider catchment modelling efforts to improve coastal water quality in the Wet Tropics and the GBR. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Use of remotely-sensed observations and a data assimilating marine biogeochemical model to determine water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baird, Mark; Jones, Emlyn; Wozniak, Monika; Mongin, Mathieu; Skerratt, Jennifer; Margvelashvilli, Nugzar; Wild-Allen, Karen; Robson, Barbara; Rizwi, Farhan; Schroeder, Thomas; Steven, Andy

    2017-04-01

    The health of the Great Barrier Reef is presently assessed using the water column concentration of chlorophyll and suspended solids, and measured light penetration. Quantifying these water column properties over 2,000 km of often cloud-covered, sparsely sampled, and highly variable coastal waters is problematic. To provide the best estimate of water quality, we assimilating satellite remote-sensing reflectance (the ratio of water-leaving radiance versus water-entering irradiance) using an in-water optical model to produce an equivalent simulated remote-sensing reflectance, and calculate the mis-match between the observed and simulated quantities to constrain a complex biogeochemical model (eReefs) with a Deterministic Ensemble Kalman Filter (DEnKF). We compare the water quality properties of the data assimilating model with in-situ observations, as well as with withheld remote-sensed observations. As a final step, we consider whether withheld observations can be combined with the data-assimilation generated chlorophyll fields to provide the best estimate of the chlorophyll concentration given all the available information.

  4. Gene Expression Dynamics Accompanying the Sponge Thermal Stress Response

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guzman, Christine; Conaco, Cecilia

    2016-01-01

    Marine sponges are important members of coral reef ecosystems. Thus, their responses to changes in ocean chemistry and environmental conditions, particularly to higher seawater temperatures, will have potential impacts on the future of these reefs. To better understand the sponge thermal stress response, we investigated gene expression dynamics in the shallow water sponge, Haliclona tubifera (order Haplosclerida, class Demospongiae), subjected to elevated temperature. Using high-throughput transcriptome sequencing, we show that these conditions result in the activation of various processes that interact to maintain cellular homeostasis. Short-term thermal stress resulted in the induction of heat shock proteins, antioxidants, and genes involved in signal transduction and innate immunity pathways. Prolonged exposure to thermal stress affected the expression of genes involved in cellular damage repair, apoptosis, signaling and transcription. Interestingly, exposure to sublethal temperatures may improve the ability of the sponge to mitigate cellular damage under more extreme stress conditions. These insights into the potential mechanisms of adaptation and resilience of sponges contribute to a better understanding of sponge conservation status and the prediction of ecosystem trajectories under future climate conditions. PMID:27788197

  5. Gene Expression Dynamics Accompanying the Sponge Thermal Stress Response.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christine Guzman

    Full Text Available Marine sponges are important members of coral reef ecosystems. Thus, their responses to changes in ocean chemistry and environmental conditions, particularly to higher seawater temperatures, will have potential impacts on the future of these reefs. To better understand the sponge thermal stress response, we investigated gene expression dynamics in the shallow water sponge, Haliclona tubifera (order Haplosclerida, class Demospongiae, subjected to elevated temperature. Using high-throughput transcriptome sequencing, we show that these conditions result in the activation of various processes that interact to maintain cellular homeostasis. Short-term thermal stress resulted in the induction of heat shock proteins, antioxidants, and genes involved in signal transduction and innate immunity pathways. Prolonged exposure to thermal stress affected the expression of genes involved in cellular damage repair, apoptosis, signaling and transcription. Interestingly, exposure to sublethal temperatures may improve the ability of the sponge to mitigate cellular damage under more extreme stress conditions. These insights into the potential mechanisms of adaptation and resilience of sponges contribute to a better understanding of sponge conservation status and the prediction of ecosystem trajectories under future climate conditions.

  6. Inferring coastal processes from regional-scale mapping of {sup 222}Radon and salinity: examples from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stieglitz, Thomas C., E-mail: thomas.stieglitz@jcu.edu.a [AIMS-JCU, Townsville (Australia); Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB NO 3, Townsville QLD 4810 (Australia); School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811 (Australia); Cook, Peter G., E-mail: peter.g.cook@csiro.a [CSIRO Land and Water, Private Bag 2, Glen Osmond SA 5064 (Australia); Burnett, William C., E-mail: wburnett@mailer.fsu.ed [Department of Oceanography, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306 (United States)

    2010-07-15

    The radon isotope {sup 222}Rn and salinity in coastal surface water were mapped on regional scales, to improve the understanding of coastal processes and their spatial variability. Radon was measured with a surface-towed, continuously recording multi-detector setup on a moving vessel. Numerous processes and locations of land-ocean interaction along the Central Great Barrier Reef coastline were identified and interpreted based on the data collected. These included riverine fluxes, terrestrially-derived fresh submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) and the tidal pumping of seawater through mangrove forests. Based on variations in the relationship of the tracers radon and salinity, some aspects of regional freshwater inputs to the coastal zone and to estuaries could be assessed. Concurrent mapping of radon and salinity allowed an efficient qualitative assessment of land-ocean interaction on various spatial and temporal scales, indicating that such surveys on coastal scales can be a useful tool to obtain an overview of SGD locations and processes.

  7. Preventable fine sediment export from the Burdekin River catchment reduces coastal seagrass abundance and increases dugong mortality within the Townsville region of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wooldridge, Scott A

    2017-01-30

    The coastal seagrass meadows in the Townsville region of the Great Barrier Reef are crucial seagrass foraging habitat for endangered dugong populations. Deteriorating coastal water quality and in situ light levels reduce the extent of these meadows, particularly in years with significant terrestrial runoff from the nearby Burdekin River catchment. However, uncertainty surrounds the impact of variable seagrass abundance on dugong carrying capacity. Here, I demonstrate that a power-law relationship with exponent value of -1 (R 2 ~0.87) links mortality data with predicted changes in annual above ground seagrass biomass. This relationship indicates that the dugong carrying capacity of the region is tightly coupled to the biomass of seagrass available for metabolism. Thus, mortality rates increase precipitously following large flood events with a response lag of <12-months. The management implications of this result are discussed in terms of climate scenarios that indicate an increased future likelihood of extreme flood events. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Predictable pollution: an assessment of weather balloons and associated impacts on the marine environment--an example for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Shea, Owen R; Hamann, Mark; Smith, Walter; Taylor, Heidi

    2014-02-15

    Efforts to curb pollution in the marine environment are covered by national and international legislation, yet weather balloons are released into the environment with no salvage agenda. Here, we assess impacts associated with weather balloons in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). We use modeling to assess the probability of ocean endpoints for released weather balloons and predict pathways post-release. In addition, we use 21 months of data from beach cleanup events to validate our results and assess the abundance and frequency of weather balloon fragments in the GBRWHA. We found between 65% and 70% of balloons land in the ocean and ocean currents largely determine final endpoints. Beach cleanup data revealed 2460 weather balloon fragments were recovered from 24 sites within the GBRWHA. This is the first attempt to quantify this problem and these data will add support to a much-needed mitigation strategy for weather balloon waste. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Sense of place as a determinant of people's attitudes towards the environment: implications for natural resources management and planning in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larson, Silva; De Freitas, Debora M; Hicks, Christina C

    2013-03-15

    Integrating people's values and perceptions into planning is essential for the successful management of natural resources. However, successful implementation of natural resources management decisions on the ground is a complex task, which requires a comprehensive understanding of a system's social and ecological linkages. This paper investigates the relationship between sense of place and people's attitudes towards their natural environment. Sense of place contributes towards shaping peoples' beliefs, values and commitments. Here, we set out to explore how these theoretical contributions can be operationalized for natural resources management planning in the Great Barrier Reef region of Australia. We hypothesise that the region's diverse range of natural resources, conservation values and management pressures might be reflected in people's attachment to place. To tests this proposition, variables capturing socio-demographics, personal wellbeing and a potential for sense of place were collected via mail-out survey of 372 residents of the region, and tested for relationships using multivariate regression and redundancy orientation analyses. Results indicate that place of residence within the region, involvement in community activities, country of birth and the length of time respondents lived in the region are important determinants of the values assigned to factors related to the natural environment. This type of information is readily available from National Census and thus could be incorporated into the planning of community engagement strategies early in the natural resources management planning process. A better understanding of the characteristics that allow sense of place meanings to develop can facilitate a better understanding of people's perceptions towards environmental and biodiversity issues. We suggest that the insights gained from this study can benefit environmental decision making and planning in the Great Barrier Reef region; and that sense of place

  10. Benthic meiofaunal community response to the cascading effects of herbivory within an algal halo system of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ollivier, Quinn R; Hammill, Edward; Booth, David J; Madin, Elizabeth M P; Hinchliffe, Charles; Harborne, Alastair R; Lovelock, Catherine E; Macreadie, Peter I; Atwood, Trisha B

    2018-01-01

    Benthic fauna play a crucial role in organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling at the sediment-water boundary in aquatic ecosystems. In terrestrial systems, grazing herbivores have been shown to influence below-ground communities through alterations to plant distribution and composition, however whether similar cascading effects occur in aquatic systems is unknown. Here, we assess the relationship between benthic invertebrates and above-ground fish grazing across the 'grazing halos' of Heron Island lagoon, Australia. Grazing halos, which occur around patch reefs globally, are caused by removal of seagrass or benthic macroalgae by herbivorous fish that results in distinct bands of unvegetated sediments surrounding patch reefs. We found that benthic algal canopy height significantly increased with distance from patch reef, and that algal canopy height was positively correlated with the abundances of only one invertebrate taxon (Nematoda). Both sediment carbon to nitrogen ratios (C:N) and mean sediment particle size (μm) demonstrated a positive correlation with Nematoda and Arthropoda (predominantly copepod) abundances, respectively. These positive correlations indicate that environmental conditions are a major contributor to benthic invertebrate community distribution, acting on benthic communities in conjunction with the cascading effects of above-ground algal grazing. These results suggest that benthic communities, and the ecosystem functions they perform in this system, may be less responsive to changes in above-ground herbivorous processes than those previously studied in terrestrial systems. Understanding how above-ground organisms, and processes, affect their benthic invertebrate counterparts can shed light on how changes in aquatic communities may affect ecosystem function in previously unknown ways.

  11. [Diversity and relative abundance of corals, octocorals and sponges at Jaragua National Park, Dominican Republic].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weil, Ernesto

    2006-06-01

    The Jaragua National Park is located in a remote area to the SW coast of the Dominican Republic. Fishing and mining are the major human activities. The main reef formations of the Park include: (a) long bank reefs (spur and groove) growing as bands over the platform and running in a SW-NW direction at 12-25 m depth, (b) well developed, deep, fringing reefs at the platform edge (drop-off) areas which could extend from 10 to 45 m depth, and (c) small patch reefs and poorly developed coral-octocoral-sponge-algal communities in shallow platforms near shore, rocky bottoms, and over the submerged walls of the uplifted reef. Nine reef localities were surveyed between Cabo Beata and Bahia Honda using Scuba diving to inventory the diversity and relative abundance of scleractinian corals, octocorals and sponges. Fringing reefs were surveyed starting at the bottom (30 m) and swimming in a zig-zag pattern (50 m on each side) to shallower areas. Bank reefs were surveyed by swimming in zig-zag across the spur-groove formation along 500 m. Sponges were the most diverse group with 83 species in 50 genera followed by the scleractinian corals with 56 species in 26 genera and the octocorals with 47 species in 15 genera. New records included eight coral species, 29 octocoral species and 59 sponges. The diversity, species composition and abundance of particular groups varied across the different localities. Northern reefs within the park and the Los Frailes Island offshore had the highest live cover, relative abundance and diversity for the three groups. In general, the Jaragua National Park had the highest diversity of corals, octocorals and sponges reported for the Dominican Republic and rank amongst the highest reported for the northern Caribbean. It is recommended that the area be protected and that fishing activities be regulated or eliminated altogether.

  12. The role of marine reserves in the replenishment of a locally-impacted population of anemonefish on the Great Barrier Reef

    KAUST Repository

    Bonin, Mary C.

    2015-11-21

    The development of parentage analysis to track the dispersal of juvenile offspring has given us unprecedented insight into the population dynamics of coral reef fishes. These tools now have the potential to inform fisheries management and species conservation, particularly for small fragmented populations under threat from exploitation and disturbance. In this study we resolve patterns of larval dispersal for a population of the anemonefish Amphiprion melanopus in the Keppel Islands (southern Great Barrier Reef). Habitat loss and fishing appear to have impacted this population and a network of no-take marine reserves currently protects 75% of the potential breeders. Using parentage analysis, we estimate that 21% of recruitment in the island group was generated locally, and that breeding adults living in reserves were responsible for 79% (31 out of 39) of these of locally-produced juveniles. Overall, the network of reserves was fully connected via larval dispersal; however one reserve was identified as a critical source of larvae for the island group. The population in the Keppel Islands also appears to be well-connected to other source populations at least 60 km away, given that 79% (145 out of 184) of the juveniles sampled remained unassigned in the parentage analysis. We estimated the effective size of the A. melanopus metapopulation to be 745 (582-993 95% CI) and recommend continued monitoring of its genetic status. Maintaining connectivity with populations beyond the Keppel Islands and recovery of local recruitment habitat, potentially through active restoration of host anemone populations, will be important for its long-term persistence.

  13. Nitrogen biogeochemistry in the Caribbean sponge, Xestospongia muta: a source or sink of dissolved inorganic nitrogen?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cara L Fiore

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Sponges have long been known to be ecologically important members of the benthic fauna on coral reefs. Recently, it has been shown that sponges are also important contributors to the nitrogen biogeochemistry of coral reefs. The studies that have been done show that most sponges are net sources of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN; NH4 (+ and NO3 (- and that nitrification, mediated by their symbiotic prokaryotes, is the primary process involved in supplying DIN to adjacent reefs. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A natural experiment was conducted with the Caribbean sponge Xestospongia muta from three different locations (Florida Keys, USA; Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas and Little Cayman, Cayman Islands. The DIN fluxes of sponges were studied using nutrient analysis, stable isotope ratios, and isotope tracer experiments. Results showed that the fluxes of DIN were variable between locations and that X. muta can be either a source or sink of DIN. Stable isotope values of sponge and symbiotic bacterial fractions indicate that the prokaryotic community is capable of taking up both NH4 (+ and NO3 (- while the differences in δ (15N between the sponge and bacterial fractions from the NH4 (+ tracer experiment suggest that there is translocation of labeled N from the symbiotic bacteria to the host. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Nitrogen cycling in X. muta appears to be more complex than previous studies have shown and our results suggest that anaerobic processes such as denitrification or anammox occur in these sponges in addition to aerobic nitrification. Furthermore, the metabolism of this sponge and its prokaryotic symbionts may have a significant impact on the nitrogen biogeochemistry on Caribbean coral reefs by releasing large amounts of DIN, including higher NH4 (+ concentrations that previously reported.

  14. Nitrogen biogeochemistry in the Caribbean sponge, Xestospongia muta: a source or sink of dissolved inorganic nitrogen?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fiore, Cara L; Baker, David M; Lesser, Michael P

    2013-01-01

    Sponges have long been known to be ecologically important members of the benthic fauna on coral reefs. Recently, it has been shown that sponges are also important contributors to the nitrogen biogeochemistry of coral reefs. The studies that have been done show that most sponges are net sources of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN; NH4 (+) and NO3 (-)) and that nitrification, mediated by their symbiotic prokaryotes, is the primary process involved in supplying DIN to adjacent reefs. A natural experiment was conducted with the Caribbean sponge Xestospongia muta from three different locations (Florida Keys, USA; Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas and Little Cayman, Cayman Islands). The DIN fluxes of sponges were studied using nutrient analysis, stable isotope ratios, and isotope tracer experiments. Results showed that the fluxes of DIN were variable between locations and that X. muta can be either a source or sink of DIN. Stable isotope values of sponge and symbiotic bacterial fractions indicate that the prokaryotic community is capable of taking up both NH4 (+) and NO3 (-) while the differences in δ (15)N between the sponge and bacterial fractions from the NH4 (+) tracer experiment suggest that there is translocation of labeled N from the symbiotic bacteria to the host. Nitrogen cycling in X. muta appears to be more complex than previous studies have shown and our results suggest that anaerobic processes such as denitrification or anammox occur in these sponges in addition to aerobic nitrification. Furthermore, the metabolism of this sponge and its prokaryotic symbionts may have a significant impact on the nitrogen biogeochemistry on Caribbean coral reefs by releasing large amounts of DIN, including higher NH4 (+) concentrations that previously reported.

  15. A Modern Sr/Ca-δ18O-Sea Surface Temperature Calibration for Isopora Corals in the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brenner, L. D.; Linsley, B. K.; Potts, D. C.

    2014-12-01

    Most coral-based paleoceanographic studies have used massive colonies of Porites or Faviidae, due to their long, continuously accreted skeletal records and sub-annual resolution, but other sub-massive corals provide an untapped resource. The genus Isopora is a dominant reef builder in some high-energy environments in the tropical western Pacific, and was a major component of cores recovered on IODP Leg 325 off the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Despite its abundance, Isopora remains largely unexplored and hence underutilized in paleoceanographic studies. We present a modern Sr/Ca-δ18O-Sea Surface Temperature (SST) calibration of modern Isopora corals (n=3) collected from inner and outer reef locations ranging from 1-13m depth by Heron Island in the southern GBR in 2012. Pairing the Isopora Sr/Ca record with monthly SST yielded an average relationship of SST=-11.48×(Sr/Ca)+131.1 (r2 = 0.42-0.78). The Sr/Ca sensitivity of -0.087 mmol/mol/°C is similar to the sensitivity for Porites that was corrected for tissue layer smoothing effects determined by Gagan et al. (2012). The similarity between our Sr/Ca-SST sensitivity and the corrected sensitivity for Porites suggests tissue layer effects are minimal in Isopora. The mean annual SST amplitude recorded by the corals from 2008-2011 (full annual cycles) was 5.3°C and the average δ18O annual cycle of 1.1‰ approximates that expected if salinity had little effect on coral δ18O, assuming a previously established conversion of -0.23‰ (δ18O)/°C for biogenic aragonite. The average annual salinity amplitude of 0.3 in gridded data from around Heron Island supports our conclusion that δ18O variability is forced almost completely by SST. This modern Sr/Ca-SST calibration will expand the paleoceanographic utility of Isopora and, by assisting interpretation of Sr/Ca data from fossil corals collected during IODP 325, will better constrain the timing and magnitude of sea level changes and surface conditions since the Last

  16. Effects of temperature, salinity and composition of the dinoflagellate assemblage on the growth of Gambierdiscus carpenteri isolated from the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sparrow, Leanne; Momigliano, Paolo; Russ, Garry R; Heimann, Kirsten

    2017-05-01

    Increases in reported incidence of ciguatera fish poisoning (hereafter ciguatera) have been linked to warmer sea temperatures that are known to trigger coral bleaching events. The drivers that trigger blooms of ciguatera-causing dinoflagellates on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are poorly understood. This study investigated the effects of increased temperatures and lowered salinities, often associated with environmental disturbance events, on the population growth of two strains of the potentially ciguatera-causing dinoflagellate, Gambierdiscus carpenteri (NQAIF116 and NQAIF380). Both strains were isolated from the central GBR with NQAIF116 being an inshore strain and NQAIF380 an isolate from a stable environment of a large coral reef aquarium exhibit in ReefHQ, Townsville, Australia. Species of Gambierdiscus are often found as part of a mixed assemblage of benthic toxic dinoflagellates on macroalgal substrates. The effect of assemblage structure of dinoflagellates on the growth of Gambierdiscus populations has, however, not been explored. The study, therefore investigated the growth of G. carpenteri within mixed assemblages of benthic dinoflagellates. Population growth was monitored over a period of 28days under three salinities (16, 26 and 36) and three temperature (24, 28 and 34°C) conditions in a fully crossed experimental design. Temperature and salinity had a significant effect on population growth. Strain NQAIF380 exhibited significantly higher growth at 28°C compared to strain NQAIF116, which had highest growth at 24°C. When strain NQAIF116 was co-cultured with the benthic dinoflagellates, Prorocentrum lima and Ostreopsis sp., inhibitory effects on population growth were observed at a salinity of 36. In contrast, growth stimulation of G. carpenteri (strain NQAIF116) was observed at a salinity of 26 and particularly at 16 when co-cultured with Ostreopsis-dominated assemblages. Range expansion of ciguatera-causing dinoflagellates could lead to higher

  17. Asexual reproduction does not produce clonal populations of the brooding coral Pocillopora damicornis on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sherman, C. D. H.; Ayre, D. J.; Miller, K. J.

    2006-03-01

    We have investigated the relationship between genotypic diversity, the mode of production of brooded larvae and disturbance in a range of reef habitats, in order to resolve the disparity between the reproductive mode and population structure reported for the brooding coral Pocillopora damicornis. Within 14 sites across six habitats, the ratio of the observed ( G o) to the expected ( G e) genotypic diversity ranged from 69 to 100% of that expected for random mating. At three other sites in two habitats the G o /G e ranged from 35 to 53%. Two of these sites were recently bleached, suggesting that asexual recruitment may be favoured after disturbance. Nevertheless, our data suggest that brooded larvae, from each of five habitats surveyed, were asexually produced. While clonal recruitment may be important in disturbed habitats, the lack of clonality detected, both in this and earlier surveys of 40 other sites, implies that a disturbance is normally insufficient to explain this species’ continued investment in clonal reproduction.

  18. Cyanobacteria in Coral Reef Ecosystems: A Review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Charpy

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Cyanobacteria have dominated marine environments and have been reef builders on Earth for more than three million years (myr. Cyanobacteria still play an essential role in modern coral reef ecosystems by forming a major component of epiphytic, epilithic, and endolithic communities as well as of microbial mats. Cyanobacteria are grazed by reef organisms and also provide nitrogen to the coral reef ecosystems through nitrogen fixation. Recently, new unicellular cyanobacteria that express nitrogenase were found in the open ocean and in coral reef lagoons. Furthermore, cyanobacteria are important in calcification and decalcification. All limestone surfaces have a layer of boring algae in which cyanobacteria often play a dominant role. Cyanobacterial symbioses are abundant in coral reefs; the most common hosts are sponges and ascidians. Cyanobacteria use tactics beyond space occupation to inhibit coral recruitment. Cyanobacteria can also form pathogenic microbial consortia in association with other microbes on living coral tissues, causing coral tissue lysis and death, and considerable declines in coral reefs. In deep lagoons, coccoid cyanobacteria are abundant and are grazed by ciliates, heteroflagellates, and the benthic coral reef community. Cyanobacteria produce metabolites that act as attractants for some species and deterrents for some grazers of the reef communities.

  19. Biological Activities of Aqueous and Organic Extracts from Tropical Marine Sponges

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom Turk

    2010-04-01

    Full Text Available We report on screening tests of 66 extracts obtained from 35 marine sponge species from the Caribbean Sea (Curaçao and from eight species from the Great Barrier Reef (Lizard Island. Extracts were prepared in aqueous and organic solvents and were tested for hemolytic, hemagglutinating, antibacterial and anti-acetylcholinesterase (AChE activities, as well as their ability to inhibit or activate cell protein phosphatase 1 (PP1. The most interesting activities were obtained from extracts of Ircinia felix, Pandaros acanthifolium, Topsentia ophiraphidites, Verongula rigida and Neofibularia nolitangere. Aqueous and organic extracts of I. felix and V. rigida showed strong antibacterial activity. Topsentia aqueous and some organic extracts were strongly hemolytic, as were all organic extracts from I. felix. The strongest hemolytic activity was observed in aqueous extracts from P. acanthifolium. Organic extracts of N. nolitangere and I. felix inhibited PP1. The aqueous extract from Myrmekioderma styx possessed the strongest hemagglutinating activity, whilst AChE inhibiting activity was found only in a few sponges and was generally weak, except in the methanolic extract of T. ophiraphidites.

  20. Effects of sponge bleaching on ammonia-oxidizing Archaea: distribution and relative expression of ammonia monooxygenase genes associated with the barrel sponge Xestospongia muta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    López-Legentil, Susanna; Erwin, Patrick M; Pawlik, Joseph R; Song, Bongkeun

    2010-10-01

    Sponge-mediated nitrification is an important process in the nitrogen cycle, however, nothing is known about how nitrification and symbiotic Archaea may be affected by sponge disease and bleaching events. The giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta is a prominent species on Caribbean reefs that contains cyanobacterial symbionts, the loss of which results in two types of bleaching: cyclic, a recoverable condition; and fatal, a condition associated with the disease-like sponge orange band (SOB) syndrome and sponge death. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) analyses, clone libraries, and relative mRNA quantification of ammonia monooxygenase genes (amoA) were performed using a RNA transcript-based approach to characterize the active ammonia-oxidizing Archaea (AOA) community present in bleached, non-bleached, and SOB tissues of cyclically and fatally bleached sponges. We found that non-bleached and cyclically bleached tissues of X. muta harbored a unique Crenarchaeota community closely related to those reported for other sponges. In contrast, bleached tissue from the most degraded sponge contained a Crenarchaeota community that was more similar to those found in sediment and sand. Although there were no significant differences in amoA expression among the different tissues, amoA expression was higher in the most deteriorated tissues. Results suggest that a shift in the Crenarchaeota community precedes an increase in amoA gene expression in fatally bleached sponges, while cyclic bleaching did not alter the AOA community structure and its amoA gene expression.

  1. COLLABORATIVE GUIDE: A REEF MANAGER'S GUIDE TO ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Innovative strategies to conserve the world's coral reefs are included in a new guide released today by NOAA, and the Australian Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, with author contributions from a variety of international partners from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions. Referred to as A Reef Manager's Guide to Coral Bleaching, the guide will provide coral reef managers with the latest scientific information on the causes of coral bleaching and new management strategies for responding to this significant threat to coral reef ecosystems. Innovative strategies to conserve the world's coral reefs are included in a new guide released today by NOAA, and the Australian Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, with author contributions from a variety of international partners from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions. Dr. Jordan West, of the National Center for Environmental Assessment, was a major contributor to the guide. Referred to as

  2. Bleaching and mortality of a photosymbiotic bioeroding sponge under future carbon dioxide emission scenarios.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fang, James K H; Schönberg, Christine H L; Mello-Athayde, Matheus A; Achlatis, Michelle; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Dove, Sophie

    2018-03-24

    The bioeroding sponge Cliona orientalis is photosymbiotic with dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium and is pervasive on the Great Barrier Reef. We investigated how C. orientalis responded to past and future ocean conditions in a simulated community setting. The experiment lasted over an Austral summer under four carbon dioxide emission scenarios: a pre-industrial scenario (PI), a present-day scenario (PD; control), and two future scenarios of combined ocean acidification and ocean warming, i.e., B1 (intermediate) and A1FI (extreme). The four scenarios also simulated natural variability of carbon dioxide partial pressure and temperature in seawater. Responses of C. orientalis generally remained similar between the PI and PD treatments. C. orientalis under B1 displayed a dramatic increase in lateral tissue extension, but bleached and displayed reduced rates of respiration and photosynthesis. Some B1 sponge replicates died by the end of the experiment. Under A1FI, strong bleaching and subsequent mortality of all C. orientalis replicates occurred at an early stage of the experiment. Mortality arrested bioerosion by C. orientalis under B1 and A1FI. Overall, the absolute amount of calcium carbonate eroded by C. orientalis under B1 or A1FI was similar to that under PI or PD at the end of the experiment. Although bioerosion rates were raised by short-term experimental acidification in previous studies, our findings from the photosymbiotic C. orientalis imply that the effects of bioerosion on reef carbonate budgets may only be temporary if the bioeroders cannot survive long-term in the future oceans.

  3. Complementarity of no-take marine reserves and individual transferable catch quotas for managing the line fishery of the great barrier reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Little, L R; Grafton, R Q; Kompas, T; Smith, A D M; Punt, A E; Mapstone, B D

    2011-04-01

    Changes in the management of the fin fish fishery of the Great Barrier Reef motivated us to investigate the combined effects on economic returns and fish biomass of no-take areas and regulated total allowable catch allocated in the form of individual transferable quotas (such quotas apportion the total allowable catch as fishing rights and permits the buying and selling of these rights among fishers). We built a spatially explicit biological and economic model of the fishery to analyze the trade-offs between maintaining given levels of fish biomass and the net financial returns from fishing under different management regimes. Results of the scenarios we modeled suggested that a decrease in total allowable catch at high levels of harvest either increased net returns or lowered them only slightly, but increased biomass by up to 10% for a wide range of reserve sizes and an increase in the reserve area from none to 16% did not greatly change net returns at any catch level. Thus, catch shares and no-take reserves can be complementary and when these methods are used jointly they promote lower total allowable catches when harvest is relatively high and encourage larger no-take areas when they are small. ©2010 Society for Conservation Biology.

  4. The ghost of parasites past: eggs of the blood fluke Cardicola chaetodontis (Aporocotylidae) trapped in the heart and gills of butterflyfishes (Perciformes: Chaetodontidae) of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yong, R Q-Y; Cutmore, S C; Miller, T L; Adlard, R D; Cribb, T H

    2013-08-01

    We explored the distribution of Cardicola chaetodontis in chaetodontid fishes from the Great Barrier Reef. We found just four infections of adult worms in 238 individuals of 26 chaetodontid species. By contrast, eggs were present in hearts of 75 fishes (31·5%) and 19 of 26 chaetodontid species (all Chaetodon species). In 10 cases eggs contained moving miracidia; all the others were dead and degenerating. Eggs were sought in the gills of 51 individual fish. There were 17 cases of eggs being present in gills while present in the heart, but also 13 cases where eggs were absent from gills but present in the heart, suggesting that eggs remain longer in heart tissue than in gills. ITS2 rDNA sequences from two adult worms and eggs extracted from gills of five fishes (all different species) were identical to previously reported sequences of C. chaetodontis except for a single base-pair difference in two samples. We conclude that aporocotylid eggs trapped in fish heart tissues may inform understanding of the distributions and host ranges of aporocotylids, especially where adult prevalence is low. The low host-specificity of C. chaetodontis contrasts with higher specificity of trematodes of chaetodontids that have trophic transmission.

  5. Comparison of retracked coastal altimetry sea levels against high frequency radar on the continental shelf of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Idris, Nurul Hazrina; Deng, Xiaoli; Idris, Nurul Hawani

    2017-07-01

    Comparison of Jason-1 altimetry retracked sea levels and high frequency (HF) radar velocity is examined within the region of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The comparison between both datasets is not direct because the altimetry derives only the geostrophic component, while the HF radar velocity includes information on both geostrophic and ageostrophic components, such as tides and winds. The comparison of altimetry and HF radar data is performed based on the parameter of surface velocity inferred from both datasets. The results show that 48% (10 out of 21 cases) of data have high (≥0.5) spatial correlation. The mean of spatial correlation for all 21 cases is 0.43. This value is within the range (0.42 to 0.5) observed by other studies. Low correlation is observed due to disagreement in the trend of velocity signals in which sometimes they have contradictions in the signal direction and the position of the peak is shifted. In terms of standard deviation of difference and root mean square error, both datasets show reasonable agreement with ≤2.5 cm s-1.

  6. New and previously described dactylogyrid species (Monogenoidea: Polyonchoinea) and a gastrocotylinean pre-adult (Heteronchoinea) from pomacentrid and caesionid (Perciformes) fishes from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mendoza-Franco, Edgar F; Binning, Sandra A; Roche, Dominique G

    2017-09-26

    During a parasitological survey of perciform fishes from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, we found the following gill monogenoidean species (Platyhelminthes): Euryhaliotrema lizardi n. sp. on Caesio caerulaurea Lacepède, 1801 (Caesionidae) (type host) and Haliotrema weberii n. sp. on Chromis weberi Fowler and Bean, 1928 (Pomacentridae) (type host), Chromis amboinensis (Bleeker, 1871), Chromis atripectoralis Welander and Schultz, 1951 and Caesio teres Seale, 1906. Euryhaliotrema lizardi n. sp. is characterized by having anchors with an elongated straight shaft and point as well as a vaginal canal with two loops before connecting to the seminal receptacle. Ha. weberii n. sp. is distinguished from other congeners by possessing a tubular male copulatory organ (MCO), partially straight. Two previously described dactylogyrids were also found: Haliotrematoides caesionis (Yamaguti, 1953) Kritsky, Yang and Sun 2009) on Caesio cuning (Bloch, 1791) and Ca. teres (new host record) and Haliotrematoides patellacirrus (Bychowsky and Nagibina, 1971) Kritsky, Yang and Sun 2009, on Ca. cuning (new host record). Finally, we provide the first report of a gastrocotylinean pre-adult on Ca. teres. We provide descriptions and illustrations of the new species and the gastrocotylinean pre-adult and include supplemental observations of Ht. caesionis and Ht. patellacirrus. The present findings expand the known spectrum of host species of Euryhaliotrema, Haliotrema and Haliotrematoides to include new caesionid and pomacentrid fishes.

  7. Biodiversity of Macrofauna Associated with Sponges across Ecological Gradients in the Central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Kandler, Nora

    2015-12-01

    Between 33 and 91 percent of marine species are currently undescribed, with the majority occurring in tropical and offshore environments. Sponges act as important microhabitats and promote biodiversity by harboring a wide variety of macrofauna and microbiota, but little is known about the relationships between the sponges and their symbionts. This study uses DNA barcoding to examine the macrofaunal communities associated with sponges of the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea, a drastically understudied ecosystem with high biodiversity and endemism. In total, 185 epifaunal and infaunal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were distinguished from the 1399 successfully-sequenced macrofauna individuals from 129 sponges representing seven sponge species, one of which (Stylissa carteri) was intensively studied. A significant difference was found in the macrofaunal community composition of Stylissa carteri along a cross-shelf gradient using relative OTU abundance (Bray-Curtis diversity index). The abundance of S. carteri also follows a cross-shelf gradient, increasing with proximity to shore. The difference in macrofaunal communities of several species of sponges at one location was found to be significant as well, using OTU presence (binary Jaccard diversity index). Four of the seven sponge species collected were dominated by a single annelid OTU, each unique to one sponge species. A fifth was dominated by four arthropod OTUs, all species-specific as well. Region-based diversity differences may be attributed to environmental factors such as reef morphology, water flow, and sedimentation, whereas species-based differences may be caused by sponge morphology, microbial abundances, and chemical defenses. As climate change and ocean acidification continue to modify coral reef ecosystems, understanding the ecology of sponges and their role as microhabitats may become more important. This thesis also includes a supplemental document in the form of a spreadsheet showing the number of

  8. New tool to manage coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is making available a new tool for coral reef managers to monitor the cumulative thermal stress of several coral reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, and reefs by the Galapagos Islands, the agency announced on 25 February.The agency's "Degree Heating Weeks" product uses satellite-derived information to allow continuous monitoring of the extent and acuteness of thermal stress, which are key predictors of coral bleaching, and which contribute to coral reef degradation.

  9. Medullary Sponge Kidney

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... tubes, inside a fetus’ kidneys. In a normal kidney , urine flows through these tubules as the kidney is being formed during a ... not fully understand the cause of medullary sponge kidney or why cysts form in the tubules during fetal development. Even though medullary sponge kidney ...

  10. Sponge cell culture

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schippers, K.J.

    2013-01-01

    Marine sponges are a rich source of bioactive compounds with pharmaceutical potential and are the most prolific source of newly discovered bioactive compounds with more than 7,000 novel molecules discovered in 40 years. Despite its enormous potential, only a few sponge-derived bioactive

  11. The Sponge Hologenome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, Nicole S; Thomas, Torsten

    2016-04-21

    A paradigm shift has recently transformed the field of biological science; molecular advances have revealed how fundamentally important microorganisms are to many aspects of a host's phenotype and evolution. In the process, an era of "holobiont" research has emerged to investigate the intricate network of interactions between a host and its symbiotic microbial consortia. Marine sponges are early-diverging metazoa known for hosting dense, specific, and often highly diverse microbial communities. Here we synthesize current thoughts about the environmental and evolutionary forces that influence the diversity, specificity, and distribution of microbial symbionts within the sponge holobiont, explore the physiological pathways that contribute to holobiont function, and describe the molecular mechanisms that underpin the establishment and maintenance of these symbiotic partnerships. The collective genomes of the sponge holobiont form the sponge hologenome, and we highlight how the forces that define a sponge's phenotype in fact act on the genomic interplay between the different components of the holobiont. © Crown copyright 2016.

  12. Will the Increasing of Anthropogenic Pressures Reduce the Biopotential Value of Sponges?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hedi Indra Januar

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Production of bioactive compounds from marine benthic organisms is suggested to relate ecologically with environment. However, anthropogenic pressures cause a considerable damage to coral reefs environment. This research aimed to define the pattern sponges biopotential values at the increasing of anthropogenic pressures to coral reef environment. Three representative sponges were selected (Theonella sp., Hyrtios sp., and Niphates sp. and study had been conducted in Hoga Island, Indonesia, to define the relationship between seawater variables (DO, pH, phosphate, and ammonia ions, sponges spatial competition, and their bioactivity level (Brine Shrimp Lethality Test. The study showed anthropogenic pressures affect the reef environment, as abiotic cover was increased and eutrophication was detected at the site closer to the run-off domesticated area. Statistical multivariate analyses revealed sponges spatial competition was significantly different (P<0.05 between groups of high, moderate, and low bioactivity level. Abiotic cover was detected as the major factor (36.19% contributed to the differences and also the most discriminant factor distinguishing sponges spatial competition in the groups of bioactivity level (93.91%. These results showed the increasing anthropogenic pressures may result in a higher abiotic area and may directly be a consequence to the lower production of bioactive compounds in sponges.

  13. Will the Increasing of Anthropogenic Pressures Reduce the Biopotential Value of Sponges?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Januar, Hedi Indra; Pratitis, Asri; Bramandito, Aditya

    2015-01-01

    Production of bioactive compounds from marine benthic organisms is suggested to relate ecologically with environment. However, anthropogenic pressures cause a considerable damage to coral reefs environment. This research aimed to define the pattern sponges biopotential values at the increasing of anthropogenic pressures to coral reef environment. Three representative sponges were selected (Theonella sp., Hyrtios sp., and Niphates sp.) and study had been conducted in Hoga Island, Indonesia, to define the relationship between seawater variables (DO, pH, phosphate, and ammonia ions), sponges spatial competition, and their bioactivity level (Brine Shrimp Lethality Test). The study showed anthropogenic pressures affect the reef environment, as abiotic cover was increased and eutrophication was detected at the site closer to the run-off domesticated area. Statistical multivariate analyses revealed sponges spatial competition was significantly different (P sponges spatial competition in the groups of bioactivity level (93.91%). These results showed the increasing anthropogenic pressures may result in a higher abiotic area and may directly be a consequence to the lower production of bioactive compounds in sponges. PMID:26457226

  14. A modern Sr/Ca-δ18O-sea surface temperature calibration for Isopora corals on the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brenner, Logan D.; Linsley, Braddock K.; Potts, Donald C.

    2017-02-01

    Isopora (Acroporidae) is a genus of often encrusting, branching to submassive corals that are common in many shallow habitats on modern and fossil Indo-West Pacific reefs. Although abundant, Isopora is largely absent from paleoceanographic literature. The scarcity of large Porites and the abundance of Isopora retrieved from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) on Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 325 focused paleoceanographic attention on Isopora. Here we provide the first independent high-resolution calibration of both Sr/Ca and δ18O for temperature analyses based on Isopora and demonstrate its consistency with Porites records. We developed modern skeletal Sr/Ca- and δ18O-sea surface temperature (SST) calibrations based on five modern Isopora colonies from Heron Island in the southern GBR. Pairing the coral Sr/Ca record with monthly SST data yielded Sr/Ca-SST sensitivities from -0.061 ± 0.004 (centered) to -0.083 ± 0.007 (raw) mmol/mol °C-1 based on reduced major axis regressions. These sensitivities are in the middle of the range of published Porites values and overlap most published values for Isopora, -0.075 ± 0.011 to -0.065 ± 0.011 mmol/mol °C-1. The δ18O-SST sensitivities range from -0.184 ± 0.014 (centered) to -0.185 ± 0.014 (raw) ‰ °C-1, assuming that all seasonal variation in δ18O was due to SST. These δ18O-SST sensitivities are smaller than the widely accepted value of -0.23‰ °C-1 for biogenic aragonite but are at the upper end of high-resolution Porites-defined sensitivities that are consistently less than the aforementioned established value. Our results validate the use of Isopora as an alternative source of paleoceanographic records in habitats where large massive Porites are scarce or absent.

  15. Development and Application of Sr/Ca-δ18O-Sea Surface Temperature calibrations for Last Glacial Maximum-Aged Isopora corals in the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brenner, L. D.; Linsley, B. K.; Potts, D. C.; Felis, T.; Mcgregor, H. V.; Gagan, M. K.; Inoue, M.; Tudhope, A. W.; Esat, T. M.; Thompson, W. G.; Tiwari, M.; Fallon, S.; Humblet, M.; Yokoyama, Y.; Webster, J.

    2016-12-01

    Isopora (Acroporidae) are sub-massive to massive corals found on most modern and fossil Indo-Pacific reefs. Despite their abundance, they are largely absent from the paleoceanographic literature but have the potential to provide proxy data where other commonly used corals, such as Porites, are sparse. The retrieval of Isopora fossils during International Ocean Discovery Program Leg 325 in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) signaled the need to evaluate their possible paleoceanographic utility. We developed modern skeletal Sr/Ca- and δ18O-sea surface temperature (SST) calibrations for six modern Isopora colonies collected at Heron Island in the southern GBR. Pairing the coral Sr/Ca record with monthly SST data yielded Reduced Major Axis Sr/Ca- and δ18O-SST sensitivities of -0.054 mmol/mol/°C and -0.152 ‰/°C, respectively, falling within the range of published Porites values. We applied our Isopora-based regressions and previously published sensitivities from other species to a suite (n=37) of fossil samples collected from IODP 32. The calibrations produced a range of 3-7°C of warming, averaging 5°C, in the GBR from 22 ka to modern climate. This SST change is similar or slightly larger than other coral studies and larger than planktonic foraminifera Mg/Ca records. The planktonic Mg/Ca records from the Indonesian and Western Pacific Warm Pools indicate a warming of 3-3.5°C since 23ka (Linsley et al., 2010) while a fossil coral record from Tahiti indicates a warming of 3.2°C from 9.5ka to present (DeLong et al., 2010) and western Pacific coral records suggest a cooling of 5-6°C (Gagan et al., 2010; Guilderson et al., 1994: Beck et al., 1997), although these value might require rescaling (Gagan et al., 2012) resulting in slightly warmer temperature calculations. Our Isopora fossils from the GBR speak to the spatial heterogeneity of warming since the LGM and the continued need to develop more records for a more comprehensive understanding of the deglaciation.

  16. Improving the accuracy and precision of TIMS U-series ages of modern corals from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Tara; Zhao, Jian-Xin; Feng, Yuexing; Done, Terry; Jupiter, Stacy; Lough, Janice; Matson, Eric; Pandolfi, John; Roff, George

    2010-05-01

    The main limiting factor in obtaining precise and accurate Uranium-series ages of modern corals (e.g. since European settlement of northern Australia around 1850 AD), is the ability to constrain and correct for initial or non-radiogenic 230Th. This is becoming particularly important in paleoecological research where accurate chronologies are required to pinpoint changes in community structure and the timing of mortality events in order to identify possible drivers. In this study, thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS) Uranium-series dating of 61 samples collected from living and non-living Porites spp. from the near shore region of the GBR was performed to spatially constrain initial 230Th/232Th (230Th/232Th0) variability. In the living Porites corals, the majority of 230Th/232Th0 values were higher than the bulk-Earth value (~4.4×10-6) generally assumed for non-radiogenic 230Th corrections where the primary source of initial thorium is terrestrially derived. Despite samples being taken from regions adjacent to contrasting levels of land modification, no apparent difference was found in 230Th/232Th0 between regions exposed to varying levels of sedimentation during runoff events. However, 230Th/232Th0 variability is evident between reefs within each region. Overall, most samples across the entire region give 230Th/232Th0 values in the range of 6±1×10-6. An examination of 232Th/238U versus 230Th/238U from living and non-living corals revealed mainly two components contributing to initial 230Th in the non-living coral samples. High 232Th concentrations found in the majority of non-living coral samples suggest that a significant amount of Th may have been incorporated into the coral skeleton through post-mortem non-carbonate sediment infiltration. The results of this study demonstrate that accurate U-series ages cannot be achieved where single non-radiogenic thorium correction values are used interchangeably for samples taken from different hydrological

  17. Unusual symbiotic cyanobacteria association in the genetically diverse intertidal marine sponge Hymeniacidon perlevis (Demospongiae, Halichondrida).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alex, Anoop; Vasconcelos, Vitor; Tamagnini, Paula; Santos, Arlete; Antunes, Agostinho

    2012-01-01

    Cyanobacteria represent one of the most common members of the sponge-associated bacterial community and are abundant symbionts of coral reef ecosystems. In this study we used Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and molecular techniques (16S rRNA gene marker) to characterize the spatial distribution of cyanobionts in the widely dispersed marine intertidal sponge Hymeniacidon perlevis along the coast of Portugal (Atlantic Ocean). We described new sponge associated cyanobacterial morphotypes (Xenococcus-like) and we further observed Acaryochloris sp. as a sponge symbiont, previously only reported in association with ascidians. Besides these two unique cyanobacteria, H. perlevis predominantly harbored Synechococcus sp. and uncultured marine cyanobacteria. Our study supports the hypothesis that the community of sponge cyanobionts varies irrespective of the geographical location and is likely influenced by seasonal fluctuations. The observed multiple cyanobacterial association among sponges of the same host species over a large distance may be attributed to horizontal transfer of symbionts. This may explain the absence of a co-evolutionary pattern between the sponge host and its symbionts. Finally, in spite of the short geographic sampling distance covered, we observed an unexpected high intra-specific genetic diversity in H. perlevis using the mitochondrial genes ATP6 (π = 0.00177), COI (π = 0.00241) and intergenic spacer SP1 (π = 0.00277) relative to the levels of genetic variation of marine sponges elsewhere. Our study suggests that genotypic variation among the sponge host H. perlevis and the associated symbiotic cyanobacteria diversity may be larger than previously recognized.

  18. Symbiotic prokaryotic communities from different populations of the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fiore, Cara L; Jarett, Jessica K; Lesser, Michael P

    2013-12-01

    The prokaryotic community composition of the ecologically dominant sponge, Xestospongia muta, and the variability of this community across in different populations of sponges from the Caribbean and Bahamas were quantified using 454 pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The symbiotic prokaryotic communities of X. muta were significantly different than the surrounding bacterioplankton communities while an analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) of the sponge prokaryotic symbionts from three geographically distant sites showed that both symbiont and bacterioplankton populations were significantly different between locations. Comparisons of individual sponges based on the UniFrac P-test also revealed significant differences in community composition between individual sponges. The sponges harbored a variety of phylum level operational taxonomic units (OTUs) common to many sponges, including Cyanobacteria, Poribacteria, Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi, and Gemmatimonadetes, but four additional symbiotic phyla, previously not reported for this sponge, were observed. Additionally, a diverse archaeal community was also recovered from X. muta including sequences representing the phyla Euryarchaeota and Thaumarchaeota. These results have important ecological implications for the understanding of host-microbe associations, and provide a foundation for future studies addressing the functional roles these symbiotic prokaryotes have in the biology of the host sponge and the nutrient biogeochemistry of coral reefs. © 2013 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. A new species of microphallid (Trematoda: Digenea) infecting a novel host family, the Muraenidae, on the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kudlai, Olena; Cribb, Thomas H; Cutmore, Scott C

    2016-11-01

    A new species of microphallid, Longiductotrema tethepae n. sp., is reported from a muraenid eel Gymnothorax pseudothyrsoideus (Bleeker) on the northern Great Barrier Reef. The new species is described based on adults from Gy. pseudothyrsoideus and metacercariae from a grapsid crab, Grapsus albolineatus Latreille in Milbert, collected from off Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia. The new species is assigned to Longiductotrema Deblock & Heard, 1969 based on morphological characters (presence of a cirrus-sac; a long metraterm, intensively ensheathed by gland-cells; an entirely postcaecal uterus; vitellarium composed of two lateral clusters each of about ten follicles, situated in the testicular and post-testicular areas). Longiductotrema tethepae n. sp. is the third species assigned to the genus, differing from its congeners in having a distinctly larger body dimensions, a smaller pharynx in relation to oral sucker, the anterior limits of the vitelline fields at the level of the testes (vs at the level of the ovary) and in its parasitism of a muraenid fish (vs birds). Additionally, the new species differs from L. floridense Deblock & Heard, 1969 in having a shorter metraterm and from L. scandolensis Deblock & Bartoli, 1988 in having a less elongate forebody in relation to body length, shorter caeca and prepharynx, and slightly larger eggs. Phylogenetic analyses, based on partial 28S rRNA gene sequences, showed that the present species is sister to all other microphallids for which sequence data are available. This is the fourth report of a microphallid from a marine eel, the first from the Muraenidae Rafinesque and the first from a marine fish in the Indo-west Pacific. A summary of all species of the Microphallidae parasitising fish is provided.

  20. Variation of optical properties at Lucinda Jetty Coastal Observatory and its input into an optical model of coastal waters in Great Barrier Reef region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wozniak, Monika; Baird, Mark; Schroeder, Thomas; Clementson, Lesley; Jones, Emlyn

    2017-04-01

    The water column optical properties from an observation station located at the end of a 5.8 km long jetty in the coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (18.52 S, 146.39 E) were studied. Due to the location of the Lucinda Jetty Coastal Observatory (LJCO), at the interface of large riverine nutrient and sediment sources and clear open ocean waters, it is an optically variable and interesting region. LJCO is the only Southern Hemisphere ocean colour validation site integrated into NASA's AERONET-OC global network of ground-based radiometers. LJCO has a 3 years long time series (2014-2016) of continuous in-water optical measurements of absorption (AC-S), scattering (AC-S) and backscattering (BB-9) spectra together with water-leaving radiance spectra (SeaPRISM) acquired above the water surface and concentration of water components (WQM). Further HPLC and spectrophotometrically-retrieved absorption and scattering were determined fortnightly. These detailed bio-optical observations are rarely available as a time-series for model assessment. We use these data to quantify the relationship between optical properties and water constituents and to developing a more accurate optical model for coastal, optically complex water like GBR model. Pigment analysis show that studied area is dominated by alternatively freshwater and oceanic phytoplankton species depending on weather condition, tides and season. Absorption spectra at 440 nm and 550 nm are dominated by detritus but also have a significant CDOM contribution, which influences reflectance values in that range of spectrum and negatively affects wavebands used in satellite and remote algorithms for water constituents. These emergent features are compared to the model outputs, demonstrating when the model produces accurate optical signals with realistic process representation.

  1. Transport of Australian Continental Dust to Australia's Great Barrier Reef Region: First Results From Sampling, Remote Sensing, Synoptic and Trajectory Analyses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tapper, N.; O'Loingsigh, T.; de Deckker, P.; Cohen, D.

    2009-04-01

    As part of a large multi-disciplinary project funded by the Australian Research Council and in collaboration with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, we established in mid-2008 three PM 2.5 samplers in eastern Australia to determine possible transport of continental dust from the major dust source region of the Lake Eyre Basin (LEB). These samplers were located at Fowlers Gap, New South Wales [NSW] (31.09S, 141.70E), Mount Stromlo, NSW (35.30S, 149.00E) and Heron Island, Queensland (23.44S, 151.83E). The latter location is of particular significance because of its proximity to the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and to the tropical rainforest of coastal North Queensland. In previous studies, dust and associated organic material of African origin has been associated with rainforest fertilisation in Amazonia and coral bleaching in the Carribean. In this presentation three case studies of continental dust transport to Heron Island that occurred in the first four months of sampling are examined. In each case transport of soil material from the LEB region and/or western NSW is confirmed by the nature of material sampled, by remote sensing of the dust, by forward and backward air parcel trajectory analysis and by synoptic analysis. In each case the dust arrived over Heron Island 3-7 days after passing over the southern samplers, generally having followed an anti-clockwise curved path to approach Heron Island from the southeast. The potential significance of this finding for the GBR is briefly discussed.

  2. Pyrosequencing of bacterial symbionts within Axinella corrugata sponges: diversity and seasonal variability.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James R White

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Marine sponge species are of significant interest to many scientific fields including marine ecology, conservation biology, genetics, host-microbe symbiosis and pharmacology. One of the most intriguing aspects of the sponge "holobiont" system is the unique physiology, interaction with microbes from the marine environment and the development of a complex commensal microbial community. However, intraspecific variability and temporal stability of sponge-associated bacterial symbionts remain relatively unknown. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We have characterized the bacterial symbiont community biodiversity of seven different individuals of the Caribbean reef sponge Axinella corrugata, from two different Florida reef locations during variable seasons using multiplex 454 pyrosequencing of 16 S rRNA amplicons. Over 265,512 high-quality 16 S rRNA sequences were generated and analyzed. Utilizing versatile bioinformatics methods and analytical software such as the QIIME and CloVR packages, we have identified 9,444 distinct bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs. Approximately 65,550 rRNA sequences (24% could not be matched to bacteria at the class level, and may therefore represent novel taxa. Differentially abundant classes between seasonal Axinella communities included Gammaproteobacteria, Flavobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Acidobacter and Nitrospira. Comparisons with a proximal outgroup sponge species (Amphimedon compressa, and the growing sponge symbiont literature, indicate that this study has identified approximately 330 A. corrugata-specific symbiotic OTUs, many of which are related to the sulfur-oxidizing Ectothiorhodospiraceae. This family appeared exclusively within A. corrugata, comprising >34.5% of all sequenced amplicons. Other A. corrugata symbionts such as Deltaproteobacteria, Bdellovibrio, and Thiocystis among many others are described. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Slight shifts in several bacterial taxa

  3. The sponge microbiome project

    KAUST Repository

    Moitinho-Silva, Lucas

    2017-08-16

    Marine sponges (phylum Porifera) are a diverse, phylogenetically deep-branching clade known for forming intimate partnerships with complex communities of microorganisms. To date, 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies have largely utilised different extraction and amplification methodologies to target the microbial communities of a limited number of sponge species, severely limiting comparative analyses of sponge microbial diversity and structure. Here, we provide an extensive and standardised dataset that will facilitate sponge microbiome comparisons across large spatial, temporal, and environmental scales. Samples from marine sponges (n = 3569 specimens), seawater (n = 370), marine sediments (n = 65) and other environments (n = 29) were collected from different locations across the globe. This dataset incorporates at least 268 different sponge species, including several yet unidentified taxa. The V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene was amplified and sequenced from extracted DNA using standardised procedures. Raw sequences (total of 1.1 billion sequences) were processed and clustered with (i) a standard protocol using QIIME closed-reference picking resulting in 39 543 operational taxonomic units (OTU) at 97% sequence identity, (ii) a de novo clustering using Mothur resulting in 518 246 OTUs, and (iii) a new high-resolution Deblur protocol resulting in 83 908 unique bacterial sequences. Abundance tables, representative sequences, taxonomic classifications, and metadata are provided. This dataset represents a comprehensive resource of sponge-associated microbial communities based on 16S rRNA gene sequences that can be used to address overarching hypotheses regarding host-associated prokaryotes, including host specificity, convergent evolution, environmental drivers of microbiome structure, and the sponge-associated rare biosphere.

  4. Fungi and their role in corals and coral reef ecosystems

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.; Ravindran, J.

    which are exclusive as endoliths (endemic) in corals or ubiquitous forms seem to play a role in coral reef system. Fungi associated with sponges and their role in production or induction of secondary metabolites in their host is of primary interest...

  5. Natural Diet of Coral-Excavating Sponges Consists Mainly of Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mueller, B.; de Goeij, J.M.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Mulders, Y.; van der Ent, E.; Ribes, M.; van Duyl, F.C.

    2014-01-01

    Coral-excavating sponges are the most important bioeroders on Caribbean reefs and increase in abundance throughout the region. This increase is commonly attributed to a concomitant increase in food availability due to eutrophication and pollution. We therefore investigated the uptake of organic

  6. Madreporaria from the Togian Reefs (Gulf of Tomini, North-Celebes)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Umbgrove, J.H.F.

    1940-01-01

    INTRODUCTION The coral reefs of the Togian islands grow up as steep barrier reefs and atolls. Moreover small fringing reefs occur along the islands. The geological structure of the islands, as well as the history and morphology of the reefs are treated in a separate paper 1). I will here mention

  7. Comparison between the sponge fauna living outside and inside the coralligenous bioconstruction. A quantitative approach

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. CALCINAI

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Coralligenous habitat results from a multi-stratified accumulation of crustose coralline algae and animal builders in a dynamic equilibrium with disruptive agents. The result is a complex architecture crossed by crevices and holes. Due to this three-dimensional structure, coralligenous may host a rich and diversified fauna, more abundant than any other Mediterranean habitat. Unfortunately, very few data are available about the cryptic fauna that lives inside the conglomerate. As already reported for coral reefs, the cryptic fauna plays an important role in the exchange of material and energy between water column and benthic assemblages. Here we compare the sponge community present inside and outside the coralligenous framework of Portofino Promontory (Ligurian Sea at different depths (15 and 30 meters not only in terms of taxonomic diversity but for the first time also in term of biomass. Sponges present on the surface of each block were collected, weighed and identified; after blocks dissolution in HCl, target cryptic sponges were separated from other organisms, weighed, and identified. We recorded a total of 62 sponge species. The average number of sponge taxa occurring outside the coralligenous accretions is lower than the number of taxa identified inside. This pattern is confirmed also regarding sponge biomass. These results underlines that studies focused on coralligenous functioning should take in account the important contribution of cryptic fauna, as recently evidenced also for tropical reef habitats.

  8. An Upper Ordovician sponge-bearing micritic limestone and implication for early Palaeozoic carbonate successions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Park, Jino; Lee, Jeong-Hyun; Hong, Jongsun; Choh, Suk-Joo; Lee, Dong-Chan; Lee, Dong-Jin

    2015-04-01

    A potentially new type of non-reef sponge-bearing micritic limestone is reported from the Upper Ordovician Xiazhen Formation of south-eastern China. The sponges are preserved as incomplete skeletons that consist of curved bifurcated and trifurcated spicules embedded in dark micrite, and can only be recognized under a petrographic microscope. The characteristics of the spicule networks suggest that the sponges are probably belonging to demosponges. However, based on the absence of features such as desma, zygome, a distinct dermal layer, and a canal system, they are not considered to be lithistids. The majority of the sponges are found in a lime mudstone facies, together with some micritic portions of wackestone to grainstone facies, comprising approximately 13% of the 50-m thick micritic limestone successions. It is interpreted that the non-lithistid demosponges flourished on soft substrates over shallow marine carbonate platform. Such sponge-bearing carbonates are similar to spiculites and spongolites in terms of being a major constituent of the sedimentary rocks and their potential contribution as sediment producers, but affinity and modes of preservation of the Xiazhen sponges are significantly different to those of the spiculites and spongolites. In light of the present finding, it is suggested that non-lithistid demosponges may have been more widespread in early Palaeozoic non-reef carbonates than has previously been recognized, thus indicating the critical need for further detailed studies if we are to understand their distributions and sedimentological contributions.

  9. An improved method for calculating toxicity-based pollutant loads: Part 2. Application to contaminants discharged to the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Rachael A; Warne, Michael St J; Mengersen, Kerrie; Turner, Ryan Dr

    2017-07-01

    Pollutant loads are widely used to set pollution reduction targets and assess regulatory compliance for the protection of receiving waterbodies. However, when a pollutant load consists of a mixture of chemicals, reducing the overall load (mass) will not necessarily reduce the toxicity by a similar amount. This can be overcome by setting targets based on toxicity-based loads (toxic loads, TLs), where the load is modified according to the relative toxicity (expressed as toxic equivalency factors [TEFs]) of each toxicant. Here, we present the second article of a 2-part series in which a case study is used to demonstrate the application of the toxic load method proposed in Part 1. The toxic load method converts a pollutant load, comprised of multiple chemicals, to a toxic load, using a modified TEF approach. The modified approach uses a cumulative distribution of relative potency (ReP) estimates of multiple species to determine a TEF. It further improves upon previously published methods by including two tests to select the optimal percentile of the ReP distribution to determine the TEF. The first test is a test for environmental relevance that compares results against an independent mixture method, identifying the percentile that produces the most environmentally relevant TEFs and TLs. The second is a test for robustness which ensures the results are independent of the ReP of the selected reference chemical. Here, the TL method is applied to mixtures of pesticides that are discharged from agricultural land to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) to test its utility. In this case study, the most environmentally relevant and robust TLs were generated using the 75th percentile of the ReP cumulative distribution. The results demonstrate that it is essential to develop pollution reduction targets based on toxic loads and making progress to meeting them will lead to a commensurate reduction in toxic effects caused by toxicants in waters of the GBR. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2017

  10. U-Th age distribution of coral fragments from multiple rubble ridges within the Frankland Islands, Great Barrier Reef: Implications for past storminess history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Entao; Zhao, Jian-xin; Feng, Yue-xing; Leonard, Nicole D.; Clark, Tara R.; Roff, George

    2016-07-01

    Prograded coral rubble ridges have been widely used as archives for reconstructing long-term storm or storminess history. Chronologies of ridge systems in previous studies are often based on a limited number of low-resolution radiocarbon or optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages per ridge (usually only one age per ridge), which carry intrinsic age uncertainties and make interpretation of storm histories problematic. To test the fidelity of storm ridges as palaeo-storm archives, we used high-precision U-Th dating to examine whether different samples from a single ridge are temporally constrained. We surveyed three transects of ridge systems from two continental islands (Normanby Island and High Island) within the Frankland Islands, Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and obtained 96 U-Th dates from coral rubble samples collected from within and between different ridges. Our results revealed significant differences in age ranges between the two islands. The steeper and more defined rubble ridges present on Normanby Island revealed that the majority of U-Th ages (over 60%) from a single ridge clustered within a narrow age range (∼100 years). By contrast, the lower and less defined ridges on High Island, which were more likely formed during both storm and non-storm high-energy events, revealed significant scatter in age distribution (>>200 years) with no notable clustering. The narrower age ranges obtained from the steeper and more defined rubble ridges suggest that previous approaches of using either limited samples from a single ridge or low-precision dating methods to establish chronologies are generally valid at centennial to millennial timescales, although caution must be taken to use such approaches for storm history reconstruction on shorter timescales (e.g. decadal). The correlation between U-Th mortality ages of coral rubble and historical stormy periods highlights the possibility of using coral rubble age distribution from rubble ridges to reconstruct the long

  11. A new family Lepidocharontidae with description of Lepidocharon gen. n., from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and redefinition of the Microparasellidae (Isopoda, Asellota).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galassi, Diana M P; Bruce, Niel L; Fiasca, Barbara; Dole-Olivier, Marie-José

    2016-01-01

    Lepidocharontidae Galassi & Bruce, fam. n. is erected, containing Lepidocharon Galassi & Bruce, gen. n. and two genera transferred from the family Microparasellidae Karaman, 1934: Microcharon Karaman, 1934 and Janinella Albuquerque, Boulanouar & Coineau, 2014. The genus Angeliera Chappuis & Delamare Deboutteville, 1952 is placed as genus incertae sedis in this family. The Lepidocharontidae is characterised by having rectangular or trapezoidal somites in dorsal view, a single free pleonite, a tendency to reduction of the coxal plates, and the unique uropodal morphology of a large and long uropodal protopod on which the slender uropodal exopod articulates separately and anteriorly to the endopod. Lepidocharon Galassi & Bruce, gen. n. has a 6-segmented antennula, a well-developed antennal scale (rudimentary exopod), long and slender pereiopods 1-7 directed outwards, coxal plates rudimentary, incorporated to the lateral side of the sternites, not discernible in dorsal view, the single pleonite narrower than pereionite 7, scale-like elements bordering the proximal part of male pleopod 1 on posterior side, and stylet-guiding grooves of male pleopod 1 which run parallel to the outer lateral margins of the same pleopod. Lepidocharon priapus Galassi & Bruce, sp. n., type species for the genus, and Lepidocharon lizardensis Galassi & Bruce, sp. n. are described from Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef. The most similar genus is Microcharon, both genera sharing the same general organization of the male pleopods 1 and 2, topology and architecture of the stylet-guiding groove of male pleopod 1, morphology of female operculum, presence of 2 robust claws of different lengths on pereiopodal dactylus 1-7, not sexually dimorphic. Lepidocharon gen. n. differs from Microcharon in the shape of the pereionites, very reduced coxal plates, the presence of imbricate scale-like elements bordering the proximal postero-lateral margins of the male pleopod 1, and the topology of the

  12. The effect of sub-lethal increases in temperature on the growth and population trajectories of three scleractinian corals on the southern Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edmunds, Peter J

    2005-12-01

    To date, coral death has been the most conspicuous outcome of warming tropical seas, but as temperatures stabilize at higher values, the consequences for the corals remaining will be mediated by their demographic responses to the sub-lethal effects of temperature. To gain insight into the nature of these responses, here I develop a model to test the effect of increased temperature on populations of three pocilloporid corals at One Tree Island, near the southern extreme of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Using Seriatopora hystrix, S. caliendrum and Pocillopora damicornis as study species, the effects of temperature on growth were determined empirically, and the dynamics of their populations determined under natural temperatures over a 6-month period between 1999 and 2000 [defined as the study year (SY)]. The two data sets were combined in a demographic test of the possibility that the thermal regime projected for the southern GBR in the next 55-83 years--warmer by 3 degrees C than the study year (the SY+3 regime), which is equivalent to 1.4 degrees C warmer than the recent warm year of 1998--would alter coral population trajectories through the effects on coral growth alone; the analyses first were completed by species, then by family after pooling among species. Laboratory experiments showed that growth rates (i.e., calcification) varied significantly among species and temperatures, and displayed curvilinear thermal responses with growth maxima at approximately 27.1 degrees C. Based on these temperature-growth responses, the SY+3 regime is projected to: (1) increase annualized growth rates of all taxa by 24-39%, and defer the timing of peak growth from the summer to the autumn and spring, (2) alter the intrinsic rate of population growth (lambda) for S. hystrix (lambda decreases 26%) and S. caliendrum (lambda increases 5%), but not for P. damicornis, and (3) have a minor effect on lambda (a 0.3% increase) for the Pocilloporidae, largely because lambda varies more

  13. Marine sponges as microbial fermenters

    OpenAIRE

    Hentschel, Ute; Usher, Kayley M.; Taylor, Michael W.

    2006-01-01

    The discovery of phylogenetically complex, yet highly sponge-specific microbial communities in marine sponges, including novel lineages and even candidate phyla, came as a surprise. At the same time, unique research opportunities opened up, because the microorganisms of sponges are in many ways more accessible than those of seawater. Accordingly, we consider sponges as microbial fermenters that provide exciting new avenues in marine microbiology and biotechnology. This review covers recent fi...

  14. Isolasi Dan Identifikasi Steroid/Triterpenoid Pada Sponge (Xestospongia Sp De Laubenfels)Dari Pantai Lhoknga Aceh Besar

    OpenAIRE

    Sonie, Hendra

    2015-01-01

    Sponge is one of ocean invertebrate which lives on coral reef and it has Bioactive potential that has not been widely used in various occasion, especially in drugs. Secondary metabolite compound that can be isolated from sponge is Alkaloida from Xestospongia sp., Diterpenoida from Oceanapia sp., sesquiterpenoida from Dysidea herbaceae, isonitril and terpenoid from Halicandria sp., and sesterterpenoid from Hyrtios erecta. Triterpenoid compound can be used in various needs such as to treat diab...

  15. Growth and metabolism of sponges

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koopmans, M.

    2009-01-01

    Sponges (phylum Porifera) are multi cellular filter-feeding invertebrate animals living attached to a substratum in mostly marine but also in freshwater habitats. The interest in sponges has increased rapidly since the discovery of potential new pharmaceutical compounds produced by many sponges. An

  16. Artificial Reefs

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — An artificial reef is a human-made underwater structure, typically built to promote marine life in areas with a generally featureless bottom, control erosion, block...

  17. Anticancer agents from marine sponges.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ye, Jianjun; Zhou, Feng; Al-Kareef, Ammar M Q; Wang, Hong

    2015-01-01

    Marine sponges are currently one of the richest sources of anticancer active compounds found in the marine ecosystems. More than 5300 different known metabolites are from sponges and their associated microorganisms. To survive in the complicated marine environment, most of the sponge species have evolved chemical means to defend against predation. Such chemical adaptation produces many biologically active secondary metabolites including anticancer agents. This review highlights novel secondary metabolites in sponges which inhibited diverse cancer species in the recent 5 years. These natural products of marine sponges are categorized based on various chemical characteristics.

  18. Marine sponges as microbial fermenters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hentschel, Ute; Usher, Kayley M; Taylor, Michael W

    2006-02-01

    The discovery of phylogenetically complex, yet highly sponge-specific microbial communities in marine sponges, including novel lineages and even candidate phyla, came as a surprise. At the same time, unique research opportunities opened up, because the microorganisms of sponges are in many ways more accessible than those of seawater. Accordingly, we consider sponges as microbial fermenters that provide exciting new avenues in marine microbiology and biotechnology. This review covers recent findings regarding diversity, biogeography and population dynamics of sponge-associated microbiota, and the data are discussed within the larger context of the microbiology of the ocean.

  19. 1300 km long late Pleistocene-Holocene shelf edge barrier reef system along the western continental shelf of India: Occurrence and significance

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Vora, K.H.; Wagle, B.G.; Veerayya, M.; Almeida, F.; Karisiddaiah, S.M.

    are generally massive (av. width 950 m) with several superimposed peaks. Sub-bottom profiles indicate the presence of paleolagoons. This reef system, more than 1000 km long, trends NNW-SSE i.e., parallel to subparallel to the present-day shoreline...

  20. Real-time PCR reveals a high incidence of Symbiodinium clade D at low levels in four scleractinian corals across the Great Barrier Reef : implications for symbiont shuffling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mieog, J. C.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Cantin, N. E.; Stam, W. T.; Olsen, J. L.

    Reef corals form associations with an array of genetically and physiologically distinct endosymbionts from the genus Symbiodinium. Some corals harbor different clades of symbionts simultaneously, and over time the relative abundances of these clades may change through a process called symbiont

  1. The Sponge Hologenome

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, Torsten

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT A paradigm shift has recently transformed the field of biological science; molecular advances have revealed how fundamentally important microorganisms are to many aspects of a host’s phenotype and evolution. In the process, an era of “holobiont” research has emerged to investigate the intricate network of interactions between a host and its symbiotic microbial consortia. Marine sponges are early-diverging metazoa known for hosting dense, specific, and often highly diverse microbial communities. Here we synthesize current thoughts about the environmental and evolutionary forces that influence the diversity, specificity, and distribution of microbial symbionts within the sponge holobiont, explore the physiological pathways that contribute to holobiont function, and describe the molecular mechanisms that underpin the establishment and maintenance of these symbiotic partnerships. The collective genomes of the sponge holobiont form the sponge hologenome, and we highlight how the forces that define a sponge’s phenotype in fact act on the genomic interplay between the different components of the holobiont. PMID:27103626

  2. Generalized Morphology using Sponges

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van de Gronde, Jasper J.; Roerdink, Jos B.T.M.

    2016-01-01

    Mathematical morphology has traditionally been grounded in lattice theory. For non-scalar data lattices often prove too restrictive, however. In this paper we present a more general alternative, sponges, that still allows useful definitions of various properties and concepts from morphological

  3. The Sponge Hologenome

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicole S. Webster

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available A paradigm shift has recently transformed the field of biological science; molecular advances have revealed how fundamentally important microorganisms are to many aspects of a host’s phenotype and evolution. In the process, an era of “holobiont” research has emerged to investigate the intricate network of interactions between a host and its symbiotic microbial consortia. Marine sponges are early-diverging metazoa known for hosting dense, specific, and often highly diverse microbial communities. Here we synthesize current thoughts about the environmental and evolutionary forces that influence the diversity, specificity, and distribution of microbial symbionts within the sponge holobiont, explore the physiological pathways that contribute to holobiont function, and describe the molecular mechanisms that underpin the establishment and maintenance of these symbiotic partnerships. The collective genomes of the sponge holobiont form the sponge hologenome, and we highlight how the forces that define a sponge’s phenotype in fact act on the genomic interplay between the different components of the holobiont.

  4. The sponge microbiome project

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Moitinho-Silva, Lucas; Nielsen, Shaun; Amir, Amnon; Gonzalez, Antonio; Ackermann, Gail L.; Cerrano, Carlo; Astudillo-Garcia, Carmen; Easson, Cole; Sipkema, Detmer; Liu, Fang; Steinert, Georg; Kotoulas, Giorgos; McCormack, Grace P.; Feng, Guofang; Bell, James J.; Vicente, Jan; Björk, Johannes R.; Montoya, Jose M.; Olson, Julie B.; Reveillaud, Julie; Steindler, Laura; Pineda, Mari Carmen; Marra, Maria V.; Ilan, Micha; Taylor, Michael W.; Polymenakou, Paraskevi; Erwin, Patrick M.; Schupp, Peter J.; Simister, Rachel L.; Knight, Rob; Thacker, Robert W.; Costa, Rodrigo; Hill, Russell T.; Lopez-Legentil, Susanna; Dailianis, Thanos; Ravasi, Timothy; Hentschel, Ute; Li, Zhiyong; Webster, Nicole S.; Thomas, Torsten

    2017-01-01

    Marine sponges (phylum Porifera) are a diverse, phylogenetically deep-branching clade known for forming intimate partnerships with complex communities of microorganisms. To date, 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies have largely utilised different extraction and amplification methodologies to target the

  5. Demographics of increasing populations of the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta in the Florida Keys.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McMurray, Steven E; Henkel, Timothy P; Pawlik, Joseph R

    2010-02-01

    The structure of Caribbean coral reef communities has been altered by numerous anthropogenic and natural stressors. Demographic studies of key functional groups have furthered efforts to describe and understand these changes. Little is known, however, about the demographics of sponges on coral reefs, despite their abundance and the important functions they perform (e.g., increased habitat complexity, water filtration). We have monitored permanent plots on reefs off Key Largo, Florida, USA, to study the demography of a particularly important species, the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta. From 2000 to 2006, population densities of X. muta significantly increased at sites on Conch Reef by a mean of 46% (range = 16-108%) and on Pickles Reef by a mean of 33%. In 2006, densities of X. muta on Conch Reef ranged from 0.134 to 0.277 sponges/m2, and mean sponge volume was 1488 cm3/m2, with the largest size class of sponges constituting 75% of the total volume. Increased population density resulted from a significant increase in the number of sponges in the smallest size class. Recruit survival did not significantly change through time; however, a significant interaction between season and year on recruitment suggests that large recruitment pulses are driving population increases. Mean yearly recruitment rates ranged from 0.011 to 0.025 recruits x m(-2) x yr(-1), with pulses as high as 0.036 recruits/m2. To explore the demographic processes behind the population increase and determine future population growth of X. muta under present reef conditions, a stage-based matrix modeling approach was used. Variable recruitment pulses and mortality events were hypothesized to be large determinants of the demographic patterns observed for X. muta. Elasticity and life table response analysis revealed that survival of individuals in the largest size class has the greatest effect on population growth. Projections indicate that populations of X. muta will continue to increase under

  6. Application of diffusion growth chambers for the cultivation of marine sponge-associated bacteria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steinert, Georg; Whitfield, Susanna; Taylor, Michael W; Thoms, Carsten; Schupp, Peter J

    2014-10-01

    Marine sponges contain dense and diverse microbial communities, which are renowned as a source of bioactive metabolites. The biological activities of sponge-microbe natural products span a broad spectrum, from antibacterial and antifungal to antitumor and antiviral applications. However, the potential of sponge-derived compounds has not been fully realized, due largely to the acknowledged "supply issue." Most bacteria from environmental samples have resisted cultivation on artificial growth media, and cultivation of sponge-associated bacteria has been a major focus in the search for novel marine natural products. One approach to isolate so-called "uncultivable" microorganisms from different environments is the diffusion growth chamber method. Here, we describe the first application of diffusion growth chambers for the isolation of cultivable and previously uncultivated bacteria from sponges. The study was conducted by implanting diffusion growth chambers in the tissue of Rhabdastrella globostellata reef sponges. In total, 255 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained, with phylogenetic analyses revealing their affiliations with the Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes. Fifteen sequences represented previously uncultivated bacteria belonging to the Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria (Alpha and Gamma classes). Our results indicate that the diffusion growth chamber approach can be successfully applied in a natural, living marine environment such as sponges.

  7. Land-use effects on fluxes of suspended sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus from a river catchment of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunter, Heather M.; Walton, Richard S.

    2008-07-01

    SummaryA 6-year study was conducted in the Johnstone River system in the wet tropics of north-eastern Australia, to address concerns that the Great Barrier Reef is at risk from elevated levels of suspended sediment (SS) and nutrients discharged from its river catchments. Aims were to quantify: (i) fluxes of SS, phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) exported annually from the catchment and (ii) the influence of rural land uses on these fluxes. Around 55% of the 1602 km2 catchment was native rainforest, with the reminder developed mainly for livestock and crop production. Water quality and stream flow were monitored at 16 sites, with the emphasis on sampling major runoff events. Monitoring data were used to calibrate a water quality model for the catchment (HSPF), which was run with 39 years of historical precipitation and evaporation data. Modelled specific fluxes from the catchment of 1.2 ± 1.1 t SS ha-1 y-1, 2.2 ± 1.8 kg P ha-1 y-1 and 11.4 ± 7.3 kg N ha-1y-1 were highly variable between and within years. Fluxes of SS and P were strongly dominated by major events, with 91% of SS and 84% of P exported during the highest 10% of daily flows. On average, sediment P comprised 81% of the total P flux. The N flux was less strongly dominated by major events and sediment N comprised 46% of total N exports. Specific fluxes of SS, N and P from areas receiving precipitation of 3545 mm y-1 were around 3-4 times those from areas receiving 1673 mm y-1. For a given mean annual precipitation, specific fluxes of SS and P from beef pastures, dairy pastures and unsewered residential areas were similar to those from rainforest, while fluxes from areas of sugar cane and bananas were 3-4 times higher. Specific fluxes of N from areas with an annual precipitation of 3545 mm ranged from 8.9 ± 6.5 kg N ha-1 y-1 (rainforest) to 72 ± 50 kg N ha-1 y-1 (unsewered residential). Aggregated across the entire catchment, disproportionately large fluxes of SS, total P and total N were derived from

  8. Resilience to disturbance despite limited dispersal and self-recruitment in tropical barrel sponges: implications for conservation and management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, James J; Smith, David; Hannan, Danielle; Haris, Abdul; Jompa, Jamaludin; Thomas, Luke

    2014-01-01

    While estimates of connectivity are important for effective management, few such estimates are available for reef invertebrates other than for corals. Barrel sponges are one of the largest and most conspicuous members of the coral reef fauna across the Indo-Pacific and given their large size, longevity and ability to process large volumes of water, they have a major role in reef functioning. Here we used a panel of microsatellite markers to characterise the genetic structure of two barrel sponge species, Xestospongia testudinaria and a currently undescribed Xestospongia species. We sampled across seven populations in the Wakatobi Marine National Park, SE Sulawesi (Indonesia) spanning a spatial scale of approximately 2 to 70 km, and present the first estimates of demographic connectivity for coral reef sponges. Genetic analyses showed high levels of genetic differentiation between all populations for both species, but contrasting patterns of genetic structuring for the two species. Autocorrelation analyses showed the likely dispersal distances of both species to be in the order of 60 and 140 m for Xestopongia sp. and Xestospongia testudinaria, respectively, which was supported by assignment tests that showed high levels of self-recruitment (>80%). We also found consistently high inbreeding coefficients across all populations for both species. Our study highlights the potential susceptibility of barrel sponges to environmental perturbations because they are generally long-lived, slow growing, have small population sizes and are likely to be reliant on self-recruitment. Surprisingly, despite these features we actually found the highest abundance of both barrel sponge species (although they were generally smaller) at a site that has been severely impacted by humans over the last fifty years. This suggests that barrel sponges exhibit environmental adaptation to declining environmental quality and has important implications for the management and conservation of these

  9. Resilience to disturbance despite limited dispersal and self-recruitment in tropical barrel sponges: implications for conservation and management.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James J Bell

    Full Text Available While estimates of connectivity are important for effective management, few such estimates are available for reef invertebrates other than for corals. Barrel sponges are one of the largest and most conspicuous members of the coral reef fauna across the Indo-Pacific and given their large size, longevity and ability to process large volumes of water, they have a major role in reef functioning. Here we used a panel of microsatellite markers to characterise the genetic structure of two barrel sponge species, Xestospongia testudinaria and a currently undescribed Xestospongia species. We sampled across seven populations in the Wakatobi Marine National Park, SE Sulawesi (Indonesia spanning a spatial scale of approximately 2 to 70 km, and present the first estimates of demographic connectivity for coral reef sponges. Genetic analyses showed high levels of genetic differentiation between all populations for both species, but contrasting patterns of genetic structuring for the two species. Autocorrelation analyses showed the likely dispersal distances of both species to be in the order of 60 and 140 m for Xestopongia sp. and Xestospongia testudinaria, respectively, which was supported by assignment tests that showed high levels of self-recruitment (>80%. We also found consistently high inbreeding coefficients across all populations for both species. Our study highlights the potential susceptibility of barrel sponges to environmental perturbations because they are generally long-lived, slow growing, have small population sizes and are likely to be reliant on self-recruitment. Surprisingly, despite these features we actually found the highest abundance of both barrel sponge species (although they were generally smaller at a site that has been severely impacted by humans over the last fifty years. This suggests that barrel sponges exhibit environmental adaptation to declining environmental quality and has important implications for the management and

  10. Will Coral Islands maintain their growth over the next century? A deterministic model of sediment availability at Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamylton, Sarah

    2014-01-01

    A geomorphic assessment of reef system calcification is conducted for past (3200 Ka to present), present and future (2010-2100) time periods. Reef platform sediment production is estimated at 569 m3 yr-1 using rate laws that express gross community carbonate production as a function of seawater aragonite saturation, community composition and rugosity and incorporating estimates of carbonate removal from the reef system. Key carbonate producers including hard coral, crustose coralline algae and Halimeda are mapped accurately (mean R2 = 0.81). Community net production estimates correspond closely to independent census-based estimates made in-situ (R2 = 0.86). Reef-scale outputs are compared with historic rates of production generated from (i) radiocarbon evidence of island deposition initiation around 3200 years ago, and (ii) island volume calculated from a high reso