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Sample records for cold-water coral reef

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-07

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

  5. Cold-water coral ecosystem (Tisler Reef, Norwegian Shelf) may be a hotspot for carbon cycling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    White, M.; Wolff, G.A.; Lundälv, T.; Guihen, D.; Kiriakoulakis, K.; Lavaleye, M.; Duineveld, G.

    2012-01-01

    Cold-water coral (CWC) reefs are recognised as an important marine benthic eco system at continental margins. Where abundant, they most likely play a role both in the maintenance of biodiversity and in the provision of ecosystem services provided by shelf seas. Here, we directly measure the

  6. Simulation of global ocean acidification and chemical habitats of shallow- and cold-water coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mei-Di Zheng

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Using the UVic Earth System Model, this study simulated the change of seawater chemistry and analyzed the chemical habitat surrounding shallow- and cold-water coral reefs from the year 1800 to 2300 employing RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5 scenarios. The model results showed that the global ocean will continue to absorb atmospheric CO2. Global mean surface ocean temperature will rise 1.1–2.8 K at the end of the 21st century across RCP scenarios. Meanwhile, the global mean surface ocean pH will drop 0.14–0.42 and the ocean surface mean concentration of carbonate will decrease 20%–51% across the RCP scenarios. The saturated state of sea water with respect to calcite carbonate minerals (Ω will decrease rapidly. During the pre-industrial period, 99% of the shallow-water coral reefs were surrounded by seawater with Ω > 3.5 and 87% of the deep-sea coral reefs were surrounded by seawater with aragonite supersaturation. Within the 21st century, except for the high mitigation scenario of RCP2.6, almost none shallow-water coral reefs will be surrounded by seawater with Ω > 3.5. Under the intensive emission scenario of RCP8.5, by the year 2100, the aragonite saturation horizon will rise to 308 m under the sea surface from 1138 m at the pre-industrial period, thus 73% of the cold-water coral reefs will be surrounded by seawater with aragonite undersaturation. By the year 2300, only 5% of the cold-water coral reefs will be surrounded by seawater with aragonite supersaturation.

  7. Spatial and tidal variation in food supply to shallow cold-water coral reefs of the Mingulay Reef complex (Outer Hebrides, Scotland)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Duineveld, G.C.A.; Jeffreys, R.M.; Lavaleye, M.S.S.; Davies, A.J.; Bergman, M.J.N.; Watmough, T.; Witbaard, R.

    2012-01-01

    The finding of a previously undescribed cold-water coral reef (Banana Reef) in the Scottish Mingulay reef complex, with denser coverage of living Lophelia pertusa than the principal Mingulay 1 Reef, was the incentive for a comparative study of the food supply to the 2 reefs. Suspended particulate

  8. Spatial and tidal variation in food supply to shallow cold-water coral reefs of the Mingulay Reef complex (Outer Hebrides, Scotland)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Duineveld, G.C.A.; Jeffreys, R.M.; Lavaleye, M.S.S.; Davies, A.J.; Bergman, M.J.N.; Watmough, T.; Witbaard, R.

    2012-01-01

    The finding of a previously undescribed cold-water coral reef (Banana Reef) in the Scottish Mingulay reef complex, with denser coverage of living Lophelia pertusa than the principal Mingulay 1 Reef, was the incentive for a comparative study of the food supply to the 2 reefs. Suspended particulate ma

  9. Ecohydrodynamics of cold-water coral reefs: a case study of the Mingulay Reef Complex (western Scotland.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juan Moreno Navas

    Full Text Available Ecohydrodynamics investigates the hydrodynamic constraints on ecosystems across different temporal and spatial scales. Ecohydrodynamics play a pivotal role in the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems, however the lack of integrated complex flow models for deep-water ecosystems beyond the coastal zone prevents further synthesis in these settings. We present a hydrodynamic model for one of Earth's most biologically diverse deep-water ecosystems, cold-water coral reefs. The Mingulay Reef Complex (western Scotland is an inshore seascape of cold-water coral reefs formed by the scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa. We applied single-image edge detection and composite front maps using satellite remote sensing, to detect oceanographic fronts and peaks of chlorophyll a values that likely affect food supply to corals and other suspension-feeding fauna. We also present a high resolution 3D ocean model to incorporate salient aspects of the regional and local oceanography. Model validation using in situ current speed, direction and sea elevation data confirmed the model's realistic representation of spatial and temporal aspects of circulation at the reef complex including a tidally driven current regime, eddies, and downwelling phenomena. This novel combination of 3D hydrodynamic modelling and remote sensing in deep-water ecosystems improves our understanding of the temporal and spatial scales of ecological processes occurring in marine systems. The modelled information has been integrated into a 3D GIS, providing a user interface for visualization and interrogation of results that allows wider ecological application of the model and that can provide valuable input for marine biodiversity and conservation applications.

  10. Ecohydrodynamics of cold-water coral reefs: a case study of the Mingulay Reef Complex (western Scotland).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreno Navas, Juan; Miller, Peter I; Miller, Peter L; Henry, Lea-Anne; Hennige, Sebastian J; Roberts, J Murray

    2014-01-01

    Ecohydrodynamics investigates the hydrodynamic constraints on ecosystems across different temporal and spatial scales. Ecohydrodynamics play a pivotal role in the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems, however the lack of integrated complex flow models for deep-water ecosystems beyond the coastal zone prevents further synthesis in these settings. We present a hydrodynamic model for one of Earth's most biologically diverse deep-water ecosystems, cold-water coral reefs. The Mingulay Reef Complex (western Scotland) is an inshore seascape of cold-water coral reefs formed by the scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa. We applied single-image edge detection and composite front maps using satellite remote sensing, to detect oceanographic fronts and peaks of chlorophyll a values that likely affect food supply to corals and other suspension-feeding fauna. We also present a high resolution 3D ocean model to incorporate salient aspects of the regional and local oceanography. Model validation using in situ current speed, direction and sea elevation data confirmed the model's realistic representation of spatial and temporal aspects of circulation at the reef complex including a tidally driven current regime, eddies, and downwelling phenomena. This novel combination of 3D hydrodynamic modelling and remote sensing in deep-water ecosystems improves our understanding of the temporal and spatial scales of ecological processes occurring in marine systems. The modelled information has been integrated into a 3D GIS, providing a user interface for visualization and interrogation of results that allows wider ecological application of the model and that can provide valuable input for marine biodiversity and conservation applications.

  11. The sum is more than its parts: Key species in the functioning of cold-water coral reef communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mueller, C.E.

    2014-01-01

    Cold-water coral reefs are hotspots of biodiversity and biogeochemistry in the deep-sea, solely fuelled by external energy sources. Hence, food input, processing and recycling play a major role in the functioning of these ecosystems. In this thesis we aimed to study energy flow and metabolism of col

  12. Relationships between host phylogeny, host type and bacterial community diversity in cold-water coral reef sponges.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandra Schöttner

    Full Text Available Cold-water coral reefs are known to locally enhance the diversity of deep-sea fauna as well as of microbes. Sponges are among the most diverse faunal groups in these ecosystems, and many of them host large abundances of microbes in their tissues. In this study, twelve sponge species from three cold-water coral reefs off Norway were investigated for the relationship between sponge phylogenetic classification (species and family level, as well as sponge type (high versus low microbial abundance, and the diversity of sponge-associated bacterial communities, taking also geographic location and water depth into account. Community analysis by Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA showed that as many as 345 (79% of the 437 different bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs detected in the dataset were shared between sponges and sediments, while only 70 (16% appeared purely sponge-associated. Furthermore, changes in bacterial community structure were significantly related to sponge species (63% of explained community variation, sponge family (52% or sponge type (30%, whereas mesoscale geographic distances and water depth showed comparatively small effects (<5% each. In addition, a highly significant, positive relationship between bacterial community dissimilarity and sponge phylogenetic distance was observed within the ancient family of the Geodiidae. Overall, the high diversity of sponges in cold-water coral reefs, combined with the observed sponge-related variation in bacterial community structure, support the idea that sponges represent heterogeneous, yet structured microbial habitats that contribute significantly to enhancing bacterial diversity in deep-sea ecosystems.

  13. Mingulay reef complex: An interdisciplinary study of cold-water coral habitat, hydrography and biodiversity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roberts, J.M.; Davies, A.J.; Henry, L.A.; Dodds, L.A.; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Lavaleye, M.S.S.; Maier, C.; van Soest, R.W.M.; Bergman, M.J.N.; Hühnerbach, V.; Huvenne, V.A.I.; Sinclair, D.J.; Watmough, T.; Long, D.; Green, S.L.; van Haren, H.

    2009-01-01

    The Mingulay reef complex in the Sea of the Hebrides west of Scotland was first mapped in 2003 with a further survey in 2006 revealing previously unknown live coral reef areas at 120 to 190 m depth. Habitat mapping confirmed that distinctive mounded bathymetry was formed by reefs of Lophelia pertusa

  14. Carbon mineralization and carbonate preservation in modern cold-water coral reef sediments on the Norwegian shelf

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. M. Wehrmann

    2009-04-01

    Full Text Available Cold-water coral ecosystems are considered hot-spots of biodiversity and biomass production and may be a regionally important contributor to carbonate production. The impact of these ecosystems on biogeochemical processes and carbonate preservation in associated sediments were studied at Røst Reef and Traenadjupet Reef, two modern (post-glacial cold-water coral reefs on the Mid-Norwegian shelf. Sulfate and iron reduction as well as carbonate dissolution and precipitation were investigated by combining pore-water geochemical profiles, steady state modeling, as well as solid phase analyses and sulfate reduction rate measurements on gravity cores of up to 3.25 m length. Low extents of sulfate depletion and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC production, combined with sulfate reduction rates not exceeding 3 nmol S cm−3 d−1, suggested that overall anaerobic carbon mineralization in the sediments was low. These data showed that the coral fragment-bearing siliciclastic sediments were effectively decoupled from the productive pelagic ecosystem by the complex reef surface framework. Organic matter being mineralized by sulfate reduction was calculated to consist of 57% carbon bound in CH2O groups and 43% carbon in -CH2- groups. Methane concentrations were below 1 μM, and failed to support the hypothesis of a linkage between the distribution of cold-water coral reefs and the presence of hydrocarbon seepage. Reductive iron oxide dissolution linked to microbial sulfate reduction buffered the pore-water carbonate system and inhibited acid-driven coral skeleton dissolution. A large pool of reactive iron was available leading to the formation of iron sulfide minerals. Constant pore-water Ca2+, Mg2+ and Sr2+ concentrations in most cores and decreasing Ca2+ and Sr2+ concentrations with depth in core 23–18 GC indicated diagenetic carbonate precipitation. This was

  15. Carbon mineralization and carbonate preservation in modern cold-water coral reef sediments on the Norwegian shelf

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. M. Wehrmann

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available Cold-water coral ecosystems are considered hot-spots of biodiversity and biomass production and may be a regionally important contributor to carbonate production. The impact of these ecosystems on biogeochemical processes and carbonate preservation in associated sediments were studied at Røst Reef and Traenadjupet Reef, two modern (post-glacial cold-water coral reefs on the Mid-Norwegian shelf. Sulfate and iron reduction as well as carbonate dissolution and precipitation were investigated by combining pore-water geochemical profiles, steady state modeling, as well as solid phase analyses and sulfate reduction rate measurements on gravity cores of up to 3.2 m length. Low extents of sulfate depletion and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC production, combined with sulfate reduction rates not exceeding 3 nmolS cm−3 d−1, suggested that overall anaerobic carbon mineralization in the sediments was low. These data showed that the coral fragment-bearing siliciclastic sediments were effectively decoupled from the productive pelagic ecosystem by the complex reef surface framework. Organic matter being mineralized by sulfate reduction was calculated to consist of 57% carbon bound in –CH2O– groups and 43% carbon in –CH2– groups. Methane concentrations were below 1 μM, and failed to support the hypothesis of a linkage between the distribution of cold-water coral reefs and the presence of hydrocarbon seepage. Iron reduction linked to microbial sulfate reduction buffered the pore-water carbonate system and inhibited acid driven coral skeleton dissolution. A large pool of reactive iron was available leading to the formation of iron sulfide minerals. Constant pore-water Ca2+, Mg2+ and Sr2+ concentrations in most cores and decreasing Ca2+ and Sr2+ concentrations with depth in core 23-18 GC indicated diagenetic carbonate precipitation. This was consistent

  16. In situ growth experiments of reef-building cold-water corals: The good, the bad and the ugly

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lartaud, F.; Meistertzheim, A. L.; Peru, E.; Le Bris, N.

    2017-03-01

    The ecological study of corals in their habitat is essential to determine the effects of global change and to develop strategies for reef conservation. Based on mark and recovery experiments, we investigated skeletal growth patterns of two reef-building cold-water coral species, Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata, in the Lacaze-Duthiers canyon in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. Coral fragments were collected, stained and deployed for short-term (2.5 months) and long-term (15 months) growth experiments at two sites located 4.5 km and 6.8 km from the canyon head. The analysis of distinct growth parameters (budding, new polyp growth and linear extension of the coral fragments) revealed that growth patterns are consistent among branches of different sizes, but discrepancies arose from the different types of staining used. Calcein appeared more suitable than alizarin red, which strongly limited growth by delaying coral recovery, for short-term experiments at least. Both species grew rapidly when redeployed in their habitat. Effects of long-term experiments could not be observed because corals were exposed to harmful environmental stress, particularly the lethal effect of sedimentation on the fragments. Despite limited in situ deployment, the growth analysis from the short-term experiment highlighted species-specific responses according to the location along a longitudinal gradient in the canyon and were likely related to the local environmental conditions. Consistent with the observed species distributions, M. oculata showed optimal growth at the site closer to the canyon head compared with L. pertusa, which had optimal growth at the deeper site. In situ experiments are difficult to conduct in deep-sea ecosystems, but with the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), such a simple approach may be of interest to managers of cold-water coral ecosystems.

  17. Using novel acoustic and visual mapping tools to predict the small-scale spatial distribution of live biogenic reef framework in cold-water coral habitats

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    De Clippele, L. H.; Gafeira, J.; Robert, K.; Hennige, S.; Lavaleye, M.S.; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Huvenne, V.A.I.; Roberts, J.M.

    2017-01-01

    Cold-water corals form substantial biogenic habitats on continental shelves and in deep-sea areas with topographic highs, such as banks and seamounts. In the Atlantic, many reef and mound complexes are engineered by Lophelia pertusa, the dominant framework-forming coral. In this study, a variety of

  18. Using novel acoustic and visual mapping tools to predict the small-scale spatial distribution of live biogenic reef framework in cold-water coral habitats

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Clippele, L. H.; Gafeira, J.; Robert, K.; Hennige, S.; Lavaleye, M. S.; Duineveld, G. C. A.; Huvenne, V. A. I.; Roberts, J. M.

    2017-03-01

    Cold-water corals form substantial biogenic habitats on continental shelves and in deep-sea areas with topographic highs, such as banks and seamounts. In the Atlantic, many reef and mound complexes are engineered by Lophelia pertusa, the dominant framework-forming coral. In this study, a variety of mapping approaches were used at a range of scales to map the distribution of both cold-water coral habitats and individual coral colonies at the Mingulay Reef Complex (west Scotland). The new ArcGIS-based British Geological Survey (BGS) seabed mapping toolbox semi-automatically delineated over 500 Lophelia reef `mini-mounds' from bathymetry data with 2-m resolution. The morphometric and acoustic characteristics of the mini-mounds were also automatically quantified and captured using this toolbox. Coral presence data were derived from high-definition remotely operated vehicle (ROV) records and high-resolution microbathymetry collected by a ROV-mounted multibeam echosounder. With a resolution of 0.35 × 0.35 m, the microbathymetry covers 0.6 km2 in the centre of the study area and allowed identification of individual live coral colonies in acoustic data for the first time. Maximum water depth, maximum rugosity, mean rugosity, bathymetric positioning index and maximum current speed were identified as the environmental variables that contributed most to the prediction of live coral presence. These variables were used to create a predictive map of the likelihood of presence of live cold-water coral colonies in the area of the Mingulay Reef Complex covered by the 2-m resolution data set. Predictive maps of live corals across the reef will be especially valuable for future long-term monitoring surveys, including those needed to understand the impacts of global climate change. This is the first study using the newly developed BGS seabed mapping toolbox and an ROV-based microbathymetric grid to explore the environmental variables that control coral growth on cold-water coral

  19. Severe 2010 Cold-Water Event Caused Unprecedented Mortality to Corals of the Florida Reef Tract and Reversed Previous Survivorship Patterns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lirman, Diego; Schopmeyer, Stephanie; Manzello, Derek; Gramer, Lewis J.; Precht, William F.; Muller-Karger, Frank; Banks, Kenneth; Barnes, Brian; Bartels, Erich; Bourque, Amanda; Byrne, James; Donahue, Scott; Duquesnel, Janice; Fisher, Louis; Gilliam, David; Hendee, James; Johnson, Meaghan; Maxwell, Kerry; McDevitt, Erin; Monty, Jamie; Rueda, Digna; Ruzicka, Rob; Thanner, Sara

    2011-01-01

    Background Coral reefs are facing increasing pressure from natural and anthropogenic stressors that have already caused significant worldwide declines. In January 2010, coral reefs of Florida, United States, were impacted by an extreme cold-water anomaly that exposed corals to temperatures well below their reported thresholds (16°C), causing rapid coral mortality unprecedented in spatial extent and severity. Methodology/Principal Findings Reef surveys were conducted from Martin County to the Lower Florida Keys within weeks of the anomaly. The impacts recorded were catastrophic and exceeded those of any previous disturbances in the region. Coral mortality patterns were directly correlated to in-situ and satellite-derived cold-temperature metrics. These impacts rival, in spatial extent and intensity, the impacts of the well-publicized warm-water bleaching events around the globe. The mean percent coral mortality recorded for all species and subregions was 11.5% in the 2010 winter, compared to 0.5% recorded in the previous five summers, including years like 2005 where warm-water bleaching was prevalent. Highest mean mortality (15%–39%) was documented for inshore habitats where temperatures were coral species, and were 1–2 orders of magnitude higher for most species. Conclusions/Significance The cold-water anomaly of January 2010 caused the worst coral mortality on record for the Florida Reef Tract, highlighting the potential catastrophic impacts that unusual but extreme climatic events can have on the persistence of coral reefs. Moreover, habitats and species most severely affected were those found in high-coral cover, inshore, shallow reef habitats previously considered the “oases” of the region, having escaped declining patterns observed for more offshore habitats. Thus, the 2010 cold-water anomaly not only caused widespread coral mortality but also reversed prior resistance and resilience patterns that will take decades to recover. PMID:21853066

  20. Environmental constraints on Holocene cold-water coral reef growth off Norway: Insights from a multiproxy approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raddatz, Jacek; Liebetrau, Volker; Trotter, Julie; Rüggeberg, Andres; Flögel, Sascha; Dullo, Wolf-Christian; Eisenhauer, Anton; Voigt, Silke; McCulloch, Malcolm

    2016-10-01

    High-latitude cold-water coral (CWC) reefs are particularly susceptible due to enhanced CO2 uptake in these regions. Using precisely dated (U/Th) CWCs (Lophelia pertusa) retrieved during research cruise POS 391 (Lopphavet 70.6°N, Oslofjord 59°N) we applied boron isotopes (δ11B), Ba/Ca, Li/Mg, and U/Ca ratios to reconstruct the environmental boundary conditions of CWC reef growth. The sedimentary record from these CWC reefs reveals a lack of corals between 6.4 and 4.8 ka. The question remains if this phenomenon is related to changes in the carbonate system or other causes. The initial postglacial setting had elevated Ba/Ca ratios, indicative of meltwater fluxes showing a decreasing trend toward cessation at 6.4 ka with an oscillation pattern similar to continental glacier fluctuations. Downcore U/Ca ratios reveal an increasing trend, which is outside the range of modern U/Ca variability in L. pertusa, suggesting changes of seawater pH near 6.4 ka. The reconstructed bottom water temperature at Lopphavet reveals a striking similarity to Barent sea surface and subsea surface temperature records. We infer that meltwater pulses weakened the North Atlantic Current system, resulting in southward advances of cold and CO2-rich Arctic waters. A corresponding shift in the δ11B record from 25.0‰ to 27.0‰ probably implies enhanced pH up-regulation of the CWCs due to the higher pCO2 concentrations of ambient seawater, which hastened mid-Holocene CWC reef decline on the Norwegian margin.

  1. Fine-scale nutrient and carbonate system dynamics around cold-water coral reefs in the northeast Atlantic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Findlay, Helen S; Hennige, Sebastian J; Wicks, Laura C; Navas, Juan Moreno; Woodward, E Malcolm S; Roberts, J Murray

    2014-01-20

    Ocean acidification has been suggested as a serious threat to the future existence of cold-water corals (CWC). However, there are few fine-scale temporal and spatial datasets of carbonate and nutrients conditions available for these reefs, which can provide a baseline definition of extant conditions. Here we provide observational data from four different sites in the northeast Atlantic that are known habitats for CWC. These habitats differ by depth and by the nature of the coral habitat. At depths where CWC are known to occur across these sites the dissolved inorganic carbon ranged from 2088 to 2186 μmol kg(-1), alkalinity ranged from 2299 to 2346 μmol kg(-1), and aragonite Ω ranged from 1.35 to 2.44. At two sites fine-scale hydrodynamics caused increased variability in the carbonate and nutrient conditions over daily time-scales. The observed high level of variability must be taken into account when assessing CWC sensitivities to future environmental change.

  2. Patterns of bacteria-host associations suggest different ecological strategies between two reef building cold-water coral species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meistertzheim, Anne.-Leila; Lartaud, Franck; Arnaud-Haond, Sophie; Kalenitchenko, Dimitri; Bessalam, Manon; Le Bris, Nadine; Galand, Pierre E.

    2016-08-01

    Cold-water corals (CWC) are main ecosystem engineers of the deep sea, and their reefs constitute hot-spots of biodiversity. However, their ecology remains poorly understood, particularly, the nature of the holobiont formed by corals with their associated bacterial communities. Here, we analyzed Madrepora oculata and Lophelia pertusa samples, collected from one location in a Mediterranean canyon in two different seasons (autumn and spring), in order to test for species specificity and temporal stability of the host-bacteria associations. The 16S rRNA sequencing revealed host-specific patterns of bacterial communities associated with L. pertusa and M. oculata, both in terms of community composition and diversity. All analyzed M. oculata polyps exhibited temporally and spatially similar bacterial communities dominated by haplotypes homologous to the known cnidarians-associated genus Endozoicomonas. In contrast, the bacterial communities associated with L. pertusa varied among polyps from the same colony, as well as among distinct colonies and between seasons. While the resilient consortium formed by M. oculata and its bacterial community fit the definition of holobiont, the versatility of the L. pertusa microbiome suggests that this association is more influenced by the environmental conditions or nutritional status. Our results thus highlight distinct host/microbes association strategies for these two closely related Scleractinians sharing the same habitat, suggesting distinct sensitivity to environmental change.

  3. Fine-scale nutrient and carbonate system dynamics around cold-water coral reefs in the northeast Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Findlay, Helen S.; Hennige, Sebastian J.; Wicks, Laura C.; Navas, Juan Moreno; Woodward, E. Malcolm S.; Roberts, J. Murray

    2014-01-01

    Ocean acidification has been suggested as a serious threat to the future existence of cold-water corals (CWC). However, there are few fine-scale temporal and spatial datasets of carbonate and nutrients conditions available for these reefs, which can provide a baseline definition of extant conditions. Here we provide observational data from four different sites in the northeast Atlantic that are known habitats for CWC. These habitats differ by depth and by the nature of the coral habitat. At depths where CWC are known to occur across these sites the dissolved inorganic carbon ranged from 2088 to 2186 μmol kg-1, alkalinity ranged from 2299 to 2346 μmol kg-1, and aragonite Ω ranged from 1.35 to 2.44. At two sites fine-scale hydrodynamics caused increased variability in the carbonate and nutrient conditions over daily time-scales. The observed high level of variability must be taken into account when assessing CWC sensitivities to future environmental change.

  4. A Review ofRecent Research on Cold-Water Coral Reefs%冷水珊瑚礁研究进展与评述

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    赵美霞; 余克服

    2016-01-01

    相比浅海暖水珊瑚礁,对深海的冷水珊瑚礁研究相对薄弱。近年来随着水下机器人和深潜器技术的进步,国际上兴起了深海珊瑚礁研究热潮。文章综述了:1)冷水石珊瑚的物种多样性及格局分布特征;2)冷水石珊瑚的生长特征及测量方法;3)冷水珊瑚礁的类型、形成机制与演化过程;4)海洋酸化对冷水珊瑚礁的影响;5)冷水石珊瑚对海洋古环境的记录等。最后提出中国南海冷水珊瑚礁研究展望,建议开展探测南海冷水珊瑚礁的分布,监测珊瑚礁区的生态环境,分析冷水石珊瑚群落特征,探讨冷水珊瑚礁对海洋酸化的响应机制,并利用南海冷水石珊瑚重建南海冷水珊瑚礁的发育历史及所记录的古海洋环境等研究工作。%Coral reefs are generally associated with shallow tropical seas; however, there are widespread and diverse coral ecosystems in deep waters on continental shelves, slopes, seamounts and ridges around the world. Cold-water corals have been known since the 18th century, but much fewer studies have been performed on deep-sea coral reefs compared with on tropical coral reefs. Along with the applications of modern submersibles and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to deep ocean exploration activities, more and more studies have been conducted and deep-sea coral reefs have become a research hotspot recently. This review includes: 1) the diversity and biogeographical distribution of cold-water corals;2) the growth characteristics of corals and related environmentalcontrols;3) the initiation and development of deep-sea coral reefs;4) the response of corals to ocean acidification;5) corals as valuable archives for paleoceanographic reconstructions. It also highlights the future research directions of cold-water coral reefs in the South China Sea.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cecile eCathalot

    2015-06-01

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

  6. 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

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Here we show the use of the 210Pb-226Ra excess method to determine the growth rate of corals from one of the world's largest known cold-water coral reef, the Røst Reef off Norway. Two large branching framework-forming cold-water coral specimens, one Lophelia pertusa and one Madrepora oculata were collected alive at 350 m water depth from the Røst Reef at ~67° N and ~9° E. Pb and Ra isotopes were measured along the major growth axis of both specimens using low level alpha and gamma spectrometry and the corals trace element compositions were studied using ICP-QMS. Due to the different chemical behaviors of Pb and Ra in the marine environment, 210Pb and 226Ra were not incorporated the same way into the aragonite skeleton of those two cold-water corals. Thus to assess of the growth rates of both specimens we have here taken in consideration the exponential decrease of initially incorporated 210Pb as well as the ingrowth of 210Pb from the decay of 226Ra. Moreover a~post-depositional 210Pb incorporation is found in relation to the Mn-Fe coatings that could not be entirely removed from the oldest parts of the skeletons. The 226Ra activities in both corals were fairly constant, then assuming constant uptake of 210Pb through time the 210Pb-226Ra chronology can be applied to calculate linear growth rate. The 45.5 cm long branch of M. oculata reveals an age of 31 yr and a~linear growth rate of 14.4 ± 1.1 mm yr−1, i.e. 2.6 polyps per year. However, a correction regarding a remaining post-depositional Mn-Fe oxide coating is needed for the base of the specimen. The corrected age tend to confirm the radiocarbon derived basal age of 40 yr (using 14C bomb peak with a mean growth rate of 2 polyps yr−1. This rate is similar to the one obtained in Aquaria experiments under optimal growth conditions. For the 80 cm-long specimen of L. pertusa a remaining contamination of metal-oxides is observed for the middle and basal part of the coral skeleton, inhibiting

  7. 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

  8. Cold-water coral banks and submarine landslides: a review

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Mol, Ben; Huvenne, Veerle; Canals, Miquel

    2009-06-01

    This paper aims to review the relation between cold-water coral bank development and submarine landslides. Both are common features on continental margins, but so far it has not been reviewed which effect—if at all—they may have upon each other. Indirect and direct relations between coral banks and landslides are evaluated here, based on four case studies: the Magellan Mound Province in the Porcupine Seabight, where fossil coral banks appear partly on top of a buried slide deposit; the Sula Ridge Reef Complex and the Storegga landslide both off mid-Norway; and the Mauritania coral bank province, associated with the Mauritanian Slide Complex. For each of these locations, positive and negative relationships between both features are discussed, based on available datasets. Locally submarine landslides might directly favour coral bank development by creating substratum where corals can settle on, enhancing turbulence due to abrupt seabed morphological variations and, in some cases, causing fluid seepage. In turn, some of these processes may contribute to increased food availability and lower sedimentation rates. Landslides can also affect coral bank development by direct erosion of the coral banks, and by the instantaneous increase of turbidity, which may smother the corals. On the other hand, coral banks might have a stabilising function and delay or stop the headwall retrogradation of submarine landslides. Although local relationships can be deduced from these case studies, no general and direct relationship exists between submarine landslides and cold-water coral banks.

  9. Discovery of symbiotic nitrogen fixation and chemoautotrophy in cold-water corals

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Middelburg, J.J.; Mueller, C.E.; Veuger, B.; Larsson, A.I.; Form, A.; van Oevelen, D.

    2015-01-01

    Cold-water corals (CWC) are widely distributed around the world forming extensive reefs at par with tropical coral reefs. They are hotspots of biodiversity and organic matter processing in the world’s deep oceans. Living in the dark they lack photosynthetic symbionts and are therefore considered to

  10. Microbial abundance in the coelenteron and mucus of the cold-water Coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weinbauer, M.G.; Ogier, J.; Maier, C.

    2012-01-01

    Microorganisms play an important role in coral ecology; however, little is known about cold-water coral (CWC) reefs. Microbial abundance in bottom water of Lophelia pertusa-dominated CWC reefs in the Skagerrak, North Sea, was elevated by ca. 40% for prokaryotes and 70 to 90% for viruses compared to

  11. European Cold-Water Corals: Hydrography and Geochemistry. What is the message?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dullo, W.-C.; Rüggeberg, A.; Flögel, S.

    2009-04-01

    Cold-water corals are known to be abundant in the world's oceans forming unique reef structures mainly built up by colonial azooxanthellate scleractinians Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata. Focusing on the European continental margin, these cold-water coral reefs occur on moraine ridges off Norway to small coral topped mounds and huge coral banks in the Rockall Trough, the Porcupine Seabight, the Gulf of Cadiz, but only have a patchy occurrence in the Mediterranean Sea. Living cold-water coral reefs occur over a wide bathymetric and hydrographical range. We found that cold-water coral reefs are limited to different intermediate water masses. Measurements of the physical and geological properties showed that parameters such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen content, current intensities, and different substrates vary widely without specifically impacting the distribution of living cold-water coral reefs. The habitat of living reefs along the Atlantic European continental margin comprises a temperature-salinity field, with its lower boundary equivalent to the Intermediate Salinity Maximum (ISM). Therefore, cold-water corals of these reefs may report environmental changes, present and past, if the proper geochemical tools are applied. Sr-isotopes seem to be a very promising proxy, since they portray very well the temperature conditions of the ambient seawater from which the coral precipitates. The correlation of established proxies such as ^18O and ^13C with temperature is possible as well, however, it remains difficult since there is no direct temperature equation applicable as in shallow-water corals. Other temperature proxies such as Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca and U/Ca are in?uenced by the complex microstructure of the aragonite skeleton, the rate of calci?cation, and other vital effects observed for coral species. We will present a variety of established and new proxies and will discuss their application and interpretation potential.

  12. Physical controls on cold-water coral growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Floegel, S.; Rueggeberg, A.; Dullo, C.

    2009-04-01

    Along the Atlantic European continental margin, living cold-water coral reefs occur over a wide bathymetric and hydrographical range. Focussing on two regions, the Celtic and the Norwegian shelves we found that they are bound to different intermediate water masses. Measurements of the physical and geological properties indicate that parameters such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen content, current intensities, and different substrates do vary in a wide range without impacting the distribution of living cold-water coral reefs to a first degree. Our study shows that cold-water corals in the North Atlantic tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions. The habitat of living reefs comprises a temperature-salinity field with its lower boundary being equivalent to the Intermediate Salinity Maximum (ISM). The ISM on the Celtic margin is represented by Mediterranean Outflow Water, while it is replaced by Atlantic Water on the Norwegian margin. The upper limit corresponds to water mass boundaries of Eastern North Atlantic Water / Mediterranean Outflow Water on the Celtic margin and Norwegian Coastal Water / Atlantic Water on the Norwegian margin. The density of seawater is a frequently used parameter by oceanographers to describe and understand ocean-mixing processes, as it is easier to mix water along a surface of constant density (an ísopycnaĺ) rather than across it. The potential density anomaly sigma-theta is a function of salinity, potential temperature, and pressure at the sea surface. This parameter indicates values of sigma-theta = 27.35 - 27.65 kg m-3 for all living cold-water coral reefs of the Porcupine Seabight, the Rockall Bank, and the Norwegian margin highlighting the importance of physical boundary conditions on cold-water coral growth and distribution. Additional information from literature shows that this value is also valid for reef sites along the Western Atlantic (Nova Scotia, Florida Strait, Brazilian margin) suggesting that this

  13. Direct visualization of mucus production by the cold-water coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Zetsche, E.-M.; Baussant, T.; Meysman, F.J.R.; Van Oevelen, D.

    2016-01-01

    Lophelia pertusa is the dominant reef-building organism of cold-water coral reefs, and is known to produce significant amounts of mucus, which could involve an important metabolic cost. Mucus is involved in particle removal and feeding processes, yet the triggers and dynamics of mucus product

  14. Skeletal growth, respiration rate and fatty acid composition in the cold-water coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Larsson, A.I.; Lundälv, T.; van Oevelen, D.

    2013-01-01

    Reefs of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa form biodiversity-rich habitats in the deep ocean, but physiology, reproduction, feeding and growth in this species remain poorly investigated. Food supply to reef sites varies considerably both spatially and temporarily. In this study we investigated t

  15. The influence of near-bed hydrodynamic conditions on cold-water corals in the Viosca Knoll area, Gulf of Mexico

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Davies, A.J.; Ross, S.W.; Seim, H.; Bane, J.; van Weering, T.C.E.

    2012-01-01

    Near-bed hydrodynamic conditions were recorded for almost one year in the Viosca Knoll area (lease block 826), one of the most well-developed cold-water coral habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. Here, a reef-like cold-water coral ecosystem, dominated by the coral Lophelia pertusa, resembles coral habita

  16. 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...

  17. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

    This chapter deals with biology of corals, coral reefs (in general) and coral reefs of the Indian Ocean. Biology of corals is lucidly dealt with, beginning from the clarification on hermatypic and ahermatypic forms. A complete account...

  18. Calcification of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa, under ambient and reduced pH

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J.-P. Gattuso

    2009-08-01

    Full Text Available The cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa is one of the few species able to build reef-like structures and a 3-dimensional coral framework in the deep oceans. Furthermore, deep cold-water coral bioherms may be among the first marine ecosystems to be affected by ocean acidification. Colonies of L. pertusa were collected during a cruise in 2006 to cold-water coral bioherms of the Mingulay reef complex (Hebrides, North Atlantic. Shortly after sample collection onboard these corals were labelled with calcium-45. The same experimental approach was used to assess calcification rates and how those changed due to reduced pH during a cruise to the Skagerrak (North Sea in 2007. The highest calcification rates were found in youngest polyps with up to 1% d−1 new skeletal growth and average rates of 0.11±0.02% d−1±S.E.. Lowering pH by 0.15 and 0.3 units relative to the ambient level resulted in calcification being reduced by 30 and 56%. Lower pH reduced calcification more in fast growing, young polyps (59% reduction than in older polyps (40% reduction. Thus skeletal growth of young and fast calcifying corallites suffered more from ocean acidification. Nevertheless, L. pertusa exhibited positive net calcification (as measured by 45Ca incorporation even at an aragonite saturation state (Ωa below 1.

  19. Fine-scale spatial genetic structure and clonal distribution of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dahl, M. P.; Pereyra, R. T.; Lundälv, T.; André, C.

    2012-12-01

    Determining the spatial genetic structure within and among cold-water coral populations is crucial to understanding population dynamics, assessing the resilience of cold-water coral communities and estimating genetic effects of habitat fragmentation for conservation. The spatial distribution of genetic diversity in natural populations depends on the species' mode of reproduction, and coral species often have a mixed strategy of sexual and asexual reproduction. We describe the clonal architecture of a cold-water coral reef and the fine-scale population genetic structure (Asexual reproduction was found to be a highly important mode of reproduction for L. pertusa: 35 genetic individuals were found on the largest reef, with the largest clone covering an area of nearly 300 m2.

  20. Monitoring strategies for drill cutting discharge in the vicinity of cold-water coral ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Purser, Autun; Thomsen, Laurenz

    2012-11-01

    Cold-water coral reefs represent some of the most biodiverse and biomass rich ecosystems in the marine environment. Despite this, ecosystem functioning is still poorly understood and the susceptibility of key species to anthropogenic activities and pollutants is unknown. In European waters, cold-water corals are often found in greatest abundance on the continental margin, often in regions rich in hydrocarbon reserves. In this viewpoint paper we discuss some of the current strategies employed in predicting and minimizing exposure of cold-water coral reef ecosystems on the Norwegian margin to waste materials produced during offshore drilling operations by the oil and gas industry. In the light of recent in situ and experimental research conducted with the key reef species Lophelia pertusa, we present some possible improvements to these strategies which may be utilized by industry and managers to further reduce the likelihood of exposure. We further highlight important outstanding research questions in this field. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Rare earth elements in scleractinian cold-water corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raddatz, J.; Liebetrau, V.; Hathorne, E. C.; Rüggeberg, A.; Dullo, W.; Frank, M.

    2012-12-01

    The Rare Earth Elements (REE) have a great potential to trace continental input, particle scavenging and the oxidation state of seawater. These REE are recorded in the skeleton of the cosmopolitan cold-water corals Lophelia pertusa. Here we use an online preconcentration ICP-MS method (Hathorne et al. 2012) to measure REE concentrations in seawater and associated cold-water coral carbonates in order to investigate their seawater origin. Scleractinian cold-water corals were collected in-situ and alive and with corresponding seawater samples covering from the European Continental Margin. The seawater REE patterns are characterized by the typical negative cerium anomaly of seawater, but are distinct for the northern Norwegian Margin and the Oslo Fjord, probably related to continental input. Initial results for the corresponding coral samples suggest that these distinct REE patterns of ambient seawater are recorded by the coral skeletons although some fractionation during incorporation into the aragonite occurs. This indicates that scleractinian cold-water corals can serve as a valuable archive for seawater derived REE signatures, as well radiogenic Nd isotope compositions. In a second step we analysed fossil coral samples from various locations, which were oxidatively and reductively cleaned prior to analysis. Initial results reveal that sediment-buried fossil (early Pleistocene to Holocene) coral samples from the Norwegian Margin and the Porcupine Seabight (Challenger Mound, IODP Site 1317) do not show the expected seawater REE patterns. In particular, the fossil coral-derived REE patterns lack a negative cerium anomaly suggesting that fossil coral-REE patterns do not represent ambient seawater. Thus, we suggest that the oxidative-reductive cleaning method widely used for cleaning of marine carbonates such as foraminifera prior to measurements of seawater-derived trace metal and isotope compositions are not sufficient for REE and Nd isotopes in sediment-buried coral

  2. Calcification rates and the effect of ocean acidification on Mediterranean cold-water corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maier, C; Watremez, P; Taviani, M; Weinbauer, M G; Gattuso, J P

    2012-05-07

    Global environmental changes, including ocean acidification, have been identified as a major threat to scleractinian corals. General predictions are that ocean acidification will be detrimental to reef growth and that 40 to more than 80 per cent of present-day reefs will decline during the next 50 years. Cold-water corals (CWCs) are thought to be strongly affected by changes in ocean acidification owing to their distribution in deep and/or cold waters, which naturally exhibit a CaCO(3) saturation state lower than in shallow/warm waters. Calcification was measured in three species of Mediterranean cold-water scleractinian corals (Lophelia pertusa, Madrepora oculata and Desmophyllum dianthus) on-board research vessels and soon after collection. Incubations were performed in ambient sea water. The species M. oculata was additionally incubated in sea water reduced or enriched in CO(2). At ambient conditions, calcification rates ranged between -0.01 and 0.23% d(-1). Calcification rates of M. oculata under variable partial pressure of CO(2) (pCO(2)) were the same for ambient and elevated pCO(2) (404 and 867 µatm) with 0.06 ± 0.06% d(-1), while calcification was 0.12 ± 0.06% d(-1) when pCO(2) was reduced to its pre-industrial level (285 µatm). This suggests that present-day CWC calcification in the Mediterranean Sea has already drastically declined (by 50%) as a consequence of anthropogenic-induced ocean acidification.

  3. Calcification is not the Achilles' heel of cold-water corals in an acidifying ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodolfo-Metalpa, Riccardo; Montagna, Paolo; Aliani, Stefano; Borghini, Mireno; Canese, Simonepietro; Hall-Spencer, Jason M; Foggo, Andy; Milazzo, Marco; Taviani, Marco; Houlbrèque, Fanny

    2015-06-01

    Ocean acidification is thought to be a major threat to coral reefs: laboratory evidence and CO2 seep research has shown adverse effects on many coral species, although a few are resilient. There are concerns that cold-water corals are even more vulnerable as they live in areas where aragonite saturation (Ωara ) is lower than in the tropics and is falling rapidly due to CO2 emissions. Here, we provide laboratory evidence that net (gross calcification minus dissolution) and gross calcification rates of three common cold-water corals, Caryophyllia smithii, Dendrophyllia cornigera, and Desmophyllum dianthus, are not affected by pCO2 levels expected for 2100 (pCO2  1058 μatm, Ωara 1.29), and nor are the rates of skeletal dissolution in D. dianthus. We transplanted D. dianthus to 350 m depth (pHT 8.02; pCO2  448 μatm, Ωara 2.58) and to a 3 m depth CO2 seep in oligotrophic waters (pHT 7.35; pCO2  2879 μatm, Ωara 0.76) and found that the transplants calcified at the same rates regardless of the pCO2 confirming their resilience to acidification, but at significantly lower rates than corals that were fed in aquaria. Our combination of field and laboratory evidence suggests that ocean acidification will not disrupt cold-water coral calcification although falling aragonite levels may affect other organismal physiological and/or reef community processes.

  4. Benthic O-2 uptake of two cold-water coral communities estimated with the non-invasive eddy correlation technique

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rovelli, Lorenzo; Attard, Karl M.; Bryant, Lee D.

    2015-01-01

    The community respiration of 2 tidally dominated cold-water coral (CWC) sites was estimated using the non-invasive eddy correlation (EC) technique. The first site, Mingulay Reef Complex, was a rock ridge located in the Sea of Hebrides off Scotland at a depth of 128 m and the second site, Stjernsund......, was a channel-like sound in Northern Norway at a depth of 220 m. Both sites were characterized by the presence of live mounds of the reef framework-forming scleractinian Lophelia pertusa and reef-associated fauna such as sponges, crustaceans and other corals. The measured O-2 uptake at the 2 sites varied...

  5. Biogeochemistry and geomicrobiology of cold-water coral carbonate mounds - lessons learned from IODP Expedition 307

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferdelman, Timothy; Wehrmann, Laura; Mangelsdorf, Kai; Kano, Akihiro; Williams, Trevor; Jean-Pierre, Henriet

    2010-05-01

    Large mound structures associated with cold-water coral ecosystems commonly occur on the slopes of continental margins, for instance, west of Ireland in the Porcupine Seabight, the Gulf of Cadiz or the Straits of Florida. In the Porcupine Seabight over 1500 mounds of up to 5 km in diameter and 250 m height lie at water depths of 600 to 900 m. The cold-water coral reef ecosystems associated with these structures are considered to be "hotspots" of organic carbon mineralization and microbial systems. To establish a depositional and biogeochemical/diagenetic model for cold-water carbonate mounds, Challenger Mound and adjacent continental slope sites were drilled in May 2005 during IODP Expedition 307. One major objective was to test whether deep sub-surface hydrocarbon flow and enhanced microbial activity within the mound structure was important in producing and stabilizing these sedimentary structures. Drilling results showed that the Challenger mound succession (IODP Site U1317) is 130 to 150 meters thick, and mainly consists of floatstone and rudstone facies formed of fine sediments and cold-water branching corals. Pronounced recurring cycles on the scales of several meters are recognized in carbonate content (up to 70% carbonate) and color reflectance, and are probably associated with Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles. A role for methane seepage and subsequent anaerobic oxidation was discounted both as a hard-round substrate for mound initiation and as a principal source of carbonate within the mound succession. A broad sulfate-methane transition (approximately 50 m thick)within the Miocene sediments suggested that the zone of anaerobic oxidation of methane principally occurs below the moundbase. In the mound sediments, interstitial water profiles of sulfate, alkalinity, Mg, and Sr suggested a tight coupling between carbonate diagenesis and low rates of microbial sulfate reduction. Overall organic carbon mineralization within cold-water coral mound appeared

  6. A picture on the wall: innovative mapping reveals cold-water coral refuge in submarine canyon.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Veerle A I Huvenne

    Full Text Available Cold-water corals are azooxanthellate species found throughout the ocean at water depths down to 5000 m. They occur in patches, reefs or large mound structures up to 380 m high, and as ecosystem engineers create important habitats for a diverse fauna. However, the majority of these habitats are now within reach of deep-sea bottom trawling. Many have been severely damaged or are under threat, despite recent protection initiatives. Here we present a cold-water coral habitat type that so far has been overlooked--quite literally--and that has received minimal impact from human activities. Vertical and overhanging cliffs in deep-sea canyons, revealed using an innovative approach to marine habitat mapping, are shown to provide the perfect substratum for extensive cold-water coral-based communities. Typical canyon-related processes, including locally enhanced internal tides and focussed downslope organic carbon transport, provide favourable environmental conditions (current regime, food input to sustain the communities, even outside the optimal depth and density envelopes reported elsewhere in the NE Atlantic. Our findings show that deep-sea canyons can form natural refuges for faunal communities sensitive to anthropogenic disturbance, and have the potential to fulfil the crucial role of larval sources for the recolonisation of damaged sites elsewhere on the margin.

  7. Clumped Isotope Composition of Cold-Water Corals: A Role for Vital Effects?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spooner, P.; Guo, W.; Robinson, L. F.

    2014-12-01

    Measurements on a set of cold-water corals (mainly Desmophyllum dianthus) have suggested that their clumped isotope composition could serve as a promising proxy for reconstructing paleocean temperatures. Such measurements have also offered support for certain isotope models of coral calcification. However, there are differences in the clumped isotope compositions between warm-water and cold-water corals, suggesting that different kinds of corals could have differences in their biocalcification processes. In order to understand the systematics of clumped isotope variations in cold-water corals more fully, we present clumped isotope data from a range of cold-water coral species from the tropical Atlantic and the Southern Ocean.Our samples were either collected live or recently dead (14C ages biocalcification may not apply equally well to all corals. Clumped isotope vital effects may be present in certain cold-water corals as they are in warm-water corals, complicating the use of this paleoclimate proxy.

  8. New Records of Cold-Water Corals from Korea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jun-Im Song

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Two cold-water coral taxa, Octocorallia in the class Anthozoa and Stylasteridae in the class Hydrozoa, were identified. Deep-water samples were collected in fishing nets at depths ranging between 20 and 200 m along the coasts of the East Sea in Korea from 1976 to 1993. The two species found in this study represent new records for Korea: Paragorgia arborea (Linnaeus, 1758 in the class Anthozoa, and Stylaster profundiporus Broch, 1936 in the class Hydrozoa. Two families, Paragorgiidae and Stylasteridae, are also newly recorded in Korea. Furthermore, the species name of another cold-water gorgonian species, Primnoa pacifica (Kinoshita, 1907 in the family Primnoidae, is amended in this report. The two newly recorded cold-water coral species from Korea are described in detail based on their morphological characteristics. Paragorgia arborea is characterized by its growth form, medulla and cortex, zooid dimorphism, canal system, and spicule composition. Stylaster profundiporus is distinguished by its external skeletal characteristics, such as the coordination of dactylopores and gastropores, presence or absence of gastrostyles and dactylostyles, cyclosystem orientation, ampullar position, gastropore tube shape, and coenosteal texture.

  9. Cold-water coral growth under extreme environmental conditions, the Cape Lookout area, NW Atlantic

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Davis, A.J.; Lavaleye, M.M.S.; Rosso, S.W.; Seim, H.; Bane, J.; van Haren, H.; Bergman, M.J.N.; de Haas, H.; Brooke, S.; van Weering, T.C.E.

    2014-01-01

    The Cape Lookout cold-water coral area off thecoast of North Carolina forms the shallowest and northernmostcold-water coral mound area on the Blake Plateau inthe NW Atlantic. Cold-water coral habitats near Cape Lookoutare occasionally bathed in the Gulf Stream, which is characterisedby oligotrophic

  10. Linking benthic hydrodynamics and cold-water coral occurrences: A high-resolution model study at three cold-water coral provinces in the NE Atlantic

    OpenAIRE

    2014-01-01

    Observations from numerous cold-water coral locations in the NE Atlantic show energetic near-bottom flow dynamics along the European continental margin at individual coral mounds and mound clusters. Dynamics are largely controlled by tide-topography interaction generating and enhancing periodic motions such as trapped waves, freely propagating internal tides and internal hydraulic jumps. In this study, linkages between key abiotic parameters and cold water coral occurrences are explored acros...

  11. Evolution of body size, vision, and biodiversity of coral-associated organisms: evidence from fossil crustaceans in cold-water coral and tropical coral ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klompmaker, Adiël A; Jakobsen, Sten L; Lauridsen, Bodil W

    2016-06-16

    Modern cold-water coral and tropical coral environments harbor a highly diverse and ecologically important macrofauna of crustaceans that face elevated extinction risks due to reef decline. The effect of environmental conditions acting on decapod crustaceans comparing these two habitats is poorly understood today and in deep time. Here, we compare the biodiversity, eye socket height as a proxy for eye size, and body size of decapods in fossil cold-water and tropical reefs that formed prior to human disturbance. We show that decapod biodiversity is higher in fossil tropical reefs from The Netherlands, Italy, and Spain compared to that of the exceptionally well-preserved Paleocene (Danian) cold-water reef/mound ecosystem from Faxe (Denmark), where decapod diversity is highest in a more heterogeneous, mixed bryozoan-coral habitat instead of in coral and bryozoan-dominated facies. The relatively low diversity at Faxe was not influenced substantially by the preceding Cretaceous/Paleogene extinction event that is not apparent in the standing diversity of decapods in our analyses, or by sampling, preservation, and/or a latitudinal diversity gradient. Instead, the lower availability of food and fewer hiding places for decapods may explain this low diversity. Furthermore, decapods from Faxe are larger than those from tropical waters for half of the comparisons, which may be caused by a lower number of predators, the delayed maturity, and the increased life span of crustaceans in deeper, colder waters. Finally, deep-water specimens of the benthic crab Caloxanthus from Faxe exhibit a larger eye socket size compared to congeneric specimens from tropical reefs, suggesting that dim light conditions favored the evolution of relatively large eyes. The results suggest a strong habitat control on the biodiversity of crustaceans in coral-associated environments and that the diversity difference between deep, cold-water reefs and tropical reefs evolved at least ~63 million years ago

  12. Coral reef ecosystem

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    communication). Fossil reefs, drowned as a result of the Holocene sea level rise, occur at 92, 85, 75 and 55 m depth along .. ~ !! ":2 0. ~ Figure 3.1 Graphical Representation of the SO-Box Model of a Caribbean Coral Reef Key: 1. Benthic producers. 2. Detritus... explain the low species diversity and the absence of branching corals in the intertidal regions. H.aised fossil reefs, proba bly as a result of local upheavals, arc found in Minicoy island (Gardiner 1903), in Ramanalhapuram district in Tamil Nadu...

  13. Hydrodynamic controls on cold-water coral growth in the Gulf of Mexico: Long term in situ seabed lander observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mienis, Furu; Duineveld, Gerard; Davies, Andrew J.; van Weering, Tjeerd C. E.; Ross, Steve W.; Roberts, Murray; Seim, Harvey E.; Bane, John M.

    2010-05-01

    Cold-water coral reefs and mounds are a common feature on the continental slopes of the North East Atlantic Ocean. On the European continental margin mound structures that are many kilometers long and wide have been discovered, often colonized by a thriving coral community. Similar structures have been found in the West Atlantic on the continental slope between 300-800 m water depth, along the slope from North Carolina to Florida. Presently detailed studies on the environmental constraints in cold-water coral areas are limited to cold-water coral areas in the North East Atlantic. This is the first study showing long term environmental variability in a cold-water coral habitat in the Gulf of Mexico, West Atlantic and the data highlight novel observations of short term environmental variability in a cold-water coral habitat. In the Gulf of Mexico Lophelia pertusa occurrences are scattered and form less dense communities than those situated on the Atlantic margins. The Viosca Knoll (VK826) area is the most extensive cold-water coral area presently known in the Gulf of Mexico, with Lophelia pertusa being the most common coral species. Broadly two characteristic coral habitats can be described on Viosca Knoll. Firstly, a dense coral cover that resembles a biogenic reef and secondly authigenic carbonate blocks with sparse coral coverage. Two benthic landers were deployed for over a year in the vicinity of the corals to measure the local environmental conditions. Both landers measured the current velocity and direction, temperature, salinity, fluorescence, optical backscatter and were equipped with a sediment trap. Furthermore CTD transects were made across the cold-water coral area. Transects showed no fluorescence signal below 150 m water depth and an oxygen minimum zone at the depth of the corals. A prominent intermediate nepheloid layer was present at 300-400 m water depth. Long term deployments of benthic landers of a period over 12 months revealed intra annual

  14. Coral reefs in crisis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichsen, D

    1997-01-01

    This article reports on the crisis facing reefs throughout the world and the struggle to save them. Coral reefs, one of the biological wonders of the world, are among the largest and oldest living communities of plants and animals on earth, having been evolved between 200 and 450 million years ago. Located mostly in the Pacific region, most established coral reefs are now dead and only the upper layer is covered by a thin changeable skin of living coral. Reefs, over the years, have been the main source of animal protein for over 1 billion people in Asia. Countries near the coastlines, which relied on the seas, have resorted to dynamite fishing, poisoning and other illegal and dangerous techniques. Overpopulation and pollution has caused the deteriorating conditions of the 600,000 sq. km of coral reefs worldwide. Despite these conditions, the government has ignored this problem as they struggle to develop their economies at the expense of common resources. In addition, this article narrates the efforts that are exerted by governments in promoting coral reef protection and management of these coastal resources, setting the Apo Island in the Philippines as an example of good management and sustainability.

  15. Coral reefs: Turning back time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lough, Janice M.

    2016-03-01

    An in situ experiment finds that reducing the acidity of the seawater surrounding a natural coral reef significantly increases reef calcification, suggesting that ocean acidification may already be slowing coral growth. See Letter p.362

  16. Cold-Water Coral Habitats in Submarine Canyons of the Bay of Biscay

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Inge M. J. van den Beld

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The topographical and hydrological complexity of submarine canyons, coupled with high substratum heterogeneity, make them ideal environments for cold-water coral (CWC habitats. These habitats, including reefs, are thought to provide important functions for many organisms. The canyons incising the continental slope of the Bay of Biscay have distinct morphological differences from the north to the south. CWCs have been reported from this basin in the late nineteenth century; however, little is known about their present-day distribution, diversity and environmental drivers in the canyons. In this study, the characteristics and distribution of CWC habitats in the submarine canyons of the Bay of Biscay are investigated. Twenty-four canyons and three locations between adjacent canyons were sampled using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV or a towed camera system. Acquired images were annotated for habitat type (using the CoralFISH classification system, substrate cover and coral identification. Furthermore, the influence of hydrological factors and geomorphology on the CWC distribution was investigated. Eleven coral habitats, formed by 62 morphotypes of scleractinians, gorgonians, antipatharians and seapens, inhabiting hard and/or soft substrate, were observed. The distribution patterns were heterogenous at regional and local scales; the south Bay of Biscay and the southeastern flank favored soft substrate habitats. Biogenic and hard substrate habitats supported higher coral diversities than soft substrate habitats and had similar species compositions. A higher coral species turnover characterized soft substrate habitats. Substrate type was the most important driver of the patterns in both distribution and composition. Observations of coral reefs on steeper areas in the canyons and coral rubble on flatter areas on the interfluve/upper slope support the hypothesis that canyons serve as refuges, being less accessible to trawling, although natural causes

  17. Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yap, Helen T.

    Coral reefs are geological structures of significant dimensions, constructed over millions of years by calcifying organisms. The present day reef-builders are hard corals belonging to the order Scleractinia, phylum Cnidaria. The greatest concentrations of coral reefs are in the tropics, with highest levels of biodiversity situated in reefs of the Indo-West Pacific region. These ecosystems have provided coastal protection and livelihood to human populations over the millennia. Human activities have caused destruction of these habitats, the intensity of which has increased alarmingly since the latter decades of the twentieth century. The severity of this impact is directly related to exponential growth rates of human populations especially in the coastal areas of the developing world. However, a more recently recognized phenomenon concerns disturbances brought about by the changing climate, manifested mainly as rising sea surface temperatures, and increasing acidification of ocean waters due to greater drawdown of higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Management efforts have so far not kept pace with the rates of degradation, so that the spatial extent of damaged reefs and the incidences of localized extinction of reef species are increasing year after year. The major management efforts to date consist of establishing marine protected areas and promoting the active restoration of coral habitats.

  18. Food selectivity and processing by the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oevelen, Dick; Mueller, Christina E.; Lundälv, Tomas; Middelburg, Jack J.

    2016-10-01

    Cold-water corals form prominent reef ecosystems along ocean margins that depend on suspended resources produced in surface waters. In this study, we investigated food processing of 13C and 15N labelled bacteria and algae by the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa. Coral respiration, tissue incorporation of C and N and metabolically derived C incorporation into the skeleton were traced following the additions of different food concentrations (100, 300, 1300 µg C L-1) and two ratios of suspended bacterial and algal biomass (1 : 1, 3 : 1). Respiration and tissue incorporation by L. pertusa increased markedly following exposure to higher food concentrations. The net growth efficiency of L. pertusa was low (0.08 ± 0.03), which is consistent with its slow growth rate. The contribution of algae and bacteria to total coral assimilation was proportional to the food mixture in the two lowest food concentrations, but algae were preferred over bacteria as a food source at the highest food concentration. Similarly, the stoichiometric uptake of C and N was coupled in the low and medium food treatment, but was uncoupled in the high food treatment and indicated a comparatively higher uptake or retention of bacterial carbon as compared to algal nitrogen. We argue that behavioural responses for these small-sized food particles, such as tentacle behaviour, mucus trapping and physiological processing, are more likely to explain the observed food selectivity as compared to physical-mechanical considerations. A comparison of the experimental food conditions to natural organic carbon concentrations above CWC reefs suggests that L. pertusa is well adapted to exploit temporal pulses of high organic matter concentrations in the bottom water caused by internal waves and downwelling events.

  19. Cold water corals of the Northeast Atlantic margin: Archives of intermediate water circulation during the Holocene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frank, N.; Paterne, M.; Ayliffe, L.; Lutringer, A.; Blamart, D.; van Weering, T.

    2003-04-01

    We present combined 230Th/U and 14C dating and stable isotope analyses on benthic corals from the northeastern North Atlantic in order to investigate past changes of the thermohaline circulation. The reef forming cold water corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata were raised from intermediate depth (˜750m bsl) from carbonate mounds along Rockall and Porcupine Bank and Porcupine Seabight.The 230Th/U ages range from today to 247,400yr. The δ234U, 230Th/232Th, and X-ray images indicate negligible alteration of the investigated corals, i.e. open system behavior. Very young deep-sea corals were accurately dated by means of 230Th/U dating. One in-situ living Lophelia coral yielded a mean age of 1995AD, matching the date of collection in 1999AD. From this coral, the measured and calculated seawater Δ14C values are indistinguishable, and the reservoir age Rinterm of the upper intermediate waters is 710±80 years. Several modern corals, being dated between 1950AD and 1986AD, recorded the atmospheric 14C/12C increase due to the nuclear tests in the early 60s. The modern pre-bomb Δ14C value of the North Atlantic intermediate waters was determined at an average of -65±7o/oo, and the mean reservoir age at 500±50 years. Finally, several investigated benthic coral grew during the second step of the deglaciation and during the Holocene climate optimum (from 10,900 to about 8,000 CAL yr BP). The reservoir age of average 530±65 years is equivalent to that of today indicating that, during the studied coral growth episodes, a modern type oceanic circulation, as well as the air-sea and surface to deeper adjacent water 14CO2 exchanges prevailed in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean.

  20. Coral reefs at risk

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    Eighty-eight percent of Southeast Asia's reefs are threatened by overfishing, destructive fishing, and sedimentation and pollution from inland activities, according to a new report by 35 regional scientists published by the World Resources Institute.Nearly 100,000 square kilometers of coral reefs—34% of the world's total—are located in Southeast Asia.

  1. Coral Reef Biological Criteria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs worldwide are experiencing decline from a variety of stressors. Some important stressors are land-based sources of pollution and human activities in the coastal zone. However, few tools are available to offset the impact of these stressors. The Clean Water Act (CWA...

  2. Embryogenesis and larval biology of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ann I Larsson

    Full Text Available Cold-water coral reefs form spectacular and highly diverse ecosystems in the deep sea but little is known about reproduction, and virtually nothing about the larval biology in these corals. This study is based on data from two locations of the North East Atlantic and documents the first observations of embryogenesis and larval development in Lophelia pertusa, the most common framework-building cold-water scleractinian. Embryos developed in a more or less organized radial cleavage pattern from ∼ 160 µm large neutral or negatively buoyant eggs, to 120-270 µm long ciliated planulae. Embryogenesis was slow with cleavage occurring at intervals of 6-8 hours up to the 64-cell stage. Genetically characterized larvae were sexually derived, with maternal and paternal alleles present. Larvae were active swimmers (0.5 mm s(-1 initially residing in the upper part of the water column, with bottom probing behavior starting 3-5 weeks after fertilization. Nematocysts had developed by day 30, coinciding with peak bottom-probing behavior, and possibly an indication that larvae are fully competent to settle at this time. Planulae survived for eight weeks under laboratory conditions, and preliminary results indicate that these planulae are planktotrophic. The late onset of competency and larval longevity suggests a high dispersal potential. Understanding larval biology and behavior is of paramount importance for biophysical modeling of larval dispersal, which forms the basis for predictions of connectivity among populations.

  3. Linking benthic hydrodynamics and cold-water coral occurrences: A high-resolution model study at three cold-water coral provinces in the NE Atlantic

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mohn, C.; Rengstorf, A.; White, M.; Mienis, F.; Soetaert, K.; Grehan, A.; Duineveld, G.

    2014-01-01

    Observations from numerous cold-water coral locations in the NE Atlantic show energetic near-bottom flow dynamics along the European continental margin at individual coral mounds and mound clusters. Dynamics are largely controlled by tide-topography interaction generating and enhancing periodic moti

  4. Linking benthic hydrodynamics and cold-water coral occurrences: A high-resolution model study at three cold-water coral provinces in the NE Atlantic

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mohn, C.; Rengstorf, A.; White, M.; Mienis, F.; Soetaert, K.; Grehan, A.; Duineveld, G.

    2014-01-01

    Observations from numerous cold-water coral locations in the NE Atlantic show energetic near-bottom flow dynamics along the European continental margin at individual coral mounds and mound clusters. Dynamics are largely controlled by tide-topography interaction generating and enhancing periodic

  5. End of the century pCO₂ levels do not impact calcification in Mediterranean cold-water corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cornelia Maier

    Full Text Available Ocean acidification caused by anthropogenic uptake of CO₂ is perceived to be a major threat to calcifying organisms. Cold-water corals were thought to be strongly affected by a decrease in ocean pH due to their abundance in deep and cold waters which, in contrast to tropical coral reef waters, will soon become corrosive to calcium carbonate. Calcification rates of two Mediterranean cold-water coral species, Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata, were measured under variable partial pressure of CO₂ (pCO₂ that ranged between 380 µatm for present-day conditions and 930 µatm for the end of the century. The present study addressed both short- and long-term responses by repeatedly determining calcification rates on the same specimens over a period of 9 months. Besides studying the direct, short-term response to elevated pCO₂ levels, the study aimed to elucidate the potential for acclimation of calcification of cold-water corals to ocean acidification. Net calcification of both species was unaffected by the levels of pCO₂ investigated and revealed no short-term shock and, therefore, no long-term acclimation in calcification to changes in the carbonate chemistry. There was an effect of time during repeated experiments with increasing net calcification rates for both species, however, as this pattern was found in all treatments, there is no indication that acclimation of calcification to ocean acidification occurred. The use of controls (initial and ambient net calcification rates indicated that this increase was not caused by acclimation in calcification response to higher pCO₂. An extrapolation of these data suggests that calcification of these two cold-water corals will not be affected by the pCO₂ level projected at the end of the century.

  6. End of the century pCO₂ levels do not impact calcification in Mediterranean cold-water corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maier, Cornelia; Schubert, Alexander; Berzunza Sànchez, Maria M; Weinbauer, Markus G; Watremez, Pierre; Gattuso, Jean-Pierre

    2013-01-01

    Ocean acidification caused by anthropogenic uptake of CO₂ is perceived to be a major threat to calcifying organisms. Cold-water corals were thought to be strongly affected by a decrease in ocean pH due to their abundance in deep and cold waters which, in contrast to tropical coral reef waters, will soon become corrosive to calcium carbonate. Calcification rates of two Mediterranean cold-water coral species, Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata, were measured under variable partial pressure of CO₂ (pCO₂) that ranged between 380 µatm for present-day conditions and 930 µatm for the end of the century. The present study addressed both short- and long-term responses by repeatedly determining calcification rates on the same specimens over a period of 9 months. Besides studying the direct, short-term response to elevated pCO₂ levels, the study aimed to elucidate the potential for acclimation of calcification of cold-water corals to ocean acidification. Net calcification of both species was unaffected by the levels of pCO₂ investigated and revealed no short-term shock and, therefore, no long-term acclimation in calcification to changes in the carbonate chemistry. There was an effect of time during repeated experiments with increasing net calcification rates for both species, however, as this pattern was found in all treatments, there is no indication that acclimation of calcification to ocean acidification occurred. The use of controls (initial and ambient net calcification rates) indicated that this increase was not caused by acclimation in calcification response to higher pCO₂. An extrapolation of these data suggests that calcification of these two cold-water corals will not be affected by the pCO₂ level projected at the end of the century.

  7. Environmental forcing of the Campeche cold-water coral province, southern Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hebbeln, D.; Wienberg, C.; Wintersteller, P.; Freiwald, A.; Becker, M.; Beuck, L.; Dullo, C.; Eberli, G. P.; Glogowski, S.; Matos, L.; Forster, N.; Reyes-Bonilla, H.; Taviani, M.

    2014-04-01

    With an extension of > 40 km2 the recently discovered Campeche cold-water coral province located at the northeastern rim of the Campeche Bank in the southern Gulf of Mexico belongs to the largest coherent cold-water coral areas discovered so far. The Campeche province consists of numerous 20-40 m-high elongated coral mounds that are developed in intermediate water depths of 500 to 600 m. The mounds are colonized by a vivid cold-water coral ecosystem that covers the upper flanks and summits. The rich coral community is dominated by the framework-building Scleractinia Enallopsammia profunda and Lophelia pertusa, while the associated benthic megafauna shows a rather scarce occurrence. The recent environmental setting is characterized by a high surface water production caused by a local upwelling center and a dynamic bottom-water regime comprising vigorous bottom currents, obvious temporal variability, and strong density contrasts, which all together provide optimal conditions for the growth of cold-water corals. This setting - potentially supported by the diel vertical migration of zooplankton in the Campeche area - controls the delivering of food particles to the corals. The Campeche cold-water coral province is, thus, an excellent example highlighting the importance of the oceanographic setting in securing the food supply for the development of large and vivid cold-water coral ecosystems.

  8. Sponge diversity and community composition in Irish bathyal coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Soest, van R.W.M; Cleary, D.F.R.; Kluijver, de M.J.; Lavaleye, M.S.S.; Maier, C.; Duy, van F.C.

    2007-01-01

    Sponge diversity and community composition in bathyal cold water coral reefs (CWRs) were examined at 500-900 m depth on the southeastern slopes of Rockall Bank and the northwestern slope of Porcupine Bank, to the west of Ireland in 2004 and 2005 with boxcores. A total of 104 boxcore samples, supplem

  9. Sedimentation patterns on a cold-water coral mound off Mauritania

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Eisele, M.; Frank, N.; Wienberg, C.; Titschack, J.; Mienis, F; Beuck, L.; Tisnerat-Laborde, N.; Hebbeln, D.

    2014-01-01

    An unconformity-bound glacial sequence (135 cm thick) of a coral-bearing sediment core collected from the flank of a cold-water coral mound in the Banda Mound Province off Mauritania was analysed. In order to study the relation between coral framework growth and its filling by hemipelagic sediments,

  10. Coral reefs in the Anthropocene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P.; Barnes, Michele L.; Bellwood, David R.; Cinner, Joshua E.; Cumming, Graeme S.; Jackson, Jeremy B. C.; Kleypas, Joanie; van de Leemput, Ingrid A.; Lough, Janice M.; Morrison, Tiffany H.; Palumbi, Stephen R.; van Nes, Egbert H.; Scheffer, Marten

    2017-06-01

    Coral reefs support immense biodiversity and provide important ecosystem services to many millions of people. Yet reefs are degrading rapidly in response to numerous anthropogenic drivers. In the coming centuries, reefs will run the gauntlet of climate change, and rising temperatures will transform them into new configurations, unlike anything observed previously by humans. Returning reefs to past configurations is no longer an option. Instead, the global challenge is to steer reefs through the Anthropocene era in a way that maintains their biological functions. Successful navigation of this transition will require radical changes in the science, management and governance of coral reefs.

  11. Coral reef resilience through biodiversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2013-01-01

    Irrefutable evidence of coral reef degradation worldwide and increasing pressure from rising seawater temperatures and ocean acidification associated with climate change have led to a focus on reef resilience and a call to “manage” coral reefs for resilience. Ideally, global action to reduce emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will be accompanied by local action. Effective management requires reduction of local stressors, identification of the characteristics of resilient reefs, and design of marine protected area networks that include potentially resilient reefs. Future research is needed on how stressors interact, on how climate change will affect corals, fish, and other reef organisms as well as overall biodiversity, and on basic ecological processes such as connectivity. Not all reef species and reefs will respond similarly to local and global stressors. Because reef-building corals and other organisms have some potential to adapt to environmental changes, coral reefs will likely persist in spite of the unprecedented combination of stressors currently affecting them. The biodiversity of coral reefs is the basis for their remarkable beauty and for the benefits they provide to society. The extraordinary complexity of these ecosystems makes it both more difficult to predict their future and more likely they will have a future.

  12. Linking benthic hydrodynamics and cold-water coral occurrences: A high-resolution model study at three cold-water coral provinces in the NE Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohn, Christian; Rengstorf, Anna; White, Martin; Duineveld, Gerard; Mienis, Furu; Soetaert, Karline; Grehan, Anthony

    2014-03-01

    Observations from numerous cold-water coral locations in the NE Atlantic show energetic near-bottom flow dynamics along the European continental margin at individual coral mounds and mound clusters. Dynamics are largely controlled by tide-topography interaction generating and enhancing periodic motions such as trapped waves, freely propagating internal tides and internal hydraulic jumps. In this study, linkages between key abiotic parameters and cold water coral occurrences are explored across entire cold-water coral mound provinces using an integrated modelling and observational approach. The 3-D ocean circulation model ROMS-AGRIF was applied to simulate near-bottom hydrodynamic conditions at three provinces in the NE Atlantic (Logachev mounds, Arc mounds and Belgica mounds) adopting a nested model setup with a central grid resolution of 250 m. Simulations were carried out with a focus on accurate high-resolution topography and tidal forcing. The central model bathymetry was taken from high-resolution INSS (Irish National Seabed Survey) seafloor mapping data. The model was integrated over a full one-year reference period starting from the 1st January 2010. Interannual variability was not considered. Tidal forcing was obtained from a global solution of the Oregon State University (OSU) inverse tidal model. Modelled fields of benthic currents were validated against available independent in situ observations. Coral assemblage patterns (presence and absence locations) were obtained from benthic surveys of the EU FP7 CoralFISH programme and supplemented by data from additional field surveys. Modelled near-bottom currents, temperature and salinity were analysed for a 1-month subset (15th April to 15th May 2010) corresponding to the main CoralFISH survey period. The model results show intensified near-bottom currents in areas where living corals are observed by contrast with coral absence and random background locations. Instantaneous and time-mean current speeds at

  13. Bioindication in coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yap, H T

    1986-01-01

    The concept of bioindication in the sense of the use of organisms for detecting environmental stress has been employed in coral reef conservation and management for the past several years. Important tools are coral growth rates and various community parameters, notably hard coral cover. The present need is the optimal coordination of international efforts for the earliest possible institution of an effective monitoring system.

  14. Cold-water coral growth and mound formation on the Pen Duick Escarpment, Gulf of Cadiz

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mienis, Furu; de Stigter, Henko C.; de Haas, Henk; Groot, Diane; Frank, Norbert; van Weering, Tjeerd C. E.

    2010-05-01

    Abundant skeletal remains of cold-water corals in sediments around the Pen Duick Escarpment, southern Gulf of Cadiz, suggest that corals thrived in the area in a relatively recent past. Cold-water coral carbonate mounds with heights of up to 60 m are found at about 550 m water depth on the edge of an elevation delimited by the Pen Duick Escarpment. Coral debris is abundantly present in the sediment on the carbonate mounds as well as on the escarpment, with Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata as most common species. However, living coral is rare, and a mud drape of a few cm to tens of cm thick is usually found covering the coral-bearing sediment. On and off mound sediment cores are presently investigated in detail to determine the timing of the decline of cold-water coral communities on the Pen Duick Escarpment. Planktonic foraminifera oxygen isotope stratigraphy and U/Th datings of coral debris from the on mound core show that the main framework building cold-water corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata were present on the mound during glacial periods (Marine Isotope Stage 2, 6 and 8) and the early Holocene, but absent during the late Holocene. During glacial periods a dense framework of cold-water corals existed and sedimentation rates were high. Both on and off mound cores show low magnetic susceptibility values until marine isotope stage 3, after which values are increasing. A large hiatus is found between 36 and 141 kyr. Our finding that cold-water corals on Pen Duick escarpment occurred mostly during glacial times contrasts with that of cold-water corals on the Rockall Trough margins and in the Porcupine Seabight, where they seem to have mainly lived during interglacials. The reason for the late Holocene decline of cold-water corals on Pen Duick escarpment is still a matter of speculation. Observations made with CTD and long-term deployment of benthic landers indicate activity of internal waves in the area with semi-diurnal periodicity, inducing

  15. 40 CFR 230.44 - Coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Coral reefs. 230.44 Section 230.44... Aquatic Sites § 230.44 Coral reefs. (a) Coral reefs consist of the skeletal deposit, usually of calcareous... organisms present in growing portions of the reef. (b) Possible loss of values: The discharge of dredged or...

  16. Confronting the coral reef crisis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellwood, D. R.; Hughes, T. P.; Folke, C.; Nyström, M.

    2004-06-01

    The worldwide decline of coral reefs calls for an urgent reassessment of current management practices. Confronting large-scale crises requires a major scaling-up of management efforts based on an improved understanding of the ecological processes that underlie reef resilience. Managing for improved resilience, incorporating the role of human activity in shaping ecosystems, provides a basis for coping with uncertainty, future changes and ecological surprises. Here we review the ecological roles of critical functional groups (for both corals and reef fishes) that are fundamental to understanding resilience and avoiding phase shifts from coral dominance to less desirable, degraded ecosystems. We identify striking biogeographic differences in the species richness and composition of functional groups, which highlight the vulnerability of Caribbean reef ecosystems. These findings have profound implications for restoration of degraded reefs, management of fisheries, and the focus on marine protected areas and biodiversity hotspots as priorities for conservation.

  17. Coral Reef Ecosystems under Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are found in a wide range of environments, where they provide food and habitat to a large range of organisms as well as providing many other ecological goods and services. Warm-water coral reefs, for example, occupy shallow sunlit, warm, and alkaline waters in order to grow and calcify at the high rates necessary to build and maintain their calcium carbonate structures. At deeper locations (40–150 m, “mesophotic” (low light coral reefs accumulate calcium carbonate at much lower rates (if at all in some cases yet remain important as habitat for a wide range of organisms, including those important for fisheries. Finally, even deeper, down to 2,000 m or more, the so-called “cold-water” coral reefs are found in the dark depths. Despite their importance, coral reefs are facing significant challenges from human activities including pollution, over-harvesting, physical destruction, and climate change. In the latter case, even lower greenhouse gas emission scenarios (such as Representative Concentration Pathway RCP 4.5 are likely drive the elimination of most warm-water coral reefs by 2040–2050. Cold-water corals are also threatened by warming temperatures and ocean acidification although evidence of the direct effect of climate change is less clear. Evidence that coral reefs can adapt at rates which are sufficient for them to keep up with rapid ocean warming and acidification is minimal, especially given that corals are long-lived and hence have slow rates of evolution. Conclusions that coral reefs will migrate to higher latitudes as they warm are equally unfounded, with the observations of tropical species appearing at high latitudes “necessary but not sufficient” evidence that entire coral reef ecosystems are shifting. On the contrary, coral reefs are likely to degrade rapidly over the next 20 years, presenting fundamental challenges for the 500 million people who derive food, income, coastal protection, and a range of

  18. Coral Reef Ecosystems Monitoring Feature Service

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring feature service hosted on ArcGIS Online provides access to data collected in the Mariana Archipelago by the Coral Reef Ecosystem...

  19. Fisheries management: what chance on coral reefs?

    OpenAIRE

    1996-01-01

    Failures of fishery management to control fishing effort globally and how this affects the coral reef fisheries are discussed. The use of marine reserves in coral reef fisheries management is also emphasized.

  20. Cold-water coral growth under extreme environmental conditions, the Cape Lookout area, NW Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G. C. A.; Davies, A. J.; Lavaleye, M. M. S.; Ross, S. W.; Seim, H.; Bane, J.; van Haren, H.; Bergman, M. J. N.; de Haas, H.; Brooke, S.; van Weering, T. C. E.

    2014-05-01

    The Cape Lookout cold-water coral area off the coast of North Carolina forms the shallowest and northernmost cold-water coral mound area on the Blake Plateau in the NW Atlantic. Cold-water coral habitats near Cape Lookout are occasionally bathed in the Gulf Stream, which is characterised by oligotrophic warm water and strong surface currents. Here, we present the first insights into the mound distribution and morphology, sedimentary environment and coral cover and near-bed environmental conditions as recorded by bottom landers from this coral area. The mounds occur between 320 and 550 m water depth and are characterised by high acoustic backscatter indicating the presence of hard structure. Three distinct mound morphologies were observed: (1) a mound with a flattened top at 320 m, (2) multi-summited mounds with a teardrop shape in the middle part of the area and (3) a single mound at 540 m water depth. Echosounder profiles show the presence of a strong reflector underneath all mound structures that forms the base of the mounds. This reflector cropped out at the downstream side of the single mound and consists of carbonate slabs. Video analysis revealed that all mounds are covered by Lophelia pertusa and that living colonies only occur close to the summits of the SSW side of the mounds, which is the side that faces the strongest currents. Off-mound areas were characterised by low backscatter and sediment ripples, indicating the presence of relatively strong bottom currents. Two bottom landers were deployed amidst the coral mounds between December 2009 and May 2010. Both landers recorded prominent events, characterised by large fluctuations in environmental conditions near the seabed as well as in the overlying water column. The period between December and April was characterised by several events of increasing temperature and salinity, coinciding with increased flow and near-bed acoustic backscatter. During these events temperature fluctuated by up to 9 °C within a

  1. Hydrodynamic conditions in a cold-water coral mound area on the Renard Ridge, southern Gulf of Cadiz

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mienis, F.; De Stigter, H.C.; de Haas, H.; van der Land, C.; van Weering, T.C.E.

    2012-01-01

    Near-bed hydrodynamic conditions obtained by bottom landers on the Renard Ridge are presented complemented with a data set from repeated CTD casts. On the Renard Ridge cold-water coral mounds were discovered in the last 10 years. Unlike cold-water coral habitats known from the Norwegian and Irish ma

  2. Cold-water coral mounds on the Pen Duick Escarpment, Gulf of Cadiz: The MiCROSYSTEMS project approach

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Rooij, D.; Blamart, D.; De Mol, L.; Mienis, F.; Pirlet, H.; Wehrmann, L. M.; Barbieri, R.; Maignien, L.; Templer, S. P.; de Haas, H.; Hebbeln, D.; Frank, N.; Larmagnat, S.; Stadnitskaia, A.; Stivaletta, N.; van Weering, T.; Zhang, Y.; Hamoumi, N.; Cnudde, V.; Duyck, P.; Henriet, J.-P.; The MiCROSYSTEMS MD 169 Shipboard Party

    2011-01-01

    Here we present a case study of three cold-water coral mounds in a juvenile growth stage on top of the Pen Duick Escarpment in the Gulf of Cadiz; Alpha, Beta and Gamma mounds. Although cold-water corals are a common feature on the adjacent cliffs, mud volcanoes and open slope, no actual living cold-

  3. Cold-water coral mounds on the Pen Duick Escarpment, Gulf of Cadiz: The MiCROSYSTEMS project approach

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Rooij, D.; Blamart, D.; De Mol, L.; Mienis, F.; Pirlet, H.; Wehrmann, L. M.; Barbieri, R.; Maignien, L.; Templer, S. P.; de Haas, H.; Hebbeln, D.; Frank, N.; Larmagnat, S.; Stadnitskaia, A.; Stivaletta, N.; van Weering, T.; Zhang, Y.; Hamoumi, N.; Cnudde, V.; Duyck, P.; Henriet, J.-P.; The MiCROSYSTEMS MD 169 Shipboard Party

    2011-01-01

    Here we present a case study of three cold-water coral mounds in a juvenile growth stage on top of the Pen Duick Escarpment in the Gulf of Cadiz; Alpha, Beta and Gamma mounds. Although cold-water corals are a common feature on the adjacent cliffs, mud volcanoes and open slope, no actual living

  4. Hydrodynamic conditions in a cold-water coral mound area on the Renard Ridge, southern Gulf of Cadiz

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mienis, F.; De Stigter, H.C.; de Haas, H.; van der Land, C.; van Weering, T.C.E.

    2012-01-01

    Near-bed hydrodynamic conditions obtained by bottom landers on the Renard Ridge are presented complemented with a data set from repeated CTD casts. On the Renard Ridge cold-water coral mounds were discovered in the last 10 years. Unlike cold-water coral habitats known from the Norwegian and Irish

  5. Hydrodynamic conditions in a cold-water coral mound area on the Renard Ridge, southern Gulf of Cadiz

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mienis, F.; De Stigter, H.C.; de Haas, H.; van der Land, C.; van Weering, T.C.E.

    2012-01-01

    Near-bed hydrodynamic conditions obtained by bottom landers on the Renard Ridge are presented complemented with a data set from repeated CTD casts. On the Renard Ridge cold-water coral mounds were discovered in the last 10 years. Unlike cold-water coral habitats known from the Norwegian and Irish ma

  6. Carbonate budget of a cold-water coral carbonate mound: Propeller Mound, Porcupine Seabight

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorschel, Boris; Hebbeln, Dierk; Rüggeberg, Andres; Dullo, Christian

    2007-02-01

    High resolution studies from the Propeller Mound, a cold-water coral carbonate mound in the NE Atlantic, show that this mound consists of >50% carbonate justifying the name ‘carbonate mound’. Through the last ~300,000 years approximately one third of the carbonate has been contributed by cold-water corals, namely Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata. This coral bound contribution to the carbonate budget of Propeller Mound is probably accompanied by an unknown portion of sediments buffered from suspension by the corals. However, extended hiatuses in Propeller Mound sequences only allow the calculation of a net carbonate accumulation. Thus, net carbonate accumulation for the last 175 kyr accounts for only <0.3 g/cm2/kyr, which is even less than for the off-mound sediments. These data imply that Propeller Mound faces burial by hemipelagic sediments as has happened to numerous buried carbonate mounds found slightly to the north of the investigated area.

  7. The climate influence on the mid-depth Northeast Atlantic gyres viewed by cold-water corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montero-Serrano, Jean-Carlos; Frank, Norbert; Colin, Christophe; Wienberg, Claudia; Eisele, Markus

    2011-10-01

    The neodymium (Nd) isotopic composition (expressed in epsilon units, $\\varepsilon$Nd) of reef framework-forming cold-water corals provides unique measures of water mass provenance and mixing within the Northeast Atlantic today and in the past. A reconstruction of near thermocline water $\\varepsilon$Nd from cold-water corals of the Gulf of Cádiz and Porcupine Seabight spanning over the past 300,000 years, now revealed that climate cooling during Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 7.2 and MIS 8/9 led to a retraction of the mid-depth Subpolar Gyre (mSPG) to the west. Conversely, Northern Hemisphere warming and increasing fresh water fluxes to the northwest (Labrador Sea) favor a stronger eastward extension of the mSPG blocking the northward flow of temperate Atlantic water as observed during the early MIS 1 and the early stage MIS 5.5. These changes are likely the result of large-scale south-north displacement of the westerlies similar to present-day observations that the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is linked with mid-depth ocean circulation. Based on these observations, we hypothesize that further climate warming will also strengthen the mSPG leading to a salt and temperature decrease in the Northeast Atlantic whereas salinity and temperature will increase in the temperate Atlantic. However, the amplitude of such changes on North Atlantic overturning remains to be tested.

  8. Physiological response of the cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus to thermal stress and ocean acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gori, Andrea; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine; Hennige, Sebastian J; Murray, Fiona; Rottier, Cécile; Wicks, Laura C; Roberts, J Murray

    2016-01-01

    Rising temperatures and ocean acidification driven by anthropogenic carbon emissions threaten both tropical and temperate corals. However, the synergistic effect of these stressors on coral physiology is still poorly understood, in particular for cold-water corals. This study assessed changes in key physiological parameters (calcification, respiration and ammonium excretion) of the widespread cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus maintained for ∼8 months at two temperatures (ambient 12 °C and elevated 15 °C) and two pCO2 conditions (ambient 390 ppm and elevated 750 ppm). At ambient temperatures no change in instantaneous calcification, respiration or ammonium excretion rates was observed at either pCO2 levels. Conversely, elevated temperature (15 °C) significantly reduced calcification rates, and combined elevated temperature and pCO2 significantly reduced respiration rates. Changes in the ratio of respired oxygen to excreted nitrogen (O:N), which provides information on the main sources of energy being metabolized, indicated a shift from mixed use of protein and carbohydrate/lipid as metabolic substrates under control conditions, to less efficient protein-dominated catabolism under both stressors. Overall, this study shows that the physiology of D. dianthus is more sensitive to thermal than pCO2 stress, and that the predicted combination of rising temperatures and ocean acidification in the coming decades may severely impact this cold-water coral species.

  9. Paleoseawater density reconstruction and its implication for cold-water coral carbonate mounds in the northeast Atlantic through time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rüggeberg, Andres; Flögel, Sascha; Dullo, Wolf-Christian; Raddatz, Jacek; Liebetrau, Volker

    2016-03-01

    Carbonate buildups and mounds are impressive biogenic structures throughout Earth history. In the recent NE Atlantic, cold-water coral (CWC) reefs form giant carbonate mounds of up to 300 m of elevation. The expansion of these coral carbonate mounds is paced by climatic changes during the past 2.7 Myr. Environmental control on their development is directly linked to controls on its main constructors, the reef-building CWCs. Seawater density has been identified as one of the main controlling parameter of CWC growth in the NE Atlantic. One possibility is the formation of a pycnocline above the carbonate mounds, which is increasing the hydrodynamic regime, supporting elevated food supply, and possibly facilitating the distribution of coral larvae. The potential to reconstruct past seawater densities from stable oxygen isotopes of benthic foraminifera has been further developed: a regional equation gives reliable results for three different settings, peak interglacials (e.g., Holocene), peak glacials (e.g., Last Glacial Maximum), and intermediate setting (between the two extremes). Seawater densities are reconstructed for two different NE Atlantic CWC carbonate mounds in the Porcupine Seabight indicating that the development of carbonate mounds is predominantly found at a seawater density range between 27.3 and 27.7 kg m-3 (σΘ notation). Comparable to recent conditions, we interpret the reconstructed density range as a pycnocline serving as boundary layer, on which currents develop, carrying nutrition and possibly coral larvae. The close correlation of CWC reef growth with reconstructed seawater densities through the Pleistocene highlights the importance of pycnoclines and intermediate water mass dynamics.

  10. Differential response of two Mediterranean cold-water coral species to ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Movilla, Juancho; Orejas, Covadonga; Calvo, Eva; Gori, Andrea; López-Sanz, Àngel; Grinyó, Jordi; Domínguez-Carrió, Carlos; Pelejero, Carles

    2014-09-01

    Cold-water coral (CWC) reefs constitute one of the most complex deep-sea habitats harboring a vast diversity of associated species. Like other tropical or temperate framework builders, these systems are facing an uncertain future due to several threats, such as global warming and ocean acidification. In the case of Mediterranean CWC communities, the effect may be exacerbated due to the greater capacity of these waters to absorb atmospheric CO2 compared to the global ocean. Calcification in these organisms is an energy-demanding process, and it is expected that energy requirements will be greater as seawater pH and the availability of carbonate ions decrease. Therefore, studies assessing the effect of a pH decrease in skeletal growth, and metabolic balance are critical to fully understand the potential responses of these organisms under a changing scenario. In this context, the present work aims to investigate the medium- to long-term effect of a low pH scenario on calcification and the biochemical composition of two CWCs from the Mediterranean, Dendrophyllia cornigera and Desmophyllum dianthus. After 314 d of exposure to acidified conditions, a significant decrease of 70 % was observed in Desmophyllum dianthus skeletal growth rate, while Dendrophyllia cornigera showed no differences between treatments. Instead, only subtle differences between treatments were observed in the organic matter amount, lipid content, skeletal microdensity, or porosity in both species, although due to the high variability of the results, these differences were not statistically significant. Our results also confirmed a heterogeneous effect of low pH on the skeletal growth rate of the organisms depending on their initial weight, suggesting that those specimens with high calcification rates may be the most susceptible to the negative effects of acidification.

  11. 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.

  12. 75 FR 48934 - Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-12

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-ZC19 Coral Reef Conservation Program... Implementation Guidelines for the Coral Reef Conservation Program. SUMMARY: This document provides NOAA's revised Grant Program Implementation Guidelines (Guidelines) for the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP or...

  13. Cold-water coral ecosystems in the Penmarc’h and Guilvinec canyons (Bay of Biscay): deep-water versus shallow water settings

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Mol, L.; van Rooij, D.; Pirlet, H.; Quemmerais, F.; Greinert, J.; Frank, N.; Henriet, J.

    2009-12-01

    In 1948, Le Danois reported for the first time the occurrence of “massifs coralliens” along the European Atlantic continental margin. Within the framework of the EC FP6 IP HERMES and ESF EuroDIVERSITY MiCROSYSTEMS projects, the R/V Belgica BiSCOSYSTEMS cruise was set out to rediscover these cold-water corals in the Penmarc’h and Guilvinec canyons along the Gascogne margin of the Bay of Biscay. During this cruise, an area of 560 km2 was studied using swath bathymetry (EM1002), high-resolution reflection seismic profiling, CTD casts, ROV observations and USBL-guided boxcoring. Based on the multibeam data and the ROV video images, two different cold-water coral reef settings were distinguished. In water depths ranging from 260 to 350 m, mini-mounds up to 10 m high, covered by dead cold-water coral rubble, were observed. In between these mounds, an alternation of rippled and unrippled seabed with a patchy distribution of dropstones was observed. The second setting features both living and dead cold-water corals (predominantly Madrepora oculata) in water depths of 700 to 950 m. At certain locations, they form dense coral fields with a size of about 10-60 m, characterized by mostly dead corals and a few living ones. In this area also hard substrate with cracks, ridges, cliffs and oyster banks was noticed. Both the shallow area with the mini mounds (SE flank of the Guilvinec canyon) and the living and dead corals in the deeper setting were sampled with boxcores. These boxcores were used to determine the different sedimentary facies and to identify coral species present on the site. For this purpose, grain size analysis, U/Th dating of coral fragments, C14 datings of foraminifera and phylogenetic/genomic studies on living species were established. The cold-water corals from the deeper area occur in a density envelope (sigma-theta) of 27.3 - 27.4 kg.m-3, falling within the range of values which are considered to be a prerequisite for the development, growth and

  14. The influence of seawater pH on U / Ca ratios in the scleractinian cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Raddatz

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available The increasing pCO2 in seawater is a serious threat for marine calcifiers and alters the biogeochemistry of the ocean. Therefore, the reconstruction of past-seawater properties and their impact on marine ecosystems is an important way to investigate the underlying mechanisms and to better constrain the effects of possible changes in the future ocean. Cold-water coral (CWC ecosystems are biodiversity hotspots. Living close to aragonite-undersaturation, these corals serve as living laboratories as well as archives to reconstruct the boundary conditions of their calcification under the carbonate system of the ocean. We investigated the reef-building CWC Lophelia pertusa as a recorder of intermediate ocean seawater pH. This species-specific field calibration is based on a unique sample set of live in-situ collected L. pertusa and corresponding seawater samples. These data demonstrate that uranium speciation and skeletal incorporation for azooxanthellate scleractinian CWCs is pH dependent. However, this also indicates that internal pH up-regulation of the coral does not play a role in uranium incorporation into the majority of the skeleton of L. pertusa. This study suggests L. pertusa provides a new archive for the reconstruction of intermediate water mass pH and hence may help to constrain tipping points for ecosystem dynamics and evolutionary characteristics in a changing ocean.

  15. Sedimentation patterns on a cold-water coral mound off Mauritania

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eisele, Markus; Frank, Norbert; Wienberg, Claudia; Titschack, Jürgen; Mienis, Furu; Beuck, Lydia; Tisnerat-Laborde, Nadine; Hebbeln, Dierk

    2014-01-01

    An unconformity-bound glacial sequence (135 cm thick) of a coral-bearing sediment core collected from the flank of a cold-water coral mound in the Banda Mound Province off Mauritania was analysed. In order to study the relation between coral framework growth and its filling by hemipelagic sediments, U-series dates obtained from the cold-water coral species Lophelia pertusa were compared to 14C dates of planktonic foraminifera of the surrounding matrix sediments. The coral ages, ranging from 45.1 to 32.3 ka BP, exhibit no clear depositional trend, while on the other hand the 14C dates of the matrix sediment provide ages within a much narrower time window of <3000 yrs (34.6-31.8 cal ka BP), corresponding to the latest phase of the coral growth period. In addition, high-resolution computer tomography data revealed a subdivision of the investigated sediment package into three distinct parts, defined by the portion and fragmentation of corals and associated macrofauna as well as in the density of the matrix sediments. Grain size spectra obtained on the matrix sediments show a homogeneous pattern throughout the core sediment package, with minor variations. These features are interpreted as indicators of redeposition. Based on the observed structures and the dating results, the sediments were interpreted as deposits of a mass wasting event, namely a debris flow. During this event, the sediment unit must have been entirely mixed; resulting in averaging of the foraminifera ages from the whole unit and giving randomly distributed coral ages. In this context, for the first time mass wasting is proposed to be a substantial process of mound progradation by exporting material from the mound top to the flanks. Hence, it may not only be an erosional feature but also widening the base of the mound, thus allowing further vertical mound growth.

  16. Coral Reef Watch, Hotspots, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Coral Reef Watch provides Coral Bleaching hotspot maps derived from NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). This data provides global area...

  17. Global warming and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    photosynthesis and survival of coral planulae, etc. Unfortunately, no such studies have been carried out on Indian corals so far, and a visualization of what will happen to Indian reefs if sea level rises rapidly will have to be constructed based on such dat... susceptible, as plankton living near the sea surface, and as hosts deriving nutri tional benefits from zooxanthtllar photosynthesis, which itself is susceptible to UV-B damage. Contrary to the misconception that UV is absorbed by the sea water, UV penetrates...

  18. Cyanobacteria in Coral Reef Ecosystems: A Review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Charpy

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Cyanobacteria have dominated marine environments and have been reef builders on Earth for more than three million years (myr. Cyanobacteria still play an essential role in modern coral reef ecosystems by forming a major component of epiphytic, epilithic, and endolithic communities as well as of microbial mats. Cyanobacteria are grazed by reef organisms and also provide nitrogen to the coral reef ecosystems through nitrogen fixation. Recently, new unicellular cyanobacteria that express nitrogenase were found in the open ocean and in coral reef lagoons. Furthermore, cyanobacteria are important in calcification and decalcification. All limestone surfaces have a layer of boring algae in which cyanobacteria often play a dominant role. Cyanobacterial symbioses are abundant in coral reefs; the most common hosts are sponges and ascidians. Cyanobacteria use tactics beyond space occupation to inhibit coral recruitment. Cyanobacteria can also form pathogenic microbial consortia in association with other microbes on living coral tissues, causing coral tissue lysis and death, and considerable declines in coral reefs. In deep lagoons, coccoid cyanobacteria are abundant and are grazed by ciliates, heteroflagellates, and the benthic coral reef community. Cyanobacteria produce metabolites that act as attractants for some species and deterrents for some grazers of the reef communities.

  19. Cyanobacteria in coral reef ecosystems : a review

    OpenAIRE

    Charpy, L.; Casareto, B.E.; Langlade, M. J.; Suzuki, Y.

    2012-01-01

    Cyanobacteria have dominated marine environments and have been reef builders on Earth for more than three million years (myr). Cyanobacteria still play an essential role in modern coral reef ecosystems by forming a major component of epiphytic, epilithic, and endolithic communities as well as of microbial mats. Cyanobacteria are grazed by reef organisms and also provide nitrogen to the coral reef ecosystems through nitrogen fixation. Recently, new unicellular cyanobacteria that express nitrog...

  20. 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

  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. Short-term environmental variability in cold-water coral habitat at Viosca Knoll, Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, Andrew J.; Duineveld, Gerard C. A.; van Weering, Tjeerd C. E.; Mienis, Furu; Quattrini, Andrea M.; Seim, Harvey E.; Bane, John M.; Ross, Steve W.

    2010-02-01

    local environmental conditions in L. pertusa habitats have been conducted within the north-eastern Atlantic, limiting most knowledge of the niche of this species to a single part of an ocean basin. Data presented here show that the corals at VK826 are subjected to similar conditions in temperature, salinity, and flow velocity as their counterparts in the north-east Atlantic, although values for dissolved oxygen and density (sigma-theta: σ Θ) are different. Our data also highlight novel observations of short-term environmental variability in cold-water coral habitat.

  3. Nitrification in reef corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    cells cmP2 (Drew 1972), it is reasonable to expect that nitrification will have to compete with assimilatory re- moval of NH,+. The relative importance of NH4+ flux in these two pathways can be evaluated with the present data on NO,- production... about the means in the es- timates, this correspondence shows that bacterial nitrification effectively competes with autotrophic uptake of NH,+ in coral- zooxanthellae symbiosis. In fact, our nitrification rates would be underestimates since losses...

  4. Skeletal growth phases of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa shown by scanning electron microscope and electron backscatter diffraction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mouchi, Vincent; Vonlanthen, Pierre; Verrecchia, Eric P.; Crowley, Quentin G.

    2016-04-01

    Lophelia pertusa is a cold-water coral, which may form reefs by the association of multiple coralites within which a polyp lives. Each individual polyp builds an aragonite skeleton by an initial phase of early mineralization (traditionally referred to as centres of calcification) from which aragonite fibres grow in thickening deposits. The skeleton wall features successive optically opaque and translucent bands previously attributed to different regimes of growth as either uniform in crystal orientation (translucent bands) or with a chaotic organization (opaque bands). The processes involved in any organizational changes are still unknown. Microlayers in the coral wall, which represent separate periods of skeletal growth, have been recently identified and described. These growth patterns are readily visible under scanning electron microscope (SEM) after etching in dilute formic acid, but they do not necessarily form continuously visible structures. Here we present high quality SEM images and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) maps to study aragonite fibre orientation across the wall of L. pertusa. Both microlayers and opaque and translucent bands are compared to the crystallographic orientation of the aragonite fibres. EBSD maps and SEM images indicate that aragonite fibres do not exhibit a chaotic orientation, even in opaque bands. The absence of continuity of microlayers is partially explained by an association of multiple crystallographic preferred orientations of aragonite fibres. In the case of L. pertusa, careful textural characterisation is necessary prior to elemental or isotope analysis in order to select a skeletal transect representing a linear and continuous time period.

  5. 78 FR 67128 - Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-08

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting AGENCY: Coral Reef... of public comment. SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task... to do so. Established by Presidential Executive Order 13089 in 1998, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force...

  6. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral reef communities in Puerto Rico using the Coral Demographics method

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Coral Demographic method is one of two benthic surveys conducted in Puerto Rico as part of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP). The coral...

  7. Bioeconomic study of a two agent fishery with consideration on the valuation of goods and services by cold-water corals

    OpenAIRE

    Chen, Xianwen

    2009-01-01

    This thesis makes four contributions on the economic analysis of fisheries in cold-water corals contained waters. The first contribution is the proposal of theoretical framework on the links among cold-water corals, fauna fish species, fisheries, and public. The interactions among these four parts are illustrated in the framework. The second contribution is the identification and classification of goods and services by cold-water corals. The work of identification and classification hel...

  8. Phosphorus in Cold-Water Corals as a Proxy for Seawater Nutrient Chemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montagna, Paolo; McCulloch, Malcolm; Taviani, Marco; Mazzoli, Claudio; Vendrell, Begoña

    2006-06-01

    Phosphorus is a key macronutrient being strongly enriched in the deep ocean as a result of continuous export and remineralization of biomass from primary production. We show that phosphorus incorporated within the skeletons of the cosmopolitan cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus is directly proportional to the ambient seawater phosphorus concentration and thus may serve as a paleo-oceanographic proxy for variations in ocean productivity as well as changes in the residence times and sources of deep-water masses. The application of this tool to fossil specimens from the Mediterranean reveals phosphorus-enriched bottom waters at the end of the Younger Dryas period.

  9. Photography of Coral Reefs from ISS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Julie A.

    2009-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the uses of photography from the International Space Station (ISS) in studying Earth's coral reefs. The photographs include reefs in various oceans . The photographs have uses for science in assisting NASA mapping initiatives, distribution worldwide through ReefBase, and by biologist in the field.

  10. CORAL REEF BIOLOGICAL CRITERIA: USING THE CLEAN ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are declining at unprecedented rates worldwide due to multiple interactive stressors including climate change and land-based sources of pollution. The Clean Water Act (CWA) can be a powerful legal instrument for protecting water resources, including the biological inhabitants of coral reefs. The objective of the CWA is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of water resources. Coral reef protection and restoration under the Clean Water Act begins with water quality standards - provisions of state or Federal law that consist of a designated use(s) for the waters of the United States and water quality criteria sufficient to protect the uses. Aquatic life use is the designated use that is measured by biological criteria (biocriteria). Biocriteria are expectations set by a jurisdiction for the quality and quantity of living aquatic resources in a defined waterbody. Biocriteria are an important addition to existing management tools for coral reef ecosystems. The Technical Support Document “Coral Reef Biological Criteria: Using the Clean Water Act to Protect a National Treasure” will provide a framework to aid States and Territories in their development, adoption, and implementation of coral reef biocriteria in their respective water quality standards. The Technical Support Document “Coral Reef Biological Criteria: Using the Clean Water Act to Protect a National Treasure” will provide a framework for coral re

  11. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vermeij, Mark J A; Marhaver, Kristen L; Huijbers, Chantal M; Nagelkerken, Ivan; Simpson, Stephen D

    2010-05-14

    Free-swimming larvae of tropical corals go through a critical life-phase when they return from the open ocean to select a suitable settlement substrate. During the planktonic phase of their life cycle, the behaviours of small coral larvae (coral larvae respond to acoustic cues that may facilitate detection of habitat from large distances and from upcurrent of preferred settlement locations. Using in situ choice chambers, we found that settling coral larvae were attracted to reef sounds, produced mainly by fish and crustaceans, which we broadcast underwater using loudspeakers. Our discovery that coral larvae can detect and respond to sound is the first description of an auditory response in the invertebrate phylum Cnidaria, which includes jellyfish, anemones, and hydroids as well as corals. If, like settlement-stage reef fish and crustaceans, coral larvae use reef noise as a cue for orientation, the alleviation of noise pollution in the marine environment may gain further urgency.

  12. Coral reefs in the South China Sea: Their response to and records on past environmental changes

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YU KeFu

    2012-01-01

    This paper reviews both the recent and longer-term (Holocene) ecological history of coral reefs in the South China Sea (SCS).(1) Local ecological monitoring since the 1960s shows that the coral reefs in the South China Sea have declined dramatically,reflecting the rapid decrease of living coral cover and the great loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae.Collectively,this has led to a significant decrease of annual CaCO3 production.Heavy anthropogenic activities and global warming are recognized as major triggers of the observed coral reef degradation.Observations show that the modern coral reefs in the SCS are a source of atmospheric CO2 in summer.(2) Coral reefs of the SCS have been widely used to reveal longer-term environmental variations,including Holocene high-resolution sea surface temperature (SST) and abrupt climate events,millennial-scale E1 Ni(n)o variations,millennial-and centennial-scale sea level oscillations,strong and cyclic storm activities,East Asian monsoon intensities,variation in seawater pH,and recent seawater pollution,(3) Coral reefs of the southern SCS have experienced repeated episodes of bleaching over the last 200 years due to high SST and intense E1 Ni(n)o events; coral reefs of the northern SCS suffered high levels of mortality during several abrupt winter cold-water bleaching events during the middle Holocene warm period.On average,recovery after the middle Holocene cold-bleaching took 20-30 years; recovery following other middle Holocene environmental stresses took approximately 1020 years.Such findings have significantly contributed to the understanding of the present ecological pressures faced by the coral reefs in the SCS,the histories of Holocene climate/environment changes,and the long-term models of coral reef responses to various past environmental changes.

  13. Characterization of culturable bacteria isolated from the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galkiewicz, Julia P.; Pratte, Zoe A.; Gray, Michael A.; Kellogg, Christina A.

    2011-01-01

    Microorganisms associated with corals are hypothesized to contribute to the function of the host animal by cycling nutrients, breaking down carbon sources, fixing nitrogen, and producing antibiotics. This is the first study to culture and characterize bacteria from Lophelia pertusa, a cold-water coral found in the deep sea, in an effort to understand the roles that the microorganisms play in the coral microbial community. Two sites in the northern Gulf of Mexico were sampled over 2 years. Bacteria were cultured from coral tissue, skeleton, and mucus, identified by 16S rRNA genes, and subjected to biochemical testing. Most isolates were members of the Gammaproteobacteria, although there was one isolate each from the Betaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria. Phylogenetic results showed that both sampling sites shared closely related isolates (e.g. Pseudoalteromonas spp.), indicating possible temporally and geographically stable bacterial-coral associations. The Kirby-Bauer antibiotic susceptibility test was used to separate bacteria to the strain level, with the results showing that isolates that were phylogenetically tightly grouped had varying responses to antibiotics. These results support the conclusion that phylogenetic placement cannot predict strain-level differences and further highlight the need for culture-based experiments to supplement culture-independent studies.

  14. Opportunistic feeding on various organic food sources by the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. E. Mueller

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available The ability of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa to exploit different food sources was investigated under standardized conditions in a flume. All tested food sources, dissolved organic matter (DOM, added as dissolved free amino acids, bacteria, algae, and zooplankton (Artemia were deliberately enriched in 13C and 15N. The incorporation of 13C and 15N was traced into bulk tissue, fatty acids, hydrolysable amino acids, and the skeleton (13C only of L. pertusa. Incorporation rates of carbon (ranging from 0.8–2.4 µg C g–1 DW d–1 and nitrogen (0.2–0.8 µg N g–1 DW d–1 into coral tissue did not differ significantly among food sources indicating an opportunistic feeding strategy. Although total food assimilation was comparable among sources, subsequent food processing was dependent on the type of food source ingested and recovery of assimilated C in tissue compounds ranged from 17% (algae to 35% (Artemia. De novo synthesis of individual fatty acids by L. pertusa occurred in all treatments as indicated by the 13C enrichment of individual phospholipid-derived fatty acids (PLFAs in the coral that were absent in the added food sources. This indicates that the coral might be less dependent on its diet as a source of specific fatty acids than expected, with direct consequences for the interpretation of in situ observations on coral nutrition based on lipid profiles.

  15. Opportunistic feeding on various organic food sources by the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, C. E.; Larsson, A. I.; Veuger, B.; Middelburg, J. J.; van Oevelen, D.

    2014-01-01

    The ability of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa to exploit different food sources was investigated under standardized conditions in a flume. The tested food sources, dissolved organic matter (DOM, added as dissolved free amino acids), bacteria, algae, and zooplankton (Artemia) were deliberately enriched in 13C and 15N. The incorporation of 13C and 15N was traced into bulk tissue, fatty acids, hydrolysable amino acids, and the skeleton (13C only) of L. pertusa. Incorporation rates of carbon (ranging from 0.8-2.4 μg C g-1 DW d-1) and nitrogen (0.2-0.8 μg N g-1 DW d-1) into coral tissue did not differ significantly among food sources indicating an opportunistic feeding strategy. Although total food assimilation was comparable among sources, subsequent food processing was dependent on the type of food source ingested and recovery of assimilated C in tissue compounds ranged from 17% (algae) to 35% (Artemia). De novo synthesis of individual fatty acids by L. pertusa occurred in all treatments as indicated by the 13C enrichment of individual phospholipid-derived fatty acids (PLFAs) in the coral that were absent in the added food sources. This indicates that the coral might be less dependent on its diet as a source of specific fatty acids than expected, with direct consequences for the interpretation of in situ observations on coral nutrition based on lipid profiles.

  16. Origin, growth history and glacial-interglacial responses of a cold-water coral mound in NE Atlantic: Results from O-isotope and Sr-isotope stratigraphy in IODP Expedition 307

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sakai, S.; Kano, A.; Abe, K.; Browning, E.; Scientific Party, I.

    2007-12-01

    Cold-water corals may cover as a large area as the better-known warm-water corals forming shallow reefs, and they occur in a variety of forms and settings, from small isolated colonies or patch reefs to giant mound structures such as those found west of Ireland. In May 2005, IODP Expedition 307 sailed to Challenger Mound, which is one of thousands of cold-water coral mounds in Porcupine Seabight, 150 km offshore of southwestern Ireland, and recovered the first complete section through to the base of a modern cold-water coral mound which is composed of up to 155 m of unlithified coral-bearing (Lophelia pertusa) sediments. The coral-bearing sediments lie on an angular unconformable surface above the lower-middle Miocene glauconitic siltstones and sandstones. Mound growth could have been continuous, and the repeated 10-m-scale alternations in lithology between lighter- colored calcareous layers (interglacials) and darker-colored clayey layers (glacials) could be essentially related to the glacial-interglacial cycles, which supported by correspondence of the two curves of O-isotopes of planktic foraminifers and natural Gamma radiation. O-isotope results of planktic foraminifers show cold-water coral L. pertusa, which are organisms sensitive to environmental change, were able to maintain a cold-water coral mound community (e.g. temperature remained above 4°C) under the latest Pliocene-Pleistocene glacial- interglacial changes. Sr-isotopic stratigraphy revealed that the section is divided into two growth stages at 23.6 mbsf, and mound of the first stage started growing on the mid-Miocene basement around 2.6 Ma, when Northern Hemisphere glaciation was intensified. The mound growth reached a maximum rate (24 cm/ky) around 2.0Ma, and ceased at 1.7Ma. The second stage (1.0-0.5 Ma) shows a lower growth rate (5 cm/ky). Corals require zooplanktons that tend to condense in density gradient of ~800 m deep developed between Eastern North Atlantic Water (ENAW) and the underlying

  17. Cold-water coral distributions in the Drake Passage area from towed camera observations - Initial interpretations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waller, Rhian G.; Catanach, Kathryn Scanlon; Robinson, Laura F.

    2011-01-01

    Seamounts are unique deep-sea features that create habitats thought to have high levels of endemic fauna, productive fisheries and benthic communities vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts. Many seamounts are isolated features, occurring in the high seas, where access is limited and thus biological data scarce. There are numerous seamounts within the Drake Passage (Southern Ocean), yet high winds, frequent storms and strong currents make seafloor sampling particularly difficult. As a result, few attempts to collect biological data have been made, leading to a paucity of information on benthic habitats or fauna in this area, particularly those on primarily hard-bottom seamounts and ridges. During a research cruise in 2008 six locations were examined (two on the Antarctic margin, one on the Shackleton Fracture Zone, and three on seamounts within the Drake Passage), using a towed camera with onboard instruments to measure conductivity, temperature, depth and turbidity. Dominant fauna and bottom type were categorized from 200 randomized photos from each location. Cold-water corals were present in high numbers in habitats both on the Antarctic margin and on the current swept seamounts of the Drake Passage, though the diversity of orders varied. Though the Scleractinia (hard corals) were abundant on the sedimented margin, they were poorly represented in the primarily hard-bottom areas of the central Drake Passage. The two seamount sites and the Shackleton Fracture Zone showed high numbers of stylasterid (lace) and alcyonacean (soft) corals, as well as large numbers of sponges. Though data are preliminary, the geological and environmental variability (particularly in temperature) between sample sites may be influencing cold-water coral biogeography in this region. Each area observed also showed little similarity in faunal diversity with other sites examined for this study within all phyla counted. This manuscript highlights how little is understood of these isolated

  18. Sr/Ca ratios in cold-water corals - a 'low-resolution' temperature archive?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rüggeberg, Andres; Riethdorf, Jan-Rainer; Raddatz, Jacek; López Correa, Matthias; Montagna, Paolo; Dullo, Wolf-Christian; Freiwald, André

    2010-05-01

    One of the basic data to understand global change and past global changes is the measurement and the reconstruction of temperature of marine water masses. E.g. seawater temperature controls the density of seawater and in combination with salinity is the major driving force for the oceans circulation system. Geochemical investigations on cold-water corals Lophelia pertusa and Desmophyllum cristagalli indicated the potential of these organisms as high-resolution archives of environmental parameters from intermediate and deeper water masses (Adkins and Boyle 1997). Some studies tried to use cold-water corals as a high-resolution archive of temperature and salinity (Smith et al. 2000, 2002; Blamart et al. 2005; Lutringer et al. 2005). However, the fractionation of stable isotopes (delta18O and delta13C) and element ratios (Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca, U/Ca) are strongly influenced by vital effects (Shirai et al. 2005; Cohen et al. 2006), and difficult to interpret. Nevertheless, ongoing studies indicate the potential of a predominant temperature dependent fractionation of distinct isotopes and elements (e.g. Li/Ca, Montagna et al. 2008; U/Ca, Mg/Ca, delta18O, Lòpez Correa et al. 2008; delta88/86Sr, Rüggeberg et al. 2008). Within the frame of DFG-Project TRISTAN and Paläo-TRISTAN (Du 129/37-2 and 37-3) we investigated live-collected specimens of cold-water coral L. pertusa from all along the European continental margin (Northern and mid Norwegian shelves, Skagerrak, Rockall and Porcupine Bank, Galicia Bank, Gulf of Cadiz, Mediterranean Sea). These coral samples grew in waters characterized by temperatures between 6°C and 14°C. Electron Microprobe investigations along the growth direction of individual coral polyps were applied to determine the relationship between the incorporation of distinct elements (Sr, Ca, Mg, S). Cohen et al. (2006) showed for L. pertusa from the Kosterfjord, Skagerrak, that ~25% of the coral's Sr/Ca ratio is related to temperature, while 75% are influenced

  19. Digital reef rugosity estimates coral reef habitat complexity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dustan, Phillip; Doherty, Orla; Pardede, Shinta

    2013-01-01

    Ecological habitats with greater structural complexity contain more species due to increased niche diversity. This is especially apparent on coral reefs where individual coral colonies aggregate to give a reef its morphology, species zonation, and three dimensionality. Structural complexity is classically measured with a reef rugosity index, which is the ratio of a straight line transect to the distance a flexible chain of equal length travels when draped over the reef substrate; yet, other techniques from visual categories to remote sensing have been used to characterize structural complexity at scales from microhabitats to reefscapes. Reef-scale methods either lack quantitative precision or are too time consuming to be routinely practical, while remotely sensed indices are mismatched to the finer scale morphology of coral colonies and reef habitats. In this communication a new digital technique, Digital Reef Rugosity (DRR) is described which utilizes a self-contained water level gauge enabling a diver to quickly and accurately characterize rugosity with non-invasive millimeter scale measurements of coral reef surface height at decimeter intervals along meter scale transects. The precise measurements require very little post-processing and are easily imported into a spreadsheet for statistical analyses and modeling. To assess its applicability we investigated the relationship between DRR and fish community structure at four coral reef sites on Menjangan Island off the northwest corner of Bali, Indonesia and one on mainland Bali to the west of Menjangan Island; our findings show a positive relationship between DRR and fish diversity. Since structural complexity drives key ecological processes on coral reefs, we consider that DRR may become a useful quantitative community-level descriptor to characterize reef complexity.

  20. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program: 2016 projects to address coral reef conservation issues

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In 2016 the following projects will take place to address aspects of coral reef conservation: Enhancing Management of Pacific ESA-listed Corals with Improved Utility...

  1. New perspectives on ecological mechanisms affecting coral recruitment on reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ritson-Williams, R.; Arnold, S.N.; Fogarty, N.D.; Steneck, R.S.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Paul, V.J.

    2009-01-01

    Coral mortality has increased in recent decades, making coral recruitment more important than ever in sustaining coral reef ecosystems and contributing to their resilience. This review summarizes existing information on ecological factors affecting scleractinian coral recruitment. Successful recruit

  2. New perspectives on ecological mechanisms affecting coral recruitment on reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ritson-Williams, R.; Arnold, S.N.; Fogarty, N.D.; Steneck, R.S.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Paul, V.J.

    2009-01-01

    Coral mortality has increased in recent decades, making coral recruitment more important than ever in sustaining coral reef ecosystems and contributing to their resilience. This review summarizes existing information on ecological factors affecting scleractinian coral recruitment. Successful

  3. Dynamics of nutrients, total organic carbon, prokaryotes and viruses in onboard incubations of cold-water corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Maier

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available The potential influence of the cold-water corals (CWCs Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata on the dynamics of inorganic nutrient and total organic carbon (TOC concentrations and the abundances of prokaryotes and viruses in bottom water was assessed in onboard incubation experiments. Ammonium, nitrite, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN, dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP and TOC concentrations and N:P ratios were typically higher in incubation water with corals than in controls, whereas nitrate concentrations did not reveal a clear trend. Mucus release (normalized to coral surface was estimated by the net increase rate of TOC concentrations and averaged 23 ± 6 mg C m−2 h−1 for L. pertusa and 21 ± 8 mg C m−2 h−1 for M. oculata. Prokaryotic and viral abundance and turnover rates were typically stimulated in incubation water with corals. This prokaryotic stimulation averaged 6.0 ± 3.0 × 109 cells m−2 h−1 for L. pertusa and 8.4 ± 2.9 ×109 cells m−2 h−1 for M. oculata, whereas the viral stimulation averaged 15.6 ± 12.7 × 109 particles m−2 h−1 for L. pertusa and 4.3 ± 0.4 × 109 particles m−2 h−1 M. oculata. Our data suggest that prokaryotes and viruses are released from corals and that nutrient and mucus release enhanced prokaryotic and viral production. The result of this stimulation could be a fuelling of bottom water in CWC reefs with nutrients and organic matter and consequently an enhancement of microbe-mediated processes.

  4. Destruction of corals and other reef animals by coral spawn slicks on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simpson, C. J.; Cary, J. L.; Masini, R. J.

    1993-11-01

    In March 1989, most of the corals near Coral Bay, off the north-western coastline of Australia, spawned several nights earlier than usual. Flood, rather than ebb, tides at the time of spawning combined with light north-west winds and low swell conditions to restrict the dispersal of coral propagules and, as a result, large amounts of coral spawn were trapped in the bay, forming extensive slicks. Fish and other animals began to die almost immediately, and over the next few days, over 1 million fish, representing at least 80 species, were washed ashore. A survey of the benthic communities revealed extensive mortality of corals and other reef animals over an area of about 3 km2. Live coral cover in this area decreased from 42.9% to 9.4% and several large coral colonies up to 10 m in diameter were killed. The observed mortality was presumably the result of hypoxia (oxygen depletion) created initially by the respiratory demand of the coral spawn and maintained by the biological oxygen demand of the decomposing spawn slicks and dead animals. Anecdotal reports of corals and other reef animals dying in the vicinity of coral spawn slicks on other reefs in Western Australia suggest that this phenomenon may be a relatively common event on shallow coral reefs where coral mass spawning occurs. These records and observations document, for the first time, a new source of natural disturbance that has a significant influence on the community structure of some coral reefs.

  5. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Water Quality Research Program (WQRP) supports development of coral reef biological criteria. Research is focused on developing methods and tools to support implementation of legally defensible biological standards for maintaining biological integrity, which is protected by ...

  6. MANGROVE-DERIVED NUTRIENTS AND CORAL REEFS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Understanding the consequences of the declining global cover of mangroves due to anthropogenic disturbance necessitates consideration of how mangrove-derived nutrients contribute to threatened coral reef systems. We sampled potential sources of organic matter and a suite of sessi...

  7. Coral Reef Watch, Nighttime Temperature, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Coral Reef Watch provides sea surface temperature (SST) products derived from NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). This data provides...

  8. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Water Quality Research Program (WQRP) supports development of coral reef biological criteria. Research is focused on developing methods and tools to support implementation of legally defensible biological standards for maintaining biological integrity, which is protected by ...

  9. Ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    1994-01-01

    The article highlights a workshop held in Key West, Florida in November 1993 attended by a group of 35 international scientists where topics of ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs were discussed.

  10. Coral Reef Watch, Temperature Anomaly, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Coral Reef Watch distributes SST anomaly data using a combination of the POES AVHRR Global Area Coverage data, and data from a climatological database. AVHRR...

  11. Black reefs: iron-induced phase shifts on coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wegley Kelly, L.; Barott, K.L.; Dinsdale, E.; Friedlander, A.M.; Nosrat, B.; Obura, D.; Sala, E.; Sandin, S.A.; Smith, J.E.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Williams, G.J.; Willner, D.; Rohwer, F.

    2012-01-01

    The Line Islands are calcium carbonate coral reef platforms located in iron-poor regions of the central Pacific. Natural terrestrial run-off of iron is non-existent and aerial deposition is extremely low. However, a number of ship groundings have occurred on these atolls. The reefs surrounding the s

  12. Black reefs: iron-induced phase shifts on coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wegley Kelly, L.; Barott, K.L.; Dinsdale, E.; Friedlander, A.M.; Nosrat, B.; Obura, D.; Sala, E.; Sandin, S.A.; Smith, J.E.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Williams, G.J.; Willner, D.; Rohwer, F.

    2012-01-01

    The Line Islands are calcium carbonate coral reef platforms located in iron-poor regions of the central Pacific. Natural terrestrial run-off of iron is non-existent and aerial deposition is extremely low. However, a number of ship groundings have occurred on these atolls. The reefs surrounding the

  13. IODP Expedition 307 Drills Cold-Water Coral Mound Along the Irish Continental Margin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Trevor Williams

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Introduction Over the past decade, oceanographic and geophysical surveys along the slope of the Porcupine Seabight off the southwestern continental margin of Ireland have identified upwards of a thousand enigmatic mound-like structures (Figs. 1 and 2. The mounds of the Porcupine Seabight rise from the seafl oor in water depths of 600–900 m and formimpressive conical bodies several kilometers wide and up to 200 m high. Although a few mounds such as Thérèse Mound and Galway Mound are covered by a thriving thicket of coldwater corals, most mound tops and fl anks are covered by dead coral rubble or are entirely buried by sediment (De Mol et al., 2002; Fig. 2, Beyer et al., 2003. Lophelia pertusa (Fig.3 and Madrepora oculata are the most prominent cold-water corals growing without photosynthetic symbionts. The widespread discovery of large and numerous coral-bearing banks and the association of these corals with the mounds have generated signifi cant interest as to the composition, origin and development of these mound structures.Challenger Mound, in the Belgica mound province, has an elongated shape oriented along a north-northeast to south-southwest axis and ispartially buried under Pleistocene drift sediments. In high-resolution seismic profiles the mounds appear to root on an erosion surface (van Rooij et al., 2003. During IODP Expedition307 the Challenger Mound in the Porcupine Seabight was drilled with the goal of unveiling the origin and depositional processes withinthese intriguing sedimentary structures. Challenger Mound, unlike its near neighbors the Thérèse and Galway mounds, has little to no livecoral coverage and, therefore, was chosen as the main target for drilling activities, so that no living ecosystem would be disturbed.

  14. Cold-Water Corals and Anthropogenic Impacts in La Fonera Submarine Canyon Head, Northwestern Mediterranean Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Galderic Lastras

    Full Text Available We assess the occurrence and extent of cold-water coral (CWC species Madrepora oculata and Dendrophyllia cornigera, as well as gorgonian red coral Corallium rubrum, in La Fonera canyon head (Northwestern Mediterranean Sea, as well as human impacts taking place in their habitats. Occurrence is assessed based on Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV video imaging. Terrain classification techniques are applied to high-resolution swath bathymetric data to obtain semi-automatic interpretative maps to identify the relationship between coral distribution patterns and canyon environments. A total of 21 ROV immersions were carried out in different canyon environments at depths ranging between 79 and 401 m. Large, healthy colonies of M. oculata occur on abrupt, protected, often overhanging, rocky sections of the canyon walls, especially in Illa Negra branch. D. cornigera is sparser and evenly distributed at depth, on relatively low sloping areas, in rocky but also partially sedimented areas. C. rubrum is most frequent between 100 and 160 m on highly sloping rocky areas. The probable extent of CWC habitats is quantified by applying a maximum entropy model to predict habitat suitability: 0.36 km2 yield M. oculata occurrence probabilities over 70%. Similar predictive models have been produced for D. cornigera and C. rubrum. All ROV transects document either the presence of litter on the seafloor or pervasive trawling marks. Nets and longlines are imaged entangled on coral colonies. Coral rubble is observed at the foot of impacted colonies. Some colonies are partially covered by sediment that could be the result of the resuspension generated by bottom trawling on neighbouring fishing grounds, which has been demonstrated to be responsible of daily increases in sediment fluxes within the canyon. The characteristics of the CWC community in La Fonera canyon are indicative that it withstands high environmental stress of both natural and human origin.

  15. Degradation and recovery of Caribbean coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Paredes, Gustavo Adolfo

    2009-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems worldwide have been seriously impacted by human activities. The current deteriorated state of coral reef communities is the result of a long history of exploitation. The scientific community has recognized the extent of degradation, its consequences, and how little we have done to avoid further degradation only in the last two decades. Marine reserves are one of the main conservation actions that could help to reduce the impacts of human activities on the ecosystem, part...

  16. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management

    OpenAIRE

    Angela Dikou

    2010-01-01

    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 outbre...

  17. A continuous, real-time water quality monitoring system for the coral reef ecosystems of Nanwan Bay, Southern Taiwan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tew, Kwee Siong; Leu, Ming-Yih; Wang, Jih-Terng; Chang, Chia-Ming; Chen, Chung-Chi; Meng, Pei-Jie

    2014-08-30

    The coral reef ecosystems of Nanwan Bay, Southern Taiwan are undergoing degradation due to anthropogenic impacts, and as such have resulted in a decline in coral cover. As a first step in preventing the continual degradation of these coral reef environments, it is important to understand how changes in water quality affect these ecosystems on a fine-tuned timescale. To this end, a real-time water quality monitoring system was implemented in Nanwan Bay in 2010. We found that natural events, such as cold water intrusion due to upwelling, tended to elicit temporal shifts in coral spawning between 2010 and 2011. In addition, Degree Heating Weeks (DHWs), a commonly utilized predictor of coral bleaching, were 0.92 and 0.59 in summer 2010 and 2011, respectively. Though this quantity of DHW was below the presumed stress-inducing value for these reefs, a rise in DHWs in the future may stress the resident corals.

  18. Black reefs: iron-induced phase shifts on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, Linda Wegley; Barott, Katie L; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Friedlander, Alan M; Nosrat, Bahador; Obura, David; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A; Smith, Jennifer E; Vermeij, Mark J A; Williams, Gareth J; Willner, Dana; Rohwer, Forest

    2012-03-01

    The Line Islands are calcium carbonate coral reef platforms located in iron-poor regions of the central Pacific. Natural terrestrial run-off of iron is non-existent and aerial deposition is extremely low. However, a number of ship groundings have occurred on these atolls. The reefs surrounding the shipwreck debris are characterized by high benthic cover of turf algae, macroalgae, cyanobacterial mats and corallimorphs, as well as particulate-laden, cloudy water. These sites also have very low coral and crustose coralline algal cover and are call black reefs because of the dark-colored benthic community and reduced clarity of the overlying water column. Here we use a combination of benthic surveys, chemistry, metagenomics and microcosms to investigate if and how shipwrecks initiate and maintain black reefs. Comparative surveys show that the live coral cover was reduced from 40 to 60% to reefs on Millennium, Tabuaeran and Kingman. These three sites are relatively large (>0.75 km(2)). The phase shift occurs rapidly; the Kingman black reef formed within 3 years of the ship grounding. Iron concentrations in algae tissue from the Millennium black reef site were six times higher than in algae collected from reference sites. Metagenomic sequencing of the Millennium Atoll black reef-associated microbial community was enriched in iron-associated virulence genes and known pathogens. Microcosm experiments showed that corals were killed by black reef rubble through microbial activity. Together these results demonstrate that shipwrecks and their associated iron pose significant threats to coral reefs in iron-limited regions.

  19. Reproduction of the cold-water coral Primnoella chilensis (Philippi, 1894)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rossin, Ashley M.; Waller, Rhian G.; Försterra, Gunter

    2017-07-01

    This study examined the reproduction of a cold-water coral, Primnoella chilensis (Philippi, 1894) from the Comau and Reñihué fjords in Chilean Patagonia. Samples were collected in September and November of 2012 and April, June, and September of 2013 from three sites within the two fjords. The sexuality, reproductive mode, spermatocyst stage, oocyte size, and fecundity were determined using histological techniques. This species is gonochoristic with one aberrant hermaphrodite identified in this study. Reproduction was found to be seasonal, with the initiation of oogenesis in September and suggested a broadcast spawning event between June and September. The maximum oocyte size was 752.96 μm, suggesting a lecithotrophic larvae. The maximum fecundity was 36 oocytes per polyp. Male individuals were only found in April and June. In June, all four spermatocyst stages were present. This suggests that spermatogenesis requires less time than oogenesis in P. chilensis.

  20. On the influence of cold-water coral mound size on flow hydrodynamics, and vice versa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cyr, Frédéric; Haren, Hans; Mienis, Furu; Duineveld, Gerard; Bourgault, Daniel

    2016-01-01

    Using a combination of in situ observations and idealistic 2-D nonhydrostatic numerical simulations, the relation between cold-water coral (CWC) mound size and hydrodynamics is explored for the Rockall Bank area in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is shown that currents generated by topographically trapped tidal waves in this area cause large isopycnal depressions resulting from an internal hydraulic control above CWC mounds. The oxygen concentration distribution is used as a tracer to visualize the flow behavior and the turbulent mixing above the mounds. By comparing two CWC mounds of different sizes and located close to each other, it is shown that the resulting mixing is highly dependent on the size of the mound. The effects of the hydraulic control for mixing, nutrient availability, and ecosystem functioning are also discussed.

  1. Dynamics of nutrients, total organic carbon, prokaryotes and viruses in onboard incubations of cold-water corals

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Maier, C.; de Kluijver, A.; Agis, M.; Brussaard, C.P.D.; van Duyl, F.C.; Weinbauer, M.G.

    2011-01-01

    The potential influence of the cold-water corals (CWCs) Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata on the dynamics of inorganic nutrient and total organic carbon (TOC) concentrations and the abundances of prokaryotes and viruses in bottom water was assessed in onboard incubation experiments. Ammonium, n

  2. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Navas-Camacho, Raúl; Gil-Agudelo, Diego Luis; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto; Reyes-Nivia, María Catalina; Garzón-Ferreira, Jaime

    2010-05-01

    Since 1998 the National Monitoring System for the Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC) has monitored the occurrence of coral bleaching and diseases in some Colombian coral reefs (permanent stations at San Andres Island, Rosario Islands, Tayrona, San Bernardo Islands and Urabá). The main purpose is to evaluate their health status and to understand the factors that have been contributing to their decline. To estimate these occurrences, annual surveys in 126 permanent belt transects (10 x 2m) with different depth intervals (3-6 meters, 9-12 meters and 15-18 meters) are performed at all reef sites. Data from the 1998-2004 period, revealed that San Andrés Island had many colonies with diseases (38.9 colonies/m2), and Urabá had high numbers with bleaching (54.4 colonies/m2). Of the seven reported coral diseases studied, Dark Spots Disease (DSD), and White Plague Disease (WPD) were noteworthy because they occurred in all Caribbean monitored sites, and because of their high interannual infection incidence. Thirty five species of scleractinian corals were affected by at least one disease and a high incidence of coral diseases on the main reef builders is documented. Bleaching was present in 34 species. During the whole monitoring period, Agaricia agaricites and Siderastrea siderea were the species most severely affected by DSD and bleaching, respectively. Diseases on species such as Agaricia fragilis, A. grahamae, A. humilis, Diploria clivosa, Eusmilia fastigiata, Millepora complanata, and Mycetophyllia aliciae are recorded for first time in Colombia. We present bleaching and disease incidences, kinds of diseases, coral species affected, reef localities studied, depth intervals of surveys, and temporal (years) variation for each geographic area. This variation makes difficult to clearly determine defined patterns or general trends for monitored reefs. This is the first long-term study of coral diseases and bleaching in the Southwestern Caribbean, and one of the few long

  3. Low incidence of clonality in cold water corals revealed through the novel use of standardized protocol adapted to deep sea sampling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Becheler, Ronan; Cassone, Anne-Laure; Noel, Philippe; Mouchel, Olivier; Morrison, Cheryl; Arnaud-Haond, Sophie

    2016-01-01

    Sampling in the deep sea is a technical challenge, which has hindered the acquisition of robust datasets that are necessary to determine the fine-grained biological patterns and processes that may shape genetic diversity. Estimates of the extent of clonality in deep-sea species, despite the importance of clonality in shaping the local dynamics and evolutionary trajectories, have been largely obscured by such limitations. Cold-water coral reefs along European margins are formed mainly by two reef-building species, Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata. Here we present a fine-grained analysis of the genotypic and genetic composition of reefs occurring in the Bay of Biscay, based on an innovative deep-sea sampling protocol. This strategy was designed to be standardized, random, and allowed the georeferencing of all sampled colonies. Clonal lineages discriminated through their Multi-Locus Genotypes (MLG) at 6–7 microsatellite markers could thus be mapped to assess the level of clonality and the spatial spread of clonal lineages. High values of clonal richness were observed for both species across all sites suggesting a limited occurrence of clonality, which likely originated through fragmentation. Additionally, spatial autocorrelation analysis underlined the possible occurrence of fine-grained genetic structure in several populations of both L. pertusa and M. oculata. The two cold-water coral species examined had contrasting patterns of connectivity among canyons, with among-canyon genetic structuring detected in M. oculata, whereas L. pertusa was panmictic at the canyon scale. This study exemplifies that a standardized, random and georeferenced sampling strategy, while challenging, can be applied in the deep sea, and associated benefits outlined here include improved estimates of fine grained patterns of clonality and dispersal that are comparable across sites and among species.

  4. Can we measure beauty? Computational evaluation of coral reef aesthetics

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Haas, A.F.; Guibert, M.; Foerschner, A.; Co, T.; Calhoun, S.; George, E.; Hatay, M.; Dinsdale, E.; Sandin, S.A.; Smith, J.E.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Felts, B.; Dustan, P.; Salamon, P.; Rohwer, F.

    2015-01-01

    The natural beauty of coral reefs attracts millions of tourists worldwide resulting in substantial revenues for the adjoining economies. Although their visual appearance is a pivotal factor attracting humans to coral reefs current monitoring protocols exclusively target biogeochemical parameters,

  5. Calibration of Community-based Coral Reef Monitoring Protocols ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Keywords: coral reef monitoring, community-based, calibration. Abstract—Coral reef monitoring (CRM) has been recognised as an important management tool and has ..... Pollution Bulletin 40: 537-550. Wilkinson, C., Green, A., Almany, J. &.

  6. Can we measure beauty? Computational evaluation of coral reef aesthetics

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Haas, A.F.; Guibert, M.; Foerschner, A.; Co, T.; Calhoun, S.; George, E.; Hatay, M.; Dinsdale, E.; Sandin, S.A.; Smith, J.E.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Felts, B.; Dustan, P.; Salamon, P.; Rohwer, F.

    2015-01-01

    The natural beauty of coral reefs attracts millions of tourists worldwide resulting in substantial revenues for the adjoining economies. Although their visual appearance is a pivotal factor attracting humans to coral reefs current monitoring protocols exclusively target biogeochemical parameters, ne

  7. Zonation of uplifted pleistocene coral reefs on barbados, west indies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mesolella, K J

    1967-05-05

    The coral species composition of uplifted Pleistocene reefs on Barbados is very similar to Recent West Indian reefs. Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis, and Montastrea annularis are qtuantitatively the most important of the coral species.

  8. New protection initiatives announced for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    Off the coasts of some of the South Pacific's most idyllic-sounding atolls, Austin Bowden-Kerby has seen first-hand the heavy damage to coral reefs from dynamite and cyanide fishing. For instance, while snorkeling near Chuuk, an island in Micronesia, he has observed craters and rubble beds of coral, which locals have told him date to World War II ordnance.A marine biologist and project scientist for the Coral Gardens Initiative of the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific, Bowden-Kerby has also identified what he says are some public health effects related to destroyed coral reefs and their dying fisheries. These problems include protein and vitamin A deficiency and blindness, all of which may—in some instances—be linked to poor nutrition resulting from lower reef fish consumption by islanders, according to Bowden-Kerby.

  9. Resetting predator baselines in coral reef ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bradley, Darcy; Conklin, Eric; Papastamatiou, Yannis P.; McCauley, Douglas J.; Pollock, Kydd; Pollock, Amanda; Kendall, Bruce E.; Gaines, Steven D.; Caselle, Jennifer E.

    2017-01-01

    What did coral reef ecosystems look like before human impacts became pervasive? Early efforts to reconstruct baselines resulted in the controversial suggestion that pristine coral reefs have inverted trophic pyramids, with disproportionally large top predator biomass. The validity of the coral reef inverted trophic pyramid has been questioned, but until now, was not resolved empirically. We use data from an eight-year tag-recapture program with spatially explicit, capture-recapture models to re-examine the population size and density of a key top predator at Palmyra atoll, the same location that inspired the idea of inverted trophic biomass pyramids in coral reef ecosystems. Given that animal movement is suspected to have significantly biased early biomass estimates of highly mobile top predators, we focused our reassessment on the most mobile and most abundant predator at Palmyra, the grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). We estimated a density of 21.3 (95% CI 17.8, 24.7) grey reef sharks/km2, which is an order of magnitude lower than the estimates that suggested an inverted trophic pyramid. Our results indicate that the trophic structure of an unexploited reef fish community is not inverted, and that even healthy top predator populations may be considerably smaller, and more precarious, than previously thought. PMID:28220895

  10. High thermal tolerance of two Mediterranean cold-water coral species maintained in aquaria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Naumann, M. S.; Orejas, C.; Ferrier-Pagès, C.

    2013-09-01

    In the Mediterranean deep-sea, scleractinian cold-water corals (CWC) are observed to survive at the uppermost end of their presumed thermal distribution range (4-13 °C). Here, we show that 2 common CWC species (i.e. Dendrophyllia cornigera and Desmophyllum dianthus) maintained in aquaria can indeed tolerate considerably elevated seawater temperatures (17.5 ± 0.1 °C), while growing at similar ( D. dianthus) or significantly higher ( D. cornigera) rates than conspecifics cultured in parallel for 87 days at ambient Mediterranean deep-sea temperature (12.5 ± 0.1 °C). Neither differences in coral appearance nor mortality were evident for both species at either temperature. D. dianthus grew significantly faster (0.23 ± 0.08 % day-1) than D. cornigera (0.05 ± 0.01 % day-1) under ambient thermal conditions. Growth of D. cornigera increased significantly (0.14 ± 0.07 % day-1) at elevated temperature, while Desmophyllum dianthus growth showed no significant difference under both conditions. These findings suggest that D. dianthus and D. cornigera may be capable of surviving in warmer environments than previously reported, and thus challenge temperature as the paramount limiting environmental factor for the occurrence of some CWC species.

  11. Impact of Global Warming on Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sirilak CHUMKIEW

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available In this paper, we review coral reef responses to climate variability and discuss the possible mechanisms by which climate impacts the coral reef ecosystem. Effects of oceanographic variables such as sea temperature, turbulence, salinity, and nutrients on the coral reef are discussed in terms of their influence on coral growth, reproduction, mortality, acclimation and adaptation. Organisms tend to be limited to specific thermal ranges with experimental findings showing that sufficient oxygen supply by ventilation and circulation only occurs within these ranges. Indirect effects of climate change on the food web are also discussed. Further integrative studies are required to improve our knowledge of the processes linking coral reef responses to future climate change scenarios.Graphical abstract► Incidence of coral reef bleaching on a worldwide scale: location of bleaching reports during 1979 - 2010. Maps are from ReefBase, www.reefbase.org: 1, Arabian Gulf (United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran; 2, Red Sea; 3, east Africa; 4, southern Africa (Mozambique, South Africa; 5, Madagascar; 6, Mauritius, Reunion; 7, Seychelles; 8, Chagos; 9, Maldives; 10, Sri Lanka/southern India; 11, Andaman Sea (Andamans, Thailand, Malaysia; 12, South China Sea (Vietnam, Paracel Islands; 13, Philippines; 14, Indonesia; 15, western Australia; 16, Great Barrier Reef; 17, Ryukyu Islands; 18, Mariana Islands; 19, Palau; 20, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu; 21, Fiji; 22, Samoa; 23, French Polynesia (including Moorea; 24, Hawaiian Islands; 25, Easter Island; 26, Galapagos Islands; 27, equatorial eastern Pacific (Costa Rica, Cocos Island, Panama´, Colombia, Ecuador; 28, subtropical eastern Pacific (Mexico; 29, Mesoamerican reef system (Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua; 30, Greater Antilles (Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands; 31, Bahamas, Florida; 32, Bermuda; 33, Lesser Antilles; 34, Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Los Roques; 35, Brazil.

  12. Palmyra Atoll coral reef habitat mapping completion report

    OpenAIRE

    2010-01-01

    The United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order 13089 to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. Current, accurate, and consistent maps greatly enhance efforts to preserve and manage coral reef ecosystems. With comprehensive maps and habitat assessments, coral reef managers can be more effective in designing and implementing a variety of conservation measures, including: • Long-term monitoring programs with ...

  13. The influence of near-bed hydrodynamic conditions on cold-water corals in the Viosca Knoll area, Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G. C. A.; Davies, A. J.; Ross, S. W.; Seim, H.; Bane, J.; van Weering, T. C. E.

    2012-01-01

    Near-bed hydrodynamic conditions were recorded for almost one year in the Viosca Knoll area (lease block 826), one of the most well-developed cold-water coral habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. Here, a reef-like cold-water coral ecosystem, dominated by the coral Lophelia pertusa, resembles coral habitats found off the southeastern US coast and the North East Atlantic. Two landers were deployed in the vicinity and outside of the coral habitat and measured multiple near-bed parameters, including temperature, salinity, current speed and direction and optical and acoustic backscatter. Additionally, the lander deployed closest to the coral area was equipped with a sediment trap that collected settling particles over the period of deployment at 27 day intervals. Long-term monitoring showed, that in general, environmental parameters, such as temperature (6.5-11.6 °C), salinity (34.95-35.4) and current speed (average 8 cm s -1, peak current speed up to 38 cm s -1) largely resembled conditions previously recorded within North East Atlantic coral habitats. Major differences between site VK 826 and coral areas in the NE Atlantic were the much higher particle load, and the origin of the particulate matter. Several significant events occurred during the deployment period beginning with an increase in current speed followed by a gradual increase in temperature and salinity, followed by a rapid decrease in temperature and salinity. Simultaneously with the decrease in temperature and salinity, the direction of the current changed from west to east and cold and less turbid water was transported upslope. The most prominent event occurred in July, when a westward flow lasted over 21 days. These events are consistent with bottom boundary layer dynamics influenced by friction (bottom Ekman layer). The Mississippi River discharges large quantities of sediment and dominates sedimentation regimes in the area. Furthermore, the Mississippi River disperses large amounts of terrestrial organic

  14. Near-bed environmental conditions influencing cold-water coral growth on Viosca Knoll, Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G.; Davies, A. J.; Weering, T. V.; Ross, S.; Roberts, M.; Seim, H.

    2010-12-01

    During recent decades research has shown that cold-water coral (CWC) ecosystems are widely distributed on the margins of the Atlantic Ocean, representing the most species rich ecosystems in the upper bathyal zone. On the European continental margin and the continental slope from North Carolina to Florida, CWCs have formed large reef and mound structures. Presently detailed studies on the environmental constraints in CWC areas are limited to the NE Atlantic. This is the first study showing long-term environmental variability in a CWC habitat in the West Atlantic. The most extensive CWC area known in the Gulf of Mexico is found on the Viosca Knoll (480 m), located in the vicinity of the Mississippi River. This source dominates sedimentation patterns, discharging large amounts of sediments and dispersing organic matter and nutrients. In the coral area, CTD transects were made and benthic landers were deployed for a period of 12 months to identify near-bed environmental conditions, seasonal variability and the forcing mechanisms of particle supply. The importance of studying the functioning of deep water ecosystems was underpinned by the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which might pose a risk for the CWC ecosystems. CTD transects showed an oxygen minimum zone at the depth of the corals. Long term deployments of landers revealed intra-annual temperature (6.5-11.6 °C) and salinity fluctuations, which co-vary during the year. Food supply appears not to be driven by surface processes due to low fluorescence (except for two periods in April and June), but an indirect mechanism of transport may be a 24 hour diel vertical migration of zooplankton. The average current speed in the area varies at around 8 cms-1, whilst peak current speeds were recorded up to 38 cms-1. East-west currents are strongest in the area corresponding with flow along isobaths. During westward flow, the amount of particles in the water column increases, while during eastward flow clearer water is

  15. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are often found near coastal waters where multiple anthropogenic stressors co-occur at areas of human disturbance. Developing coral reef biocriteria under the U.S. Clean Water Act requires relationships between anthropogenic stressors and coral reef condition to be es...

  16. Coral Reefs: A Gallery Program, Grades 7-12.

    Science.gov (United States)

    National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. Dept. of Education.

    Gallery classes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore give the opportunity to study specific aquarium exhibits which demonstrate entire natural habitats. The coral reef gallery class features the gigantic western Atlantic coral reef (325,000 gallons) with over 1,000 fish. The exhibit simulates a typical Caribbean coral reef and nearby sandy…

  17. Coral Reefs: A Gallery Program, Grades 7-12.

    Science.gov (United States)

    National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. Dept. of Education.

    Gallery classes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore give the opportunity to study specific aquarium exhibits which demonstrate entire natural habitats. The coral reef gallery class features the gigantic western Atlantic coral reef (325,000 gallons) with over 1,000 fish. The exhibit simulates a typical Caribbean coral reef and nearby sandy…

  18. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are often found near coastal waters where multiple anthropogenic stressors co-occur at areas of human disturbance. Developing coral reef biocriteria under the U.S. Clean Water Act requires relationships between anthropogenic stressors and coral reef condition to be es...

  19. A cold-water coral carbonate mound on the decline: Propeller Mound, northern Porcupine Seabight

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorschel, B.; Hebbeln, D.; Rüggeberg, A.; Dullo, C.

    2003-04-01

    Radiocarbon and U/Th datings reveal that the top sediment sequence of the Propeller Mound in the Hovland Mound Province is incomplete and characterised by numerous hiatuses. Stable oxygen isotope data obtained on benthic foraminifera indicate that almost only interstadial sediments are preserved, while interglacial and full glacial sediments are missing. The Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW), assumed to be crucial for the development of the cold-water corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora occulata found on Propeller Mound and in its sediments, reaches the Porcupine Seabight in its full strength only during interglacials, while it is absent during glacials. ROV observations show that under present-day conditions the MOW supports coral growth at the top of Propeller Mound, while at the same time it causes substantial erosion on its flanks, where scouring might lead to subsequent slumping. Thus, the hiatuses found in the sediment sequence of Propeller Mound are most likely caused by the strong bottom currents associated with the MOW. Especially during the terminations when the MOW circulation was re-established most of the glacial sediments, deposited under rather smooth conditions, might have been eroded and/or wasted downslope. Such erosion-favourable conditions lasted through the interglacials resulting in the ongoing removal of the interglacial sediments. During the interstadials the interplay between bottom current strength, coral growth and sedimentation resulted in sediment sequences which had a bigger chance to get preserved. Through the last 300 000 years the netto sedimentation on Propeller Mound is by far less compared to the surrounding off-mound sediments. Thus, at least over this time span the mound is shrinking relative to the seafloor around it and if this development continues into the future the Propeller Mound will get buried and follow the fate of the already buried near-by Magellan Mounds.

  20. 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.

  1. Coral reef evolution on rapidly subsiding margins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, J.M.; Braga, J.C.; Clague, D.A.; Gallup, C.; Hein, J.R.; Potts, D.C.; Renema, W.; Riding, R.; Riker-Coleman, K.; Silver, E.; Wallace, L.M.

    2009-01-01

    A series of well-developed submerged coral reefs are preserved in the Huon Gulf (Papua New Guinea) and around Hawaii. Despite different tectonics settings, both regions have experienced rapid subsidence (2-6??m/ka) over the last 500??ka. Rapid subsidence, combined with eustatic sea-level changes, is responsible for repeated drowning and backstepping of coral reefs over this period. Because we can place quantitative constraints on these systems (i.e., reef drowning age, eustatic sea-level changes, subsidence rates, accretion rates, basement substrates, and paleobathymetry), these areas represent unique natural laboratories for exploring the roles of tectonics, reef accretion, and eustatic sea-level changes in controlling the evolution of individual reefs, as well as backstepping of the entire system. A review of new and existing bathymetric, radiometric, sedimentary facies and numerical modeling data indicate that these reefs have had long, complex growth histories and that they are highly sensitive, recording drowning not only during major deglaciations, but also during high-frequency, small-amplitude interstadial and deglacial meltwater pulse events. Analysis of five generalized sedimentary facies shows that reef drowning is characterized by a distinct biological and sedimentary sequence. Observational and numerical modeling data indicate that on precessional (20??ka) and sub-orbital timescales, the rate and amplitude of eustatic sea-level changes are critical in controlling initiation, growth, drowning or sub-aerial exposure, subsequent re-initiation, and final drowning. However, over longer timescales (> 100-500??ka) continued tectonic subsidence and basement substrate morphology influence broad scale reef morphology and backstepping geometries. Drilling of these reefs will yield greatly expanded stratigraphic sections compared with similar reefs on slowly subsiding, stable and uplifting margins, and thus they represent a unique archive of sea-level and climate

  2. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark J A Vermeij

    Full Text Available Free-swimming larvae of tropical corals go through a critical life-phase when they return from the open ocean to select a suitable settlement substrate. During the planktonic phase of their life cycle, the behaviours of small coral larvae (<1 mm that influence settlement success are difficult to observe in situ and are therefore largely unknown. Here, we show that coral larvae respond to acoustic cues that may facilitate detection of habitat from large distances and from upcurrent of preferred settlement locations. Using in situ choice chambers, we found that settling coral larvae were attracted to reef sounds, produced mainly by fish and crustaceans, which we broadcast underwater using loudspeakers. Our discovery that coral larvae can detect and respond to sound is the first description of an auditory response in the invertebrate phylum Cnidaria, which includes jellyfish, anemones, and hydroids as well as corals. If, like settlement-stage reef fish and crustaceans, coral larvae use reef noise as a cue for orientation, the alleviation of noise pollution in the marine environment may gain further urgency.

  3. Tidal downwelling and implications for the carbon biogeochemistry of cold-water corals in relation to future ocean acidification and warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Findlay, Helen S; Artioli, Yuri; Moreno Navas, Juan; Hennige, Sebastian J; Wicks, Laura C; Huvenne, Veerle A I; Woodward, E Malcolm S; Roberts, J Murray

    2013-09-01

    Cold-water coral (CWC) reefs are recognized as ecologically and biologically significant areas that generate habitats and diversity. The interaction between hydrodynamics and CWCs has been well studied at the Mingulay Reef Complex, a relatively shallow area of reefs found on the continental shelf off Scotland, UK. Within 'Mingulay Area 01' a rapid tidal downwelling of surface waters, brought about as an internal wave, is known to supply warmer, phytoplankton-rich waters to corals growing on the northern flank of an east-west trending seabed ridge. This study shows that this tidal downwelling also causes short-term perturbations in the inorganic carbon (CT ) and nutrient dynamics through the water column and immediately above the reef. Over a 14 h period, corresponding to one semi-diurnal tidal cycle, seawater pH overlying the reef varied by ca. 0.1 pH unit, while pCO2 shifted by >60 μatm, a shift equivalent to a ca. 25 year jump into the future, with respect to atmospheric pCO2 . During the summer stratified period, these downwelling events result in the reef being washed over with surface water that has higher pH, is warmer, nutrient depleted, but rich in phytoplankton-derived particles compared to the deeper waters in which the corals sit. Empirical observations, together with outputs from the European Regional Shelf Sea Ecosystem Model, demonstrate that the variability that the CWC reefs experience changes through the seasons and into the future. Hence, as ocean acidification and warming increase into the future, the downwelling event specific to this site could provide short-term amelioration of corrosive conditions at certain times of the year; however, it could additionally result in enhanced detrimental impacts of warming on CWCs. Natural variability in the CT and nutrient conditions, as well as local hydrodynamic regimes, must be accounted for in any future predictions concerning the responses of marine ecosystems to climate change. © 2013 John Wiley

  4. The West Melilla cold water coral mounds, Eastern Alboran Sea: Morphological characterization and environmental context

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lo Iacono, Claudio; Gràcia, Eulàlia; Ranero, Cesar R.; Emelianov, Mikhail; Huvenne, Veerle A. I.; Bartolomé, Rafael; Booth-Rea, Guillermo; Prades, Javier; Ambroso, Stefano; Dominguez, Carlos; Grinyó, Jordi; Rubio, Eduardo; Torrent, Josep

    2014-01-01

    A new mound field, the West Melilla mounds, interpreted as being cold-water coral mounds, has been recently unveiled along the upper slope of the Mediterranean Moroccan continental margin, a few kilometers west of the Cape Tres Forcas. This study is based on the integration of high-resolution geophysical data (swath bathymetry, parametric sub-bottom profiler), CTD casts, Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), ROV video and seafloor sampling, acquired during the TOPOMED GASSIS (2011) and MELCOR (2012) cruises. Up to 103 mounds organized in two main clusters have been recognized in a depth range of 299-590 m, displaying a high density of 5 mounds/km2. Mounds, 1-48 m high above the surrounding seafloor and on average 260 m wide, are actually buried by a 1-12 m thick fine-grained sediment blanket. Seismic data suggest that the West Melilla mounds grew throughout the Early Pleistocene-Holocene, settling on erosive unconformities and mass movement deposits. During the last glacial-interglacial transition, the West Melilla mounds may have suffered a drastic change of the local sedimentary regime during the late Holocene and, unable to stand increasing depositional rates, were progressively buried. At the present day, temperature and salinity values on the West Melilla mounds suggest a plausible oceanographic setting, suitable for live CWCs. Nonetheless, more data is required to groundtruth the West Melilla mounds and better constrain the interplay of sedimentary and oceanographic factors during the evolution of the West Melilla mounds.

  5. Resistance of Two Mediterranean Cold-Water Coral Species to Low-pH Conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juancho Movilla

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Deep-water ecosystems are characterized by relatively low carbonate concentration values and, due to ocean acidification (OA, these habitats might be among the first to be exposed to undersaturated conditions in the forthcoming years. However, until now, very few studies have been conducted to test how cold-water coral (CWC species react to such changes in the seawater chemistry. The present work aims to investigate the mid-term effect of decreased pH on calcification of the two branching CWC species most widely distributed in the Mediterranean, Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata. No significant effects were observed in the skeletal growth rate, microdensity and porosity of both species after 6 months of exposure. However, while the calcification rate of M. oculata was similar for all colony fragments, a heterogeneous skeletal growth pattern was observed in L. pertusa, the younger nubbins showing higher growth rates than the older ones. A higher energy demand is expected in these young, fast-growing fragments and, therefore, a reduction in calcification might be noticed earlier during long-term exposure to acidified conditions.

  6. Biodiversity and ecological composition of macrobenthos on cold-water coral mounds and adjacent off-mound habitat in the bathyal Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henry, Lea-Anne; Roberts, J. Murray

    2007-04-01

    The cold-water scleractinian corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata form mound structures on the continental shelf and slope in the NE Atlantic. This study is the first to compare the taxonomic biodiversity and ecological composition of the macrobenthos between on- and off-mound habitats. Seven box cores from the summits of three mounds and four cores from an adjacent off-mound area in the Belgica Mound Province in the Porcupine Seabight yielded 349 species, including 10 undescribed species. On-mound habitat was three times more speciose, and was richer with higher evenness and significantly greater Shannon's diversity than off-mound. Species composition differed significantly between habitats and the four best discriminating species were Pliobothrus symmetricus (more frequent off-mound), Crisia nov. sp, Aphrocallistes bocagei and Lophelia pertusa (all more frequent on-mound). Filter/suspension feeders were significantly more abundant on-mound, while deposit feeders were significantly more abundant off-mound. Species composition did not significantly differ between mounds, but similarity within replicates decreased from Galway Moundcoral mounds have a characteristic "reef fauna" linked to species' biology that contrasts with the higher horizontal habitat heterogeneity conferred by the action of deposit feeders and a varied seabed sedimentary facies off-mound. Standardisation of equipment and restriction of analyses to higher taxonomic levels would facilitate prospective comparative analyses of cold-water coral biodiversity across larger spatio-temporal scales.

  7. 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...

  8. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program: Coral Reef Habitat Mapping Projects in 2016

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Maps are a critical cornerstone of coral reef management, research and planning, with direct links to management needs in a number of forms. To accurately...

  9. Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Sharon H.; Newton, R. Amanda; Ortiz, Alida

    This activity book on coral reefs for middle school students is divided into 10 sections. Section 1 contains the introduction. Section 2 describes what coral reefs are while section 3 describes how coral reefs reproduce and grow. Section 4 discusses where coral reefs are found and section 5 describes life on a coral reef. Section 6 discusses the…

  10. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Since 1998 the National Monitoring System for the Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC has monitored the occurrence of coral bleaching and diseases in some Colombian coral reefs (permanent stations at San Andres Island, Rosario Islands, Tayrona, San Bernardo Islands and Urabá. The main purpose is to evaluate their health status and to understand the factors that have been contributing to their decline. To estimate these occurrences, annual surveys in 126 permanent belt transects (10x2m with different depth intervals (3-6 meters, 9-12 meters and 15-18 meters are performed at all reef sites. Data from the 1998-2004 period, revealed that San Andrés Island had many colonies with diseases (38.9 colonies/m2, and Urabá had high numbers with bleaching (54.4 colonies/m2. Of the seven reported coral diseases studied, Dark Spots Disease (DSD, and White Plague Disease (WPD were noteworthy because they occurred in all Caribbean monitored sites, and because of their high interannual infection incidence. Thirty five species of scleractinian corals were affected by at least one disease and a high incidence of coral diseases on the main reef builders is documented. Bleaching was present in 34 species. During the whole monitoring period, Agaricia agaricites and Siderastrea siderea were the species most severely affected by DSD and bleaching, respectively. Diseases on species such as Agaricia fragilis, A.grahamae, A. humilis, Diploria clivosa, Eusmilia fastigiata, Millepora complanata, and Mycetophyllia aliciae are recorded for first time in Colombia. We present bleaching and disease incidences, kinds of diseases, coral species affected, reef localities studied, depth intervals of surveys, and temporal (years variation for each geographic area. This variation makes difficult to clearly determine defined patterns or general trends for monitored reefs. This is the first long-term study of coral diseases and bleaching in the Southwestern Caribbean, and one of the few

  11. Reefs for the future: Resilience of coral reefs in the main Hawaiian Islands

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Declining health of coral reef ecosystems led scientists to search for factors that support reef resilience: the ability of reefs to resist and recover from...

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. New cold-water coral occurrences in the Eastern Ionian Sea: Results from experimental long line fishing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mytilineou, Ch.; Smith, C. J.; Anastasopoulou, A.; Papadopoulou, K. N.; Christidis, G.; Bekas, P.; Kavadas, S.; Dokos, J.

    2014-01-01

    Our knowledge on the cold-water corals (CWCs) occurring in the deep waters of Eastern Ionian Sea (E. Mediterranean) has improved with new species records and information related to their occurrence, abundance, distribution, morphological and other characteristics. Data were collected from accidental coral catches during experimental long-line fishing using two different hook sizes (No. 7 targeting hake and No. 9 targeting blackspot seabream). Eight coral taxa were identified, with new records for the E. Ionian Sea for Antipathes dichotoma, Desmophyllum dianthus, Swiftia pallida and Pennatula phosphorea. CWCs occurred in 72% of the long lines and most of them were entire and live (except Leiopathes glaberrima). The most frequently caught coral group was Antipatharia. Isidella elongata and A. dichotoma presented the highest abundance. The main bulk of the corals was caught between 500 and 600 m depth. Some of the identified corals (L. glaberrima and I. elongata) seemed to have more close relationships with some species of the fish assemblage (Galeus melastomus, Helicolenus dactylopterus) inhabiting the study area. Species richness and coral catch in numbers were higher for the smaller hook size (No. 9), which caught the larger entire living colonies of A. dichotoma, L. glaberrima and I. elongata. As a result, the corals collected during the present study, characterized by slow growth rates and high longevities, could be considered vulnerable to the gear used in blackspot seabream fishery; this implies the need for more research, monitoring, protection and sustainable management.

  16. Fishing down nutrients on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allgeier, Jacob E.; Valdivia, Abel; Cox, Courtney; Layman, Craig A.

    2016-08-01

    Fishing is widely considered a leading cause of biodiversity loss in marine environments, but the potential effect on ecosystem processes, such as nutrient fluxes, is less explored. Here, we test how fishing on Caribbean coral reefs influences biodiversity and ecosystem functions provided by the fish community, that is, fish-mediated nutrient capacity. Specifically, we modelled five processes of nutrient storage (in biomass) and supply (via excretion) of nutrients, as well as a measure of their multifunctionality, onto 143 species of coral reef fishes across 110 coral reef fish communities. These communities span a gradient from extreme fishing pressure to protected areas with little to no fishing. We find that in fished sites fish-mediated nutrient capacity is reduced almost 50%, despite no substantial changes in the number of species. Instead, changes in community size and trophic structure were the primary cause of shifts in ecosystem function. These findings suggest that a broader perspective that incorporates predictable impacts of fishing pressure on ecosystem function is imperative for effective coral reef conservation and management.

  17. Water Quality Standards for Coral Reef Protection

    Science.gov (United States)

    The U.S. Clean Water Act provides a legal framework to protect coastal biological resources such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows from the damaging effects of human activities. Even though many resources are protected under this authority, water quality stan...

  18. Climate change and coral reef connectivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munday, P. L.; Leis, J. M.; Lough, J. M.; Paris, C. B.; Kingsford, M. J.; Berumen, M. L.; Lambrechts, J.

    2009-06-01

    This review assesses and predicts the impacts that rapid climate change will have on population connectivity in coral reef ecosystems, using fishes as a model group. Increased ocean temperatures are expected to accelerate larval development, potentially leading to reduced pelagic durations and earlier reef-seeking behaviour. Depending on the spatial arrangement of reefs, the expectation would be a reduction in dispersal distances and the spatial scale of connectivity. Small increase in temperature might enhance the number of larvae surviving the pelagic phase, but larger increases are likely to reduce reproductive output and increase larval mortality. Changes to ocean currents could alter the dynamics of larval supply and changes to planktonic productivity could affect how many larvae survive the pelagic stage and their condition at settlement; however, these patterns are likely to vary greatly from place-to-place and projections of how oceanographic features will change in the future lack sufficient certainty and resolution to make robust predictions. Connectivity could also be compromised by the increased fragmentation of reef habitat due to the effects of coral bleaching and ocean acidification. Changes to the spatial and temporal scales of connectivity have implications for the management of coral reef ecosystems, especially the design and placement of marine-protected areas. The size and spacing of protected areas may need to be strategically adjusted if reserve networks are to retain their efficacy in the future.

  19. 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.

  20. Coral identity underpins architectural complexity on Caribbean reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Dulvy, Nicholas K; Côte, Isabelle M; Watkinson, Andrew R; Gill, Jennifer A

    2011-09-01

    The architectural complexity of ecosystems can greatly influence their capacity to support biodiversity and deliver ecosystem services. Understanding the components underlying this complexity can aid the development of effective strategies for ecosystem conservation. Caribbean coral reefs support and protect millions of livelihoods, but recent anthropogenic change is shifting communities toward reefs dominated by stress-resistant coral species, which are often less architecturally complex. With the regionwide decline in reef fish abundance, it is becoming increasingly important to understand changes in coral reef community structure and function. We quantify the influence of coral composition, diversity, and morpho-functional traits on the architectural complexity of reefs across 91 sites at Cozumel, Mexico. Although reef architectural complexity increases with coral cover and species richness, it is highest on sites that are low in taxonomic evenness and dominated by morpho-functionally important, reef-building coral genera, particularly Montastraea. Sites with similar coral community composition also tend to occur on reefs with very similar architectural complexity, suggesting that reef structure tends to be determined by the same key species across sites. Our findings provide support for prioritizing and protecting particular reef types, especially those dominated by key reef-building corals, in order to enhance reef complexity.

  1. Fish communities associated with cold-water corals vary with depth and substratum type

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milligan, Rosanna J.; Spence, Gemma; Roberts, J. Murray; Bailey, David M.

    2016-08-01

    Understanding the processes that drive the distribution patterns of organisms and the scales over which these processes operate are vital when considering the effective management of species with high commercial or conservation value. In the deep sea, the importance of scleractinian cold-water corals (CWCs) to fish has been the focus of several studies but their role remains unclear. We propose this may be due to the confounding effects of multiple drivers operating over multiple spatial scales. The aims of this study were to investigate the role of CWCs in shaping fish community structure and individual species-habitat associations across four spatial scales in the NE Atlantic ranging from "regions" (separated by >500 km) to "substratum types" (contiguous). Demersal fish and substratum types were quantified from three regions: Logachev Mounds, Rockall Bank and Hebrides Terrace Seamount (HTS). PERMANOVA analyses showed significant differences in community composition between all regions which were most likely caused by differences in depths. Within regions, significant variation in community composition was recorded at scales of c. 20-3500 m. CWCs supported significantly different fish communities to non-CWC substrata at Rockall Bank, Logachev and the HTS. Single-species analyses using generalised linear mixed models showed that Sebastes sp. was strongly associated with CWCs at Rockall Bank and that Neocyttus helgae was more likely to occur in CWCs at the HTS. Depth had a significant effect on several other fish species. The results of this study suggest that the importance of CWCs to fish is species-specific and depends on the broader spatial context in which the substratum is found. The precautionary approach would be to assume that CWCs are important for associated fish, but must acknowledge that CWCs in different depths will not provide redundancy or replication within spatially-managed conservation networks.

  2. Influence of Coral Bleaching on the Fauna of Tutia Reef, Tanzania

    OpenAIRE

    Öhman, M.C.; Lindahl, U.; Schelten, C.K.

    1999-01-01

    In 1998, coral reefs of Tanzania were severely affected by bleaching. The coral mortality that followed caused a concern for coral reef degradation and overall resource depletion. In this study, we investigated coral bleaching effects on the coral reef fauna at Tutia Reef in Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania. Corals from adjacent reef patches of the species Acropora formosa were transplanted into plots, and reef structure and associated fish assemblages were examined before and after the ble...

  3. Climate-driven coral reorganisation influences aggressive behaviour in juvenile coral-reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kok, Judith E.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.

    2016-06-01

    Globally, habitat degradation is altering the abundance and diversity of species in a variety of ecosystems. This study aimed to determine how habitat degradation, in terms of changing coral composition under climate change, affected abundance, species richness and aggressive behaviour of juveniles of three damselfishes ( Pomacentrus moluccensis, P. amboinensis and Dischistodus perspicillatus, in order of decreasing reliance on coral). Patch reefs were constructed to simulate two types of reefs: present-day reefs that are vulnerable to climate-induced coral bleaching, and reefs with more bleaching-robust coral taxa, thereby simulating the likely future of coral reefs under a warming climate. Fish communities were allowed to establish naturally on the reefs during the summer recruitment period. Climate-robust reefs had lower total species richness of coral-reef fishes than climate-vulnerable reefs, but total fish abundance was not significantly different between reef types (pooled across all species and life-history stages). The nature of aggressive interactions, measured as the number of aggressive chases, varied according to coral composition; on climate-robust reefs, juveniles used the substratum less often to avoid aggression from competitors, and interspecific aggression became relatively more frequent than intraspecific aggression for juveniles of the coral-obligate P. moluccensis. This study highlights the importance of coral composition as a determinant of behaviour and diversity of coral-reef fishes.

  4. Sensing coral reef connectivity pathways from space

    KAUST Repository

    Raitsos, Dionysios E.

    2017-08-18

    Coral reefs rely on inter-habitat connectivity to maintain gene flow, biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. Coral reef communities of the Red Sea exhibit remarkable genetic homogeneity across most of the Arabian Peninsula coastline, with a genetic break towards the southern part of the basin. While previous studies have attributed these patterns to environmental heterogeneity, we hypothesize that they may also emerge as a result of dynamic circulation flow; yet, such linkages remain undemonstrated. Here, we integrate satellite-derived biophysical observations, particle dispersion model simulations, genetic population data and ship-borne in situ profiles to assess reef connectivity in the Red Sea. We simulated long-term (>20 yrs.) connectivity patterns driven by remotely-sensed sea surface height and evaluated results against estimates of genetic distance among populations of anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, along the eastern Red Sea coastline. Predicted connectivity was remarkably consistent with genetic population data, demonstrating that circulation features (eddies, surface currents) formulate physical pathways for gene flow. The southern basin has lower physical connectivity than elsewhere, agreeing with known genetic structure of coral reef organisms. The central Red Sea provides key source regions, meriting conservation priority. Our analysis demonstrates a cost-effective tool to estimate biophysical connectivity remotely, supporting coastal management in data-limited regions.

  5. Trophic ecology of two cold-water coral species from the Mediterranean Sea revealed by lipid biomarkers and compound-specific isotope analyses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Naumann, Malik S.; Tolosa, Imma; Taviani, Marco; Grover, Renaud; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2015-12-01

    Scleractinian cold-water corals (CWC) act as key ecosystem engineers in deep-sea reef environments worldwide. However, our current understanding of their trophic ecology is still limited, particularly in understudied temperate oceanic regions such as the Mediterranean Sea. Hence, this study investigated the trophic ecology of the CWC Desmophyllum dianthus and Madrepora oculata by employing lipid biomarker techniques and compound-specific isotope analyses on coral tissues, suspended particulate organic matter (sPOM), and surface sediment sampled in a Mediterranean CWC habitat. CWC exhibited high contents of poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids (FA) (≥49 and 32 % of FA, respectively) and cholesterol (≥67 % of sterols), while sPOM and sediment samples were enriched in saturated FA (≥44 % of FA) and sitosterol (≥35 % of sterols). CWC contained some rare very long-chained polyunsaturated FA (>C22) and ergosterol absent in sPOM and sediment samples. Our results indicate that Mediterranean CWC mainly consume living food items, rather than detrital sPOM or resuspended sediment, and provide evidence for preferred feeding on omnivorous and carnivorous zooplankton. Overall, these findings provide new insights to the trophic ecology of two common CWC from the Mediterranean Sea.

  6. Carrying capacity of coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    The sustainable yield of a commercially exploited fishery is assessed by the biological and environmental factors (including fishing effort). These parameters with a reef are vastly diverse-size, location, species diversity, productivity type...

  7. The Decline of Coral Reefs: a Political Economy Approach

    OpenAIRE

    Samuel, Asumadu-Sarkodie

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs provide economic services like job, food and tourism. Yet, within the past decades, there has been an overwhelming decline in the vitality of coral reefs and their ecosystem. Scientist have not be able to set the record straight regarding their scientific argument on biodiversity and ecological wealth of natural environment. Therefore, actions to recover coral reefs from destruction have proved futile. This paper will analyze the economical values, economic valuation, socioeconomi...

  8. Evaluation of Stony Coral Indicators for Coral Reef ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colonies of reef-building stony corals at 57 stations around St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands were characterized by species, size and percentage of living tissue. Taxonomic, biological and physical indicators of coral condition were derived from these measurements and assessed for their response to gradients of human disturbance. The purpose of the study was to identify indicators that could be used for regulatory assessments under authority of the Clean Water Act--this requires that indicators distinguish anthropogenic disturbances from natural variation. Stony coral indicators were tested for correlation with human disturbance across gradients located on three different sides of the island. At the most intensely disturbed location, five of eight primary indicators were highly correlated with distance from the source of disturbance: Coral taxa richness, average colony size, the coefficient of variation of colony size (an indicator of colony size heterogeneity), total topographic coral surface area, and live coral surface area. An additional set of exploratory indicators related to rarity, reproductive and spawning mode, and taxonomic identity were also screened for association with disturbance at the same location. For the other two locations, there were no significant changes in indicator values and therefore no discernible effects of human activity. Coral indicators demonstrated sufficient precision to detect levels of change that would be applicable in a regio

  9. 75 FR 39917 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-13

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of the South Atlantic Region. The applicant has... Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF, http://www.coralreefresearchfoundation.org/ ). Samples would be...

  10. 76 FR 30110 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-24

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... implementing the Fishery Management Plan for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of the South... Cancer Institute ( http://www.cancer.gov/ ) and the Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF, http://www...

  11. Climate Change, Human Impacts, and the Resilience of Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, T. P.; Baird, A. H.; Bellwood, D. R.; Card, M.; Connolly, S. R.; Folke, C.; Grosberg, R.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Jackson, J. B. C.; Kleypas, J.; Lough, J. M.; Marshall, P.; Nyström, M.; Palumbi, S. R.; Pandolfi, J. M.; Rosen, B.; Roughgarden, J.

    2003-08-01

    The diversity, frequency, and scale of human impacts on coral reefs are increasing to the extent that reefs are threatened globally. Projected increases in carbon dioxide and temperature over the next 50 years exceed the conditions under which coral reefs have flourished over the past half-million years. However, reefs will change rather than disappear entirely, with some species already showing far greater tolerance to climate change and coral bleaching than others. International integration of management strategies that support reef resilience need to be vigorously implemented, and complemented by strong policy decisions to reduce the rate of global warming.

  12. Cold-water coral ecosystems in Cassidaigne Canyon: An assessment of their environmental living conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabri, M.-C.; Bargain, A.; Pairaud, I.; Pedel, L.; Taupier-Letage, I.

    2017-03-01

    The Cassidaigne canyon is one of the two canyons (together with Lacaze-Duthiers) of the French Mediterranean coast in which cold-water corals have settled and formed large colonies, providing a structural habitat for other species. Nevertheless, the communities settled in the Cassidaigne canyon are physically impacted by discharges of bauxite residues. New information on the distribution of the species Madrepora oculata and the associated species diversity in Cassidaigne canyon was provided by videos and photos acquired in 2013. An area investigated at 515 m depth harbored a high density of small colonies of M. oculata. The water column structure of the area was described by using a CTD transect deployed along the axis of the canyon. High resolution (10 m and 2 m) bathymetric data were collected in the Cassidaigne canyon in 2010 and 2014. Seafloor characteristics were derived from the 10 m resolution bathymetric data. Data on local hydrodynamic conditions in the first 10 m above the seafloor were produced by applying the MARS3D hydrodynamic model in the Cassidaigne canyon at a horizontal resolution of 80 m (CASCANS model configuration). These environmental datasets combined with the geographic coordinates of the known occurrences of dense M. oculata colonies in the canyon allowed establishing a model using the MaxEnt software package to predict the habitat distribution in terms of probability of occurrence. According to the water mass analysis, M. oculata habitats are mainly located in the layer of the Intermediate waters originating from the Eastern Mediterranean Basin. A high concentration of suspended sediment due to the bauxite residues expelled into the canyon was observed in the axis of the canyon where we measured 1 NTU (2.5 mg/l) at 100 m above the bottom while concentrations were even higher (2 NTU; 5 mg/l) closer to the bottom. The habitat suitability model indicates that the living conditions of M. oculata can be found in areas of the Cassidaigne canyon

  13. The COral-REef Front (COREF Project

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John A. and Katherine G. Jackson

    2007-09-01

    Full Text Available The First International Workshop on the COral-REef Front (COREF project was held on 14−19 January 2007 in Okinawa-jima, southwestern Japan to discuss objectives, required laboratory analyses and techniques, potential drilling sites, and scientific proposals for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP and the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP. This article briefly introduces the project and reports the outcome of the First International Workshop on the COREF Project.

  14. Threatened Reef Corals of the World

    OpenAIRE

    Danwei Huang

    2012-01-01

    A substantial proportion of the world's living species, including one-third of the reef-building corals, are threatened with extinction and in pressing need of conservation action. In order to reduce biodiversity loss, it is important to consider species' contribution to evolutionary diversity along with their risk of extinction for the purpose of setting conservation priorities. Here I reconstruct the most comprehensive tree of life for the order Scleractinia (1,293 species) that includes al...

  15. Human impacts on Caribbean coral reef ecosystems

    OpenAIRE

    Hardt, Marah Justine

    2007-01-01

    Fishing is one of the oldest anthropogenic disturbances in the ocean, differing from other impacts in its direct removal of biomass from the ecosystem. Despite the centuries of fishing activities, there is much we still do not understand regarding the effects of fish removal on the benthic community. I use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the affect of human disturbance, primarily the alteration of fish communities, on major functional groups of coral reefs, over extended temporal...

  16. Coral Reef Remote Sensing: Helping Managers Protect Reefs in a Changing Climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eakin, C.; Liu, G.; Li, J.; Muller-Karger, F. E.; Heron, S. F.; Gledhill, D. K.; Christensen, T.; Rauenzahn, J.; Morgan, J.; Parker, B. A.; Skirving, W. J.; Nim, C.; Burgess, T.; Strong, A. E.

    2010-12-01

    Climate change and ocean acidification are already having severe impacts on coral reef ecosystems. Warming oceans have caused corals to bleach, or expel their symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) with alarming frequency and severity and have contributed to a rise in coral infectious diseases. Ocean acidification is reducing the availability of carbonate ions needed by corals and many other marine organisms to build structural components like skeletons and shells and may already be slowing the coral growth. These two impacts are already killing corals and slowing reef growth, reducing biodiversity and the structure needed to provide crucial ecosystem services. NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch (CRW) uses a combination of satellite data, in situ observations, and models to provide coral reef managers, scientists, and others with information needed to monitor threats to coral reefs. The advance notice provided by remote sensing and models allows resource managers to protect corals, coral reefs, and the services they provide, although managers often encounter barriers to implementation of adaptation strategies. This talk will focus on application of NOAA’s satellite and model-based tools that monitor the risk of mass coral bleaching on a global scale, ocean acidification in the Caribbean, and coral disease outbreaks in selected regions, as well as CRW work to train managers in their use, and barriers to taking action to adapt to climate change. As both anthropogenic CO2 and temperatures will continue to rise, local actions to protect reefs are becoming even more important.

  17. Linking benthic dynamics and cold-water coral occurrences: A high-resolution model study at three carbonate mound provinces in the NE Atlantic

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    We used the 3-D ocean circulation model with grid refinement ROMS-AGRIF to describe the hydrodynamic conditions at three cold-water coral provinces in the NE Atlantic (Logachev Mounds, Arc Mounds and Belgica Mounds). Modelled fields of currents, temperature and salinity were analysed for observed occurrences and presence/absence of living coral frameworks, living coral colonies within each province. The central model grid has a horizontal resolution of approximately 250 m, except for the Arc ...

  18. 10th Anniversary Review: a changing climate for coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lough, Janice M

    2008-01-01

    Tropical coral reefs are charismatic ecosystems that house a significant proportion of the world's marine biodiversity. Their valuable goods and services are fundamental to the livelihood of large coastal populations in the tropics. The health of many of the world's coral reefs, and the goods and services they provide, have already been severely compromised, largely due to over-exploitation by a range of human activities. These local-scale impacts, with the appropriate government instruments, support and management actions, can potentially be controlled and even ameliorated. Unfortunately, other human actions (largely in countries outside of the tropics), by changing global climate, have added additional global-scale threats to the continued survival of present-day coral reefs. Moderate warming of the tropical oceans has already resulted in an increase in mass coral bleaching events, affecting nearly all of the world's coral reef regions. The frequency of these events will only increase as global temperatures continue to rise. Weakening of coral reef structures will be a more insidious effect of changing ocean chemistry, as the oceans absorb part of the excess atmospheric carbon dioxide. More intense tropical cyclones, changed atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns will all affect coral reef ecosystems and the many associated plants and animals. Coral reefs will not disappear but their appearance, structure and community make-up will radically change. Drastic greenhouse gas mitigation strategies are necessary to prevent the full consequences of human activities causing such alterations to coral reef ecosystems.

  19. CORAL REEFS. Genomic determinants of coral heat tolerance across latitudes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dixon, Groves B; Davies, Sarah W; Aglyamova, Galina A; Meyer, Eli; Bay, Line K; Matz, Mikhail V

    2015-06-26

    As global warming continues, reef-building corals could avoid local population declines through "genetic rescue" involving exchange of heat-tolerant genotypes across latitudes, but only if latitudinal variation in thermal tolerance is heritable. Here, we show an up-to-10-fold increase in odds of survival of coral larvae under heat stress when their parents come from a warmer lower-latitude location. Elevated thermal tolerance was associated with heritable differences in expression of oxidative, extracellular, transport, and mitochondrial functions that indicated a lack of prior stress. Moreover, two genomic regions strongly responded to selection for thermal tolerance in interlatitudinal crosses. These results demonstrate that variation in coral thermal tolerance across latitudes has a strong genetic basis and could serve as raw material for natural selection. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. The continuing decline of coral reefs in Bahrain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, John A; Al-Khalifa, Khalifa; Khalaf, Ebtesam; Alshuwaikh, Bassem; Abdulwahab, Ahmed

    2013-07-30

    Historically coral reefs of Bahrain were among the most extensive in the southern basin of the Arabian Gulf. However, Bahrain's reefs have undergone significant decline in the last four decades as a result of large-scale coastal development and elevated sea surface temperature events. Here we quantitatively surveyed six sites including most major coral reef habitats around Bahrain and a reef located 72 km offshore. Fleshy and turf algae now dominate Bahrain's reefs (mean: 72% cover), and live coral cover is low (mean: 5.1%). Formerly dominant Acropora were not observed at any site. The offshore Bulthama reef had the highest coral cover (16.3%) and species richness (22 of the 23 species observed, 13 of which were exclusive to this site). All reefs for which recent and historical data are available show continued degradation, and it is unlikely that they will recover under continuing coastal development and projected climate change impacts. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. The role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores

    KAUST Repository

    Goatley, Christopher H. R.

    2012-06-29

    Herbivory is widely accepted as a vital function on coral reefs. To date, the majority of studies examining herbivory in coral reef environments have focused on the roles of fishes and/or urchins, with relatively few studies considering the potential role of macroherbivores in reef processes. Here, we introduce evidence that highlights the potential role of marine turtles as herbivores on coral reefs. While conducting experimental habitat manipulations to assess the roles of herbivorous reef fishes we observed green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) showing responses that were remarkably similar to those of herbivorous fishes. Reducing the sediment load of the epilithic algal matrix on a coral reef resulted in a forty-fold increase in grazing by green turtles. Hawksbill turtles were also observed to browse transplanted thalli of the macroalga Sargassum swartzii in a coral reef environment. These responses not only show strong parallels to herbivorous reef fishes, but also highlight that marine turtles actively, and intentionally, remove algae from coral reefs. When considering the size and potential historical abundance of marine turtles we suggest that these potentially valuable herbivores may have been lost from many coral reefs before their true importance was understood. © 2012 Goatley et al.

  5. The role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher H R Goatley

    Full Text Available Herbivory is widely accepted as a vital function on coral reefs. To date, the majority of studies examining herbivory in coral reef environments have focused on the roles of fishes and/or urchins, with relatively few studies considering the potential role of macroherbivores in reef processes. Here, we introduce evidence that highlights the potential role of marine turtles as herbivores on coral reefs. While conducting experimental habitat manipulations to assess the roles of herbivorous reef fishes we observed green turtles (Chelonia mydas and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata showing responses that were remarkably similar to those of herbivorous fishes. Reducing the sediment load of the epilithic algal matrix on a coral reef resulted in a forty-fold increase in grazing by green turtles. Hawksbill turtles were also observed to browse transplanted thalli of the macroalga Sargassum swartzii in a coral reef environment. These responses not only show strong parallels to herbivorous reef fishes, but also highlight that marine turtles actively, and intentionally, remove algae from coral reefs. When considering the size and potential historical abundance of marine turtles we suggest that these potentially valuable herbivores may have been lost from many coral reefs before their true importance was understood.

  6. Are coral reefs victims of their own past success?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Renema, Willem; Pandolfi, John M; Kiessling, Wolfgang; Bosellini, Francesca R; Klaus, James S; Korpanty, Chelsea; Rosen, Brian R; Santodomingo, Nadiezhda; Wallace, Carden C; Webster, Jody M; Johnson, Kenneth G

    2016-04-01

    As one of the most prolific and widespread reef builders, the staghorn coral Acropora holds a disproportionately large role in how coral reefs will respond to accelerating anthropogenic change. We show that although Acropora has a diverse history extended over the past 50 million years, it was not a dominant reef builder until the onset of high-amplitude glacioeustatic sea-level fluctuations 1.8 million years ago. High growth rates and propagation by fragmentation have favored staghorn corals since this time. In contrast, staghorn corals are among the most vulnerable corals to anthropogenic stressors, with marked global loss of abundance worldwide. The continued decline in staghorn coral abundance and the mounting challenges from both local stress and climate change will limit the coral reefs' ability to provide ecosystem services.

  7. Cold-water coral carbonate mounds as unique palaeo-archives: the Plio-Pleistocene Challenger Mound record (NE Atlantic)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thierens, M.; Browning, E.; Pirlet, H.; Loutre, M.-F.; Dorschel, B.; Huvenne, V. A. I.; Titschack, J.; Colin, C.; Foubert, A.; Wheeler, A. J.

    2013-08-01

    Through the interplay of a stabilising cold-water coral framework and a dynamic sedimentary environment, cold-water coral carbonate mounds create distinctive centres of bio-geological accumulation in often complex (continental margin) settings. The IODP Expedition 307 drilling of the Challenger Mound (eastern Porcupine Seabight; NE Atlantic) not only retrieved the first complete developmental history of a coral carbonate mound, it also exposed a unique, Early-Pleistocene sedimentary sequence of exceptional resolution along the mid-latitudinal NE Atlantic margin. In this study, a comprehensive assessment of the Challenger Mound as an archive of Quaternary palaeo-environmental change and long-term coral carbonate mound development is presented. New and existing environmental proxy records, including clay mineralogy, planktonic foraminifer and calcareous nannofossil biostratigraphy and assemblage counts, planktonic foraminifer oxygen isotopes and siliciclastic particle-size, are thereby discussed within a refined chronostratigraphic and climatic context. Overall, the development of the Challenger Mound shows a strong affinity to the Plio-Pleistocene evolution of the Northern Hemisphere climate system, albeit not being completely in phase with it. The two major oceanographic and climatic transitions of the Plio-Pleistocene - the Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene intensification of continental ice-sheet development and the mid-Pleistocene transition to the more extremely variable and more extensively glaciated late Quaternary - mark two major thresholds in Challenger Mound development: its Late Pliocene (>2.74 Ma) origin and its Middle-Late Pleistocene to recent decline. Distinct surface-water perturbations (i.e. water-mass/polar front migrations, productivity changes, melt-water pulses) are identified throughout the sequence, which can be linked to the intensity and extent of ice development on the nearby British-Irish Isles since the earliest Pleistocene. Glaciation

  8. Cold-water coral distributions in the drake passage area from towed camera observations--initial interpretations.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rhian G Waller

    Full Text Available Seamounts are unique deep-sea features that create habitats thought to have high levels of endemic fauna, productive fisheries and benthic communities vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts. Many seamounts are isolated features, occurring in the high seas, where access is limited and thus biological data scarce. There are numerous seamounts within the Drake Passage (Southern Ocean, yet high winds, frequent storms and strong currents make seafloor sampling particularly difficult. As a result, few attempts to collect biological data have been made, leading to a paucity of information on benthic habitats or fauna in this area, particularly those on primarily hard-bottom seamounts and ridges. During a research cruise in 2008 six locations were examined (two on the Antarctic margin, one on the Shackleton Fracture Zone, and three on seamounts within the Drake Passage, using a towed camera with onboard instruments to measure conductivity, temperature, depth and turbidity. Dominant fauna and bottom type were categorized from 200 randomized photos from each location. Cold-water corals were present in high numbers in habitats both on the Antarctic margin and on the current swept seamounts of the Drake Passage, though the diversity of orders varied. Though the Scleractinia (hard corals were abundant on the sedimented margin, they were poorly represented in the primarily hard-bottom areas of the central Drake Passage. The two seamount sites and the Shackleton Fracture Zone showed high numbers of stylasterid (lace and alcyonacean (soft corals, as well as large numbers of sponges. Though data are preliminary, the geological and environmental variability (particularly in temperature between sample sites may be influencing cold-water coral biogeography in this region. Each area observed also showed little similarity in faunal diversity with other sites examined for this study within all phyla counted. This manuscript highlights how little is understood of these

  9. Molecular mechanisms underlying the physiological responses of the cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus to ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carreiro-Silva, M.; Cerqueira, T.; Godinho, A.; Caetano, M.; Santos, R. S.; Bettencourt, R.

    2014-06-01

    Cold-water corals (CWCs) are thought to be particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA) due to increased atmospheric pCO2, because they inhabit deep and cold waters where the aragonite saturation state is naturally low. Several recent studies have evaluated the impact of OA on organism-level physiological processes such as calcification and respiration. However, no studies to date have looked at the impact at the molecular level of gene expression. Here, we report results of a long-term, 8-month experiment to compare the physiological responses of the CWC Desmophyllum dianthus to OA at both the organismal and gene expression levels under two pCO2/pH treatments: ambient pCO2 (460 μatm, pHT = 8.01) and elevated pCO2 (997 μatm, pHT = 7.70). At the organismal level, no significant differences were detected in the calcification and respiration rates of D. dianthus. Conversely, significant differences were recorded in gene expression profiles, which showed an up-regulation of genes involved in cellular stress (HSP70) and immune defence (mannose-binding c-type lectin). Expression of alpha-carbonic anhydrase, a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of coral skeleton, was also significantly up-regulated in corals under elevated pCO2, indicating that D. dianthus was under physiological reconditioning to calcify under these conditions. Thus, gene expression profiles revealed physiological impacts that were not evident at the organismal level. Consequently, understanding the molecular mechanisms behind the physiological processes involved in a coral's response to elevated pCO2 is critical to assess the ability of CWCs to acclimate or adapt to future OA conditions.

  10. Coral Reef and Hardbottom from Unified Florida Reef Tract Map (NODC Accession 0123059)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset is a subset of the Unified Map representing Coral reef and Hardbottom areas. Version 1.1 - December 2013. The Unified Florida Reef Tract Map (Unified...

  11. Coral mortality in reefs: The cause and effect; A central concern for reef monitoring

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.

    are destructive and long-lasting. The coral reef monitoring programme therefore aims at identifying reefs in various localities inorder to monitor them for various diseases and hence evolve strategies to eliminate the causes of diseases...

  12. Wave transformation across coral reefs under changing sea levels

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, Daniel; Power, Hannah; Vila-Conejo, Ana; Webster, Jody

    2015-04-01

    The transformation of swell waves from deep water across reef flats is the primary process regulating energy regimes in coral reef systems. Coral reefs are effective barriers removing up to 99% of wave energy during breaking and propagation across reef flats. Consequently back-reef environments are often considered low energy with only limited sediment transport and geomorphic change during modal conditions. Coral reefs, and specifically reef flats, therefore provide important protection to tropical coastlines from coastal erosion and recession. However, changes in sea level could lead to significant changes in the dissipation of swell wave energy in coral reef systems with wave heights dependent on the depth over the reef flat. This suggests that a rise in sea level would also lead to significantly higher energy conditions exacerbating the transgressive effects of sea level rise on tropical beaches and reef islands. This study examines the potential implications of different sea level scenarios on the transformation of waves across the windward reef flats of One Tree Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef. Waves were measured on the reef flats and back-reef sand apron of One Tree Reef. A one-dimensional wave model was calibrated and used to investigate wave processes on the reef flats under different mean sea level (MSL) scenarios (present MSL, +1 m MSL, and +2 m MSL). These scenarios represent both potential future sea level states and also the paleo sea level of the late Holocene in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Wave heights were shown to increase under sea level rise, with greater wave induced orbital velocities affecting the bed under higher sea levels. In general waves were more likely to entrain and transport sediment both on the reef flat and in the back reef environment under higher sea levels which has implications for not only forecasted climate change scenarios but also for interpreting geological changes during the late Holocene when sea levels were 1

  13. Coral Reef Protection Implementation Plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-11-02

    ecosystems. These reports Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico , and Pacific Ocean." For the will also serve as an awareness tool for agencies to purposes of this report...alternatives for proposed discharges of - 7 dredged or fill material into U.S or international waters, *o SECTION THi- zEE EXISTING FUNDING SOURCES FOR CORAL...facilities on several thousand acres within the Ko’olaupoko Region on O’ahu. Popu- NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO lation growth and development throughout

  14. The wicked problem of China's disappearing coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P; Huang, Hui; Young, Matthew A L

    2013-04-01

    We examined the development of coral reef science and the policies, institutions, and governance frameworks for management of coral reefs in China in order to highlight the wicked problem of preserving reefs while simultaneously promoting human development and nation building. China and other sovereign states in the region are experiencing unprecedented economic expansion, rapid population growth, mass migration, widespread coastal development, and loss of habitat. We analyzed a large, fragmented literature on the condition of coral reefs in China and the disputed territories of the South China Sea. We found that coral abundance has declined by at least 80% over the past 30 years on coastal fringing reefs along the Chinese mainland and adjoining Hainan Island. On offshore atolls and archipelagos claimed by 6 countries in the South China Sea, coral cover has declined from an average of >60% to around 20% within the past 10-15 years. Climate change has affected these reefs far less than coastal development, pollution, overfishing, and destructive fishing practices. Ironically, these widespread declines in the condition of reefs are unfolding as China's research and reef-management capacity are rapidly expanding. Before the loss of corals becomes irreversible, governance of China's coastal reefs could be improved by increasing public awareness of declining ecosystem services, by providing financial support for training of reef scientists and managers, by improving monitoring of coral reef dynamics and condition to better inform policy development, and by enforcing existing regulations that could protect coral reefs. In the South China Sea, changes in policy and legal frameworks, refinement of governance structures, and cooperation among neighboring countries are urgently needed to develop cooperative management of contested offshore reefs.

  15. Acanthaster: effect on coral reef growth in panama.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, P W

    1973-05-04

    Analysis of data on coral abundance and growth, and the population size (26 individuals per hectare) and feeding rate of Acanthaster indicates that Pocillopora reefs on the Pacific coast of Panama are undergoing vigorous growth in the presence of this predator. Prediction of the effects of a population increase in Acanthaster to plague proportions (2.5 times that presently observed) suggests that reefs could still maintain a positive growth. However, Acanthaster at ten times the present population density would lead to rapid destruction of reefs. It is argued that coral destruction due to Acanthaster represents only one of several factors affecting coral reef progression.

  16. 76 FR 38618 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Coral Reef Conservation Program Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-01

    ... United States (U.S.) jurisdictions containing coral reefs. Specifically, NOAA is seeking information on... collection of social and economic data related to the communities affected by coral reef conservation programs. The Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), developed under the authority of the Coral Reef...

  17. 77 FR 12567 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-03-01

    ... Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Logbook and Reporting AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric... Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit (authorized under the Fishery Management Plan for Coral Reef... the logbooks is used to obtain fish catch/fishing effort data on coral reef fishes and invertebrates...

  18. Arrecifes de Coral: Una Coleccion de Actividades en Espanol para Estudiantes de Escuela Intermedia (Coral Reefs: A Spanish Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Sharon H.; Newton, R. Amanda; Ortiz, Alida

    This activity book for middle school students on coral reefs is divided into 10 sections. Section 1 is the introduction. Section 2 describes what coral reefs are while section 3 describes how coral reefs reproduce and grow. Section 4 describes where coral reefs are found, and section 5 describes life on a coral reef. Section 6 describes the…

  19. Coral reef ecosystem decline: changing dynamics of coral reef carbonate production and implications for reef growth potential

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perry, Chris

    2016-04-01

    Global-scale deteriorations in coral reef health have caused major shifts in species composition and are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. It has been suggested that one effect of these ecological changes will be to lower reef carbonate production rates, which will impair reef growth potential and, ultimately, may lead to states of net reef erosion. However, quantitative data to support such assertions are limited, and linkages between the ecological state of coral reefs and their past and present geomorphic performance (in other words their growth potential) are poorly resolved. Using recently collected data from sites in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean, and which have undergone very different post-disturbance ecological trajectories over the last ~20-30 years, the differential impacts of disturbance on contemporary carbonate production regimes and on reef growth potential can be explored. In the Caribbean, a region which has been severely impacted ecological over the last 30+ years, our datasets show that average carbonate production rates on reefs are now less than 50% of pre-disturbance rates, and that calculated accretion rates (mm yr-1) are an about order of magnitude lower within shallow water habitats compared to Holocene averages. Collectively, these data suggest that recent ecological declines are now propagating through the system to impact on the geomorphic performance of Caribbean reefs and will impair their future growth potential. In contrast, the carbonate budgets of most reefs across the Chagos archipelago (central Indian Ocean), which is geographically remote and largely isolated from direct human disturbances, have recovered rapidly from major past disturbances (specifically the 1998 coral bleaching event). The carbonate budgets on these remote reefs now average +3.7 G (G = kg CaCO3 m-2 yr-1). Most significantly the production rates on Acropora-dominated reefs, which were most severely impacted by the 1998 bleaching event, average +8.4 G

  20. Herbivore space use influences coral reef recovery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eynaud, Yoan; McNamara, Dylan E; Sandin, Stuart A

    2016-06-01

    Herbivores play an important role in marine communities. On coral reefs, the diversity and unique feeding behaviours found within this functional group can have a comparably diverse set of impacts in structuring the benthic community. Here, using a spatially explicit model of herbivore foraging, we explore how the spatial pattern of grazing behaviours impacts the recovery of a reef ecosystem, considering movements at two temporal scales-short term (e.g. daily foraging patterns) and longer term (e.g. monthly movements across the landscape). Model simulations suggest that more spatially constrained herbivores are more effective at conferring recovery capability by providing a favourable environment to coral recruitment and growth. Results also show that the composition of food available to the herbivore community is linked directly to the pattern of space use by herbivores. To date, most studies of variability among the impacts of herbivore species have considered the diversity of feeding modes and mouthparts. Our work provides a complementary view of spatial patterns of foraging, revealing that variation in movement behaviours alone can affect patterns of benthic change, and thus broadens our view of realized links between herbivore diversity and reef recovery.

  1. Herbivore space use influences coral reef recovery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eynaud, Yoan; McNamara, Dylan E.; Sandin, Stuart A.

    2016-01-01

    Herbivores play an important role in marine communities. On coral reefs, the diversity and unique feeding behaviours found within this functional group can have a comparably diverse set of impacts in structuring the benthic community. Here, using a spatially explicit model of herbivore foraging, we explore how the spatial pattern of grazing behaviours impacts the recovery of a reef ecosystem, considering movements at two temporal scales—short term (e.g. daily foraging patterns) and longer term (e.g. monthly movements across the landscape). Model simulations suggest that more spatially constrained herbivores are more effective at conferring recovery capability by providing a favourable environment to coral recruitment and growth. Results also show that the composition of food available to the herbivore community is linked directly to the pattern of space use by herbivores. To date, most studies of variability among the impacts of herbivore species have considered the diversity of feeding modes and mouthparts. Our work provides a complementary view of spatial patterns of foraging, revealing that variation in movement behaviours alone can affect patterns of benthic change, and thus broadens our view of realized links between herbivore diversity and reef recovery. PMID:27429784

  2. Devising a Coral Reef Ocean Acidification Monitoring Portfolio

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gledhill, D. K.; Jewett, L.

    2012-12-01

    Coral reef monitoring has frequently been based only on descriptive science with limited capacity to assign specific attribution to agents of change. There is a requirement to engineer a diagnostic monitoring approach that can test predictions regarding the response of coral reef ecosystems to ocean acidification, and to identify potential areas of refugia or areas of particular concern. The approach should provide the means to detect not only changes in water chemistry but also changes in coral reef community structure and function which can be anticipated based upon our current understanding of paleo-OA events, experimental findings, process investigations, and modeling projections In August, 2012 a Coral Reef Ocean Acidification Monitoring Portfolio Workshop was hosted by the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program and the National Coral Reef Institute at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center. The workshop convened researchers and project managers from around the world engaged in coral reef ecosystems ocean acidification monitoring and research. The workshop sought to define a suite of metrics to include as part of long-term coral reef monitoring efforts that can contribute to discerning specific attribution of changes in coral reef ecosystems in response to ocean acidification. This portfolio of observations should leverage existing and proposed monitoring initiatives and would be derived from a suite of chemical, biogeochemical and ecological measurements. This talk will report out on the key findings from the workshop which should include identifying the most valuable that should be integrated into long-term coral reef ecosystem monitoring that will aid in discerning changes in coral reef ecosystems in response to ocean acidification. The outcomes should provide: recommendations of the most efficient and robust ways to monitor these metrics; identified augmentations that would be required to current ocean acidification monitoring necessary to achieve

  3. Environmental control on cold-water carbonate mounds development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rüggeberg, A.; Liebetrau, V.; Raddatz, J.; Flögel, S.; Dullo, W.-Chr.; Exp. 307 Scientific Party, Iodp

    2009-04-01

    Cold-water coral reefs are very abundant along the European continental margin in intermediate water depths and are able to build up large mound structures. These carbonate mounds particularly occur in distinct mound provinces on the Irish and British continental margins. Previous investigations resulted in a better understanding of the cold-water coral ecology and the development of conceptual models to explain carbonate mound build-up. Two different hypotheses were evoked to explain the origin and development of carbonate mounds, external versus internal control (e.g., Freiwald et al. 2004 versus e.g. Hovland 1990). Several short sediment cores have been obtained from Propeller Mound, Northern Porcupine Seabight, indicating that cold-water corals grew during interglacial and warm interstadial periods of the Late Pleistocene controlled by environmental and climatic variability supporting the external control hypothesis (e.g. Dorschel et al. 2005, R

  4. THE CONDITION OF CORAL REEFS IN SOUTH FLORIDA (2000) USING CORAL DISEASE AND BLEACHING AS INDICATORS

    Science.gov (United States)

    The destruction for coral reef habitats is occurring at unprecedented levels. Coral disease epizootics in the Southwestern Atlantic have lead to coral replacement by turf algae, prompting a call to classify some coral species as endangered. In addition, a massive bleaching event ...

  5. THE CONDITION OF CORAL REEFS IN SOUTH FLORIDA (2000) USING CORAL DISEASE AND BLEACHING AS INDICATORS

    Science.gov (United States)

    The destruction for coral reef habitats is occurring at unprecedented levels. Coral disease epizootics in the Southwestern Atlantic have lead to coral replacement by turf algae, prompting a call to classify some coral species as endangered. In addition, a massive bleaching event ...

  6. Drivers and predictions of coral reef carbonate budget trajectories

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Jennings, Simon; Perry, Chris T.

    2017-01-01

    Climate change is one of the greatest threats to the long-term maintenance of coral-dominated tropical ecosystems, and has received considerable attention over the past two decades. Coral bleaching and associated mortality events, which are predicted to become more frequent and intense, can alter the balance of different elements that are responsible for coral reef growth and maintenance. The geomorphic impacts of coral mass mortality have received relatively little attention, particularly questions concerning temporal recovery of reef carbonate production and the factors that promote resilience of reef growth potential. Here, we track the biological carbonate budgets of inner Seychelles reefs from 1994 to 2014, spanning the 1998 global bleaching event when these reefs lost more than 90% of coral cover. All 21 reefs had positive budgets in 1994, but in 2005 budgets were predominantly negative. By 2014, carbonate budgets on seven reefs were comparable with 1994, but on all reefs where an ecological regime shift to macroalgal dominance occurred, budgets remained negative through 2014. Reefs with higher massive coral cover, lower macroalgae cover and lower excavating parrotfish biomass in 1994 were more likely to have positive budgets post-bleaching. If mortality of corals from the 2016 bleaching event is as severe as that of 1998, our predictions based on past trends would suggest that six of eight reefs with positive budgets in 2014 would still have positive budgets by 2030. Our results highlight that reef accretion and framework maintenance cannot be assumed from the ecological state alone, and that managers should focus on conserving aspects of coral reefs that support resilient carbonate budgets. PMID:28123092

  7. Drivers and predictions of coral reef carbonate budget trajectories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A; Graham, Nicholas A J; Wilson, Shaun K; Jennings, Simon; Perry, Chris T

    2017-01-25

    Climate change is one of the greatest threats to the long-term maintenance of coral-dominated tropical ecosystems, and has received considerable attention over the past two decades. Coral bleaching and associated mortality events, which are predicted to become more frequent and intense, can alter the balance of different elements that are responsible for coral reef growth and maintenance. The geomorphic impacts of coral mass mortality have received relatively little attention, particularly questions concerning temporal recovery of reef carbonate production and the factors that promote resilience of reef growth potential. Here, we track the biological carbonate budgets of inner Seychelles reefs from 1994 to 2014, spanning the 1998 global bleaching event when these reefs lost more than 90% of coral cover. All 21 reefs had positive budgets in 1994, but in 2005 budgets were predominantly negative. By 2014, carbonate budgets on seven reefs were comparable with 1994, but on all reefs where an ecological regime shift to macroalgal dominance occurred, budgets remained negative through 2014. Reefs with higher massive coral cover, lower macroalgae cover and lower excavating parrotfish biomass in 1994 were more likely to have positive budgets post-bleaching. If mortality of corals from the 2016 bleaching event is as severe as that of 1998, our predictions based on past trends would suggest that six of eight reefs with positive budgets in 2014 would still have positive budgets by 2030. Our results highlight that reef accretion and framework maintenance cannot be assumed from the ecological state alone, and that managers should focus on conserving aspects of coral reefs that support resilient carbonate budgets. © 2017 The Authors.

  8. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef

    OpenAIRE

    Guest, J R; Low, J; Tun, K.; Wilson, B.; Ng, C.; D. Raingeard; Ulstrup, K. E.; Tanzil, J.T.I.; P. A. Todd; T. C. Toh; McDougald, D.; Chou, L.M.; Steinberg, P D

    2016-01-01

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on:...

  9. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef

    OpenAIRE

    Guest, J R; Low, J.; Tun, K.; B. Wilson; Ng, C.; Raingeard, D.; K. E. Ulstrup; Tanzil, J. T. I.; Todd, P.A.; Toh, T. C.; McDougald, D; Chou, L.M.; P. D. Steinberg

    2016-01-01

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on:...

  10. Hydrodynamic Conditions Influencing Cold-Water Coral Carbonate Mound Development (Challenger Mound, Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic): a Contribution to IODP Exp307

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thierens, M.; Odonnell, R.; Stuut, J.; Titschack, J.; Dorschel, B.; Wheeler, A. J.

    2007-12-01

    Cold-water coral carbonate mounds are complex geo-biological systems, originating from the interplay of hydrodynamic, sedimentological and biological factors. As changes in hydrodynamic and sedimentary regime are assumed to be amongst the main controls on mound evolution, reconstruction of the hydrodynamic and palaeoclimatic microenvironment on-mound, compared to the background environmental conditions (as seen off- mound), contributes to the fundamental understanding of these intriguing features and the development of a cold- water coral carbonate mound development model. Challenger Mound, one of the large cold-water coral carbonate mounds along the eastern Porcupine Seabight continental margin (NE Atlantic, SW off Ireland), was successfully drilled during IODP Expedition 307, providing the first complete recovery of a continuous sedimentary sequence through a carbonate mound. High-resolution particle size analysis of the terrigenous sediment component is used as primary proxy for reconstructing the hydrodynamic conditions during mound development. First results indicate repeated shifts in hydrodynamic conditions during sediment deposition on Challenger Mound, from lower-energetic conditions to higher-energetic environments and visa versa, which might reflect environmental variation over interglacial-glacial timescales throughout the whole mound development period. In conjunction with other available data, this dataset provides insight in local current regimes and sediment dynamics, the specific role of cold-water corals in these complex geo-biological systems and the differentiation of different sediment contributors to the coral mound system and its surroundings.

  11. Could some coral reefs become sponge reefs as our climate changes?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, James J; Davy, Simon K; Jones, Timothy; Taylor, Michael W; Webster, Nicole S

    2013-09-01

    Coral reefs across the world have been seriously degraded and have a bleak future in response to predicted global warming and ocean acidification (OA). However, this is not the first time that biocalcifying organisms, including corals, have faced the threat of extinction. The end-Triassic mass extinction (200 million years ago) was the most severe biotic crisis experienced by modern marine invertebrates, which selected against biocalcifiers; this was followed by the proliferation of another invertebrate group, sponges. The duration of this sponge-dominated period far surpasses that of alternative stable-ecosystem or phase-shift states reported on modern day coral reefs and, as such, a shift to sponge-dominated reefs warrants serious consideration as one future trajectory of coral reefs. We hypothesise that some coral reefs of today may become sponge reefs in the future, as sponges and corals respond differently to changing ocean chemistry and environmental conditions. To support this hypothesis, we discuss: (i) the presence of sponge reefs in the geological record; (ii) reported shifts from coral- to sponge-dominated systems; and (iii) direct and indirect responses of the sponge holobiont and its constituent parts (host and symbionts) to changes in temperature and pH. Based on this evidence, we propose that sponges may be one group to benefit from projected climate change and ocean acidification scenarios, and that increased sponge abundance represents a possible future trajectory for some coral reefs, which would have important implications for overall reef functioning. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  12. 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.

  13. Do tabular corals constitute keystone structures for fishes on coral reefs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kerry, J. T.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2015-03-01

    This study examined the changes in community composition of reef fishes by experimentally manipulating the availability of shelter provided by tabular structures on a mid-shelf reef on the Great Barrier Reef. At locations where access to tabular corals ( Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora cytherea) was excluded, a rapid and sustained reduction in the abundance of large reef fishes occurred. At locations where tabular structure was added, the abundance and diversity of large reef fishes increased and the abundance of small reef fishes tended to decrease, although over a longer time frame. Based on their response to changes in the availability of tabular structures, nine families of large reef fishes were separated into three categories; designated as obligate, facultative or non-structure users. This relationship may relate to the particular ecological demands of each family, including avoidance of predation and ultraviolet radiation, access to feeding areas and reef navigation. This study highlights the importance of tabular corals for large reef fishes in shallow reef environments and provides a possible mechanism for local changes in the abundance of reef fishes following loss of structural complexity on coral reefs. Keystone structures have a distinct structure and disproportionate effect on their ecosystem relative to their abundance, as such the result of this study suggests tabular corals may constitute keystone structures on shallow coral reefs.

  14. Understanding coral reefs in an impacted world: Physiological responses of coral reef organisms to coastal pollution and global warming

    OpenAIRE

    Kegler, Pia

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs are facing a multitude of anthropogenic disturbances at ever higher frequencies and magnitudes. As a consequence, these ecologically and economically important ecosystems are degrading worldwide. Reef managers lack knowledge on how fish, corals and coral larvae respond to the effects of local and global stressors. This thesis reveals the significance of chemical pollution from localized sources. Two common pollutants (diesel and a surfactant) caused metabolic changes in a fish and...

  15. Community structure of coral reefs on opposite sides of the isthmus of panama.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Portfr, J W

    1974-11-08

    Competition for space amon reef corals includes interspecific destruction by extracoelenteric digestion., rapid growth. and Overtopping. No Caribbean species excela in all strategies, and on western Caribbean coral reefs there is a positive correlation between coral abudance and diversity. On eastern Pacific coral reefs, however. Pocillopora damicornis excludes other corals, and on these reefs there is an inverse relation between coral abundance and diversity, except in areas where distrubances, such as Acanthaster predation offset space monopolization.

  16. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral reef communities in U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) using the Coral Demographics method

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Coral Demographics method is one of two benthic surveys conducted in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) as part of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program...

  17. Coral Reef Monitoring: From Cytological Parameters to Community Indices

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ofer Ben-Tzvi

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Sound-ecosystem-based management of coral reefs is largely based on indicators of reef health state. Currently there are various ecological parameters that serve as reef state indices; however, their practical implications are under debate. In the present study we examine an alternative parameter, the deterioration index (DI, which does not purport to replace the traditional indices but can provide a reliable, stand-alone indication of reef state. Patterns of cytological indices, which are considered as reliable indicators of environmental stressors, have been compared to ten selected reef community indices. The DI showed the highest correlations among community indices to the cytological indices in artificial reefs and high correlation in natural reefs as well. Our results suggest that in cases of lacking adequate monitoring abilities where a full set of community indices cannot be obtained, the DI can serve in many cases as the preferred, stand-alone indicator of coral reef state.

  18. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Since 1998 the National Monitoring System for the Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC has monitored the occurrence of coral bleaching and diseases in some Colombian coral reefs (permanent stations at San Andres Island, Rosario Islands, Tayrona, San Bernardo Islands and Urabá. The main purpose is to evaluate their health status and to understand the factors that have been contributing to their decline. To estimate these occurrences, annual surveys in 126 permanent belt transects (10x2m with different depth intervals (3-6 meters, 9-12 meters and 15-18 meters are performed at all reef sites. Data from the 1998-2004 period, revealed that San Andrés Island had many colonies with diseases (38.9 colonies/m2, and Urabá had high numbers with bleaching (54.4 colonies/m2. Of the seven reported coral diseases studied, Dark Spots Disease (DSD, and White Plague Disease (WPD were noteworthy because they occurred in all Caribbean monitored sites, and because of their high interannual infection incidence. Thirty five species of scleractinian corals were affected by at least one disease and a high incidence of coral diseases on the main reef builders is documented. Bleaching was present in 34 species. During the whole monitoring period, Agaricia agaricites and Siderastrea siderea were the species most severely affected by DSD and bleaching, respectively. Diseases on species such as Agaricia fragilis, A.grahamae, A. humilis, Diploria clivosa, Eusmilia fastigiata, Millepora complanata, and Mycetophyllia aliciae are recorded for first time in Colombia. We present bleaching and disease incidences, kinds of diseases, coral species affected, reef localities studied, depth intervals of surveys, and temporal (years variation for each geographic area. This variation makes difficult to clearly determine defined patterns or general trends for monitored reefs. This is the first long-term study of coral diseases and bleaching in the Southwestern Caribbean, and one of the few

  19. Recovery of an isolated coral reef system following severe disturbance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilmour, James P; Smith, Luke D; Heyward, Andrew J; Baird, Andrew H; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2013-04-05

    Coral reef recovery from major disturbance is hypothesized to depend on the arrival of propagules from nearby undisturbed reefs. Therefore, reefs isolated by distance or current patterns are thought to be highly vulnerable to catastrophic disturbance. We found that on an isolated reef system in north Western Australia, coral cover increased from 9% to 44% within 12 years of a coral bleaching event, despite a 94% reduction in larval supply for 6 years after the bleaching. The initial increase in coral cover was the result of high rates of growth and survival of remnant colonies, followed by a rapid increase in juvenile recruitment as colonies matured. We show that isolated reefs can recover from major disturbance, and that the benefits of their isolation from chronic anthropogenic pressures can outweigh the costs of limited connectivity.

  20. Ocean acidification accelerates dissolution of experimental coral reef communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Comeau

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Ocean acidification (OA poses a severe threat to tropical coral reefs, yet much of what is know about these effects comes from individual corals and algae incubated in isolation under high pCO2. Studies of similar effects on coral reef communities are scarce. To investigate the response of coral reef communities to OA, we used large outdoor flumes in which communities composed of calcified algae, corals, and sediment were combined to match the percentage cover of benthic communities in the shallow back reef of Moorea, French Polynesia. Reef communities in the flumes were exposed to ambient (~400 μatm and high pCO2 (~1300 μatm for 8 weeks, and calcification rates measured for the constructed communities including the sediments. Community calcification was depressed 59% under high pCO2, with sediment dissolution explaining ~50% of this decrease; net calcification of corals and calcified algae remained positive, but was reduced 29% under elevated pCO2. These results show that despite the capacity of coral reef calcifiers to maintain positive net accretion of calcium carbonate under OA conditions, reef communities might switch to net dissolution as pCO2 increases, particularly at night, due to enhanced sediment dissolution.

  1. Status and conservation of coral reefs in Costa Rica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cortés, Jorge; Jiménez, Carlos E; Fonseca, Ana C; Alvarado, Juan José

    2010-05-01

    Costa Rica has coral communities and reefs on the Caribbean coast and on the Pacific along the coast and off-shore islands. The Southern section of the Caribbean coast has fringing and patch reefs, carbonate banks, and an incipient algal ridge. The Pacific coast has coral communities, reefs and isolated coral colonies. Coral reefs have been seriously impacted in the last 30 years, mainly by sediments (Caribbean coast and some Pacific reefs) and by El Niño warming events (both coasts). Monitoring is being carried out at three sites on each coast. Both coasts suffered significant reductions in live coral cover in the 1980's, but coral cover is now increasing in most sites. The government of Costa Rica is aware of the importance of coral reefs and marine environments in general, and in recent years decrees have been implemented (or are in the process of approval) to protect them, but limited resources endanger their proper management and conservation, including proper outreach to reef users and the general public.

  2. Unseen players shape benthic competition on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, Katie L; Rohwer, Forest L

    2012-12-01

    Recent work has shown that hydrophilic and hydrophobic organic matter (OM) from algae disrupts the function of the coral holobiont and promotes the invasion of opportunistic pathogens, leading to coral morbidity and mortality. Here we refer to these dynamics as the (3)DAM [dissolved organic matter (DOM), direct contact, disease, algae and microbes] model. There is considerable complexity in coral-algae interactions; turf algae and macroalgae promote heterotrophic microbial overgrowth of coral, macroalgae also directly harm the corals via hydrophobic OM, whereas crustose coralline algae generally encourage benign microbial communities. In addition, complex flow patterns transport OM and pathogens from algae to downstream corals, and direct algal contact enhances their delivery. These invisible players (microbes, viruses, and OM) are important drivers of coral reefs because they have non-linear responses to disturbances and are the first to change in response to perturbations, providing near real-time trajectories for a coral reef, a vital metric for conservation and restoration.

  3. Ecosystem engineering creates a direct nutritional link between 600-m deep cold-water coral mounds and surface productivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soetaert, Karline; Mohn, Christian; Rengstorf, Anna; Grehan, Anthony; van Oevelen, Dick

    2016-10-01

    Cold-water corals (CWCs) form large mounds on the seafloor that are hotspots of biodiversity in the deep sea, but it remains enigmatic how CWCs can thrive in this food-limited environment. Here, we infer from model simulations that the interaction between tidal currents and CWC-formed mounds induces downwelling events of surface water that brings organic matter to 600-m deep CWCs. This positive feedback between CWC growth on carbonate mounds and enhanced food supply is essential for their sustenance in the deep sea and represents an example of ecosystem engineering of unparalleled magnitude. This ’topographically-enhanced carbon pump’ leaks organic matter that settles at greater depths. The ubiquitous presence of biogenic and geological topographies along ocean margins suggests that carbon sequestration through this pump is of global importance. These results indicate that enhanced stratification and lower surface productivity, both expected consequences of climate change, may negatively impact the energy balance of CWCs.

  4. Linking benthic dynamics and cold-water coral occurrences: A high-resolution model study at three carbonate mound provinces in the NE Atlantic

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mohn, Christian; Rengstorf, Anna; Grehan, Anthony;

    We used the 3-D ocean circulation model with grid refinement ROMS-AGRIF to describe the hydrodynamic conditions at three cold-water coral provinces in the NE Atlantic (Logachev Mounds, Arc Mounds and Belgica Mounds). Modelled fields of currents, temperature and salinity were analysed for observed...

  5. Microbial assemblages on a cold-water coral mound at the SE Rockall Bank (NE Atlantic): interactions with hydrography and topography

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Bleijswijk, J.D.L.; Whalen, C.; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Lavaleye, M.S.S.; Witte, H.J.; Mienis, F

    2015-01-01

    This study characterizes the microbial community composition over Haas Mound, one of the most prominent cold-water coral mounds of the Logachev Mound province (Rockall Bank, NE Atlantic). We outline patterns of distribution vertically – from the seafloor to the water column – and laterally – across

  6. Microbial assemblages on a cold-water coral mound at the SE Rockall Bank (NE Atlantic): interactions with hydrography and topography

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Bleijswijk, J.D.L.; Whalen, C.; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Lavaleye, M.S.S.; Witte, H.J.; Mienis, F

    2015-01-01

    This study characterizes the microbial community composition over Haas Mound, one of the most prominent cold-water coral mounds of the Logachev Mound province (Rockall Bank, NE Atlantic). We outline patterns of distribution vertically – from the seafloor to the water column – and laterally – across

  7. A trait-based approach to advance coral reef science

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Madin, Joshua S.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.; Connolly, Sean R.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are biologically diverse and ecologically complex ecosystems constructed by stony corals. Despite decades of research, basic coral population biology and community ecology questions remain. Quantifying trait variation among species can help resolve these questions, but progress has been...... a large amount of variation for a range of biological and ecological processes. Such an approach can accelerate our understanding of coral ecology and our ability to protect critically threatened global ecosystems....

  8. Coral reef diseases in the Atlantic-Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Weil, Ernesto; Dubinsky, Zvy; Stambler, Noga

    2010-01-01

    Coral reefs are the jewels of the tropical oceans. They boast the highest diversity of all marine ecosystems, aid in the development and protection of other important, productive coastal marine communities, and have provided millions of people with food, building materials, protection from storms, recreation and social stability over thousands of years, and more recently, income, active pharmacological compounds and other benefits. These communities have been deteriorating rapidly in recent times. The continuous emergence of coral reef diseases and increase in bleaching events caused in part by high water temperatures among other factors underscore the need for intensive assessments of their ecological status and causes and their impact on coral reefs.

  9. Coral Reef Ecosystems under Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

    OpenAIRE

    Ove Hoegh-Guldberg; Poloczanska, Elvira S.; William Skirving; Sophie Dove

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs are found in a wide range of environments, where they provide food and habitat to a large range of organisms as well as providing many other ecological goods and services. Warm-water coral reefs, for example, occupy shallow sunlit, warm, and alkaline waters in order to grow and calcify at the high rates necessary to build and maintain their calcium carbonate structures. At deeper locations (40–150 m), “mesophotic” (low light) coral reefs accumulate calcium carbonate at much lower ...

  10. Diversity, distribution and spatial structure of the cold-water coral fauna of the Azores (NE Atlantic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Braga-Henriques

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Cold-water corals are widely considered as important structural components of benthic habitats, potentially enhancing local abundance in a variety of fish and invertebrate species. Yet, current knowledge of the taxonomic diversity and distribution patterns of these vulnerable, slow-growing organisms is scarce and fragmented, limiting the effectiveness of spatial management and conservation measures. We have conducted an exhaustive compilation of records of alcyonaceans, antipatharians, scleractinians and stylasterids available until the present day to assess the diversity, distribution, and spatial structure of coral assemblages in the Azores Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ. The resulting database comprises 2501 entries concerning historical oceanographic expeditions and other published sources, as well as recent data from longline bycatch. Our taxonomic inventory appears to be fairly complete for the explored habitats, accounting for 164 species (79 alcyonaceans, 58 scleractinians, 18 antipatharians and 9 stylasterids, nine of which were new records. The Azores EEZ harbours a mixed coral fauna with several zoogeographic origins, showing the closest affinity with the Lusitanian–Mediterranean region. Very few apparent endemics were found (14%, and only in part supported by consistent sampling. Coral diversity is particularly high between 300 and 900 m depths, in areas recognized as traditional fishing grounds or exploitable fish habitat within the 100-mile limit of the EEZ. The composition of coral assemblages shows significant geographical structure among longitudinal sections of the study area at comparable depths (100–1500 m. There is no evidence of a possible role of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge or latitudinal effects underlying this pattern, which suggests that it may instead reflect assemblage variability among features. Stronger changes in species composition were found along the bathymetric gradient. Notwithstanding the mix of partially

  11. Quantifying climatological ranges and anomalies for Pacific coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gove, Jamison M; Williams, Gareth J; McManus, Margaret A; Heron, Scott F; Sandin, Stuart A; Vetter, Oliver J; Foley, David G

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic-biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km) from 85% of our study locations. These metrics will help

  12. Quantifying climatological ranges and anomalies for Pacific coral reef ecosystems.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamison M Gove

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic-biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km from 85% of our study locations

  13. Variability in reef connectivity in the Coral Triangle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, D. M.; Kleypas, J. A.; Castruccio, F. S.; Watson, J. R.; Curchitser, E. N.

    2015-12-01

    The Coral Triangle (CT) is not only the global center of marine biodiversity, it also supports the livelihoods of millions of people. Unfortunately, it is also considered the most threatened of all reef regions, with rising temperature and coral bleaching already taking a toll. Reproductive connectivity between reefs plays a critical role in the reef's capacity to recover after such disturbances. Thus, oceanographic modeling efforts to understand patterns of reef connectivity are essential to the effective design of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to conserve marine ecosystems in the Coral Triangle. Here, we combine a Regional Ocean Modeling System developed for the Coral Triangle (CT-ROMS) with a Lagrangian particle tracking tool (TRACMASS) to investigate the probability of coral larval transport between reefs. A 47-year hindcast simulation (1960-2006) was used to investigate the variability in larval transport of a broadcasting coral following mass spawning events in April and September. Potential connectivity between reefs was highly variable and stochastic from year to year, emphasizing the importance of decadal or longer simulations in identifying connectivity patterns, key source and sink regions, and thus marine management targets for MPAs. The influence of temperature on realized connectivity (future work) may add further uncertainty to year-to-year patterns of connectivity between reefs. Nonetheless, the potential connectivity results we present here suggest that although reefs in this region are primarily self-seeded, rare long-distance dispersal may promote recovery and genetic exchange between reefs in the region. The spatial pattern of "subpopulations" based solely on the physical drivers of connectivity between reefs closely match regional patterns of biodiversity, suggesting that physical barriers to larval dispersal may be a key driver of reef biodiversity. Finally, 21st Century simulations driven by the Community Earth System Model (CESM

  14. Mapping cold-water coral habitats at different scales within the Northern Ionian Sea (Central Mediterranean): an assessment of coral coverage and associated vulnerability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Savini, Alessandra; Vertino, Agostina; Marchese, Fabio; Beuck, Lydia; Freiwald, André

    2014-01-01

    In this study, we mapped the distribution of Cold-Water Coral (CWC) habitats on the northern Ionian Margin (Mediterranean Sea), with an emphasis on assessing coral coverage at various spatial scales over an area of 2,000 km(2) between 120 and 1,400 m of water depth. Our work made use of a set of data obtained from ship-based research surveys. Multi-scale seafloor mapping data, video inspections, and previous results from sediment samples were integrated and analyzed using Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tools. Results obtained from the application of spatial and textural analytical techniques to acoustic meso-scale maps (i.e. a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the seafloor at a 40 m grid cell size and associated terrain parameters) and large-scale maps (i.e. Side-Scan Sonar (SSS) mosaics of 1 m in resolution ground-truthed using underwater video observations) were integrated and revealed that, at the meso-scale level, the main morphological pattern (i.e. the aggregation of mound-like features) associated with CWC habitat occurrences was widespread over a total area of 600 km(2). Single coral mounds were isolated from the DTM and represented the geomorphic proxies used to model coral distributions within the investigated area. Coral mounds spanned a total area of 68 km(2) where different coral facies (characterized using video analyses and mapped on SSS mosaics) represent the dominant macro-habitat. We also mapped and classified anthropogenic threats that were identifiable within the examined videos, and, here, discuss their relationship to the mapped distribution of coral habitats and mounds. The combined results (from multi-scale habitat mapping and observations of the distribution of anthropogenic threats) provide the first quantitative assessment of CWC coverage for a Mediterranean province and document the relevant role of seafloor geomorphology in influencing habitat vulnerability to different types of human pressures.

  15. 77 FR 32572 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-06-01

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... South Carolina Aquarium to collect, with certain conditions, various species of reef fish, crabs, and...

  16. 76 FR 41764 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-15

    ... Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit AGENCY: National... artificial reefs without additional authorization. A report on the project findings is due at the end of the...

  17. Anthropogenic mortality on coral reefs in Caribbean Panama predates coral disease and bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cramer, Katie L; Jackson, Jeremy B C; Angioletti, Christopher V; Leonard-Pingel, Jill; Guilderson, Thomas P

    2012-06-01

    Caribbean reef corals have declined precipitously since the 1980s due to regional episodes of bleaching, disease and algal overgrowth, but the extent of earlier degradation due to localised historical disturbances such as land clearing and overfishing remains unresolved. We analysed coral and molluscan fossil assemblages from reefs near Bocas del Toro, Panama to construct a timeline of ecological change from the 19th century-present. We report large changes before 1960 in coastal lagoons coincident with extensive deforestation, and after 1960 on offshore reefs. Striking changes include the demise of previously dominant staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and oyster Dendrostrea frons that lives attached to gorgonians and staghorn corals. Reductions in bivalve size and simplification of gastropod trophic structure further implicate increasing environmental stress on reefs. Our paleoecological data strongly support the hypothesis, from extensive qualitative data, that Caribbean reef degradation predates coral bleaching and disease outbreaks linked to anthropogenic climate change. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  18. Microbial to reef scale interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and benthic algae

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Barott, K.L.; Rodriguez-Mueller, B; Youle, M.; Marhaver, K.L.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Smith, J.E.; Rohwer, F.L.

    2012-01-01

    Competition between reef-building corals and benthic algae is of key importance for reef dynamics. These interactions occur on many spatial scales, ranging from chemical to regional. Using microprobes, 16S rDNA pyrosequencing and underwater surveys, we examined the interactions between the reef-buil

  19. Coral Reef and Coastal Ecosystems Decision Support Workshop April 27-29, 2010 Caribbean Coral Reef Institute, La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Caribbean Coral Reef Institute (CCRI) hosted a Coral Reef and Coastal Ecosystems Decision Support Workshop on April 27-28, 2010 at the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute in La Parguera, Puerto Rico. Forty-three participants, includin...

  20. Coral Reef and Coastal Ecosystems Decision Support Workshop April 27-29, 2010 Caribbean Coral Reef Institute, La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Caribbean Coral Reef Institute (CCRI) hosted a Coral Reef and Coastal Ecosystems Decision Support Workshop on April 27-28, 2010 at the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute in La Parguera, Puerto Rico. Forty-three participants, includin...

  1. Ecological limitations to the resilience of coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mora, Camilo; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Nyström, Magnus

    2016-12-01

    The decline of coral reefs has been broadly attributed to human stressors being too strong and pervasive, whereas biological processes that may render coral reefs fragile have been sparsely considered. Here we review several ecological factors that can limit the ability of coral reefs to withstand disturbance. These include: (1) Many species lack the adaptive capacity to cope with the unprecedented disturbances they currently face; (2) human disturbances impact vulnerable life history stages, reducing reproductive output and the supply of recruits essential for recovery; (3) reefs can be vulnerable to the loss of few species, as niche specialization or temporal and spatial segregation makes each species unique (i.e., narrow ecological redundancy); in addition, many foundation species have similar sensitivity to disturbances, suggesting that entire functions can be lost to single disturbances; and (4) feedback loops and extinction vortices may stabilize degraded states or accelerate collapses even if stressors are removed. This review suggests that the degradation of coral reefs is due to not only the severity of human stressors but also the "fragility" of coral reefs. As such, appropriate governance is essential to manage stressors while being inclusive of ecological process and human uses across transnational scales. This is a considerable but necessary upgrade in current management if the integrity, and delivery of goods and services, of coral reefs is to be preserved.

  2. Low calcification in corals in the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhattacharya, Atreyee

    2012-10-01

    Reef-building coral communities in the Great Barrier Reef—the world's largest coral reef—may now be calcifying at only about half the rate that they did during the 1970s, even though live coral cover may not have changed over the past 40 years, a new study finds. In recent decades, coral reefs around the world, home to large numbers of fish and other marine species, have been threatened by such human activities as pollution, overfishing, global warming, and ocean acidification; the latter affects ambient water chemistry and availability of calcium ions, which are critical for coral communities to calcify, build, and maintain reefs. Comparing data from reef surveys during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s with present-day (2009) measurements of calcification rates in One Tree Island, a coral reef covering 13 square kilometers in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, Silverman et al. show that the total calcification rates (the rate of calcification minus the rate of dissolution) in these coral communities have decreased by 44% over the past 40 years; the decrease appears to stem from a threefold reduction in calcification rates during nighttime.

  3. 76 FR 63904 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Coral Reef Conservation Program Administration

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-10-14

    ..., extension 150, or Jenny.Waddell@noaagov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract The Coral Reef Conservation... reef conservation to conduct activities to protect and conserve coral reef ecosystems. The information...) if a proposed project is consistent with the coral reef conservation priorities of authorities...

  4. Coral health on reefs near mining sites in New Caledonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heintz, T; Haapkylä, J; Gilbert, A

    2015-07-23

    Coral health data are poorly documented in New Caledonia, particularly from reefs chronically subject to anthropogenic and natural runoff. We investigated patterns of coral disease and non-disease conditions on reefs situated downstream of mining sites off the coast of New Caledonia. Surveys were conducted in March 2013 at 2 locations along the west coast and 2 locations along the east coast of the main island. Only 2 coral diseases were detected: growth anomalies and white syndrome. The most prevalent signs of compromised health at each location were sediment damage and algal overgrowth. These results support earlier findings that sedimentation and turbidity are major threats to in-shore reefs in New Caledonia. The Poritidae-dominated west coast locations were more subject to sediment damage, algal overgrowth and growth anomalies compared to the Acroporidae-dominated east coast locations. If growth form and resistance of coral hosts influence these results, differences in environmental conditions including hydro-dynamism between locations may also contribute to these outputs. Our results highlight the importance of combining coral health surveys with measurements of coral cover when assessing the health status of a reef, as reefs with high coral cover may have a high prevalence of corals demonstrating signs of compromised health.

  5. 77 FR 12243 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-29

    ... Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Permit Form AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration... vessel to fish for Western Pacific coral reef ecosystem management unit species in the designated low-use... regulations; or (3) fishing for, taking, or retaining any Potentially Harvested Coral Reef Taxa in the coral...

  6. Dynamic stability of coral reefs on the west Australian coast.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Speed, Conrad W; Babcock, Russ C; Bancroft, Kevin P; Beckley, Lynnath E; Bellchambers, Lynda M; Depczynski, Martial; Field, Stuart N; Friedman, Kim J; Gilmour, James P; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; Kobryn, Halina T; Moore, James A Y; Nutt, Christopher D; Shedrawi, George; Thomson, Damian P; Wilson, Shaun K

    2013-01-01

    Monitoring changes in coral cover and composition through space and time can provide insights to reef health and assist the focus of management and conservation efforts. We used a meta-analytical approach to assess coral cover data across latitudes 10-35°S along the west Australian coast, including 25 years of data from the Ningaloo region. Current estimates of coral cover ranged between 3 and 44% in coral habitats. Coral communities in the northern regions were dominated by corals from the families Acroporidae and Poritidae, which became less common at higher latitudes. At Ningaloo Reef coral cover has remained relatively stable through time (∼28%), although north-eastern and southern areas have experienced significant declines in overall cover. These declines are likely related to periodic disturbances such as cyclones and thermal anomalies, which were particularly noticeable around 1998/1999 and 2010/2011. Linear mixed effects models (LME) suggest latitude explains 10% of the deviance in coral cover through time at Ningaloo. Acroporidae has decreased in abundance relative to other common families at Ningaloo in the south, which might be related to persistence of more thermally and mechanically tolerant families. We identify regions where quantitative time-series data on coral cover and composition are lacking, particularly in north-western Australia. Standardising routine monitoring methods used by management and research agencies at these, and other locations, would allow a more robust assessment of coral condition and a better basis for conservation of coral reefs.

  7. Spatial dynamics of benthic competition on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandin, Stuart A; McNamara, Dylan E

    2012-04-01

    The community structure of sedentary organisms is largely controlled by the outcome of direct competition for space. Understanding factors defining competitive outcomes among neighbors is thus critical for predicting large-scale changes, such as transitions to alternate states within coral reefs. Using a spatially explicit model, we explored the importance of variation in two spatial properties in benthic dynamics on coral reefs: (1) patterns of herbivory are spatially distinct between fishes and sea urchins and (2) there is wide variation in the areal extent into which different coral species can expand. We reveal that the size-specific, competitive asymmetry of corals versus fleshy algae highlights the significance of spatial patterning of herbivory and of coral growth. Spatial dynamics that alter the demographic importance of coral recruitment and maturation have profound effects on the emergent structure of the reef benthic community. Spatially constrained herbivory (as by sea urchins) is more effective than spatially unconstrained herbivory (as by many fish) at opening space for the time needed for corals to settle and to recruit to the adult population. Further, spatially unconstrained coral growth (as by many branching coral species) reduces the number of recruitment events needed to fill a habitat with coral relative to more spatially constrained growth (as by many massive species). Our model predicts that widespread mortality of branching corals (e.g., Acropora spp) and herbivorous sea urchins (particularly Diadema antillarum) in the Caribbean has greatly reduced the potential for restoration across the region.

  8. ReefLink Database: A decision support tool for Linking Coral Reefs and Society Through Systems Thinking

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs provide the ecological foundation for productive and diverse fish and invertebrate communities that support multibillion dollar reef fishing and tourism industries. Yet reefs are threatened by growing coastal development, climate change, and over-exploitation. A key i...

  9. 76 FR 82413 - Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants and...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-30

    ... Part 622 Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants... Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants and... the FMP for the Spiny Lobster Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Spiny Lobster...

  10. 76 FR 59377 - Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants and...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-09-26

    ..., Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates Fishery Management... Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) for Reef Fish Resources, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch, and Coral and Reef... (AMs) if ACLs should be exceeded for selected reef fish, spiny lobster, and aquarium trade...

  11. Coral settlement on a highly disturbed equatorial reef system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bauman, Andrew G; Guest, James R; Dunshea, Glenn; Low, Jeffery; Todd, Peter A; Steinberg, Peter D

    2015-01-01

    Processes occurring early in the life stages of corals can greatly influence the demography of coral populations, and successful settlement of coral larvae that leads to recruitment is a critical life history stage for coral reef ecosystems. Although corals in Singapore persist in one the world's most anthropogenically impacted reef systems, our understanding of the role of coral settlement in the persistence of coral communities in Singapore remains limited. Spatial and temporal patterns of coral settlement were examined at 7 sites in the southern islands of Singapore, using settlement tiles deployed and collected every 3 months from 2011 to 2013. Settlement occurred year round, but varied significantly across time and space. Annual coral settlement was low (~54.72 spat m(-2) yr(-1)) relative to other equatorial regions, but there was evidence of temporal variation in settlement rates. Peak settlement occurred between March-May and September-November, coinciding with annual coral spawning periods (March-April and October), while the lowest settlement occurred from December-February during the northeast monsoon. A period of high settlement was also observed between June and August in the first year (2011/12), possibly due to some species spawning outside predicted spawning periods, larvae settling from other locations or extended larval settlement competency periods. Settlement rates varied significantly among sites, but spatial variation was relatively consistent between years, suggesting the strong effects of local coral assemblages or environmental conditions. Pocilloporidae were the most abundant coral spat (83.6%), while Poritidae comprised only 6% of the spat, and Acroporidae coral spat. These results indicate that current settlement patterns are reinforcing the local adult assemblage structure ('others'; i.e. sediment-tolerant coral taxa) in Singapore, but that the replenishment capacity of Singapore's reefs appears relatively constrained, which could lead

  12. Coral settlement on a highly disturbed equatorial reef system.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew G Bauman

    Full Text Available Processes occurring early in the life stages of corals can greatly influence the demography of coral populations, and successful settlement of coral larvae that leads to recruitment is a critical life history stage for coral reef ecosystems. Although corals in Singapore persist in one the world's most anthropogenically impacted reef systems, our understanding of the role of coral settlement in the persistence of coral communities in Singapore remains limited. Spatial and temporal patterns of coral settlement were examined at 7 sites in the southern islands of Singapore, using settlement tiles deployed and collected every 3 months from 2011 to 2013. Settlement occurred year round, but varied significantly across time and space. Annual coral settlement was low (~54.72 spat m(-2 yr(-1 relative to other equatorial regions, but there was evidence of temporal variation in settlement rates. Peak settlement occurred between March-May and September-November, coinciding with annual coral spawning periods (March-April and October, while the lowest settlement occurred from December-February during the northeast monsoon. A period of high settlement was also observed between June and August in the first year (2011/12, possibly due to some species spawning outside predicted spawning periods, larvae settling from other locations or extended larval settlement competency periods. Settlement rates varied significantly among sites, but spatial variation was relatively consistent between years, suggesting the strong effects of local coral assemblages or environmental conditions. Pocilloporidae were the most abundant coral spat (83.6%, while Poritidae comprised only 6% of the spat, and Acroporidae <1%. Other, unidentifiable families represented 10% of the coral spat. These results indicate that current settlement patterns are reinforcing the local adult assemblage structure ('others'; i.e. sediment-tolerant coral taxa in Singapore, but that the replenishment capacity

  13. Acoustical Measurement and Biot Model for Coral Reef Detection and Quantification

    OpenAIRE

    Manik, Henry M.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are coastal resources and very useful for marine ecosystems. Nowadays, the existence of coral reefs is seriously threatened due to the activities of blast fishing, coral mining, marine sedimentation, pollution, and global climate change. To determine the existence of coral reefs, it is necessary to study them comprehensively. One method to study a coral reef by using a propagation of sound waves is proposed. In this research, the measurement of reflection coefficient, transmission...

  14. Novel tradable instruments in the conservation of coral reefs, based on the coral gardening concept for reef restoration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rinkevich, Baruch

    2015-10-01

    Nearly all coral reefs bordering nations have experienced net losses in reef biodiversity, goods and services, even without considering the ever-developing global change impacts. In response, this overview wishes to reveal through prospects of active reef-restoration, the currently non-marketed or poorly marketed reef services, focusing on a single coral species (Stylophora pistillata). It is implied that the integration of equity capitals and other commodification with reef-restoration practices will improve total reef services. Two tiers of market-related activities are defined, the traditional first-tier instruments (valuating costs/gains for extracting tradable goods and services) and novel second-tier instruments (new/expanded monetary tools developed as by-products of reef restoration measures). The emerging new suite of economic mechanisms based on restoration methodologies could be served as an incentive for ecosystem conservation, enhancing the sum values of all services generated by coral reefs, where the same stocks of farmed/transplanted coral colonies will be used as market instruments. I found that active restoration measures disclose 12 classes of second-tier goods and services, which may partly/wholly finance restoration acts, bringing to light reef capitalizations that allow the expansion of markets with products that have not been considered before. The degree to which the second tier of market-related services could buffer coral-reef degradation is still unclear and would vary with different reef types and in various reef restoration scenarios; however, reducing the uncertainty associated with restoration. It is expected that the expansion of markets with the new products and the enhancement of those already existing will be materialized even if reef ecosystems will recover into different statuses.

  15. First frozen repository for the Great Barrier Reef coral created.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagedorn, Mary; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Carter, Virginia; Henley, Mike; Abrego, David; Puill-Stephan, Eneour; Negri, Andrew; Heyward, Andrew; MacFarlane, Doug; Spindler, Rebecca

    2012-10-01

    To build new tools for the continued protection and propagation of coral from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), an international group of coral and cryopreservation scientists known as the Reef Recovery Initiative joined forces during the November 2011 mass-spawning event. The outcome was the creation of the first frozen bank for Australian coral from two important GBR reef-building species, Acropora tenuis and Acropora millepora. Approximately 190 frozen samples each with billions of cells were placed into long-term storage. Sperm cells were successfully cryopreserved, and after thawing, samples were used to fertilize eggs, resulting in functioning larvae. Additionally, developing larvae were dissociated, and these pluripotent cells were cryopreserved and viable after thawing. Now, we are in a unique position to move our work from the laboratory to the reefs to develop collaborative, practical conservation management tools to help secure Australia's coral biodiversity.

  16. A Survey of Coral Reefs in South China Sea Completed

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2006-01-01

    @@ An investigation of coral reefs in South China Sea has recently completed by CAS scientists at South China Sea Institute of Oceanography (SCSIO) in Guangzhou. The compilation and analysis of the obtained data is now under way.

  17. Drivers of coral reef marine protected area performance

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Venetia Alexa Hargreaves-Allen; Susana Mourato; Eleanor Jane Milner-Gulland

    2017-01-01

    .... conservation or welfare related outcomes). We compiled a global dataset from expert knowledge for 76 coral reef MPAs in 33 countries and identified a set of performance measures reflecting ecological and socio-economic outcomes, achievement...

  18. 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...

  19. Coral Reef Watch, Degree Heating Weeks, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Coral Reef Watch distributes Degree Heating Week products using a combination of the POES AVHRR Global Area Coverage data, and data from a climatological...

  20. Status of the Coral Reefs of the Samoan Archipelago

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The objectives of this study are twofold: (1) To determine the current status of coral reef fishes and their habitat throughout the Samoan Archipelago. This will be...

  1. Biomass and Abundance of Herbivorous Fishes on Coral Reefs off ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Keywords: Herbivorous fish, biomass, coral cover, algal turf, fishing, Marine. Protected ... effects of fishing intensity, reef geomorphology and benthic cover. Distance from the ... 2003), pollution ..... derived from distance from human community.

  2. Coral Reef Color: Remote and In-Situ Imaging Spectroscopy of Reef Structure and Function

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hochberg, E. J.

    2015-12-01

    Coral reefs are threatened at local to global scales by a litany of anthropogenic impacts, including overfishing, coastal development, marine and watershed pollution, rising ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification. However, available data for the primary indicator of coral reef condition — proportional cover of living coral — are surprisingly sparse and show patterns that contradict the prevailing understanding of how environment impacts reef condition. Remote sensing is the only available tool for acquiring synoptic, uniform data on reef condition at regional to global scales. Discrimination between coral and other reef benthos relies on narrow wavebands afforded by imaging spectroscopy. The same spectral information allows non-invasive quantification of photosynthetic pigment composition, which shows unexpected phenological trends. There is also potential to link biodiversity with optical diversity, though there has been no effort in that direction. Imaging spectroscopy underlies the light-use efficiency model for reef primary production by quantifying light capture, which in turn indicates biochemical capacity for CO2 assimilation. Reef calcification is strongly correlated with primary production, suggesting the possibility for an optics-based model of that aspect of reef function, as well. By scaling these spectral models for use with remote sensing, we can vastly improve our understanding of reef structure, function, and overall condition across regional to global scales. By analyzing those remote sensing products against ancillary environmental data, we can construct secondary models to predict reef futures in the era of global change. This final point is the objective of CORAL (COral Reef Airborne Laboratory), a three-year project funded under NASA's Earth Venture Suborbital-2 program to investigate the relationship between coral reef condition at the ecosystem scale and various nominal biogeophysical forcing parameters.

  3. Reef ecology. Chemically mediated behavior of recruiting corals and fishes: a tipping point that may limit reef recovery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dixson, Danielle L; Abrego, David; Hay, Mark E

    2014-08-22

    Coral reefs are in global decline, converting from dominance by coral to dominance by seaweed. Once seaweeds become abundant, coral recovery is suppressed unless herbivores return to remove seaweeds, and corals then recruit. Variance in the recovery of fishes and corals is not well understood. We show that juveniles of both corals and fishes are repelled by chemical cues from fished, seaweed-dominated reefs but attracted to cues from coral-dominated areas where fishing is prohibited. Chemical cues of specific seaweeds from degraded reefs repulsed recruits, and cues from specific corals that are typical of healthy reefs attracted recruits. Juveniles were present at but behaviorally avoided recruiting to degraded reefs dominated by seaweeds. For recovery, degraded reefs may need to be managed to produce cues that attract, rather than repel, recruiting corals and fishes.

  4. Acclimation to ocean acidification during long-term CO2 exposure in the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa

    OpenAIRE

    Form, Armin U.; Riebesell, Ulf

    2012-01-01

    Ocean acidity has increased by 30% since preindustrial times due to the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 and is projected to rise by another 120% before 2100 if CO2 emissions continue at current rates. Ocean acidification is expected to have wide-ranging impacts on marine life, including reduced growth and net erosion of coral reefs. Our present understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification on marine life, however, relies heavily on results from short-term CO2 perturbation studies. Here, we ...

  5. Coral reef fish assemblages at Clipperton Atoll (Eastern Tropical Pacific and their relationship with coral cover

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aurora M. Ricart

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Clipperton Atoll, one of the most isolated coral reefs worldwide, is of great scientific interest due to its geomorphology and high levels of endemism. This study explored the reef fish assemblage structure of Clipperton Atoll and its relationship with live coral cover. Nine stations were sampled at three sites and three depths (6, 12 and 20 m around the reef, measuring fish species richness and biomass and hermatypic coral cover (at genus level. We evaluated variation in species richness, biomass and diversity of fish assemblages among sites and depths, as well as the relationship between the entire fish assemblage composition and live coral cover. The results showed that species richness and biomass were similar among sites, but differed across depths, increasing with depth. In contrast, diversity differed among sites but not among depths. Multivariate analyses indicated that fish assemblage composition differed among sites and depths in relation to changes in cover of coral of the genera Pocillopora, Porites, Pavona and Leptoseris, which dominate at different depths. The results showed that fish species richness and diversity were low at Clipperton Atoll and that, in isolated coral reefs with a low habitat heterogeneity and low human disturbance, live coral cover has a significant influence on the spatial variation of the reef fish assemblages. This study highlights the importance of coral habitat structure in shaping coral reef fish assemblages.

  6. Reef-Scale Thermal Stress Monitoring of Coral Ecosystems: New 5-km Global Products from NOAA Coral Reef Watch

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gang Liu

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW program has developed a daily global 5-km product suite based on satellite observations to monitor thermal stress on coral reefs. These products fulfill requests from coral reef managers and researchers for higher resolution products by taking advantage of new satellites, sensors and algorithms. Improvements of the 5-km products over CRW’s heritage global 50-km products are derived from: (1 the higher resolution and greater data density of NOAA’s next-generation operational daily global 5-km geo-polar blended sea surface temperature (SST analysis; and (2 implementation of a new SST climatology derived from the Pathfinder SST climate data record. The new products increase near-shore coverage and now allow direct monitoring of 95% of coral reefs and significantly reduce data gaps caused by cloud cover. The 5-km product suite includes SST Anomaly, Coral Bleaching HotSpots, Degree Heating Weeks and Bleaching Alert Area, matching existing CRW products. When compared with the 50-km products and in situ bleaching observations for 2013–2014, the 5-km products identified known thermal stress events and matched bleaching observations. These near reef-scale products significantly advance the ability of coral reef researchers and managers to monitor coral thermal stress in near-real-time.

  7. Coral reef baselines: how much macroalgae is natural?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruno, John F; Precht, William F; Vroom, Peter S; Aronson, Richard B

    2014-03-15

    Identifying the baseline or natural state of an ecosystem is a critical step in effective conservation and restoration. Like most marine ecosystems, coral reefs are being degraded by human activities: corals and fish have declined in abundance and seaweeds, or macroalgae, have become more prevalent. The challenge for resource managers is to reverse these trends, but by how much? Based on surveys of Caribbean reefs in the 1970s, some reef scientists believe that the average cover of seaweed was very low in the natural state: perhaps less than 3%. On the other hand, evidence from remote Pacific reefs, ecological theory, and impacts of over-harvesting in other systems all suggest that, historically, macroalgal biomass may have been higher than assumed. Uncertainties about the natural state of coral reefs illustrate the difficulty of determining the baseline condition of even well studied systems.

  8. Cold water corals and carbonate crusts in the El Arraiche mud volcano field, Gulf of Cadiz.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Rensbergen, P.; Henriet, J. P.; Swennen, R.; Cunha, M.; Ivanov, M.

    2003-04-01

    The El Arraiche mud volcano field is situated on the Atlantic Moroccan margin. About 8 small to giant mud volcanoes are clustered around two sub-parallel thrust ridges, the Vernadsky and Renard ridges, with steep fault escarpments. The ridges rise up in water depths of about 700 m and stretch to the shelf edge. Most mud volcanoes occur on top of the Renard ridge (Lazarillo de Tormes mv, Gemini mv, Don Quichote mv and Fiúza mv). Isolated mud volcanoes occur between the ridges (Adamastor mv, Mercator mv, Al Idrissi mv). The largest mud volcano, Al Idrissi, is situated at the shelf edge and is almost 250 m high, 5.3 km wide at the base and 1.4 km at the top. The mud volcano cluster was discovered during a R/V Belgica cruise in May 2002 and surveyed again with the R/V Logachev in July 2002. The surveys yielded detailed swath bathymetry over the entire area, dense grids of high-resolution seismic data, a few very high-resolution deep-tow sub bottom profiles, side scan sonar mosaics over the major structures, selected TV-lines, TV-grabs, dredge samples and gravity cores. Integration of the data set allows to reconstruct the structure of active mud volcanoes in detail, and moreover, it allows to zoom at selected places from the regional structures gradually down to microscopic scale. In the study area small coral banks and carbonate crusts were found at the Pen Duick escarpment at the southern flank of the Renard Ridge.The Pen Duick escarpment is a fault scarp about 4.5 km long, 100 m high, and the waterdepth at the top is 525 m. The eastern part of the platform is characterized by a hummocky topography, to the west the pattern changes to parallel elongated ridges. On basis of the TV lines, TV guided grab samples were taken from dead coral banks and from a fault zone with carbonate slabs. The coral bank consisted of a dead coral framework with terrigeneous mud matrix and few living corals at the top. It is indicative of a more favourable coral habitat in the past

  9. Can we measure beauty? Computational evaluation of coral reef aesthetics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas F. Haas

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available The natural beauty of coral reefs attracts millions of tourists worldwide resulting in substantial revenues for the adjoining economies. Although their visual appearance is a pivotal factor attracting humans to coral reefs current monitoring protocols exclusively target biogeochemical parameters, neglecting changes in their aesthetic appearance. Here we introduce a standardized computational approach to assess coral reef environments based on 109 visual features designed to evaluate the aesthetic appearance of art. The main feature groups include color intensity and diversity of the image, relative size, color, and distribution of discernable objects within the image, and texture. Specific coral reef aesthetic values combining all 109 features were calibrated against an established biogeochemical assessment (NCEAS using machine learning algorithms. These values were generated for ∼2,100 random photographic images collected from 9 coral reef locations exposed to varying levels of anthropogenic influence across 2 ocean systems. Aesthetic values proved accurate predictors of the NCEAS scores (root mean square error < 5 for N ≥ 3 and significantly correlated to microbial abundance at each site. This shows that mathematical approaches designed to assess the aesthetic appearance of photographic images can be used as an inexpensive monitoring tool for coral reef ecosystems. It further suggests that human perception of aesthetics is not purely subjective but influenced by inherent reactions towards measurable visual cues. By quantifying aesthetic features of coral reef systems this method provides a cost efficient monitoring tool that targets one of the most important socioeconomic values of coral reefs directly tied to revenue for its local population.

  10. Effects of solar ultraviolet radiation on coral reef organisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banaszak, Anastazia T; Lesser, Michael P

    2009-09-01

    Organisms living in shallow-water tropical coral reef environments are exposed to high UVR irradiances due to the low solar zenith angles (the angle of the sun from the vertical), the natural thinness of the ozone layer over tropical latitudes, and the high transparency of the water column. The hypothesis that solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR, 290-400 nm) is an important factor that affects the biology and ecology of coral reef organisms dates only to about 1980. It has been previously suggested that increased levels of biologically effective ultraviolet B radiation (UVB, 290-320 nm), which is the waveband primarily affected by ozone depletion, would have relatively small effects on corals and coral reefs and that these effects might be observed as changes in the minimum depths of occurrence of important reef taxa such as corals. This conclusion was based on predictions of increases in UVR as well as its attenuation with depth using the available data on UVR irradiances, ozone levels, and optical properties of the water overlying coral reefs. Here, we review the experimental evidence demonstrating the direct and indirect effects of UVR, both UVB and ultraviolet A (UVA, 320-400 nm) on corals and other reef associated biota, with emphasis on those studies conducted since 1996. Additionally, we re-examine the predictions made in 1996 for the increase in UVB on reefs with currently available data, assess whether those predictions were reasonable, and look at what changes might occur on coral reefs in the future as the multiple effects (i.e. increased temperature, hypercapnia, and ocean acidification) of global climate change continue.

  11. The Economic Impact of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Brander, Luke M.; Rehdanz, Katrin; Tol, Richard S. J.; van Beukering, Pieter J.H.

    2009-01-01

    Because ocean acidification has only recently been recognized as a problem caused by CO2 emissions, impact studies are still rare and estimates of the economic impact are absent. This paper estimates the economic impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs which are generally considered to be economically as well as ecologically important ecosystems. First, we conduct an impact assessment in which atmospheric concentration of CO2 is linked to ocean acidity causing coral reef area loss. Next,...

  12. Ophiuroidea (Echinodermata) from coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific

    OpenAIRE

    Rebeca Granja Fernández; María Dinorah Herrero Pérezrul; Ramón Andrés López Pérez; Luis Hernández; Fabián Rodríguez Zaragoza; Robert Wallace Jones; Rubén Pineda López

    2014-01-01

    Abstract There are numerous and important coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific, but scarce studies of brittle stars conducted in these ecosystems. In this regard, this work provides the first annotated checklist of brittle stars associated with coral communities and reefs in the Mexican Pacific and an illustrated key to identify the species. We also provide taxonomic descriptions, spatial and bathymetric distributions and some important remarks of the species. We report a total of 14 species of...

  13. Forest conservation delivers highly variable coral reef conservation outcomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klein, Carissa J; Jupiter, Stacy D; Selig, Elizabeth R; Watts, Matthew E; Halpern, Benjamin S; Kamal, Muhammad; Roelfsema, Chris; Possingham, Hugh P

    2012-06-01

    Coral reefs are threatened by human activities on both the land (e.g., deforestation) and the sea (e.g., overfishing). Most conservation planning for coral reefs focuses on removing threats in the sea, neglecting management actions on the land. A more integrated approach to coral reef conservation, inclusive of land-sea connections, requires an understanding of how and where terrestrial conservation actions influence reefs. We address this by developing a land-sea planning approach to inform fine-scale spatial management decisions and test it in Fiji. Our aim is to determine where the protection of forest can deliver the greatest return on investment for coral reef ecosystems. To assess the benefits of conservation to coral reefs, we estimate their relative condition as influenced by watershed-based pollution and fishing. We calculate the cost-effectiveness of protecting forest and find that investments deliver rapidly diminishing returns for improvements to relative reef condition. For example, protecting 2% of forest in one area is almost 500 times more beneficial than protecting 2% in another area, making prioritization essential. For the scenarios evaluated, relative coral reef condition could be improved by 8-58% if all remnant forest in Fiji were protected rather than deforested. Finally, we determine the priority of each coral reef for implementing a marine protected area when all remnant forest is protected for conservation. The general results will support decisions made by the Fiji Protected Area Committee as they establish a national protected area network that aims to protect 20% of the land and 30% of the inshore waters by 2020. Although challenges remain, we can inform conservation decisions around the globe by tackling the complex issues relevant to integrated land-sea planning.

  14. The effects of trophic interactions and spatial competition on algal community composition on Hawaiian coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vermeij, M.J.A.; Dailer, M.L.; Walsh, S.M.; Donovan, M.K.; Smith, C.M.

    2010-01-01

    Much of coral reef ecology has focused on how human impacts change coral reefs to macroalgal reefs. However, macroalgae may not always be a good indicator of reef decline, especially on reefs with significant sea urchin populations, as found in Kenya and Hawaii. This study tests the effects of troph

  15. The effects of trophic interactions and spatial competition on algal community composition on Hawaiian coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vermeij, M.J.A.; Dailer, M.L.; Walsh, S.M.; Donovan, M.K.; Smith, C.M.

    2010-01-01

    Much of coral reef ecology has focused on how human impacts change coral reefs to macroalgal reefs. However, macroalgae may not always be a good indicator of reef decline, especially on reefs with significant sea urchin populations, as found in Kenya and Hawaii. This study tests the effects of

  16. 76 FR 66273 - Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-10-26

    ... Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the South Atlantic; Exempted Fishing Permit AGENCY... conditions, various species of reef fish and live rock in Federal waters off North Carolina. The specimens... Plan (FMP) for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region and the FMP for Coral, Coral...

  17. Effects of cold stress and heat stress on coral fluorescence in reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roth, Melissa S; Deheyn, Dimitri D

    2013-01-01

    Widespread temperature stress has caused catastrophic coral bleaching events that have been devastating for coral reefs. Here, we evaluate whether coral fluorescence could be utilized as a noninvasive assessment for coral health. We conducted cold and heat stress treatments on the branching coral Acropora yongei, and found that green fluorescent protein (GFP) concentration and fluorescence decreased with declining coral health, prior to initiation of bleaching. Ultimately, cold-treated corals acclimated and GFP concentration and fluorescence recovered. In contrast, heat-treated corals eventually bleached but showed strong fluorescence despite reduced GFP concentration, likely resulting from the large reduction in shading from decreased dinoflagellate density. Consequently, GFP concentration and fluorescence showed distinct correlations in non-bleached and bleached corals. Green fluorescence was positively correlated with dinoflagellate photobiology, but its closest correlation was with coral growth suggesting that green fluorescence could be used as a physiological proxy for health in some corals.

  18. Hurricanes and coral reefs: The intermediate disturbance hypothesis revisited

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, C. S.

    1993-11-01

    A review of research on the effects of hurricanes on coral reefs suggests that the intermediate disturbance hypothesis may be applicable to shallow reef zones dominated by branching or foliaceous coral species that are especially susceptible to mechanical damage from storms. Diversity ( H') increases because of an increase in evenness following destruction or removal of the species that was monopolizing the space. The intermediate disturbance hypothesis as presented by Connell focuses on changes in number of species, but should be expanded to include diversity ( H') and evenness. It should also be modified to incorporate changes in living cover and the time elapsed since disturbances of varying intensities. This hypothesis predicts that when cover is high, diversity will be low. However, research on coral reefs does not consistently demonstrate an inverse correlation of coral diversity, and coral cover. An increase in cover and decrease in diversity with depth would also be expected because deeper reef zones generally experience less disturbance. However, higher diversity (both H' and species richness) is often associated with deeper zones. The effects of hurricanes on coral reefs will depend on the temporal and spatial scales under consideration, the life history characteristics and morphology of the dominant species, the depth of the reef zone, the ecological history of the site, and the influence of any additional natural or human stresses.

  19. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uthicke, Sven; Furnas, Miles; Lønborg, Christian

    2014-01-01

    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.

  1. 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.

  2. Coral Reefs on the Edge? Carbon Chemistry on Inshore Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uthicke, Sven; Furnas, Miles; Lønborg, Christian

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25295864

  3. Facilitation in Caribbean coral reefs: high densities of staghorn coral foster greater coral condition and reef fish composition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huntington, Brittany E; Miller, Margaret W; Pausch, Rachel; Richter, Lee

    2017-05-01

    Recovery of the threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) is posited to play a key role in Caribbean reef resilience. At four Caribbean locations (including one restored and three extant populations), we quantified characteristics of contemporary staghorn coral across increasing conspecific densities, and investigated a hypothesis of facilitation between staghorn coral and reef fishes. High staghorn densities in the Dry Tortugas exhibited significantly less partial mortality, higher branch growth, and supported greater fish abundances compared to lower densities within the same population. In contrast, partial mortality, branch growth, and fish community composition did not vary with staghorn density at the three other study locations where staghorn densities were lower overall. This suggests that density-dependent effects between the coral and fish community may only manifest at high staghorn densities. We then evaluated one facilitative mechanism for such density-dependence, whereby abundant fishes sheltering in dense staghorn aggregations deliver nutrients back to the coral, fueling faster coral growth, thereby creating more fish habitat. Indeed, dense staghorn aggregations within the Dry Tortugas exhibited significantly higher growth rates, tissue nitrogen, and zooxanthellae densities than sparse aggregations. Similarly, higher tissue nitrogen was induced in a macroalgae bioassay outplanted into the same dense and sparse aggregations, confirming greater bioavailability of nutrients at high staghorn densities. Our findings inform staghorn restoration efforts, suggesting that the most effective targets may be higher coral densities than previously thought. These coral-dense aggregations may reap the benefits of positive facilitation between the staghorn and fish community, favoring the growth and survivorship of this threatened species.

  4. Oxygen consumption by a coral reef sponge.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hadas, Eran; Ilan, Micha; Shpigel, Muki

    2008-07-01

    Oxygen consumption of the Red Sea coral reef sponge Negombata magnifica was measured using both incubation and steady-state methods. The latter method was found to be the more reliable because sponge activity remained stable over time. Oxygen consumption rate was measured during three levels of sponge activity: full activity, reduced activity and basal activity (starved). It was found that the active oxygen consumption rate of N. magnifica averaged 37.3+/-4.6 nmol O2 min(-1) g(-1) wet mass, which is within the upper range reported for other tropical marine sponges. Fully active N. magnifica individuals consumed an average of 41.8+/-3.2 nmol O2 min(-1) g(-1) wet mass. The mean basal respiration rate was 20.2+/-1.2 nmol O2 min(-1) g(-1) wet mass, which is 51.6+/-2.5% of the active respiration rate. Therefore, the oxygen used for water pumping was calculated to be at most 10.6+/-1.8 nmol O2 min(-1) g(-1) wet mass, which is 25.1+/-3.6% of the total respiration. Combined oxygen used for maintenance and water pumping activity was calculated to be 30.8 nmol O2 min(-1) g(-1) wet mass, which is approximately 74% of the sponge's total oxygen requirement. The remaining oxygen is directed to other physiological activities, mainly the energy requirement of growth. These findings suggest that only a relatively minor amount of energy is potentially available for growth, and thus might be a factor in controlling the growth rate of N. magnifica in oligotrophic coral reefs.

  5. Cold-water coral microbiomes (Anthothela spp.) from Baltimore and Norfolk Canyons: raw and processed data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellogg, Christina A.; Lawler, Stephanie N.

    2015-01-01

    The files in this data release are the raw and processed DNA sequence files referenced in the submitted journal article by Lawler et. al. titled “Coral-associated bacterial diversity is conserved at the host-genus level in deep-sea Anthothela spp." They represent a 16S rRNA gene amplicon survey of the coral's microbiome completed using Roche 454 pyrosequencing with titanium reagents. Baltimore and Norfolk Canyons are in the Atlantic Ocean and the samples were collected in 2012-2013. The raw data files associated with this study have also been submitted to the NCBI Sequence Read Archive under Bioproject number PRJNA296835. For more information, please see the README file.

  6. Embracing a world of subtlety and nuance on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J.

    2017-09-01

    Climate change will homogenise the environment and generate a preponderance of mediocre reefs. Managing seascapes of mediocrity will be challenging because our science is ill prepared to deal with the `shades of grey' of reef health; we tend to study natural processes in the healthiest reefs available. Yet much can be gained by examining the drivers and implications of even subtle changes in reef state. Where strong ecological interactions are discovered, even small changes in abundance can have profound impacts on coral resilience. Indeed, if we are to develop effective early warnings of critical losses of resilience, then monitoring must place greater emphasis on measuring and interpreting changes in reef recovery rates. In terms of mechanism, a more nuanced approach is needed to explore the generality of what might be considered `dogma'. A more nuanced approach to science will serve managers needs well and help minimise the rise of mediocrity in coral reef ecosystems.

  7. EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corals and coral reefs of the Caribbean and through the world are deteriorating at an accelerated rate. Several stressors are believed to contrbute to this decline, including global changes in atmospheric gases and land use patterns. In particular, warmer water temperatures and...

  8. Morphogenesis of the branching reef coral Madracis mirabilis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kaandorp, J.A.; Sloot, P.M.A.; Merks, R.M.H.; Bak, R.P.M.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Maier, C.

    2005-01-01

    Understanding external deciding factors in growth and morphology of reef corals is essential to elucidate the role of corals in marine ecosystems, and to explain their susceptibility to pollution and global climate change. Here, we extend on a previously presented model for simulating the growth and

  9. Trans-Atlantic rafting by the brooding reef coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, B.W.; Roos, P.J.; Cadée, G.C.

    2012-01-01

    including corrigendumSpecimens of the brooding reef coral Favia fragum were found on man-made flotsam stranded on the North Sea shore of the Netherlands. Based on the associated epifauna originating from the southeast USA, we estimate that the corals must have crossed the Atlantic Ocean, transported

  10. EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corals and coral reefs of the Caribbean and through the world are deteriorating at an accelerated rate. Several stressors are believed to contrbute to this decline, including global changes in atmospheric gases and land use patterns. In particular, warmer water temperatures and...

  11. Trans-Atlantic rafting by the brooding reef coral

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, B.W.; Roos, P.J.; Cadée, G.C.

    2012-01-01

    Specimens of the brooding reef coral Favia fragum were found on man-made flotsam stranded on the North Sea shore of the Netherlands. Based on the associated epifauna originating from the southeast USA, we estimate that the corals must have crossed the Atlantic Ocean, transported by the Gulf Stream a

  12. Human Impacts on Coral Reefs in the Sultanate of Oman

    Science.gov (United States)

    Al-Jufaili, S.; Al-Jabri, M.; Al-Baluchi, A.; Baldwin, R. M.; Wilson, S. C.; West, F.; Matthews, A. D.

    1999-08-01

    A rapid assessment survey of the coral reefs of the Sultanate of Oman was conducted by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Environment during the first half of 1996. The survey revealed new information on the distribution pattern of corals in Oman and identified impacts, threats and potential threats to coral communities for the purpose of preparation of a National Coral Reef Management Plan (Phase One of the implementation of a National Coastal Zone Management Plan). Impacts on coral reefs in Oman were found to be attributable to both natural and human causes, resulting in significant and widespread degradation. Damage resulting from fisheries activities was the most commonly recorded human impact, with the most severe effects. Other human impacts resulted from coastal construction, recreational activities, oil pollution and eutrophication. Predation of corals by Acanthaster planci, damage caused by storms, coral diseases and temperature-related stress were the most commonly recorded natural impacts to coral reefs. Further minor natural impacts were attributable to siltation, rock falls and predation by a corallivorous gastropod (Drupella sp.). Significant differences between different areas of the country were found in terms of human impacts on coral reefs and these were related to coastal demography and human activity. Eighty per cent of sites studied were recorded to have been affected by human impacts to some degree. Impacts attributable to fisheries activities were found at 69% of the sites. Lost or abandoned gill nets were found to affect coral reefs at 49% of sites throughout Oman and accounted for 70% of all severe human impacts. Lost gill nets were also found to have a negative affect on fisheries resources and other marine wildlife. Observations of the behaviour of gill nets on coral reefs suggested a predictable pattern of damage over time and a significant increase in damage intensity during storms. Fishing nets were found to act selectively

  13. The cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa (Scleractinia) and enigmatic seabed mounds along the north-east Atlantic margin: are they related?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberts, J M; Long, D; Wilson, J B; Mortensen, P B; Gage, J D

    2003-01-01

    In this study, an updated distribution of Lophelia pertusa between the Porcupine Seabight and Norwegian shelf is presented. It seems unlikely that enigmatic mound structures observed at water depths of more than 570 m during acoustic seabed surveys, particularly to the west of the Shetland Islands, are related to the occurrence of L. pertusa. At these depths in the Faroe-Shetland Channel, the predominant influence of cold Arctic water precludes its growth. Iceberg dumpsites are also considered unlikely explanations for the origin of these mounds, and they are interpreted as most likely to be related to the release of fluids at the seabed. When mound structures were investigated, no scleractinian corals were recovered at water depths >500 m. This study shows the importance of seabed temperature as an environmental control on cold-water coral distribution. The significance of cold-water coral habitats in sustaining high levels of local-scale biodiversity is now becoming apparent in parallel with increased hydrocarbon extraction and fishing activity beyond the shelf edge. There is growing evidence that these areas have been marked by the passage of deep-water trawls. It seems likely that trawling activity has already reduced the extent of cold-water coral distribution in this region of the north-east Atlantic.

  14. Environmental boundary conditions of cold-water coral mound growth over the last 3 million years in the Porcupine Seabight, Northeast Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raddatz, Jacek; Rüggeberg, Andres; Liebetrau, Volker; Foubert, Anneleen; Hathorne, Ed C.; Fietzke, Jan; Eisenhauer, Anton; Dullo, Wolf-Christian

    2014-01-01

    IODP Expedition 307 made it for the first time possible to investigate the entire body of a cold-water coral carbonate mound. Here we provide new insights into the long-term history of Challenger Mound on the European continental margin off Ireland. This study is based on age determinations (230Th/U, 87Sr/86Sr) and geochemical signals (Mg/Li and Ba/Ca) measured in the scleractinian cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa from IODP Site 1317 in the Porcupine Seabight. The paleoceanographic reconstructions reveal that coral growth in the Porcupine Seabight was restricted to specific oceanographic conditions such as enhanced export of primary production and Bottom-Water Temperatures (BWT) between ∼8 and 10 °C, related to the water mass stratification of the Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) and Eastern North Atlantic Water (ENAW). The geochemical signals from the coral skeletons can be explained by the close interaction between cold-water coral growth, sea-surface productivity and the surrounding water masses - the boundary layer between MOW and ENAW. Enhanced sea-surface productivity and the build-up of a stable water mass stratification between ENAW and MOW caused enhanced nutrient supply at intermediate water depths and facilitated a steady mound growth between ∼3.0 and 2.1 Ma. With the decrease in sea-surface productivity and related reduced export productivity the food supply was insufficient for rapid coral mound growth between ∼1.7 and 1 Ma. During the late Pleistocene (over the last ∼0.5 Myr) mound growth was restricted to interglacial periods. During glacials the water mass boundary between ENAW/MOW probably was below the mound summit and hence food supply was not sufficient for corals to grow.

  15. Hydrodynamic Regimes Affect Coral Reef Resilience to Ocean Acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teneva, L. T.; Dunbar, R. B.; Koseff, J. R.; Fleischfresser, J. D.; Koweek, D.

    2013-05-01

    Caribbean reefs hold tremendous value as sources of food, income, coastal protection, in addition to their cultural significance. Recently, studies showed that Caribbean reef growth has been surpassed in places by excessive rates of erosion due to climate change. The rates of coral reef response to ocean pH changes and warming and the implications for ecosystem resilience remain largely unknown. One way to investigate the potential structural resilience of reefs to climate change is to measure the physical oceanographic conditions in the area. Determining the hydrodynamic regimes and residence time of water in a particular reef environment is crucial to understanding the rates of future warming and acidification a reef site would experience. Our work on Pacific Islands' hydrodynamics - Central Equatorial Pacific, Great Barrier Reef, and Western Pacific -- would be of interest to Caribbean physical oceanographers and coral reef scientists. We use a combination of Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers, Acoustic Doppler Velocimeters, temperature and salinity sensors, and pressure sensors to characterize reef hydrodynamic regimes. Our work indicates that shallower, more protected reef habitats are characterized by longer residence times, their biological signals are strongly tidally modulated, essentially subjecting such habitats to higher rates of warming and acidification in the future. Reef crest environments and fore reef habitats, on the other hand, are well-mixed with open-ocean water. The hydrodynamic regimes there condition such reef sites to more attenuated temperature and pH ranges, conditions more typical of the open ocean. Our work suggests that investigating the geomorphology and resulting localized hydrodynamics in a reef area can provide insights into the relative rates at which a reef could resist or succumb to impacts of ocean acidification. Such information for different reef islands, in the Pacific or Caribbean basins, could provide helpful insights

  16. Coral reef fish smell leaves to find island homes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dixson, Danielle L; Jones, Geoffrey P; Munday, Philip L; Planes, Serge; Pratchett, Morgan S; Srinivasan, Maya; Syms, Craig; Thorrold, Simon R

    2008-01-01

    Recent studies have shown that some coral reef fish larvae return to natal reefs, while others disperse to distant reefs. However, the sensory mechanisms used to find settlement sites are poorly understood. One hypothesis is that larvae use olfactory cues to navigate home or find other suitable reef habitats. Here we show a strong association between the clownfish Amphiprion percula and coral reefs surrounding offshore islands in Papua New Guinea. Host anemones and A. percula are particularly abundant in shallow water beneath overhanging rainforest vegetation. A series of experiments were carried out using paired-choice flumes to evaluate the potential role of water-borne olfactory cues in finding islands. Recently settled A. percula exhibited strong preferences for: (i) water from reefs with islands over water from reefs without islands; (ii) water collected near islands over water collected offshore; and (iii) water treated with either anemones or leaves from rainforest vegetation. Laboratory reared-juveniles exhibited the same positive response to anemones and rainforest vegetation, suggesting that olfactory preferences are innate rather than learned. We hypothesize that A. percula use a suite of olfactory stimuli to locate vegetated islands, which may explain the high levels of self-recruitment on island reefs. This previously unrecognized link between coral reefs and island vegetation argues for the integrated management of these pristine tropical habitats. PMID:18755672

  17. Cold-water coral microbiomes (Paramuricea placomus) from Baltimore Canyon: raw and processed data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellogg, Christina A.

    2015-01-01

    The files in this data release are the raw and processed DNA sequence files referenced in the submitted journal article by Kellogg et. al. titled "Bacterial Community Diversity of the Deep-Sea Octocoral Paramuricea placomus." They represent a 16S rRNA gene amplicon survey of the coral's microbiome completed using Roche 454 pyrosequencing with titanium reagents. Baltimore Canyon is in the Atlantic Ocean and the samples were collected in 2012-2013. The raw data files associated with this study have also been submitted to the NCBI Sequence Read Archive under Bioproject number PRJNA297333. For more information, please see the README file.

  18. Water Quality Standards for Coral Reef Protection | Science ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    The U.S. Clean Water Act provides a legal framework to protect coastal biological resources such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows from the damaging effects of human activities. Even though many resources are protected under this authority, water quality standards have not been effectively applied to coral reefs. The Environmental Protection Agency is promoting biocriteria and other water quality standards through collaborative development of bioassessment procedures, indicators and monitoring strategies. To support regulatory action, bioassessment indicators must be biologically meaningful, relevant to management, responsive to human disturbance, and relatively immune to natural variability. A rapid bioassessment protocol for reef-building stony corals was developed and tested for regulatory applicability. Preliminary testing in the Florida Keys found indicators had sufficient precision and provided information relevant to coral reef management. Sensitivity to human disturbance was demonstrated in the U.S. Virgin Islands for five of eight indicators tested. Once established, monitoring programs using these indicators can provide valuable, long-term records of coral condition and regulatory compliance. Development of a rapid bioassement protocol for reef-building stony corals was tested for regulatory applicability.

  19. Monitoring of Coral Reef Ecosystems on Maui, Hawaii during 1989-1998 (NODC Accession 9900242)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In an effort to detect spatial and temporal changes in the structure of the coral reef community, coral coverage and reef fish density and diversity were documented...

  20. Monitoring of Coral Reef Ecosystems on Maui, Hawaii during 1989-1998 (NODC Accession 9900242)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In an effort to detect spatial and temporal changes in the structure of the coral reef community, coral coverage and reef fish density and diversity were documented...

  1. Baseline Assessment of Coral Reefs in Timor-Leste from 2012 to 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S Department of State, and NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program the PIFSC Coral Reef...

  2. Sewage impacts coral reefs at multiple levels of ecological organization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reopanichkul, Pasinee; Schlacher, Thomas A; Carter, R W; Worachananant, Suchai

    2009-09-01

    Against a backdrop of rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification which pose global threats to coral reefs, excess nutrients and turbidity continue to be significant stressors at regional and local scales. Because interventions usually require local data on pollution impacts, we measured ecological responses to sewage discharges in Surin Marine Park, Thailand. Wastewater disposal significantly increased inorganic nutrients and turbidity levels, and this degradation in water quality resulted in substantial ecological shifts in the form of (i) increased macroalgal density and species richness, (ii) lower cover of hard corals, and (iii) significant declines in fish abundance. Thus, the effects of nutrient pollution and turbidity can cascade across several levels of ecological organization to change key properties of the benthos and fish on coral reefs. Maintenance or restoration of ecological reef health requires improved wastewater management and run-off control for reefs to deliver their valuable ecosystems services.

  3. Projecting coral reef futures under global warming and ocean acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pandolfi, John M; Connolly, Sean R; Marshall, Dustin J; Cohen, Anne L

    2011-07-22

    Many physiological responses in present-day coral reefs to climate change are interpreted as consistent with the imminent disappearance of modern reefs globally because of annual mass bleaching events, carbonate dissolution, and insufficient time for substantial evolutionary responses. Emerging evidence for variability in the coral calcification response to acidification, geographical variation in bleaching susceptibility and recovery, responses to past climate change, and potential rates of adaptation to rapid warming supports an alternative scenario in which reef degradation occurs with greater temporal and spatial heterogeneity than current projections suggest. Reducing uncertainty in projecting coral reef futures requires improved understanding of past responses to rapid climate change; physiological responses to interacting factors, such as temperature, acidification, and nutrients; and the costs and constraints imposed by acclimation and adaptation.

  4. A unified model explains commonness and rarity on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Connolly, Sean R; Hughes, Terry P; Bellwood, David R

    2017-04-01

    Abundance patterns in ecological communities have important implications for biodiversity maintenance and ecosystem functioning. However, ecological theory has been largely unsuccessful at capturing multiple macroecological abundance patterns simultaneously. Here, we propose a parsimonious model that unifies widespread ecological relationships involving local aggregation, species-abundance distributions, and species associations, and we test this model against the metacommunity structure of reef-building corals and coral reef fishes across the western and central Pacific. For both corals and fishes, the unified model simultaneously captures extremely well local species-abundance distributions, interspecific variation in the strength of spatial aggregation, patterns of community similarity, species accumulation, and regional species richness, performing far better than alternative models also examined here and in previous work on coral reefs. Our approach contributes to the development of synthetic theory for large-scale patterns of community structure in nature, and to addressing ongoing challenges in biodiversity conservation at macroecological scales.

  5. Status of Caribbean coral reefs in seven countries in 1986.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilkinson, Clive; Nowak, Madeleine; Miller, Ian; Baker, Valonna

    2013-05-15

    There are few long-term datasets available to make reliable statements about trends in cover and structure in many coral reefs around the world. We present 27year old summary data of the cover of corals and other biota on Caribbean and Western Atlantic coral reefs in 7 countries collected in late 1985 and early 1986. These data were collected to support research on sponge populations and show relatively low coral cover on many of these reefs with particularly low cover of Acropora spp. We present these summaries to encourage other researchers to compare with current conditions or repeat the surveys to show long-term trends; the raw data will be supplied on request. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Avoiding coral reef functional collapse requires local and global action.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kennedy, Emma V; Perry, Chris T; Halloran, Paul R; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Schönberg, Christine H L; Wisshak, Max; Form, Armin U; Carricart-Ganivet, Juan P; Fine, Maoz; Eakin, C Mark; Mumby, Peter J

    2013-05-20

    Coral reefs face multiple anthropogenic threats, from pollution and overfishing to the dual effects of greenhouse gas emissions: rising sea temperature and ocean acidification. While the abundance of coral has declined in recent decades, the implications for humanity are difficult to quantify because they depend on ecosystem function rather than the corals themselves. Most reef functions and ecosystem services are founded on the ability of reefs to maintain their three-dimensional structure through net carbonate accumulation. Coral growth only constitutes part of a reef's carbonate budget; bioerosion processes are influential in determining the balance between net structural growth and disintegration. Here, we combine ecological models with carbonate budgets and drive the dynamics of Caribbean reefs with the latest generation of climate models. Budget reconstructions using documented ecological perturbations drive shallow (6-10 m) Caribbean forereefs toward an increasingly fragile carbonate balance. We then projected carbonate budgets toward 2080 and contrasted the benefits of local conservation and global action on climate change. Local management of fisheries (specifically, no-take marine reserves) and the watershed can delay reef loss by at least a decade under "business-as-usual" rises in greenhouse gas emissions. However, local action must be combined with a low-carbon economy to prevent degradation of reef structures and associated ecosystem services. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Guam Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program Reef Fish Surveys since 2010

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Government of Guam's Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program, coordinated by the Guam Coastal Management Program until October 2013 and now coordinated by the...

  8. Spatial competition dynamics between reef corals under ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horwitz, Rael; Hoogenboom, Mia O.; Fine, Maoz

    2017-01-01

    Climate change, including ocean acidification (OA), represents a major threat to coral-reef ecosystems. Although previous experiments have shown that OA can negatively affect the fitness of reef corals, these have not included the long-term effects of competition for space on coral growth rates. Our multispecies year-long study subjected reef-building corals from the Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea) to competitive interactions under present-day ocean pH (pH 8.1) and predicted end-of-century ocean pH (pH 7.6). Results showed coral growth is significantly impeded by OA under intraspecific competition for five out of six study species. Reduced growth from OA, however, is negligible when growth is already suppressed in the presence of interspecific competition. Using a spatial competition model, our analysis indicates shifts in the competitive hierarchy and a decrease in overall coral cover under lowered pH. Collectively, our case study demonstrates how modified competitive performance under increasing OA will in all likelihood change the composition, structure and functionality of reef coral communities. PMID:28067281

  9. Spatial competition dynamics between reef corals under ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horwitz, Rael; Hoogenboom, Mia O.; Fine, Maoz

    2017-01-01

    Climate change, including ocean acidification (OA), represents a major threat to coral-reef ecosystems. Although previous experiments have shown that OA can negatively affect the fitness of reef corals, these have not included the long-term effects of competition for space on coral growth rates. Our multispecies year-long study subjected reef-building corals from the Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea) to competitive interactions under present-day ocean pH (pH 8.1) and predicted end-of-century ocean pH (pH 7.6). Results showed coral growth is significantly impeded by OA under intraspecific competition for five out of six study species. Reduced growth from OA, however, is negligible when growth is already suppressed in the presence of interspecific competition. Using a spatial competition model, our analysis indicates shifts in the competitive hierarchy and a decrease in overall coral cover under lowered pH. Collectively, our case study demonstrates how modified competitive performance under increasing OA will in all likelihood change the composition, structure and functionality of reef coral communities.

  10. Prioritizing land and sea conservation investments to protect coral reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carissa J Klein

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral reefs have exceptional biodiversity, support the livelihoods of millions of people, and are threatened by multiple human activities on land (e.g. farming and in the sea (e.g. overfishing. Most conservation efforts occur at local scales and, when effective, can increase the resilience of coral reefs to global threats such as climate change (e.g. warming water and ocean acidification. Limited resources for conservation require that we efficiently prioritize where and how to best sustain coral reef ecosystems. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we develop the first prioritization approach that can guide regional-scale conservation investments in land- and sea-based conservation actions that cost-effectively mitigate threats to coral reefs, and apply it to the Coral Triangle, an area of significant global attention and funding. Using information on threats to marine ecosystems, effectiveness of management actions at abating threats, and the management and opportunity costs of actions, we calculate the rate of return on investment in two conservation actions in sixteen ecoregions. We discover that marine conservation almost always trumps terrestrial conservation within any ecoregion, but terrestrial conservation in one ecoregion can be a better investment than marine conservation in another. We show how these results could be used to allocate a limited budget for conservation and compare them to priorities based on individual criteria. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Previous prioritization approaches do not consider both land and sea-based threats or the socioeconomic costs of conserving coral reefs. A simple and transparent approach like ours is essential to support effective coral reef conservation decisions in a large and diverse region like the Coral Triangle, but can be applied at any scale and to other marine ecosystems.

  11. Prioritizing land and sea conservation investments to protect coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klein, Carissa J; Ban, Natalie C; Halpern, Benjamin S; Beger, Maria; Game, Edward T; Grantham, Hedley S; Green, Alison; Klein, Travis J; Kininmonth, Stuart; Treml, Eric; Wilson, Kerrie; Possingham, Hugh P

    2010-08-30

    Coral reefs have exceptional biodiversity, support the livelihoods of millions of people, and are threatened by multiple human activities on land (e.g. farming) and in the sea (e.g. overfishing). Most conservation efforts occur at local scales and, when effective, can increase the resilience of coral reefs to global threats such as climate change (e.g. warming water and ocean acidification). Limited resources for conservation require that we efficiently prioritize where and how to best sustain coral reef ecosystems. Here we develop the first prioritization approach that can guide regional-scale conservation investments in land- and sea-based conservation actions that cost-effectively mitigate threats to coral reefs, and apply it to the Coral Triangle, an area of significant global attention and funding. Using information on threats to marine ecosystems, effectiveness of management actions at abating threats, and the management and opportunity costs of actions, we calculate the rate of return on investment in two conservation actions in sixteen ecoregions. We discover that marine conservation almost always trumps terrestrial conservation within any ecoregion, but terrestrial conservation in one ecoregion can be a better investment than marine conservation in another. We show how these results could be used to allocate a limited budget for conservation and compare them to priorities based on individual criteria. Previous prioritization approaches do not consider both land and sea-based threats or the socioeconomic costs of conserving coral reefs. A simple and transparent approach like ours is essential to support effective coral reef conservation decisions in a large and diverse region like the Coral Triangle, but can be applied at any scale and to other marine ecosystems.

  12. Shifts in coral-assemblage composition do not ensure persistence of reef functionality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Carricart-Ganivet, Juan P; Horta-Puga, Guillermo; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto

    2013-12-12

    Coral communities are changing rapidly worldwide through loss of coral cover and shifts in species composition. Although many reef-building corals are likely to decline, some weedy opportunistic species might increase in abundance. Here we explore whether the reshuffling of species can maintain ecosystem integrity and functioning. Using four common Caribbean reef-building coral genera we modeled rates of reef construction and complexity. We show that shifting coral assemblages result in rapid losses in coral-community calcification and reef rugosity that are independent of changes in the total abundance of reef corals. These losses are considerably higher than those recently attributed to climate change. Dominance patterns of coral assemblages seem to be the most important driver of the functioning of coral reefs and thus, the future of these ecosystems might depend not only on reductions of local and global stressors, but also on the maintenance of keystone coral species.

  13. Diversity and community structure of harpacticoid copepods associated with cold-water coral substrates in the Porcupine Seabight (North-East Atlantic)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gheerardyn, Hendrik; de Troch, Marleen; Vincx, Magda; Vanreusel, Ann

    2010-03-01

    The influence of microhabitat type on the diversity and community structure of the harpacticoid copepod fauna associated with a cold-water coral degradation zone was investigated in the Porcupine Seabight (North-East Atlantic). Three substrate types were distinguished: dead fragments of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa, skeletons of the glass sponge Aphrocallistes bocagei and the underlying sediment. At the family level, it appears that coral fragments and underlying sediment do not harbour distinctly different assemblages, with Ectinosomatidae, Ameiridae, Pseudotachidiidae, Argestidae and Miraciidae as most abundant. Conclusions on assemblage structure and diversity of the sponge skeletons are limited as only two samples were available. Similarity analysis at species level showed a strong variation in the sediment samples, which did not harbour a distinctly different assemblage in opposition to the coral and sponge samples. Several factors (sediment infill on the hard substrates, mobility of the copepods, limited sample sizes) are proposed to explain this apparent lack of a distinct difference between the microhabitats. Coral fragments and sediment were both characterised by high species diversity and low species dominance, which might indicate that copepod diversity is not substantially influenced by hydrodynamical stress. The additive partitioning of species diversity showed that by adding locations species richness was greatly enhanced. The harpacticoid community in the cold-water coral degradation zone is highly diverse and includes 157 species, 62 genera and 19 families. Information from neighbouring soft-bottom regions is necessary to assess whether total species diversity is increased by the presence of these complex habitat-providing substrates.

  14. Current status, crisis and conservation of coral reef ecosystems in China

    OpenAIRE

    ShaoHong Wu; WenJun Zhang

    2012-01-01

    Harboring rich marine species and playing important ecological functions, coral reef ecosystems have attracted widespread concern around the world. Ecosystem diversity, conservation and management of coral reefs are becoming a hot research area. Coral reefs in China are mainly distributed in the South China Sea and Hainan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Guangdong, and Guangxi coastal waters. In recent years, due to the global climate change and the growing impact of human activities, coral reef biodivers...

  15. Behaviourally mediated phenotypic selection in a disturbed coral reef environment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark I McCormick

    Full Text Available Natural and anthropogenic disturbances are leading to changes in the nature of many habitats globally, and the magnitude and frequency of these perturbations are predicted to increase under climate change. Globally coral reefs are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. Fishes often show relatively rapid declines in abundance when corals become stressed and die, but the processes responsible are largely unknown. This study explored the mechanism by which coral bleaching may influence the levels and selective nature of mortality on a juvenile damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, which associates with hard coral. Recently settled fish had a low propensity to migrate small distances (40 cm between habitat patches, even when densities were elevated to their natural maximum. Intraspecific interactions and space use differ among three habitats: live hard coral, bleached coral and dead algal-covered coral. Large fish pushed smaller fish further from the shelter of bleached and dead coral thereby exposing smaller fish to higher mortality than experienced on healthy coral. Small recruits suffered higher mortality than large recruits on bleached and dead coral. Mortality was not size selective on live coral. Survival was 3 times as high on live coral as on either bleached or dead coral. Subtle behavioural interactions between fish and their habitats influence the fundamental link between life history stages, the distribution of phenotypic traits in the local population and potentially the evolution of life history strategies.

  16. Sediments and herbivory as sensitive indicators of coral reef degradation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher H. R. Goatley

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Around the world, the decreasing health of coral reef ecosystems has highlighted the need to better understand the processes of reef degradation. The development of more sensitive tools, which complement traditional methods of monitoring coral reefs, may reveal earlier signs of degradation and provide an opportunity for pre-emptive responses. We identify new, sensitive metrics of ecosystem processes and benthic composition that allow us to quantify subtle, yet destabilizing, changes in the ecosystem state of an inshore coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef. Following severe climatic disturbances over the period 2011-2012, the herbivorous reef fish community of the reef did not change in terms of biomass or functional groups present. However, fish-based ecosystem processes showed marked changes, with grazing by herbivorous fishes declining by over 90%. On the benthos, algal turf lengths in the epilithic algal matrix increased more than 50% while benthic sediment loads increased 37-fold. The profound changes in processes, despite no visible change in ecosystem state, i.e., no shift to macroalgal dominance, suggest that although the reef has not undergone a visible regime-shift, the ecosystem is highly unstable, and may sit on an ecological knife-edge. Sensitive, process-based metrics of ecosystem state, such as grazing or browsing rates thus appear to be effective in detecting subtle signs of degradation and may be critical in identifying ecosystems at risk for the future.

  17. Through bleaching and tsunami: Coral reef recovery in the Maldives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morri, Carla; Montefalcone, Monica; Lasagna, Roberta; Gatti, Giulia; Rovere, Alessio; Parravicini, Valeriano; Baldelli, Giuseppe; Colantoni, Paolo; Bianchi, Carlo Nike

    2015-09-15

    Coral reefs are degrading worldwide, but little information exists on their previous conditions for most regions of the world. Since 1989, we have been studying the Maldives, collecting data before, during and after the bleaching and mass mortality event of 1998. As early as 1999, many newly settled colonies were recorded. Recruits shifted from a dominance of massive and encrusting corals in the early stages of recolonisation towards a dominance of Acropora and Pocillopora by 2009. Coral cover, which dropped to less than 10% after the bleaching, returned to pre-bleaching values of around 50% by 2013. The 2004 tsunami had comparatively little effect. In 2014, the coral community was similar to that existing before the bleaching. According to descriptors and metrics adopted, recovery of Maldivian coral reefs took between 6 and 15years, or may even be considered unachieved, as there are species that had not come back yet. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guest, J. R.; Low, J.; Tun, K.; Wilson, B.; Ng, C.; Raingeard, D.; Ulstrup, K. E.; Tanzil, J. T. I.; Todd, P. A.; Toh, T. C.; McDougald, D.; Chou, L. M.; Steinberg, P. D.

    2016-02-01

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on: a) overall bleaching severity during and after the event, b) differences in bleaching susceptibility among taxa during the event, and c) changes in coral community structure one year before and after bleaching. Approximately two thirds of colonies bleached, however, post-bleaching recovery was quite rapid and, importantly, coral taxa that are usually highly susceptible were relatively unaffected. Although total coral cover declined, there was no significant change in coral taxonomic community structure before and after bleaching. Several factors may have contributed to the overall high resistance of corals at this site including Symbiodinium affiliation, turbidity and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that, despite experiencing chronic anthropogenic disturbances, turbid shallow reef communities may be remarkably resilient to acute thermal stress.

  19. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guest, J R; Low, J; Tun, K; Wilson, B; Ng, C; Raingeard, D; Ulstrup, K E; Tanzil, J T I; Todd, P A; Toh, T C; McDougald, D; Chou, L M; Steinberg, P D

    2016-02-15

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on: a) overall bleaching severity during and after the event, b) differences in bleaching susceptibility among taxa during the event, and c) changes in coral community structure one year before and after bleaching. Approximately two thirds of colonies bleached, however, post-bleaching recovery was quite rapid and, importantly, coral taxa that are usually highly susceptible were relatively unaffected. Although total coral cover declined, there was no significant change in coral taxonomic community structure before and after bleaching. Several factors may have contributed to the overall high resistance of corals at this site including Symbiodinium affiliation, turbidity and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that, despite experiencing chronic anthropogenic disturbances, turbid shallow reef communities may be remarkably resilient to acute thermal stress.

  20. Coral communities of the remote atoll reefs in the Nansha Islands, southern South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, M X; Yu, K F; Shi, Q; Chen, T R; Zhang, H L; Chen, T G

    2013-09-01

    During the months of May and June in the year 2007, a survey was conducted regarding coral reef communities in the remote atolls (Zhubi Reef and Meiji Reef) of Nansha Islands, southern South China Sea. The goals of the survey were to: (1) for the first time, compile a scleractinian coral check-list; (2) estimate the total richness, coral cover, and growth forms of the community; and (3) describe preliminary patterns of community structure according to geomorphological units. Findings of this survey revealed a total of 120 species of scleractinia belonging to 40 genera, while the average coral cover was 21 %, ranging from less than 10 % to higher than 50 %. Branching and massive corals were also found to be the most important growth forms of the whole coral community, while Acropora, Montipora, and Porites were the three dominant genera in the overall region, with their contributions to total coral cover measuring 21, 22, and 23 %, respectively. Overall, coral communities of the Nansha Islands were in a relative healthy condition with high species diversity and coral cover. Spatial pattern of coral communities existed among various geomorphological units. Mean coral cover was highest in the patch reef within the lagoon, followed by the fore reef slope, reef flat, and lagoon slope. The greatest contributors to total coral cover were branching Acropora (45 %) in the lagoon slope, branching Montipora (44 %) in the reef flat, and massive Porites (51 %) in the patch reef. Coral cover in the fore reef revealed a greater range of genera than in other habitats. The leeward fore reef slope had higher coral cover (> 50 %) when compared with the windward slope (coral communities of the inner reef flat were characterized by higher coral cover (27 %) and dominant branching Montipora corals, while lower coral cover (4 %) was dominated by Psammocora with massive growth forms on the outer reef flat. Destructive fishing and coral bleaching were two major threats to coral communities

  1. Guam Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program Coral Colony Size and Condition Surveys since 2010

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Government of Guam's Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program, coordinated by the Guam Coastal Management Program until October 2013 and now coordinated by the...

  2. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program: 2016 Projects Monitoring the Effects of Thermal Stress on Coral Bleaching

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Climate change impacts have been identified as one of the greatest global threats to coral reef ecosystems. As temperature rise, mass bleaching, and infectious...

  3. Are non-estuarine mangroves connected to coral reefs through fish migration? : A mini-review

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nagelkerken, I.

    2007-01-01

    Mangroves are an important fish habitat, but little is known of their nursery function and connectivity to other habitats such as coral reefs. Here, the present status of knowledge on connectivity between non-estuarine mangroves and coral reefs by postlarval coral reef fishes is reviewed. Only since

  4. 77 FR 6786 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-09

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public..., Notice of public comment. SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task.... Coral Reef Task Force, provides a forum for coordinated planning and action among federal agencies...

  5. 76 FR 24050 - Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, Biscayne National...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-04-29

    ... National Park Service Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement... Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Biscayne National... Impact Statement for the Coral Reef Restoration Plan (Plan/FEIS) for Biscayne National Park, Florida. The...

  6. 75 FR 21650 - Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, Biscayne National...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-04-26

    ... National Park Service Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement... Availability of the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Coral Reef Restoration Plan... Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Coral Reef Restoration Plan for Biscayne National Park, Florida...

  7. 76 FR 7579 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-02-10

    ... Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment AGENCY: Fish and... U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a public business meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef...-mail: Andrew_Gude@fws.gov ); or Liza Johnson, U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Department of the Interior...

  8. 77 FR 39724 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-07-05

    ...-123D0102DM-DS61200000] U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife.... Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force... better preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The Departments of Commerce and the Interior co-chair...

  9. 76 FR 77779 - Availability of Seats for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-14

    ... Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS... the following vacant seats on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory....byers@noaa.gov . SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve is a ] marine...

  10. 78 FR 49258 - Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-08-13

    ... Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic... assessment; request for comments. SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to issue a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that would authorize Kampachi Farms, LLC, to culture and harvest a coral reef ecosystem management...

  11. 76 FR 52318 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-08-22

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public..., Notice of public comment. SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task... the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, provides a forum for coordinated planning and action among federal...

  12. 77 FR 16211 - Availability of Seats for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-03-20

    ... Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS... the following vacant seats on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory... . SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve is a marine protected area designed to conserve...

  13. 77 FR 48504 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Economic Value of Puerto Rico's Coral Reef...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-08-14

    ... Value of Puerto Rico's Coral Reef Ecosystems for Recreation-Tourism AGENCY: National Oceanic and... values of Puerto Rico's coral reef ecosystems. Estimates will be made for all ecosystem services for the Guanica Bay Watershed and for recreation-tourism for all of Puerto Rico's coral reef ecosystems. The...

  14. 78 FR 66683 - Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-06

    ... Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic... assessment and finding of no significant impact for the issuance of a special coral reef ecosystem fishing permit. SUMMARY: NMFS issued a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that authorizes Kampachi Farms...

  15. Assessing the sensitivity of coral reef condition indicators to local and global stressors with Bayesian networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are highly valued ecosystems that are currently imperiled. Although the value of coral reefs to human societies is only just being investigated and better understood, for many local and global economies coral reefs are important providers of ecosystem services that su...

  16. 75 FR 47624 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-06

    ... Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment AGENCY: Fish and... U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task...: Andrew_Gude@fws.gov ); or Liza Johnson, U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Department of the Interior Liaison, U...

  17. Are non-estuarine mangroves connected to coral reefs through fish migration? : A mini-review

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nagelkerken, I.

    2007-01-01

    Mangroves are an important fish habitat, but little is known of their nursery function and connectivity to other habitats such as coral reefs. Here, the present status of knowledge on connectivity between non-estuarine mangroves and coral reefs by postlarval coral reef fishes is reviewed. Only since

  18. Assessing the sensitivity of coral reef condition indicators to local and global stressors with Bayesian networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are highly valued ecosystems that are currently imperiled. Although the value of coral reefs to human societies is only just being investigated and better understood, for many local and global economies coral reefs are important providers of ecosystem services that su...

  19. Experimental Bleaching of a Reef-Building Coral Using a Simplified Recirculating Laboratory Exposure System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Determining stressor-response relationships in reef building corals is a critical need for researchers because of global declines in coral reef ecosystems. A simplified recirculating coral exposure system for laboratory testing of a diversity of species and morphologies of reef b...

  20. Experimental Bleaching of a Reef-Building Coral Using a Simplified Recirculating Laboratory Exposure System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Determining stressor-response relationships in reef building corals is a critical need for researchers because of global declines in coral reef ecosystems. A simplified recirculating coral exposure system for laboratory testing of a diversity of species and morphologies of reef b...

  1. Changes in biodiversity and functioning of reef fish assemblages following coral bleaching and coral loss

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, M.S.

    2011-08-12

    Coral reef ecosystems are increasingly subject to severe, large-scale disturbances caused by climate change (e.g., coral bleaching) and other more direct anthropogenic impacts. Many of these disturbances cause coral loss and corresponding changes in habitat structure, which has further important effects on abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes. Declines in the abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes are of considerable concern, given the potential loss of ecosystem function. This study explored the effects of coral loss, recorded in studies conducted throughout the world, on the diversity of fishes and also on individual responses of fishes within different functional groups. Extensive (>60%) coral loss almost invariably led to declines in fish diversity. Moreover, most fishes declined in abundance following acute disturbances that caused >10% declines in local coral cover. Response diversity, which is considered critical in maintaining ecosystem function and promoting resilience, was very low for corallivores, but was much higher for herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. Sustained and ongoing climate change thus poses a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems and diversity hotspots are no less susceptible to projected changes in diversity and function.

  2. Changes in Biodiversity and Functioning of Reef Fish Assemblages following Coral Bleaching and Coral Loss

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A.J. Graham

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are increasingly subject to severe, large-scale disturbances caused by climate change (e.g., coral bleaching and other more direct anthropogenic impacts. Many of these disturbances cause coral loss and corresponding changes in habitat structure, which has further important effects on abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes. Declines in the abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes are of considerable concern, given the potential loss of ecosystem function. This study explored the effects of coral loss, recorded in studies conducted throughout the world, on the diversity of fishes and also on individual responses of fishes within different functional groups. Extensive (>60% coral loss almost invariably led to declines in fish diversity. Moreover, most fishes declined in abundance following acute disturbances that caused >10% declines in local coral cover. Response diversity, which is considered critical in maintaining ecosystem function and promoting resilience, was very low for corallivores, but was much higher for herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. Sustained and ongoing climate change thus poses a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems and diversity hotspots are no less susceptible to projected changes in diversity and function.

  3. Thresholds and the resilience of Caribbean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J; Hastings, Alan; Edwards, Helen J

    2007-11-01

    The deteriorating health of the world's coral reefs threatens global biodiversity, ecosystem function, and the livelihoods of millions of people living in tropical coastal regions. Reefs in the Caribbean are among the most heavily affected, having experienced mass disease-induced mortality of the herbivorous urchin Diadema antillarum in 1983 and two framework-building species of coral. Declining reef health is characterized by increases in macroalgae. A critical question is whether the observed macroalgal bloom on Caribbean reefs is easily reversible. To answer this question, we must resolve whether algal-dominated reefs are an alternative stable state of the ecosystem or simply the readily reversible result of a phase change along a gradient of some environmental or ecological parameter. Here, using a fully parameterized simulation model in combination with a simple analytical model, we show that Caribbean reefs became susceptible to alternative stable states once the urchin mortality event of 1983 confined the majority of grazing to parrotfishes. We reveal dramatic hysteresis in a natural system and define critical thresholds of grazing and coral cover beyond which resilience is lost. Most grazing thresholds lie near the upper level observed for parrotfishes in nature, suggesting that reefs are highly sensitive to parrotfish exploitation. Ecosystem thresholds can be combined with stochastic models of disturbance to identify targets for the restoration of ecosystem processes. We illustrate this principle by estimating the relationship between current reef state (coral cover and grazing) and the probability that the reef will withstand moderate hurricane intensity for two decades without becoming entrained in a shift towards a stable macroalgal-dominated state. Such targets may help reef managers face the challenge of addressing global disturbance at local scales.

  4. Challenges for Managing Fisheries on Diverse Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Douglas Fenner

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Widespread coral reef decline has included the decline of reef fish populations, and the subsistence and artisanal fisheries that depend on them. Overfishing and destructive fishing have been identified as the greatest local threats to coral reefs, but the greatest future threats are acidification and increases in mass coral bleaching caused by global warming. Some reefs have shifted from dominance by corals to macroalgae, in what are called “phase shifts”. Depletion of herbivores including fishes has been identified as a contributor to such phase shifts, though nutrients are also involved in complex interactions with herbivory and competition. The depletion of herbivorous fishes implies a reduction of the resilience of coral reefs to the looming threat of mass coral mortality from bleaching, since mass coral deaths are likely to be followed by mass macroalgal blooms on the newly exposed dead substrates. Conventional stock assessment of each fish species would be the preferred option for understanding the status of the reef fishes, but this is far too expensive to be practical because of the high diversity of the fishery and poverty where most reefs are located. In addition, stock assessment models and fisheries in general assume density dependent populations, but a key prediction that stocks recover from fishing is not always confirmed. Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE has far too many weaknesses to be a useful method. The ratio of catch to stock and the proportion of catch that is mature depend on fish catch data, and are heavily biased toward stocks that are in good condition and incapable of finding species that are in the worst condition. Near-pristine reefs give us a reality check about just how much we have lost. Common fisheries management tools that control effort or catch are often prohibitively difficult to enforce for most coral reefs except in developed countries. Ecosystem-based management requires management of impacts of fishing

  5. Flexibility in Algal Endosymbioses Shapes Growth in Reef Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Little, Angela F.; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.; Willis, Bette L.

    2004-06-01

    The relation between corals and their algal endosymbionts has been a key to the success of scleractinian (stony) corals as modern reef-builders, but little is known about early stages in the establishment of the symbiosis. Here, we show that initial uptake of zooxanthellae by juvenile corals during natural infection is nonspecific (a potentially adaptive trait); the association is flexible and characterized by a change in (dominant) zooxanthella strains over time; and growth rates of experimentally infected coral holobionts are partly contingent on the zooxanthella strain harbored, with clade C-infected juveniles growing two to three times as fast as those infected with clade D.

  6. Climate-driven coral reorganisation influences aggressive behaviour in juvenile coral-reef fishes

    OpenAIRE

    Kok, Judith E.; Graham, Nicholas Anthony James; Mia O Hoogenboom

    2016-01-01

    Globally, habitat degradation is altering the abundance and diversity of species in a variety of ecosystems. This study aimed to determine how habitat degradation, in terms of changing coral composition under climate change, affected abundance, species richness and aggressive behaviour of juveniles of three damselfishes (Pomacentrus moluccensis, P. amboinensis and Dischistodus perspicillatus, in order of decreasing reliance on coral). Patch reefs were constructed to simulate two types of reef...

  7. Microbial to reef scale interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and benthic algae

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Barott, K.L.; Rodriguez-Mueller, B; Youle, M.; Marhaver, K.L.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Smith, J.E.; Rohwer, F.L.

    2012-01-01

    Competition between reef-building corals and benthic algae is of key importance for reef dynamics. These interactions occur on many spatial scales, ranging from chemical to regional. Using microprobes, 16S rDNA pyrosequencing and underwater surveys, we examined the interactions between the

  8. Coral reef environmental science: truth versus the Cassandra syndrome

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grigg, Richard W.

    1992-12-01

    In 1970, coral reef science was warned that the crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci, might cause the extinction of scleractinian corals in the Pacific Ocean. Now, 20 years later we can fortunately say that this alarm was almost certainly too severe. Many reefs were devastated by the starfish, but none are extinct, none have disappeared and many are in various stages of recovery. But now in the 1990's a new alarm is being sounded. This time the concern is over widespread destruction of coral reefs by elevated surface temperatures. Once again a few scientists have issued a dire warning that these events may represent a harbinger of ocean warming caused by the Greenhouse Effect. Has not Acanthaster taught coral reef science a lesson? The debate is far from over but this time the mood in general is not one of over-reaction. This time the Cassandras will be tested by the truth of careful experimentation, long-term monitoring and objective interpretation. Coral reef science appears to have come of age.

  9. Sewage pollution: mitigation is key for coral reef stewardship.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wear, Stephanie L; Thurber, Rebecca Vega

    2015-10-01

    Coral reefs are in decline worldwide, and land-derived sources of pollution, including sewage, are a major force driving that deterioration. This review presents evidence that sewage discharge occurs in waters surrounding at least 104 of 112 reef geographies. Studies often refer to sewage as a single stressor. However, we show that it is more accurately characterized as a multiple stressor. Many of the individual agents found within sewage, specifically freshwater, inorganic nutrients, pathogens, endocrine disrupters, suspended solids, sediments, and heavy metals, can severely impair coral growth and/or reproduction. These components of sewage may interact with each other to create as-yet poorly understood synergisms (e.g., nutrients facilitate pathogen growth), and escalate impacts of other, non-sewage-based stressors. Surprisingly few published studies have examined impacts of sewage in the field, but those that have suggest negative effects on coral reefs. Because sewage discharge proximal to sensitive coral reefs is widespread across the tropics, it is imperative for coral reef-focused institutions to increase investment in threat-abatement strategies for mitigating sewage pollution. © 2015 The Authors. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals Inc. on behalf of The New York Academy of Sciences.

  10. Energetic differences between bacterioplankton trophic groups and coral reef resistance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDole Somera, Tracey; Bailey, Barbara; Barott, Katie; Grasis, Juris; Hatay, Mark; Hilton, Brett J; Hisakawa, Nao; Nosrat, Bahador; Nulton, James; Silveira, Cynthia B; Sullivan, Chris; Brainard, Russell E; Rohwer, Forest

    2016-04-27

    Coral reefs are among the most productive and diverse marine ecosystems on the Earth. They are also particularly sensitive to changing energetic requirements by different trophic levels. Microbialization specifically refers to the increase in the energetic metabolic demands of microbes relative to macrobes and is significantly correlated with increasing human influence on coral reefs. In this study, metabolic theory of ecology is used to quantify the relative contributions of two broad bacterioplankton groups, autotrophs and heterotrophs, to energy flux on 27 Pacific coral reef ecosystems experiencing human impact to varying degrees. The effective activation energy required for photosynthesis is lower than the average energy of activation for the biochemical reactions of the Krebs cycle, and changes in the proportional abundance of these two groups can greatly affect rates of energy and materials cycling. We show that reef-water communities with a higher proportional abundance of microbial autotrophs expend more metabolic energy per gram of microbial biomass. Increased energy and materials flux through fast energy channels (i.e. water-column associated microbial autotrophs) may dampen the detrimental effects of increased heterotrophic loads (e.g. coral disease) on coral reef systems experiencing anthropogenic disturbance.

  11. High coral cover on a mesophotic, subtropical island platform at the limits of coral reef growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linklater, Michelle; Carroll, Andrew G.; Hamylton, Sarah M.; Jordan, Alan R.; Brooke, Brendan P.; Nichol, Scott L.; Woodroffe, Colin D.

    2016-11-01

    Balls Pyramid is a volcanic monolith rising 552 m from the Tasman Sea, 24 km southeast of the Pacific Ocean's southernmost modern coral reef at Lord Howe Island. High resolution seabed mapping of the shelf surrounding Balls Pyramid has revealed an extensive submerged reef structure in 30-50 m water depth, covering an area of 87 km2. Benthic community composition analysis of high-resolution still images revealed abundant scleractinian corals on the submerged reef, extending to a maximum depth of 94 m. Scleractinian coral occurred predominantly in 30-40 m depth where it comprised 13.3% of benthic cover within this depth range. Average scleractinian coral cover for all transects was 6.7±12.2%, with the highest average transect cover of 19.4±14.3% and up to 84% cover recorded for an individual still image. The remaining substrate comprised mixed benthos with veneers of carbonate sand. Benthic data were shown to significantly relate to the underlying geomorphology. BVSTEP analyses identified depth and backscatter as the strongest correlating explanatory variables driving benthic community structure. The prevalence of scleractinian corals on the submerged reef features at Balls Pyramid, and the mesophotic depths to which these corals extend, demonstrates the important role of this subtropical island shelf as habitat for modern coral communities in the southwest Pacific Ocean. As Balls Pyramid is located beyond the known latitudinal limit of coral reef formation, these findings have important implications for potential coral reef range expansion and deep reef refugia under a changing climate.

  12. Microbial to reef scale interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and benthic algae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, Katie L; Rodriguez-Mueller, Beltran; Youle, Merry; Marhaver, Kristen L; Vermeij, Mark J A; Smith, Jennifer E; Rohwer, Forest L

    2012-04-22

    Competition between reef-building corals and benthic algae is of key importance for reef dynamics. These interactions occur on many spatial scales, ranging from chemical to regional. Using microprobes, 16S rDNA pyrosequencing and underwater surveys, we examined the interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and four types of benthic algae. The macroalgae Dictyota bartayresiana and Halimeda opuntia, as well as a mixed consortium of turf algae, caused hypoxia on the adjacent coral tissue. Turf algae were also associated with major shifts in the bacterial communities at the interaction zones, including more pathogens and virulence genes. In contrast to turf algae, interactions with crustose coralline algae (CCA) and M. annularis did not appear to be antagonistic at any scale. These zones were not hypoxic, the microbes were not pathogen-like and the abundance of coral-CCA interactions was positively correlated with per cent coral cover. We propose a model in which fleshy algae (i.e. some species of turf and fleshy macroalgae) alter benthic competition dynamics by stimulating bacterial respiration and promoting invasion of virulent bacteria on corals. This gives fleshy algae a competitive advantage over corals when human activities, such as overfishing and eutrophication, remove controls on algal abundance. Together, these results demonstrate the intricate connections and mechanisms that structure coral reefs.

  13. Coral community change on a turbid-zone reef complex: developing baseline records for the central Great Barrier Reef's nearshore coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Jamie; Perry, Chris; Smithers, Scott; Morgan, Kyle; Johnson, Kenneth

    2016-04-01

    Understanding past coral community development and reef growth is crucial for placing contemporary ecological and environmental change within appropriate reef-building timescales. Coral reefs located within coastal inner-shelf zones are widely perceived to be most susceptible to declining water quality due to their proximity to modified river catchments. On the inner-shelf of Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) the impacts and magnitude of declining water quality since European settlement (c. 1850 A.D.) still remain unclear. This relates to ongoing debates concerning the significance of increased sediment yields against the naturally high background sedimentary regimes and the paucity of long-term (>decadal) ecological datasets. To provide baseline records for interpreting coral community change within the turbid inner-shelf waters of the GBR, 21 cores were recovered from five nearshore reefs spanning an evolutionary spectrum of reef development. Discrete intervals pre- and post-dating European settlement, but deposited at equivalent water depths, were identified by radiocarbon dating, enabling the discrimination of extrinsic and intrinsic driven shifts within the coral palaeo-record. We report no discernible evidence of anthropogenically-driven disturbance on the coral community records at these sites. Instead, significant transitions in coral community assemblages relating to water depth and vertical reef accretion were observed. We suggest that these records may be used to contextualise observed contemporary ecological change within similar environments on the GBR.

  14. 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.

  15. Macroalgae in the coral reefs of Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea) as a possible indicator of reef degradation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bahartan, Karnit; Zibdah, Mohammad; Ahmed, Yousef; Israel, Alvaro; Brickner, Itzchak; Abelson, Avigdor

    2010-05-01

    The current state of health of the coral reefs in the northern Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea), notably the Eilat reefs, is under debate regarding both their exact condition and the causes of degradation. A dearth of earlier data and unequivocal reliable indices are the major problems hinder a clear understanding of the reef state. Our research objective was to examine coral-algal dynamics as a potential cause and an indication of reef degradation. The community structure of stony corals and algae along the northern Gulf of Aqaba reveal non-seasonal turf algae dominancy in the shallow Eilat reefs (up to 72%), while the proximate Aqaba reefs present negligible turf cover (reefs, based on the reduction in essential reef components followed by proliferation of perennial turf algae. Our findings provide further evidence for the severe state of the Eilat coral reefs.

  16. Florida Integrated Science Center (FISC) Coral Reef Research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poore, D.Z.

    2008-01-01

    Coral reefs provide important ecosystem services such as shoreline protection and the support of lucrative industries including fisheries and tourism. Such ecosystem services are being compromised as reefs decline due to coral disease, climate change, overfishing, and pollution. There is a need for focused, integrated science to understand the complex ecological interactions and effects of these many stressors and to provide information that will effectively guide policies and best management practices to preserve and restore these important resources. The U.S. Geological Survey Florida Integrated Science Center (USGS-FISC) is conducting a coordinated Coral Reef Research Project beginning in 2009. Specific research topics are aimed at addressing priorities identified in the 'Strategic Science for Coral Ecosystems 2007-2011' document (U.S. Geological Survey, 2007). Planned research will include a blend of historical, monitoring, and process studies aimed at improving our understanding of the development, current status and function, and likely future changes in coral ecosystems. Topics such as habitat characterization and distribution, coral disease, and trends in biogenic calcification are major themes of understanding reef structure, ecological integrity, and responses to global change.

  17. Satellite imaging coral reef resilience at regional scale. A case-study from Saudi Arabia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowlands, Gwilym; Purkis, Sam; Riegl, Bernhard; Metsamaa, Liisa; Bruckner, Andrew; Renaud, Philip

    2012-06-01

    We propose a framework for spatially estimating a proxy for coral reef resilience using remote sensing. Data spanning large areas of coral reef habitat were obtained using the commercial QuickBird satellite, and freely available imagery (NASA, Google Earth). Principles of coral reef ecology, field observation, and remote observations, were combined to devise mapped indices. These capture important and accessible components of coral reef resilience. Indices are divided between factors known to stress corals, and factors incorporating properties of the reef landscape that resist stress or promote coral growth. The first-basis for a remote sensed resilience index (RSRI), an estimate of expected reef resilience, is proposed. Developed for the Red Sea, the framework of our analysis is flexible and with minimal adaptation, could be extended to other reef regions. We aim to stimulate discussion as to use of remote sensing to do more than simply deliver habitat maps of coral reefs. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Resilience of coral reefs in the main Hawaiian Islands from 2013 to 2014 (NCEI Accession 0128219)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Declining health of coral reef ecosystems led scientists to search for factors that support reef resilience: the ability of reefs to resist and recover from...

  19. Coral and artificial reef shape files, Broward County, Florida, (NODC Accession 0000244)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Coral reef and artificial reef location shape files and accompanying table files for reefs located off shore of Broward County, Florida. Accompanying "attribute"...

  20. ReefBase - a global database of coral reef systems and their resources

    OpenAIRE

    McManus, J.

    1994-01-01

    ReefBase a global database of coral reefs systems and their resources was initiated at International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), Philippines in November 1993. The CEC has provided funding for the first two years and the database was developed in collaboration with the World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, UK, as well as other national, regional, and international institutions. The ReefBase project activities and what ICLARM will do to accomplish the p...

  1. Climate-change refugia: shading reef corals by turbidity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cacciapaglia, Chris; van Woesik, Robert

    2016-03-01

    Coral reefs have recently experienced an unprecedented decline as the world's oceans continue to warm. Yet global climate models reveal a heterogeneously warming ocean, which has initiated a search for refuges, where corals may survive in the near future. We hypothesized that some turbid nearshore environments may act as climate-change refuges, shading corals from the harmful interaction between high sea-surface temperatures and high irradiance. We took a hierarchical Bayesian approach to determine the expected distribution of 12 coral species in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, between the latitudes 37°N and 37°S, under representative concentration pathway 8.5 (W m(-2) ) by 2100. The turbid nearshore refuges identified in this study were located between latitudes 20-30°N and 15-25°S, where there was a strong coupling between turbidity and tidal fluctuations. Our model predicts that turbidity will mitigate high temperature bleaching for 9% of shallow reef habitat (to 30 m depth) - habitat that was previously considered inhospitable under ocean warming. Our model also predicted that turbidity will protect some coral species more than others from climate-change-associated thermal stress. We also identified locations where consistently high turbidity will likely reduce irradiance to reef-coral habitat ≤30 m will preclude coral growth and reef development. Thus, protecting the turbid nearshore refuges identified in this study, particularly in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the northern Philippines, the Ryukyu Islands (Japan), eastern Vietnam, western and eastern Australia, New Caledonia, the northern Red Sea, and the Arabian Gulf, should become part of a judicious global strategy for reef-coral persistence under climate change.

  2. Direct evaluation of macroalgal removal by herbivorous coral reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mantyka, C. S.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2007-06-01

    Few studies have examined the relative functional impacts of individual herbivorous fish species on coral reef ecosystem processes in the Indo-Pacific. This study assessed the potential grazing impact of individual species within an inshore herbivorous reef fish assemblage on the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR), by determining which fish species were able to remove particular macroalgal species. Transplanted multiple-choice algal assays and remote stationary underwater digital video cameras were used to quantify the impact of local herbivorous reef fish species on 12 species of macroalgae. Macroalgal removal by the fishes was rapid. Within 3 h of exposure to herbivorous reef fishes there was significant evidence of intense grazing. After 12 h of exposure, 10 of the 12 macroalgal species had decreased to less than 15% of their original mass. Chlorodesmis fastigiata (Chlorophyta) and Galaxaura sp. (Rhodophyta) showed significantly less susceptibility to herbivorous reef fish grazing than all other macroalgae, even after 24 h exposure. Six herbivorous and/or nominally herbivorous reef fish species were identified as the dominant grazers of macroalgae: Siganus doliatus, Siganus canaliculatus, Chlorurus microrhinos, Hipposcarus longiceps, Scarus rivulatus and Pomacanthus sexstriatus. The siganid S. doliatus fed heavily on Hypnea sp., while S. canaliculatus fed intensively on Sargassum sp. Variation in macroalgal susceptibility was not clearly correlated with morphological and/or chemical defenses that have been previously suggested as deterrents against herbivory. Nevertheless, the results stress the potential importance of individual herbivorous reef fish species in removing macroalgae from coral reefs.

  3. Coral Transplantation and Restocking to Accelerate the Recovery of Coral Reef Habitats and Fisheries Resources Within No-Take Marine Protected Areas: Hands-On Approaches to Support Community-Based Coral Reef Management

    OpenAIRE

    Bowden-Kerby, A.

    2003-01-01

    Of the planet’s 600,000 km2 of coral reefs (Jameson et al., 1995), roughly 70-80% are located in developing countries. Many of these reefs are owned or controlled by indigenous fishing communities rather than national or state governments. These rural fishing communities are a primary force of destruction to coral reefs on a global scale (Wilkinson, 1998), therefore their involvement in the management and conservation of coral reefs will be an essential part of reversing coral ...

  4. Marine reserves enhance the recovery of corals on Caribbean reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter J Mumby

    Full Text Available The fisheries and biodiversity benefits of marine reserves are widely recognised but there is mounting interest in exploiting the importance of herbivorous fishes as a tool to help ecosystems recover from climate change impacts. This approach might be particularly suitable for coral reefs, which are acutely threatened by climate change, yet the trophic cascades generated by reserves are strong enough that they might theoretically enhance the rate of coral recovery after disturbance. However, evidence for reserves facilitating coral recovery has been lacking. Here we investigate whether reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes within a reserve, have resulted in a faster rate of coral recovery than in areas subject to fishing. Surveys of ten sites inside and outside a Bahamian marine reserve over a 2.5-year period demonstrated that increases in coral cover, including adjustments for the initial size-distribution of corals, were significantly higher at reserve sites than those in non-reserve sites. Furthermore, macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time. Recovery rates of individual species were generally consistent with small-scale manipulations on coral-macroalgal interactions, but also revealed differences that demonstrate the difficulties of translating experiments across spatial scales. Size-frequency data indicated that species which were particularly affected by high abundances of macroalgae outside the reserve had a population bottleneck restricting the supply of smaller corals to larger size classes. Importantly, because coral cover increased from a heavily degraded state, and recovery from such states has not previously been described, similar or better outcomes should be expected for many reefs in the region. Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.

  5. Marine reserves enhance the recovery of corals on Caribbean reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J; Harborne, Alastair R

    2010-01-11

    The fisheries and biodiversity benefits of marine reserves are widely recognised but there is mounting interest in exploiting the importance of herbivorous fishes as a tool to help ecosystems recover from climate change impacts. This approach might be particularly suitable for coral reefs, which are acutely threatened by climate change, yet the trophic cascades generated by reserves are strong enough that they might theoretically enhance the rate of coral recovery after disturbance. However, evidence for reserves facilitating coral recovery has been lacking. Here we investigate whether reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes within a reserve, have resulted in a faster rate of coral recovery than in areas subject to fishing. Surveys of ten sites inside and outside a Bahamian marine reserve over a 2.5-year period demonstrated that increases in coral cover, including adjustments for the initial size-distribution of corals, were significantly higher at reserve sites than those in non-reserve sites. Furthermore, macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time. Recovery rates of individual species were generally consistent with small-scale manipulations on coral-macroalgal interactions, but also revealed differences that demonstrate the difficulties of translating experiments across spatial scales. Size-frequency data indicated that species which were particularly affected by high abundances of macroalgae outside the reserve had a population bottleneck restricting the supply of smaller corals to larger size classes. Importantly, because coral cover increased from a heavily degraded state, and recovery from such states has not previously been described, similar or better outcomes should be expected for many reefs in the region. Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.

  6. 77 FR 25407 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-30

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... conditions, various species of reef fish, crabs, and lobsters in Federal waters off South Carolina and North... zones, or artificial reefs without additional authorization. Additionally, NMFS prohibits the possession...

  7. Scientific Frontiers in the Management of Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shankar eAswani

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are subjected globally to a variety of natural and anthropogenic stressors that often act synergistically. Today, reversing ongoing and future coral reef degradation presents significant challenges and countering this negative trend will take considerable efforts and investments. Scientific knowledge can inform and guide the requisite decision-making process and offer practical solutions to the problem of protection as the effects of climate change exacerbate. However, implementation of solutions presently lags far behind the pace required to reverse global declines, and there is a need for an urgent and significant step-up in the extent and range of strategies being implemented. In this paper, we consider scientific frontiers in natural and social science research that can help build stronger support for reef management and improve the efficacy of interventions. We cover various areas including: (1 enhancing the case for reef conservation and management, (2 dealing with local stressors on reefs, (3 addressing global climate change impacts, (4 and reviewing various approaches to the governance of coral reefs. In sum, we consider scientific frontiers in natural and social science that will require further attention in coming years as managers’ work towards building stronger support for reef management and improve the efficacy of local interventions.

  8. The diversity of coral reefs: what are we missing?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laetitia Plaisance

    Full Text Available Tropical reefs shelter one quarter to one third of all marine species but one third of the coral species that construct reefs are now at risk of extinction. Because traditional methods for assessing reef diversity are extremely time consuming, taxonomic expertise for many groups is lacking, and marine organisms are thought to be less vulnerable to extinction, most discussions of reef conservation focus on maintenance of ecosystem services rather than biodiversity loss. In this study involving the three major oceans with reef growth, we provide new biodiversity estimates based on quantitative sampling and DNA barcoding. We focus on crustaceans, which are the second most diverse group of marine metazoans. We show exceptionally high numbers of crustacean species associated with coral reefs relative to sampling effort (525 species from a combined, globally distributed sample area of 6.3 m(2. The high prevalence of rare species (38% encountered only once, the low level of spatial overlap (81% found in only one locality and the biogeographic patterns of diversity detected (Indo-West Pacific>Central Pacific>Caribbean are consistent with results from traditional survey methods, making this approach a reliable and efficient method for assessing and monitoring biodiversity. The finding of such large numbers of species in a small total area suggests that coral reef diversity is seriously under-detected using traditional survey methods, and by implication, underestimated.

  9. Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoegh-Guldberg, O; Mumby, P J; Hooten, A J; Steneck, R S; Greenfield, P; Gomez, E; Harvell, C D; Sale, P F; Edwards, A J; Caldeira, K; Knowlton, N; Eakin, C M; Iglesias-Prieto, R; Muthiga, N; Bradbury, R H; Dubi, A; Hatziolos, M E

    2007-12-14

    Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to exceed 500 parts per million and global temperatures to rise by at least 2 degrees C by 2050 to 2100, values that significantly exceed those of at least the past 420,000 years during which most extant marine organisms evolved. Under conditions expected in the 21st century, global warming and ocean acidification will compromise carbonate accretion, with corals becoming increasingly rare on reef systems. The result will be less diverse reef communities and carbonate reef structures that fail to be maintained. Climate change also exacerbates local stresses from declining water quality and overexploitation of key species, driving reefs increasingly toward the tipping point for functional collapse. This review presents future scenarios for coral reefs that predict increasingly serious consequences for reef-associated fisheries, tourism, coastal protection, and people. As the International Year of the Reef 2008 begins, scaled-up management intervention and decisive action on global emissions are required if the loss of coral-dominated ecosystems is to be avoided.

  10. Alkalinity Enrichment Enhances Net Calcification of a Coral Reef Flat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albright, R.; Caldeira, K.

    2015-12-01

    Ocean acidification is projected to shift reefs from a state of net accretion to one of net dissolution sometime this century. While retrospective studies show large-scale changes in coral calcification over the last several decades, it is not possible to unequivocally link these results to ocean acidification due to confounding factors of temperature and other environmental parameters. Here, we quantified the calcification response of a coral reef flat to alkalinity enrichment to test whether reef calcification increases when ocean chemistry is restored to near pre-industrial conditions. We used sodium hydroxide (NaOH) to increase the total alkalinity of seawater flowing over a reef flat, with the aim of increasing carbonate ion concentrations [CO32-] and the aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) to values that would have been attained under pre-industrial atmospheric pCO2 levels. We developed a dual tracer regression method to estimate alkalinity uptake (i.e., calcification) in response to alkalinity enrichment. This approach uses the change in ratios between a non-conservative tracer (alkalinity) and a conservative tracer (a non-reactive dye, Rhodamine WT) to assess the fraction of added alkalinity that is taken up by the reef as a result of an induced increase in calcification rate. Using this method, we estimate that an average of 17.3% ± 2.3% of the added alkalinity was taken up by the reef community. In providing results from the first seawater chemistry manipulation experiment performed on a natural coral reef community (without artificial confinement), we demonstrate that, upon increase of [CO32-] and Ωarag to near pre-industrial values, reef calcification increases. Thus, we conclude that, the impacts of ocean acidification are already being felt by coral reefs. This work is the culmination of years of work in the Caldeira lab at the Carnegie Institution for Science, involving many people including Jack Silverman, Kenny Schneider, and Jana Maclaren.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Miocene reef-coral diversity of Indonesia: unlocking the murky origins of the Coral Triangle

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Santodomingo Aguilar, Nadia

    2014-01-01

    Reefs in the Coral Triangle host the richest marine diversity today. While the biodiversity gradients associated with the Coral Triangle are progressively better documented, the mechanisms responsible for the origins and maintenance of this pattern still remain obscure. Until recently, palaeontologi

  14. Identification and prevalence of coral diseases on three Western Indian Ocean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Séré, Mathieu G; Chabanet, Pascale; Turquet, Jean; Quod, Jean-Pascal; Schleyer, Michael H

    2015-06-03

    Coral diseases have caused a substantial decline in the biodiversity and abundance of reef-building corals. To date, more than 30 distinct diseases of scleractinian corals have been reported, which cause progressive tissue loss and/or affect coral growth, reproductive capacity, recruitment, species diversity and the abundance of reef-associated organisms. While coral disease research has increased over the last 4 decades, very little is known about coral diseases in the Western Indian Ocean. Surveys conducted at multiple sites in Reunion, South Africa and Mayotte between August 2010 and June 2012 revealed the presence of 6 main coral diseases: black band disease (BBD), white syndrome (WS), pink line syndrome (PLS), growth anomalies (GA), skeleton eroding band (SEB) and Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS). Overall, disease prevalence was higher in Reunion (7.5 ± 2.2%; mean ± SE) compared to South Africa (3.9 ± 0.8%) and Mayotte (2.7 ± 0.3%). Across locations, Acropora and Porites were the genera most susceptible to disease. Spatial variability was detected in both Reunion and South Africa, with BBD and WS more prevalent on shallow than deep reefs. There was also evidence of seasonality in 2 diseases: the prevalence of BBD and WS was higher in summer than winter. This was the first study to investigate the ecology of coral diseases, providing both qualitative and quantitative data, on Western Indian Ocean reefs, and surveys should be expanded to confirm these patterns.

  15. 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.

  16. Hysteresis in coral reefs under macroalgal toxicity and overfishing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhattacharyya, Joydeb; Pal, Samares

    2015-03-01

    Macroalgae and corals compete for the available space in coral reef ecosystems.While herbivorous reef fish play a beneficial role in decreasing the growth of macroalgae, macroalgal toxicity and overfishing of herbivores leads to proliferation of macroalgae. The abundance of macroalgae changes the community structure towards a macroalgae-dominated reef ecosystem. We investigate coral-macroalgal phase shifts by means of a continuous time model in a food chain. Conditions for local asymptotic stability of steady states are derived. It is observed that in the presence of macroalgal toxicity and overfishing, the system exhibits hysteresis through saddle-node bifurcation and transcritical bifurcation. We examine the effects of time lags in the liberation of toxins by macroalgae and the recovery of algal turf in response to grazing of herbivores on macroalgae by performing equilibrium and stability analyses of delay-differential forms of the ODE model. Computer simulations have been carried out to illustrate the different analytical results.

  17. Marine protected areas increase resilience among coral reef communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mellin, Camille; Aaron MacNeil, M; Cheal, Alistair J; Emslie, Michael J; Julian Caley, M

    2016-06-01

    With marine biodiversity declining globally at accelerating rates, maximising the effectiveness of conservation has become a key goal for local, national and international regulators. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been widely advocated for conserving and managing marine biodiversity yet, despite extensive research, their benefits for conserving non-target species and wider ecosystem functions remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that MPAs can increase the resilience of coral reef communities to natural disturbances, including coral bleaching, coral diseases, Acanthaster planci outbreaks and storms. Using a 20-year time series from Australia's Great Barrier Reef, we show that within MPAs, (1) reef community composition was 21-38% more stable; (2) the magnitude of disturbance impacts was 30% lower and (3) subsequent recovery was 20% faster that in adjacent unprotected habitats. Our results demonstrate that MPAs can increase the resilience of marine communities to natural disturbance possibly through herbivory, trophic cascades and portfolio effects.

  18. Culture-independent characterization of bacterial communities associated with the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellogg, Christina A; Lisle, John T; Galkiewicz, Julia P

    2009-04-01

    Bacteria are recognized as an important part of the total biology of shallow-water corals. Studies of shallow-water corals suggest that associated bacteria may benefit the corals by cycling carbon, fixing nitrogen, chelating iron, and producing antibiotics that protect the coral from other microbes. Cold-water or deep-sea corals have a fundamentally different ecology due to their adaptation to cold, dark, high-pressure environments and as such have novel microbiota. The goal of this study was to characterize the microbial associates of Lophelia pertusa in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. This is the first study to collect the coral samples in individual insulated containers and to preserve coral samples at depth in an effort to minimize thermal shock and evaluate the effects of environmental gradients on the microbial diversity of samples. Molecular analysis of bacterial diversity showed a marked difference between the two study sites, Viosca Knoll 906/862 (VK906/862) and Viosca Knoll 826 (VK826). The bacterial communities from VK826 were dominated by a variety of unknown mycoplasmal members of the Tenericutes and Bacteroidetes, whereas the libraries from VK906/862 were dominated by members of the Proteobacteria. In addition to novel sequences, the 16S rRNA gene clone libraries revealed many bacterial sequences in common between Gulf of Mexico Lophelia corals and Norwegian fjord Lophelia corals, as well as shallow-water corals. Two Lophelia-specific bacterial groups were identified: a cluster of gammaproteobacteria related to sulfide-oxidizing gill symbionts of seep clams and a group of Mycoplasma spp. The presence of these groups in both Gulf and Norwegian Lophelia corals indicates that in spite of the geographic heterogeneity observed in Lophelia-associated bacterial communities, there are Lophelia-specific microbes.

  19. Culture-independent characterization of bacterial communities associated with the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kellogg, C.A.; Lisle, J.T.; Galkiewicz, J.P.

    2009-01-01

    Bacteria are recognized as an important part of the total biology of shallow-water corals. Studies of shallow-water corals suggest that associated bacteria may benefit the corals by cycling carbon, fixing nitrogen, chelating iron, and producing antibiotics that protect the coral from other microbes. Cold-water or deep-sea corals have a fundamentally different ecology due to their adaptation to cold, dark, high-pressure environments and as such have novel microbiota. The goal of this study was to characterize the microbial associates of Lophelia pertusa in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. This is the first study to collect the coral samples in individual insulated containers and to preserve coral samples at depth in an effort to minimize thermal shock and evaluate the effects of environmental gradients on the microbial diversity of samples. Molecular analysis of bacterial diversity showed a marked difference between the two study sites, Viosca Knoll 906/862 (VK906/862) and Viosca Knoll 826 (VK826). The bacterial communities from VK826 were dominated by a variety of unknown mycoplasmal members of the Tenericutes and Bacteroidetes, whereas the libraries from VK906/862 were dominated by members of the Proteobacteria. In addition to novel sequences, the 16S rRNA gene clone libraries revealed many bacterial sequences in common between Gulf of Mexico Lophelia corals and Norwegian fjord Lophelia corals, as well as shallow-water corals. Two Lophelia-specific bacterial groups were identified: a cluster of gammaproteobacteria related to sulfide-oxidizing gill symbionts of seep clams and a group of Mycoplasma spp. The presence of these groups in both Gulf and Norwegian Lophelia corals indicates that in spite of the geographic heterogeneity observed in Lophelia-associated bacterial communities, there are Lophelia-specific microbes. Copyright ?? 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  20. Vertical and horizontal distribution of Desmophyllum dianthus in Comau Fjord, Chile: a cold-water coral thriving at low pH.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fillinger, Laura; Richter, Claudio

    2013-01-01

    Cold-water corals provide an important habitat for a rich fauna along the continental margins and slopes. Although these azooxanthellate corals are considered particularly sensitive to ocean acidification, their responses to natural variations in pH and aragonite saturation are largely unknown due to the difficulty of studying their ecology in deep waters. Previous SCUBA investigations have shown an exceptionally shallow population of the cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus in near-surface waters of Comau Fjord, a stratified 480 m deep basin in northern Chilean Patagonia with suboxic deep waters. Here, we use a remotely operated vehicle to quantitatively investigate the distribution of D. dianthus and its physico-chemical drivers in so far uncharted naturally acidified waters. Remarkably, D. dianthus was ubiquitous throughout the fjord, but particularly abundant between 20 and 280 m depth in a pH range of 8.4 to 7.4. The persistence of individuals in aragonite-undersaturated waters suggests that present-day D. dianthus in Comau Fjord may show pre-acclimation or pre-adaptation to conditions of ocean acidification predicted to reach over 70% of the known deep-sea coral locations by the end of the century.

  1. Vertical and horizontal distribution of Desmophyllum dianthus in Comau Fjord, Chile: a cold-water coral thriving at low pH

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura Fillinger

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Cold-water corals provide an important habitat for a rich fauna along the continental margins and slopes. Although these azooxanthellate corals are considered particularly sensitive to ocean acidification, their responses to natural variations in pH and aragonite saturation are largely unknown due to the difficulty of studying their ecology in deep waters. Previous SCUBA investigations have shown an exceptionally shallow population of the cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus in near-surface waters of Comau Fjord, a stratified 480 m deep basin in northern Chilean Patagonia with suboxic deep waters. Here, we use a remotely operated vehicle to quantitatively investigate the distribution of D. dianthus and its physico-chemical drivers in so far uncharted naturally acidified waters. Remarkably, D. dianthus was ubiquitous throughout the fjord, but particularly abundant between 20 and 280 m depth in a pH range of 8.4 to 7.4. The persistence of individuals in aragonite-undersaturated waters suggests that present-day D. dianthus in Comau Fjord may show pre-acclimation or pre-adaptation to conditions of ocean acidification predicted to reach over 70% of the known deep-sea coral locations by the end of the century.

  2. A Fundamental Paradigm for Coral Reef Carbonate Sediment Dissolution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas J Andersson

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available The long-term success of coral reefs depends on a positive balance of calcium carbonate production exceeding dissolution, erosion, and material export. As a result of ocean acidification, coral reefs could transition from net accretion to net erosion owing to decreasing rates of calcification and increasing rates of chemical dissolution and bioerosion. Here, I present a fundamental paradigm that aims to explain the main driver of carbonate sediment dissolution on coral reefs based on theory and a new empirical dataset of pore water carbonate chemistry from the Bermuda coral reef platform. The paradigm shows that carbonate sediment dissolution is most strongly controlled by the extent of organic matter decomposition in the sediments, but that the magnitude of dissolution is influenced by how much decomposition is required to reach pore water undersaturation with respect to the most soluble bulk carbonate mineral phase present in the sediments, a condition defined as the Carbonate Critical Threshold (CCT. Decomposition of organic matter beyond the CCT under aerobic conditions results in stoichiometric proportional dissolution of carbonate sediments. As ocean acidification proceeds over the next several decades, the extent of organic matter decomposition required to reach the CCT will decrease, carbonate dissolution will increase, and subsequently the accumulation of carbonate sediments will decrease. Since drastic reductions in anthropogenic CO2 emission are unlikely in the foreseeable future, the paradigm shows that active controls and reduction of organic matter input to coral reefs at the local scale might be an effective mitigation strategy to prevent or delay coral reefs transitioning to a state of net dissolution.

  3. Fish-derived nutrient hotspots shape coral reef benthic communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shantz, Andrew A; Ladd, Mark C; Schrack, Elizabeth; Burkepile, Deron E

    2015-12-01

    Animal-derived nutrients play an important role in structuring nutrient regimes within and between ecosystems. When animals undergo repetitive, aggregating behavior through time, they can create nutrient hotspots where rates of biogeochemical activity are higher than those found in the surrounding environment. In turn, these hotspots can influence ecosystem processes and community structure. We examined the potential for reef fishes from the family Haemulidae (grunts) to create nutrient hotspots and the potential impact of these hotspots on reef communities. To do so, we tracked the schooling locations of diurnally migrating grunts, which shelter at reef sites during the day but forage off reef each night, and measured the impact of these fish schools on benthic communities. We found that grunt schools showed a high degree of site fidelity, repeatedly returning to the same coral heads. These aggregations created nutrient hotspots around coral heads where nitrogen and phosphorus delivery was roughly 10 and 7 times the respective rates of delivery to structurally similar sites that lacked schools of these fishes. In turn, grazing rates of herbivorous fishes at grunt-derived hotspots were approximately 3 times those of sites where grunts were rare. These differences in nutrient delivery and grazing led to distinct benthic communities with higher cover of crustose coralline algae and less total algal abundance at grunt aggregation sites. Importantly, coral growth was roughly 1.5 times greater at grunt hotspots, likely due to the important nutrient subsidy. Our results suggest that schooling reef fish and their nutrient subsidies play an important role in mediating community structure on coral reefs and that overfishing may have important negative consequences on ecosystem functions. As such, management strategies must consider mesopredatory fishes in addition to current protection often offered to herbivores and top-tier predators. Furthermore, our results suggest that

  4. 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.

  5. Reversal of ocean acidification enhances net coral reef calcification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albright, Rebecca; Caldeira, Lilian; Hosfelt, Jessica; Kwiatkowski, Lester; Maclaren, Jana K; Mason, Benjamin M; Nebuchina, Yana; Ninokawa, Aaron; Pongratz, Julia; Ricke, Katharine L; Rivlin, Tanya; Schneider, Kenneth; Sesboüé, Marine; Shamberger, Kathryn; Silverman, Jacob; Wolfe, Kennedy; Zhu, Kai; Caldeira, Ken

    2016-03-17

    Approximately one-quarter of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year is absorbed by the global oceans, causing measurable declines in surface ocean pH, carbonate ion concentration ([CO3(2-)]), and saturation state of carbonate minerals (Ω). This process, referred to as ocean acidification, represents a major threat to marine ecosystems, in particular marine calcifiers such as oysters, crabs, and corals. Laboratory and field studies have shown that calcification rates of many organisms decrease with declining pH, [CO3(2-)], and Ω. Coral reefs are widely regarded as one of the most vulnerable marine ecosystems to ocean acidification, in part because the very architecture of the ecosystem is reliant on carbonate-secreting organisms. Acidification-induced reductions in calcification are projected to shift coral reefs from a state of net accretion to one of net dissolution this century. While retrospective studies show large-scale declines in coral, and community, calcification over recent decades, determining the contribution of ocean acidification to these changes is difficult, if not impossible, owing to the confounding effects of other environmental factors such as temperature. Here we quantify the net calcification response of a coral reef flat to alkalinity enrichment, and show that, when ocean chemistry is restored closer to pre-industrial conditions, net community calcification increases. In providing results from the first seawater chemistry manipulation experiment of a natural coral reef community, we provide evidence that net community calcification is depressed compared with values expected for pre-industrial conditions, indicating that ocean acidification may already be impairing coral reef growth.

  6. Reversal of ocean acidification enhances net coral reef calcification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albright, Rebecca; Caldeira, Lilian; Hosfelt, Jessica; Kwiatkowski, Lester; MacLaren, Jana K.; Mason, Benjamin M.; Nebuchina, Yana; Ninokawa, Aaron; Pongratz, Julia; Ricke, Katharine L.; Rivlin, Tanya; Schneider, Kenneth; Sesboüé, Marine; Shamberger, Kathryn; Silverman, Jacob; Wolfe, Kennedy; Zhu, Kai; Caldeira, Ken

    2016-03-01

    Approximately one-quarter of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year is absorbed by the global oceans, causing measurable declines in surface ocean pH, carbonate ion concentration ([CO32-]), and saturation state of carbonate minerals (Ω). This process, referred to as ocean acidification, represents a major threat to marine ecosystems, in particular marine calcifiers such as oysters, crabs, and corals. Laboratory and field studies have shown that calcification rates of many organisms decrease with declining pH, [CO32-], and Ω. Coral reefs are widely regarded as one of the most vulnerable marine ecosystems to ocean acidification, in part because the very architecture of the ecosystem is reliant on carbonate-secreting organisms. Acidification-induced reductions in calcification are projected to shift coral reefs from a state of net accretion to one of net dissolution this century. While retrospective studies show large-scale declines in coral, and community, calcification over recent decades, determining the contribution of ocean acidification to these changes is difficult, if not impossible, owing to the confounding effects of other environmental factors such as temperature. Here we quantify the net calcification response of a coral reef flat to alkalinity enrichment, and show that, when ocean chemistry is restored closer to pre-industrial conditions, net community calcification increases. In providing results from the first seawater chemistry manipulation experiment of a natural coral reef community, we provide evidence that net community calcification is depressed compared with values expected for pre-industrial conditions, indicating that ocean acidification may already be impairing coral reef growth.

  7. 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.

  8. A coral reef refuge in the Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fine, Maoz; Gildor, Hezi; Genin, Amatzia

    2013-12-01

    The stability and persistence of coral reefs in the decades to come is uncertain due to global warming and repeated bleaching events that will lead to reduced resilience of these ecological and socio-economically important ecosystems. Identifying key refugia is potentially important for future conservation actions. We suggest that the Gulf of Aqaba (GoA) (Red Sea) may serve as a reef refugium due to a unique suite of environmental conditions. Our hypothesis is based on experimental detection of an exceptionally high bleaching threshold of northern Red Sea corals and on the potential dispersal of coral planulae larvae through a selective thermal barrier estimated using an ocean model. We propose that millennia of natural selection in the form of a thermal barrier at the southernmost end of the Red Sea have selected coral genotypes that are less susceptible to thermal stress in the northern Red Sea, delaying bleaching events in the GoA by at least a century.

  9. Contrasting responses of coral reef fauna and foraminiferal assemblages to human influence in La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reef biota including stony corals, sponges, gorgonians, fish, benthic macroinvertebrates and foraminifera were surveyed in coastal waters near La Parguera, in southwestern Puerto Rico. The goal was to evaluate sensitivity of coral reef biological indicators to human distur...

  10. Contrasting responses of coral reef fauna and foraminiferal assemblages to human influence in La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reef biota including stony corals, sponges, gorgonians, fish, benthic macroinvertebrates and foraminifera were surveyed in coastal waters near La Parguera, in southwestern Puerto Rico. The goal was to evaluate sensitivity of coral reef biological indicators to human distur...

  11. Bathymetrical distribution and size structure of cold-water coral populations in the Cap de Creus and Lacaze-Duthiers canyons (northwestern Mediterranean)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gori, A.; Orejas, C.; Madurell, T.; Bramanti, L.; Martins, M.; Quintanilla, E.; Marti-Puig, P.; Lo Iacono, C.; Puig, P.; Requena, S.; Greenacre, M.; Gili, J. M.

    2013-03-01

    Submarine canyons are known as one of the seafloor morphological features where living cold-water coral (CWC) communities develop in the Mediterranean Sea. We investigated the CWC community of the two westernmost submarine canyons of the Gulf of Lions canyon system: the Cap de Creus Canyon (CCC) and Lacaze-Duthiers Canyon (LDC). Coral associations have been studied through video material recorded by means of a manned submersible and a remotely operated vehicle. Video transects have been conducted and analyzed in order to obtain information on (1) coral bathymetric distribution and density patterns, (2) size structure of coral populations, and (3) coral colony position with respect to the substrate. Madrepora oculata was the most abundant CWC in both canyons, while Lophelia pertusa and Dendrophyllia cornigera mostly occurred as isolated colonies or in small patches. An important exception was detected in a vertical cliff in LDC where a large L. pertusa framework was documented. This is the first record of such an extended L. pertusa framework in the Mediterranean Sea. In both canyons coral populations were dominated by medium and large colonies, but the frequent presence of small-sized colonies also indicate active recruitment. The predominant coral orientation (90° and 135°) is probably driven by the current regime as well as by the sediment load transported by the current flows. In general, no clear differences were observed in the abundance and in the size structure of the CWC populations between CCC and LDC, despite large differences in particulate matter between canyons.

  12. Factors Affecting Detection Probability of Acoustic Tags in Coral Reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bermudez, Edgar F.

    2012-05-01

    Acoustic telemetry is an important tool for studying the movement patterns, behaviour, and site fidelity of marine organisms; however, its application is challenged in coral reef environments where complex topography and intense environmental noise interferes with acoustic signals, and there has been less study. Therefore, it is particularly critical in coral reef telemetry studies to first conduct a long-term range test, a tool that provides informa- tion on the variability and periodicity of the transmitter detection range and the detection probability. A one-month range test of a coded telemetric system was conducted prior to a large-scale tagging project investigating the movement of approximately 400 fishes from 30 species on offshore coral reefs in the central Red Sea. During this range test we determined the effect of the following factors on transmitter detection efficiency: distance from receiver, time of day, depth, wind, current, moon-phase and temperature. The experiment showed that biological noise is likely to be responsible for a diel pattern of -on average- twice as many detections during the day as during the night. Biological noise appears to be the most important noise source in coral reefs overwhelming the effect of wind-driven noise, which is important in other studies. Detection probability is also heavily influenced by the location of the acoustic sensor within the reef structure. Understanding the effect of environmental factors on transmitter detection probability allowed us to design a more effective receiver array for the large-scale tagging study.

  13. 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.

  14. The functioning of coral reef communities along environmental gradients

    OpenAIRE

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah

    2015-01-01

    One of the primary challenges in ecology is to understand how environmental disturbance affects diversity and community structure, and what are the subsequent consequences on ecosystem functioning. Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet resulting in complex sets of interactions between benthic, habitat-forming constituents and mobile fish consumers. However, scleractinian corals, the primary habitat engineers, are dependent on high-light, low-nutrient water conditio...

  15. 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.

  16. Current status, crisis and conservation of coral reef ecosystems in China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ShaoHong Wu

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Harboring rich marine species and playing important ecological functions, coral reef ecosystems have attracted widespread concern around the world. Ecosystem diversity, conservation and management of coral reefs are becoming a hot research area. Coral reefs in China are mainly distributed in the South China Sea and Hainan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Guangdong, and Guangxi coastal waters. In recent years, due to the global climate change and the growing impact of human activities, coral reef biodiversity in China have been reducing and the ecological functions of coral reef ecosystems are severely degenerating. In this paper we summarized the current status, crisis and conservation of coral reef ecosystems in China. Some progress in coral reef research was discussed.

  17. Microhabitat type determines the composition of nematode communities associated with sediment-clogged cold-water coral framework in the Porcupine Seabight (NE Atlantic)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raes, M.; Vanreusel, A.

    2006-12-01

    The nematofauna associated with a cold-water coral degradation zone in the Porcupine Seabight (NE Atlantic) was investigated. This is the first comprehensive study of nematodes associated with cold-water corals. This research mainly aimed to investigate the influence of microhabitat type on nematode community structure. Three distinct microhabitats for nematodes were distinguished: dead coral fragments, glass sponge skeletons and the underlying sediment. The nematode assemblages associated with these three microhabitats were significantly different from each other. Coral and sponge substrata lie relatively unprotected on the seafloor and are consequently more subjected to strong currents than the underlying sediment. As a result, both large biogenic substrata were characterized by higher abundances of taxa that are less vulnerable and more adapted to physical disturbance, whereas the underlying sediment yielded more slender, sediment-dwelling taxa. Typically epifaunal taxa, such as Epsilonematidae and Draconematidae, were especially abundant on dead coral fragments, where they are thought to feed on the microbial biofilm which covers the coral surface. Several epifaunal genera showed significant preferences for this microhabitat, and Epsilonema (Epsilonematidae) was dominant here. Sponge skeletons are thought to act as efficient sediment traps, resulting in a lower abundance of epifaunal taxa compared to coral fragments. The underlying sediment was dominated by taxa typical for slope sediments. The considerable degree of overlap between the communities of each microhabitat is attributed to sediment infill between the coral branches and sponge spicules. It is assumed that the nematofauna associated with large biogenic substrata is composed of a typical sediment-dwelling background community, supplemented with taxa adapted to an epifaunal life strategy. The extent to which these taxa contribute to the community depends on the type of the substratum. Selective deposit

  18. The preparation of the rice coral Montipora capitata nubbins for application in coral-reef ecotoxicology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vijayavel, K; Richmond, R H

    2012-04-01

    Securing adequate and appropriate source material for coral-reef ecotoxicology studies is a significant impediment to conducting various experiments supporting the goal of conserving coral-reef ecosystems. Collecting colonies from wild stocks may be counter to protecting coral reef populations. To address this issue the rice coral Montipora capitata was used to generate sufficient genetically identical nubbins for research purposes. Growth and survival rates of these laboratory-prepared M. capitata nubbins were studied over a period of 90 days. The resulting data support the conclusion that the laboratory-prepared M. capitata nubbins showed successful growth and survival rates and are the best solution to solve the source material issue for lab experimentation. This paper describes the laboratory method used for the preparation and maintenance of these M. capitata nubbins and discusses the benefits and difficulties of using these nubbins in ecotoxicity studies.

  19. Positive Feedbacks Enhance Macroalgal Resilience on Degraded Coral Reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claire L A Dell

    Full Text Available Many reefs have shifted from coral and fish dominated habitats to less productive macroalgal dominated habitats, and current research is investigating means of reversing this phase shift. In the tropical Pacific, overfished reefs with inadequate herbivory can become dominated by the brown alga Sargassum polycystum. This alga suppresses recruitment and survival of corals and fishes, thus limiting the potential for reef recovery. Here we investigate the mechanisms that reinforce S. polycystum dominance and show that in addition to negatively affecting other species, this species acts in a self-reinforcing manner, positively promoting survival and growth of conspecifics. We found that survival and growth of both recruit-sized and mature S. polycystum fronds were higher within Sargassum beds than outside the beds and these results were found in both protected and fished reefs. Much of this benefit resulted from reduced herbivory within the Sargassum beds, but adult fronds also grew ~50% more within the beds even when herbivory did not appear to be occurring, suggesting some physiological advantage despite the intraspecific crowding. Thus via positive feedbacks, S. polycystum enhances its own growth and resistance to herbivores, facilitating its dominance (perhaps also expansion and thus its resilience on degraded reefs. This may be a key feedback mechanism suppressing the recovery of coral communities in reefs dominated by macroalgal beds.

  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 Mexico. As a result, late Holocene buildups more than 30 m thick developed in those areas. 7 figures.

  1. Persistence and change in community composition of reef corals through present, past, and future climates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edmunds, Peter J; Adjeroud, Mehdi; Baskett, Marissa L; Baums, Iliana B; Budd, Ann F; Carpenter, Robert C; Fabina, Nicholas S; Fan, Tung-Yung; Franklin, Erik C; Gross, Kevin; Han, Xueying; Jacobson, Lianne; Klaus, James S; McClanahan, Tim R; O'Leary, Jennifer K; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Pochon, Xavier; Putnam, Hollie M; Smith, Tyler B; Stat, Michael; Sweatman, Hugh; van Woesik, Robert; Gates, Ruth D

    2014-01-01

    The reduction in coral cover on many contemporary tropical reefs suggests a different set of coral community assemblages will dominate future reefs. To evaluate the capacity of reef corals to persist over various time scales, we examined coral community dynamics in contemporary, fossil, and simulated future coral reef ecosystems. Based on studies between 1987 and 2012 at two locations in the Caribbean, and between 1981 and 2013 at five locations in the Indo-Pacific, we show that many coral genera declined in abundance, some showed no change in abundance, and a few coral genera increased in abundance. Whether the abundance of a genus declined, increased, or was conserved, was independent of coral family. An analysis of fossil-reef communities in the Caribbean revealed changes in numerical dominance and relative abundances of coral genera, and demonstrated that neither dominance nor taxon was associated with persistence. As coral family was a poor predictor of performance on contemporary reefs, a trait-based, dynamic, multi-patch model was developed to explore the phenotypic basis of ecological performance in a warmer future. Sensitivity analyses revealed that upon exposure to thermal stress, thermal tolerance, growth rate, and longevity were the most important predictors of coral persistence. Together, our results underscore the high variation in the rates and direction of change in coral abundances on contemporary and fossil reefs. Given this variation, it remains possible that coral reefs will be populated by a subset of the present coral fauna in a future that is warmer than the recent past.

  2. Coral similarity and connectivity of some reefs of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican Caribbean

    OpenAIRE

    Chávez-Hidalgo, A.; De la Cruz-Agüero, G.; Chávez, E.A.

    2010-01-01

    Coral reef connectivity results from the export and import of species or reproductive product between localities. Possible exchange pathways between the reef ecosystems in the country are not known; such knowledge about coral reef connectivity could contribute to its management and conservation. The connectivity between reefs of the Gulf of Mexico and Mexican Caribbean was evaluated based on patterns of similarity — information for 55 stony coral species in 17 localities. Species richness sug...

  3. Possible effects of ocean acidification on coral reef biogeochemistry: topics for research

    OpenAIRE

    Atkinson, MJ; Cuet, Pascale

    2008-01-01

    International audience; ABSTRACT: This paper is a short review of recent literature on how ocean acidification may influence coral reef organisms and coral reef communities. We argue that it is unclear as to how, and to what extent, ocean acidification will influence calcium carbonate calcification and dissolution, and affect changes in community structure of present-day coral reefs. It is critical to evaluate the extent to which the metabolism of present-day reefs is influenced by mineral sa...

  4. A restoration genetics guide for coral reef conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baums, Iliana B

    2008-06-01

    Worldwide degradation of coral reef communities has prompted a surge in restoration efforts. They proceed largely without considering genetic factors because traditionally, coral populations have been regarded as open over large areas with little potential for local adaptation. Since, biophysical and molecular studies indicated that most populations are closed over shorter time and smaller spatial scales. Thus, it is justified to re-examine the potential for site adaptation in corals. There is ample evidence for differentiated populations, inbreeding, asexual reproduction and the occurrence of ecotypes, factors that may facilitate local adaptation. Discovery of widespread local adaptation would influence coral restoration projects mainly with regard to the physical and evolutionary distance from the source wild and/or captive bred propagules may be moved without causing a loss of fitness in the restored population. Proposed causes for loss of fitness as a result of (plant) restoration efforts include founder effects, genetic swamping, inbreeding and/or outbreeding depression. Direct evidence for any of these processes is scarce in reef corals due to a lack of model species that allow for testing over multiple generations and the separation of the relative contributions of algal symbionts and their coral hosts to the overall performance of the coral colony. This gap in our knowledge may be closed by employing novel population genetic and genomics approaches. The use of molecular tools may aid managers in the selection of appropriate propagule sources, guide spatial arrangement of transplants, and help in assessing the success of coral restoration projects by tracking the performance of transplants, thereby generating important data for future coral reef conservation and restoration projects.

  5. Experimental Bleaching of a Reef-Building Coral Using a Simplified Recirculating Laboratory Exposure System

    OpenAIRE

    Barron, Mace G.; McGill, Cheryl J.; Courtney, Lee A.; Marcovich, Dragoslav T.

    2010-01-01

    Determining stressor-response relationships in reef building corals continues to be a critical research need due to global declines in coral reef ecosystems and projected declines for the future. A simplified recirculating coral exposure system was coupled to a solar simulator to allow laboratory testing of a diversity of species and morphologies of reef building corals under ecologically relevant conditions of temperature and solar radiation. Combinations of lamps and attenuating filters al...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    events on coral communities. In 2005, Caribbean reefs experienced a major bleaching event that resulted in significant coral mortality throughout the...region. The magnitude of the 2005 bleaching event has prompted a federal response by the US Coral Reef Task Force to initiate large scale...In the images above all coral colonies within a 10x10m permanent reef plot were surveyed and monitored during the 2009 bleaching and disease event

  7. Experimental Bleaching of a Reef-Building Coral Using a Simplified Recirculating Laboratory Exposure System

    OpenAIRE

    Barron, Mace G.; Cheryl J. McGill; Courtney, Lee A.; Marcovich, Dragoslav T

    2010-01-01

    Determining stressor-response relationships in reef building corals continues to be a critical research need due to global declines in coral reef ecosystems and projected declines for the future. A simplified recirculating coral exposure system was coupled to a solar simulator to allow laboratory testing of a diversity of species and morphologies of reef building corals under ecologically relevant conditions of temperature and solar radiation. Combinations of lamps and attenuating filters al...

  8. Status and trends of Caribbean coral reefs: 1970-2012

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, Jeremy; Donovan, Mary; Cramer, Katie; Lam, Vivian

    2014-01-01

    This it the 9th status report since the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) was founded in 1995 was the data arm of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) to document the ecological condition or corral reefs, strengthen monitoring efforts, and link existing organizations and people working on reefs worldwide. The US Government provided the initial funding to help set up a global network of coral reef workers and has continued to provide core support. Since then, the series of reports have aimed to present the current status of coral reefs of the world or particular regions, the major threats to reefs and their consequences, and any initiative undertaken under the auspices of ICRI or other bodies to arrest or reverse the decline of coral reefs. IUCN assumed responsibility for hosting the global coordination of the GCRMN in 2010 under the scientific direction of Jeremy Jackson with the following objectives: 1. Document quantitatively the global status and trends for corals, macroalgae, sea urchins, and fishes based on available data from individual scientists as well as the peer reviewed scientific literature, monitoring programs, and report. 2. Bring together regional experts in a series of workshops to involve them in data compilation, analysis, and synthesis. 3. Integrate coral reef status and trends with independent environmental, management, and socioeconomic data to better understand the primary factors responsible for coral reef decline, the possible synergies among factors that may further magnify their impacts, and how these stresses may be more effectively alleviated. Work with GCRMN partners to establish simple and practical standardized protocols for future monitoring and assessment. Disseminate information and results to help guide member state policy and actions. The overarching objective is to understand why some reefs are much healthier than others, to identify what kinds of actions have been particularly beneficial or harmful, and to

  9. Coral reef microbialites as contemporaneous framework component (deglacial, Tahiti)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Westphal, H.; Heindel, K.; Brandano, M.; Peckmann, J.; Cabioch, G.

    2009-04-01

    Marine microbialites associated with hermatypic corals are known from several intervals of Earth's history, including the latest deglacial from the Pleistocene to the Holocene. In contrast, in the modern world no such massive occurrences are known to form. Here, deglacial microbialites from Tahiti (IODP 310) are studied. The paradox of the co-occurrence of oligotrophic corals with microbialites that tend to form in more nutrient-rich environments has previously led to the assumption that the microbialites are considerably younger than the coral framework, and have formed in deeper storeys of the reef edifice; or that they represent a severe disturbance of the reef ecosystem. The present study in contrast demonstrates that microbialite encrustation occurred immediately after coral demise. Encrustation has taken place under photic conditions, even though the involvement of cyanobacteria or anoxygenic phototrophs in the microbialite precipitation remains elusive. The reason for the voluminous development of microbialites in the deglacial reefs of Tahiti (up to 80% by volume of the cores) remains an open question. High trophic conditions caused by fluvial or groundwater transport from the volcanic hinterland appears to be an unlikely cause, given that the corals and the microbialites developed in close vicinity, and that the coral community prospered continuously - no breaks in the development of the succession were detected. The fact, however, that voluminous deglacial reef microbialites are restricted to volcanic islands, implies that moderately, and possibly episodically elevated trophic conditions favor this type of microbialite formation. Clearly, the reef microbialites recovered in the IODP 310 cores did not develop after a serious disturbance such as drowning or suffocation by terrestrial material, and are no "disaster forms". Rather, their precipitation represents a continuous process in an ecosystem that was on the verge of its limiting conditions.

  10. Taphonomy of coral reefs from Southern Lagoon of Belize

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Westphall, M.J.; Ginsburg, R.N.

    1985-02-01

    The Southern Lagoon of the Belize barrier complex, an area of some 600 km/sup 2/, contains a tremendous number of lagoon reefs, which range in size from patches several meters across to rhomboidal-shaped structures several kilometers in their long dimension. These lagoon reefs are remarkable because they have Holocene sediment accumulations in excess of 13 m consisting almost entirely of coral debris and lime mud and sand, and rise up to 30 m above the surrounding lagoon floor with steeply sloping sides (50-80/sup 0/), yet are totally uncemented. The reef-building biota and their corresponding deposits were studied at a representative reef, the rhomboidal complex of Channel Cay. As with many of the reefs in this area, the steeply sloping flanks of Channel Cay are covered mainly by the branched staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis and ribbonlike and platy growth of Agaricia spp. The living corals are not cemented to the substrate, but are merely intergrown. Fragmented pieces of corals accumulate with an open framework below the living community; this open framework is subsequently infilled by lime muds and sands produced mainly from bioerosion. Results from probing and coring suggest that the bafflestone fabric of coral debris and sediment extends at least 13 m into the subsurface. Radiocarbon-age estimates indicate these impressive piles of coral rubble and sediment have accumulated in the past 9000 yr (giving a minimum accumulation rate of 1.4 m/1000 yr) and illustrate the potential for significant carbonate buildups without the need for early lithification.

  11. Linking habitat mosaics and connectivity in a coral reef seascape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McMahon, Kelton W; Berumen, Michael L; Thorrold, Simon R

    2012-09-18

    Tropical marine ecosystems are under mounting anthropogenic pressure from overfishing and habitat destruction, leading to declines in their structure and function on a global scale. Although maintaining connectivity among habitats within a seascape is necessary for preserving population resistance and resilience, quantifying movements of individuals within seascapes remains challenging. Traditional methods of identifying and valuing potential coral reef fish nursery habitats are indirect, often relying on visual surveys of abundance and correlations of size and biomass among habitats. We used compound-specific stable isotope analyses to determine movement patterns of commercially important fish populations within a coral reef seascape. This approach allowed us to quantify the relative contributions of individuals from inshore nurseries to reef populations and identify migration corridors among important habitats. Our results provided direct measurements of remarkable migrations by juvenile snapper of over 30 km, between nurseries and reefs. We also found significant plasticity in juvenile nursery residency. Although a majority of individuals on coastal reefs had used seagrass nurseries as juveniles, many adults on oceanic reefs had settled directly into reef habitats. Moreover, seascape configuration played a critical but heretofore unrecognized role in determining connectivity among habitats. Finally, our approach provides key quantitative data necessary to estimate the value of distinctive habitats to ecosystem services provided by seascapes.

  12. Linking habitat mosaics and connectivity in a coral reef seascape

    KAUST Repository

    McMahon, Kelton

    2012-09-04

    Tropical marine ecosystems are under mounting anthropogenic pressure from overfishing and habitat destruction, leading to declines in their structure and function on a global scale. Although maintaining connectivity among habitats within a seascape is necessary for preserving population resistance and resilience, quantifying movements of individuals within seascapes remains challenging. Traditional methods of identifying and valuing potential coral reef fish nursery habitats are indirect, often relying on visual surveys of abundance and correlations of size and biomass among habitats. We used compound-specific stable isotope analyses to determine movement patterns of commercially important fish populations within a coral reef seascape. This approach allowed us to quantify the relative contributions of individuals from inshore nurseries to reef populations and identify migration corridors among important habitats. Our results provided direct measurements of remarkable migrations by juvenile snapper of over 30 km, between nurseries and reefs. We also found significant plasticity in juvenile nursery residency. Although a majority of individuals on coastal reefs had used seagrass nurseries as juveniles, many adults on oceanic reefs had settled directly into reef habitats. Moreover, seascape con figuration played a critical but heretofore unrecognized role in determining connectivity among habitats. Finally, our approach provides key quantitative data necessary to estimate the value of distinctive habitats to ecosystem services provided by seascapes.

  13. Working with, not against, coral-reef fisheries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Birkeland, Charles

    2017-03-01

    The fisheries policies of some Pacific island nations are more appropriate to the biology of their resources than are some of the fisheries policies of more industrialized countries. Exclusive local ownership of natural resources in Palau encourages adjustive management on biologically relevant scales of time and space and promotes responsibility by reducing the tragedy of the commons. The presence of large individuals in fish populations and adequate size of spawning aggregations are more efficient and meaningful cues for timely management than are surveys of abundance or biomass. Taking fish from populations more than halfway to their carrying capacity is working favorably with the fishery because removing fish potentially increases resource stability by negative feedback between stock size and population production. Taking the same amount of fish from a population below half its carrying capacity is working against the fishery, making the population unstable, because reducing the reproductive stock potentially accelerates reduction of the population production by positive feedback. Reef fish are consumed locally, while Palauan laws ban the export of reef resources. This is consistent with the high gross primary production with little excess net production from undisturbed coral-reef ecosystems. The relatively rapid growth rates, short life spans, reliable recruitment and wide-ranging movements of open-ocean fishes such as scombrids make them much more productive than coral-reef fishes. The greater fisheries yield per square kilometer in the open ocean multiplied by well over a thousand times the area of the exclusive economic zone than that of Palau's coral reefs should encourage Palauans to keep reef fishes for subsistence and to feed tourists open-ocean fishes. Fisheries having only artisanal means should be encouraged to increase the yield and sustainability by moving away from coral reefs to bulk harvesting of nearshore pelagics.

  14. Predicting climate-driven regime shifts versus rebound potential in coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Jennings, Simon; MacNeil, M Aaron; Mouillot, David; Wilson, Shaun K

    2015-02-05

    Climate-induced coral bleaching is among the greatest current threats to coral reefs, causing widespread loss of live coral cover. Conditions under which reefs bounce back from bleaching events or shift from coral to algal dominance are unknown, making it difficult to predict and plan for differing reef responses under climate change. Here we document and predict long-term reef responses to a major climate-induced coral bleaching event that caused unprecedented region-wide mortality of Indo-Pacific corals. Following loss of >90% live coral cover, 12 of 21 reefs recovered towards pre-disturbance live coral states, while nine reefs underwent regime shifts to fleshy macroalgae. Functional diversity of associated reef fish communities shifted substantially following bleaching, returning towards pre-disturbance structure on recovering reefs, while becoming progressively altered on regime shifting reefs. We identified threshold values for a range of factors that accurately predicted ecosystem response to the bleaching event. Recovery was favoured when reefs were structurally complex and in deeper water, when density of juvenile corals and herbivorous fishes was relatively high and when nutrient loads were low. Whether reefs were inside no-take marine reserves had no bearing on ecosystem trajectory. Although conditions governing regime shift or recovery dynamics were diverse, pre-disturbance quantification of simple factors such as structural complexity and water depth accurately predicted ecosystem trajectories. These findings foreshadow the likely divergent but predictable outcomes for reef ecosystems in response to climate change, thus guiding improved management and adaptation.

  15. Chemotaxis by natural populations of coral reef bacteria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tout, Jessica; Jeffries, Thomas C; Petrou, Katherina; Tyson, Gene W; Webster, Nicole S; Garren, Melissa; Stocker, Roman; Ralph, Peter J; Seymour, Justin R

    2015-08-01

    Corals experience intimate associations with distinct populations of marine microorganisms, but the microbial behaviours underpinning these relationships are poorly understood. There is evidence that chemotaxis is pivotal to the infection process of corals by pathogenic bacteria, but this evidence is limited to experiments using cultured isolates under laboratory conditions. We measured the chemotactic capabilities of natural populations of coral-associated bacteria towards chemicals released by corals and their symbionts, including amino acids, carbohydrates, ammonium and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP). Laboratory experiments, using a modified capillary assay, and in situ measurements, using a novel microfabricated in situ chemotaxis assay, were employed to quantify the chemotactic responses of natural microbial assemblages on the Great Barrier Reef. Both approaches showed that bacteria associated with the surface of the coral species Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora aspera exhibited significant levels of chemotaxis, particularly towards DMSP and amino acids, and that these levels of chemotaxis were significantly higher than that of bacteria inhabiting nearby, non-coral-associated waters. This pattern was supported by a significantly higher abundance of chemotaxis and motility genes in metagenomes within coral-associated water types. The phylogenetic composition of the coral-associated chemotactic microorganisms, determined using 16S rRNA amplicon pyrosequencing, differed from the community in the seawater surrounding the coral and comprised known coral associates, including potentially pathogenic Vibrio species. These findings indicate that motility and chemotaxis are prevalent phenotypes among coral-associated bacteria, and we propose that chemotaxis has an important role in the establishment and maintenance of specific coral-microbe associations, which may ultimately influence the health and stability of the coral holobiont.

  16. Biological Criteria for Protection of U.S. Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reef ecosystems are threatened by natural stressors, human activities, and natural stressors exacerbated by human activities. Under the U.S. Clean Water Act, States and Territories may guard against anthropogenic threats by adopting water quality standards based on biologic...

  17. The Coral Reef Alphabet Book for American Samoa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madrigal, Larry G.

    This book, produced for the American Samoa Department of Education Marine Enhancement Program, presents underwater color photography of coral reef life in an alphabetical resource. The specimens are described in English, and some are translated into the Samoan language. A picture-matching learning exercise and a glossary of scientific and oceanic…

  18. Biological Criteria for Protection of U.S. Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reef ecosystems are threatened by natural stressors, human activities, and natural stressors exacerbated by human activities. Under the U.S. Clean Water Act, States and Territories may guard against anthropogenic threats by adopting water quality standards based on biologic...

  19. Comparison of Coral Reef Ecosystems along a Fishing Pressure Gradient

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, M.W.; Fulton, E.A.; Parrish, F.A.

    2013-01-01

    Three trophic mass-balance models representing coral reef ecosystems along a fishery gradient were compared to evaluate ecosystem effects of fishing. The majority of the biomass estimates came directly from a large-scale visual survey program; therefore, data were collected in the same way for all t

  20. Physics of coral reef systems in a shallow tidal embayment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoitink, Antonius Johannes Franciscus

    2003-01-01

    Ongoing deforestation in the tropics involves higher river discharges and an increase of runoff, which has consequences to coastal ecosystems. The dispersal of fluvial sediment and freshwater by marine processes affects the environmental determinants of coral reefs near the coast, which include temp

  1. Understanding feedbacks between ocean acidification and coral reef metabolism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takeshita, Yuichiro

    2017-03-01

    Biogeochemical feedbacks from benthic metabolism have been hypothesized as a potential mechanism to buffer some effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs. The article in JGR-Oceans by DeCarlo et al. demonstrates the importance of benthic community health on this feedback from Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea.

  2. Movement patterns of silvertip sharks ( Carcharhinus albimarginatus) on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Espinoza, Mario; Heupel, Michelle. R.; Tobin, Andrew J.; Simpfendorfer, Colin A.

    2015-09-01

    Understanding how sharks use coral reefs is essential for assessing risk of exposure to fisheries, habitat loss, and climate change. Despite a wide Indo-Pacific distribution, little is known about the spatial ecology of silvertip sharks ( Carcharhinus albimarginatus), compromising the ability to effectively manage their populations. We examined the residency and movements of silvertip sharks in the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR). An array of 56 VR2W acoustic receivers was used to monitor shark movements on 17 semi-isolated reefs. Twenty-seven individuals tagged with acoustic transmitters were monitored from 70 to 731 d. Residency index to the study site ranged from 0.05 to 0.97, with a mean residency (±SD) of 0.57 ± 0.26, but most individuals were detected at or near their tagging reef. Clear seasonal patterns were apparent, with fewer individuals detected between September and February. A large proportion of the tagged population (>71 %) moved regularly between reefs. Silvertip sharks were detected less during daytime and exhibited a strong diel pattern in depth use, which may be a strategy for optimizing energetic budgets and foraging opportunities. This study provides the first detailed examination of the spatial ecology and behavior of silvertip sharks on coral reefs. Silvertip sharks remained resident at coral reef habitats over long periods, but our results also suggest this species may have more complex movement patterns and use larger areas of the GBR than common reef shark species. Our findings highlight the need to further understand the movement ecology of silvertip sharks at different spatial and temporal scales, which is critical for developing effective management approaches.

  3. Crustose coralline algae increased framework and diversity on ancient coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weiss, Anna; Martindale, Rowan C

    2017-01-01

    Crustose coralline algae (CCA) are key producers of carbonate sediment on reefs today. Despite their importance in modern reef ecosystems, the long-term relationship of CCA with reef development has not been quantitatively assessed in the fossil record. This study includes data from 128 Cenozoic coral reefs collected from the Paleobiology Database, the Paleoreefs Database, as well as the original literature and assesses the correlation of CCA abundance with taxonomic diversity (both corals and reef dwellers) and framework of fossil coral reefs. Chi-squared tests show reef type is significantly correlated with CCA abundance and post-hoc tests indicate higher involvement of CCA is associated with stronger reef structure. Additionally, general linear models show coral reefs with higher amounts of CCA had a higher diversity of reef-dwelling organisms. These data have important implications for paleoecology as they demonstrate that CCA increased building capacity, structural integrity, and diversity of ancient coral reefs. The analyses presented here demonstrate that the function of CCA on modern coral reefs is similar to their function on Cenozoic reefs; thus, studies of ancient coral reef collapse are even more meaningful as modern analogues.

  4. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waheed, Zarinah; van Mil, Harald G J; Syed Hussein, Muhammad Ali; Jumin, Robecca; Golam Ahad, Bobita; Hoeksema, Bert W

    2015-01-01

    The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

  5. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zarinah Waheed

    Full Text Available The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39, Agariciidae (n = 30 and Euphylliidae (n = 15. The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51% and good (38%. Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

  6. Octocoral Species Assembly and Coexistence in Caribbean Coral Reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Johanna Velásquez

    Full Text Available What are the determinant factors of community assemblies in the most diverse ecosystem in the ocean? Coral reefs can be divided in continental (i.e., reefs that develop on the continental shelf, including siliciclastic reefs and oceanic (i.e., far off the continental shelf, usually on volcanic substratum; whether or not these habitat differences impose community-wide ecological divergence or species exclusion/coexistence with evolutionary consequences, is unknown.Studying Caribbean octocorals as model system, we determined the phylogenetic community structure in a coral reef community, making emphasis on species coexistence evidenced on trait evolution and environmental feedbacks. Forty-nine species represented in five families constituted the species pool from which a phylogenetic tree was reconstructed using mtDNA. We included data from 11 localities in the Western Caribbean (Colombia including most reef types. To test diversity-environment and phenotype-environment relationships, phylogenetic community structure and trait evolution we carried out comparative analyses implementing ecological and evolutionary approaches.Phylogenetic inferences suggest clustering of oceanic reefs (e.g., atolls contrasting with phylogenetic overdispersion of continental reefs (e.g., reefs banks. Additionally, atolls and barrier reefs had the highest species diversity (Shannon index whereas phylogenetic diversity was higher in reef banks. The discriminant component analysis supported this differentiation between oceanic and continental reefs, where continental octocoral species tend to have greater calyx apertures, thicker branches, prominent calyces and azooxanthellate species. This analysis also indicated a clear separation between the slope and the remaining habitats, caused by the presence or absence of Symbiodinium. K statistic analysis showed that this trait is conserved as well as the branch shape.There was strong octocoral community structure with opposite

  7. Octocoral Species Assembly and Coexistence in Caribbean Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Velásquez, Johanna; Sánchez, Juan A

    2015-01-01

    What are the determinant factors of community assemblies in the most diverse ecosystem in the ocean? Coral reefs can be divided in continental (i.e., reefs that develop on the continental shelf, including siliciclastic reefs) and oceanic (i.e., far off the continental shelf, usually on volcanic substratum); whether or not these habitat differences impose community-wide ecological divergence or species exclusion/coexistence with evolutionary consequences, is unknown. Studying Caribbean octocorals as model system, we determined the phylogenetic community structure in a coral reef community, making emphasis on species coexistence evidenced on trait evolution and environmental feedbacks. Forty-nine species represented in five families constituted the species pool from which a phylogenetic tree was reconstructed using mtDNA. We included data from 11 localities in the Western Caribbean (Colombia) including most reef types. To test diversity-environment and phenotype-environment relationships, phylogenetic community structure and trait evolution we carried out comparative analyses implementing ecological and evolutionary approaches. Phylogenetic inferences suggest clustering of oceanic reefs (e.g., atolls) contrasting with phylogenetic overdispersion of continental reefs (e.g., reefs banks). Additionally, atolls and barrier reefs had the highest species diversity (Shannon index) whereas phylogenetic diversity was higher in reef banks. The discriminant component analysis supported this differentiation between oceanic and continental reefs, where continental octocoral species tend to have greater calyx apertures, thicker branches, prominent calyces and azooxanthellate species. This analysis also indicated a clear separation between the slope and the remaining habitats, caused by the presence or absence of Symbiodinium. K statistic analysis showed that this trait is conserved as well as the branch shape. There was strong octocoral community structure with opposite diversity

  8. Forecasting decadal changes in sea surface temperatures and coral bleaching within a Caribbean coral reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Angang; Reidenbach, Matthew A.

    2014-09-01

    Elevated sea surface temperature (SST) caused by global warming is one of the major threats to coral reefs. While increased SST has been shown to negatively affect the health of coral reefs by increasing rates of coral bleaching, how changes to atmospheric heating impact SST distributions, modified by local flow environments, has been less understood. This study aimed to simulate future water flow patterns and water surface heating in response to increased air temperature within a coral reef system in Bocas del Toro, Panama, located within the Caribbean Sea. Water flow and SST were modeled using the Delft3D-FLOWcomputer simulation package. Locally measured physical parameters, including bathymetry, astronomic tidal forcing, and coral habitat distribution were input into the model and water flow, and SST was simulated over a four-month period under present day, as well as projected warming scenarios in 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s. Changes in SST, and hence the thermal stress to corals, were quantified by degree heating weeks. Results showed that present-day reported bleaching sites were consistent with localized regions of continuous high SST. Regions with highest SST were located within shallow coastal sites adjacent to the mainland or within the interior of the bay, and characterized by low currents with high water retention times. Under projected increases in SSTs, shallow reef areas in low flow regions were found to be hot spots for future bleaching.

  9. Human Dimensions of Coral Reef Social-Ecological Systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John N. Kittinger

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet but are declining because of human activities. Despite general recognition of the human role in the plight of coral reefs, the vast majority of research focuses on the ecological rather than the human dimensions of reef ecosystems, limiting our understanding of social relationships with these environments as well as potential solutions for reef recovery. General frameworks for social-ecological systems (SESs have been advanced, but system-specific approaches are needed to develop a more nuanced view of human-environmental interactions for specific contexts and resource systems, and at specific scales. We synthesize existing concepts related to SESs and present a human dimensions framework that explores the linkages between social system structural traits, human activities, ecosystem services, and human well-being in coral reef SESs. Key features of the framework include social-ecological reciprocity, proximate and underlying dimensions, and the directionality of key relationships and feedback loops. Such frameworks are needed if human dimensions research is to be more fully integrated into studies of ecosystem change and the sustainability of linked SESs.

  10. Measuring coral reef community metabolism using new benthic chamber technology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yates, K.K.; Halley, R.B.

    2003-01-01

    Accurate measurement of coral reef community metabolism is a necessity for process monitoring and in situ experimentation on coral reef health. Traditional methodologies used for these measurements are effective but limited by location and scale constraints. We present field trial results for a new benthic chamber system called the Submersible Habitat for Analyzing Reef Quality (SHARQ). This large, portable incubation system enables in situ measurement and experimentation on community- scale metabolism. Rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and calcification were measured using the SHARQ for a variety of coral reef substrate types on the reef flat of South Molokai, Hawaii, and in Biscayne National Park, Florida. Values for daily gross production, 24-h respiration, and net calcification ranged from 0.26 to 6.45 g O2 m-2 day-1, 1.96 to 8.10 g O2 m-2 24 h-1, and 0.02 to 2.0 g CaCO3 m -2 day-1, respectively, for all substrate types. Field trials indicate that the SHARQ incubation chamber is an effective tool for in situ isolation of a water mass over a variety of benthic substrate types for process monitoring, experimentation, and other applications.

  11. Virus-host interactions and their roles in coral reef health and disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thurber, Rebecca Vega; Payet, Jérôme P; Thurber, Andrew R; Correa, Adrienne M S

    2017-04-01

    Coral reefs occur in nutrient-poor shallow waters, constitute biodiversity and productivity hotspots, and are threatened by anthropogenic disturbance. This Review provides an introduction to coral reef virology and emphasizes the links between viruses, coral mortality and reef ecosystem decline. We describe the distinctive benthic-associated and water-column- associated viromes that are unique to coral reefs, which have received less attention than viruses in open-ocean systems. We hypothesize that viruses of bacteria and eukaryotes dynamically interact with their hosts in the water column and with scleractinian (stony) corals to influence microbial community dynamics, coral bleaching and disease, and reef biogeochemical cycling. Last, we outline how marine viruses are an integral part of the reef system and suggest that the influence of viruses on reef function is an essential component of these globally important environments.

  12. Acoustical Measurement and Biot Model for Coral Reef Detection and Quantification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Henry M. Manik

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are coastal resources and very useful for marine ecosystems. Nowadays, the existence of coral reefs is seriously threatened due to the activities of blast fishing, coral mining, marine sedimentation, pollution, and global climate change. To determine the existence of coral reefs, it is necessary to study them comprehensively. One method to study a coral reef by using a propagation of sound waves is proposed. In this research, the measurement of reflection coefficient, transmission coefficient, acoustic backscattering, hardness, and roughness of coral reefs has been conducted using acoustic instruments and numerical modeling using Biot theory. The results showed that the quantification of the acoustic backscatter can classify the type of coral reef.

  13. Buried Cold-Water Coral Mound Provinces and Contourite Drifts Along the Eastern Atlantic Margin: Controls, Interactions and Connectivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Rooij, D.; Vandorpe, T.; Delivet, S.; Hebbeln, D.; Wienberg, C.; Martins, I.

    2014-12-01

    The association between cold-water coral mounds and contourite drift deposits has been demonstrated in the Belgica mound province, off Ireland. On that location, IODP expedition 307 was able to drill through the base of a mound, dating mound initiation at 2.65 Ma. However, the Belgica mounds are just one of the many expressions of mound growth. More enigmatic is the buried Magellan mound province, located in the northern part of the Porcupine Basin, featuring over 1000 relatively closely spaced buried mounds, which are all rooted on a common reflector. This indicates a common start-up event, but the true driving forces behind their initial settling, growth and demise are still unknown. The influence of bottom currents cannot be ruled out, since clear obstacle marks are present surrounding the mounds. In 2013, some 3000 km south of the Magellan mounds, a new province of buried mounds was discovered along the Moroccan Atlantic Margin, which may shed new light on the "life" cycle of mounds. Here, we report the preliminary results and propose a first view on the controls, interactions and connectivity between these 2 provinces, assisted by a series of studies of contourite drifts along the Eastern Atlantic Margin. The newly discovered buried mounds can be associated to a vast province of several clusters of seabed mounds. They occur in water depths between 500 and 1000 m, buried under up to 50 m of sediment. With respect to the Magellan mounds, they are smaller, but more importantly, they do not root on one single stratigraphic level. At least 4 different initiation levels were identified. The off-mound reflectors indicate a slight influence of bottom currents, since the mounds are located in a large sediment drift. Moreover, the link between the two buried mound provinces may be found in connecting the evolution of the associated contourite drift systems, respectively in Porcupine Seabight and the Gulf of Cádiz. Intermediate sites on Goban Spur and near Le Danois

  14. The growth of coral reef science in the Gulf: a historical perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, John A

    2013-07-30

    Coral reef science has grown exponentially in recent decades in the Gulf. Analysis of literature from 1950 to 2012 identified 270 publications on coral reefs in the Gulf, half of which were published in just the past decade. This paper summarizes the growth and evolution of coral reef science in the Gulf by examining when, where and how research has been conducted on Gulf reefs, who conducted that research, and what themes and taxa have dominated scientific interest. The results demonstrate that there has been significant growth in our understanding of the valuable coral reefs of the Gulf, but also highlight the fact that we are documenting an increasingly degraded ecosystem. Reef scientists must make a concerted effort to improve dialogue with regional reef management and decision-makers if we are to stem the tide of decline in coral reefs in the Gulf. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Coral reef habitat response to climate change scenarios.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lauren A Freeman

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are threatened by both climate change and direct anthropogenic stress. Climate change will alter the physico-chemical environment that reefs currently occupy, leaving only limited regions that are conducive to reef habitation. Identifying these regions early may aid conservation efforts and inform decisions to transplant particular coral species or groups. Here a species distribution model (Maxent is used to describe habitat suitable for coral reef growth. Two climate change scenarios (RCP4.5, RCP8.5 from the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Community Earth System Model were used with Maxent to determine environmental suitability for corals (order Scleractinia. Environmental input variables best at representing the limits of suitable reef growth regions were isolated using a principal component analysis. Climate-driven changes in suitable habitat depend strongly on the unique region of reefs used to train Maxent. Increased global habitat loss was predicted in both climate projections through the 21(st century. A maximum habitat loss of 43% by 2100 was predicted in RCP4.5 and 82% in RCP8.5. When the model is trained solely with environmental data from the Caribbean/Atlantic, 83% of global habitat was lost by 2100 for RCP4.5 and 88% was lost for RCP8.5. Similarly, global runs trained only with Pacific Ocean reefs estimated that 60% of suitable habitat would be lost by 2100 in RCP4.5 and 90% in RCP8.5. When Maxent was trained solely with Indian Ocean reefs, suitable habitat worldwide increased by 38% in RCP4.5 by 2100 and 28% in RCP8.5 by 2050. Global habitat loss by 2100 was just 10% for RCP8.5. This projection suggests that shallow tropical sites in the Indian Ocean basin experience conditions today that are most similar to future projections of worldwide conditions. Indian Ocean reefs may thus be ideal candidate regions from which to select the best strands of coral for potential re-seeding efforts.

  16. Coral reef habitat response to climate change scenarios.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, Lauren A; Kleypas, Joan A; Miller, Arthur J

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are threatened by both climate change and direct anthropogenic stress. Climate change will alter the physico-chemical environment that reefs currently occupy, leaving only limited regions that are conducive to reef habitation. Identifying these regions early may aid conservation efforts and inform decisions to transplant particular coral species or groups. Here a species distribution model (Maxent) is used to describe habitat suitable for coral reef growth. Two climate change scenarios (RCP4.5, RCP8.5) from the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Community Earth System Model were used with Maxent to determine environmental suitability for corals (order Scleractinia). Environmental input variables best at representing the limits of suitable reef growth regions were isolated using a principal component analysis. Climate-driven changes in suitable habitat depend strongly on the unique region of reefs used to train Maxent. Increased global habitat loss was predicted in both climate projections through the 21(st) century. A maximum habitat loss of 43% by 2100 was predicted in RCP4.5 and 82% in RCP8.5. When the model is trained solely with environmental data from the Caribbean/Atlantic, 83% of global habitat was lost by 2100 for RCP4.5 and 88% was lost for RCP8.5. Similarly, global runs trained only with Pacific Ocean reefs estimated that 60% of suitable habitat would be lost by 2100 in RCP4.5 and 90% in RCP8.5. When Maxent was trained solely with Indian Ocean reefs, suitable habitat worldwide increased by 38% in RCP4.5 by 2100 and 28% in RCP8.5 by 2050. Global habitat loss by 2100 was just 10% for RCP8.5. This projection suggests that shallow tropical sites in the Indian Ocean basin experience conditions today that are most similar to future projections of worldwide conditions. Indian Ocean reefs may thus be ideal candidate regions from which to select the best strands of coral for potential re-seeding efforts.

  17. Tradeoffs between fisheries harvest and the resilience of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bozec, Yves-Marie; O'Farrell, Shay; Bruggemann, J Henrich; Luckhurst, Brian E; Mumby, Peter J

    2016-04-19

    Many countries are legally obliged to embrace ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management. Reductions in bycatch and physical habitat damage are now commonplace, but mitigating more sophisticated impacts associated with the ecological functions of target fisheries species are in their infancy. Here we model the impacts of a parrotfish fishery on the future state and resilience of Caribbean coral reefs, enabling us to view the tradeoff between harvest and ecosystem health. We find that the implementation of a simple and enforceable size restriction of >30 cm provides a win:win outcome in the short term, delivering both ecological and fisheries benefits and leading to increased yield and greater coral recovery rate for a given harvest rate. However, maintaining resilient coral reefs even until 2030 requires the addition of harvest limitations (fisheries.

  18. Rapid phase-shift reversal on a Jamaican coral reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Idjadi, Joshua A.; Lee, Sarah C.; Bruno, John F.; Precht, William F.; Allen-Requa, Laurie; Edmunds, Peter J.

    2006-05-01

    Many Caribbean reefs have experienced a phase-shift in community structure, the principle features being a decline in coral cover and an increase in macroalgal biomass. However, one Jamaican reef—Dairy Bull on the north shore near Discovery Bay—is once again dominated by scleractinian corals and several key species have returned. Living coral cover at 6 8 m depth at Dairy Bull has doubled over the past 9 years and is now ~54%. The absolute cover of Acropora cervicornis was <1% in 1995, but increased to ~11% by January 2004. During this time the cover of macroalgae decreased by 90%, from 45 to 6%. We speculate that long-lived colonies of Montastraea annularis may have facilitated the recovery of this reef by providing structural refugia.

  19. A bioindicator system for water quality on inshore coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabricius, Katharina E; Cooper, Timothy F; Humphrey, Craig; Uthicke, Sven; De'ath, Glenn; Davidson, Johnston; LeGrand, Hélène; Thompson, Angus; Schaffelke, Britta

    2012-01-01

    Responses of bioindicator candidates for water quality were quantified in two studies on inshore coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). In Study 1, 33 of the 38 investigated candidate indicators (including coral physiology, benthos composition, coral recruitment, macrobioeroder densities and FORAM index) showed significant relationships with a composite index of 13 water quality variables. These relationships were confirmed in Study 2 along four other water quality gradients (turbidity and chlorophyll). Changes in water quality led to multi-faceted shifts from phototrophic to heterotrophic benthic communities, and from diverse coral dominated communities to low-diversity communities dominated by macroalgae. Turbidity was the best predictor of biota; hence turbidity measurements remain essential to directly monitor water quality on the GBR, potentially complemented by our final calibrated 12 bioindicators. In combination, this bioindicator system may be used to assess changes in water quality, especially where direct water quality data are unavailable. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. The sediment composition and predictive mapping of facies on the Propeller Mound—A cold-water coral mound (Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heindel, Katrin; Titschack, Jürgen; Dorschel, Boris; Huvenne, Veerle A. I.; Freiwald, André

    2010-10-01

    Here we provide a detailed qualitative and quantitative insight on recent sediment composition and facies distribution of a cold-water coral (CWC) mound using the example of the Propeller Mound on the Irish continental margin (Hovland Mound Province, Porcupine Seabight). Five facies types on Propeller Mound are defined: (1) living coral framework, (2) coral rubble, (3) dropstone, (4) hardground, representing the on-mound facies, and (5) hemipelagic sediment facies, which describes the off-mound area. This facies definition is based on already published video-data recorded by Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), photo-data of gravity cores, box cores, and dredges from sediment surfaces as well as on the composition of the sediment fraction coarser than 125 μm, which has been analyzed on five selected box cores. Sediment compositions of the living coral framework and coral rubble facies are rather similar. Both sediment types are mainly produced by corals (34 and 35 wt%, respectively), planktonic foraminifers (22 and 29 wt%, respectively), benthic foraminifers (both 7 wt%), and molluscs (21 and 10 wt%, respectively), whereas the living coral framework characteristically features additional brachiopods (6 wt%). Hardgrounds are well-lithified coral rudstones rich in coral fragments (>30 surf%), foraminifers, echinoderms, and bivalves. The dropstone facies and the hemipelagic sediment typically carry high amounts of lithoclasts (36 and 53 wt%, respectively) and planktonic foraminifers (35 and 32 wt%, respectively); however, their faunal diversity is low compared with the coral-dominated facies (12 and <2 wt% coral fragments, 7 and 6 wt% benthic foraminifers, and 4 and 0 wt% balanids). Using the maximum likelihood algorithm within ArcGIS 9.2, spatial prediction maps of the previously described mound facies are calculated over Propeller Mound and are based on mound morphology parameters, ground-truthed with the sedimentary and faunal information from box cores, photographs

  1. Processes Driving Natural Acidification of Western Pacific Coral Reef Waters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shamberger, K. E.; Cohen, A. L.; Golbuu, Y.; McCorkle, D. C.; Lentz, S. J.; Barkley, H. C.

    2013-12-01

    Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) are acidifying the oceans, reducing seawater pH, aragonite saturation state (Ωar) and the availability of carbonate ions (CO32-) that calcifying organisms use to build coral reefs. Today's most extensive reef ecosystems are located where open ocean CO32- concentration ([CO32-]) and Ωar exceed 200 μmol kg-1 and 3.3, respectively. However, high rates of biogeochemical cycling and long residence times of water can result in carbonate chemistry conditions within coral reef systems that differ greatly from those of nearby open ocean waters. In the Palauan archipelago, water moving across the reef platform is altered by both biological and hydrographic processes that combine to produce seawater pH, Ωar, [CO32-] significantly lower than that of open ocean source water. Just inshore of the barrier reefs, average Ωar values are 0.2 to 0.3 and pH values are 0.02 to 0.03 lower than they are offshore, declining further as water moves across the back reef, lagoon and into the meandering bays and inlets that characterize the Rock Islands. In the Rock Island bays, coral communities inhabit seawater with average Ωar values of 2.7 or less, and as low as 1.9. Levels of Ωar as low as these are not predicted to occur in the western tropical Pacific open ocean until near the end of the century. Calcification by coral reef organisms is the principal biological process responsible for lowering Ωar and pH, accounting for 68 - 99 % of the difference in Ωar between offshore source water and reef water at our sites. However, in the Rock Island bays where Ωar is lowest, CO2 production by net respiration contributes between 17 - 30 % of the difference in Ωar between offshore source water and reef water. Furthermore, the residence time of seawater in the Rock Island bays is much longer than at the well flushed exposed sites, enabling calcification and respiration to drive Ωar to very low levels despite lower net ecosystem

  2. Status of Kenyan Coral Reef lagoons. Project Report to Kenya Wildlife Services, Kenya Karine and Fisheries Researoh Institute & Kenya"s Fisheries Department.

    OpenAIRE

    McClanahan, T; Muthiga, N.; OBURA, D.; Mutere, J.; Mwachireya, S.

    1992-01-01

    This report presents the findings of Wildlife Conservation International's Coral Reef Conservation Project monitoring program of Kenyan coral reefs and suggest research and management plans for the coral reefs based on the findings.

  3. Wide field-of-view fluorescence imaging of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Treibitz, Tali; Neal, Benjamin P; Kline, David I; Beijbom, Oscar; Roberts, Paul L D; Mitchell, B Greg; Kriegman, David

    2015-01-13

    Coral reefs globally are declining rapidly because of both local and global stressors. Improved monitoring tools are urgently needed to understand the changes that are occurring at appropriate temporal and spatial scales. Coral fluorescence imaging tools have the potential to improve both ecological and physiological assessments. Although fluorescence imaging is regularly used for laboratory studies of corals, it has not yet been used for large-scale in situ assessments. Current obstacles to effective underwater fluorescence surveying include limited field-of-view due to low camera sensitivity, the need for nighttime deployment because of ambient light contamination, and the need for custom multispectral narrow band imaging systems to separate the signal into meaningful fluorescence bands. Here we describe the Fluorescence Imaging System (FluorIS), based on a consumer camera modified for greatly increased sensitivity to chlorophyll-a fluorescence, and we show high spectral correlation between acquired images and in situ spectrometer measurements. This system greatly facilitates underwater wide field-of-view fluorophore surveying during both night and day, and potentially enables improvements in semi-automated segmentation of live corals in coral reef photographs and juvenile coral surveys.

  4. Workshop on Biological Integrity of Coral Reefs August 21-22, 2012, Caribbean Coral Reef Institute, Isla Magueyes, La Parguera, Puerto Rico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    This report summarizes an EPA-sponsored workshop on coral reef biological integrity held at the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute in La Parguera, Puerto Rico on August 21-22, 2012. The goals of this workshop were to:• Identify key qualitative and quantitative ecological characterist...

  5. Workshop on Biological Integrity of Coral Reefs August 21-22, 2012, Caribbean Coral Reef Institute, Isla Magueyes, La Parguera, Puerto Rico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    This report summarizes an EPA-sponsored workshop on coral reef biological integrity held at the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute in La Parguera, Puerto Rico on August 21-22, 2012. The goals of this workshop were to:• Identify key qualitative and quantitative ecological characterist...

  6. Contaminants assessment in the coral reefs of Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bargar, Timothy A.; Garrison, Virginia H.; Alvarez, David A.; Echols, Kathy

    2013-01-01

    Coral, fish, plankton, and detritus samples were collected from coral reefs in Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS) and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (VICR) to assess existing contamination levels. Passive water sampling using polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) and semi-permeable membrane devices found a few emerging pollutants of concern (DEET and galaxolide) and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. Very little persistent organic chemical contamination was detected in the tissue or detritus samples. Detected contaminants were at concentrations below those reported to be harmful to aquatic organisms. Extracts from the POCIS were subjected to the yeast estrogen screen (YES) to assess potential estrogenicity of the contaminant mixture. Results of the YES (estrogen equivalency of 0.17–0.31 ng/L 17-β-estradiol) indicated a low estrogenicity likelihood for contaminants extracted from water. Findings point to low levels of polar and non-polar organic contaminants in the bays sampled within VICR and VIIS.

  7. Contaminants assessment in the coral reefs of Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bargar, Timothy A; Garrison, Virginia H; Alvarez, David A; Echols, Kathy R

    2013-05-15

    Coral, fish, plankton, and detritus samples were collected from coral reefs in Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS) and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (VICR) to assess existing contamination levels. Passive water sampling using polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) and semi-permeable membrane devices found a few emerging pollutants of concern (DEET and galaxolide) and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. Very little persistent organic chemical contamination was detected in the tissue or detritus samples. Detected contaminants were at concentrations below those reported to be harmful to aquatic organisms. Extracts from the POCIS were subjected to the yeast estrogen screen (YES) to assess potential estrogenicity of the contaminant mixture. Results of the YES (estrogen equivalency of 0.17-0.31 ng/L 17-β-estradiol) indicated a low estrogenicity likelihood for contaminants extracted from water. Findings point to low levels of polar and non-polar organic contaminants in the bays sampled within VICR and VIIS. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  8. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vermeij, M.J.A.; Marhaver, K.L.; Huijbers, C.M.; Nagelkerken, I.; Simpson, S.D.

    2010-01-01

    Free-swimming larvae of tropical corals go through a critical life-phase when they return from the open ocean to select a suitable settlement substrate. During the planktonic phase of their life cycle, the behaviours of small coral larvae (<1 mm) that influence settlement success are difficult to

  9. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vermeij, M.J.A.; Marhaver, K.L.; Huijbers, C.M.; Nagelkerken, I.; Simpson, S.D.

    2010-01-01

    Free-swimming larvae of tropical corals go through a critical life-phase when they return from the open ocean to select a suitable settlement substrate. During the planktonic phase of their life cycle, the behaviours of small coral larvae (<1 mm) that influence settlement success are difficult to ob

  10. Size structuring and allometric scaling relationships in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dunic, Jillian C; Baum, Julia K

    2017-05-01

    Temperate marine fish communities are often size-structured, with predators consuming increasingly larger prey and feeding at higher trophic levels as they grow. Gape limitation and ontogenetic diet shifts are key mechanisms by which size structuring arises in these communities. Little is known, however, about size structuring in coral reef fishes. Here, we aimed to advance understanding of size structuring in coral reef food webs by examining the evidence for these mechanisms in two groups of reef predators. Given the diversity of feeding modes amongst coral reef fishes, we also compared gape size-body size allometric relationships across functional groups to determine whether they are reliable indicators of size structuring. We used gut content analysis and quantile regressions of predator size-prey size relationships to test for evidence of gape limitation and ontogenetic niche shifts in reef piscivores (n = 13 species) and benthic invertivores (n = 3 species). We then estimated gape size-body size allometric scaling coefficients for 21 different species from four functional groups, including herbivores/detritivores, which are not expected to be gape-limited. We found evidence of both mechanisms for size structuring in coral reef piscivores, with maximum prey size scaling positively with predator body size, and ontogenetic diet shifts including prey type and expansion of prey size. There was, however, little evidence of size structuring in benthic invertivores. Across species and functional groups, absolute and relative gape sizes were largest in piscivores as expected, but gape size-body size scaling relationships were not indicative of size structuring. Instead, relative gape sizes and mouth morphologies may be better indicators. Our results provide evidence that coral reef piscivores are size-structured and that gape limitation and ontogenetic niche shifts are the mechanisms from which this structure arises. Although gape allometry was not indicative of

  11. Modelling coral reef futures to inform management: can reducing local-scale stressors conserve reefs under climate change?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gurney, Georgina G; Melbourne-Thomas, Jessica; Geronimo, Rollan C; Aliño, Perry M; Johnson, Craig R

    2013-01-01

    Climate change has emerged as a principal threat to coral reefs, and is expected to exacerbate coral reef degradation caused by more localised stressors. Management of local stressors is widely advocated to bolster coral reef resilience, but the extent to which management of local stressors might affect future trajectories of reef state remains unclear. This is in part because of limited understanding of the cumulative impact of multiple stressors. Models are ideal tools to aid understanding of future reef state under alternative management and climatic scenarios, but to date few have been sufficiently developed to be useful as decision support tools for local management of coral reefs subject to multiple stressors. We used a simulation model of coral reefs to investigate the extent to which the management of local stressors (namely poor water quality and fishing) might influence future reef state under varying climatic scenarios relating to coral bleaching. We parameterised the model for Bolinao, the Philippines, and explored how simulation modelling can be used to provide decision support for local management. We found that management of water quality, and to a lesser extent fishing, can have a significant impact on future reef state, including coral recovery following bleaching-induced mortality. The stressors we examined interacted antagonistically to affect reef state, highlighting the importance of considering the combined impact of multiple stressors rather than considering them individually. Further, by providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, such as which course of management action will most likely to be effective over what time scales and at which sites, we demonstrated the utility of simulation models for supporting management. Aside from providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, our study offers insights which could inform reef management more broadly, as well as general understanding of reef

  12. Modelling coral reef futures to inform management: can reducing local-scale stressors conserve reefs under climate change?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Georgina G Gurney

    Full Text Available Climate change has emerged as a principal threat to coral reefs, and is expected to exacerbate coral reef degradation caused by more localised stressors. Management of local stressors is widely advocated to bolster coral reef resilience, but the extent to which management of local stressors might affect future trajectories of reef state remains unclear. This is in part because of limited understanding of the cumulative impact of multiple stressors. Models are ideal tools to aid understanding of future reef state under alternative management and climatic scenarios, but to date few have been sufficiently developed to be useful as decision support tools for local management of coral reefs subject to multiple stressors. We used a simulation model of coral reefs to investigate the extent to which the management of local stressors (namely poor water quality and fishing might influence future reef state under varying climatic scenarios relating to coral bleaching. We parameterised the model for Bolinao, the Philippines, and explored how simulation modelling can be used to provide decision support for local management. We found that management of water quality, and to a lesser extent fishing, can have a significant impact on future reef state, including coral recovery following bleaching-induced mortality. The stressors we examined interacted antagonistically to affect reef state, highlighting the importance of considering the combined impact of multiple stressors rather than considering them individually. Further, by providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, such as which course of management action will most likely to be effective over what time scales and at which sites, we demonstrated the utility of simulation models for supporting management. Aside from providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, our study offers insights which could inform reef management more broadly, as well as general

  13. Metatranscriptome analysis of the reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata indicates holobiont response to coral disease

    KAUST Repository

    Daniels, Camille Arian

    2015-09-11

    White Plague Disease (WPD) is implicated in coral reef decline in the Caribbean and is characterized by microbial community shifts in coral mucus and tissue. Studies thus far have focused on assessing microbial communities or the identification of specific pathogens, yet few have addressed holobiont response across metaorganism compartments in coral disease. Here, we report on the first metatranscriptomic assessment of the coral host, algal symbiont, and microbial compartment in order to survey holobiont structure and function in healthy and diseased samples from Orbicella faveolata collected at reef sites off Puerto Rico. Our data indicate holobiont-wide as well as compartment-specific responses to WPD. Gene expression changes in the diseased coral host involved proteins playing a role in innate immunity, cytoskeletal integrity, cell adhesion, oxidative stress, chemical defense, and retroelements. In contrast, the algal symbiont showed comparatively few expression changes, but of large magnitude, of genes related to stress, photosynthesis, and metal transport. Concordant with the coral host response, the bacterial compartment showed increased abundance of heat shock proteins, genes related to oxidative stress, DNA repair, and potential retroelement activity. Importantly, analysis of the expressed bacterial gene functions establishes the participation of multiple bacterial families in WPD pathogenesis and also suggests a possible involvement of viruses and/or phages in structuring the bacterial assemblage. In this study, we implement an experimental approach to partition the coral holobiont and resolve compartment- and taxa-specific responses in order to understand metaorganism function in coral disease.

  14. Metatranscriptome analysis of the reef-buidling coral Orbicella faveolata indicates holobiont response to coral disease

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Camille eDaniels

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available White Plague Disease (WPD is implicated in coral reef decline in the Caribbean and is characterized by microbial community shifts in coral mucus and tissue. Studies thus far have focused on assessing microbial communities or the identification of specific pathogens, yet few have addressed holobiont response across metaorganism compartments in coral disease. Here, we report on the first metatranscriptomic assessment of the coral host, algal symbiont, and microbial compartment in order to survey holobiont structure and function in healthy and diseased samples from Orbicella faveolata collected at reef sites off Puerto Rico. Our data indicate metaorganism-wide as well as compartment-specific responses to WPD. Gene expression changes in the diseased coral host involved proteins playing a role in innate immunity, cytoskeletal integrity, cell adhesion, oxidative stress, chemical defense, and retroelements. In contrast, the algal symbiont showed comparatively few expression changes, but of large magnitude, of genes related to stress, photosynthesis, and metal transport. Concordant with the coral host response, the bacterial compartment showed increased abundance of heat shock proteins, genes related to oxidative stress, DNA repair, and potential retroelement activity. Importantly, analysis of the expressed bacterial gene functions establishes the participation of multiple bacterial families in WPD pathogenesis and also suggests a possible involvement of viruses and/or phages in structuring the bacterial assemblage. In this study, we implement an experimental approach to partition the coral holobiont and resolve compartment- and taxa-specific responses in order to understand metaorganism function in coral disease.

  15. Multiple Stressors and the Functioning of Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harborne, Alastair R.; Rogers, Alice; Bozec, Yves-Marie; Mumby, Peter J.

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs provide critical services to coastal communities, and these services rely on ecosystem functions threatened by stressors. By summarizing the threats to the functioning of reefs from fishing, climate change, and decreasing water quality, we highlight that these stressors have multiple, conflicting effects on functionally similar groups of species and their interactions, and that the overall effects are often uncertain because of a lack of data or variability among taxa. The direct effects of stressors on links among functional groups, such as predator-prey interactions, are particularly uncertain. Using qualitative modeling, we demonstrate that this uncertainty of stressor impacts on functional groups (whether they are positive, negative, or neutral) can have significant effects on models of ecosystem stability, and reducing uncertainty is vital for understanding changes to reef functioning. This review also provides guidance for future models of reef functioning, which should include interactions among functional groups and the cumulative effect of stressors.

  16. Estimate of carbonate production by scleractinian corals at Luhuitou fringing reef, Sanya, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    SHI Qi; ZHAO MeiXia; ZHANG QiaoMin; YU KeFu; CHEN TianRan; LI Shu; WANG HanKui

    2009-01-01

    Carbonate production by scleractinian corals not only maintains coral reef growth, but also represents an important source of atmospheric carbon dioxide. In this paper the carbonate production by scler-actinian corals at Luhuitou fringing reef, Sanya, Hainan Island, China, is investigated with an ecological census-based method. Averaged carbonate production is 1.16±0.55 kg·m-2·a-1 and 3.52±1.32 kg·m-2·a-1 on the reef flat and reef slope, respectively, depending on the composition and distribution of corals and the intergeneric difference of skeletal growth. In response to the rapidly increasing hu-man impacts, coral carbonate production has decreased by 80%-89% at this fringing reef since the 1960s; as a result, the reef accretion rate declined and became lower than the rate of sea level rise. Further development of the Luhuitou fringing reef will switch significantly from lateral extension sea-wards to vertical growth, reflecting a response of coral reef bio-geomorphic process to strong human impacts under the background of global sea level rise. In addition, decrease in coral carbonate pro-duction reduced CO2 release from this fringing reef. In the future, it is likely that the role played by coral reefs, especially of fringing reefs, in the ocean and even in the global carbon cycle will be modified or weakened by the increasing human impacts.

  17. Brazilian coral reefs in a period of global change: A synthesis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zelinda M. A. N. Leão

    Full Text Available Abstract Brazilian coral reefs form structures significantly different from the well-known reef models, as follows: (i they have a growth form of mushroom-shaped coral pinnacles called "chapeirões", (ii they are built by a low diversity coral fauna rich in endemic species, most of them relic forms dating back to the Tertiary, and (iii the nearshore bank reefs are surrounded by siliciclastic sediments. The reefs are distributed in the following four major sectors along the Brazilian coast: the northern, the northeastern and the eastern regions, and the oceanic islands, but certain isolated coral species can be found in warmer waters in embayments of the southern region. There are different types of bank reefs, fringing reefs, isolated "chapeirões" and an atoll present along the Brazilian coast. Corals, milleporids and coralline algae build the rigid frame of the reefs. The areas in which the major coral reefs occur correspond to regions in which nearby urban centers are experiencing accelerated growth, and tourism development is rapidly increasing. The major human effects on the reef ecosystem are mostly associated with the increased sedimentation due to the removal of the Atlantic rainforest and the discharge of industrial and urban effluents. The effects of the warming of oceanic waters that had previously affected several reef areas with high intensity coral bleaching had not shown, by the time of the 2010 event, any episodes of mass coral mortality on Brazilian reefs.

  18. Water column correction for coral reef studies by remote sensing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zoffoli, Maria Laura; Frouin, Robert; Kampel, Milton

    2014-09-11

    Human activity and natural climate trends constitute a major threat to coral reefs worldwide. Models predict a significant reduction in reef spatial extension together with a decline in biodiversity in the relatively near future. In this context, monitoring programs to detect changes in reef ecosystems are essential. In recent years, coral reef mapping using remote sensing data has benefited from instruments with better resolution and computational advances in storage and processing capabilities. However, the water column represents an additional complexity when extracting information from submerged substrates by remote sensing that demands a correction of its effect. In this article, the basic concepts of bottom substrate remote sensing and water column interference are presented. A compendium of methodologies developed to reduce water column effects in coral ecosystems studied by remote sensing that include their salient features, advantages and drawbacks is provided. Finally, algorithms to retrieve the bottom reflectance are applied to simulated data and actual remote sensing imagery and their performance is compared. The available methods are not able to completely eliminate the water column effect, but they can minimize its influence. Choosing the best method depends on the marine environment, available input data and desired outcome or scientific application.

  19. 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...

  20. 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...

  1. Continued post-bleaching decline and changed benthic community of a Kenyan coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lambo, A L; Ormond, R F G

    2006-12-01

    During the global coral bleaching event of 1997/1998 Kenyan reefs experienced between 50% and 90% coral mortality, with coral cover at Malindi being reduced from 35-45% (pre-bleaching) to 10-20%. Even before this event there was concern that these reefs were being impacted by increased sediment loads from the nearby Sabaki River. Here we report that since 1998 coral cover has declined yet further with, in 2004, means of 5.1% being recorded at North Reef (within the non-fished Malindi Marine National Park) and 2.3% on Leopard Reef (within the fished Marine Reserve). Prior to bleaching 55 coral genera were recorded from the area, currently we find only 23. Meanwhile algal cover, especially the calcareous green alga Halimeda, has increased, and on Leopard Reef is twice that on North Reef. Taken with the evidence of previous studies, these data suggest a combined impact of coral bleaching with sedimentation and fishing.

  2. Bathymetrical distribution and size structure of cold-water coral populations in the Cap de Creus and Lacaze-Duthiers canyons (northwestern Mediterranean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Gori

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Submarine canyons are known as one of the seafloor morphological features where living cold-water coral (CWC communities develop in the Mediterranean Sea. We investigated the CWC community of the two westernmost submarine canyons of the Gulf of Lions canyon system: the Cap de Creus Canyon (CCC and Lacaze Duthiers Canyon (LDC. Coral associations have been studied through video material recorded by means of a manned submersible and a remotely operated vehicle. Video transects have been conducted and analyzed in order to obtain information on (1 coral bathymetric distribution and density patterns, (2 size structure of coral populations, and (3 coral colony orientation with respect to the substrate. Madrepora oculata was the most abundant CWC in both canyons, while Lophelia pertusa and Dendrophyllia cornigera mostly occurred as isolated colonies or in small patches. An important exception was detected in a vertical cliff in LDC where a large Lophelia pertusa framework was documented. This is the first record of such an extended L. pertusa framework in the Mediterranean Sea. In both canyons coral populations were dominated by medium and large colonies, but the frequent presence of small-sized colonies also indicate active recruitment. The predominant coral orientation with respect to the substrate (90° and 135° is probably driven by the current regime as well as by the sediment load transported by the current flows. In general no clear differences were observed between the CWC populations from CCC and LDC, despite large differences in particulate matter between canyons.

  3. Bathymetrical distribution and size structure of cold-water coral populations in the Cap de Creus and Lacaze-Duthiers canyons (northwestern Mediterranean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Gori

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Submarine canyons are known as one of the seafloor morphological features where living cold-water coral (CWC communities develop in the Mediterranean Sea. We investigated the CWC community of the two westernmost submarine canyons of the Gulf of Lions canyon system: the Cap de Creus Canyon (CCC and Lacaze-Duthiers Canyon (LDC. Coral associations have been studied through video material recorded by means of a manned submersible and a remotely operated vehicle. Video transects have been conducted and analyzed in order to obtain information on (1 coral bathymetric distribution and density patterns, (2 size structure of coral populations, and (3 coral colony position with respect to the substrate. Madrepora oculata was the most abundant CWC in both canyons, while Lophelia pertusa and Dendrophyllia cornigera mostly occurred as isolated colonies or in small patches. An important exception was detected in a vertical cliff in LDC where a large L. pertusa framework was documented. This is the first record of such an extended L. pertusa framework in the Mediterranean Sea. In both canyons coral populations were dominated by medium and large colonies, but the frequent presence of small-sized colonies also indicate active recruitment. The predominant coral orientation (90° and 135° is probably driven by the current regime as well as by the sediment load transported by the current flows. In general, no clear differences were observed in the abundance and in the size structure of the CWC populations between CCC and LDC, despite large differences in particulate matter between canyons.

  4. Measuring, interpreting, and responding to changes in coral reefs: A challenge for biologists, geologist, and managers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Miller, Jeff; Hubbard, Dennis K.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Lipps, Jere H.; Stanley, George D.

    2016-01-01

    What, exactly, is a coral reef? And how have the world’s reefs changed in the last several decades? What are the stressors undermining reef structure and function? Given the predicted effects of climate change, do reefs have a future? Is it possible to “manage” coral reefs for resilience? What can coral reef scientists contribute to improve protection and management of coral reefs? What insights can biologists and geologists provide regarding the persistence of coral reefs on a human timescale? What is reef change to a biologist… to a geologist?Clearly, there are many challenging questions. In this chapter, we present some of our thoughts on monitoring and management of coral reefs in US national parks in the Caribbean and western Atlantic based on our experience as members of monitoring teams. We reflect on the need to characterize and evaluate reefs, on how to conduct high-quality monitoring programs, and on what we can learn from biological and geological experiments and investigations. We explore the possibility that specific steps can be taken to “manage” coral reefs for greater resilience.

  5. Surface alkaline phosphatase activities of macroalgae on coral reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaffelke, B.

    2001-05-01

    Inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are subject to episodic nutrient supply, mainly by flood events, whereas midshelf reefs have a more consistent low nutrient availability. Alkaline phosphatase activity (APA) enables macroalgae to increase their phosphorus (P) supply by using organic P. APA was high (~4.0 to 15.5 µmol PO4 3- g DW-1 h-1) in species colonising predominantly inshore reefs and low (study were much lower than data reported from other coral reef systems. In experiments with two Sargassum species tissue P levels were correlated negatively, and N:P ratios were positively correlated with APA. High APA can compensate for a relative P-limitation of macroalgae in coral reef systems that are subject to significant N-inputs, such as the GBR inshore reefs. APA and other mechanisms to acquire a range of nutrient species allow inshore species to thrive in habitats with episodic nutrient supply. These species also are likely to benefit from an increased nutrient supply caused by human activity, which currently is a global problem.

  6. Coral reef soundscapes may not be detectable far from the reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaplan, Maxwell B.; Mooney, T. Aran

    2016-08-01

    Biological sounds produced on coral reefs may provide settlement cues to marine larvae. Sound fields are composed of pressure and particle motion, which is the back and forth movement of acoustic particles. Particle motion (i.e., not pressure) is the relevant acoustic stimulus for many, if not most, marine animals. However, there have been no field measurements of reef particle motion. To address this deficiency, both pressure and particle motion were recorded at a range of distances from one Hawaiian coral reef at dawn and mid-morning on three separate days. Sound pressure attenuated with distance from the reef at dawn. Similar trends were apparent for particle velocity but with considerable variability. In general, average sound levels were low and perhaps too faint to be used as an orientation cue except very close to the reef. However, individual transient sounds that exceeded the mean values, sometimes by up to an order of magnitude, might be detectable far from the reef, depending on the hearing abilities of the larva. If sound is not being used as a long-range cue, it might still be useful for habitat selection or other biological activities within a reef.

  7. Impact of sea-level rise and coral mortality on the wave dynamics and wave forces on barrier reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baldock, T E; Golshani, A; Callaghan, D P; Saunders, M I; Mumby, P J

    2014-06-15

    A one-dimensional wave model was used to investigate the reef top wave dynamics across a large suite of idea