WorldWideScience

Sample records for barrier reef world

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  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. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  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

    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

  10. Adaptive management of the great barrier reef and the Grand Canyon world heritage areas

    OpenAIRE

    Hughes, T.P.; Gunderson, L.H.; Folke, C.; Scheffer, M.

    2007-01-01

    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 Her...

  11. Adaptive management of the great barrier reef and the Grand Canyon world heritage areas

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hughes, T.P.; Gunderson, L.H.; Folke, C.; Scheffer, M.

    2007-01-01

    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

  12. Catchment management and the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  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. 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...

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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)

  19. 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.

  20. 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.)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Temporary refugia for coral reefs in a warming world

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Hooidonk, R.; Maynard, J. A.; Planes, S.

    2013-05-01

    Climate-change impacts on coral reefs are expected to include temperature-induced spatially extensive bleaching events. Bleaching causes mortality when temperature stress persists but exposure to bleaching conditions is not expected to be spatially uniform at the regional or global scale. Here we show the first maps of global projections of bleaching conditions based on ensembles of IPCC AR5 (ref. ) models forced with the new Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). For the three RCPs with larger CO2 emissions (RCP 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5) the onset of annual bleaching conditions is associated with ~ 510ppm CO2 equivalent; the median year of all locations is 2040 for the fossil-fuel aggressive RCP 8.5. Spatial patterns in the onset of annual bleaching conditions are similar for each of the RCPs. For RCP 8.5, 26% of reef cells are projected to experience annual bleaching conditions more than 5 years later than the median. Some of these temporary refugia include the western Indian Ocean, Thailand, the southern Great Barrier Reef and central French Polynesia. A reduction in the growth of greenhouse-gas emissions corresponding to the difference between RCP 8.5 and 6.0 delays annual bleaching in ~ 23% of reef cells more than two decades, which might conceivably increase the potential for these reefs to cope with these changes.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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)

  20. 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...

  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Recovery potential of the world's coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacNeil, M Aaron; Graham, Nicholas A J; Cinner, Joshua E; Wilson, Shaun K; Williams, Ivor D; Maina, Joseph; Newman, Steven; Friedlander, Alan M; Jupiter, Stacy; Polunin, Nicholas V C; McClanahan, Tim R

    2015-04-16

    Continuing degradation of coral reef ecosystems has generated substantial interest in how management can support reef resilience. Fishing is the primary source of diminished reef function globally, leading to widespread calls for additional marine reserves to recover fish biomass and restore key ecosystem functions. Yet there are no established baselines for determining when these conservation objectives have been met or whether alternative management strategies provide similar ecosystem benefits. Here we establish empirical conservation benchmarks and fish biomass recovery timelines against which coral reefs can be assessed and managed by studying the recovery potential of more than 800 coral reefs along an exploitation gradient. We show that resident reef fish biomass in the absence of fishing (B0) averages ∼1,000 kg ha(-1), and that the vast majority (83%) of fished reefs are missing more than half their expected biomass, with severe consequences for key ecosystem functions such as predation. Given protection from fishing, reef fish biomass has the potential to recover within 35 years on average and less than 60 years when heavily depleted. Notably, alternative fisheries restrictions are largely (64%) successful at maintaining biomass above 50% of B0, sustaining key functions such as herbivory. Our results demonstrate that crucial ecosystem functions can be maintained through a range of fisheries restrictions, allowing coral reef managers to develop recovery plans that meet conservation and livelihood objectives in areas where marine reserves are not socially or politically feasible solutions.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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 (...

  18. 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...

  19. 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

  20. 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...

  1. 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),

  2. Coral reef recovery dynamics in a changing world

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, N. A. J.; Nash, K. L.; Kool, J. T.

    2011-06-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are degrading through multiple disturbances that are becoming more frequent and severe. The complexities of this degradation have been studied in detail, but little work has assessed characteristics that allow reefs to bounce back and recover between pulse disturbance events. We quantitatively review recovery rates of coral cover from pulse disturbance events among 48 different reef locations, testing the relative roles of disturbance characteristics, reef characteristics, connectivity and anthropogenic influences. Reefs in the western Pacific Ocean had the fastest recovery, whereas reefs in the geographically isolated eastern Pacific Ocean were slowest to recover, reflecting regional differences in coral composition, fish functional diversity and geographic isolation. Disturbances that opened up large areas of benthic space recovered quickly, potentially because of nonlinear recovery where recruitment rates were high. The type of disturbance had a limited effect on subsequent rates of reef recovery, although recovery was faster following crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks. This inconsequential role of disturbance type may be in part due to the role of unaltered structural complexity in maintaining key reef processes, such as recruitment and herbivory. Few studies explicitly recorded potential ecological determinants of recovery, such as recruitment rates, structural complexity of habitat and the functional composition of reef-associated fish. There was some evidence of slower recovery rates within protected areas compared with other management systems and fished areas, which may reflect the higher initial coral cover in protected areas rather than reflecting a management effect. A better understanding of the driving role of processes, structural complexity and diversity on recovery may enable more appropriate management actions that support coral-dominated ecosystems in our changing climate.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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....

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Ocean Transport Pathways to a World Heritage Fringing Coral Reef: Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiangtao Xu

    Full Text Available A Lagrangian particle tracking model driven by a regional ocean circulation model was used to investigate the seasonally varying connectivity patterns within the shelf circulation surrounding the 300 km long Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia (WA during 2009-2010. Forward-in-time simulations revealed that surface water was transported equatorward and offshore in summer due to the upwelling-favorable winds. In winter, however, water was transported polewards down the WA coast due to the seasonally strong Leeuwin Current. Using backward-in-time simulations, the subsurface transport pathways revealed two main source regions of shelf water reaching Ningaloo Reef: (1 a year-round source to the northeast in the upper 100 m of water column; and (2 during the summer, an additional source offshore and to the west of Ningaloo in depths between ~30 and ~150 m. Transient wind-driven coastal upwelling, onshore geostrophic transport and stirring by offshore eddies were identified as the important mechanisms influencing the source water origins. The identification of these highly time-dependent transport pathways and source water locations is an essential step towards quantifying how key material (e.g., nutrients, larvae, contaminants, etc. is exchanged between Ningaloo Reef and the surrounding shelf ocean, and how this is mechanistically coupled to the complex ocean dynamics in this region.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  16. 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

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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,...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. High macroalgal cover and low coral recruitment undermines the potential resilience of the world's southernmost coral reef assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew S Hoey

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic and climate-induced stressors. The ability of reefs to reassemble and regenerate after disturbances (i.e., resilience is largely dependent on the capacity of herbivores to prevent macroalgal expansion, and the replenishment of coral populations through larval recruitment. Currently there is a paucity of this information for higher latitude, subtropical reefs. To assess the potential resilience of the benthic reef assemblages of Lord Howe Island (31°32'S, 159°04'E, the worlds' southernmost coral reef, we quantified the benthic composition, densities of juvenile corals (as a proxy for coral recruitment, and herbivorous fish communities. Despite some variation among habitats and sites, benthic communities were dominated by live scleractinian corals (mean cover 37.4% and fleshy macroalgae (20.9%. Live coral cover was higher than in most other subtropical reefs and directly comparable to lower latitude tropical reefs. Juvenile coral densities (0.8 ind.m(-2, however, were 5-200 times lower than those reported for tropical reefs. Overall, macroalgal cover was negatively related to the cover of live coral and the density of juvenile corals, but displayed no relationship with herbivorous fish biomass. The biomass of herbivorous fishes was relatively low (204 kg.ha(-1, and in marked contrast to tropical reefs was dominated by macroalgal browsing species (84.1% with relatively few grazing species. Despite their extremely low biomass, grazing fishes were positively related to both the density of juvenile corals and the cover of bare substrata, suggesting that they may enhance the recruitment of corals through the provision of suitable settlement sites. Although Lord Howe Islands' reefs are currently coral-dominated, the high macroalgal cover, coupled with limited coral recruitment and low coral growth rates suggest these reefs may be extremely susceptible to future disturbances.

  18. High macroalgal cover and low coral recruitment undermines the potential resilience of the world's southernmost coral reef assemblages

    KAUST Repository

    Hoey, Andrew

    2011-10-03

    Coral reefs are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic and climate-induced stressors. The ability of reefs to reassemble and regenerate after disturbances (i.e., resilience) is largely dependent on the capacity of herbivores to prevent macroalgal expansion, and the replenishment of coral populations through larval recruitment. Currently there is a paucity of this information for higher latitude, subtropical reefs. To assess the potential resilience of the benthic reef assemblages of Lord Howe Island (31°32?S, 159°04?E), the worlds\\' southernmost coral reef, we quantified the benthic composition, densities of juvenile corals (as a proxy for coral recruitment), and herbivorous fish communities. Despite some variation among habitats and sites, benthic communities were dominated by live scleractinian corals (mean cover 37.4%) and fleshy macroalgae (20.9%). Live coral cover was higher than in most other subtropical reefs and directly comparable to lower latitude tropical reefs. Juvenile coral densities (0.8 ind.m -2), however, were 5-200 times lower than those reported for tropical reefs. Overall, macroalgal cover was negatively related to the cover of live coral and the density of juvenile corals, but displayed no relationship with herbivorous fish biomass. The biomass of herbivorous fishes was relatively low (204 kg.ha -1), and in marked contrast to tropical reefs was dominated by macroalgal browsing species (84.1%) with relatively few grazing species. Despite their extremely low biomass, grazing fishes were positively related to both the density of juvenile corals and the cover of bare substrata, suggesting that they may enhance the recruitment of corals through the provision of suitable settlement sites. Although Lord Howe Islands\\' reefs are currently coral-dominated, the high macroalgal cover, coupled with limited coral recruitment and low coral growth rates suggest these reefs may be extremely susceptible to future disturbances. © 2011 Hoey et al.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Smart-Geology for the World's largest fossil oyster reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorninger, Peter; Nothegger, Clemens; Djuricic, Ana; Rasztovits, Sascha; Harzhauser, Mathias

    2014-05-01

    The geo-edutainment park "Fossilienwelt Weinviertel" at Stetten in Lower Austria exposes the world's largest fossil oyster biostrome. In the past decade, significant progress has been made in 3D digitizing sensor technology. To cope with the high amount of data, processing methods have been automated to a high degree. Consequently, we formulated the hypothesis that appropriate application of state-of-the-art 3D digitizing, data processing, and visualization technologies allows for a significant automation in paleontological prospection, making an evaluation of huge areas commercially feasible in both time and costs. We call the necessary processing steps "Smart Geology", being characterized by automation and large volumes of data. The Smart Geology project (FWF P 25883-N29) investigates three topics, 3D digitizing, automated geological and paleontological analysis and interpretation and finally investigating the applicability of smart devices for on-site accessibility of project data in order to support the two scientific hypotheses concerning the emerging process of the shell bed, i.e. was it formed by a tsunami or a major storm, and does it preserve pre- and post-event features. This contribution concentrates on the innovative and sophisticated 3D documentation and visualization processes being applied to virtualise approximately 15.000 fossil oysters at the approximately 25 by 17 m accessible shell bad. We decided to use a Terrestrial Laserscanner (TLS) for the determination of the geometrical 3D structures. The TLS achieves about 2 mm single point measurement accuracy. The scanning campaign provides a "raw" point cloud of approximately 1 bio. points at the respective area. Due to the scanning configuration used, the occurrence of occluded ares is minimized hence the full 3D structure of this unique site can be modelled. In addition, approximately 300 photos were taken with a nominal resolution of 0.6 mm per pixel. Sophisticated artificial lightning (close to

  8. Tropical coral reef habitat in a geoengineered, high-CO2 world

    Science.gov (United States)

    Couce, E.; Irvine, P. J.; Gregorie, L. J.; Ridgwell, A.; Hendy, E. J.

    2013-05-01

    Continued anthropogenic CO2 emissions are expected to impact tropical coral reefs by further raising sea surface temperatures (SST) and intensifying ocean acidification (OA). Although geoengineering by means of solar radiation management (SRM) may mitigate temperature increases, OA will persist, raising important questions regarding the impact of different stressor combinations. We apply statistical Bioclimatic Envelope Models to project changes in shallow water tropical coral reef habitat as a single niche (without resolving biodiversity or community composition) under various representative concentration pathway and SRM scenarios, until 2070. We predict substantial reductions in habitat suitability centered on the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool under net anthropogenic radiative forcing of ≥3.0 W/m2. The near-term dominant risk to coral reefs is increasing SSTs; below 3 W/m2 reasonably favorable conditions are maintained, even when achieved by SRM with persisting OA. "Optimal" mitigation occurs at 1.5 W/m2 because tropical SSTs overcool in a fully geoengineered (i.e., preindustrial global mean temperature) world.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Barriers to Cleft Lip and Palate Repair Around the World.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Massenburg, Benjamin B; Jenny, Hillary E; Saluja, Saurabh; Meara, John G; Shrime, Mark G; Alonso, Nivaldo

    2016-10-01

    Cleft lip and/or palate (CLP) is estimated to occur in 1 out of every 700 births, but for many people residing in low- and middle-income countries this deformity may be repaired late in life or not at all. This study aims to analyze worldwide provider-perceived barriers to the surgical repair of CLP in low- and middle-income countries. From 2011 to 2014, Smile Train distributed a multiple-choice, voluntary survey to healthcare providers to identify areas of need in CLP care worldwide. Data on provider-reported barriers to care were aggregated by year, country, and larger world regions. A total of 1997 surveys were completed by surgeons and healthcare providers (60.7% response rate). The most commonly reported barriers were "patient travel costs" (60.7%), "lack of patient awareness" (54.1%), and "lack of financial support" (52.8%). "Patient travel costs" was the most commonly reported barrier in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. "Lack of financial support" was the most commonly reported barrier in the Americas, Eastern Europe, and East Asia. This is the largest intercontinental study on healthcare provider-identified barriers to care, representing the limitations experienced by healthcare professionals in providing corrective surgery for CLP around the world. Financial risk protection from hidden costs, such as patient travel costs, is essential. Community health workers and nurses are critical for communication and linking CLP care to the rest of the community. Recognition of these barriers can inform future policy decisions, targeted by region, for surgical systems delivering care for patients with CLP worldwide.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world's coral reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hoegh-Guldberg, O. [University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW (Australia). School of Biological Sciences

    1999-07-01

    Sea temperatures in many tropical regions have increased by almost 1{degree}C over the past 100 years, and are currently increasing at about 1-2{degree}C per century. Mass coral bleaching has occurred in association with episodes of elevated sea temperatures over the past 20 years and involves the loss of the zooxanthellae following chronic photoinhibition. Mass bleaching has resulted in significant losses of live coral in many parts of the world. This paper considers the biochemical, physiological and ecological perspectives of coral bleaching. It also uses the outputs of four runs from three models of global climate change which simulate changes in sea temperature and hence how the frequency and intensity of bleaching events will change over the next 100 years. The results suggest that the thermal tolerances of reef-building corals are likely to be exceeded every year within the next few decades. Events as severe as the 1998 event, the worst on record, are likely to become commonplace within 20 years. Most information suggests that the capacity for acclimation by corals has already been exceeded, and that adaptation will be too slow to avert a decline in the quality of the world's reefs.

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Coral Reefs and People in a High-CO2 World: Where Can Science Make a Difference to People?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Langdon, Chris; Ekstrom, Julia A.; Cooley, Sarah R.; Suatoni, Lisa; Beck, Michael W.; Brander, Luke M.; Burke, Lauretta; Cinner, Josh E.; Doherty, Carolyn; Edwards, Peter E. T.; Gledhill, Dwight; Jiang, Li-Qing; van Hooidonk, Ruben J.; Teh, Louise; Waldbusser, George G.; Ritter, Jessica

    2016-01-01

    Reefs and People at Risk Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere put shallow, warm-water coral reef ecosystems, and the people who depend upon them at risk from two key global environmental stresses: 1) elevated sea surface temperature (that can cause coral bleaching and related mortality), and 2) ocean acidification. These global stressors: cannot be avoided by local management, compound local stressors, and hasten the loss of ecosystem services. Impacts to people will be most grave where a) human dependence on coral reef ecosystems is high, b) sea surface temperature reaches critical levels soonest, and c) ocean acidification levels are most severe. Where these elements align, swift action will be needed to protect people’s lives and livelihoods, but such action must be informed by data and science. An Indicator Approach Designing policies to offset potential harm to coral reef ecosystems and people requires a better understanding of where CO2-related global environmental stresses could cause the most severe impacts. Mapping indicators has been proposed as a way of combining natural and social science data to identify policy actions even when the needed science is relatively nascent. To identify where people are at risk and where more science is needed, we map indicators of biological, physical and social science factors to understand how human dependence on coral reef ecosystems will be affected by globally-driven threats to corals expected in a high-CO2 world. Western Mexico, Micronesia, Indonesia and parts of Australia have high human dependence and will likely face severe combined threats. As a region, Southeast Asia is particularly at risk. Many of the countries most dependent upon coral reef ecosystems are places for which we have the least robust data on ocean acidification. These areas require new data and interdisciplinary scientific research to help coral reef-dependent human communities better prepare for a high CO2 world. PMID:27828972

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  9. 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.

  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. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. Tropical Cyclones Cause CaCO3 Undersaturation of Coral Reef Seawater in a High-CO2 World

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manzello, D.; Enochs, I.; Carlton, R.; Musielewicz, S.; Gledhill, D. K.

    2013-12-01

    Ocean acidification is the global decline in seawater pH and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) saturation state (Ω) due to the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 by the world's oceans. Acidification impairs CaCO3 shell and skeleton construction by marine organisms. Coral reefs are particularly vulnerable, as they are constructed by the CaCO3 skeletons of corals and other calcifiers. We understand relatively little about how coral reefs will respond to ocean acidification in combination with other disturbances, such as tropical cyclones. Seawater carbonate chemistry data collected from two reefs in the Florida Keys before, during, and after Tropical Storm Isaac provide the most thorough data to-date on how tropical cyclones affect the seawater CO2-system of coral reefs. Tropical Storm Isaac caused both an immediate and prolonged decline in seawater pH. Aragonite saturation state was depressed by 1.0 for a full week after the storm impact. Based on current 'business-as-usual' CO2 emissions scenarios, we show that tropical cyclones with high rainfall and runoff can cause periods of undersaturation (Ω negatively impact the structural persistence of coral reefs over this century.

  2. Coral Reefs and People in a High-CO2 World: Where Can Science Make a Difference to People?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Linwood Pendleton

    Full Text Available Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere put shallow, warm-water coral reef ecosystems, and the people who depend upon them at risk from two key global environmental stresses: 1 elevated sea surface temperature (that can cause coral bleaching and related mortality, and 2 ocean acidification. These global stressors: cannot be avoided by local management, compound local stressors, and hasten the loss of ecosystem services. Impacts to people will be most grave where a human dependence on coral reef ecosystems is high, b sea surface temperature reaches critical levels soonest, and c ocean acidification levels are most severe. Where these elements align, swift action will be needed to protect people's lives and livelihoods, but such action must be informed by data and science.Designing policies to offset potential harm to coral reef ecosystems and people requires a better understanding of where CO2-related global environmental stresses could cause the most severe impacts. Mapping indicators has been proposed as a way of combining natural and social science data to identify policy actions even when the needed science is relatively nascent. To identify where people are at risk and where more science is needed, we map indicators of biological, physical and social science factors to understand how human dependence on coral reef ecosystems will be affected by globally-driven threats to corals expected in a high-CO2 world. Western Mexico, Micronesia, Indonesia and parts of Australia have high human dependence and will likely face severe combined threats. As a region, Southeast Asia is particularly at risk. Many of the countries most dependent upon coral reef ecosystems are places for which we have the least robust data on ocean acidification. These areas require new data and interdisciplinary scientific research to help coral reef-dependent human communities better prepare for a high CO2 world.

  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. 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

  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. 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).

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Reef size and isolation determine the temporal stability of coral reef fish populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mellin, Camille; Huchery, Cindy; Caley, M Julian; Meekan, Mark G; Bradshaw, Corey J A

    2010-11-01

    Temporal variance in species abundance, a potential driver of extinction, is linked to mean abundance through Taylor's power law, the empirical observation of a linear log-log relationship with a slope between 1 and 2 for most species. Here we test the idea that the slope of Taylor's power law can vary both among species and spatially as a function of habitat area and isolation. We used the world's most extensive database of coral reef fish communities comprising a 15-year series of fish abundances on 43 reefs of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Greater temporal variances were observed at small and isolated reefs, and lower variances at large and connected ones. The combination of reef area and isolation was associated with an even greater effect on temporal variances, indicating strong empirical support for the idea that populations on small and isolated reefs will succumb more frequently to local extinction via higher temporal variability, resulting in lower resilience at the community level. Based on these relationships, we constructed a regional predictive map of the dynamic fragility of coral reef fish assemblages on the Great Barrier Reef.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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 ...

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. The implications of recurrent disturbances within the world's hottest coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bento, Rita; Hoey, Andrew S; Bauman, Andrew G; Feary, David A; Burt, John A

    2016-04-30

    Determining how coral ecosystems are structured within extreme environments may provide insights into how coral reefs are impacted by future climate change. Benthic community structure was examined within the Persian Gulf, and adjacent Musandam and northern Oman regions across a 3-year period (2008-2011) in which all regions were exposed to major disturbances. Although there was evidence of temporal switching in coral composition within regions, communities predominantly reflected local environmental conditions and the disturbance history of each region. Gulf reefs showed little change in coral composition, being dominated by stress-tolerant Faviidae and Poritidae across the 3 years. In comparison, Musandam and Oman coral communities were comprised of stress-sensitive Acroporidae and Pocilloporidae; Oman communities showed substantial declines in such taxa and increased cover of stress-tolerant communities. Our results suggest that coral communities may persist within an increasingly disturbed future environment, albeit in a much more structurally simple configuration. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Vaal Reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1983-01-01

    Vaal Reefs Mine, the world's top gold producer with an output last quarter of 19,6 tons of gold, is to expand further with the building of an 120 000t/month run-of-mine mill at the new No 9 Shaft in the south area, linked with a carbon-in-pulp plant

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Lichen Monitoring Delineates Biodiversity on a Great Barrier Reef Coral Cay

    OpenAIRE

    Rogers, Paul C.; Rogers, Roderick W.; Hedrich, Anne E.; Moss, Patrick T.

    2015-01-01

    Coral islands around the world are threatened by changing climates. Rising seas, drought, and increased tropical storms are already impacting island ecosystems. We aim to better understand lichen community ecology of coral island forests. We used an epiphytic lichen community survey to gauge Pisonia (Pisonia grandis R.BR.), which dominates forest conditions on Heron Island, Australia. Nine survey plots were sampled for lichen species presence and abundance, all tree diameters and species, GPS...

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Barriers to Mental Health Treatment: Results from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andrade, L. H.; Alonso, J.; Mneimneh, Z.; Wells, J. E.; Al-Hamzawi, A.; Borges, G.; Bromet, E.; Bruffaerts, R.; de Girolamo, G.; de Graaf, R.; Florescu, S.; Gureje, O.; Hinkov, H. R.; Hu, C.; Huang, Y.; Hwang, I.; Jin, R.; Karam, E. G.; Kovess-Masfety, V.; Levinson, D.; Matschinger, H.; O’Neill, S.; Posada-Villa, J.; Sagar, R.; Sampson, N. A.; Sasu, C.; Stein, D.; Takeshima, T.; Viana, M. C.; Xavier, M.; Kessler, R. C.

    2014-01-01

    Background To examine barriers to initiation and continuation of mental health treatment among individuals with common mental disorders. Methods Data are from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys. Representative household samples were interviewed face-to-face in 24 countries. Reasons to initiate and continue treatment were examined in a subsample (n= 63,678) and analyzed at different levels of clinical severity. Results Among those with a DSM-IV disorder in the past twelve months, low perceived need was the most common reason for not initiating treatment and more common among moderate and mild than severe cases. Women and younger people with disorders were more likely to recognize a need for treatment. Desire to handle the problem on one’s own was the most common barrier among respondents with a disorder who perceived a need for treatment (63.8%). Attitudinal barriers were much more important than structural barriers both to initiating and continuing treatment. However, attitudinal barriers dominated for mild-moderate cases and structural barriers for severe cases. Perceived ineffectiveness of treatment was the most commonly reported reason for treatment dropout (39.3%) followed by negative experiences with treatment providers (26.9% of respondents with severe disorders). Conclusions Low perceived need and attitudinal barriers are the major barriers to seeking and staying in treatment among individuals with common mental disorders worldwide. Apart from targeting structural barriers, mainly in countries with poor resources, increasing population mental health literacy is an important endeavor worldwide. PMID:23931656

  9. Lichen Monitoring Delineates Biodiversity on a Great Barrier Reef Coral Cay

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul C. Rogers

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Coral islands around the world are threatened by changing climates. Rising seas, drought, and increased tropical storms are already impacting island ecosystems. We aim to better understand lichen community ecology of coral island forests. We used an epiphytic lichen community survey to gauge Pisonia (Pisonia grandis R.BR., which dominates forest conditions on Heron Island, Australia. Nine survey plots were sampled for lichen species presence and abundance, all tree diameters and species, GPS location, distance to forest-beach edge, and dominant forest type. Results found only six unique lichens and two lichen associates. A Multi-Response Permutation Procedures (MRPP test found statistically distinct lichen communities among forest types. The greatest group differences were between interior Pisonia and perimeter forest types. Ordinations were performed to further understand causes for distinctions in lichen communities. Significant explanatory gradients were distance to forest edge, tree density (shading, and Pisonia basal area. Each of these variables was negatively correlated with lichen diversity and abundance, suggesting that interior, successionally advanced, Pisonia forests support fewer lichens. Island edge and presumably younger forests—often those with greater tree diversity and sunlight penetration—supported the highest lichen diversity. Heron Island’s Pisonia-dominated forests support low lichen diversity which mirrors overall biodiversity patterns. Lichen biomonitoring may provide a valuable indicator for assessing island ecosystems for conservation purposes regionally.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Banking services for everyone? Barriers to bank access and use around the world

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Beck, T.H.L.; Demirgüc-Kunt, A.; Martinez Peria, M.

    2008-01-01

    Using information from 209 banks in 62 countries, we develop new indicators of barriers to banking services around the world, show their correlation with existing measures of outreach, and explore their association with other bank and country characteristics suggested by theory as potential

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Characterizing the diversity of coral reef habitats and fish communities found in a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the strategy developed for Lagoons of New Caledonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andréfouët, S; Wantiez, L

    2010-01-01

    Since 1972, the UNESCO "World Heritage Convention" offers an international canvas for conservation and management that targets areas of high cultural and environmental significance. To support the designation of areas within the 36.000 km(2) of New Caledonia coral reefs and lagoons as a World Heritage Site, the natural value and diversity of the proposed zones needed to be demonstrated. To exhaustively identify each configuration of shallow habitats, high resolution remote sensing images were used to select the sampling sites. This optimal scheme resulted in the selection of nearly 1300 sampling sites, and was then simplified to render its application realistic. In the final sampling plan, only the most common or the most remarkable coral zones were selected. Following this selection, in situ habitat and fish surveys were conducted in 2006-2008 in five large areas spanning a 600 km-long latitudinal gradient. Habitats were described using line-intercept transects in parallel with underwater visual census of indicator and commercial coral reef fish species. We report here on the results achieved in terms of: (i) the actual diversity of coral habitats captured by the remote sensing based sampling strategy, (ii) the different reef fish communities captured from the different sites, and (iii) how well they represent New Caledonia diversity. We discuss the possible generalization of this scheme to other sites, in the context of World Heritage Site selection and for other large-scale conservation planning activities. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. 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 ...

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Doom and boom on a resilient reef: climate change, algal overgrowth and coral recovery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo; McCook, Laurence J; Dove, Sophie; Berkelmans, Ray; Roff, George; Kline, David I; Weeks, Scarla; Evans, Richard D; Williamson, David H; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2009-01-01

    Coral reefs around the world are experiencing large-scale degradation, largely due to global climate change, overfishing, diseases and eutrophication. Climate change models suggest increasing frequency and severity of warming-induced coral bleaching events, with consequent increases in coral mortality and algal overgrowth. Critically, the recovery of damaged reefs will depend on the reversibility of seaweed blooms, generally considered to depend on grazing of the seaweed, and replenishment of corals by larvae that successfully recruit to damaged reefs. These processes usually take years to decades to bring a reef back to coral dominance. In 2006, mass bleaching of corals on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef caused high coral mortality. Here we show that this coral mortality was followed by an unprecedented bloom of a single species of unpalatable seaweed (Lobophora variegata), colonizing dead coral skeletons, but that corals on these reefs recovered dramatically, in less than a year. Unexpectedly, this rapid reversal did not involve reestablishment of corals by recruitment of coral larvae, as often assumed, but depended on several ecological mechanisms previously underestimated. These mechanisms of ecological recovery included rapid regeneration rates of remnant coral tissue, very high competitive ability of the corals allowing them to out-compete the seaweed, a natural seasonal decline in the particular species of dominant seaweed, and an effective marine protected area system. Our study provides a key example of the doom and boom of a highly resilient reef, and new insights into the variability and mechanisms of reef resilience under rapid climate change.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Is world trade law a barrier to saving our climate? Questions and answers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bernasconi-Osterwalder, N.; Norpoth, J.

    2009-09-01

    The present 'Questions and Answers' provide an overview of the various climate-related measures and policies that fall under the scope of the WTO (World Trade Organization) and offers an initial assessment of their WTO-compatibility. Is the WTO blocking progress in the fight against climate change? This was the question at the origin of this legal analysis. With this paper and its simple question and answer format, we hope to dispel some myths and shed some light on the reality of world trade rules in their relation with climate-friendly measures. In the end, we hope to encourage policy-makers in Europe and around the world not to see the WTO as an insurmountable barrier and not to use it as an excuse against strong action on climate change.

  13. 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.

  14. Environmental quality and preservation; reefs, corals, and carbonate sands; guides to reef-ecosystem health and environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lidz, Barbara H.

    2001-01-01

    Introduction In recent years, the health of the entire coral reef ecosystem that lines the outer shelf off the Florida Keys has declined markedly. In particular, loss of those coral species that are the building blocks of solid reef framework has significant negative implications for economic vitality of the region. What are the reasons for this decline? Is it due to natural change, or are human activities (recreational diving, ship groundings, farmland runoff, nutrient influx, air-borne contaminants, groundwater pollutants) a contributing factor and if so, to what extent? At risk of loss are biologic resources of the reefs, including habitats for endangered species in shoreline mangroves, productive marine and wetland nurseries, and economic fisheries. A healthy reef ecosystem builds a protective offshore barrier to catastrophic wave action and storm surges generated by tropical storms and hurricanes. In turn, a healthy reef protects the homes, marinas, and infrastructure on the Florida Keys that have been designed to capture a lucrative tourism industry. A healthy reef ecosystem also protects inland agricultural and livestock areas of South Florida whose produce and meat feed much of the United States and other parts of the world. In cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Program, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) continues longterm investigations of factors that may affect Florida's reefs. One of the first steps in distinguishing between natural change and the effects of human activities, however, is to determine how coral reefs have responded to past environmental change, before the advent of man. By so doing, accurate scientific information becomes available for Marine Sanctuary management to understand natural change and thus to assess and regulate potential human impact better. The USGS studies described here evaluate the distribution (location) and historic vitality (thickness) of Holocene

  15. Project Overview: A Reef Manager's Guide to Coral Bleaching ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    The purpose of this report is to provide the latest scientific knowledge and discuss available management options to assist local and regional managers in responding effectively to mass coral bleaching events. Background A Reef Manager’s Guide to Coral Bleaching is the result of a collaborative effort by over 50 scientists and managers to: (1) share the best available scientific information on climate-related coral bleaching; and (2) compile a tool kit of currently available strategies for adaptive management of coral reefs in a changing climate. The result is a compendium of current information, tools, and practical suggestions to aid managers in their efforts to protect reefs in a way that maximizes reef resilience in the face of continuing climate change. The Guide is a joint publication of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and The World Conservation Union, with author contributions from a variety of international partners from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions. EPA’s Office of Research and Development was a major contributor to the Guide through authorship and participation in the final review and editing process for the entire report. A Reef Manager’s Guide to Coral Bleaching is the result of a collaborative effort by over 50 scientists and managers to: (1) share the best available scientific information on climate-related coral blea

  16. Biological and Archaeological Analysis of Deepwater Shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico: Studying the Artificial Reef Effect of Six World War II Shipwrecks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Church, R. A.; Irion, J. B.; Schroeder, W. W.; Warren, D. J.

    2006-12-01

    In the summer of 2004 researchers from across the United States and Canada partnered together to investigate biological and archaeological questions relating to six World War II era shipwrecks discovered in the Gulf of Mexico. The science team included microbiologists, marine vertebrate and invertebrate zoologists, a molecular biologist, an oceanographer, marine archaeologists, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) technicians, and a professional marine survey crew. The United States Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, and the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration sponsored this multidisciplinary project under the auspices of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program. The organizational involvement included six universities, two non-profit organizations, three commercial companies, and three U. S. federal agencies. The depth of the shipwrecks ranged from 87 to 1,964 meters. All six shipwrecks were war casualties, found during the past two decades on oil and gas surveys. These wrecks serve as artificial reefs sunk on well- documented dates, thereby offering biologists a unique opportunity to study the "artificial reef effect" of man- made structures in deep water. Taken together, these sites are an underwater battlefield, and a vital historical resource documenting a little-studied area in a crucial period of world history. They preserve information vital to scholarly and popular understanding of the war's impact in the Gulf of Mexico, on the American home front, and the global conflict. This paper will discuss the field methodology and touch on many of the scientific and technical aspects, and findings of the project.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Determining the extent and characterizing coral reef habitats of the northern latitudes of the Florida Reef Tract (Martin County.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian K Walker

    Full Text Available Climate change has recently been implicated in poleward shifts of many tropical species including corals; thus attention focused on higher-latitude coral communities is warranted to investigate possible range expansions and ecosystem shifts due to global warming. As the northern extension of the Florida Reef Tract (FRT, the third-largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world, southeast Florida (25-27° N latitude is a prime region to study such effects. Most of the shallow-water FRT benthic habitats have been mapped, however minimal data and limited knowledge exist about the coral reef communities of its northernmost reaches off Martin County. First benthic habitat mapping was conducted using newly acquired high resolution LIDAR bathymetry and aerial photography where possible to map the spatial extent of coral reef habitats. Quantitative data were collected to characterize benthic cover and stony coral demographics and a comprehensive accuracy assessment was performed. The data were then analyzed in a habitat biogeography context to determine if a new coral reef ecosystem region designation was warranted. Of the 374 km(2 seafloor mapped, 95.2% was Sand, 4.1% was Coral Reef and Colonized Pavement, and 0.7% was Other Delineations. Map accuracy assessment yielded an overall accuracy of 94.9% once adjusted for known map marginal proportions. Cluster analysis of cross-shelf habitat type and widths indicated that the benthic habitats were different than those further south and warranted designation of a new coral reef ecosystem region. Unlike the FRT further south, coral communities were dominated by cold-water tolerant species and LIDAR morphology indicated no evidence of historic reef growth during warmer climates. Present-day hydrographic conditions may be inhibiting poleward expansion of coral communities along Florida. This study provides new information on the benthic community composition of the northern FRT, serving as a baseline for future

  2. Determining the extent and characterizing coral reef habitats of the northern latitudes of the Florida Reef Tract (Martin County).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Brian K; Gilliam, David S

    2013-01-01

    Climate change has recently been implicated in poleward shifts of many tropical species including corals; thus attention focused on higher-latitude coral communities is warranted to investigate possible range expansions and ecosystem shifts due to global warming. As the northern extension of the Florida Reef Tract (FRT), the third-largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world, southeast Florida (25-27° N latitude) is a prime region to study such effects. Most of the shallow-water FRT benthic habitats have been mapped, however minimal data and limited knowledge exist about the coral reef communities of its northernmost reaches off Martin County. First benthic habitat mapping was conducted using newly acquired high resolution LIDAR bathymetry and aerial photography where possible to map the spatial extent of coral reef habitats. Quantitative data were collected to characterize benthic cover and stony coral demographics and a comprehensive accuracy assessment was performed. The data were then analyzed in a habitat biogeography context to determine if a new coral reef ecosystem region designation was warranted. Of the 374 km(2) seafloor mapped, 95.2% was Sand, 4.1% was Coral Reef and Colonized Pavement, and 0.7% was Other Delineations. Map accuracy assessment yielded an overall accuracy of 94.9% once adjusted for known map marginal proportions. Cluster analysis of cross-shelf habitat type and widths indicated that the benthic habitats were different than those further south and warranted designation of a new coral reef ecosystem region. Unlike the FRT further south, coral communities were dominated by cold-water tolerant species and LIDAR morphology indicated no evidence of historic reef growth during warmer climates. Present-day hydrographic conditions may be inhibiting poleward expansion of coral communities along Florida. This study provides new information on the benthic community composition of the northern FRT, serving as a baseline for future community shift and

  3. Discovery of the corallivorous polyclad flatworm, Amakusaplana acroporae, on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia--the first report from the wild.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kate A Rawlinson

    Full Text Available The role of corallivory is becoming increasingly recognised as an important factor in coral health at a time when coral reefs around the world face a number of other stressors. The polyclad flatworm, Amakusaplana acroporae, is a voracious predator of Indo-Pacific acroporid corals in captivity, and its inadvertent introduction into aquaria has lead to the death of entire coral colonies. While this flatworm has been a pest to the coral aquaculture community for over a decade, it has only been found in aquaria and has never been described from the wild. Understanding its biology and ecology in its natural environment is crucial for identifying viable biological controls for more successful rearing of Acropora colonies in aquaria, and for our understanding of what biotic interactions are important to coral growth and fitness on reefs. Using morphological, histological and molecular techniques we determine that a polyclad found on Acropora valida from Lizard Island, Australia is A. acroporae. The presence of extracellular Symbiodinium in the gut and parenchyma and spirocysts in the gut indicates that it is a corallivore in the wild. The examination of a size-range of individuals shows maturation of the sexual apparatus and increases in the number of eyes with increased body length. Conservative estimates of abundance show that A. acroporae occurred on 7 of the 10 coral colonies collected, with an average of 2.6±0.65 (mean ±SE animals per colony. This represents the first report of A. acroporae in the wild, and sets the stage for future studies of A. acroporae ecology and life history in its natural habitat.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. The status of coral reef ecology research in the Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berumen, M. L.; Hoey, A. S.; Bass, W. H.; Bouwmeester, J.; Catania, D.; Cochran, J. E. M.; Khalil, M. T.; Miyake, S.; Mughal, M. R.; Spaet, J. L. Y.; Saenz-Agudelo, P.

    2013-09-01

    The Red Sea has long been recognized as a region of high biodiversity and endemism. Despite this diversity and early history of scientific work, our understanding of the ecology of coral reefs in the Red Sea has lagged behind that of other large coral reef systems. We carried out a quantitative assessment of ISI-listed research published from the Red Sea in eight specific topics (apex predators, connectivity, coral bleaching, coral reproductive biology, herbivory, marine protected areas, non-coral invertebrates and reef-associated bacteria) and compared the amount of research conducted in the Red Sea to that from Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and the Caribbean. On average, for these eight topics, the Red Sea had 1/6th the amount of research compared to the GBR and about 1/8th the amount of the Caribbean. Further, more than 50 % of the published research from the Red Sea originated from the Gulf of Aqaba, a small area (reef systems and organisms to adapt to global climate change. As one of the world's most biodiverse coral reef regions, the Red Sea may yet have a significant role to play in our understanding of coral reef ecology at a global scale.

  11. 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

  12. The reality, use and potential for cryopreservation of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagedorn, Mary; Spindler, Rebecca

    2014-01-01

    Throughout the world coral reefs are being degraded at unprecedented rates. Locally, reefs are damaged by pollution, nutrient overload and sedimentation from out-dated land-use, fishing and mining practices. Globally, increased greenhouse gases are warming and acidifying oceans, making corals more susceptible to stress, bleaching and newly emerging diseases. The coupling of climate change impacts and local anthropogenic stressors has caused a widespread and well-recognized reef crisis. Although in situ conservation practices, such as the establishment and enforcement of marine protected areas, reduce these stressors and may help slow the loss of genetic diversity on reefs, the global effects of climate change will continue to cause population declines. Gamete cryopreservation has already acted as an effective insurance policy to maintain the genetic diversity of many wildlife species, but has only just begun to be explored for coral. Already we have had a great deal of success with cryopreserving sperm and larval cells from a variety of coral species. Building on this success, we have now begun to establish genetic banks using frozen samples, to help offset these threats to the Great Barrier Reef and other areas.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 210Pb-226Ra chronology reveals rapid growth rate of Madrepora oculata and Lophelia pertusa on world's largest cold-water coral reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. Tisnérat-Laborde

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Here we show the use of the 210Pb-226Ra excess method to determine the growth rate of two corals from the world's largest known cold-water coral reef, Røst Reef, north of the Arctic circle off Norway. Colonies of each of the two species that build the reef, Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata, were collected alive at 350 m depth using a submersible. Pb and Ra isotopes were measured along the major growth axis of both specimens using low level alpha and gamma spectrometry and trace element compositions were studied. 210Pb and 226Ra differ in the way they are incorporated into coral skeletons. Hence, to assess growth rates, we considered the exponential decrease of initially incorporated 210Pb, as well as the increase in 210Pb from the decay of 226Ra and contamination with 210Pb associated with Mn-Fe coatings that we were unable to remove completely from the oldest parts of the skeletons. 226Ra activity was similar in both coral species, so, assuming constant uptake of 210Pb through time, we used the 210Pb-226Ra chronology to calculate growth rates. The 45.5 cm long branch of M. oculata was 31 yr with an average linear growth rate of 14.4 ± 1.1 mm yr−1 (2.6 polyps per year. Despite cleaning, a correction for Mn-Fe oxide contamination was required for the oldest part of the colony; this correction corroborated our radiocarbon date of 40 yr and a mean growth rate of 2 polyps yr−1. This rate is similar to the one obtained in aquarium experiments under optimal growth conditions. For the 80 cm-long L. pertusa colony, metal-oxide contamination remained in both the middle and basal part of the coral skeleton despite cleaning, inhibiting similar age and growth rate estimates. The youngest part of the colony was free of metal oxides and this 15 cm section had an estimated a growth rate of 8 mm yr−1, with high uncertainty (~1 polyp every two to three years. We are less certain of this 210Pb growth rate estimate which is within the lowermost

  16. 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.

  17. Health system and societal barriers for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) services - lessons from World Diabetes Foundation supported GDM projects

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nielsen, Karoline Kragelund; de Courten, Maximilian; Kapur, Anil

    2012-01-01

    included lack of trained health care providers - especially female doctors; high staff turnover; lack of standard protocols, consumables and equipment; financing of health services and treatment; lack of or poor referral systems, feedback mechanisms and follow-up systems; distance to health facility...... for the offspring. A better understanding of the barriers hindering detection and treatment of GDM is needed. Based on experiences from World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) supported GDM projects this paper seeks to investigate societal and health system barriers to such efforts. Methods Questionnaires were filled out...... woman move to her maternal home for delivery. Conclusions A number of barriers within the health system and society exist. Programmes need to consider and address these barriers in order to improve GDM care and thereby maternal health in LMIC....

  18. Human activities threaten coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tveitdal, Svein; Bjoerke, Aake

    2002-01-01

    Research indicates that 58 per cent of the coral reefs of the world are threatened by human activities. Pollution and global heating represent some of the threats. Coral reefs just beneath the surface of the sea are very sensitive to temperature changes. Since 1979, mass death of coral reefs has been reported increasingly often. More than 1000 marine species live in the coral reefs, among these are one fourth of all marine species of fish. It is imperative that the coral reefs be preserved, as coastal communities all over the world depend on them as sources of food and as they are the raw materials for important medicines. The article discusses the threats to the coral reefs in general and does not single out any particular energy-related activity as the principal threat. For instance, the El-Nino phenomenon of the Pacific Ocean is probably involved in mass death of coral reefs and in the North Sea large parts of deep-water reefs have been crushed by heavy beam trawlers fishing for bottom fish

  19. Coral Reefs: Damage Indicators

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pascal Saffache

    2008-02-01

    Full Text Available IntroductionCovering approximately 1.2 million km2 or 0.25% of the world maritime domain, coral reefs represent the greatest structures formed on the earth’s surface by living creatures.  Although coral has existed for the past billion years, those which cover the seabed in the present day appeared in the Jurassic period (secondary era and develop in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans (SCORE, 1998. Coral reefs support a broad range of marine biodiversity (one quarter of all fish caught...

  20. Coral reef ecosystem

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.; Wafar, S.

    3 Coral Reef Ecosystem M. V M. Wafar 1 and Sayeeda Wafar Among the various inland and coastal wetlands, it is probably the coral reef ecosystem that has generated the greatest sc-ientific and economic interest and received in the recent years a world... they play in global biogeochemical cycles as sinks for atmo spheric carbon dioxide. The economic potential includes c-aleium car bonate, food and ornamental fishes, bio-molecules, tourism, molluscan shells, macro-algae, a range of other minor products...

  1. Doom and boom on a resilient reef: climate change, algal overgrowth and coral recovery.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guillermo Diaz-Pulido

    Full Text Available Coral reefs around the world are experiencing large-scale degradation, largely due to global climate change, overfishing, diseases and eutrophication. Climate change models suggest increasing frequency and severity of warming-induced coral bleaching events, with consequent increases in coral mortality and algal overgrowth. Critically, the recovery of damaged reefs will depend on the reversibility of seaweed blooms, generally considered to depend on grazing of the seaweed, and replenishment of corals by larvae that successfully recruit to damaged reefs. These processes usually take years to decades to bring a reef back to coral dominance.In 2006, mass bleaching of corals on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef caused high coral mortality. Here we show that this coral mortality was followed by an unprecedented bloom of a single species of unpalatable seaweed (Lobophora variegata, colonizing dead coral skeletons, but that corals on these reefs recovered dramatically, in less than a year. Unexpectedly, this rapid reversal did not involve reestablishment of corals by recruitment of coral larvae, as often assumed, but depended on several ecological mechanisms previously underestimated.These mechanisms of ecological recovery included rapid regeneration rates of remnant coral tissue, very high competitive ability of the corals allowing them to out-compete the seaweed, a natural seasonal decline in the particular species of dominant seaweed, and an effective marine protected area system. Our study provides a key example of the doom and boom of a highly resilient reef, and new insights into the variability and mechanisms of reef resilience under rapid climate change.

  2. Diseases of corals with particular reference to Indian reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Raghukumar, C.

    other reefs Outbreaks of several other diseases have also been reported from other reefs around the world Other diseases reported so far are the White Band Disease (WBD), Rapid Wasting Syndrome (RWS), White Syndrome (WS), White Plaque, Shut Down reaction...

  3. Yoga in the Real World: Perceptions, Motivators, Barriers, and patterns of Use.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quilty, Mary T; Saper, Robert B; Goldstein, Richard; Khalsa, Sat Bir S

    2013-01-01

    Yoga is a mind-body exercise practiced by nearly 16 million US adults. Clinical yoga research has yielded promising findings in physical and mental health outcomes. However, research in non-patient populations is limited. The purpose of this study is to survey a non-clinical population to better understand yoga use in a real-world setting. This study used a pre-post test design in a convenience sample of adults registered for a 4-week beginner yoga program within a network of five yoga studios in Austin, Texas. Students were linked via e-mail to baseline and endpoint surveys. Analyses were descriptive. Six hundred four students completed the baseline survey, and 290 (48%) completed the 4-week endpoint survey. Baseline demographics were similar to those in national surveys, with respondents being primarily female (86%), white (88%), and college educated (78%). The primary barrier to practice was time (55%). Respondents perceived yoga primarily as an exercise activity (92%), spiritual activity (73%), or a way to manage or treat a health condition (50%). Main reasons for taking yoga were general wellness (81%), physical exercise (80%), and stress management (73%). Ninety-eight percent believed yoga would improve their health, with 28% taking yoga to alleviate a health condition. On average, respondents practiced 3 to 4 hours/ week in and out of class. Respondent demographics were consistent with national survey data. Data show that yoga is perceived several ways. Information on practice patterns provides new information, which may improve understanding of how non-clinical populations incorporate yoga into daily life for health management.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. A Global Estimate of the Number of Coral Reef Fishers.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Louise S L Teh

    Full Text Available Overfishing threatens coral reefs worldwide, yet there is no reliable estimate on the number of reef fishers globally. We address this data gap by quantifying the number of reef fishers on a global scale, using two approaches - the first estimates reef fishers as a proportion of the total number of marine fishers in a country, based on the ratio of reef-related to total marine fish landed values. The second estimates reef fishers as a function of coral reef area, rural coastal population, and fishing pressure. In total, we find that there are 6 million reef fishers in 99 reef countries and territories worldwide, of which at least 25% are reef gleaners. Our estimates are an improvement over most existing fisher population statistics, which tend to omit accounting for gleaners and reef fishers. Our results suggest that slightly over a quarter of the world's small-scale fishers fish on coral reefs, and half of all coral reef fishers are in Southeast Asia. Coral reefs evidently support the socio-economic well-being of numerous coastal communities. By quantifying the number of people who are employed as reef fishers, we provide decision-makers with an important input into planning for sustainable coral reef fisheries at the appropriate scale.

  10. The status of coral reef ecology research in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Berumen, Michael L.

    2013-06-21

    The Red Sea has long been recognized as a region of high biodiversity and endemism. Despite this diversity and early history of scientific work, our understanding of the ecology of coral reefs in the Red Sea has lagged behind that of other large coral reef systems. We carried out a quantitative assessment of ISI-listed research published from the Red Sea in eight specific topics (apex predators, connectivity, coral bleaching, coral reproductive biology, herbivory, marine protected areas, non-coral invertebrates and reef-associated bacteria) and compared the amount of research conducted in the Red Sea to that from Australia\\'s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and the Caribbean. On average, for these eight topics, the Red Sea had 1/6th the amount of research compared to the GBR and about 1/8th the amount of the Caribbean. Further, more than 50 % of the published research from the Red Sea originated from the Gulf of Aqaba, a small area (<2 % of the area of the Red Sea) in the far northern Red Sea. We summarize the general state of knowledge in these eight topics and highlight the areas of future research priorities for the Red Sea region. Notably, data that could inform science-based management approaches are badly lacking in most Red Sea countries. The Red Sea, as a geologically "young" sea located in one of the warmest regions of the world, has the potential to provide insight into pressing topics such as speciation processes as well as the capacity of reef systems and organisms to adapt to global climate change. As one of the world\\'s most biodiverse coral reef regions, the Red Sea may yet have a significant role to play in our understanding of coral reef ecology at a global scale. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

  11. 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...

  12. Monitoring Biogeochemical Processes in Coral Reef Environments with Remote Sensing: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perez, D.; Phinn, S. R.; Roelfsema, C. M.; Shaw, E. C.; Johnston, L.; Iguel, J.; Camacho, R.

    2017-12-01

    Primary production and calcification are important to measure and monitor over time, because of their fundamental roles in the carbon cycling and accretion of habitat structure for reef ecosystems. However, monitoring biogeochemical processes in coastal environments has been difficult due to complications in resolving differences in water optical properties from biological productivity and other sources (sediment, dissolved organics, etc.). This complicates application of algorithms developed for satellite image data from open ocean conditions, and requires alternative approaches. This project applied a cross-disciplinary approach, using established methods for monitoring productivity in terrestrial environments to coral reef systems. Availability of regularly acquired high spatial (reefs. There is potential to further develop optical models for remote sensing applications to estimate and monitor reef system processes, such as primary productivity and calcification. This project collected field measurements of spectral absorptance and primary productivity and calcification rates for two reef systems: Heron Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef and Saipan Lagoon, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Field data were used to parameterize a light-use efficiency (LUE) model, estimating productivity from absorbed photosynthetically active radiation. The LUE model has been successfully applied in terrestrial environments for the past 40 years, and could potentially be used in shallow, marine environments. The model was used in combination with a map of benthic community composition produced from objective based image analysis of WorldView 2 imagery. Light-use efficiency was measured for functional groups: coral, algae, seagrass, and sediment. However, LUE was overestimated for sediment, which led to overestimation of productivity for the mapped area. This was due to differences in spatial and temporal resolution of field data used in the model. The limitations and

  13. 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...

  14. 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

  15. Open access for the non-English-speaking world: overcoming the language barrier

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fung Isaac CH

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract This editorial highlights the problem of language barrier in scientific communication in spite of the recent success of Open Access Movement. Four options for English-language journals to overcome the language barrier are suggested: 1 abstracts in alternative languages provided by authors, 2 Wiki open translation, 3 international board of translator-editors, and 4 alternative language version of the journal. The Emerging Themes in Epidemiology announces that with immediate effect, it will accept translations of abstracts or full texts by authors as Additional files. Editorial note: In an effort towards overcoming the language barrier in scientific publication, ETE will accept translations of abstracts or the full text of published articles. Each translation should be submitted separately as an Additional File in PDF format. ETE will only peer review English-language versions. Therefore, translations will not be scrutinized in the review-process and the responsibility for accurate translation rests with the authors.

  16. Conservation of reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) in a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Large-scale island development or sustainable tourism?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kessel, Steven Thomas; Elamin, Nasreldin Alhasan; Yurkowski, David James; Chekchak, Tarik; Walter, Ryan Patrick; Klaus, Rebecca; Hill, Graham; Hussey, Nigel Edward

    2017-01-01

    A large reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) aggregation has been observed off the north Sudanese Red Sea coast since the 1950s. Sightings have been predominantly within the boundaries of a marine protected area (MPA), which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2016. Contrasting economic development trajectories have been proposed for the area (small-scale ecotourism and large-scale island development). To examine space-use, Wildlife Computers® SPOT 5 tags were secured to three manta rays. A two-state switching Bayesian state space model (BSSM), that allowed movement parameters to switch between resident and travelling, was fit to the recorded locations, and 50% and 95% kernel utilization distributions (KUD) home ranges calculated. A total of 682 BSSM locations were recorded between 30 October 2012 and 6 November 2013. Of these, 98.5% fell within the MPA boundaries; 99.5% for manta 1, 91.5% for manta 2, and 100% for manta 3. The BSSM identified that all three mantas were resident during 99% of transmissions, with 50% and 95% KUD home ranges falling mainly within the MPA boundaries. For all three mantas combined (88.4%), and all individuals (manta 1-92.4%, manta 2-64.9%, manta 3-91.9%), the majority of locations occurred within 15 km of the proposed large-scale island development. Results indicated that the MPA boundaries are spatially appropriate for manta rays in the region, however, a close association to the proposed large-scale development highlights the potential threat of disruption. Conversely, the focused nature of spatial use highlights the potential for reliable ecotourism opportunities.

  17. Conservation of reef manta rays (Manta alfredi in a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Large-scale island development or sustainable tourism?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven Thomas Kessel

    Full Text Available A large reef manta ray (Manta alfredi aggregation has been observed off the north Sudanese Red Sea coast since the 1950s. Sightings have been predominantly within the boundaries of a marine protected area (MPA, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2016. Contrasting economic development trajectories have been proposed for the area (small-scale ecotourism and large-scale island development. To examine space-use, Wildlife Computers® SPOT 5 tags were secured to three manta rays. A two-state switching Bayesian state space model (BSSM, that allowed movement parameters to switch between resident and travelling, was fit to the recorded locations, and 50% and 95% kernel utilization distributions (KUD home ranges calculated. A total of 682 BSSM locations were recorded between 30 October 2012 and 6 November 2013. Of these, 98.5% fell within the MPA boundaries; 99.5% for manta 1, 91.5% for manta 2, and 100% for manta 3. The BSSM identified that all three mantas were resident during 99% of transmissions, with 50% and 95% KUD home ranges falling mainly within the MPA boundaries. For all three mantas combined (88.4%, and all individuals (manta 1-92.4%, manta 2-64.9%, manta 3-91.9%, the majority of locations occurred within 15 km of the proposed large-scale island development. Results indicated that the MPA boundaries are spatially appropriate for manta rays in the region, however, a close association to the proposed large-scale development highlights the potential threat of disruption. Conversely, the focused nature of spatial use highlights the potential for reliable ecotourism opportunities.

  18. Conservation of reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) in a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Large-scale island development or sustainable tourism?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elamin, Nasreldin Alhasan; Yurkowski, David James; Chekchak, Tarik; Walter, Ryan Patrick; Klaus, Rebecca; Hill, Graham; Hussey, Nigel Edward

    2017-01-01

    A large reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) aggregation has been observed off the north Sudanese Red Sea coast since the 1950s. Sightings have been predominantly within the boundaries of a marine protected area (MPA), which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2016. Contrasting economic development trajectories have been proposed for the area (small-scale ecotourism and large-scale island development). To examine space-use, Wildlife Computers® SPOT 5 tags were secured to three manta rays. A two-state switching Bayesian state space model (BSSM), that allowed movement parameters to switch between resident and travelling, was fit to the recorded locations, and 50% and 95% kernel utilization distributions (KUD) home ranges calculated. A total of 682 BSSM locations were recorded between 30 October 2012 and 6 November 2013. Of these, 98.5% fell within the MPA boundaries; 99.5% for manta 1, 91.5% for manta 2, and 100% for manta 3. The BSSM identified that all three mantas were resident during 99% of transmissions, with 50% and 95% KUD home ranges falling mainly within the MPA boundaries. For all three mantas combined (88.4%), and all individuals (manta 1–92.4%, manta 2–64.9%, manta 3–91.9%), the majority of locations occurred within 15 km of the proposed large-scale island development. Results indicated that the MPA boundaries are spatially appropriate for manta rays in the region, however, a close association to the proposed large-scale development highlights the potential threat of disruption. Conversely, the focused nature of spatial use highlights the potential for reliable ecotourism opportunities. PMID:29069079

  19. Sit down at the ball game: How trade barriers make the world less food secure

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rutten, M.M.; Shutes, L.J.; Meijerink, G.W.

    2013-01-01

    This paper analyses the impacts of trade policy responses to rising world food prices by carrying out a series of stylised experiments in the wheat market using a world trade model, GTAP. The sequence of events that is modelled comprises a negative wheat supply shock and subsequent implementation of

  20. 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

  1. Giving Your Patrons the World: Barriers to, and the Value of, International Interlibrary Loan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munson, Kurt; Thompson, Hilary H.

    2018-01-01

    Using the 2011 and 2015 survey by the Reference and User Services Association Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources Section (RUSA STARS) of international interlibrary loans (ILL), the authors explore barriers to this method of meeting patrons' information needs. They evaluate international ILL in the context of developments in the…

  2. 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 resolution island digital elevation model. Contemporary carbonate production rates appear to be remarkably similar to historical values of 573 m3 yr-1. Anticipated future seawater chemistry parameters associated with an RCP8.5 emissions scenario are employed to model rates of net community calcification for the period 2000-2100 on the basis of an inorganic aragonite precipitation law, under the assumption of constant benthic community character. Simulations indicate that carbonate production will decrease linearly to a level of 118 m3 yr-1 by 2100 and that by 2150 aragonite saturation levels may no longer support the positive budgetary status necessary to sustain island accretion. Novel aspects of this assessment include the development of rate law parameters to realistically represent the variable composition of coral reef benthic carbonate producers, incorporation of three dimensional rugosity of the entire reef platform and the coupling of model outputs with both historical radiocarbon dating evidence and forward hydrochemical projections to conduct an assessment of island evolution through time

  3. Ecological impacts and management implications of reef walking on a tropical reef flat community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williamson, Jane E; Byrnes, Evan E; Clark, Jennalee A; Connolly, David M; Schiller, Sabine E; Thompson, Jessica A; Tosetto, Louise; Martinelli, Julieta C; Raoult, Vincent

    2017-01-30

    Continued growth of tourism has led to concerns about direct and indirect impacts on the ecology of coral reefs and ultimate sustainability of these environments under such pressure. This research assessed impacts of reef walking by tourists on a relatively pristine reef flat community associated with an 'ecoresort' on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Heavily walked areas had lower abundances of live hard coral but greater amounts of dead coral and sediment. Abundances of macroalgae were not affected between sites. Coral-associated butterflyfish were less abundant and less diverse in more trampled sites. A manipulative experiment showed handling holothurians on reef walks had lasting negative impacts. This is the first study to show potential impacts of such handling on holothurians. Ecological impacts of reef walking are weighed against sociocultural benefits of a first hand experience in nature. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Painting the world REDD: addressing scientific barriers to monitoring emissions from tropical forests

    Science.gov (United States)

    Asner, Gregory P.

    2011-06-01

    project scale to program readiness is a big step for all involved, and many are finding that it is not easy. Current barriers to national monitoring of forest carbon stocks and emissions range from technical to scientific, and from institutional to operational. In fact, a recent analysis suggested that about 3% of tropical countries currently have the capacity to monitor and report on changes in forest cover and carbon stocks (Herold 2009). But until now, the scientific and policy-development communities have had little quantitative information on exactly which aspects of national-scale monitoring are most uncertain, and how that uncertainty will affect REDD+ performance reporting. A new and remarkable study by Pelletier, Ramankutty and Potvin (2011) uses an integrated, spatially-explicit modeling technique to explore and quantify sources of uncertainty in carbon emissions mapping throughout the Republic of Panama. Their findings are sobering: deforestation rates would need to be reduced by a full 50% in Panama in order to be detectable above the statistical uncertainty caused by several current major monitoring problems. The number one uncertainty, accounting for a sum total of about 77% of the error, rests in the spatial variation of aboveground carbon stocks in primary forests, secondary forests and on fallow land. The poor quality of and insufficient time interval between land-cover maps account for the remainder of the overall uncertainty. These findings are a show-stopper for REDD+ under prevailing science and technology conditions. The Pelletier et al study highlights the pressing need to improve the accuracy of forest carbon and land cover mapping assessments in order for REDD+ to become viable, but how can the uncertainties be overcome? First, with REDD+ nations required to report their emissions, and with verification organizations wanting to check on the reported numbers, there is a clear need for shared measurement and monitoring approaches. One of the major

  5. The Benefits and Barriers of Using Virtual Worlds to Engage Healthcare Professionals on Distance Learning Programmes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hack, Catherine Jane

    2016-01-01

    Using the delivery of a large postgraduate distance learning module in bioethics to health professionals as an illustrative example, the type of learning activity that could be enhanced through delivery in an immersive virtual world (IVW) was explored. Several activities were repurposed from the "traditional" virtual learning environment…

  6. Coral zonation and diagenesis of an emergent Pleistocene patch reef, Belize, Central America

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lighty, R.G.; Russell, K.L.

    1985-01-01

    Transect mapping and petrologic studies reveal a new depositional model and limited diagenesis of a well-exposed Pleistocene reef outcrop at Ambergris Cay, northern Belize. This emergent shelf-edge reef forms a rocky wave-washed headland at the northern terminus of the present-day 250 km long flourishing Belize Barrier Reef. Previously, the Belize reef outcrop was thought to extend southward in the subsurface beneath the modern barrier reef as a Pleistocene equivalent. The authors study indicate that this outcrop is a large, coral patch reef and not part of a barrier reef trend. Sixteen transects 12.5 m apart described in continuous cm increments from fore reef to back reef identified: extensive deposits of broken Acropora cervicornis; small thickets of A. palmata with small, oriented branches; and muddy skeletal sediments with few corals or reef rubble. Thin section and SEM studies show three phases of early submarine cementation: syntaxial and rosette aragonite; Mg-calcite rim cement and peloids; and colloidal Mg-calcite geopetal fill. Subaerial exposure in semi-arid northern Belize caused only minor skeletal dissolution, some precipitation of vadose whisker calcite, and no meteoric phreatic diagenesis. Facies geometry, coral assemblages, lack of rubble deposits, coralline algal encrustations and Millepora framework, and recognition of common but discrete submarine cements, all indicate that this Pleistocene reef was an isolated, coral-fringed sediment buildup similar to may large patch reefs existing today in moderate-energy shelf environments behind the modern barrier reef in central and southern Belize.

  7. The Global Coral Reef Crisis: Trends and Solutions (Coral Reefs: Values, Threats, and the Marine Aquarium Trade)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shuman, Craig S. (Reef Check, UCLA)

    2003-02-05

    Second only to tropical rainforests, coral reefs support one of the world's most diverse natural habitats. Over 350 million individuals depend on coral reef resources for food and income. Unfortunately, the Earth is in the midst of a coral reef crisis. Anthropogenic impacts including overfishing, destructive fishing practices, sedimentation and pollution, as well as global climate change, have served to disrupt the natural processes that maintain the health of these ecosystems. Until recently, however, the global extent of the coral reef crisis was unknown. Reef Check was developed in 1996 as a volunteer, community-based monitoring protocol designed to measure the health of coral reefs on a global scale. With goals of education, monitoring, and management, Reef Check has activities in over 60 countries and territories. They have not only provided scientific evidence of the global extent of the coral reef crisis, but have provided the first community based steps to alleviate this urgent situation.

  8. Mapping Oyster Reef Habitats in Mobile Bay

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bolte, Danielle

    2011-01-01

    Oyster reefs around the world are declining rapidly, and although they haven t received as much attention as coral reefs, they are just as important to their local ecosystems and economies. Oyster reefs provide habitats for many species of fish, invertebrates, and crustaceans, as well as the next generations of oysters. Oysters are also harvested from many of these reefs and are an important segment of many local economies, including that of Mobile Bay, where oysters rank in the top five commercial marine species both by landed weight and by dollar value. Although the remaining Mobile Bay oyster reefs are some of the least degraded in the world, projected climate change could have dramatic effects on the health of these important ecosystems. The viability of oyster reefs depends on water depth and temperature, appropriate pH and salinity levels, and the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. Projected increases in sea level, changes in precipitation and runoff patterns, and changes in pH resulting from increases in the amount of carbon dioxide dissolved in the oceans could all affect the viability of oyster reefs in the future. Human activities such as dredging and unsustainable harvesting practices are also adversely impacting the oyster reefs. Fortunately, several projects are already under way to help rebuild or support existing or previously existing oyster reefs. The success of these projects will depend on the local effects of climate change on the current and potential habitats and man s ability to recognize and halt unsustainable harvesting practices. As the extent and health of the reefs changes, it will have impacts on the Mobile Bay ecosystem and economy, changing the resources available to the people who live there and to the rest of the country, since Mobile Bay is an important national source of seafood. This project identified potential climate change impacts on the oyster reefs of Mobile Bay, including the possible addition of newly viable

  9. Accretion history and stratigraphy of mid-Holocene coral reefs from Southeast Florida, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stathakopoulos, A.; Riegl, B. M.; Swart, P. K.

    2013-05-01

    The southeast Florida shelf is a well-studied coral reef region previously used in studies of late Quaternary sea-level, reef geomorphology, and paleoecology in the sub-tropical Atlantic. Situated on the shelf is the southeast Florida continental reef tract; a ~125 km long Holocene fringing/barrier coral reef complex, composed of three shore-parallel linear reefs ('outer', 'middle', and 'inner' reefs) of varying age. Since few detailed stratigraphic descriptions exist, drill cores were extracted to further understand the composition, character, and radiometric ages of reef material in order to reconstruct the accretion history. Sixteen reef cores from the shallow inner reef were collected along and across the reef axes and were combined with lidar bathymetric data for stratigraphic and geomorphologic analyses. Macroscopic and microscopic (petrographic thin sections) examinations of reef clasts were performed to identify coral and reef infauna species compositions, diagenetic facies, and taphonomic features for interpretation of former reef environments/zonation. The southeast Florida continental reef tract was characterized by dynamic reef terminations, backstepping, and re-initiation in response to post-glacial sea-level rise and flooding of topography suitable for reef initiation and growth. Results suggest that the outer reef accreted from ~10.6-8.0 ka cal BP, the middle reef from at least ~5.8-3.7 ka cal BP, and the inner reef from ~7.8-5.5 ka cal BP. The outer reef is the best-developed reef, followed by the inner reef, while the middle reef apparently has relatively little framework buildup. New data from this study and a lack of significant age overlaps confirm that reef backstepping from the outer to the inner reef occurred within a few hundred years after outer reef termination. This is consistent with temporal and spatial scales reported from backstepped reefs in St. Croix and Puerto Rico. The cause of the backstep is still unknown however some studies

  10. Cardicola beveridgei n. sp. (Digenea: Aporocotylidae) from the mangrove jack, Lutjanus argentimaculatus (Perciformes: Lutjanidae), and C. bullardi n. sp. from the Australian spotted mackerel, Scomberomorus munroi (Perciformes: Scombridae), from the northern Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nolan, Matthew J; Miller, Terrence L; Cutmore, Scott C; Cantacessi, Cinzia; Cribb, Thomas H

    2014-10-01

    Cardicola Short, 1953 is a genus of the Aporocotylidae Odhner, 1912 (Digenea), with 25 currently recognised species described from 32 species of Perciformes and Mugiliformes fishes around the world, including eight species from the Great Barrier Reef. Here, we describe two new species from this region, namely Cardicola beveridgei n. sp. from the ventricle and atrium of the mangrove jack, Lutjanus argentimaculatus (Forsskål) (Perciformes: Lutjanidae), and Cardicola bullardi n. sp. from the ventricle of the Australian spotted mackerel, Scomberomorus munroi Collette & Russo (Perciformes: Scombridae), from off Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia. These two new species are most easily distinguished from the 25 current members of Cardicola in having the combination of i) a spinous oral sucker, ii) an anteriorly intercaecal ovary, iii) a uterus that extends anteriorly from the oötype, iv) the number of spines per ventrolateral transverse row, and in v) body size and the length/width ratio, vi) the oesophagus and caecal length(s) relative to body total length, vii) the length of the posterior caeca relative to the anterior pair, viii) the testis length/width ratio and its total size relative to that of the body, ix) the postovarian field as a percentage of body length, and x) egg size. In addition, C. beveridgei n. sp. is further differentiated by possessing a female genital pore that opens anterodextral to the male pore while C. bullardi n. sp. differs further in possessing a testis that is almost entirely intercaecal and does not extend anteriorly to the level of the intestinal bifurcation. Employing genetic analysis of ITS2 rDNA sequence data, representing these species and a further 13 recognised and three putative species of Cardicola, we were able to unequivocally confirm these specimens as distinct (9-22% different over 420 nucleotide positions). Distance analysis of ITS2 showed that i) species of Cardicola from the Siganidae formed a monophyletic clade, to the

  11. Refuge-seeking impairments mirror metabolic recovery following fisheries-related stressors in the Spanish flag snapper (Lutjanus carponotatus) on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooke, Steven J; Messmer, Vanessa; Tobin, Andrew J; Pratchett, Morgan S; Clark, Timothy D

    2014-01-01

    Fisheries and marine park management strategies for large predatory reef fish can mean that a large proportion of captured fish are released. Despite being released, these fish may experience high mortality while they traverse the water column to locate suitable refuge to avoid predators, all the while recovering from the stress of capture. The predatory reef fish Spanish flag snapper (Lutjanus carponotatus) is frequently released because of a minimum-size or bag limit or by fishers targeting more desirable species. Using L. carponotatus as a model, we tested whether simulated fishing stress (exercise and air exposure) resulted in impairments in reflexes (e.g., response to stimuli) and the ability to identify and use refuge in a laboratory arena and whether any impairments were associated with blood physiology or metabolic recovery. Control fish were consistently responsive to reflex tests and rapidly located and entered refugia in the arena within seconds. Conversely, treatment fish (exhausted and air exposed) were unresponsive to stimuli, took longer to search for refugia, and were more apprehensive to enter the refuge once it was located. Consequently, treatment fish took more than 70 times longer than control fish to enter the coral refuge (26.12 vs. 0.36 min, respectively). The finding that fish exposed to stress were hesitant to use refugia suggests that there was likely cognitive, visual, and/or physiological impairment. Blood lactate, glucose, and hematocrit measures were perturbed at 15 and 30 min after the stressor, relative to controls. However, measurements of oxygen consumption rate revealed that about 50% of metabolic recovery occurred within 30 min after the stressor, coinciding with apparent cognitive/visual/physiological recovery. Recovering the treatment fish in aerated, flow-through chambers for 30 min before introduction to the behavioral arena restored reflexes, and "recovered" fish behaved more similarly to controls. Therefore, we suggest that

  12. Multi-scale records of reef development and condition provide context for contemporary changes on inshore reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ryan, Emma J.; Lewis, Stephen E.; Smithers, Scott G.; Clark, Tara R.; Zhao, Jian-xin

    2016-11-01

    Comparisons between historical and contemporary photographs of coral reef flats from the inshore Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have been cited by various authors and agencies as evidence of reef degradation since European settlement and have been presented as proof of widespread reef decline. The diminished condition is inferred from reduced live coral cover and structural diversity depicted in the contemporary photographs. Anthropogenic causes for this deterioration are most often proposed, usually because it is argued to have coincided with modifications to coastal catchments by European settlers. However, changes in reef condition inferred from photographic comparisons have rarely been verified against quantitative assessments of reef geomorphic state or current reef status. Photographs taken in the late 1800s of the reef flat at Stone Island, located in Edgecumbe Bay in the inshore central GBR, have been compared by others with more recent images to interpret significant reductions in coral cover and diversity over the past 120 or so years. We examined the internal structure of fringing reefs at two locations on Stone Island by collecting 14 percussion cores across the reef flats. Sedimentological analyses coupled with uranium-thorium dating allowed for the reconstruction of reef development over the past 7000 years. Both reefs at Stone Island initiated prior to 7000 calendar years before present (yBP, where present is 1950 AD) and both reef flats were almost entirely emplaced by 4000 yBP. Surveys of the benthic ecology of reefs at Stone Island and at Middle Island, also in Edgecumbe Bay, indicate that coral cover and diversity across reef flats and slopes was patchy and varied spatially within each location and throughout the region. Live coral cover on the Middle Island reef flat reached an average (± 1σ standard deviation) of 63.1 ± 20.2%. This was much higher than the live coral cover on Stone Island reef flats, where only a few small living coral colonies

  13. Impacts of Artificial Reefs and Diving Tourism

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandra Jakšić

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are currently endangered throughout the world. One of the main activities responsible for this is scuba-diving. Scuba-diving on coral reefs was not problematic in the begging, but due to popularization of the new sport, more and more tourists desired to participate in the activity. Mass tourism, direct contact of the tourists with the coral reefs and unprofessional behavior underwater has a negative effect on the coral reefs. The conflict between nature preservation and economy benefits related to scuba-diving tourism resulted in the creation of artificial reefs, used both to promote marine life and as tourists attractions, thereby taking the pressure off the natural coral reefs. Ships, vehicles and other large structures can be found on the coastal sea floor in North America, Australia, Japan and Europe. The concept of artificial reefs as a scuba-diving attraction was developed in Florida. The main goal was to promote aquaculture, with the popularization of scuba-diving attractions being a secondary effect. The aim of this paper is to determine the effects of artificial reefs on scuba-diving tourism, while taking into account the questionnaire carried out among 18 divers

  14. Opportunities and barriers to enhance research capacity and outputs among academic family physicians in the Arab world.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Romani, Maya H; Hamadeh, Ghassan N; Mahmassani, Dina M; AlBeri, Adel A K; AlDabbagh, Abdul-Munem Y; Farahat, Taghreed M; AlShafaee, Mohammed A; Lakkis, Najla A

    2016-01-01

    To explore the current status of academic primary care research in Arab countries and investigate the barriers to its adequate implementation. Research is an essential building block that ensures the advancement of the discipline of Family Medicine (FM). FM research thus ought to be contributed to by all family physicians; nevertheless, its development is being hindered worldwide by several challenges. The amount of research conducted by academic academic family physicians and general practitioners is scant. This phenomenon is more pronounced in the Arab countries. An online questionnaire was emailed to all academic family physicians practicing in member Arab countries of the World Organization of Family Doctors WONCA-East Mediterranean Region. Seventy-six out of 139 academic family physicians from eight Arab countries completed the questionnaire. Around 75% reported that they are required to conduct research studies, yet only 46% contributed to at least one publication. While 75% and 52.6% disclosed their interest in participating in a research team and in leading a research team respectively, 64.5% reported being currently involved in research activities. Of all, 56% have attended a research ethics course. Lack of training in research, the unavailability of a healthcare system that is supportive of research, insufficient financial resources, and the unavailability of electronic health records were perceived as major barriers in conducting FM research. Although many physicians in Arab academic institutions expressed enthusiasm to conduct research projects, FM research infrastructure remains to be weak. This demonstrates the need for immense efforts from different parties particularly governments and academic institutions.

  15. A magnetic compass that might help coral reef fish larvae return to their natal reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bottesch, Michael; Gerlach, Gabriele; Halbach, Maurits; Bally, Andreas; Kingsford, Michael J; Mouritsen, Henrik

    2016-12-19

    Many coral reef fish larvae spend days to months in the open ocean before settlement on coral reefs [1]. Early in development, larvae have limited swimming capabilities and will therefore be greatly affected by currents. This can potentially result in dispersal distances of tens of kilometers [2]. Nevertheless, up to 60 % of surviving larvae have been shown to return to their natal reefs [2]. To home, the larvae must develop strong swimming capabilities and appropriate orientation mechanisms. Most late-stage larval reef fish can, after being passively drifted for days to weeks, swim strongly [3], and Ostorhinchus doederleini larvae have been shown to use chemotaxis to identify their natal reef once in its vicinity [2] and a sun compass for longer distance orientation [4] during the day. But how do they orient at night? Here, we show that newly settled fish caught at One Tree Island (OTI) at the Capricorn Bunker Reef Group (Great Barrier Reef) can use geomagnetic compass information to keep a south-east heading. This behavior might help them return to their natal reef in the absence of any celestial cues at night. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. The impact of farmers’ participation in field trials in creating awareness and stimulating compliance with the World Health Organization’s farm-based multiple-barrier approach

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Amponsah, Owusu; Vigre, Håkan; Schou, Torben Wilde

    2016-01-01

    The results of a study aimed as assessing the extent to which urban vegetable farmers’ participation in field trials can impact on their awareness and engender compliance with the World Health Organization’s farm-based multiple-barrier approach are presented in this paper. Both qualitative and qu...

  17. Challenges and barriers for implementation of the World Health Organization Global Disability Action Plan in low- and middle- income countries

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fary Khan

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Objective: To identify potential barriers and facilitators for implementation of the World Health Organization Global Disability Action Plan (GDAP in Nigeria and compare these with other low- and middle-income countries. Methods: A rehabilitation team from the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia, conducted intensive workshops at medical/academic institutions in Nigeria for healthcare professionals from various local Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation facilities. A modified Delphi method identified challenges for person with disability, using 3 GDAP objectives. Findings were compared with similar exercises in Madagascar, Pakistan and Mongolia. Results: Despite differences in the healthcare system and practice, the challenges reported in Nigeria were similar to those in other 3 low- and middle-income countries, at both macro (governmental/policymakers and micro levels (community/social/individual. Common challenges identified were: limited knowledge of disability services, limited Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation workforce, guidelines and accreditation standards; coordination amongst healthcare sectors; social issues; data and research; legislation and political commitment. Common potential facilitators included: need for strong leadership; advocacy of disability-inclusive development; investment in infrastructure/human resources; coordination/partnerships in healthcare sector; and research. Conclusion: Disability care is an emerging priority in low- and middle-income countries to address the needs of people with disability. The challenges identified in Nigeria are common to most low- and middle-income countries. The GDAP framework can facilitate access and strengthen Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation services.

  18. Annual recapture and survival rates of two non-breeding adult populations of Roseate Terns Stema dougallii captured on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and estimates of their population sizes

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Neill, P.; Minton, C.D.T.; Nisbet, I.C.T.; Hines, J.E.

    2008-01-01

    Capture-recapture data from two disparate breeding populations of Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) captured together as non-breeding individuals from 2002 to 2007 in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Australia were analyzed for both survival rate and recapture rate. The average annual survival rate for the birds from the Asian population (S. d. bangsi) (0.901) is higher than that of the other population of unknown breeding origin (0.819). There was large variability in survival in both populations among years, but the average survival rate of 0.85 is similar to estimates for the same species in North America. The Cormack-Jolly-Seber models used in program MARK to estimate survival rates also produced estimated of recapture probabilities and population sizes. These estimates of population size were 29,000 for S. D. bangsi and 8,300 for the study area and much larger than the documented numbers in the likely breeding areas, suggesting that many breeding sites are currently unknown.

  19. Publisher correction: Oil exposure disrupts early life-history stages of coral reef fishes via behavioural impairments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johansen, Jacob L; Allan, Bridie J M; Rummer, Jodie L; Esbaugh, Andrew J

    2017-09-01

    In the version of this Article originally published, a statistic relating to the northern Great Barrier Reef was attributed to the Great Barrier Reef as a whole. The sentence should have read 'In 2016 alone, more than 35% of corals on the northern Great Barrier Reef are estimated to have died following the worst bleaching event ever recorded'. This has been corrected in all versions of the Article.

  20. Reef odor: a wake up call for navigation in reef fish larvae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claire B Paris

    Full Text Available The behavior of reef fish larvae, equipped with a complex toolbox of sensory apparatus, has become a central issue in understanding their transport in the ocean. In this study pelagic reef fish larvae were monitored using an unmanned open-ocean tracking device, the drifting in-situ chamber (DISC, deployed sequentially in oceanic waters and in reef-born odor plumes propagating offshore with the ebb flow. A total of 83 larvae of two taxonomic groups of the families Pomacentridae and Apogonidae were observed in the two water masses around One Tree Island, southern Great Barrier Reef. The study provides the first in-situ evidence that pelagic reef fish larvae discriminate reef odor and respond by changing their swimming speed and direction. It concludes that reef fish larvae smell the presence of coral reefs from several kilometers offshore and this odor is a primary component of their navigational system and activates other directional sensory cues. The two families expressed differences in their response that could be adapted to maintain a position close to the reef. In particular, damselfish larvae embedded in the odor plume detected the location of the reef crest and swam westward and parallel to shore on both sides of the island. This study underlines the critical importance of in situ Lagrangian observations to provide unique information on larval fish behavioral decisions. From an ecological perspective the central role of olfactory signals in marine population connectivity raises concerns about the effects of pollution and acidification of oceans, which can alter chemical cues and olfactory responses.

  1. Protecting the Great Barrier Reef: Analysing the Impact of a Conservation Documentary and Post-Viewing Strategies on Long-Term Conservation Behaviour

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hofman, Karen; Hughes, Karen

    2018-01-01

    Nature-based tourism experiences have the potential to change the environmental knowledge, attitudes and behavior of visitors; but such experiences may be beyond the physical and/or financial reach of many people. To influence the conservation behavior of populations world-wide, a more accessible yet equally effective strategy is required. Using…

  2. Coral reefs - Specialized ecosystems

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    This paper discusses briefly some aspects that characterize and differentiate coral reef ecosystems from other tropical marine ecosystems. A brief account on the resources that are extractable from coral reefs, their susceptibility to natural...

  3. NMFS Reef Survey Forms

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Reef Environmental Survey Project (REEF) mission to educate and enlist divers in the conservation of marine habitats is accomplished primarily through its Fish...

  4. Large-scale movement and reef fidelity of grey reef sharks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michelle R Heupel

    Full Text Available Despite an Indo-Pacific wide distribution, the movement patterns of grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos and fidelity to individual reef platforms has gone largely unstudied. Their wide distribution implies that some individuals have dispersed throughout tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific, but data on large-scale movements do not exist. We present data from nine C. amblyrhynchos monitored within the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea off the coast of Australia. Shark presence and movements were monitored via an array of acoustic receivers for a period of six months in 2008. During the course of this monitoring few individuals showed fidelity to an individual reef suggesting that current protective areas have limited utility for this species. One individual undertook a large-scale movement (134 km between the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef, providing the first evidence of direct linkage of C. amblyrhynchos populations between these two regions. Results indicate limited reef fidelity and evidence of large-scale movements within northern Australian waters.

  5. Paleozoic Reef in Pakistan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teichert, C; Stauffer, K W

    1965-12-03

    A Silurian, and perhaps Devonian, limestone belt in northern West Pakistan contains the first Paleozoic reefs found on the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. The belt contains a rich fauna entirely new to Pakistan. Its presence indicates that this area was inundated in Silurian and Devonian times by seas bordered by reefs or containing reef platforms.

  6. Research Spotlight: New method to assess coral reef health

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tretkoff, Ernie

    2011-03-01

    Coral reefs around the world are becoming stressed due to rising temperatures, ocean acidification, overfishing, and other factors. Measuring community level rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and biogenic calcification is essential to assessing the health of coral reef ecosystems because the balance between these processes determines the potential for reef growth and the export of carbon. Measurements of biological productivity have typically been made by tracing changes in dissolved oxygen in seawater as it passes over a reef. However, this is a labor-intensive and difficult method, requiring repeated measurements. (Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL046179, 2011)

  7. ReefGrow v2.0: A classroom tool for visualizing the processes controlling coral reef development and demise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chase, A. C.; Clague, D.; Webster, J.; Berger, W.; Schramm, R.; Winterer, J.

    2004-12-01

    Understanding the complex interplay between coral reef growth, sea-level variations and tectonics is a major challenge in paleoclimate research. A continuing challenge for students is how to visualize the complex interplay of different geological processes through time. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) has developed ReefGrow v2.0, a Java-based program that numerically models and displays coral reef growth in 2D. The program was developed initially as a research tool but has educational applications as well. Based on straightforward mathematical algorithms, ReefGrow v2.0, realistically "grows" reefs in response to different variables (including subsidence or uplift rate, coral growth rate, sedimentation rate, dissolution rate when the reef is subaerially exposed). The program can import a bathymetric profile to use as the substrate, can import different sea level curves, and can vary the subsidence, or uplift, rates as a function of distance from the shoreline. A major strength of ReefGrow v2.0 is its simple graphical interface, allowing variables to be changed and their impacts on reef development readily assessed. Students are able to view the models' output in the form of a dynamic 2D cross section that steps forward or back through time. To illustrate its use, we applied ReefGrow v2.0 to a "real world" situation using published data from drowned fossil coral reefs that grew on the subsiding flanks of Hawaii over the last 500 ka. ReefGrow v.2.0 was able to realistically model the number and morphology of the reef terraces. The models can be used to constrain the timing of coral reef drowning, the rate and shape of island subsidence, the timing of subaerial exposure of each reef, and the rate of coral growth required to mimic the morphology of the reef. The cross section shows the internal structure of the reef. The program can also be used to forward model reef growth in response to future climate change that causes sea-level rise, or

  8. Relationships between structural complexity, coral traits, and reef fish assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darling, Emily S.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; Nash, Kirsty L.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Wilson, Shaun K.

    2017-06-01

    With the ongoing loss of coral cover and the associated flattening of reef architecture, understanding the links between coral habitat and reef fishes is of critical importance. Here, we investigate whether considering coral traits and functional diversity provides new insights into the relationship between structural complexity and reef fish communities, and whether coral traits and community composition can predict structural complexity. Across 157 sites in Seychelles, Maldives, the Chagos Archipelago, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef, we find that structural complexity and reef zone are the strongest and most consistent predictors of reef fish abundance, biomass, species richness, and trophic structure. However, coral traits, diversity, and life histories provided additional predictive power for models of reef fish assemblages, and were key drivers of structural complexity. Our findings highlight that reef complexity relies on living corals—with different traits and life histories—continuing to build carbonate skeletons, and that these nuanced relationships between coral assemblages and habitat complexity can affect the structure of reef fish assemblages. Seascape-level estimates of structural complexity are rapid and cost effective with important implications for the structure and function of fish assemblages, and should be incorporated into monitoring programs.

  9. Functionally diverse reef-fish communities ameliorate coral disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raymundo, Laurie J; Halford, Andrew R; Maypa, Aileen P; Kerr, Alexander M

    2009-10-06

    Coral reefs, the most diverse of marine ecosystems, currently experience unprecedented levels of degradation. Diseases are now recognized as a major cause of mortality in reef-forming corals and are complicit in phase shifts of reef ecosystems to algal-dominated states worldwide. Even so, factors contributing to disease occurrence, spread, and impact remain poorly understood. Ecosystem resilience has been linked to the conservation of functional diversity, whereas overfishing reduces functional diversity through cascading, top-down effects. Hence, we tested the hypothesis that reefs with trophically diverse reef fish communities have less coral disease than overfished reefs. We surveyed reefs across the central Philippines, including well-managed marine protected areas (MPAs), and found that disease prevalence was significantly negatively correlated with fish taxonomic diversity. Further, MPAs had significantly higher fish diversity and less disease than unprotected areas. We subsequently investigated potential links between coral disease and the trophic components of fish diversity, finding that only the density of coral-feeding chaetodontid butterflyfishes, seldom targeted by fishers, was positively associated with disease prevalence. These previously uncharacterized results are supported by a second large-scale dataset from the Great Barrier Reef. We hypothesize that members of the charismatic reef-fish family Chaetodontidae are major vectors of coral disease by virtue of their trophic specialization on hard corals and their ecological release in overfished areas, particularly outside MPAs.

  10. Maintenance of fish diversity on disturbed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, S. K.; Dolman, A. M.; Cheal, A. J.; Emslie, M. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Sweatman, H. P. A.

    2009-03-01

    Habitat perturbations play a major role in shaping community structure; however, the elements of disturbance-related habitat change that affect diversity are not always apparent. This study examined the effects of habitat disturbances on species richness of coral reef fish assemblages using annual surveys of habitat and 210 fish species from 10 reefs on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Over a period of 11 years, major disturbances, including localised outbreaks of crown-of-thorns sea star ( Acanthaster planci), severe storms or coral bleaching, resulted in coral decline of 46-96% in all the 10 reefs. Despite declines in coral cover, structural complexity of the reef framework was retained on five and species richness of coral reef fishes maintained on nine of the disturbed reefs. Extensive loss of coral resulted in localised declines of highly specialised coral-dependent species, but this loss of diversity was more than compensated for by increases in the number of species that feed on the epilithic algal matrix (EAM). A unimodal relationship between areal coral cover and species richness indicated species richness was greatest at approximately 20% coral cover declining by 3-4 species (6-8% of average richness) at higher and lower coral cover. Results revealed that declines in coral cover on reefs may have limited short-term impact on the diversity of coral reef fishes, though there may be fundamental changes in the community structure of fishes.

  11. The small genetic world of Seriatopora hystrix

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stuart Kininmonth

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available The exchange of genetic information among coral reefs, through the transport of larvae, is critical to the function of Australia's Great Barrier Reef because it influences recruitment rates and resilience to disturbance. For many species the genetic composition is not homogeneous and is determined, in part, by the character of the complex dispersal pathways that connect the populations situated on each coral reef. One method of measuring these genetic connections is to examine the microsatellite composition of individual corals and then statistically compare populations across the region. We use these connection strengths, derived from a population similarity measure, to create complex networks to describe and analyse the genetic exchange of the brooding coral, Seriatopora hystrix. The network, based on determining the putative parental origin of individual coral colonies, involved sampling 2163 colonies from 47 collection sites and examining 10 microsatellites. A dispersal network was created from the genetic distance DLR values that measure the genetic similarity of each population (defined by the local sampling effort to every other sampled population based on the microsatellite composition. Graph theory methods show that this network exhibited infrequent long distance links and population clustering which is commonly referred to as small world topology. Comparison with a hydrodynamic based network indicates that the genetic population network topology is similar. This approach shows the genetic structure of the S. hystrix coral follows a small world pattern which supports the results derived from previous hydrodynamic modelling.

  12. World

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kilinc, M.; Beringer, J.; Hutley, L.; Kurioka, K.; Wood, S.; D'Argent, N.; Martin, D.; McHugh, I.; Tapper, N.; McGuire, D.

    2009-04-01

    Natural forests store vast amounts of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere, and play an important role in the global carbon cycle. Given the significance of natural forests, there is a lack of carbon accounting of primary forests that are undisturbed by human activities. One reason for this lack of interest stems from ecological orthodoxy that suggests that primary forests should be close to dynamic equilibrium, in that Net Ecosystem Production (NEP) approaches zero. However, recent results from the northern hemisphere and tropics, using eddy covariance flux towers, indicate that primary forests are a greater sink than first thought. The role of evergreen primary forests in Australian carbon balance studies remain uncertain and hence may function differently to their deciduous counterparts in the Northern Hemisphere. In order to address the lack of baseline carbon accounts, an undisturbed, 300 year old Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) ecosystem, located in the Central Highlands of Victoria (Australia) was selected as a permanent study site to investigate carbon and water budgets over diurnal, seasonal and annual cycles. Mountain Ash trees are the world's tallest angiosperms (flowering plants), and one of the largest carbon reservoirs in the biosphere, with an estimated 1900 tC ha-1. A 110 m tall micrometeorological tower that includes eddy covariance instrumentation was installed in August 2005. An independent biometric approach quantifying the annual net gain or loss of carbon was also made within close proximity to the flux tower. Analysis of NEP in 2006 suggests that the ecosystem acted as a carbon sink of 2.5 tC ha-1 yr-1. Woody and soil biomass increment for the same year was estimated to be 2.8 tC ha-1yr-1, in which nearly half of the biomass production was partitioned into the aboveground woody tissue. These results indicate that temperate primary forests act as carbon sinks, and are able to maintain their carbon sink status due to their uneven stand

  13. Species Profiles: Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (South Florida). Reef-Building Corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1987-08-01

    Stoddart, D.R. 1969. Ecology and Sammarco, P.W. 1985. The Great morphology of recent coral reefs . Barrier Reef vs. the Caribbean: Biol. Rev. Camb. Philos...Sambo Reef , Florida, involving cervicornis and M. annularis tolerated bleaching and loss of symbiotic oxygen tensions as low as 1.0 ppm for zooxanthellae...Montastraea (1.0-2.0 cm/yr), but both species of Montastraea are also important in reef development due to their massive form and great longevity

  14. Re-creating missing population baselines for Pacific reef sharks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nadon, Marc O; Baum, Julia K; Williams, Ivor D; McPherson, Jana M; Zgliczynski, Brian J; Richards, Benjamin L; Schroeder, Robert E; Brainard, Russell E

    2012-06-01

    Sharks and other large predators are scarce on most coral reefs, but studies of their historical ecology provide qualitative evidence that predators were once numerous in these ecosystems. Quantifying density of sharks in the absence of humans (baseline) is, however, hindered by a paucity of pertinent time-series data. Recently researchers have used underwater visual surveys, primarily of limited spatial extent or nonstandard design, to infer negative associations between reef shark abundance and human populations. We analyzed data from 1607 towed-diver surveys (>1 ha transects surveyed by observers towed behind a boat) conducted at 46 reefs in the central-western Pacific Ocean, reefs that included some of the world's most pristine coral reefs. Estimates of shark density from towed-diver surveys were substantially lower (sharks observed in towed-diver surveys and human population in models that accounted for the influence of oceanic primary productivity, sea surface temperature, reef area, and reef physical complexity. We used these models to estimate the density of sharks in the absence of humans. Densities of gray reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos), whitetip reef sharks (Triaenodon obesus), and the group "all reef sharks" increased substantially as human population decreased and as primary productivity and minimum sea surface temperature (or reef area, which was highly correlated with temperature) increased. Simulated baseline densities of reef sharks under the absence of humans were 1.1-2.4/ha for the main Hawaiian Islands, 1.2-2.4/ha for inhabited islands of American Samoa, and 0.9-2.1/ha for inhabited islands in the Mariana Archipelago, which suggests that density of reef sharks has declined to 3-10% of baseline levels in these areas. ©2012 Society for Conservation Biology No claim to original US government works.

  15. NOAA's National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) Data Collection

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Coral reefs provide nearly $30 billion in net benefits in goods and services to world economies each year, including tourism, fisheries, and coastal protection, and...

  16. Eco-geomorphological zonation of the Bangaram reef, Lakshadweep

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Deshmukh, B.; Bahuguna, A.; Nayak, S.; Dhargalkar, V.K.; Jagtap, T.G.

    Coral reefs, which are known for rich biological diversity and productivity, are being threatened throughout the world by various natural and anthropogenic activities. The present study concentrates on establishing methodology to zone the geo-morphological...

  17. 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.

  18. Holocene reef growth over irregular Pleistocene karst confirms major influence of hydrodynamic factors on Holocene reef development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salas-Saavedra, Marcos; Dechnik, Belinda; Webb, Gregory E.; Webster, Jody M.; Zhao, Jian-xin; Nothdurft, Luke D.; Clark, Tara R.; Graham, Trevor; Duce, Stephanie

    2018-01-01

    Many factors govern reef growth through time, but their relative contributions are commonly poorly known. A prime example is the degree to which modern reef morphology is controlled by contemporary hydrodynamic settings or antecedent topography. Fortunately, reefs record essential information for interpreting palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment within their structure as they accrete in response to environmental change. Five new cores recovered from the margin of Heron Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), provide new insights into Holocene reef development and relationships between Holocene reefs and Pleistocene antecedent topography, suggesting much more irregular underlying topography than expected based on the configuration of the overlying modern reef margin. Cores were recovered to depths of 30 m and 94 new 230Th ages document growth between 8408 ± 24 and 2222 ± 16 yrs. BP. One core penetrated Pleistocene basement at ∼15.3 m with Holocene reef growth initiated by ∼8.4 ka BP. However, 1.83 km west along the same smooth margin, four cores failed to penetrate Pleistocene basement at depths between 20 and 30 m, suggesting that the margin at this location overlies a karst valley, or alternatively, the antecedent platform does not extend there. A 48 m-long margin-perpendicular transect of three cores documents the filling of this topographic low, at least 30 m beneath the current reef top, with seaward lateral accretion at a rate of 34.3 m/ka. Cores indicate steady vertical and lateral accretion between 3.2 and 1.8 ka BP with no evidence of the hiatus in reef flat progradation seen in most other offshore reefs of the GBR at that time. These cores suggest that the relative protection afforded by the valley allowed for unconsolidated sediment to accumulate, enabling continuous progradation even when other areas of the reef flat appear to have 'turned off'. Additionally, the cores suggest that although reefs in the southern GBR clearly owe their location to

  19. Barriers and Enablers to the Use of Virtual Worlds in Higher Education: An Exploration of Educator Perceptions, Attitudes and Experiences

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gregory, Sue; Scutter, Sheila; Jacka, Lisa; McDonald, Marcus; Farley, Helen; Newman, Chris

    2015-01-01

    Three-dimensional (3D) virtual worlds have been used for more than a decade in higher education for teaching and learning. Since the 1980s, academics began using virtual worlds as an exciting and innovative new technology to provide their students with new learning experiences that were difficult to provide any other way. But since that time,…

  20. Biomimetric sentinel reef structures for optical sensing and communications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fries, David; Hutcheson, Tim; Josef, Noam; Millie, David; Tate, Connor

    2017-05-01

    Traditional artificial reef structures are designed with uniform cellular architectures and topologies and do not mimic natural reef forms. Strings and ropes are a proven, common fisheries and mariculture construction element throughout the world and using them as artificial reef scaffolding can enable a diversity of ocean sensing, communications systems including the goal of sentinel reefs. The architecture and packaging of electronics is key to enabling such structures and systems. The distributed sensor reef concept leads toward a demonstrable science-engineering-informed framework for 3D smart habitat designs critical to stock fish development and coastal monitoring and protection. These `nature-inspired' reef infrastructures, can enable novel instrumented `reef observatories' capable of collecting real-time ecosystem data. Embedding lighting and electronic elements into artificial reef systems are the first systems conceptualized. This approach of bringing spatial light to the underwater world for optical sensing, communication and even a new breed of underwater robotic vehicle is an interdisciplinary research activity which integrates principles of electronic packaging, and ocean technology with art/design.

  1. Shellfish reef restoration pilots: Voordelta The Netherlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sas, H.; Kamermans, P.; Have, van der T.M.; Lengkeek, W.; Smaal, A.C.

    2016-01-01

    Once, shellfish reefs - mainly flat oysters - covered about 20% of the North Sea floor, but diseases, pollution and overfishing have led to a significant decline. As part of the Haringvliet Dream Fund Project (www.haringvliet.nu), ARK
    Nature and World Wildlife Fund Netherlands are working on

  2. Sedimentology and Community Structure of Reefs of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

    OpenAIRE

    Novak, Matthew J.

    1992-01-01

    Holocene carbonate sediments from Mexican reefs in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico display variations in constituent composition, texture and mineralogy which are related to their locations on the reefs. Samples were collected at barrier reef environments at Akumal and Chemuyil, on the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula; at the oceanic atoll of Chinchorro, off the southeast coast of the peninsula; and at the shelf atoll of Alacranes, in the Gulf of Mexico. Samples were collected throug...

  3. Application of Landscape Mosaic Technology to Complement Coral Reef Resource Mapping and Monitoring

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    Vehicles on the Great Barrier Reef . EOS Trans. AGU Ocean Sci. Meet. Suppl., Abstract OS15I-08 87(36). Precht W.F. and M. Robbart. (2006) Coral...97  Figure A64. Landscape mosaic of a Fore- Reef habitat showing the location of bleached colonies of Siderastrea siderea...for monitoring disease, bleaching , and partial mortality--all important indicators of reef health. A1. Methods The basic algorithm used in

  4. Diving down the reefs? Intensive diving tourism threatens the reefs of the northern Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hasler, Harald; Ott, Jörg A

    2008-10-01

    Intensive recreational SCUBA diving threatens coral reef ecosystems. The reefs at Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt, are among the world's most dived (>30,000 dives y(-1)). We compared frequently dived sites to sites with no or little diving. Benthic communities and condition of corals were examined by the point intercept sampling method in the reef crest zone (3m) and reef slope zone (12 m). Additionally, the abundance of corallivorous and herbivorous fish was estimated based on the visual census method. Sediments traps recorded the sedimentation rates caused by SCUBA divers. Zones subject to intensive SCUBA diving showed a significantly higher number of broken and damaged corals and significantly lower coral cover. Reef crest coral communities were significantly more affected than those of the reef slope: 95% of the broken colonies were branching ones. No effect of diving on the abundance of corallivorous and herbivorous fish was evident. At heavily used dive sites, diver-related sedimentation rates significantly decreased with increasing distance from the entrance, indicating poor buoyancy regulation at the initial phase of the dive. The results show a high negative impact of current SCUBA diving intensities on coral communities and coral condition. Corallivorous and herbivorous fishes are apparently not yet affected, but are endangered if coral cover decline continues. Reducing the number of dives per year, ecologically sustainable dive plans for individual sites, and reinforcing the environmental education of both dive guides and recreational divers are essential to conserve the ecological and the aesthetic qualities of these dive sites.

  5. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Angela Dikou

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Top-down controls of complex foodwebs maintain the balance among the critical groups of corals, algae, and herbivores, thus allowing the persistence of corals reefs as three-dimensional, biogenic structures with high biodiversity, heterogeneity, resistance, resilience and connectivity, and the delivery of essential goods and services to societies. On contemporary reefs world-wide, however, top-down controls have been weakened due to reduction in herbivory levels (overfishing or disease outbreak while bottom-up controls have increased due to water quality degradation (increase in sediment and nutrient load and climate forcing (seawater warming and acidification leading to algal-dominated alternate benthic states of coral reefs, which are indicative of a trajectory towards ecological extinction. Management to reverse common trajectories of degradation for coral reefs necessitates a shift from optimization in marine resource use and conservation towards building socio-economic resilience into coral reef systems while attending to the most manageable human impacts (fishing and water quality and the global-scale causes (climate change.

  6. Wheeler Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1744 to 1984

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  7. Yankee Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1888 to 1984

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  8. Flinders Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1718 to 1991

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  9. Abraham Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1479 to 1985

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  10. Otter Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1792 to 1987

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  11. Rib Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1853 to 1983

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  12. Britomart Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1574 to 1986

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  13. Sanctuary Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1501 to 1984

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  14. Agincourt Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1779 to 1988

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  15. Pandora Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1875 to 1982

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  16. Stanley Reef Extension, Density, and Calcification Data for 1912 to 1985

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Extension, Density, and Calcification data from 35 Porites coral cores covering the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Data set contains 35...

  17. The Carboniferous reefs in China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gong Enpu

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available The Carboniferous period was a unique period for reef developments during the Late Paleozoic; however, in past years, studies dealing with the Carboniferous reefs in China were very rare. In recent years, the Carboniferous reefs were studied in detail and diverse types of reefs have been discovered in different areas of China. In these areas, the Mississippian reefs were primarily built of bryozoans and rugose corals, which were associated with various kinds of calcareous algae. During the Pennsylvanian, in South China, the reef builders were composed of the rugose coral Fomichevella and phylloid algae, whereas in North China, the reef builders were composed of Chaetetes, bryozoans and corals. There are two main reef-building communities within Carboniferous reefs in China; an algal reef-building community and a reef-building community dominated by colonial coral. No evolutionary relationships between these two types of communities can be detected, thus indicating that two different linerages of reef-building communities evolved during the Carboniferous; the former community consists of cyanobacteria, bacteria and calcareous algae, while the latter one consists of various skeletal metazoan organisms. Through careful study of the developments of Chinese Carboniferous reefs, the evidence indicates that various communities of organisms played important reef-building functions during this period. The occurrence of these metazoan framework reefs also indicates that, during the Carboniferous, most areas in China would have been dominated by the environments with a tropical or subtropical climate.

  18. U.S. coral reefs; imperiled national treasures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Field, M.E.; Cochran, S.A.; Evans, K.R.

    2002-01-01

    Coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine species. However, the tiny colonial animals that build these intricate limestone masses are dying at alarming rates. If this trend continues, in 20 years the living corals on many of the world's reefs will be dead and the ecosystems that depend on them severely damaged. As part of the effort to protect our Nation's extensive reefs, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists are working to better understand the processes that affect the health of these ecologically and economically important ecosystems.

  19. Associations among coral reef macroalgae influence feeding by herbivorous fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loffler, Z.; Bellwood, D. R.; Hoey, A. S.

    2015-03-01

    Benthic macroalgae often occur in close association with other macroalgae, yet the implications of such associations on coral reefs are unclear. We selected three pairs of commonly associated macroalgae on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and exposed them, either independently or paired, to herbivore assemblages. Pairing the palatable alga Acanthophora with the calcified and chemically defended Galaxaura resulted in a 69 % reduction in the consumption of Acanthophora, but had no effect on the consumption of Galaxaura. The reduced consumption of Acanthophora was related to 53-85 % reductions in the feeding rates of two herbivorous fish species, Kyphosus vaigiensis and Siganus doliatus. Neither Acanthophora nor Sargassum were afforded protection when paired with the brown macroalga Turbinaria. Although limited to one of the three species pairings, such associations between algae may allow the ecological persistence of palatable species in the face of intense herbivory, enhancing macroalgal diversity on coral reefs.

  20. Spatial and Temporal Variability of Remotely Sensed Ocean Color Parameters in Coral Reef Regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Otis, Daniel Brooks

    The variability of water-column absorption due to colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and phytoplankton in coral reef regions is the focus of this study. Hydrographic and CDOM absorption measurements made on the Bahamas Banks and in Exuma Sound during the spring of 1999 and 2000 showed that values of salinity and CDOM absorption at 440nm were higher on the banks (37.18 psu, 0.06 m. -1), compared to Exuma Sound (37.04 psu, 0.03 m. -1). Spatial patternsof CDOM absorption in Exuma Sound revealed that plumes of CDOM-rich water flow into Exuma Sound from the surrounding banks. To examine absorption variability in reef regions throughout the world, a thirteen-year time series of satellite-derived estimates of water-column absorption due to CDOM and phytoplankton were created from Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data. Time series data extracted adjacent to coral reef regions showed that variability in absorption depends on oceanographic conditions such as circulation patterns and winds as well as proximity to sources of light-absorbing materials that enter the water column, such as from terrestrial runoff. Waters near reef regions are generally clear, exhibiting a lower "baseline" level of CDOM absorption of approximately 0.01 m. -1 at 443nm. The main differences between regions lie in the periodsduring the year when increased levels of absorption are observed, which can be triggered by inputs of terrestrially-derived material, as in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, or wind-driven upwelling as in the Andaman Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean near Panama. The lowest CDOM absorption levels found were approximately 0.003 m. -1 at 443nm near the islands of Palau and Yap, which are removed fromsources of colored materials. The highest absorption levels near reefs were associated with wind-driven upwelling during the northeast monsoon on the Andaman coast of Thailand where values of CDOM absorption at 443nm

  1. Coral mucus functions as an energy carrier and particle trap in the reef ecosystem

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wild, C.; Huettel, M.; Klueter, A.

    2004-01-01

    Zooxanthellae, endosymbiotic algae of reef-building corals, substantially contribute to the high gross primary production of coral reefs(1), but corals exude up to half of the carbon assimilated by their zooxanthellae as mucus(2,3). Here we show that released coral mucus efficiently traps organic...... matter from the water column and rapidly carries energy and nutrients to the reef lagoon sediment, which acts as a biocatalytic mineralizing filter. In the Great Barrier Reef, the dominant genus of hard corals, Acropora, exudes up to 4.8 litres of mucus per square metre of reef area per day. Between 56......% and 80% of this mucus dissolves in the reef water, which is filtered through the lagoon sands. Here, coral mucus is degraded at a turnover rate of at least 7% per hour. Detached undissolved mucus traps suspended particles, increasing its initial organic carbon and nitrogen content by three orders...

  2. Helping people build a better world? Barriers to more environmentally friendly energy production in China: the case of Shell

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Buan, Inga Fritzen

    2008-03-15

    China's rapid industrialization and economic expansion are causing massive environmental damage, with consequences beyond the country's borders, especially due to the use of fossil fuels' effect on climate change. Shell China can contribute to making energy production, if not clean and sustainable, then cleaner and more sustainable by making existing energy production more environmentally friendly; by diversifying and developing alternative energy sources; and by creating precedence influencing others to follow in its footsteps. The first goal of this report is to identify and analyze changes that have happened in the Shell Group since the 1990s when energy companies started their 'greening' processes. These changed happened due to stricter environmental legislation, increased civil society pressure and media scrutiny. Changes on the global and headquarters level in a company do not, however, necessitate similar developments in its national and local level operations. The second goal is thus to analyze to which degree the changes in the Shell Group have had relevance for Shell China and whether barriers in the Chinese context influence its prospects to operate in a more environmentally friendly way. (author). 64 refs

  3. Carbonate Production by Benthic Communities on Shallow Coralgal Reefs of Abrolhos Bank, Brazil

    Science.gov (United States)

    dos Reis, Vanessa Moura; Karez, Cláudia Santiago; Mariath, Rodrigo; de Moraes, Fernando Coreixas; de Carvalho, Rodrigo Tomazetto; Brasileiro, Poliana Silva; Bahia, Ricardo da Gama; Lotufo, Tito Monteiro da Cruz; Ramalho, Laís Vieira; de Moura, Rodrigo Leão; Francini-Filho, Ronaldo Bastos; Pereira-Filho, Guilherme Henrique; Thompson, Fabiano Lopes; Bastos, Alex Cardoso; Salgado, Leonardo Tavares; Amado-Filho, Gilberto Menezes

    2016-01-01

    The abundance of reef builders, non-builders and the calcium carbonate produced by communities established in Calcification Accretion Units (CAUs) were determined in three Abrolhos Bank shallow reefs during the period from 2012 to 2014. In addition, the seawater temperature, the irradiance, and the amount and composition of the sediments were determined. The inner and outer reef arcs were compared. CAUs located on the inner reef shelf were under the influence of terrigenous sediments. On the outer reefs, the sediments were composed primarily of marine biogenic carbonates. The mean carbonate production in shallow reefs of Abrolhos was 579 ± 98 g m-2 y-1. The builder community was dominated by crustose coralline algae, while the non-builder community was dominated by turf. A marine heat wave was detected during the summer of 2013–2014, and the number of consecutive days with a temperature above or below the summer mean was positively correlated with the turf cover increase. The mean carbonate production of the shallow reefs of Abrolhos Bank was greater than the estimated carbonate production measured for artificial structures on several other shallow reefs of the world. The calcimass was higher than the non-calcareous mass, suggesting that the Abrolhos reefs are still in a positive carbonate production balance. Given that marine heat waves produce an increase of turf cover on the shallow reefs of the Abrolhos, a decrease in the cover represented by reef builders and shifting carbonate production are expected in the near future. PMID:27119151

  4. Carbonate Production by Benthic Communities on Shallow Coralgal Reefs of Abrolhos Bank, Brazil.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vanessa Moura Dos Reis

    Full Text Available The abundance of reef builders, non-builders and the calcium carbonate produced by communities established in Calcification Accretion Units (CAUs were determined in three Abrolhos Bank shallow reefs during the period from 2012 to 2014. In addition, the seawater temperature, the irradiance, and the amount and composition of the sediments were determined. The inner and outer reef arcs were compared. CAUs located on the inner reef shelf were under the influence of terrigenous sediments. On the outer reefs, the sediments were composed primarily of marine biogenic carbonates. The mean carbonate production in shallow reefs of Abrolhos was 579 ± 98 g m-2 y-1. The builder community was dominated by crustose coralline algae, while the non-builder community was dominated by turf. A marine heat wave was detected during the summer of 2013-2014, and the number of consecutive days with a temperature above or below the summer mean was positively correlated with the turf cover increase. The mean carbonate production of the shallow reefs of Abrolhos Bank was greater than the estimated carbonate production measured for artificial structures on several other shallow reefs of the world. The calcimass was higher than the non-calcareous mass, suggesting that the Abrolhos reefs are still in a positive carbonate production balance. Given that marine heat waves produce an increase of turf cover on the shallow reefs of the Abrolhos, a decrease in the cover represented by reef builders and shifting carbonate production are expected in the near future.

  5. Coral Reef Guidance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guidance prepared by EPA and Army Corps of Engineers concerning coral reef protection under the Clean Water Act, Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, and Federal Project Authorities.

  6. 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...

  7. DIAGENETIC FEATURES OF PALEO LAGOONAL REEF OF TACIPI AREA, SOUTH CELEBES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andri Slamet Subandrio

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Limestone outcrops of the Tacipi area is an ideal carbonate platform part of Neogene East and West Sengkang Basin that are located in the south part of Sulawesi, precisely in western of Bone city. The limestones of this area, outcropping mainly on the north-south oriented hills such as Temapole, Anadara, Tamping, Lappa, etc., are the best reef example in the Tacipi area, as the reef itself, its debris and detritus can be distinguished in the field. Throughout the ridges and pinnacle in Tacipi field the limestones are predominantly homogenous boundstones on the top and detrital bioclastic packstones with local grainstones, and wackestones at the bottom. There are four major reef zonation indentified pacth reef, barrier reef, fore reef and lagoon. The extensive freshwater leaching of fossil fragments and calcareous cement give the preservation of biomouldic and vug pore spaces. Abstract Limestone outcrops of the Tacipi area is an ideal carbonate platform part of Neogene East and West Sengkang Basin that are located in the south part of Sulawesi, precisely in western of Bone city. The limestones of this area, outcropping mainly on the north-south oriented hills such as Temapole, Anadara, Tamping, Lappa, etc., are the best reef example in the Tacipi area, as the reef itself, its debris and detritus can be distinguished in the field. Throughout the ridges and pinnacle in Tacipi field the limestones are predominantly homogenous boundstones on the top and detrital bioclastic packstones with local grainstones, and wackestones at the bottom. There are four major reef zonation indentified pacth reef, barrier reef, fore reef and lagoon. The extensive freshwater leaching of fossil fragments and calcareous cement give the preservation of biomouldic and vug pore spaces.

  8. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Larval Connectivity, Florida Reef Tract

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Climate change threatens even the best-protected and most remote reefs. Reef recovery following catastrophic disturbance usually requires disturbed sites be reseeded...

  9. Summary of the presentations at the international workshop on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the developing world: Assessment of benefits, costs and barriers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sathaye, J.; Goldman, N.

    1991-06-01

    The ''International Workshop on Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Developing World: Assessment of Benefits, Costs and Barriers'' was the second workshop held as part of a project being conducted by the International Energy Studies Group of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, in collaboration with experts from leading institutions across the developing world. The goal of the project is to analyze long-range energy consumption in developing countries and its potential contribution to global climate change. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supporting this work, the results of which already have made a key contribution to the technical analysis being used as the basis for discussion by the Energy and Industry Sub-group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The main purpose of this workshop was two-fold: (1) to discuss the feasibility of implementing the efficiency improvements and fuel switching measures incorporated into the long-term energy scenarios created for 17 developing countries and (2) to examine the costs and benefits of reducing energy-related carbon dioxide emissions generated by developing countries

  10. Symbiont Dependent Thermal Bleaching Susceptiblity in Two Reef ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    user1

    exposed to both thermal stress and high irradiances of solar radiation. A study by Jones et al. (1998) suggested that the impairment of CO2 fixation is the first step in heat-induced ... field in Okinawa, Japan (Loya et al. 2001), on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (Marshall &. Baird, 2000; Baird & Marshall, 2002), and in the ...

  11. Symbiont Dependent Thermal Bleaching Susceptiblity in Two Reef ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    user1

    Differential bleaching susceptibility among scleractinian corals has been documented both in the field in Okinawa, Japan (Loya et al. 2001), on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (Marshall &. Baird, 2000; Baird & Marshall, 2002), and in the Indian Ocean (Spencer et al. 2000) and under experimental trials (Fitt & Warner, 1995; ...

  12. Spearfishing to depletion: evidence from temperate reef fishes in Chile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godoy, Natalio; Gelcich, L Stefan; Vásquez, Julio A; Castilla, Juan Carlos

    2010-09-01

    Unreliable and data-poor marine fishery landings can lead to a lack of regulatory action in fisheries management. Here we use official Chilean landing reports and non-conventional indicators, such as fishers' perceptions and spearfishing competition results, to provide evidence of reef fishes depletions caused by unregulated spearfishing. Results show that the three largest and most emblematic reef fishes targeted mainly by spearfishers (> 98% of landings) [Graus nigra (vieja negra), Semicossyphus darwini (sheephead or pejeperro), and Medialuna ancietae (acha)] show signs of depletion in terms of abundance and size and that overall the catches of reef fishes have shifted from large carnivore species toward smaller-sized omnivore and herbivore species. Information from two snorkeling speargun world championships (1971 and 2004, Iquique, Chile) and from fishers' perceptions shows the mean size of reef fish to be declining. Although the ecological consequences of reef fish depletion are not fully understood in Chile, evidence of spearfishing depleting temperate reef fishes must be explicitly included in policy debates. This would involve bans or strong restrictions on the use of SCUBA and hookah diving gear for spearfishing, and minimum size limits. It may also involve academic and policy discussions regarding conservation and fisheries management synergies within networks of no-take and territorial user-rights fisheries areas, as a strategy for the sustainable management of temperate and tropical reef fisheries.

  13. Residency and Spatial Use by Reef Sharks of an Isolated Seamount and Its Implications for Conservation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnett, Adam; Abrantes, Kátya G.; Seymour, Jamie; Fitzpatrick, Richard

    2012-01-01

    Although marine protected areas (MPAs) are a common conservation strategy, these areas are often designed with little prior knowledge of the spatial behaviour of the species they are designed to protect. Currently, the Coral Sea area and its seamounts (north-east Australia) are under review to determine if MPAs are warranted. The protection of sharks at these seamounts should be an integral component of conservation plans. Therefore, knowledge on the spatial ecology of sharks at the Coral Sea seamounts is essential for the appropriate implementation of management and conservation plans. Acoustic telemetry was used to determine residency, site fidelity and spatial use of three shark species at Osprey Reef: whitetip reef sharks Triaenodon obesus, grey reef sharks Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos and silvertip sharks Carcharhinus albimarginatus. Most individuals showed year round residency at Osprey Reef, although five of the 49 individuals tagged moved to the neighbouring Shark Reef (∼14 km away) and one grey reef shark completed a round trip of ∼250 km to the Great Barrier Reef. Additionally, individuals of white tip and grey reef sharks showed strong site fidelity to the areas they were tagged, and there was low spatial overlap between groups of sharks tagged at different locations. Spatial use at Osprey Reef by adult sharks is generally restricted to the north-west corner. The high residency and limited spatial use of Osprey Reef suggests that reef sharks would be highly vulnerable to targeted fishing pressure and that MPAs incorporating no-take of sharks would be effective in protecting reef shark populations at Osprey and Shark Reef. PMID:22615782

  14. Residency and spatial use by reef sharks of an isolated seamount and its implications for conservation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam Barnett

    Full Text Available Although marine protected areas (MPAs are a common conservation strategy, these areas are often designed with little prior knowledge of the spatial behaviour of the species they are designed to protect. Currently, the Coral Sea area and its seamounts (north-east Australia are under review to determine if MPAs are warranted. The protection of sharks at these seamounts should be an integral component of conservation plans. Therefore, knowledge on the spatial ecology of sharks at the Coral Sea seamounts is essential for the appropriate implementation of management and conservation plans. Acoustic telemetry was used to determine residency, site fidelity and spatial use of three shark species at Osprey Reef: whitetip reef sharks Triaenodon obesus, grey reef sharks Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos and silvertip sharks Carcharhinus albimarginatus. Most individuals showed year round residency at Osprey Reef, although five of the 49 individuals tagged moved to the neighbouring Shark Reef (~14 km away and one grey reef shark completed a round trip of ~250 km to the Great Barrier Reef. Additionally, individuals of white tip and grey reef sharks showed strong site fidelity to the areas they were tagged, and there was low spatial overlap between groups of sharks tagged at different locations. Spatial use at Osprey Reef by adult sharks is generally restricted to the north-west corner. The high residency and limited spatial use of Osprey Reef suggests that reef sharks would be highly vulnerable to targeted fishing pressure and that MPAs incorporating no-take of sharks would be effective in protecting reef shark populations at Osprey and Shark Reef.

  15. Coral reef surveys in India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    with those practiced elsewhere. With these objectives, diversification of observations to include various reef responses both at community level and at organism level have just begun and may eventually be continued to integrate with global reef monitoring...

  16. CRCP-Navassa reef assessment

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Episodic cruises ( every 2 years) were conducted to perform assessments of Navassa Island coral reef resources including reeffish visual census, benthic reef...

  17. Reef Visual Census (RVC) data.

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Provide data on frequency of occurrence , density abundance, and length frequency of reef fish throughout Florida reef tract from 1978 forward.

  18. 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

  19. Diversity and stability of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thibaut, Loic M; Connolly, Sean R; Sweatman, Hugh P A

    2012-04-01

    Biodiversity may provide insurance against ecosystem collapse by stabilizing assemblages that perform particular ecological functions (the "portfolio effect"). However, the extent to which this occurs in nature and the importance of different mechanisms that generate portfolio effects remain controversial. On coral reefs, herbivory helps maintain coral dominated states, so volatility in levels of herbivory has important implications for reef ecosystems. Here, we used an extensive time series of abundances on 35 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia to quantify the strength of the portfolio effect for herbivorous fishes. Then, we disentangled the contributions of two mechanisms that underlie it (compensatory interactions and differential responses to environmental fluctuations ["response diversity"]) by fitting a community-dynamic model that explicitly includes terms for both mechanisms. We found that portfolio effects operate strongly in herbivorous fishes, as shown by nearly independent fluctuations in abundances over time. Moreover, we found strong evidence for high response diversity, with nearly independent responses to environmental fluctuations. In contrast, we found little evidence that the portfolio effect in this system was enhanced by compensatory ecological interactions. Our results show that portfolio effects are driven principally by response diversity for herbivorous fishes on coral reefs. We conclude that portfolio effects can be very strong in nature and that, for coral reefs in particular, response diversity may help maintain herbivory above the threshold levels that trigger regime shifts.

  20. Modern coral reefs of western Atlantic: new geological perspective

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    MacIntyre, I.G.

    1988-11-01

    Contrary to popular belief of the late 1960s, western Atlantic Holocene reefs have a long history and are not feeble novice nearshore veneers that barely survived postglacial temperatures. Rather, the growth of these reefs kept pace with the rising seas of the Holocene transgression and their development was, for the most part, controlled by offshore wave-energy conditions and the relationship between changing sea levels and local shelf topography. Thus, the outer shelves of the eastern Caribbean in areas of high energy have relict reefs consisting predominantly of Acropora palmata, a robust shallow-water coral. The flooding of adjacent shelves during the postglacial transgression introduced stress conditions that terminated the growth of these reefs. When, about 7000 yr ago, shelf-water conditions improved, scattered deeper water coral communities reestablished themselves on these stranded shelf-edge reefs, and fringing and bank-barrier reefs began to flourish in shallow coastal areas. At the same time, the fragile and rapidly growing Acropora cervicornis and other corals flourished at greater depths on the more protected shelves of the western Caribbean and the Gulf of