WorldWideScience

Sample records for coral reef habitats

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Linking habitat mosaics and connectivity in a coral reef seascape

    KAUST Repository

    McMahon, Kelton; Berumen, Michael L.; Thorrold, Simon R.

    2012-01-01

    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.

  5. Fire coral clones demonstrate phenotypic plasticity among reef habitats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dubé, Caroline E; Boissin, Emilie; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Planes, Serge

    2017-08-01

    Clonal populations are often characterized by reduced levels of genotypic diversity, which can translate into lower numbers of functional phenotypes, both of which impede adaptation. Study of partially clonal animals enables examination of the environmental settings under which clonal reproduction is favoured. Here, we gathered genotypic and phenotypic information from 3,651 georeferenced colonies of the fire coral Millepora platyphylla in five habitats with different hydrodynamic regimes in Moorea, French Polynesia. In the upper slope where waves break, most colonies grew as vertical sheets ("sheet tree") making them more vulnerable to fragmentation. Nearly all fire corals in the other habitats are encrusting or massive. The M. platyphylla population is highly clonal (80% of the colonies are clones), while characterized by the highest genotype diversity ever documented for terrestrial or marine populations (1,064 genotypes). The proportion of clones varies greatly among habitats (≥58%-97%) and clones (328 clonal lineages) are distributed perpendicularly from the reef crest, perfectly aligned with wave energy. There are six clonal lineages with clones dispersed in at least two adjacent habitats that strongly demonstrate phenotypic plasticity. Eighty per cent of the colonies in these lineages are "sheet tree" on the upper slope, while 80%-100% are encrusting or massive on the mid slope and back reef. This is a unique example of phenotypic plasticity among reef-building coral clones as corals typically have wave-tolerant growth forms in high-energy reef areas. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  6. Habitat associations of juvenile fish at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia: the importance of coral and algae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shaun K Wilson

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Habitat specificity plays a pivotal role in forming community patterns in coral reef fishes, yet considerable uncertainty remains as to the extent of this selectivity, particularly among newly settled recruits. Here we quantified habitat specificity of juvenile coral reef fish at three ecological levels; algal meadows vs. coral reefs, live vs. dead coral and among different coral morphologies. In total, 6979 individuals from 11 families and 56 species were censused along Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Juvenile fishes exhibited divergence in habitat use and specialization among species and at all study scales. Despite the close proximity of coral reef and algal meadows (10's of metres 25 species were unique to coral reef habitats, and seven to algal meadows. Of the seven unique to algal meadows, several species are known to occupy coral reef habitat as adults, suggesting possible ontogenetic shifts in habitat use. Selectivity between live and dead coral was found to be species-specific. In particular, juvenile scarids were found predominantly on the skeletons of dead coral whereas many damsel and butterfly fishes were closely associated with live coral habitat. Among the coral dependent species, coral morphology played a key role in juvenile distribution. Corymbose corals supported a disproportionate number of coral species and individuals relative to their availability, whereas less complex shapes (i.e. massive & encrusting were rarely used by juvenile fish. Habitat specialisation by juvenile species of ecological and fisheries importance, for a variety of habitat types, argues strongly for the careful conservation and management of multiple habitat types within marine parks, and indicates that the current emphasis on planning conservation using representative habitat areas is warranted. Furthermore, the close association of many juvenile fish with corals susceptible to climate change related disturbances suggests that identifying and

  7. 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...

  8. Effects of trap fishing on coral reefs and associated habitats in the Florida Keys

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — We conducted surveys of trap distributions, targeted habitats, trap damage to coral reefs and associated habitats, and spatial/temporal distribution of catches....

  9. Effects of trap fishing on coral reefs and associated habitats in the US Caribbean

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — We are conducting surveys of trap distributions, targeted habitats, trap damage to coral reefs and associated habitats, and spatial/temporal distribution of catches....

  10. ENERGETIC EXTREMES IN A HOSTILE HABITAT: FISH LOCOMOTION ON WAVE-SWEPT CORAL REEFS

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Steffensen, John Fleng

    2010-01-01

    , and wing-like fins that generate lift-based thrust at high speed. Literally flying underwater, Stethojulis and other winged-fin species are the most abundant fish in wave-swept coral reef habitats. We discuss the extreme swimming performance of these reef fishes within the context of other non......-scombrid and scombrid fishes, and illustrate how such performance has contributed to their domination of shallow coral reef habitats worldwide....

  11. 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

  12. Variation in habitat soundscape characteristics influences settlement of a reef-building coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lillis, Ashlee; Bohnenstiehl, DelWayne; Peters, Jason W; Eggleston, David

    2016-01-01

    Coral populations, and the productive reef ecosystems they support, rely on successful recruitment of reef-building species, beginning with settlement of dispersing larvae into habitat favourable to survival. Many substrate cues have been identified as contributors to coral larval habitat selection; however, the potential for ambient acoustic cues to influence coral settlement responses is unknown. Using in situ settlement chambers that excluded other habitat cues, larval settlement of a dominant Caribbean reef-building coral, Orbicella faveolata , was compared in response to three local soundscapes, with differing acoustic and habitat properties. Differences between reef sites in the number of larvae settled in chambers isolating acoustic cues corresponded to differences in sound levels and reef characteristics, with sounds at the loudest reef generating significantly higher settlement during trials compared to the quietest site (a 29.5 % increase). These results suggest that soundscapes could be an important influence on coral settlement patterns and that acoustic cues associated with reef habitat may be related to larval settlement. This study reports an effect of soundscape variation on larval settlement for a key coral species, and adds to the growing evidence that soundscapes affect marine ecosystems by influencing early life history processes of foundational species.

  13. Variation in habitat soundscape characteristics influences settlement of a reef-building coral

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ashlee Lillis

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Coral populations, and the productive reef ecosystems they support, rely on successful recruitment of reef-building species, beginning with settlement of dispersing larvae into habitat favourable to survival. Many substrate cues have been identified as contributors to coral larval habitat selection; however, the potential for ambient acoustic cues to influence coral settlement responses is unknown. Using in situ settlement chambers that excluded other habitat cues, larval settlement of a dominant Caribbean reef-building coral, Orbicella faveolata, was compared in response to three local soundscapes, with differing acoustic and habitat properties. Differences between reef sites in the number of larvae settled in chambers isolating acoustic cues corresponded to differences in sound levels and reef characteristics, with sounds at the loudest reef generating significantly higher settlement during trials compared to the quietest site (a 29.5 % increase. These results suggest that soundscapes could be an important influence on coral settlement patterns and that acoustic cues associated with reef habitat may be related to larval settlement. This study reports an effect of soundscape variation on larval settlement for a key coral species, and adds to the growing evidence that soundscapes affect marine ecosystems by influencing early life history processes of foundational species.

  14. Robust Performance of Marginal Pacific Coral Reef Habitats in Future Climate Scenarios.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, Lauren A

    2015-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are under dual threat from climate change. Increasing sea surface temperatures and thermal stress create environmental limits at low latitudes, and decreasing aragonite saturation state creates environmental limits at high latitudes. This study examines the response of unique coral reef habitats to climate change in the remote Pacific, using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Earth System Model version 1 alongside the species distribution algorithm Maxent. Narrow ranges of physico-chemical variables are used to define unique coral habitats and their performance is tested in future climate scenarios. General loss of coral reef habitat is expected in future climate scenarios and has been shown in previous studies. This study found exactly that for most of the predominant physico-chemical environments. However, certain coral reef habitats considered marginal today at high latitude, along the equator and in the eastern tropical Pacific were found to be quite robust in climate change scenarios. Furthermore, an environmental coral reef refuge previously identified in the central south Pacific near French Polynesia was further reinforced. Studying the response of specific habitats showed that the prevailing conditions of this refuge during the 20th century shift to a new set of conditions, more characteristic of higher latitude coral reefs in the 20th century, in future climate scenarios projected to 2100.

  15. Robust Performance of Marginal Pacific Coral Reef Habitats in Future Climate Scenarios.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lauren A Freeman

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are under dual threat from climate change. Increasing sea surface temperatures and thermal stress create environmental limits at low latitudes, and decreasing aragonite saturation state creates environmental limits at high latitudes. This study examines the response of unique coral reef habitats to climate change in the remote Pacific, using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Earth System Model version 1 alongside the species distribution algorithm Maxent. Narrow ranges of physico-chemical variables are used to define unique coral habitats and their performance is tested in future climate scenarios. General loss of coral reef habitat is expected in future climate scenarios and has been shown in previous studies. This study found exactly that for most of the predominant physico-chemical environments. However, certain coral reef habitats considered marginal today at high latitude, along the equator and in the eastern tropical Pacific were found to be quite robust in climate change scenarios. Furthermore, an environmental coral reef refuge previously identified in the central south Pacific near French Polynesia was further reinforced. Studying the response of specific habitats showed that the prevailing conditions of this refuge during the 20th century shift to a new set of conditions, more characteristic of higher latitude coral reefs in the 20th century, in future climate scenarios projected to 2100.

  16. Future habitat suitability for coral reef ecosystems under global warming and ocean acidification

    OpenAIRE

    Couce, Elena M; Ridgwell, Andy J; Hendy, Erica

    2013-01-01

    Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are placing spatially divergent stresses on the world’s tropical coral reefs through increasing ocean surface temperatures and ocean acidification. We show how these two stressors combine to alter the global habitat suitability for shallow coral reef ecosystems, using statistical Bioclimatic Envelope Models rather than basing projections on any a priori assumptions of physiological tolerances or fixed thresholds. We apply two different modeling approaches...

  17. Coral reef fish predator maintains olfactory acuity in degraded coral habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Natt

    Full Text Available Coral reefs around the world are rapidly degrading due to a range of environmental stressors. Habitat degradation modifies the sensory landscape within which predator-prey interactions occur, with implications for olfactory-mediated behaviours. Predator naïve settlement-stage damselfish rely on conspecific damage-released odours (i.e., alarm odours to inform risk assessments. Yet, species such as the Ambon damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, become unable to respond appropriately to these cues when living in dead-degraded coral habitats, leading to increased mortality through loss of vigilance. Reef fish predators also rely on odours from damaged prey to locate, assess prey quality and engage in prey-stealing, but it is unknown whether their responses are also modified by the change to dead-degraded coral habitats. Implications for prey clearly depend on how their predatory counterparts are affected, therefore the present study tested whether olfactory-mediated foraging responses in the dusky dottyback, Pseudochromis fuscus, a common predator of P. amboinensis, were similarly affected by coral degradation. A y-maze was used to measure the ability of Ps. fuscus to detect and move towards odours, against different background water sources. Ps. fuscus were exposed to damage-released odours from juvenile P. amboinensis, or a control cue of seawater, against a background of seawater treated with either healthy or dead-degraded hard coral. Predators exhibited an increased time allocation to the chambers of y-mazes injected with damage-released odours, with comparable levels of response in both healthy and dead-degraded coral treated waters. In control treatments, where damage-released odours were replaced with a control seawater cue, fish showed no increased preference for either chamber of the y-maze. Our results suggest that olfactory-mediated foraging behaviours may persist in Ps. fuscus within dead-degraded coral habitats. Ps. fuscus may

  18. Comparative Effects of Different Disturbances in Coral Reef Habitats in Moorea, French Polynesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mélanie L. Trapon

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Degradation and loss of critical coastal habitats has significant ramifications for marine fisheries, such that knowledge of changes in habitat quality and quantity are fundamental to effective ecosystem management. This study explores changes in the structure of coral reef habitats, specifically changes in coral cover and composition, in Moorea, French Polynesia, to assess the independent and combined effects of different disturbances since 1979. During this period, reefs on the north coast have been subject to coral bleaching, severe tropical storms, as well as outbreaks of Acanthaster. Coral cover varied significantly among years, showing marked declines during some, but not all, disturbances. The greatest rates of coral loss coincided with outbreaks of A. planci. Moreover, successive disturbances have had differential effects among coral genera, leading to strong directional shifts in coral composition. Acropora is declining in abundance and coral assemblages are becoming increasingly dominated by Pocillopora and Porites. Observed changes in the cover and composition of corals are likely to have further significant impacts on the reef fish assemblages. Given that significant disturbances have been mostly associated with outbreaks of A. planci, rather than climate change, effective ecosystem management may reduce and/or delay impending effects of climate change.

  19. Habitat dynamics, marine reserve status, and the decline and recovery of coral reef fish communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williamson, David H; Ceccarelli, Daniela M; Evans, Richard D; Jones, Geoffrey P; Russ, Garry R

    2014-01-01

    Severe climatic disturbance events often have major impacts on coral reef communities, generating cycles of decline and recovery, and in some extreme cases, community-level phase shifts from coral-to algal-dominated states. Benthic habitat changes directly affect reef fish communities, with low coral cover usually associated with low fish diversity and abundance. No-take marine reserves (NTRs) are widely advocated for conserving biodiversity and enhancing the sustainability of exploited fish populations. Numerous studies have documented positive ecological and socio-economic benefits of NTRs; however, the ability of NTRs to ameliorate the effects of acute disturbances on coral reefs has seldom been investigated. Here, we test these factors by tracking the dynamics of benthic and fish communities, including the important fishery species, coral trout (Plectropomus spp.), over 8 years in both NTRs and fished areas in the Keppel Island group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Two major disturbances impacted the reefs during the monitoring period, a coral bleaching event in 2006 and a freshwater flood plume in 2011. Both disturbances generated significant declines in coral cover and habitat complexity, with subsequent declines in fish abundance and diversity, and pronounced shifts in fish assemblage structure. Coral trout density also declined in response to the loss of live coral, however, the approximately 2:1 density ratio between NTRs and fished zones was maintained over time. The only post-disturbance refuges for coral trout spawning stocks were within the NTRs that escaped the worst effects of the disturbances. Although NTRs had little discernible effect on the temporal dynamics of benthic or fish communities, it was evident that the post-disturbance refuges for coral trout spawning stocks within some NTRs may be critically important to regional-scale population persistence and recovery. PMID:24634720

  20. Habitat degradation and fishing effects on the size structure of coral reef fish communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, S K; Fisher, R; Pratchett, M S; Graham, N A J; Dulvy, N K; Turner, R A; Cakacaka, A; Polunin, N V C

    2010-03-01

    Overfishing and habitat degradation through climate change pose the greatest threats to sustainability of marine resources on coral reefs. We examined how changes in fishing pressure and benthic habitat composition influenced the size spectra of island-scale reef fish communities in Lau, Fiji. Between 2000 and 2006 fishing pressure declined in the Lau Islands due to declining human populations and reduced demand for fresh fish. At the same time, coral cover declined and fine-scale architectural complexity eroded due to coral bleaching and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci. We examined the size distribution of reef fish communities using size spectra analysis, the linearized relationship between abundance and body size class. Spatial variation in fishing pressure accounted for 31% of the variation in the slope of the size spectra in 2000, higher fishing pressure being associated with a steeper slope, which is indicative of fewer large-bodied fish and/or more small-bodied fish. Conversely, in 2006 spatial variation in habitat explained 53% of the variation in the size spectra slopes, and the relationship with fishing pressure was much weaker (approximately 12% of variation) than in 2000. Reduced cover of corals and lower structural complexity was associated with less steep size spectra slopes, primarily due to reduced abundance of fish < 20 cm. Habitat degradation will compound effects of fishing on coral reefs as increased fishing reduces large-bodied target species, while habitat loss results in fewer small-bodied juveniles and prey that replenish stocks and provide dietary resources for predatory target species. Effective management of reef resources therefore depends on both reducing fishing pressure and maintaining processes that encourage rapid recovery of coral habitat.

  1. Benthic communities at two remote Pacific coral reefs: effects of reef habitat, depth, and wave energy gradients on spatial patterns

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gareth J. Williams

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll in the central Pacific are among the most remote coral reefs on the planet. Here we describe spatial patterns in their benthic communities across reef habitats and depths, and consider these in the context of oceanographic gradients. Benthic communities at both locations were dominated by calcifying organisms (54–86% cover, namely hard corals (20–74% and crustose coralline algae (CCA (10–36%. While turf algae were relatively common at both locations (8–22%, larger fleshy macroalgae were virtually absent at Kingman (<1% and rare at Palmyra (0.7–9.3%. Hard coral cover was higher, but with low diversity, in more sheltered habitats such as Palmyra’s backreef and Kingman’s patch reefs. Almost exclusive dominance by slow-growing Porites on Kingman’s patch reefs provides indirect evidence of competitive exclusion, probably late in a successional sequence. In contrast, the more exposed forereef habitats at both Kingman and Palmyra had higher coral diversity and were characterized by fast-growing corals (e.g., Acropora and Pocillopora, indicative of more dynamic environments. In general at both locations, soft coral cover increased with depth, likely reflecting increasingly efficient heterotrophic abilities. CCA and fleshy macroalgae cover decreased with depth, likely due to reduced light. Cover of other calcified macroalgae, predominantly Halimeda, increased with depth. This likely reflects the ability of many calcifying macroalgae to efficiently harvest light at deeper depths, in combination with an increased nutrient supply from upwelling promoting growth. At Palmyra, patterns of hard coral cover with depth were inconsistent, but cover peaked at mid-depths at Kingman. On Kingman’s forereef, benthic community composition was strongly related to wave energy, with hard coral cover decreasing and becoming more spatially clustered with increased wave energy, likely as a result of physical damage leading to

  2. Fitness consequences of habitat variability, trophic position, and energy allocation across the depth distribution of a coral-reef fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldstein, E. D.; D'Alessandro, E. K.; Sponaugle, S.

    2017-09-01

    Environmental clines such as latitude and depth that limit species' distributions may be associated with gradients in habitat suitability that can affect the fitness of an organism. With the global loss of shallow-water photosynthetic coral reefs, mesophotic coral ecosystems ( 30-150 m) may be buffered from some environmental stressors, thereby serving as refuges for a range of organisms including mobile obligate reef dwellers. Yet habitat suitability may be diminished at the depth boundary of photosynthetic coral reefs. We assessed the suitability of coral-reef habitats across the majority of the depth distribution of a common demersal reef fish ( Stegastes partitus) ranging from shallow shelf (SS, restrict foraging. Fish in MP environments had a broader diet niche, higher trophic position, and higher muscle C:N ratios compared to shallower environments. High C:N ratios suggest increased tissue lipid content in fish in MP habitats that coincided with higher investment in reproduction based on gonado-somatic index. These results suggest that peripheral MP reefs are suitable habitats for demersal reef fish and may be important refuges for organisms common on declining shallow coral reefs.

  3. Benthic communities at two remote Pacific coral reefs: effects of reef habitat, depth, and wave energy gradients on spatial patterns.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Gareth J; Smith, Jennifer E; Conklin, Eric J; Gove, Jamison M; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A

    2013-01-01

    Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll in the central Pacific are among the most remote coral reefs on the planet. Here we describe spatial patterns in their benthic communities across reef habitats and depths, and consider these in the context of oceanographic gradients. Benthic communities at both locations were dominated by calcifying organisms (54-86% cover), namely hard corals (20-74%) and crustose coralline algae (CCA) (10-36%). While turf algae were relatively common at both locations (8-22%), larger fleshy macroalgae were virtually absent at Kingman (wave energy, with hard coral cover decreasing and becoming more spatially clustered with increased wave energy, likely as a result of physical damage leading to patches of coral in localized shelter. In contrast, the cover of turf algae at Kingman was positively related to wave energy, reflecting their ability to rapidly colonize newly available space. No significant patterns with wave energy were observed on Palmyra's forereef, suggesting that a more detailed model is required to study biophysical coupling there. Kingman, Palmyra, and other remote oceanic reefs provide interesting case studies to explore biophysical influences on benthic ecology and dynamics.

  4. Future habitat suitability for coral reef ecosystems under global warming and ocean acidification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Couce, Elena; Ridgwell, Andy; Hendy, Erica J

    2013-12-01

    Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are placing spatially divergent stresses on the world's tropical coral reefs through increasing ocean surface temperatures and ocean acidification. We show how these two stressors combine to alter the global habitat suitability for shallow coral reef ecosystems, using statistical Bioclimatic Envelope Models rather than basing projections on any a priori assumptions of physiological tolerances or fixed thresholds. We apply two different modeling approaches (Maximum Entropy and Boosted Regression Trees) with two levels of complexity (one a simplified and reduced environmental variable version of the other). Our models project a marked temperature-driven decline in habitat suitability for many of the most significant and bio-diverse tropical coral regions, particularly in the central Indo-Pacific. This is accompanied by a temperature-driven poleward range expansion of favorable conditions accelerating up to 40-70 km per decade by 2070. We find that ocean acidification is less influential for determining future habitat suitability than warming, and its deleterious effects are centered evenly in both hemispheres between 5° and 20° latitude. Contrary to expectations, the combined impact of ocean surface temperature rise and acidification leads to little, if any, degradation in future habitat suitability across much of the Atlantic and areas currently considered 'marginal' for tropical corals, such as the eastern Equatorial Pacific. These results are consistent with fossil evidence of range expansions during past warm periods. In addition, the simplified models are particularly sensitive to short-term temperature variations and their projections correlate well with reported locations of bleaching events. Our approach offers new insights into the relative impact of two global environmental pressures associated with rising atmospheric CO2 on potential future habitats, but greater understanding of past and current controls on coral

  5. Future coral reef habitat marginality: Temporal and spatial effects of climate change in the Pacific basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guinotte, J.M.; Buddemeier, R.W.; Kleypas, J.A.

    2003-01-01

    Marginal reef habitats are regarded as regions where coral reefs and coral communities reflect the effects of steady-state or long-term average environmental limitations. We used classifications based on this concept with predicted time-variant conditions of future climate to develop a scenario for the evolution of future marginality. Model results based on a conservative scenario of atmospheric CO2 increase were used to examine changes in sea surface temperature and aragonite saturation state over the Pacific Ocean basin until 2069. Results of the projections indicated that essentially all reef locations are likely to become marginal with respect to aragonite saturation state. Significant areas, including some with the highest biodiversity, are expected to experience high-temperature regimes that may be marginal, and additional areas will enter the borderline high temperature range that have experienced significant ENSO-related bleaching in the recent past. The positive effects of warming in areas that are presently marginal in terms of low temperature were limited. Conditions of the late 21st century do not lie outside the ranges in which present-day marginal reef systems occur. Adaptive and acclimative capabilities of organisms and communities will be critical in determining the future of coral reef ecosystems.

  6. Contrasting responses in the niches of two coral reef herbivores along a gradient of habitat disturbance in the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah Grahm; Bednarz, Vanessa N.; Hill, Jaclyn M.

    2018-01-01

    Habitat modification of coral reefs is becoming increasingly common due to increases in coastal urban populations. Coral reef fish are highly dependent on benthic habitat; however, information on species-specific responses to habitat change, in particular with regard to trophic strategies, remains...... scarce. This study identifies variation in the trophic niches of two herbivorous coral reef fishes with contrasting trophic strategies, using Stable Isotopes Bayesian Ellipses in R, along a spatial gradient of changing coral reef habitats. In the parrotfish Chlorurus bleekeri, a roving consumer...

  7. Avoiding conflicts and protecting coral reefs: Customary management benefits marine habitats and fish biomass

    KAUST Repository

    Campbell, Stuart J.

    2012-10-01

    Abstract One of the major goals of coral reef conservation is to determine the most effective means of managing marine resources in regions where economic conditions often limit the options available. For example, no-take fishing areas can be impractical in regions where people rely heavily on reef fish for food. In this study we test whether coral reef health differed among areas with varying management practices and socio-economic conditions on Pulau Weh in the Indonesian province of Aceh. Our results show that gear restrictions, in particular prohibiting the use of nets, were successful in minimizing habitat degradation and maintaining fish biomass despite ongoing access to the fishery. Reef fish biomass and hard-coral cover were two- to eight-fold higher at sites where fishing nets were prohibited. The guiding principle of the local customary management system, Panglima Laot, is to reduce conflict among community members over access to marine resources. Consequently, conservation benefits in Aceh have arisen from a customary system that lacks a specific environmental ethic or the means for strong resource-based management. Panglima Laot includes many of the features of successful institutions, such as clearly defined membership rights and the opportunity for resource users to be involved in making, enforcing and changing the rules. Such mechanisms to reduce conflict are the key to the success of marine resource management, particularly in settings that lack resources for enforcement. © 2012 Fauna & Flora International.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-01

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

  9. Density dependence drives habitat production and survivorship of Acropora cervicornis used for restoration on a Caribbean coral reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark C Ladd

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available AbstractCoral restoration is gaining traction as a viable strategy to help restore degraded reefs. While the nascent field of coral restoration has rapidly progressed in the past decade, significant knowledge gaps remain regarding the drivers of restoration success that may impede our ability to effectively restore coral reef communities. Here, we conducted a field experiment to investigate the influence of coral density on the growth, habitat production, and survival of corals outplanted for restoration. We used nursery-raised colonies of Acropora cervicornis to experimentally establish populations of corals with either 3, 6, 12, or 24 corals within 4m2 plots, generating a gradient of coral densities ranging from 0.75 corals m-2 to 12 corals m-2. After 13 months we found that density had a significant effect on the growth, habitat production, and survivorship of restored corals. We found that coral survivorship increased as colony density decreased. Importantly, the signal of density dependent effects was context dependent. Our data suggest that positive density dependent effects influenced habitat production at densities of 3 corals m-2, but further increases in density resulted in negative density dependent effects with decreasing growth and survivorship of corals. These findings highlight the importance of density dependence for coral restoration planning and demonstrate the need to evaluate the influence of density for other coral species used for restoration. Further work focused on the mechanisms causing density dependence such as increased herbivory, rapid disease transmission, or altered predation rates are important next steps to advance our ability to effectively restore coral reefs.

  10. Introduction of geospatial perspective to the ecology of fish-habitat relationships in Indonesian coral reefs: A remote sensing approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawayama, Shuhei; Nurdin, Nurjannah; Akbar AS, Muhammad; Sakamoto, Shingo X.; Komatsu, Teruhisa

    2015-06-01

    Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are now being harmed by various stresses accompanying the degradation of fish habitats and thus knowledge of fish-habitat relationships is urgently required. Because conventional research methods were not practical for this purpose due to the lack of a geospatial perspective, we attempted to develop a research method integrating visual fish observation with a seabed habitat map and to expand knowledge to a two-dimensional scale. WorldView-2 satellite imagery of Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia obtained in September 2012 was analyzed and classified into four typical substrates: live coral, dead coral, seagrass and sand. Overall classification accuracy of this map was 81.3% and considered precise enough for subsequent analyses. Three sub-areas (CC: continuous coral reef, BC: boundary of coral reef and FC: few live coral zone) around reef slopes were extracted from the map. Visual transect surveys for several fish species were conducted within each sub-area in June 2013. As a result, Mean density (Ind. / 300 m2) of Chaetodon octofasciatus, known as an obligate feeder of corals, was significantly higher at BC than at the others (p < 0.05), implying that this species' density is strongly influenced by spatial configuration of its habitat, like the "edge effect." This indicates that future conservation procedures for coral reef fishes should consider not only coral cover but also its spatial configuration. The present study also indicates that the introduction of a geospatial perspective derived from remote sensing has great potential to progress conventional ecological studies on coral reef fishes.

  11. Snapshot recordings provide a first description of the acoustic signatures of deeper habitats adjacent to coral reefs of Moorea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Frédéric Bertucci

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Acoustic recording has been recognized as a valuable tool for non-intrusive monitoring of the marine environment, complementing traditional visual surveys. Acoustic surveys conducted on coral ecosystems have so far been restricted to barrier reefs and to shallow depths (10–30 m. Since they may provide refuge for coral reef organisms, the monitoring of outer reef slopes and describing of the soundscapes of deeper environment could provide insights into the characteristics of different biotopes of coral ecosystems. In this study, the acoustic features of four different habitats, with different topographies and substrates, located at different depths from 10 to 100 m, were recorded during day-time on the outer reef slope of the north Coast of Moorea Island (French Polynesia. Barrier reefs appeared to be the noisiest habitats whereas the average sound levels at other habitats decreased with their distance from the reef and with increasing depth. However, sound levels were higher than expected by propagation models, supporting that these habitats possess their own sound sources. While reef sounds are known to attract marine larvae, sounds from deeper habitats may then also have a non-negligible attractive potential, coming into play before the reef itself.

  12. Antioxidant responses to heat and light stress differ with habitat in a common reef coral

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hawkins, Thomas D.; Krueger, Thomas; Wilkinson, Shaun P.; Fisher, Paul L.; Davy, Simon K.

    2015-12-01

    Coral bleaching—the stress-induced collapse of the coral- Symbiodinium symbiosis—is a significant driver of worldwide coral reef degradation. Yet, not all corals are equally susceptible to bleaching, and we lack a clear understanding of the mechanisms underpinning their differential susceptibilities. Here, we focus on cellular redox regulation as a potential determinant of bleaching susceptibility in the reef coral Stylophora pistillata. Using slow heating (1 °C d-1) and altered irradiance, we induced bleaching in S. pistillata colonies sampled from two depths [5-8 m (shallow) and 15-18 m (deep)]. There was significant depth-dependent variability in the timing and extent of bleaching (loss of symbiont cells), as well as in host enzymatic antioxidant activity [specifically, superoxide dismutase and catalase (CAT)]. However, among the coral fragments that bleached, most did so without displaying any evidence of a host enzymatic antioxidant response. For example, both deep and shallow corals suffered significant symbiont loss at elevated temperature, but only deep colonies exposed to high temperature and high light displayed any up-regulation of host antioxidant enzyme activity (CAT). Surprisingly, this preceded the equivalent antioxidant responses of the symbiont, which raises questions about the source(s) of hydrogen peroxide in the symbiosis. Overall, changes in enzymatic antioxidant activity in the symbionts were driven primarily by irradiance rather than temperature, and responses were similar across depth groups. Taken together, our results suggest that in the absence of light stress, heating of 1 °C d-1 to 4 °C above ambient is not sufficient to induce a substantial oxidative challenge in S. pistillata. We provide some of the first evidence that regulation of coral enzymatic antioxidants can vary significantly depending on habitat, and, in terms of determining bleaching susceptibility, our results suggest a significant role for the host's differential

  13. Habitat degradation negatively affects auditory settlement behavior of coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Timothy A C; Harding, Harry R; Wong, Kathryn E; Merchant, Nathan D; Meekan, Mark G; McCormick, Mark I; Radford, Andrew N; Simpson, Stephen D

    2018-05-15

    Coral reefs are increasingly degraded by climate-induced bleaching and storm damage. Reef recovery relies on recruitment of young fishes for the replenishment of functionally important taxa. Acoustic cues guide the orientation, habitat selection, and settlement of many fishes, but these processes may be impaired if degradation alters reef soundscapes. Here, we report spatiotemporally matched evidence of soundscapes altered by degradation from recordings taken before and after recent severe damage on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Postdegradation soundscapes were an average of 15 dB re 1 µPa quieter and had significantly reduced acoustic complexity, richness, and rates of invertebrate snaps compared with their predegradation equivalents. We then used these matched recordings in complementary light-trap and patch-reef experiments to assess responses of wild fish larvae under natural conditions. We show that postdegradation soundscapes were 8% less attractive to presettlement larvae and resulted in 40% less settlement of juvenile fishes than predegradation soundscapes; postdegradation soundscapes were no more attractive than open-ocean sound. However, our experimental design does not allow an estimate of how much attraction and settlement to isolated postdegradation soundscapes might change compared with isolated predegradation soundscapes. Reductions in attraction and settlement were qualitatively similar across and within all trophic guilds and taxonomic groups analyzed. These patterns may lead to declines in fish populations, exacerbating degradation. Acoustic changes might therefore trigger a feedback loop that could impair reef resilience. To understand fully the recovery potential of coral reefs, we must learn to listen. Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.

  14. Global ecological success of Thalassoma fishes in extreme coral reef habitats

    KAUST Repository

    Fulton, Christopher J.

    2016-12-20

    Phenotypic adaptations can allow organisms to relax abiotic selection and facilitate their ecological success in challenging habitats, yet we have relatively little data for the prevalence of this phenomenon at macroecological scales. Using data on the relative abundance of coral reef wrasses and parrotfishes (f. Labridae) spread across three ocean basins and the Red Sea, we reveal the consistent global dominance of extreme wave-swept habitats by fishes in the genus Thalassoma, with abundances up to 15 times higher than any other labrid. A key locomotor modification-a winged pectoral fin that facilitates efficient underwater flight in high-flow environments-is likely to have underpinned this global success, as numerical dominance by Thalassoma was contingent upon the presence of high-intensity wave energy. The ecological success of the most abundant species also varied with species richness and the presence of congeneric competitors. While several fish taxa have independently evolved winged pectoral fins, Thalassoma appears to have combined efficient high-speed swimming (to relax abiotic selection) with trophic versatility (to maximize exploitation of rich resources) to exploit and dominate extreme coral reef habitats around the world.

  15. Global ecological success of Thalassoma fishes in extreme coral reef habitats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fulton, Christopher J; Wainwright, Peter C; Hoey, Andrew S; Bellwood, David R

    2017-01-01

    Phenotypic adaptations can allow organisms to relax abiotic selection and facilitate their ecological success in challenging habitats, yet we have relatively little data for the prevalence of this phenomenon at macroecological scales. Using data on the relative abundance of coral reef wrasses and parrotfishes (f. Labridae) spread across three ocean basins and the Red Sea, we reveal the consistent global dominance of extreme wave-swept habitats by fishes in the genus Thalassoma , with abundances up to 15 times higher than any other labrid. A key locomotor modification-a winged pectoral fin that facilitates efficient underwater flight in high-flow environments-is likely to have underpinned this global success, as numerical dominance by Thalassoma was contingent upon the presence of high-intensity wave energy. The ecological success of the most abundant species also varied with species richness and the presence of congeneric competitors. While several fish taxa have independently evolved winged pectoral fins, Thalassoma appears to have combined efficient high-speed swimming (to relax abiotic selection) with trophic versatility (to maximize exploitation of rich resources) to exploit and dominate extreme coral reef habitats around the world.

  16. Global ecological success of Thalassoma fishes in extreme coral reef habitats

    KAUST Repository

    Fulton, Christopher J.; Wainwright, Peter C.; Hoey, Andrew; Bellwood, David R.

    2016-01-01

    Phenotypic adaptations can allow organisms to relax abiotic selection and facilitate their ecological success in challenging habitats, yet we have relatively little data for the prevalence of this phenomenon at macroecological scales. Using data on the relative abundance of coral reef wrasses and parrotfishes (f. Labridae) spread across three ocean basins and the Red Sea, we reveal the consistent global dominance of extreme wave-swept habitats by fishes in the genus Thalassoma, with abundances up to 15 times higher than any other labrid. A key locomotor modification-a winged pectoral fin that facilitates efficient underwater flight in high-flow environments-is likely to have underpinned this global success, as numerical dominance by Thalassoma was contingent upon the presence of high-intensity wave energy. The ecological success of the most abundant species also varied with species richness and the presence of congeneric competitors. While several fish taxa have independently evolved winged pectoral fins, Thalassoma appears to have combined efficient high-speed swimming (to relax abiotic selection) with trophic versatility (to maximize exploitation of rich resources) to exploit and dominate extreme coral reef habitats around the world.

  17. 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...

  18. Responses of Cryptofaunal Species Richness and Trophic Potential to Coral Reef Habitat Degradation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Derek P. Manzello

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are declining worldwide as a result of many anthropogenic disturbances. This trend is alarming because coral reefs are hotspots of marine biodiversity and considered the ‘rainforests of the sea. As in the rainforest, much of the diversity on a coral reef is cryptic, remaining hidden among the cracks and crevices of structural taxa. Although the cryptofauna make up the majority of a reef’s metazoan biodiversity, we know little about their basic ecology or how these communities respond to reef degradation. Emerging research shows that the species richness of the motile cryptofauna is higher among dead (framework vs. live coral substrates and, surprisingly, increases within successively more eroded reef framework structures, ultimately reaching a maximum in dead coral rubble. Consequently, the paradigm that abundant live coral is the apex of reef diversity needs to be clarified. This provides guarded optimism amidst alarming reports of declines in live coral cover and the impending doom of coral reefs, as motile cryptic biodiversity should persist independent of live coral cover. Granted, the maintenance of this high species richness is contingent on the presence of reef rubble, which will eventually be lost due to physical, chemical, and biological erosion if not replenished by live coral calcification and mortality. The trophic potential of a reef, as inferred from the abundance of cryptic organisms, is highest on live coral. Among dead framework substrates, however, the density of cryptofauna reaches a peak at intermediate levels of degradation. In summary, the response of the motile cryptofauna, and thus a large fraction of the reef’s biodiversity, to reef degradation is more complex and nuanced than currently thought; such that species richness may be less sensitive than overall trophic function.

  19. Coral Reef Habitat Suitability in Future Climate Scenarios from NCAR CESM1 considering a Suite of Biogeochemical Variables

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, L. A.; Kleypas, J. A.; Miller, A. J.

    2013-12-01

    A maximum entropy species distribution model (Maxent) is used to describe coral reef habitat in current climate conditions and to predict changes to that habitat during the 21st century. Two climate change scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) from the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Community Earth System Model version 1 (CESM1) were used with Maxent to determine environmental suitability for the family of corals Scleractina in 1° by 1° cells. Input environmental variables most suitable for representing coral habitat limitation are isolated using a principal component analysis and include cumulative thermal stress, salinity, light availability, current speed, phosphate levels and aragonite saturation state. Considering a suite of environmental variables allows for a more synergistic view of future habitat suitability, although individual variables are found to be limiting in certain areas- for example, aragonite saturation state is limiting at higher latitudes. Climate-driven coral reef habitat changes depend strongly on the oceanic region of interest and the region of corals used to train the niche model. Increased global coral habitat loss occurred in both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 climate projections as time progressed through the 21th century. Maximum suitable habitat loss was 82% by 2100 for RCP8.5. When only Caribbean/Atlantic coral reef environmental data is applied globally, 88% of global habitat was lost by 2100 for RCP8.5. The global runs utilizing only Pacific Ocean reefs' ability to survive showed the most significant worldwide loss, 90% by 2100 for RCP8.5. When Maxent was trained with Indian Ocean reefs, an increase in suitable habitat worldwide was estimated. Habitat suitability was found to increase by 38% in RCP4.5 by 2100 and 28% in RCP8.5 by 2050. This suggests that shallow tropical sites in the Indian Ocean basin experience conditions today that are most similar to future worldwide climate projections. Indian Ocean reefs may be ideal candidate

  20. Diving behavior of the reef manta ray links coral reefs with adjacent deep pelagic habitats

    KAUST Repository

    Braun, Camrin D.

    2014-02-06

    Recent successful efforts to increase protection for manta rays has highlighted the lack of basic ecological information, including vertical and horizontal movement patterns, available for these species. We deployed pop-up satellite archival transmitting tags on nine reef manta rays, Manta alfredi, to determine diving behaviors and vertical habitat use. Transmitted and archived data were obtained from seven tagged mantas over deployment periods of 102-188 days, including three recovered tags containing 2.6 million depth, temperature, and light level data points collected every 10 or 15 seconds. Mantas frequented the upper 10 m during daylight hours and tended to occupy deeper water throughout the night. Six of the seven individuals performed a cumulative 76 deep dives (>150 m) with one individual reaching 432 m, extending the known depth range of this coastal, reef-oriented species and confirming its role as an ecological link between epipelagic and mesopelagic habitats. Mean vertical velocities calculated from high-resolution dive data (62 dives >150 m) from three individuals suggested that mantas may use gliding behavior during travel and that this behavior may prove more efficient than continuous horizontal swimming. The behaviors in this study indicate manta rays provide a previously unknown link between the epi- and mesopelagic layers of an extremely oligotrophic marine environment and provide evidence of a third marine species that utilizes gliding to maximize movement efficiency. © 2014 Braun et al.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  2. Extent of mangrove nursery habitats determines the geographic distribution of a coral reef fish in a South-Pacific archipelago.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christelle Paillon

    Full Text Available Understanding the drivers of species' geographic distribution has fundamental implications for the management of biodiversity. For coral reef fishes, mangroves have long been recognized as important nursery habitats sustaining biodiversity in the Western Atlantic but there is still debate about their role in the Indo-Pacific. Here, we combined LA-ICP-MS otolith microchemistry, underwater visual censuses (UVC and mangrove cartography to estimate the importance of mangroves for the Indo-Pacific coral reef fish Lutjanus fulviflamma in the archipelago of New Caledonia. Otolith elemental compositions allowed high discrimination of mangroves and reefs with 83.8% and 98.7% correct classification, respectively. Reefs were characterized by higher concentrations of Rb and Sr and mangroves by higher concentrations of Ba, Cr, Mn and Sn. All adult L. fulviflamma collected on reefs presented a mangrove signature during their juvenile stage with 85% inhabiting mangrove for their entire juvenile life (about 1 year. The analysis of 2942 UVC revealed that the species was absent from isolated islands of the New Caledonian archipelago where mangroves were absent. Furthermore, strong positive correlations existed between the abundance of L. fulviflamma and the area of mangrove (r = 0.84 for occurrence, 0.93 for density and 0.89 for biomass. These results indicate that mangrove forest is an obligatory juvenile habitat for L. fulviflamma in New Caledonia and emphasize the potential importance of mangroves for Indo-Pacific coral reef fishes.

  3. Avoiding conflicts and protecting coral reefs: Customary management benefits marine habitats and fish biomass

    KAUST Repository

    Campbell, Stuart J.; Cinner, Joshua E.; Ardiwijaya, Rizya L.; Pardede, Shinta T.; Kartawijaya, Tasrif; Mukmunin, Ahmad; Herdiana, Yudi; Hoey, Andrew; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Baird, Andrew Hamilton

    2012-01-01

    Abstract One of the major goals of coral reef conservation is to determine the most effective means of managing marine resources in regions where economic conditions often limit the options available. For example, no-take fishing areas can

  4. The functional value of Caribbean coral reef, seagrass and mangrove habitats to ecosystem processes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harborne, Alastair R; Mumby, Peter J; Micheli, Fiorenza; Perry, Christopher T; Dahlgren, Craig P; Holmes, Katherine E; Brumbaugh, Daniel R

    2006-01-01

    Caribbean coral reef habitats, seagrass beds and mangroves provide important goods and services both individually and through functional linkages. A range of anthropogenic factors are threatening the ecological and economic importance of these habitats and it is vital to understand how ecosystem processes vary across seascapes. A greater understanding of processes will facilitate further insight into the effects of disturbances and assist with assessing management options. Despite the need to study processes across whole seascapes, few spatially explicit ecosystem-scale assessments exist. We review the empirical literature to examine the role of different habitat types for a range of processes. The importance of each of 10 generic habitats to each process is defined as its "functional value" (none, low, medium or high), quantitatively derived from published data wherever possible and summarised in a single figure. This summary represents the first time the importance of habitats across an entire Caribbean seascape has been assessed for a range of processes. Furthermore, we review the susceptibility of each habitat to disturbances to investigate spatial patterns that might affect functional values. Habitat types are considered at the scale discriminated by remotely-sensed imagery and we envisage that functional values can be combined with habitat maps to provide spatially explicit information on processes across ecosystems. We provide examples of mapping the functional values of habitats for populations of three commercially important species. The resulting data layers were then used to generate seascape-scale assessments of "hot spots" of functional value that might be considered priorities for conservation. We also provide an example of how the literature reviewed here can be used to parameterise a habitat-specific model investigating reef resilience under different scenarios of herbivory. Finally, we use multidimensional scaling to provide a basic analysis of the

  5. Mesopredator trophodynamics on thermally stressed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hempson, Tessa N.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; MacNeil, M. Aaron; Hoey, Andrew S.; Almany, Glenn R.

    2018-03-01

    Ecosystems are becoming vastly modified through disturbance. In coral reef ecosystems, the differential susceptibility of coral taxa to climate-driven bleaching is predicted to shift coral assemblages towards reefs with an increased relative abundance of taxa with high thermal tolerance. Many thermally tolerant coral species are characterised by low structural complexity, with reduced habitat niche space for the small-bodied coral reef fishes on which piscivorous mesopredators feed. This study used a patch reef array to investigate the potential impacts of climate-driven shifts in coral assemblages on the trophodynamics of reef mesopredators and their prey communities. The `tolerant' reef treatment consisted only of coral taxa of low susceptibility to bleaching, while `vulnerable' reefs included species of moderate to high thermal vulnerability. `Vulnerable' reefs had higher structural complexity, and the fish assemblages that established on these reefs over 18 months had higher species diversity, abundance and biomass than those on `tolerant' reefs. Fish assemblages on `tolerant' reefs were also more strongly influenced by the introduction of a mesopredator ( Cephalopholis boenak). Mesopredators on `tolerant' reefs had lower lipid content in their muscle tissue by the end of the 6-week experiment. Such sublethal energetic costs can compromise growth, fecundity, and survivorship, resulting in unexpected population declines in long-lived mesopredators. This study provides valuable insight into the altered trophodynamics of future coral reef ecosystems, highlighting the potentially increased vulnerability of reef fish assemblages to predation as reef structure declines, and the cost of changing prey availability on mesopredator condition.

  6. Fatty acid composition indicating diverse habitat use in coral reef fishes in the Malaysian South China Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Takaomi Arai

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: In order to understand feeding ecology and habitat use of coral reef fish, fatty acid composition was examined in five coral reef fishes, Thalassoma lunare, Lutjanus lutjanus, Abudefduf bengalensis, Scarus rivulatus and Scolopsis affinis collected in the Bidong Island of Malaysian South China Sea. RESULTS: Proportions of saturated fatty acids (SAFA ranged 57.2% 74.2%, with the highest proportions in fatty acids, the second highest was monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA ranged from 21.4% to 39.0% and the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA was the lowest ranged from 2.8% to 14.1%. Each fatty acid composition differed among fishes, suggesting diverse feeding ecology, habitat use and migration during the fishes' life history in the coral reef habitats. CONCLUSIONS: Diets of the coral fish species might vary among species in spite of that each species are living sympatrically. Differences in fatty acid profiles might not just be considered with respect to the diets, but might be based on the habitat and migration.

  7. Fatty acid composition indicating diverse habitat use in coral reef fishes in the Malaysian South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arai, Takaomi; Amalina, Razikin; Bachok, Zainudin

    2015-02-22

    In order to understand feeding ecology and habitat use of coral reef fish, fatty acid composition was examined in five coral reef fishes, Thalassoma lunare, Lutjanus lutjanus, Abudefduf bengalensis, Scarus rivulatus and Scolopsis affinis collected in the Bidong Island of Malaysian South China Sea. Proportions of saturated fatty acids (SAFA) ranged 57.2% 74.2%, with the highest proportions in fatty acids, the second highest was monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) ranged from 21.4% to 39.0% and the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) was the lowest ranged from 2.8% to 14.1%. Each fatty acid composition differed among fishes, suggesting diverse feeding ecology, habitat use and migration during the fishes' life history in the coral reef habitats. Diets of the coral fish species might vary among species in spite of that each species are living sympatrically. Differences in fatty acid profiles might not just be considered with respect to the diets, but might be based on the habitat and migration.

  8. 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

    ... the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the Southern Atlantic... regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of... Cancer Institute (http:// [[Page 39918

  9. Test of the Capability of Laser Line Scan Technology to Support Benthic Habitat Mapping in Coral Reef Ecosystems, Maui Island, November 2006

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The utility of Laser Line Scan (LLS) Technology for optical validation of benthic habitat map data from coral reef ecosystems was tested with a deployment of a...

  10. Use of habitats as surrogates of biodiversity for efficient coral reef conservation planning in Pacific Ocean islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalleau, Mayeul; Andréfouët, Serge; Wabnitz, Colette C C; Payri, Claude; Wantiez, Laurent; Pichon, Michel; Friedman, Kim; Vigliola, Laurent; Benzoni, Francesca

    2010-04-01

    Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been highlighted as a means toward effective conservation of coral reefs. New strategies are required to more effectively select MPA locations and increase the pace of their implementation. Many criteria exist to design MPA networks, but generally, it is recommended that networks conserve a diversity of species selected for, among other attributes, their representativeness, rarity, or endemicity. Because knowledge of species' spatial distribution remains scarce, efficient surrogates are urgently needed. We used five different levels of habitat maps and six spatial scales of analysis to identify under which circumstances habitat data used to design MPA networks for Wallis Island provided better representation of species than random choice alone. Protected-area site selections were derived from a rarity-complementarity algorithm. Habitat surrogacy was tested for commercial fish species, all fish species, commercially harvested invertebrates, corals, and algae species. Efficiency of habitat surrogacy varied by species group, type of habitat map, and spatial scale of analysis. Maps with the highest habitat thematic complexity provided better surrogates than simpler maps and were more robust to changes in spatial scales. Surrogates were most efficient for commercial fishes, corals, and algae but not for commercial invertebrates. Conversely, other measurements of species-habitat associations, such as richness congruence and composition similarities provided weak results. We provide, in part, a habitat-mapping methodology for designation of MPAs for Pacific Ocean islands that are characterized by habitat zonations similar to Wallis. Given the increasing availability and affordability of space-borne imagery to map habitats, our approach could appreciably facilitate and improve current approaches to coral reef conservation and enhance MPA implementation.

  11. Adaptive divergence in a scleractinian coral: physiological adaptation of Seriatopora hystrix to shallow and deep reef habitats

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    van Oppen Madeleine JH

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Divergent natural selection across environmental gradients has been acknowledged as a major driver of population and species divergence, however its role in the diversification of scleractinian corals remains poorly understood. Recently, it was demonstrated that the brooding coral Seriatopora hystrix and its algal endosymbionts (Symbiodinium are genetically partitioned across reef environments (0-30 m on the far northern Great Barrier Reef. Here, we explore the potential mechanisms underlying this differentiation and assess the stability of host-symbiont associations through a reciprocal transplantation experiment across habitats ('Back Reef', 'Upper Slope' and 'Deep Slope', in combination with molecular (mtDNA and ITS2-DGGE and photo-physiological analyses (respirometry and HPLC. Results The highest survival rates were observed for native transplants (measured 14 months after transplantation, indicating differential selective pressures between habitats. Host-symbiont assemblages remained stable during the experimental duration, demonstrating that the ability to "shuffle" or "switch" symbionts is restricted in S. hystrix. Photo-physiological differences were observed between transplants originating from the shallow and deep habitats, with indirect evidence of an increased heterotrophic capacity in native deep-water transplants (from the 'Deep Slope' habitat. Similar photo-acclimatisation potential was observed between transplants originating from the two shallow habitats ('Back Reef' and 'Upper Slope', highlighting that their genetic segregation over depth may be due to other, non-photo-physiological traits under selection. Conclusions This study confirms that the observed habitat partitioning of S. hystrix (and associated Symbiodinium is reflective of adaptive divergence along a depth gradient. Gene flow appears to be reduced due to divergent selection, highlighting the potential role of ecological mechanisms, in addition to

  12. Coral reefs and eutrophication

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stambler, N.

    1999-01-01

    Coral reefs are found in oligotrophic waters, which are poor in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, and possibly iron. In spite of this, coral reefs exhibit high gross primary productivity rates. They thrive in oligotrophic conditions because of the symbiotic relationship between corals and dinoflagellate algae (zooxanthellae) embedded in the coral tissue. In their mutualistic symbiosis, the zooxanthellae contribute their photosynthetic capability as the basis for the metabolic energy of the whole association, and eventually of a great part of the entire reef ecosystem

  13. No habitat correlation of zooxanthellae in the coral genus Madracis on a Curacao reef

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Diekmann, O.E; Bak, R.P M; Tonk, L; Stam, W.T.; Olsen, J.L.

    2002-01-01

    Symbiotic dinoflagellates belonging to the genus Symbiodinium (zooxanthellae) play an important role in ecological specialization and physiological adaptation in corals, We examined the diversity and depth distribution of zooxanthellae in 5 morphospecies of Madracis at the Buoy I study-reef on

  14. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

    on the systematic position is presented. The general structure is depicted with illustrations. Physiology part is updated to current knowledge on reproduction, nutrition and excretion of corals. The coral reefs section begins with status of world reefs...

  15. 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…

  16. Coral Reef Guidance

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  17. The effect of local hydrodynamics on the spatial extent and morphology of cold-water coral habitats at Tisler Reef, Norway

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Clippele, L. H.; Huvenne, V. A. I.; Orejas, C.; Lundälv, T.; Fox, A.; Hennige, S. J.; Roberts, J. M.

    2018-03-01

    This study demonstrates how cold-water coral morphology and habitat distribution are shaped by local hydrodynamics, using high-definition video from Tisler Reef, an inshore reef in Norway. A total of 334 video frames collected on the north-west (NW) and south-east (SE) side of the reef were investigated for Lophelia pertusa coral cover and morphology and for the cover of the associated sponges Mycale lingua and Geodia sp. Our results showed that the SE side was a better habitat for L. pertusa (including live and dead colonies). Low cover of Geodia sp. was found on both sides of Tisler Reef. In contrast, Mycale lingua had higher percentage cover, especially on the NW side of the reef. Bush-shaped colonies of L. pertusa with elongated branches were the most abundant coral morphology on Tisler Reef. The highest abundance and density of this morphology were found on the SE side of the reef, while a higher proportion of cauliflower-shaped corals with short branches were found on the NW side. The proportion of very small L. pertusa colonies was also significantly higher on the SE side of the reef. The patterns in coral spatial distribution and morphology were related to local hydrodynamics—there were more frequent periods of downwelling currents on the SE side—and to the availability of suitable settling substrates. These factors make the SE region of Tisler Reef more suitable for coral growth. Understanding the impact of local hydrodynamics on the spatial extent and morphology of coral, and their relation to associated organisms such as sponges, is key to understanding the past and future development of the reef.

  18. Fishing on cold water coral reefs : A bioeconomic model of habitat-fishery connections

    OpenAIRE

    Kahui, Viktoria; Armstrong, Claire W.

    2008-01-01

    This paper applies a bioeconomic model in order to study different interactions between a harvested renewable resource and a non-renewable resource without commercial value that is negatively affected by the harvesting activity. This enables the analysis of for instance cold water coral habitats and their importance to commercial fish species. The fish is harvested either in a manner that does not damage coral, such as stationary gear, or in a destructive fashion, such as botto...

  19. Small-scale habitat structure modulates the effects of no-take marine reserves for coral reef macroinvertebrates.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pascal Dumas

    Full Text Available No-take marine reserves are one of the oldest and most versatile tools used across the Pacific for the conservation of reef resources, in particular for invertebrates traditionally targeted by local fishers. Assessing their actual efficiency is still a challenge in complex ecosystems such as coral reefs, where reserve effects are likely to be obscured by high levels of environmental variability. The goal of this study was to investigate the potential interference of small-scale habitat structure on the efficiency of reserves. The spatial distribution of widely harvested macroinvertebrates was surveyed in a large set of protected vs. unprotected stations from eleven reefs located in New Caledonia. Abundance, density and individual size data were collected along random, small-scale (20×1 m transects. Fine habitat typology was derived with a quantitative photographic method using 17 local habitat variables. Marine reserves substantially augmented the local density, size structure and biomass of the target species. Density of Trochus niloticus and Tridacna maxima doubled globally inside the reserve network; average size was greater by 10 to 20% for T. niloticus. We demonstrated that the apparent success of protection could be obscured by marked variations in population structure occurring over short distances, resulting from small-scale heterogeneity in the reef habitat. The efficiency of reserves appeared to be modulated by the availability of suitable habitats at the decimetric scale ("microhabitats" for the considered sessile/low-mobile macroinvertebrate species. Incorporating microhabitat distribution could significantly enhance the efficiency of habitat surrogacy, a valuable approach in the case of conservation targets focusing on endangered or emblematic macroinvertebrate or relatively sedentary fish species.

  20. Habitat complexity and fish size affect the detection of Indo-Pacific lionfish on invaded coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, S. J.; Tamburello, N.; Miller, S. E.; Akins, J. L.; Côté, I. M.

    2013-06-01

    A standard approach to improving the accuracy of reef fish population estimates derived from underwater visual censuses (UVCs) is the application of species-specific correction factors, which assumes that a species' detectability is constant under all conditions. To test this assumption, we quantified detection rates for invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish ( Pterois volitans and P. miles), which are now a primary threat to coral reef conservation throughout the Caribbean. Estimates of lionfish population density and distribution, which are essential for managing the invasion, are currently obtained through standard UVCs. Using two conventional UVC methods, the belt transect and stationary visual census (SVC), we assessed how lionfish detection rates vary with lionfish body size and habitat complexity (measured as rugosity) on invaded continuous and patch reefs off Cape Eleuthera, the Bahamas. Belt transect and SVC surveys performed equally poorly, with both methods failing to detect the presence of lionfish in >50 % of surveys where thorough, lionfish-focussed searches yielded one or more individuals. Conventional methods underestimated lionfish biomass by ~200 %. Crucially, detection rate varied significantly with both lionfish size and reef rugosity, indicating that the application of a single correction factor across habitats and stages of invasion is unlikely to accurately characterize local populations. Applying variable correction factors that account for site-specific lionfish size and rugosity to conventional survey data increased estimates of lionfish biomass, but these remained significantly lower than actual biomass. To increase the accuracy and reliability of estimates of lionfish density and distribution, monitoring programs should use detailed area searches rather than standard visual survey methods. Our study highlights the importance of accounting for sources of spatial and temporal variation in detection to increase the accuracy of survey data from

  1. Spatial analyses of benthic habitats to define coral reef ecosystem regions and potential biogeographic boundaries along a latitudinal gradient.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian K Walker

    Full Text Available Marine organism diversity typically attenuates latitudinally from tropical to colder climate regimes. Since the distribution of many marine species relates to certain habitats and depth regimes, mapping data provide valuable information in the absence of detailed ecological data that can be used to identify and spatially quantify smaller scale (10 s km coral reef ecosystem regions and potential physical biogeographic barriers. This study focused on the southeast Florida coast due to a recognized, but understudied, tropical to subtropical biogeographic gradient. GIS spatial analyses were conducted on recent, accurate, shallow-water (0-30 m benthic habitat maps to identify and quantify specific regions along the coast that were statistically distinct in the number and amount of major benthic habitat types. Habitat type and width were measured for 209 evenly-spaced cross-shelf transects. Evaluation of groupings from a cluster analysis at 75% similarity yielded five distinct regions. The number of benthic habitats and their area, width, distance from shore, distance from each other, and LIDAR depths were calculated in GIS and examined to determine regional statistical differences. The number of benthic habitats decreased with increasing latitude from 9 in the south to 4 in the north and many of the habitat metrics statistically differed between regions. Three potential biogeographic barriers were found at the Boca, Hillsboro, and Biscayne boundaries, where specific shallow-water habitats were absent further north; Middle Reef, Inner Reef, and oceanic seagrass beds respectively. The Bahamas Fault Zone boundary was also noted where changes in coastal morphologies occurred that could relate to subtle ecological changes. The analyses defined regions on a smaller scale more appropriate to regional management decisions, hence strengthening marine conservation planning with an objective, scientific foundation for decision making. They provide a framework

  2. Coral Reefs: Beyond Mortality?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charles Sheppard

    2000-01-01

    Full Text Available The scale of the collapse of coral reef communities in 1998 following a warming episode (Wilkinson, 2000 was unprecedented, and took many people by surprise. The Indian Ocean was the worst affected with a coral mortality over 75% in many areas such as the Chagos Archipelago (Sheppard, 1999, Seychelles (Spencer et al., 2000 and Maldives (McClanahan, 2000. Several other locations were affected at least as much, with mortality reaching 100% (to the nearest whole number; this is being compiled by various authors (e.g., CORDIO, in press. For example, in the Arabian Gulf, coral mortality is almost total across many large areas of shallow water (Sheppard, unpublished; D. George and D. John, personal communication. The mortality is patchy of course, depending on currents, location inside or outside lagoons, etc., but it is now possible to swim for over 200 m and see not one remaining living coral or soft coral on some previously rich reefs.

  3. Nitrification in reef corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

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

  4. 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...

  5. 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

    ... the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic..., Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of the South Atlantic Region. The applicant has requested.... HHSN261200900012C) between the National Cancer Institute ( http://www.cancer.gov/ ) and the Coral Reef Research...

  6. 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

    ...-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the South Atlantic... the South Atlantic Region and the FMP for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hard Bottom Habitats of the... Aquariums to collect, with certain conditions, various species of reef fish and live rock in Federal waters...

  7. Designing Climate-Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks by Combining Remotely Sensed Coral Reef Habitat with Coastal Multi-Use Maps

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joseph M. Maina

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Decision making for the conservation and management of coral reef biodiversity requires an understanding of spatial variability and distribution of reef habitat types. Despite the existence of very high-resolution remote sensing technology for nearly two decades, comprehensive assessment of coral reef habitats at national to regional spatial scales and at very high spatial resolution is still scarce. Here, we develop benthic habitat maps at a sub-national scale by analyzing large multispectral QuickBird imagery dataset covering ~686 km2 of the main shallow coral fringing reef along the southern border with Tanzania (4.68°S, 39.18°E to the reef end at Malindi, Kenya (3.2°S, 40.1°E. Mapping was conducted with a user approach constrained by ground-truth data, with detailed transect lines from the shore to the fore reef. First, maps were used to evaluate the present management system’s effectiveness at representing habitat diversity. Then, we developed three spatial prioritization scenarios based on differing objectives: (i minimize lost fishing opportunity; (ii redistribute fisheries away from currently overfished reefs; and (iii minimize resource use conflicts. We further constrained the priority area in each prioritization selection scenario based on optionally protecting the least or the most climate exposed locations using a model of exposure to climate stress. We discovered that spatial priorities were very different based on the different objectives and on whether the aim was to protect the least or most climate-exposed habitats. Our analyses provide a spatially explicit foundation for large-scale conservation and management strategies that can account for ecosystem service benefits.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andréfouët, S; Wantiez, L

    2010-01-01

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

  9. Coral reef ecosystem

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    ), on submerged banks like Gave shani bank (13°24'N; 73°45'E) (Nair and Qasim 1978) andSidere~ko Bank (13°43.5' N; 73°42'E) (Rao 1972) and as stray individual units off Visakhapatnam (Bakus, G. personal communication) and Pondicherry (Ramesh, A. personal... 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...

  10. 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.

  11. Effects of predation on diel activity and habitat use of the coral-reef shrimp Cinetorhynchus hendersoni (Rhynchocinetidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ory, Nicolas C.; Dudgeon, David; Duprey, Nicolas; Thiel, Martin

    2014-09-01

    Nonlethal effects of predators on prey behaviour are still poorly understood, although they may have cascading effects through food webs. Underwater observations and experiments were conducted on a shallow fringing coral reef in Malaysia to examine whether predation risks affect diel activity, habitat use, and survival of the rhynchocinetid shrimp Cinetorhynchus hendersoni. The study site was within a protected area where predatory fish were abundant. Visual surveys and tethering experiments were conducted in April-May 2010 to compare the abundance of shrimps and predatory fishes and the relative predation intensity on shrimps during day and night. Shrimps were not seen during the day but came out of refuges at night, when the risk of being eaten was reduced. Shrimp preferences for substrata of different complexities and types were examined at night when they could be seen on the reef; complex substrata were preferred, while simple substrata were avoided. Shrimps were abundant on high-complexity columnar-foliate Porites rus, but tended to make little use of branching Acropora spp. Subsequent tethering experiments, conducted during daytime in June 2013, compared the relative mortality of shrimps on simple (sand-rubble, massive Porites spp.) and complex ( P. rus, branching Acropora spp.) substrata under different predation risk scenarios (i.e., different tether lengths and exposure durations). The mortality of shrimps with short tethers (high risk) was high on all substrata while, under low and intermediate predation risks (long tethers), shrimp mortality was reduced on complex corals relative to that on sand-rubble or massive Porites spp. Overall, mortality was lowest on P. rus. Our study indicates that predation risks constrain shrimp activity and habitat choice, forcing them to hide deep inside complex substrata during the day. Such behavioural responses to predation risks and their consequences for the trophic role of invertebrate mesoconsumers warrant further

  12. Bomb-cratered coral reefs in Puerto Rico, the untold story about a novel habitat: from reef destruction to community-based ecological rehabilitation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edwin A. Hernández-Delgado

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Ecological impacts of military bombing activities in Puerto Rico have often been described as minimal, with recurrent allegations of confounding effects by hurricanes, coral diseases and local anthropogenic stressors. Reef craters, though isolated, are associated with major colony fragmentation and framework pulverization, with a net permanent loss of reef bio-construction. In contrast, adjacent non-bombarded reef sections have significantly higher benthic spatial relief and biodiversity. We compared benthic communities on 35-50 year-old bomb-cratered coral reefs at Culebra and Vieques Islands, with adjacent non-impacted sites; 2 coral recruit density and fish community structure within and outside craters; and 3 early effects of a rehabilitation effort using low-tech Staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis farming. Reef craters ranged in size from approximately 50 to 400m² and were largely dominated by heavily fragmented, flattened benthos, with coral cover usually below 2% and dominance by non-reef building taxa (i.e., filamentous algal turfs, macroalgae. Benthic spatial heterogeneity was lower within craters which also resulted in a lowered functional value as fish nursery ground. Fish species richness, abundance and biomass, and coral recruit density were lower within craters. Low-tech, community-based approaches to culture, harvest and transplant A. cervicornis into formerly bombarded grounds have proved successful in increasing percent coral cover, benthic spatial heterogeneity, and helping rehabilitate nursery ground functions.

  13. Can you hear me now? Range-testing a submerged passive acoustic receiver array in a Caribbean coral reef habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Selby, Thomas H.; Hart, Kristen M.; Fujisaki, Ikuko; Smith, Brian J.; Pollock, Clayton J; Hillis-Star, Zandy M; Lundgren, Ian; Oli, Madan K.

    2016-01-01

    Submerged passive acoustic technology allows researchers to investigate spatial and temporal movement patterns of many marine and freshwater species. The technology uses receivers to detect and record acoustic transmissions emitted from tags attached to an individual. Acoustic signal strength naturally attenuates over distance, but numerous environmental variables also affect the probability a tag is detected. Knowledge of receiver range is crucial for designing acoustic arrays and analyzing telemetry data. Here, we present a method for testing a relatively large-scale receiver array in a dynamic Caribbean coastal environment intended for long-term monitoring of multiple species. The U.S. Geological Survey and several academic institutions in collaboration with resource management at Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM), off the coast of St. Croix, recently deployed a 52 passive acoustic receiver array. We targeted 19 array-representative receivers for range-testing by submersing fixed delay interval range-testing tags at various distance intervals in each cardinal direction from a receiver for a minimum of an hour. Using a generalized linear mixed model (GLMM), we estimated the probability of detection across the array and assessed the effect of water depth, habitat, wind, temperature, and time of day on the probability of detection. The predicted probability of detection across the entire array at 100 m distance from a receiver was 58.2% (95% CI: 44.0–73.0%) and dropped to 26.0% (95% CI: 11.4–39.3%) 200 m from a receiver indicating a somewhat constrained effective detection range. Detection probability varied across habitat classes with the greatest effective detection range occurring in homogenous sand substrate and the smallest in high rugosity reef. Predicted probability of detection across BIRNM highlights potential gaps in coverage using the current array as well as limitations of passive acoustic technology within a complex coral reef

  14. 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

    2017-05-31

    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.

  15. 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 ...

  16. Human activities threaten coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tveitdal, Svein; Bjoerke, Aake

    2002-01-01

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

  17. Sharing the slope: depth partitioning of agariciid corals and associated Symbiodinium across shallow and mesophotic habitats (2-60 m) on a Caribbean reef.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bongaerts, P.; Frade, P.R.; Ogier, J.J.; Hay, K.B.; van Bleijswijk, J.; Englebert, N.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Bak, R.P.M.; Visser, P.M.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O

    2013-01-01

    Background Scleractinian corals and their algal endosymbionts (genus Symbiodinium) exhibit distinct bathymetric distributions on coral reefs. Yet, few studies have assessed the evolutionary context of these ecological distributions by exploring the genetic diversity of closely related coral species

  18. Coral reef bleaching: ecological perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, P. W.

    1993-03-01

    Coral reef bleaching, the whitening of diverse invertebrate taxa, results from the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae and/or a reduction in photosynthetic pigment concentrations in zooxanthellae residing within the gastrodermal tissues of host animals. Of particular concern are the consequences of bleaching of large numbers of reef-building scleractinian corals and hydrocorals. Published records of coral reef bleaching events from 1870 to the present suggest that the frequency (60 major events from 1979 to 1990), scale (co-occurrence in many coral reef regions and often over the bathymetric depth range of corals) and severity (>95% mortality in some areas) of recent bleaching disturbances are unprecedented in the scientific literature. The causes of small scale, isolated bleaching events can often be explained by particular stressors (e.g., temperature, salinity, light, sedimentation, aerial exposure and pollutants), but attempts to explain large scale bleaching events in terms of possible global change (e.g., greenhouse warming, increased UV radiation flux, deteriorating ecosystem health, or some combination of the above) have not been convincing. Attempts to relate the severity and extent of large scale coral reef bleaching events to particular causes have been hampered by a lack of (a) standardized methods to assess bleaching and (b) continuous, long-term data bases of environmental conditions over the periods of interest. An effort must be made to understand the impact of bleaching on the remainder of the reef community and the long-term effects on competition, predation, symbioses, bioerosion and substrate condition, all factors that can influence coral recruitment and reef recovery. If projected rates of sea warming are realized by mid to late AD 2000, i.e. a 2°C increase in high latitude coral seas, the upper thermal tolerance limits of many reef-building corals could be exceeded. Present evidence suggests that many corals would be unable to adapt

  19. Oceanic forcing of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lowe, Ryan J; Falter, James L

    2015-01-01

    Although the oceans play a fundamental role in shaping the distribution and function of coral reefs worldwide, a modern understanding of the complex interactions between ocean and reef processes is still only emerging. These dynamics are especially challenging owing to both the broad range of spatial scales (less than a meter to hundreds of kilometers) and the complex physical and biological feedbacks involved. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of these processes, ranging from the small-scale mechanics of flow around coral communities and their influence on nutrient exchange to larger, reef-scale patterns of wave- and tide-driven circulation and their effects on reef water quality and perceived rates of metabolism. We also examine regional-scale drivers of reefs such as coastal upwelling, internal waves, and extreme disturbances such as cyclones. Our goal is to show how a wide range of ocean-driven processes ultimately shape the growth and metabolism of coral reefs.

  20. Geographic and habitat partitioning of genetically distinct zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium) in Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ulstrup, K E; Van Oppen, M J H

    2003-12-01

    Intra- and intercolony diversity and distribution of zooxanthellae in acroporid corals is largely uncharted. In this study, two molecular methods were applied to determine the distribution of zooxanthellae in the branching corals Acropora tenuis and A. valida at several reef locations in the central section of the Great Barrier Reef. Sun-exposed and shaded parts of all colonies were examined. Single-stranded conformational polymorphism analysis showed that individual colonies of A. tenuis at two locations harbour two strains of Symbiodinium belonging to clade C (C1 and C2), whereas conspecific colonies at two other reefs harboured a single zooxanthella strain. A. valida was found to simultaneously harbour strains belonging to two distinct phylogenetic clades (C and D) at all locations sampled. A novel method with improved sensitivity (quantitative polymerase chain reaction using Taqman fluorogenic probes) was used to map the relative abundance distribution of the two zooxanthella clades. At two of the five sampling locations both coral species were collected. At these two locations, composition of the zooxanthella communities showed the same pattern in both coral species, i.e. correlation with ambient light in Pioneer Bay and an absence thereof in Nelly Bay. The results show that the distribution of genetically distinct zooxanthellae is correlated with light regime and possibly temperature in some (but not all) colonies of A. tenuis and A. valida and at some reef locations, which we interpret as acclimation to local environmental conditions.

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. Coral Reef Protection Implementation Plan

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Lobel, Lisa

    2000-01-01

    This document identify policies and actions to implement the Department of Defense's responsibilities under Executive Order 13089 on Coral Reef Protection, and are a requirement of the interim Task...

  4. Variation in fatty acid composition of the bigeye snapper Lutjanus lutjanus collected in coral reef habitats of the Malaysian South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arai, Takaomi; Amalina, Razikin; Bachok, Zainudin

    2015-12-01

    In order to understand trophic ecology, habitat use and migration of coral reef fish, fatty acid composition and levels were examined in the bigeye snapper Lutjanus lutjanus collected in the Malaysian South China Sea. Proportions of saturated fatty acids (SAFA) ranged from 55.0% to 66.5%, with the highest proportions in fatty acids, the second highest was monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) ranged from 30.7% to 40.2% while the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) was the lowest ranged from 2.8% to 4.8%. Palmitic acid (16:0) was the most common in SAFA, oleic acid (C18:1ω9c) was the dominant in MUFA and linolenic acid (C18:3n3) showed the highest value in PUFA. Fatty acid concentrations, especially in SAFA and MUFA, increased with fish growth, suggesting diet and habitat shifts during the fish life history. Most of the fish had more than 1 of EPA: DHA ratio, which suggested that diets of L. lutjanus tended to be higher trophic organisms such as zooplankton and crustacean in coral ecosystem. The diet shift revealed by the composition and levels of the fatty acid profile revealed potential pattern in the habitat use and migration scale in coral reef environment of L. lutjanus.

  5. Global microbialization of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haas, Andreas F; Fairoz, Mohamed F M; Kelly, Linda W; Nelson, Craig E; Dinsdale, Elizabeth A; Edwards, Robert A; Giles, Steve; Hatay, Mark; Hisakawa, Nao; Knowles, Ben; Lim, Yan Wei; Maughan, Heather; Pantos, Olga; Roach, Ty N F; Sanchez, Savannah E; Silveira, Cynthia B; Sandin, Stuart; Smith, Jennifer E; Rohwer, Forest

    2016-04-25

    Microbialization refers to the observed shift in ecosystem trophic structure towards higher microbial biomass and energy use. On coral reefs, the proximal causes of microbialization are overfishing and eutrophication, both of which facilitate enhanced growth of fleshy algae, conferring a competitive advantage over calcifying corals and coralline algae. The proposed mechanism for this competitive advantage is the DDAM positive feedback loop (dissolved organic carbon (DOC), disease, algae, microorganism), where DOC released by ungrazed fleshy algae supports copiotrophic, potentially pathogenic bacterial communities, ultimately harming corals and maintaining algal competitive dominance. Using an unprecedented data set of >400 samples from 60 coral reef sites, we show that the central DDAM predictions are consistent across three ocean basins. Reef algal cover is positively correlated with lower concentrations of DOC and higher microbial abundances. On turf and fleshy macroalgal-rich reefs, higher relative abundances of copiotrophic microbial taxa were identified. These microbial communities shift their metabolic potential for carbohydrate degradation from the more energy efficient Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway on coral-dominated reefs to the less efficient Entner-Doudoroff and pentose phosphate pathways on algal-dominated reefs. This 'yield-to-power' switch by microorganism directly threatens reefs via increased hypoxia and greater CO2 release from the microbial respiration of DOC.

  6. 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.

  7. The role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores

    KAUST Repository

    Goatley, Christopher H. R.; Hoey, Andrew; Bellwood, David R.

    2012-01-01

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Status of coral reefs of India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Muley, E.V.; Venkataraman, K.; Alfred, J.R.B.; Wafar, M.V.M.

    and economic significance of coral reefs and the threat perceptions, Government of India has initiated measures for their intensive conservation and management. Present paper deals with ecological status of coral reefs in the country and various national...

  12. Threatened corals provide underexplored microbial habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shinichi Sunagawa

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Contemporary in-depth sequencing of environmental samples has provided novel insights into microbial community structures, revealing that their diversity had been previously underestimated. Communities in marine environments are commonly composed of a few dominant taxa and a high number of taxonomically diverse, low-abundance organisms. However, studying the roles and genomic information of these "rare" organisms remains challenging, because little is known about their ecological niches and the environmental conditions to which they respond. Given the current threat to coral reef ecosystems, we investigated the potential of corals to provide highly specialized habitats for bacterial taxa including those that are rarely detected or absent in surrounding reef waters. The analysis of more than 350,000 small subunit ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA sequence tags and almost 2,000 nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that rare seawater biosphere members are highly abundant or even dominant in diverse Caribbean corals. Closely related corals (in the same genus/family harbored similar bacterial communities. At higher taxonomic levels, however, the similarities of these communities did not correlate with the phylogenetic relationships among corals, opening novel questions about the evolutionary stability of coral-microbial associations. Large proportions of OTUs (28.7-49.1% were unique to the coral species of origin. Analysis of the most dominant ribotypes suggests that many uncovered bacterial taxa exist in coral habitats and await future exploration. Our results indicate that coral species, and by extension other animal hosts, act as specialized habitats of otherwise rare microbes in marine ecosystems. Here, deep sequencing provided insights into coral microbiota at an unparalleled resolution and revealed that corals harbor many bacterial taxa previously not known. Given that two of the coral species investigated are listed as threatened under

  13. 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. © 2012 Society for Conservation Biology.

  14. Geographic coupling of juvenile and adult habitat shapes spatial population dynamics of a coral reef fish

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Huijbers, C.M.; Nagelekerken, I.; Debrot, A.O.; Jongejans, E.

    2013-01-01

    Marine spatial population dynamics are often addressed with a focus on larval dispersal, without taking into account movement behavior of individuals in later life stages. Processes occurring during demersal life stages may also drive spatial population dynamics if habitat quality is perceived

  15. 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.

  16. Climatic forcing and larval dispersal capabilities shape the replenishment of fishes and their habitat-forming biota on a tropical coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Shaun K; Depcyznski, Martial; Fisher, Rebecca; Holmes, Thomas H; Noble, Mae M; Radford, Ben T; Rule, Michael; Shedrawi, George; Tinkler, Paul; Fulton, Christopher J

    2018-02-01

    Fluctuations in marine populations often relate to the supply of recruits by oceanic currents. Variation in these currents is typically driven by large-scale changes in climate, in particular ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation). The dependence on large-scale climatic changes may, however, be modified by early life history traits of marine taxa. Based on eight years of annual surveys, along 150 km of coastline, we examined how ENSO influenced abundance of juvenile fish, coral spat, and canopy-forming macroalgae. We then investigated what traits make populations of some fish families more reliant on the ENSO relationship than others. Abundance of juvenile fish and coral recruits was generally positively correlated with the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), higher densities recorded during La Niña years, when the ENSO-influenced Leeuwin Current is stronger and sea surface temperature higher. The relationship is typically positive and stronger among fish families with shorter pelagic larval durations and stronger swimming abilities. The relationship is also stronger at sites on the coral back reef, although the strongest of all relationships were among the lethrinids ( r  = .9), siganids ( r  = .9), and mullids ( r  = .8), which recruit to macroalgal meadows in the lagoon. ENSO effects on habitat seem to moderate SOI-juvenile abundance relationship. Macroalgal canopies are higher during La Niña years, providing more favorable habitat for juvenile fish and strengthening the SOI effect on juvenile abundance. Conversely, loss of coral following a La Niña-related heat wave may have compromised postsettlement survival of coral dependent species, weakening the influence of SOI on their abundance. This assessment of ENSO effects on tropical fish and habitat-forming biota and how it is mediated by functional ecology improves our ability to predict and manage changes in the replenishment of marine populations.

  17. Seagrass habitat complexity and macroinvertebrate abundance in Lakshadweep coral reef lagoons, Arabian Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ansari, Z. A.; Rivonker, C. U.; Ramani, P.; Parulekar, A. H.

    1991-09-01

    Macrofauna of seagrass community in the five Lakshadweep atolls were studied and compared. The associated epifaunal and infaunal taxa comprising nine major taxonomic groups, showed significant differences in the total number of individuals (1041 8411 m-2) among sites and habitats. The density of macrofauna was directly related to mean macrophytic biomass (405 895 g wet wt. m-2). The fauna was dominated by epifaunal polychaetes, amphipods and isopods in the vegetated areas. When compared with the density of nearby unvegetated areasleft( {bar x = 815{text{m }}^{ - 2} } right), seagrass meadows harbour a denser and richer macroinvertebrate assemblageleft( {bar x = 4023{text{m }}^{ - 2} } right).

  18. Sensing coral reef connectivity pathways from space

    KAUST Repository

    Raitsos, Dionysios E.; Brewin, Robert J. W.; Zhan, Peng; Dreano, Denis; Pradhan, Yaswant; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Hoteit, Ibrahim

    2017-01-01

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. Growth effect on liver fatty acid composition of damselfishes genus Abudefduf collected in coral reef habitats of the Malaysian South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arai, Takaomi; Amalina, Razikin; Bachok, Zainudin

    2015-01-01

    In order to understand feeding ecology, habitat use and migration of coral reef fish, fatty acid composition was examined in damselfish species Abudefduf bengalensis and A. sexfasciatus collected in the Malaysian South China Sea. Proportions of saturated fatty acids (SAFA) ranged from 49.5% to 74.2%, with the highest proportions in fatty acids, the second highest was monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) ranged from 21.4% to 47.4% and the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) was the lowest ranged from 3.1% to 6.0%. Palmitic acid (16:0) was the most common in SAFA, oleic acid (C18:1ω9c) was the dominant in MUFA and linolenic acid (C18:3n3) showed the highest proportion in PUFA. Fatty acid concentrations, especially in SAFA and MUFA, could be related to physiological condition, sexual development, and recent feeding events. The diet shift revealed by the fatty acid composition suggests changes in habitat use and migration scale in coral reef environment of genus Abudefduf.

  1. Coral reefs as indicators of marine environmental health

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kumaraguru, A.K.

    2007-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most productive and diverse of all ecosystems on the Earth. Although they occupy less than 0.25 percent of the marine environment, the reefs support more than a quarter of all known fish species. They serve as critical habitats for numerous tropical species including reef fishes of ornamental nature and edible fishes. They protect the shores from storms and wave actions

  2. Quantifying Coral Reef Ecosystem Services

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs have been declining during the last four decades as a result of both local and global anthropogenic stresses. Numerous research efforts to elucidate the nature, causes, magnitude, and potential remedies for the decline have led to the widely held belief that the recov...

  3. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark I McCormick

    2009-09-01

    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.

  5. 78 FR 14503 - Amendment 4 to the Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates Fishery Management Plan of...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-03-06

    .... 120718255-3038-01] RIN 0648-BC38 Amendment 4 to the Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates... Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates of Puerto Rico and... the coral reef resources FMU to include a vast array of plants and invertebrates that provide habitats...

  6. Mapping Oyster Reef Habitats in Mobile Bay

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bolte, Danielle

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Conrad W Speed

    Full Text Available 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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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.

  10. Historical baselines of coral cover on tropical reefs as estimated by expert opinion

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tyler D. Eddy

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are important habitats that represent global marine biodiversity hotspots and provide important benefits to people in many tropical regions. However, coral reefs are becoming increasingly threatened by climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. Historical baselines of coral cover are important to understand how much coral cover has been lost, e.g., to avoid the ‘shifting baseline syndrome’. There are few quantitative observations of coral reef cover prior to the industrial revolution, and therefore baselines of coral reef cover are difficult to estimate. Here, we use expert and ocean-user opinion surveys to estimate baselines of global coral reef cover. The overall mean estimated baseline coral cover was 59% (±19% standard deviation, compared to an average of 58% (±18% standard deviation estimated by professional scientists. We did not find evidence of the shifting baseline syndrome, whereby respondents who first observed coral reefs more recently report lower estimates of baseline coral cover. These estimates of historical coral reef baseline cover are important for scientists, policy makers, and managers to understand the extent to which coral reefs have become depleted and to set appropriate recovery targets.

  11. Historical baselines of coral cover on tropical reefs as estimated by expert opinion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eddy, Tyler D; Cheung, William W L; Bruno, John F

    2018-01-01

    Coral reefs are important habitats that represent global marine biodiversity hotspots and provide important benefits to people in many tropical regions. However, coral reefs are becoming increasingly threatened by climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. Historical baselines of coral cover are important to understand how much coral cover has been lost, e.g., to avoid the 'shifting baseline syndrome'. There are few quantitative observations of coral reef cover prior to the industrial revolution, and therefore baselines of coral reef cover are difficult to estimate. Here, we use expert and ocean-user opinion surveys to estimate baselines of global coral reef cover. The overall mean estimated baseline coral cover was 59% (±19% standard deviation), compared to an average of 58% (±18% standard deviation) estimated by professional scientists. We did not find evidence of the shifting baseline syndrome, whereby respondents who first observed coral reefs more recently report lower estimates of baseline coral cover. These estimates of historical coral reef baseline cover are important for scientists, policy makers, and managers to understand the extent to which coral reefs have become depleted and to set appropriate recovery targets.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Hoey, Andrew; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Cvitanovic, Christopher

    2011-01-01

    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. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Otolith growth of Springer's demoiselle, Chrysiptera springeri (Pomacentridae, Allen & Lubbock), on a protected and non-protected coral reef

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Retzel, A.; Hansen, A.D.; Grønkjær, P.

    2007-01-01

    The structural complexity of coral reefs is important for their function as shelter and feeding habitats for coral reef fishes, but physical disturbance by human activities often reduce complexity of the reefs by selectively destroying fragile and more complex coral species. The damselfish Springer......'s demoiselle Chrysiptera springeri primarily utilize complex coral heads for shelter and are hence vulnerable to human disturbance. In order to evaluate the potential effect of habitat degradation on juvenile fish growth, coral reef cover, fish age at settling and otolith growth, juvenile Springer's demoiselle...... was investigated on a protected and non-protected coral reef in Darvel Bay, Borneo. The protected reef had higher coverage of complex branching corals and exhibited a more complex 3-dimensional structure than the non-protected reef. Springer's demoiselle settled at the same age on non-protected and protected reefs...

  16. ENERGETIC EXTREMES IN REEF FISH OCCUPYING HARSH HABITATS

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Steffensen, John Fleng

    2009-01-01

    document how relatively small changes in fin morphology has afforded some coral reef fish taxa with exceptional locomotor performance and energetic efficiency, and how this key attribute may have played a key role in the evolution and ecology of several diverse Indo-Pacific reef fish families. Using......-finned counterparts. We discuss how such differences in locomotor efficiency are pivotal to the habitat-use of these fishes, and how eco-energetic models may be used to provide new insights into spatial variations in fish demography and ecology among coral reef habitat zones....

  17. Comparative genomics explains the evolutionary success of reef-forming corals

    OpenAIRE

    Bhattacharya, Debashish; Agrawal, Shobhit; Aranda, Manuel; Baumgarten, Sebastian; Belcaid, Mahdi; Drake, Jeana L; Erwin, Douglas; Foret, Sylvian; Gates, Ruth D; Gruber, David F; Kamel, Bishoy; Lesser, Michael P; Levy, Oren; Liew, Yi Jin; MacManes, Matthew

    2016-01-01

    eLife digest For millions of years, reef-building stony corals have created extensive habitats for numerous marine plants and animals in shallow tropical seas. Stony corals consist of many small, tentacled animals called polyps. These polyps secrete a mineral called aragonite to create the reef ? an external ?skeleton? that supports and protects the corals. Photosynthesizing algae live inside the cells of stony corals, and each species depends on the other to survive. The algae produce the co...

  18. How will coral reef fish communities respond to climate-driven disturbances? Insight from landscape-scale perturbations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adam, Thomas C; Brooks, Andrew J; Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Washburn, Libe; Bernardi, Giacomo

    2014-09-01

    Global climate change is rapidly altering disturbance regimes in many ecosystems including coral reefs, yet the long-term impacts of these changes on ecosystem structure and function are difficult to predict. A major ecosystem service provided by coral reefs is the provisioning of physical habitat for other organisms, and consequently, many of the effects of climate change on coral reefs will be mediated by their impacts on habitat structure. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand the independent and combined effects of coral mortality and loss of physical habitat on reef-associated biota. Here, we use a unique series of events affecting the coral reefs around the Pacific island of Moorea, French Polynesia to differentiate between the impacts of coral mortality and the degradation of physical habitat on the structure of reef fish communities. We found that, by removing large amounts of physical habitat, a tropical cyclone had larger impacts on reef fish communities than an outbreak of coral-eating sea stars that caused widespread coral mortality but left the physical structure intact. In addition, the impacts of declining structural complexity on reef fish assemblages accelerated as structure became increasingly rare. Structure provided by dead coral colonies can take up to decades to erode following coral mortality, and, consequently, our results suggest that predictions based on short-term studies are likely to grossly underestimate the long-term impacts of coral decline on reef fish communities.

  19. Local Stressors, Resilience, and Shifting Baselines on Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLean, Matthew; Cuetos-Bueno, Javier; Nedlic, Osamu; Luckymiss, Marston; Houk, Peter

    2016-01-01

    Understanding how and why coral reefs have changed over the last twenty to thirty years is crucial for sustaining coral-reef resilience. We used a historical baseline from Kosrae, a typical small island in Micronesia, to examine changes in fish and coral assemblages since 1986. We found that natural gradients in the spatial distribution of fish and coral assemblages have become amplified, as island geography is now a stronger determinant of species abundance patterns, and habitat forming Acropora corals and large-bodied fishes that were once common on the leeward side of the island have become scarce. A proxy for fishing access best predicted the relative change in fish assemblage condition over time, and in turn, declining fish condition was the only factor correlated with declining coral condition, suggesting overfishing may have reduced ecosystem resilience. Additionally, a proxy for watershed pollution predicted modern coral assemblage condition, suggesting pollution is also reducing resilience in densely populated areas. Altogether, it appears that unsustainable fishing reduced ecosystem resilience, as fish composition has shifted to smaller species in lower trophic levels, driven by losses of large predators and herbivores. While prior literature and anecdotal reports indicate that major disturbance events have been rare in Kosrae, small localized disturbances coupled with reduced resilience may have slowly degraded reef condition through time. Improving coral-reef resilience in the face of climate change will therefore require improved understanding and management of growing artisanal fishing pressure and watershed pollution.

  20. Local Stressors, Resilience, and Shifting Baselines on Coral Reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew McLean

    Full Text Available Understanding how and why coral reefs have changed over the last twenty to thirty years is crucial for sustaining coral-reef resilience. We used a historical baseline from Kosrae, a typical small island in Micronesia, to examine changes in fish and coral assemblages since 1986. We found that natural gradients in the spatial distribution of fish and coral assemblages have become amplified, as island geography is now a stronger determinant of species abundance patterns, and habitat forming Acropora corals and large-bodied fishes that were once common on the leeward side of the island have become scarce. A proxy for fishing access best predicted the relative change in fish assemblage condition over time, and in turn, declining fish condition was the only factor correlated with declining coral condition, suggesting overfishing may have reduced ecosystem resilience. Additionally, a proxy for watershed pollution predicted modern coral assemblage condition, suggesting pollution is also reducing resilience in densely populated areas. Altogether, it appears that unsustainable fishing reduced ecosystem resilience, as fish composition has shifted to smaller species in lower trophic levels, driven by losses of large predators and herbivores. While prior literature and anecdotal reports indicate that major disturbance events have been rare in Kosrae, small localized disturbances coupled with reduced resilience may have slowly degraded reef condition through time. Improving coral-reef resilience in the face of climate change will therefore require improved understanding and management of growing artisanal fishing pressure and watershed pollution.

  1. Dietary shift in juvenile coral trout ( Plectropomus maculatus) following coral reef degradation from a flood plume disturbance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wen, Colin K. C.; Bonin, Mary C.; Harrison, Hugo B.; Williamson, David H.; Jones, Geoffrey P.

    2016-06-01

    Acute environmental disturbances impact on habitat quality and resource availability, which can reverberate through trophic levels and become apparent in species' dietary composition. In this study, we observed a distinct dietary shift of newly settled and juvenile coral trout ( Plectropomus maculatus) following severe coral reef habitat degradation after a river flood plume affected the Keppel Islands, Australia. Hard coral cover declined by ~28 % in the 2 yr following the 2010-2011 floods, as did the abundance of young coral trout. Gut contents analysis revealed that diets had shifted from largely crustacean-based to non-preferred prey fishes following the disturbances. These results suggest that newly settled and juvenile coral trout modify their diet and foraging strategy in response to coral habitat degradation. This bottom-up effect of habitat degradation on the diet of a top coral reef predator may incur a metabolic cost, with subsequent effects on growth and survival.

  2. Say what? Coral reef sounds as indicators of community assemblages and reef conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mooney, T. A.; Kaplan, M. B.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs host some of the highest diversity of life on the planet. Unfortunately, reef health and biodiversity is declining or is threatened as a result of climate change and human influences. Tracking these changes is necessary for effective resource management, yet estimating marine biodiversity and tracking trends in ecosystem health is a challenging and expensive task, especially in many pristine reefs which are remote and difficult to access. Many fishes, mammals and invertebrates make sound. These sounds are reflective of a number of vital biological processes and are a cue for settling reef larvae. Biological sounds may be a means to quantify ecosystem health and biodiversity, however the relationship between coral reef soundscapes and the actual taxa present remains largely unknown. This study presents a comparative evaluation of the soundscape of multiple reefs, naturally differing in benthic cover and fish diversity, in the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park. Using multiple recorders per reef we characterized spacio-temporal variation in biological sound production within and among reefs. Analyses of sounds recorded over 4 summer months indicated diel trends in both fish and snapping shrimp acoustic frequency bands with crepuscular peaks at all reefs. There were small but statistically significant acoustic differences among sites on a given reef raising the possibility of potentially localized acoustic habitats. The strength of diel trends in lower, fish-frequency bands were correlated with coral cover and fish density, yet no such relationship was found with shrimp sounds suggesting that fish sounds may be of higher relevance to tracking certain coral reef conditions. These findings indicate that, in spite of considerable variability within reef soundscapes, diel trends in low-frequency sound production reflect reef community assemblages. Further, monitoring soundscapes may be an efficient means of establishing and monitoring reef conditions.

  3. The importance of spatial fishing behavior for coral reef resilience

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rassweiler, A.; Lauer, M.; Holbrook, S. J.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs are dynamic systems in which disturbances periodically reduce coral cover but are normally followed by recovery of the coral community. However, human activity may have reduced this resilience to disturbance in many coral reef systems, as an increasing number of reefs have undergone persistent transitions from coral-dominated to macroalgal-dominated community states. Fishing on herbivores may be one cause of reduced reef resilience, as lower herbivory can make it easier for macroalgae to become established after a disturbance. Despite the acknowledged importance of fishing, relatively little attention has been paid to the potential for feedbacks between ecosystem state and fisher behavior. Here we couple methods from environmental anthropology and ecology to explore these feedbacks between small-scale fisheries and coral reefs in Moorea, French Polynesia. We document how aspects of ecological state such as the abundance of macroalgae affect people's preference for fishing in particular lagoon habitats. We then incorporate biases towards fishing in certain ecological states into a spatially explicit bio-economic model of ecological dynamics and fishing in Moorea's lagoons. We find that feedbacks between spatial fishing behavior and ecological state can have critical effects on coral reefs. Presence of these spatial behaviors consistently leads to more coherence across the reef-scape. However, whether this coherence manifests as increased resilience or increased fragility depends on the spatial scales of fisher movement and the magnitudes of disturbance. These results emphasize the potential importance of spatially-explicit fishing behavior for reef resilience, but also the complexity of the feedbacks involved.

  4. 75 FR 48934 - Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-12

    ...-01] RIN 0648-ZC19 Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines AGENCY: National Oceanic... Guidelines (Guidelines) for the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP or Program) under the Coral Reef... assistance for coral reef conservation projects under the Act. NOAA revised the Implementation Guidelines for...

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, M.S.; Hoey, A.S.; Wilson, S.K.; Messmer, V.; Graham, N.A.J.

    2011-01-01

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Hypoxia tolerance in coral-reef triggerfishes (Balistidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wong, Corrie C.; Drazen, Jeffrey C.; Callan, Chatham K.; Korsmeyer, Keith E.

    2018-03-01

    Despite high rates of photosynthetic oxygen production during the day, the warm waters of coral reefs are susceptible to hypoxia at night due to elevated respiration rates at higher temperatures that also reduce the solubility of oxygen. Hypoxia may be a challenge for coral-reef fish that hide in the reef to avoid predators at night. Triggerfishes (Balistidae) are found in a variety of reef habitats, but they also are known to find refuge in reef crevices and holes at night, which may expose them to hypoxic conditions. The critical oxygen tension ( P crit) was determined as the point below which oxygen uptake could not be maintained to support standard metabolic rate (SMR) for five species of triggerfish. The triggerfishes exhibited similar levels of hypoxia tolerance as other coral-reef and coastal marine fishes that encounter low oxygen levels in their environment. Two species, Rhinecanthus rectangulus and R. aculeatus, had the lowest P crit ( 3.0 kPa O2), comparable to the most hypoxia-tolerant obligate coral-dwelling gobies, while Odonus niger and Sufflamen bursa were moderately tolerant to hypoxia ( P crit 4.5 kPa), and Xanthichthys auromarginatus was intermediate ( P crit 3.7 kPa). These differences in P crit were not due to differences in oxygen demand, as all the species had a similar SMR once mass differences were taken into account. The results suggest that triggerfish species are adapted for different levels of hypoxia exposure during nocturnal sheltering within the reef.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Global warming and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    , notably at Ratnagiri. Malwan. Redi Port and Vizhingam. Relic reefs with living herm<:ltypic corals at depths ranging fror:l 25 to 45m are the Gaves hani Bank off~\\angalore,and the submerged banks (Bass<:ls de Pedro. Sesostris Bank and Cora Divh... the snore (Qaslm and Wafar, 1979). The other representative Sea le\\lel Variation 417 of the extensive reelS of the outer shelf that survived Pleistocene drowning is the Gaveshani Bank, fanhc: south (J 3° 24' N; 73° 45' E), about 100 km off \\1 ar:ga lore...

  11. Macroalgal herbivory on recovering versus degrading coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chong-Seng, K. M.; Nash, K. L.; Bellwood, D. R.; Graham, N. A. J.

    2014-06-01

    Macroalgal-feeding fishes are considered to be a key functional group on coral reefs due to their role in preventing phase shifts from coral to macroalgal dominance, and potentially reversing the shift should it occur. However, assessments of macroalgal herbivory using bioassay experiments are primarily from systems with relatively high coral cover. This raises the question of whether continued functionality can be ensured in degraded systems. It is clearly important to determine whether the species that remove macroalgae on coral-dominated reefs will still be present and performing significant algal removal on macroalgal-dominated reefs. We compared the identity and effectiveness of macroalgal-feeding fishes on reefs in two conditions post-disturbance—those regenerating with high live coral cover (20-46 %) and those degrading with high macroalgal cover (57-82 %). Using filmed Sargassum bioassays, we found significantly different Sargassum biomass loss between the two conditions; mean assay weight loss due to herbivory was 27.9 ± 4.9 % on coral-dominated reefs and 2.2 ± 1.1 % on reefs with high macroalgal cover. However, once standardised for the availability of macroalgae on the reefs, the rates of removal were similar between the two reef conditions (4.8 ± 4.1 g m-2 h-1 on coral-dominated and 5.3 ± 2.1 g m-2 h-1 on macroalgal-dominated reefs). Interestingly, the Sargassum-assay consumer assemblages differed between reef conditions; nominally grazing herbivores, Siganus puelloides and Chlorurus sordidus, and the browser , Siganus sutor, dominated feeding on high coral cover reefs, whereas browsing herbivores, Naso elegans, Naso unicornis, and Leptoscarus vaigiensis, prevailed on macroalgal-dominated reefs. It appeared that macroalgal density in the surrounding habitat had a strong influence on the species driving the process of macroalgal removal. This suggests that although the function of macroalgal removal may continue, the species responsible may change

  12. 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. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  13. The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrario, Filippo; Beck, Michael W.; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Micheli, Fiorenza; Shepard, Christine C.; Airoldi, Laura

    2014-01-01

    The world’s coastal zones are experiencing rapid development and an increase in storms and flooding. These hazards put coastal communities at heightened risk, which may increase with habitat loss. Here we analyse globally the role and cost effectiveness of coral reefs in risk reduction. Meta-analyses reveal that coral reefs provide substantial protection against natural hazards by reducing wave energy by an average of 97%. Reef crests alone dissipate most of this energy (86%). There are 100 million or more people who may receive risk reduction benefits from reefs or bear hazard mitigation and adaptation costs if reefs are degraded. We show that coral reefs can provide comparable wave attenuation benefits to artificial defences such as breakwaters, and reef defences can be enhanced cost effectively. Reefs face growing threats yet there is opportunity to guide adaptation and hazard mitigation investments towards reef restoration to strengthen this first line of coastal defence.

  14. Ontogenetic dietary changes of coral reef fishes in the mangrove-seagress-reef continuum: stable isotope and gut-content analysis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cocheret de la Morinière, E.; Pollux, B.J.A.; Nagelkerken, I.; Hemminga, M.A.; Huiskes, A.H.L.; Van der Velde, G.

    2003-01-01

    Juveniles of a number of reef fish species develop in shallow-water 'nursery' habitats such as mangroves and seagrass beds, and then migrate to the coral reef. This implies that some reef fish species are distributed over the mangrove-seagrass-reef continuum in subpopulations with different size

  15. Cumulative Human Impacts on Coral Reefs: Assessing Risk and Management Implications for Brazilian Coral Reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Rafael A. Magris; Alana Grech; Robert L. Pressey

    2018-01-01

    Effective management of coral reefs requires strategies tailored to cope with cumulative disturbances from human activities. In Brazil, where coral reefs are a priority for conservation, intensifying threats from local and global stressors are of paramount concern to management agencies. Using a cumulative impact assessment approach, our goal was to inform management actions for coral reefs in Brazil by assessing their exposure to multiple stressors (fishing, land-based activities, coastal de...

  16. Positive Feedbacks Enhance Macroalgal Resilience on Degraded Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dell, Claire L A; Longo, Guilherme O; Hay, Mark E

    2016-01-01

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. A geological perspective on the degradation and conservation of western Atlantic coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Toth, Lauren T.

    2016-01-01

    Continuing coral-reef degradation in the western Atlantic is resulting in loss of ecological and geologic functions of reefs. With the goal of assisting resource managers and stewards of reefs in setting and measuring progress toward realistic goals for coral-reef conservation and restoration, we examined reef degradation in this region from a geological perspective. The importance of ecosystem services provided by coral reefs—as breakwaters that dissipate wave energy and protect shorelines and as providers of habitat for innumerable species—cannot be overstated. However, the few coral species responsible for reef building in the western Atlantic during the last approximately 1.5 million years are not thriving in the 21st century. These species are highly sensitive to abrupt temperature extremes, prone to disease infection, and have low sexual reproductive potential. Their vulnerability and the low functional redundancy of branching corals have led to the low resilience of western Atlantic reef ecosystems. The decrease in live coral cover over the last 50 years highlights the need for study of relict (senescent) reefs, which, from the perspective of coastline protection and habitat structure, may be just as important to conserve as the living coral veneer. Research is needed to characterize the geological processes of bioerosion, reef cementation, and sediment transport as they relate to modern-day changes in reef elevation. For example, although parrotfish remove nuisance macroalgae, possibly promoting coral recruitment, they will not save Atlantic reefs from geological degradation. In fact, these fish are quickly nibbling away significant quantities of Holocene reef framework. The question of how different biota covering dead reefs affect framework resistance to biological and physical erosion needs to be addressed. Monitoring and managing reefs with respect to physical resilience, in addition to ecological resilience, could optimize the expenditure of

  20. 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.

  1. Biological impacts of oil pollution: coral reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Knap, A H [Bermuda Biological Station, Ferry Reach (Bermuda)

    1992-01-01

    Coral reefs are the largest structures made by living things and exist as extremely productive ecosystems in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Their location in nearshore waters means that there is a potential danger to corals from tanker accidents, refinery operations, oil exploration and production. There are now a number of published scientific papers concerning the effects of oils on corals. This report summarises and interprets the findings, and provides background information on the structure and ecology of coral reefs. Clean-up options and their implications are discussed in the light of the latest evidence from case histories and field experiments. (author)

  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. Patterns of coral species richness and reef connectivity in Malaysia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Waheed, Z.

    2016-01-01

    Much remains to be discovered about the biodiversity of coral reefs in Malaysia, making this area a priority for coral reef research. This thesis aims to provide insights into the patterns of reef coral species richness and the degree of reef connectivity across Malaysia. For the species richness

  4. The influence of coral reef benthic condition on associated fish assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karen M Chong-Seng

    Full Text Available Accumulative disturbances can erode a coral reef's resilience, often leading to replacement of scleractinian corals by macroalgae or other non-coral organisms. These degraded reef systems have been mostly described based on changes in the composition of the reef benthos, and there is little understanding of how such changes are influenced by, and in turn influence, other components of the reef ecosystem. This study investigated the spatial variation in benthic communities on fringing reefs around the inner Seychelles islands. Specifically, relationships between benthic composition and the underlying substrata, as well as the associated fish assemblages were assessed. High variability in benthic composition was found among reefs, with a gradient from high coral cover (up to 58% and high structural complexity to high macroalgae cover (up to 95% and low structural complexity at the extremes. This gradient was associated with declining species richness of fishes, reduced diversity of fish functional groups, and lower abundance of corallivorous fishes. There were no reciprocal increases in herbivorous fish abundances, and relationships with other fish functional groups and total fish abundance were weak. Reefs grouping at the extremes of complex coral habitats or low-complexity macroalgal habitats displayed markedly different fish communities, with only two species of benthic invertebrate feeding fishes in greater abundance in the macroalgal habitat. These results have negative implications for the continuation of many coral reef ecosystem processes and services if more reefs shift to extreme degraded conditions dominated by macroalgae.

  5. 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...

  6. 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 ...

  7. Ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Ogden, J.; Done, T.; Salvat, B.

    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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. New directions in coral reef microbial ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garren, Melissa; Azam, Farooq

    2012-04-01

    Microbial processes largely control the health and resilience of coral reef ecosystems, and new technologies have led to an exciting wave of discovery regarding the mechanisms by which microbial communities support the functioning of these incredibly diverse and valuable systems. There are three questions at the forefront of discovery: What mechanisms underlie coral reef health and resilience? How do environmental and anthropogenic pressures affect ecosystem function? What is the ecology of microbial diseases of corals? The goal is to understand the functioning of coral reefs as integrated systems from microbes and molecules to regional and ocean-basin scale ecosystems to enable accurate predictions of resilience and responses to perturbations such as climate change and eutrophication. This review outlines recent discoveries regarding the microbial ecology of different microenvironments within coral ecosystems, and highlights research directions that take advantage of new technologies to build a quantitative and mechanistic understanding of how coral health is connected through microbial processes to its surrounding environment. The time is ripe for natural resource managers and microbial ecologists to work together to create an integrated understanding of coral reef functioning. In the context of long-term survival and conservation of reefs, the need for this work is immediate. © 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  11. High refuge availability on coral reefs increases the vulnerability of reef-associated predators to overexploitation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Alice; Blanchard, Julia L; Newman, Steven P; Dryden, Charlie S; Mumby, Peter J

    2018-02-01

    Refuge availability and fishing alter predator-prey interactions on coral reefs, but our understanding of how they interact to drive food web dynamics, community structure and vulnerability of different trophic groups is unclear. Here, we apply a size-based ecosystem model of coral reefs, parameterized with empirical measures of structural complexity, to predict fish biomass, productivity and community structure in reef ecosystems under a broad range of refuge availability and fishing regimes. In unfished ecosystems, the expected positive correlation between reef structural complexity and biomass emerges, but a non-linear effect of predation refuges is observed for the productivity of predatory fish. Reefs with intermediate complexity have the highest predator productivity, but when refuge availability is high and prey are less available, predator growth rates decrease, with significant implications for fisheries. Specifically, as fishing intensity increases, predators in habitats with high refuge availability exhibit vulnerability to over-exploitation, resulting in communities dominated by herbivores. Our study reveals mechanisms for threshold dynamics in predators living in complex habitats and elucidates how predators can be food-limited when most of their prey are able to hide. We also highlight the importance of nutrient recycling via the detrital pathway, to support high predator biomasses on coral reefs. © 2018 by the Ecological Society of America.

  12. Mass coral bleaching causes biotic homogenization of reef fish assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, Laura E; Graham, Nicholas A J; Pratchett, Morgan S; Eurich, Jacob G; Hoey, Andrew S

    2018-04-06

    Global climate change is altering community composition across many ecosystems due to nonrandom species turnover, typically characterized by the loss of specialist species and increasing similarity of biological communities across spatial scales. As anthropogenic disturbances continue to alter species composition globally, there is a growing need to identify how species responses influence the establishment of distinct assemblages, such that management actions may be appropriately assigned. Here, we use trait-based analyses to compare temporal changes in five complementary indices of reef fish assemblage structure among six taxonomically distinct coral reef habitats exposed to a system-wide thermal stress event. Our results revealed increased taxonomic and functional similarity of previously distinct reef fish assemblages following mass coral bleaching, with changes characterized by subtle, but significant, shifts toward predominance of small-bodied, algal-farming habitat generalists. Furthermore, while the taxonomic or functional richness of fish assemblages did not change across all habitats, an increase in functional originality indicated an overall loss of functional redundancy. We also found that prebleaching coral composition better predicted changes in fish assemblage structure than the magnitude of coral loss. These results emphasize how measures of alpha diversity can mask important changes in the structure and functioning of ecosystems as assemblages reorganize. Our findings also highlight the role of coral species composition in structuring communities and influencing the diversity of responses of reef fishes to disturbance. As new coral species configurations emerge, their desirability will hinge upon the composition of associated species and their capacity to maintain key ecological processes in spite of ongoing disturbances. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Forecasted coral reef decline in marine biodiversity hotspots under climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Descombes, Patrice; Wisz, Mary S; Leprieur, Fabien; Parravicini, Valerianio; Heine, Christian; Olsen, Steffen M; Swingedouw, Didier; Kulbicki, Michel; Mouillot, David; Pellissier, Loïc

    2015-01-21

    Coral bleaching events threaten coral reef habitats globally and cause severe declines of local biodiversity and productivity. Related to high sea surface temperatures (SST), bleaching events are expected to increase as a consequence of future global warming. However, response to climate change is still uncertain as future low-latitude climatic conditions have no present-day analogue. Sea surface temperatures during the Eocene epoch were warmer than forecasted changes for the coming century, and distributions of corals during the Eocene may help to inform models forecasting the future of coral reefs. We coupled contemporary and Eocene coral occurrences with information on their respective climatic conditions to model the thermal niche of coral reefs and its potential response to projected climate change. We found that under the RCP8.5 climate change scenario, the global suitability for coral reefs may increase up to 16% by 2100, mostly due to improved suitability of higher latitudes. In contrast, in its current range, coral reef suitability may decrease up to 46% by 2100. Reduction in thermal suitability will be most severe in biodiversity hotspots, especially in the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Our results suggest that many contemporary hotspots for coral reefs, including those that have been refugia in the past, spatially mismatch with future suitable areas for coral reefs posing challenges to conservation actions under climate change. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  14. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Coral Reef Fish collected in Fl Keys Reef Tract (2014)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Divers conducted reef visual census (RVC) fish surveys and habitat assessments at 433 sites in the Florida Keys, 436 sites in the Dry Tortugas and 320 sites in the...

  15. Evaluation of Stony Coral Indicators for Coral Reef Management.

    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 ...

  16. Remote sensing of coral reefs and their physical environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mumby, Peter J.; Skirving, William; Strong, Alan E.; Hardy, John T.; LeDrew, Ellsworth F.; Hochberg, Eric J.; Stumpf, Rick P.; David, Laura T.

    2004-01-01

    There has been a vast improvement in access to remotely sensed data in just a few recent years. This revolution of information is the result of heavy investment in new technology by governments and industry, rapid developments in computing power and storage, and easy dissemination of data over the internet. Today, remotely sensed data are available to virtually anyone with a desktop computer. Here, we review the status of one of the most popular areas of marine remote sensing research: coral reefs. Previous reviews have focused on the ability of remote sensing to map the structure and habitat composition of coral reefs, but have neglected to consider the physical environment in which reefs occur. We provide a holistic review of what can, might, and cannot be mapped using remote sensing at this time. We cover aspects of reef structure and health but also discuss the diversity of physical environmental data such as temperature, winds, solar radiation and water quality. There have been numerous recent advances in the remote sensing of reefs and we hope that this paper enhances awareness of the diverse data sources available, and helps practitioners identify realistic objectives for remote sensing in coral reef areas

  17. Remote sensing of coral reefs and their physical environment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mumby, Peter J.; Skirving, William; Strong, Alan E.; Hardy, John T.; LeDrew, Ellsworth F.; Hochberg, Eric J.; Stumpf, Rick P.; David, Laura T

    2004-02-01

    There has been a vast improvement in access to remotely sensed data in just a few recent years. This revolution of information is the result of heavy investment in new technology by governments and industry, rapid developments in computing power and storage, and easy dissemination of data over the internet. Today, remotely sensed data are available to virtually anyone with a desktop computer. Here, we review the status of one of the most popular areas of marine remote sensing research: coral reefs. Previous reviews have focused on the ability of remote sensing to map the structure and habitat composition of coral reefs, but have neglected to consider the physical environment in which reefs occur. We provide a holistic review of what can, might, and cannot be mapped using remote sensing at this time. We cover aspects of reef structure and health but also discuss the diversity of physical environmental data such as temperature, winds, solar radiation and water quality. There have been numerous recent advances in the remote sensing of reefs and we hope that this paper enhances awareness of the diverse data sources available, and helps practitioners identify realistic objectives for remote sensing in coral reef areas.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Temporal and taxonomic contrasts in coral growth at Davies Reef, central Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Kristen D.; Cantin, Neal E.; Heron, Scott F.; Lough, Janice M.; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2018-06-01

    Demographic processes, such as growth, can have an important influence on the population and community structure of reef-building corals. Importantly, ongoing changes in environmental conditions (e.g. ocean warming) are expected to affect coral growth, contributing to changes in the structure of coral populations and communities. This study quantified contemporary growth rates (linear extension and calcification) for the staghorn coral, Acropora muricata, at Davies Reef, central Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Growth rates were measured at three different depths (5, 10, and 15 m) over 2 yr (2012-2014) assessing both seasonal and inter-annual variability. Results of this study were compared to equivalent measurements made in 1980-1982 at the same location. To assist in understanding inter-annual variability in coral growth, we also examined annual growth bands from massive Porites providing continuous growth and records of flooding history for Davies Reef over the period 1979-2012. Linear extension rates of A. muricata were substantially (11-62%) lower in 2012-2014 compared to 1980-1982, especially at 10 and 15 m depths. These declines in growth coincide with a + 0.14 °C change in annual mean temperature. For massive Porites, however, calcification rates were highly variable among years and there was no discernible long-term change in growth despite sustained increases in temperature of 0.064 °C per decade. Apparent differences in the growth rates of Acropora between 1980-1982 and 2012-2014 may reflect inter-annual variation in coral growth (as seen for massive Porites), though it is known branching Acropora is much more sensitive to changing environmental conditions than massive corals. There are persistent issues in assessing the sensitivities of branching corals to environmental change due to limited capacity for retrospective analyses of growth, but given their disproportionate contribution to habitat complexity and reef structure, it is critical to ascertain

  4. In situ coral reef oxygen metabolism: an eddy correlation study.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew H Long

    Full Text Available Quantitative studies of coral reefs are challenged by the three-dimensional hard structure of reefs and the high spatial variability and temporal dynamics of their metabolism. We used the non-invasive eddy correlation technique to examine respiration and photosynthesis rates, through O2 fluxes, from reef crests and reef slopes in the Florida Keys, USA. We assessed how the photosynthesis and respiration of different reef habitats is controlled by light and hydrodynamics. Numerous fluxes (over a 0.25 h period were as high as 4500 mmol O2 m(-2 d(-1, which can only be explained by efficient light utilization by the phototrophic community and the complex canopy structure of the reef, having a many-fold larger surface area than its horizontal projection. Over diel cycles, the reef crest was net autotrophic, whereas on the reef slope oxygen production and respiration were balanced. The autotrophic nature of the shallow reef crests implies that the export of organics is an important source of primary production for the larger area. Net oxygen production on the reef crest was proportional to the light intensity, up to 1750 µmol photons m(-2 s(-1 and decreased thereafter as respiration was stimulated by high current velocities coincident with peak light levels. Nighttime respiration rates were also stimulated by the current velocity, through enhanced ventilation of the porous framework of the reef. Respiration rates were the highest directly after sunset, and then decreased during the night suggesting that highly labile photosynthates produced during the day fueled early-night respiration. The reef framework was also important to the acquisition of nutrients as the ambient nitrogen stock in the water had sufficient capacity to support these high production rates across the entire reef width. These direct measurements of complex reefs systems yielded high metabolic rates and dynamics that can only be determined through in situ, high temporal resolution

  5. 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.

  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,

  7. 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.

  8. Cumulative Human Impacts on Coral Reefs: Assessing Risk and Management Implications for Brazilian Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rafael A. Magris

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Effective management of coral reefs requires strategies tailored to cope with cumulative disturbances from human activities. In Brazil, where coral reefs are a priority for conservation, intensifying threats from local and global stressors are of paramount concern to management agencies. Using a cumulative impact assessment approach, our goal was to inform management actions for coral reefs in Brazil by assessing their exposure to multiple stressors (fishing, land-based activities, coastal development, mining, aquaculture, shipping, and global warming. We calculated an index of the risk to cumulative impacts: (i assuming uniform sensitivity of coral reefs to stressors; and (ii using impact weights to reflect varying tolerance levels of coral reefs to each stressor. We also predicted the index in both the presence and absence of global warming. We found that 16% and 37% of coral reefs had high to very high risk of cumulative impacts, without and with information on sensitivity respectively, and 42% of reefs had low risk to cumulative impacts from both local and global stressors. Our outputs are the first comprehensive spatial dataset of cumulative impact on coral reefs in Brazil, and show that areas requiring attention mostly corresponded to those closer to population centres. We demonstrate how the relationships between risks from local and global stressors can be used to derive strategic management actions.

  9. Genetic divergence across habitats in the widespread coral Seriatopora hystrix and its associated Symbiodinium.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pim Bongaerts

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are hotspots of biodiversity, yet processes of diversification in these ecosystems are poorly understood. The environmental heterogeneity of coral reef environments could be an important contributor to diversification, however, evidence supporting ecological speciation in corals is sparse. Here, we present data from a widespread coral species that reveals a strong association of host and symbiont lineages with specific habitats, consistent with distinct, sympatric gene pools that are maintained through ecologically-based selection.Populations of a common brooding coral, Seriatopora hystrix, were sampled from three adjacent reef habitats (spanning a approximately 30 m depth range at three locations on the Great Barrier Reef (n = 336. The populations were assessed for genetic structure using a combination of mitochondrial (putative control region and nuclear (three microsatellites markers for the coral host, and the ITS2 region of the ribosomal DNA for the algal symbionts (Symbiodinium. Our results show concordant genetic partitioning of both the coral host and its symbionts across the different habitats, independent of sampling location.This study demonstrates that coral populations and their associated symbionts can be highly structured across habitats on a single reef. Coral populations from adjacent habitats were found to be genetically isolated from each other, whereas genetic similarity was maintained across similar habitat types at different locations. The most parsimonious explanation for the observed genetic partitioning across habitats is that adaptation to the local environment has caused ecological divergence of distinct genetic groups within S. hystrix.

  10. Is proximity to land-based sources of coral stressors an appropriate measure of risk to coral reefs? An example from the Florida Reef Tract.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lirman, Diego; Fong, Peggy

    2007-06-01

    Localized declines in coral condition are commonly linked to land-based sources of stressors that influence gradients of water quality, and the distance to sources of stressors is commonly used as a proxy for predicting the vulnerability and future status of reef resources. In this study, we evaluated explicitly whether proximity to shore and connections to coastal bays, two measures of potential land-based sources of disturbance, influence coral community and population structure, and the abundance, distribution, and condition of corals within patch reefs of the Florida Reef Tract. In the Florida Keys, long-term monitoring has documented significant differences in water quality along a cross-shelf gradient. Inshore habitats exhibit higher levels of nutrients (DIN and TP), TOC, turbidity, and light attenuation, and these levels decrease with increasing distance from shore and connections to tidal bays. In clear contrast to these patterns of water quality, corals on inshore patch reefs exhibited significantly higher coral cover, higher growth rates, and lower partial mortality rates than those documented in similar offshore habitats. Coral recruitment rates did not differ between inshore and offshore habitats. Corals on patch reefs closest to shore had well-spread population structures numerically dominated by intermediate to large colonies, while offshore populations showed narrower size-distributions that become increasingly positively skewed. Differences in size-structure of coral populations were attributed to faster growth and lower rates of partial mortality at inshore habitats. While the underlying causes for the favorable condition of inshore coral communities are not yet known, we hypothesize that the ability of corals to shift their trophic mode under adverse environmental conditions may be partly responsible for the observed patterns, as shown in other reef systems. This study, based on data collected from a uniform reef habitat type and coral species

  11. The influence of fire-coral colony size and agonistic behaviour of territorial damselfish on associated coral reef fish communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leal, Isabela Carolina Silva; de Araújo, Maria Elisabeth; da Cunha, Simone Rabelo; Pereira, Pedro Henrique Cipresso

    2015-07-01

    invertebrate feeders. To our knowledge, the present study provides the first evidence that through habitat competition, the presence of S. fuscus may affect reef fish communities associated with M. alcicornis coral colonies. Our findings also indicate that S. fuscus uses M. alcicornis coral colonies as part of their territory for shelter and foraging. In conclusion, M. alcicornis fire-coral colonies are extremely important habitats for reef fishes and the size and presence of a territorial damselfish are relevant variables for associated reef fish community. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. 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...

  13. 78 FR 67128 - Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-08

    ... DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting AGENCY: Coral Reef Conservation Program, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management... meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF). The meeting will be held in Christiansted, U.S. Virgin...

  14. A too acid world for coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Allemand, D.; Reynaud, St.; Salvat, B.

    2010-01-01

    While briefly presenting how corals grow and exchange with their environment and after having recalled that temperature increase was already a threat for them, this article outlines that ocean acidification is now considered as another danger. This acidification is due to the dissolution in sea water of CO 2 produced by human activities. This entails a slower calcification which is the process by which corals grow their skeleton. But, some researches showed that some corals manage to survive normally in such acid conditions, and even without skeleton for some other species. Anyhow, coral reefs will tend to disappear with environmental and socio-economical consequences

  15. Community Change within a Caribbean Coral Reef Marine Protected Area following Two Decades of Local Management

    KAUST Repository

    Noble, Mae M.

    2013-01-14

    Structural change in both the habitat and reef-associated fish assemblages within spatially managed coral reefs can provide key insights into the benefits and limitations of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). While MPA zoning effects on particular target species are well reported, we are yet to fully resolve the various affects of spatial management on the structure of coral reef communities over decadal time scales. Here, we document mixed affects of MPA zoning on fish density, biomass and species richness over the 21 years since establishment of the Saba Marine Park (SMP). Although we found significantly greater biomass and species richness of reef-associated fishes within shallow habitats (5 meters depth) closed to fishing, this did not hold for deeper (15 m) habitats, and there was a widespread decline (38% decrease) in live hard coral cover and a 68% loss of carnivorous reef fishes across all zones of the SMP from the 1990s to 2008. Given the importance of live coral for the maintenance and replenishment of reef fishes, and the likely role of chronic disturbance in driving coral decline across the region, we explore how local spatial management can help protect coral reef ecosystems within the context of large-scale environmental pressures and disturbances outside the purview of local MPA management. © 2013 Noble et al.

  16. Community change within a Caribbean coral reef Marine Protected Area following two decades of local management.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mae M Noble

    Full Text Available Structural change in both the habitat and reef-associated fish assemblages within spatially managed coral reefs can provide key insights into the benefits and limitations of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs. While MPA zoning effects on particular target species are well reported, we are yet to fully resolve the various affects of spatial management on the structure of coral reef communities over decadal time scales. Here, we document mixed affects of MPA zoning on fish density, biomass and species richness over the 21 years since establishment of the Saba Marine Park (SMP. Although we found significantly greater biomass and species richness of reef-associated fishes within shallow habitats (5 meters depth closed to fishing, this did not hold for deeper (15 m habitats, and there was a widespread decline (38% decrease in live hard coral cover and a 68% loss of carnivorous reef fishes across all zones of the SMP from the 1990s to 2008. Given the importance of live coral for the maintenance and replenishment of reef fishes, and the likely role of chronic disturbance in driving coral decline across the region, we explore how local spatial management can help protect coral reef ecosystems within the context of large-scale environmental pressures and disturbances outside the purview of local MPA management.

  17. 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.

  18. Coral reefs and the World Bank.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hatziolos, M

    1997-01-01

    The World Bank¿s involvement in coral reef conservation is part of a larger effort to promote the sound management of coastal and marine resources. This involves three major thrusts: partnerships, investments, networks and knowledge. As an initial partner and early supporter of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the Bank serves as the executive planning committee of ICRI. In partnership with the World Conservation Union and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Bank promotes the efforts towards the establishment and maintenance of a globally representative system of marine protected areas. In addition, the Bank invested over $120 million in coral reef rehabilitation and protection programs in several countries. Furthermore, the Bank developed a ¿Knowledge Bank¿ that would market ideas and knowledge to its clients along with investment projects. This aimed to put the best global knowledge on environmentally sustainable development in the hands of its staff and clients. During the celebration of 1997, as the International Year of the Reef, the Bank planned to cosponsor an associated event that would highlight the significance of coral reefs and encourage immediate action to halt their degradation to conserve this unique ecosystem.

  19. Benthic Community Characterization on Shallow (<30m) Hardbottom Shelf Habitats in St. Croix, USVI. A preliminary field survey to assess operational and logistical approaches to implement the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) in the USVI. (NODC Accession 0125237)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Reef fish populations are a conspicuous and essential component of USVI coral reef ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, striking population and community level...

  20. Benthic Community Characterization on Shallow (less than 30m) Hardbottom Shelf Habitats in St. Croix, USVI. A preliminary field survey to assess operational and logistical approaches to implement the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) in the USVI.

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Reef fish populations are a conspicuous and essential component of USVI coral reef ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, striking population and community level...

  1. Fish Community Characterization on Shallow (less than 30m) Hardbottom Shelf Habitats in St. Croix, USVI. A preliminary field survey to assess operational and logistical approaches to implement the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) in the USVI.

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Reef fish populations are a conspicuous and essential component of USVI coral reef ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, striking population and community level...

  2. Fish Community Characterization on Shallow (<30m) Hardbottom Shelf Habitats in St. Croix, USVI. A preliminary field survey to assess operational and logistical approaches to implement the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) in the USVI. (NODC Accession 0125237)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Reef fish populations are a conspicuous and essential component of USVI coral reef ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, striking population and community level...

  3. The Power of Three: Coral Reefs, Seagrasses and Mangroves Protect Coastal Regions and Increase Their Resilience.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guannel, Greg; Arkema, Katie; Ruggiero, Peter; Verutes, Gregory

    2016-01-01

    Natural habitats have the ability to protect coastal communities against the impacts of waves and storms, yet it is unclear how different habitats complement each other to reduce those impacts. Here, we investigate the individual and combined coastal protection services supplied by live corals on reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangrove forests during both non-storm and storm conditions, and under present and future sea-level conditions. Using idealized profiles of fringing and barrier reefs, we quantify the services supplied by these habitats using various metrics of inundation and erosion. We find that, together, live corals, seagrasses, and mangroves supply more protection services than any individual habitat or any combination of two habitats. Specifically, we find that, while mangroves are the most effective at protecting the coast under non-storm and storm conditions, live corals and seagrasses also moderate the impact of waves and storms, thereby further reducing the vulnerability of coastal regions. Also, in addition to structural differences, the amount of service supplied by habitats in our analysis is highly dependent on the geomorphic setting, habitat location and forcing conditions: live corals in the fringing reef profile supply more protection services than seagrasses; seagrasses in the barrier reef profile supply more protection services than live corals; and seagrasses, in our simulations, can even compensate for the long-term degradation of the barrier reef. Results of this study demonstrate the importance of taking integrated and place-based approaches when quantifying and managing for the coastal protection services supplied by ecosystems.

  4. Partial mortality in massive reef corals as an indicator of sediment stress on coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nugues, Maggy M.; Roberts, Callum M.

    2003-01-01

    Partial mortality and fission on colonies of four common massive coral species were examined at sites differing in their exposure to river sediments in St. Lucia, West Indies. Rates of partial mortality were higher close to the river mouths, where more sediments were deposited, than away from the rivers in two coral species. Frequency of fission showed no significant trend. The percent change in coral cover on reefs from 1995 to 1998 was negatively related to the rate of partial mortality estimated in 1998 in all species. This suggests that partial mortality rates could reflect longer-term temporal changes in coral communities. Similar conclusions could also be reached using a less precise measure and simply recording partial mortality on colonies as <50% and ≥50% dead tissue. We conclude that partial mortality in some species of massive reef corals, expressed as the amount of dead tissue per colony, could provide a rapid and effective means of detecting sediment stress on coral reefs

  5. Partial mortality in massive reef corals as an indicator of sediment stress on coral reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nugues, Maggy M.; Roberts, Callum M

    2003-03-01

    Partial mortality and fission on colonies of four common massive coral species were examined at sites differing in their exposure to river sediments in St. Lucia, West Indies. Rates of partial mortality were higher close to the river mouths, where more sediments were deposited, than away from the rivers in two coral species. Frequency of fission showed no significant trend. The percent change in coral cover on reefs from 1995 to 1998 was negatively related to the rate of partial mortality estimated in 1998 in all species. This suggests that partial mortality rates could reflect longer-term temporal changes in coral communities. Similar conclusions could also be reached using a less precise measure and simply recording partial mortality on colonies as <50% and {>=}50% dead tissue. We conclude that partial mortality in some species of massive reef corals, expressed as the amount of dead tissue per colony, could provide a rapid and effective means of detecting sediment stress on coral reefs.

  6. Spatial and seasonal reef calcification in corals and calcareous crusts in the central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna; Roder, Cornelia; Rö thig, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2015-01-01

    The existence of coral reef ecosystems critically relies on the reef carbonate framework produced by scleractinian corals and calcareous crusts (i.e., crustose coralline algae). While the Red Sea harbors one of the longest connected reef systems in the world, detailed calcification data are only available from the northernmost part. To fill this knowledge gap, we measured in situ calcification rates of primary and secondary reef builders in the central Red Sea. We collected data on the major habitat-forming coral genera Porites, Acropora, and Pocillopora and also on calcareous crusts (CC) in a spatio-seasonal framework. The scope of the study comprised sheltered and exposed sites of three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient and over four seasons of the year. Calcification of all coral genera was consistent across the shelf and highest in spring. In addition, Pocillopora showed increased calcification at exposed reef sites. In contrast, CC calcification increased from nearshore, sheltered to offshore, exposed reef sites, but also varied over seasons. Comparing our data to other reef locations, calcification in the Red Sea was in the range of data collected from reefs in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific; however, Acropora calcification estimates were at the lower end of worldwide rates. Our study shows that the increasing coral cover from nearshore to offshore environments aligned with CC calcification but not coral calcification, highlighting the potentially important role of CC in structuring reef cover and habitats. While coral calcification maxima have been typically observed during summer in many reef locations worldwide, calcification maxima during spring in the central Red Sea indicate that summer temperatures exceed the optima of reef calcifiers in this region. This study provides a foundation for comparative efforts and sets a baseline to quantify impact of future environmental change in the central Red Sea.

  7. Spatial and seasonal reef calcification in corals and calcareous crusts in the central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna

    2015-12-14

    The existence of coral reef ecosystems critically relies on the reef carbonate framework produced by scleractinian corals and calcareous crusts (i.e., crustose coralline algae). While the Red Sea harbors one of the longest connected reef systems in the world, detailed calcification data are only available from the northernmost part. To fill this knowledge gap, we measured in situ calcification rates of primary and secondary reef builders in the central Red Sea. We collected data on the major habitat-forming coral genera Porites, Acropora, and Pocillopora and also on calcareous crusts (CC) in a spatio-seasonal framework. The scope of the study comprised sheltered and exposed sites of three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient and over four seasons of the year. Calcification of all coral genera was consistent across the shelf and highest in spring. In addition, Pocillopora showed increased calcification at exposed reef sites. In contrast, CC calcification increased from nearshore, sheltered to offshore, exposed reef sites, but also varied over seasons. Comparing our data to other reef locations, calcification in the Red Sea was in the range of data collected from reefs in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific; however, Acropora calcification estimates were at the lower end of worldwide rates. Our study shows that the increasing coral cover from nearshore to offshore environments aligned with CC calcification but not coral calcification, highlighting the potentially important role of CC in structuring reef cover and habitats. While coral calcification maxima have been typically observed during summer in many reef locations worldwide, calcification maxima during spring in the central Red Sea indicate that summer temperatures exceed the optima of reef calcifiers in this region. This study provides a foundation for comparative efforts and sets a baseline to quantify impact of future environmental change in the central Red Sea.

  8. Coral reefs as drivers of cladogenesis: expanding coral reefs, cryptic extinction events, and the development of biodiversity hotspots.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cowman, P F; Bellwood, D R

    2011-12-01

    Diversification rates within four conspicuous coral reef fish families (Labridae, Chaetodontidae, Pomacentridae and Apogonidae) were estimated using Bayesian inference. Lineage through time plots revealed a possible late Eocene/early Oligocene cryptic extinction event coinciding with the collapse of the ancestral Tethyan/Arabian hotspot. Rates of diversification analysis revealed elevated cladogenesis in all families in the Oligocene/Miocene. Throughout the Miocene, lineages with a high percentage of coral reef-associated taxa display significantly higher net diversification rates than expected. The development of a complex mosaic of reef habitats in the Indo-Australian Archipelago (IAA) during the Oligocene/Miocene appears to have been a significant driver of cladogenesis. Patterns of diversification suggest that coral reefs acted as a refuge from high extinction, as reef taxa are able to sustain diversification at high extinction rates. The IAA appears to support both cladogenesis and survival in associated lineages, laying the foundation for the recent IAA marine biodiversity hotspot. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2011 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  9. Reef fishes of Saba Bank, Netherlands Antilles: assemblage structure across a gradient of habitat types.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wes Toller

    Full Text Available Saba Bank is a 2,200 km(2 submerged carbonate platform in the northeastern Caribbean Sea off Saba Island, Netherlands Antilles. The presence of reef-like geomorphic features and significant shelf edge coral development on Saba Bank have led to the conclusion that it is an actively growing, though wholly submerged, coral reef atoll. However, little information exists on the composition of benthic communities or associated reef fish assemblages of Saba Bank. We selected a 40 km(2 area of the bank for an exploratory study. Habitat and reef fish assemblages were investigated in five shallow-water benthic habitat types that form a gradient from Saba Bank shelf edge to lagoon. Significant coral cover was restricted to fore reef habitat (average cover 11.5% and outer reef flat habitat (2.4% and declined to near zero in habitats of the central lagoon zone. Macroalgae dominated benthic cover in all habitats (average cover: 32.5--48.1% but dominant algal genera differed among habitats. A total of 97 fish species were recorded. The composition of Saba Bank fish assemblages differed among habitat types. Highest fish density and diversity occurred in the outer reef flat, fore reef and inner reef flat habitats. Biomass estimates for commercially valued species in the reef zone (fore reef and reef flat habitats ranged between 52 and 83 g/m(2. The composition of Saba Bank fish assemblages reflects the absence of important nursery habitats, as well as the effects of past fishing. The relatively high abundance of large predatory fish (i.e. groupers and sharks, which is generally considered an indicator of good ecosystem health for tropical reef systems, shows that an intact trophic network is still present on Saba Bank.

  10. Deepwater Program: Lophelia II, continuing ecological research on deep-sea corals and deep-reef habitats in the Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demopoulos, Amanda W.J.; Ross, Steve W.; Kellogg, Christina A.; Morrison, Cheryl L.; Nizinski, Martha S.; Prouty, Nancy G.; Bourque, Jill R.; Galkiewicz, Julie P.; Gray, Michael A.; Springmann, Marcus J.; Coykendall, D. Katharine; Miller, Andrew; Rhode, Mike; Quattrini, Andrea; Ames, Cheryl L.; Brooke, Sandra D.; McClain Counts, Jennifer; Roark, E. Brendan; Buster, Noreen A.; Phillips, Ryan M.; Frometa, Janessy

    2017-12-11

    The deep sea is a rich environment composed of diverse habitat types. While deep-sea coral habitats have been discovered within each ocean basin, knowledge about the ecology of these habitats and associated inhabitants continues to grow. This report presents information and results from the Lophelia II project that examined deep-sea coral habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. The Lophelia II project focused on Lophelia pertusa habitats along the continental slope, at depths ranging from 300 to 1,000 meters. The chapters are authored by several scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Florida State University who examined the community ecology (from microbes to fishes), deep-sea coral age, growth, and reproduction, and population connectivity of deep-sea corals and inhabitants. Data from these studies are presented in the chapters and appendixes of the report as well as in journal publications. This study was conducted by the Ecosystems Mission Area of the U.S. Geological Survey to meet information needs identified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

  11. Post-bleaching coral community change on southern Maldivian reefs: is there potential for rapid recovery?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perry, C. T.; Morgan, K. M.

    2017-12-01

    Given the severity of the 2016 global bleaching event, there are major questions about how quickly reef communities will recover. Here, we explore the ecological and physical structural changes that occurred across five atoll interior reefs in the southern Maldives using data collected at 6 and 12 months post-bleaching. Following initial severe coral mortality, further minor coral mortality had occurred by 12 months post-bleaching, and coral cover is now low (transitions to rubble-dominated states will occur in the near future. Juvenile coral densities in shallow fore-reef habitats are also exceptionally low (<6 individuals m-2), well below those measured 9-12 months following the 1998 bleaching event, and below recovery thresholds identified on other Indian Ocean reefs. Our findings suggest that the physical structure of these reefs will need to decline further before effective recruitment and recovery can begin.

  12. The mushroom coral as a habitat

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoeksema, B.W.; Meij, van der S.E.T.; Fransen, C.H.J.M.

    2012-01-01

    The evolution of symbiotic relationships involving reef corals has had much impact on tropical marine biodiversity. Because of their endosymbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) corals can grow fast in tropical shallow seas where they form reefs that supply food, substrate and shelter for other organisms.

  13. Identification of Coral Reefs in Mamburit Waters, Sumenep Regency

    OpenAIRE

    Sawiya, Sawiya; Mahmudi, Mohammad; Guntur, Guntur

    2014-01-01

    This research was conducted in September to October 2013 in Mamburit Waters, Sumenep Regency. This study was aimed to assess the percentage of coral reefs and acknowkedge the type of the coral reefs. Coral reefs was observed with the Line Intercept (LIT) method laid parallel to the coastline in the depth of 3 m and 10 m in windward and leeward area. Total of 59.88% coral reefs lived in leeward area in 3 m depth includes in good category and the percentage of dead coral reefs and other fauna f...

  14. 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.

  15. Extinction vulnerability of coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Chabanet, Pascale; Evans, Richard D; Jennings, Simon; Letourneur, Yves; Aaron Macneil, M; McClanahan, Tim R; Ohman, Marcus C; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Wilson, Shaun K

    2011-04-01

    With rapidly increasing rates of contemporary extinction, predicting extinction vulnerability and identifying how multiple stressors drive non-random species loss have become key challenges in ecology. These assessments are crucial for avoiding the loss of key functional groups that sustain ecosystem processes and services. We developed a novel predictive framework of species extinction vulnerability and applied it to coral reef fishes. Although relatively few coral reef fishes are at risk of global extinction from climate disturbances, a negative convex relationship between fish species locally vulnerable to climate change vs. fisheries exploitation indicates that the entire community is vulnerable on the many reefs where both stressors co-occur. Fishes involved in maintaining key ecosystem functions are more at risk from fishing than climate disturbances. This finding is encouraging as local and regional commitment to fisheries management action can maintain reef ecosystem functions pending progress towards the more complex global problem of stabilizing the climate. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  16. 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 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. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  17. Fungi and their role in corals and coral reef ecosystems

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.; Ravindran, J.

    fungal hyphae have on corals, their mechanism of penetration and the role their enzymes play in this process. 3.2. Fungi as pathogens in reef ecosystems Besides natural disasters and climate warming, diseases have contributed to coral decline... defence mechanisms against predation, biofouling, diseases, environmental perturbations and other stressors. These chemicals are either synthesized by the organisms themselves or their endobiontic microorganisms. If these valuable compounds...

  18. Defining critical habitats of threatened and endemic reef fishes with a multivariate approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Purcell, Steven W; Clarke, K Robert; Rushworth, Kelvin; Dalton, Steven J

    2014-12-01

    Understanding critical habitats of threatened and endemic animals is essential for mitigating extinction risks, developing recovery plans, and siting reserves, but assessment methods are generally lacking. We evaluated critical habitats of 8 threatened or endemic fish species on coral and rocky reefs of subtropical eastern Australia, by measuring physical and substratum-type variables of habitats at fish sightings. We used nonmetric and metric multidimensional scaling (nMDS, mMDS), Analysis of similarities (ANOSIM), similarity percentages analysis (SIMPER), permutational analysis of multivariate dispersions (PERMDISP), and other multivariate tools to distinguish critical habitats. Niche breadth was widest for 2 endemic wrasses, and reef inclination was important for several species, often found in relatively deep microhabitats. Critical habitats of mainland reef species included small caves or habitat-forming hosts such as gorgonian corals and black coral trees. Hard corals appeared important for reef fishes at Lord Howe Island, and red algae for mainland reef fishes. A wide range of habitat variables are required to assess critical habitats owing to varied affinities of species to different habitat features. We advocate assessments of critical habitats matched to the spatial scale used by the animals and a combination of multivariate methods. Our multivariate approach furnishes a general template for assessing the critical habitats of species, understanding how these vary among species, and determining differences in the degree of habitat specificity. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

  19. The engine of the reef: Photobiology of the coral-algal symbiosis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Melissa Susan Roth

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems thrive in tropical oligotrophic oceans because of the relationship between corals and endosymbiotic dinoflagellate algae called Symbiodinium. Symbiodinium convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into organic carbon and oxygen to fuel coral growth and calcification, creating habitat for these diverse and productive ecosystems. Light is thus a key regulating factor shaping the productivity, physiology and ecology of the coral holobiont. Similar to all oxygenic photoautotrophs, Symbiodinium must safely harvest sunlight for photosynthesis and dissipate excess energy to prevent oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by environmental stressors such as those associated with global climate change, and ultimately leads to breakdown of the coral-algal symbiosis known as coral bleaching. Recently, large-scale coral bleaching events have become pervasive and frequent threatening and endangering coral reefs. Because the coral-algal symbiosis is the biological engine producing the reef, the future of coral reef ecosystems depends on the ecophysiology of the symbiosis. This review examines the photobiology of the coral-algal symbiosis with particular focus on the photophysiological responses and timescales of corals and Symbiodinium. Additionally, this review summarizes the light environment and its dynamics, the vulnerability of the symbiosis to oxidative stress, the abiotic and biotic factors influencing photosynthesis, the diversity of the coral-algal symbiosis and recent advances in the field. Studies integrating physiology with the developing omics fields will provide new insights into the coral-algal symbiosis. Greater physiological and ecological understanding of the coral-algal symbiosis is needed for protection and conservation of coral reefs.

  20. Feedbacks Between Wave Energy And Declining Coral Reef Structure: Implications For Coastal Morphodynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grady, A. E.; Jenkins, C. J.; Moore, L. J.; Potts, D. C.; Burgess, P. M.; Storlazzi, C. D.; Elias, E.; Reidenbach, M. A.

    2013-12-01

    The incident wave energy dissipated by the structural complexity and bottom roughness of coral reef ecosystems, and the carbonate sediment produced by framework-building corals, provide natural shoreline protection and nourishment, respectively. Globally, coral reef ecosystems are in decline as a result of ocean warming and acidification, which is exacerbated by chronic regional stressors such as pollution and disease. As a consequence of declining reef health, many reef ecosystems are experiencing reduced coral cover and shifts to dominance by macroalgae, resulting in a loss of rugosity and thus hydrodynamic roughness. As coral reef architecture is compromised and carbonate skeletons are eroded, wave energy dissipation and sediment transport patterns--along with the carbonate sediment budget of the coastal environment--may be altered. Using a Delft3D numerical model of the south-central Molokai, Hawaii, fringing reef, we simulate the effects of changing reef states on wave energy and sediment transport. To determine the temporally-varying effects of biotic and abiotic stressors such as storms and bleaching on the reef structure and carbonate production, we couple Delft3D with CarboLOT, a model that simulates growth and competition of carbonate-producing organisms. CarboLOT is driven by the Lotka-Volterra population ecology equations and niche suitability principles, and accesses the CarboKB database for region-specific, carbonate-producing species information on growth rates, reproduction patterns, habitat suitability, as well as organism geometries. Simulations assess how changing reef states--which alter carbonate sediment production and reef morphology and thus hydrodynamic roughness--impact wave attenuation and sediment transport gradients along reef-fronted beaches. Initial results suggest that along fringing reefs having characteristics similar to the Molokai fringing reef, projected sea level rise will likely outpace coral reef accretion, and the increased

  1. Experimental evaluation of imprinting and the role innate preference plays in habitat selection in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    When facing decisions about where to live, juveniles have a strong tendency to choose habitats similar to where their parents successfully bred. Developing larval fishes can imprint on the chemical cues from their natal habitat. However, to demonstrate that imprinting is ecologically important, it must be shown that settlers respond and distinguish among different imprinted cues, and use imprinting for decisions in natural environments. In addition, the potential role innate preferences play compared to imprinted choices also needs to be examined. As environmental variability increases due to anthropogenic causes these two recognition mechanisms, innate and imprinting, could provide conflicting information. Here we used laboratory rearing and chemical choice experiments to test imprinting in larval anemonefish (Amphiprion percula). Individuals exposed to a variety of benthic habitat or novel olfactory cues as larvae either developed a preference for (spent >50% of their time in the cue) or increased their attraction to (increased preference but did not spend >50% of their time in the cue) the cue when re-exposed as settlers. Results indicate not only the capacity for imprinting but also the ability to adjust innate preferences after early exposure to a chemical cue. To test ecological relevance in the natural system, recruits were collected from anemones and related to their parents, using genetic parentage analysis, providing information on the natal anemone species and the species chosen at settlement. Results demonstrated that recruits did not preferentially return to their natal species, conflicting with laboratory results indicating the importance imprinting might have in habitat recognition.

  2. 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…

  3. Habitats as surrogates of taxonomic and functional fish assemblages in coral reef ecosystems: a critical analysis of factors driving effectiveness.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simon Van Wynsberge

    Full Text Available Species check-lists are helpful to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs and protect local richness, endemicity, rarity, and biodiversity in general. However, such exhaustive taxonomic lists (i.e., true surrogate of biodiversity require extensive and expensive censuses, and the use of estimator surrogates (e.g., habitats is an appealing alternative. In truth, surrogate effectiveness appears from the literature highly variable both in marine and terrestrial ecosystems, making it difficult to provide practical recommendations for managers. Here, we evaluate how the biodiversity reference data set and its inherent bias can influence effectiveness. Specifically, we defined habitats by geomorphology, rugosity, and benthic cover and architecture criteria, and mapped them with satellite images for a New-Caledonian site. Fish taxonomic and functional lists were elaborated from Underwater Visual Censuses, stratified according to geomorphology and exposure. We then tested if MPA networks designed to maximize habitat richness, diversity and rarity could also effectively maximize fish richness, diversity, and rarity. Effectiveness appeared highly sensitive to the fish census design itself, in relation to the type of habitat map used and the scale of analysis. Spatial distribution of habitats (estimator surrogate's distribution, quantity and location of fish census stations (target surrogate's sampling, and random processes in the MPA design all affected effectiveness to the point that one small change in the data set could lead to opposite conclusions. We suggest that previous conclusions on surrogacy effectiveness, either positive or negative, marine or terrestrial, should be considered with caution, except in instances where very dense data sets were used without pseudo-replication. Although this does not rule out the validity of using surrogates of species lists for conservation planning, the critical joint examination of both target and estimator

  4. Ningaloo Reef: Shallow Marine Habitats Mapped Using a Hyperspectral Sensor

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kobryn, Halina T.; Wouters, Kristin; Beckley, Lynnath E.; Heege, Thomas

    2013-01-01

    Research, monitoring and management of large marine protected areas require detailed and up-to-date habitat maps. Ningaloo Marine Park (including the Muiron Islands) in north-western Australia (stretching across three degrees of latitude) was mapped to 20 m depth using HyMap airborne hyperspectral imagery (125 bands) at 3.5 m resolution across the 762 km2 of reef environment between the shoreline and reef slope. The imagery was corrected for atmospheric, air-water interface and water column influences to retrieve bottom reflectance and bathymetry using the physics-based Modular Inversion and Processing System. Using field-validated, image-derived spectra from a representative range of cover types, the classification combined a semi-automated, pixel-based approach with fuzzy logic and derivative techniques. Five thematic classification levels for benthic cover (with probability maps) were generated with varying degrees of detail, ranging from a basic one with three classes (biotic, abiotic and mixed) to the most detailed with 46 classes. The latter consisted of all abiotic and biotic seabed components and hard coral growth forms in dominant or mixed states. The overall accuracy of mapping for the most detailed maps was 70% for the highest classification level. Macro-algal communities formed most of the benthic cover, while hard and soft corals represented only about 7% of the mapped area (58.6 km2). Dense tabulate coral was the largest coral mosaic type (37% of all corals) and the rest of the corals were a mix of tabulate, digitate, massive and soft corals. Our results show that for this shallow, fringing reef environment situated in the arid tropics, hyperspectral remote sensing techniques can offer an efficient and cost-effective approach to mapping and monitoring reef habitats over large, remote and inaccessible areas. PMID:23922921

  5. 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...

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teh, Louise S L; Teh, Lydia C L; Sumaila, U Rashid

    2013-01-01

    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.

  9. 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

  10. Coral Reef Status of Navassa Island 2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Benthic and habitat data collected on the 2004 cruise to Navassa Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Parameters include benthic cover, coral disease prevalence,...

  11. Climate change impacts on coral reefs: synergies with local effects, possibilities for acclimation, and management implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ateweberhan, Mebrahtu; Feary, David A; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Chen, Allen; Schleyer, Michael H; Sheppard, Charles R C

    2013-09-30

    Most reviews concerning the impact of climate change on coral reefs discuss independent effects of warming or ocean acidification. However, the interactions between these, and between these and direct local stressors are less well addressed. This review underlines that coral bleaching, acidification, and diseases are expected to interact synergistically, and will negatively influence survival, growth, reproduction, larval development, settlement, and post-settlement development of corals. Interactions with local stress factors such as pollution, sedimentation, and overfishing are further expected to compound effects of climate change. Reduced coral cover and species composition following coral bleaching events affect coral reef fish community structure, with variable outcomes depending on their habitat dependence and trophic specialisation. Ocean acidification itself impacts fish mainly indirectly through disruption of predation- and habitat-associated behavior changes. Zooxanthellate octocorals on reefs are often overlooked but are substantial occupiers of space; these also are highly susceptible to bleaching but because they tend to be more heterotrophic, climate change impacts mainly manifest in terms of changes in species composition and population structure. Non-calcifying macroalgae are expected to respond positively to ocean acidification and promote microbe-induced coral mortality via the release of dissolved compounds, thus intensifying phase-shifts from coral to macroalgal domination. Adaptation of corals to these consequences of CO2 rise through increased tolerance of corals and successful mutualistic associations between corals and zooxanthellae is likely to be insufficient to match the rate and frequency of the projected changes. Impacts are interactive and magnified, and because there is a limited capacity for corals to adapt to climate change, global targets of carbon emission reductions are insufficient for coral reefs, so lower targets should be

  12. 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...

  13. Mapping Coral Reef Resilience Indicators Using Field and Remotely Sensed Data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stuart Phinn

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available In the face of increasing climate-related impacts on coral reefs, the integration of ecosystem resilience into marine conservation planning has become a priority. One strategy, including resilient areas in marine protected area (MPA networks, relies on information on the spatial distribution of resilience. We assess the ability to model and map six indicators of coral reef resilience—stress-tolerant coral taxa, coral generic diversity, fish herbivore biomass, fish herbivore functional group richness, density of juvenile corals and the cover of live coral and crustose coralline algae. We use high spatial resolution satellite data to derive environmental predictors and use these in random forest models, with field observations, to predict resilience indicator values at unsampled locations. Predictions are compared with those obtained from universal kriging and from a baseline model. Prediction errors are estimated using cross-validation, and the ability to map each resilience indicator is quantified as the percentage reduction in prediction error compared to the baseline model. Results are most promising (percentage reduction = 18.3% for mapping the cover of live coral and crustose coralline algae and least promising (percentage reduction = 0% for coral diversity. Our study has demonstrated one approach to map indicators of coral reef resilience. In the context of MPA network planning, the potential to consider reef resilience in addition to habitat and feature representation in decision-support software now exists, allowing planners to integrate aspects of reef resilience in MPA network development.

  14. Linking Wave Forcing to Coral Cover and Structural Complexity Across Coral Reef Flats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, D. L.; Rovere, A.; Parravicini, V.; Casella, E.

    2015-12-01

    The hydrodynamic regime is a significant component in the geomorphic and ecological development of coral reefs. The energy gradients and flow conditions generated by the breaking and transformation of waves across coral reef crests and flats drive changes in geomorphic structure, and coral growth form and distribution. One of the key aspects in regulating the wave energy propagating across reef flats is the rugosity or roughness of the benthic substrate. Rugosity and structural complexity of coral reefs is also a key indicator of species diversity, ecological functioning, and reef health. However, the links between reef rugosity, coral species distribution and abundance, and hydrodynamic forcing are poorly understood. In this study we examine this relationship by using high resolution measurement of waves in the surf zone and coral reef benthic structure.Pressure transducers (logging at 4 Hz) were deployed in cross reef transects at two sites (Tiahura and Ha'apiti reef systems) in Moorea, French Polynesia with wave characteristics determined on a wave by wave basis. A one dimensional hydrodynamic model (XBeach) was calibrated from this data to determine wave processes on the reef flats under average conditions. Transects of the reef benthic structure were conducted using photographic analysis and the three dimensional reef surface was constructed using structure from motion procedures. From this analysis reef rugosity, changes in coral genus and growth form, and across reef shifts in benthic community were determined. The results show clear changes in benthic assemblages along wave energy gradients with some indication of threshold values of wave induced bed shear stress above which live coral cover was reduced. Reef rugosity was shown to be significantly along the cross-reef transect which has important implications for accurate assessment of wave dissipation across coral reef flats. Links between reef rugosity and coral genus were also observed and may indicate

  15. Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P; Kerry, James T; Baird, Andrew H; Connolly, Sean R; Dietzel, Andreas; Eakin, C Mark; Heron, Scott F; Hoey, Andrew S; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Liu, Gang; McWilliam, Michael J; Pears, Rachel J; Pratchett, Morgan S; Skirving, William J; Stella, Jessica S; Torda, Gergely

    2018-04-01

    Global warming is rapidly emerging as a universal threat to ecological integrity and function, highlighting the urgent need for a better understanding of the impact of heat exposure on the resilience of ecosystems and the people who depend on them 1 . Here we show that in the aftermath of the record-breaking marine heatwave on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 2 , corals began to die immediately on reefs where the accumulated heat exposure exceeded a critical threshold of degree heating weeks, which was 3-4 °C-weeks. After eight months, an exposure of 6 °C-weeks or more drove an unprecedented, regional-scale shift in the composition of coral assemblages, reflecting markedly divergent responses to heat stress by different taxa. Fast-growing staghorn and tabular corals suffered a catastrophic die-off, transforming the three-dimensionality and ecological functioning of 29% of the 3,863 reefs comprising the world's largest coral reef system. Our study bridges the gap between the theory and practice of assessing the risk of ecosystem collapse, under the emerging framework for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems 3 , by rigorously defining both the initial and collapsed states, identifying the major driver of change, and establishing quantitative collapse thresholds. The increasing prevalence of post-bleaching mass mortality of corals represents a radical shift in the disturbance regimes of tropical reefs, both adding to and far exceeding the influence of recurrent cyclones and other local pulse events, presenting a fundamental challenge to the long-term future of these iconic ecosystems.

  16. Coral Reef Coverage Percentage on Binor Paiton-Probolinggo Seashore

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The coral reef damage in Probolinggo region was expected to be caused by several factors. The first one comes from its society that exploits fishery by using cyanide toxin and bomb. The second one goes to the extraction of coral reef, which is used as decoration or construction materials. The other factor is likely caused by the existence of large industry on the seashore, such as Electric Steam Power Plant (PLTU Paiton and others alike. Related to the development of coral reef ecosystem, availability of an accurate data is crucially needed to support the manner of future policy, so the research of coral reef coverage percentage needs to be conducted continuously. The aim of this research is to collect biological data of coral reef and to identify coral reef coverage percentage in the effort of constructing coral reef condition basic data on Binor, Paiton, and Probolinggo regency seashore. The method used in this research is Line Intercept Transect (LIT method. LIT method is a method that used to decide benthic community on coral reef based on percentage growth, and to take note of benthic quantity along transect line. Percentage of living coral coverage in 3 meters depth on this Binor Paiton seashore that may be categorized in a good condition is 57,65%. While the rest are dead coral that is only 1,45%, other life form in 23,2%, and non-life form in 17,7%. A good condition of coral reef is caused by coral reef transplantation on the seashore, so this coral reef is dominated by Acropora Branching. On the other hand, Mortality Index (IM of coral reef resulted in 24,5%. The result from observation and calculation of coral reef is dominated by Hard Coral in Acropora Branching (ACB with coral reef coverage percentage of 39%, Coral Massive (CM with coral reef coverage percentage of 2,85%, Coral Foliose (CF with coral reef coverage percentage of 1,6%, and Coral Mushroom (CRM with coral reef coverage percentage of 8,5%. Observation in 10 meters depth

  17. Coral Reef Coverage Percentage on Binor Paiton-Probolinggo Seashore

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available The coral reef damage in Probolinggo region was expected to be caused by several factors. The first one comes from its society that exploits fishery by using cyanide toxin and bomb. The second one goes to the extraction of coral reef, which is used as decoration or construction materials. The other factor is likely caused by the existence of large industry on the seashore, such as Electric Steam Power Plant (PLTU Paiton and others alike. Related to the development of coral reef ecosystem, availability of an accurate data is crucially needed to support the manner of future policy, so the research of coral reef coverage percentage needs to be conducted continuously. The aim of this research is to collect biological data of coral reef and to identify coral reef coverage percentage in the effort of constructing coral reef condition basic data on Binor, Paiton, and Probolinggo regency seashore. The method used in this research is Line Intercept Transect (LIT method. LIT method is a method that used to decide benthic community on coral reef based on percentage growth, and to take note of benthic quantity along transect line. Percentage of living coral coverage in 3 meters depth on this Binor Paiton seashore that may be categorized in a good condition is 57,65%. While the rest are dead coral that is only 1,45%, other life form in 23,2%, and non-life form in 17,7%. A good condition of coral reef is caused by coral reef transplantation on the seashore, so this coral reef is dominated by Acropora Branching. On the other hand, Mortality Index (IM of coral reef resulted in 24,5%. The result from observation and calculation of coral reef is dominated by Hard Coral in Acropora Branching (ACB with coral reef coverage percentage of 39%, Coral Massive (CM with coral reef coverage percentage of 2,85%, Coral Foliose (CF with coral reef coverage percentage of 1,6%, and Coral Mushroom (CRM with coral reef coverage percentage of 8,5%. Observation in 10 meters depth

  18. 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.

  19. The contribution of microbial biotechnology to mitigating coral reef degradation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Damjanovic, Katarina; Blackall, Linda L; Webster, Nicole S; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2017-09-01

    The decline of coral reefs due to anthropogenic disturbances is having devastating impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Here we highlight the potential and challenges of microbial manipulation strategies to enhance coral tolerance to stress and contribute to coral reef restoration and protection. © 2017 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.

  20. Reef fishes in biodiversity hotspots are at greatest risk from loss of coral species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sally J Holbrook

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are under a variety of threats from global change and anthropogenic disturbances that are reducing the number and type of coral species on reefs. Coral reefs support upwards of one third of all marine species of fish, so the loss of coral habitat may have substantial consequences to local fish diversity. We posit that the effects of habitat degradation will be most severe in coral regions with highest biodiversity of fishes due to greater specialization by fishes for particular coral habitats. Our novel approach to this important but untested hypothesis was to conduct the same field experiment at three geographic locations across the Indo-Pacific biodiversity gradient (Papua New Guinea; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; French Polynesia. Specifically, we experimentally explored whether the response of local fish communities to identical changes in diversity of habitat-providing corals was independent of the size of the regional species pool of fishes. We found that the proportional reduction (sensitivity in fish biodiversity to loss of coral diversity was greater for regions with larger background species pools, reflecting variation in the degree of habitat specialization of fishes across the Indo-Pacific diversity gradient. This result implies that habitat-associated fish in diversity hotspots are at greater risk of local extinction to a given loss of habitat diversity compared to regions with lower species richness. This mechanism, related to the positive relationship between habitat specialization and regional biodiversity, and the elevated extinction risk this poses for biodiversity hotspots, may apply to species in other types of ecosystems.

  1. Reef fishes in biodiversity hotspots are at greatest risk from loss of coral species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Messmer, Vanessa; Brooks, Andrew J; Srinivasan, Maya; Munday, Philip L; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2015-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are under a variety of threats from global change and anthropogenic disturbances that are reducing the number and type of coral species on reefs. Coral reefs support upwards of one third of all marine species of fish, so the loss of coral habitat may have substantial consequences to local fish diversity. We posit that the effects of habitat degradation will be most severe in coral regions with highest biodiversity of fishes due to greater specialization by fishes for particular coral habitats. Our novel approach to this important but untested hypothesis was to conduct the same field experiment at three geographic locations across the Indo-Pacific biodiversity gradient (Papua New Guinea; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; French Polynesia). Specifically, we experimentally explored whether the response of local fish communities to identical changes in diversity of habitat-providing corals was independent of the size of the regional species pool of fishes. We found that the proportional reduction (sensitivity) in fish biodiversity to loss of coral diversity was greater for regions with larger background species pools, reflecting variation in the degree of habitat specialization of fishes across the Indo-Pacific diversity gradient. This result implies that habitat-associated fish in diversity hotspots are at greater risk of local extinction to a given loss of habitat diversity compared to regions with lower species richness. This mechanism, related to the positive relationship between habitat specialization and regional biodiversity, and the elevated extinction risk this poses for biodiversity hotspots, may apply to species in other types of ecosystems.

  2. The structure and composition of Holocene coral reefs in the Middle Florida Keys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toth, Lauren T.; Stathakopoulos, Anastasios; Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2016-07-21

    The Florida Keys reef tract (FKRT) is the largest coral-reef ecosystem in the continental United States. The modern FKRT extends for 362 kilometers along the coast of South Florida from Dry Tortugas National Park in the southwest, through the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), to Fowey Rocks reef in Biscayne National Park in the northeast. Most reefs along the FKRT are sheltered by the exposed islands of the Florida Keys; however, large channels are located between the islands of the Middle Keys. These openings allow for tidal transport of water from Florida Bay onto reefs in the area. The characteristics of the water masses coming from Florida Bay, which can experience broad swings in temperature, salinity, nutrients, and turbidity over short periods of time, are generally unfavorable or “inimical” to coral growth and reef development.Although reef habitats are ubiquitous throughout most of the Upper and Lower Keys, relatively few modern reefs exist in the Middle Keys most likely because of the impacts of inimical waters from Florida Bay. The reefs that are present in the Middle Keys generally are poorly developed compared with reefs elsewhere in the region. For example, Acropora palmata has been the dominant coral on shallow-water reefs in the Caribbean over the last 1.5 million years until populations of the coral declined throughout the region in recent decades. Although A. palmata was historically abundant in the Florida Keys, it was conspicuously absent from reefs in the Middle Keys. Instead, contemporary reefs in the Middle Keys have been dominated by occasional massive (that is, boulder or head) corals and, more often, small, non-reef-building corals.Holocene reef cores have been collected from many locations along the FKRT; however, despite the potential importance of the history of reefs in the Middle Florida Keys to our understanding of the environmental controls on reef development throughout the FKRT, there are currently no published

  3. 27 years of benthic and coral community dynamics on turbid, highly urbanised reefs off Singapore.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guest, J R; Tun, K; Low, J; Vergés, A; Marzinelli, E M; Campbell, A H; Bauman, A G; Feary, D A; Chou, L M; Steinberg, P D

    2016-11-08

    Coral cover on reefs is declining globally due to coastal development, overfishing and climate change. Reefs isolated from direct human influence can recover from natural acute disturbances, but little is known about long term recovery of reefs experiencing chronic human disturbances. Here we investigate responses to acute bleaching disturbances on turbid reefs off Singapore, at two depths over a period of 27 years. Coral cover declined and there were marked changes in coral and benthic community structure during the first decade of monitoring at both depths. At shallower reef crest sites (3-4 m), benthic community structure recovered towards pre-disturbance states within a decade. In contrast, there was a net decline in coral cover and continuing shifts in community structure at deeper reef slope sites (6-7 m). There was no evidence of phase shifts to macroalgal dominance but coral habitats at deeper sites were replaced by unstable substrata such as fine sediments and rubble. The persistence of coral dominance at chronically disturbed shallow sites is likely due to an abundance of coral taxa which are tolerant to environmental stress. In addition, high turbidity may interact antagonistically with other disturbances to reduce the impact of thermal stress and limit macroalgal growth rates.

  4. Mesophotic coral-reef environments depress the reproduction of the coral Paramontastraea peresi in the Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feldman, Bar; Shlesinger, Tom; Loya, Yossi

    2018-03-01

    With more than 450 studied species, coral reproduction is a well-known research field. However, the vast majority of coral reproduction research has focused exclusively on shallow reefs. The incentive for the present study was: (1) the recent accelerated global degradation of coral reefs; (2) the growing interest in mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; 30-120 m depth) and their potential to serve as a larval source for shallow reefs; and (3) the lack of information on MCE coral reproduction. Here, we compare the reproduction and ecology of the depth-generalist coral Paramontastraea peresi between shallow (5-10 m) and mesophotic (40-45 m) habitats in the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, Red Sea. Field surveys were conducted to assess the living cover, abundance, and size frequency distribution of P. peresi. Four to six colonies from each habitat were sampled monthly between April 2015 and January 2017, and the gametogenesis cycles, fecundity, and oocyte sizes were measured. The reproductive cycle in the MCEs was shorter than in the shallow reef. Despite having larger polyps, the mesophotic colonies contained significantly smaller and fewer oocytes per polyp. In spite of the relatively stable environmental conditions of the MCEs, which may contribute to coral survival, scarcity of sunlight is probably a major energetic impediment to investment in reproduction by P. peresi at mesophotic depths. Further intensive reproductive studies in mesophotic reefs are thus required to assess the ability of corals in this environment to reproduce and constitute a larval source for depleted shallow-water reefs.

  5. Molluscan assemblages on coral reefs and associated hard substrata in the northern Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zuschin, M.; Hohenegger, J.; Steininger, F.

    2001-09-01

    Information on spatial variability and distribution patterns of organisms in coral reef environments is necessary to evaluate the increasing anthropogenic disturbance of marine environments (Richmond 1993; Wilkinson 1993; Dayton 1994). Therefore different types of subtidal, reef-associated hard substrata (reef flats, reef slopes, coral carpets, coral patches, rock grounds), each with different coral associations, were investigated to determine the distribution pattern of molluscs and their life habits (feeding strategies and substrate relations). The molluscs were strongly dominated by taxa with distinct relations to corals, and five assemblages were differentiated. The Dendropoma maxima assemblage on reef flats is a discrete entity, strongly dominated by this encrusting and suspension-feeding gastropod. All other assemblages are arranged along a substrate gradient of changing coral associations and potential molluscan habitats. The Coralliophila neritoidea- Barbatia foliata assemblage depends on the presence of Porites and shows a dominance of gastropods feeding on corals and of bivalves associated with living corals. The Chamoidea- Cerithium spp. assemblage on rock grounds is strongly dominated by encrusting bivalves. The Drupella cornus-Pteriidae assemblage occurs on Millepora- Acropora reef slopes and is strongly dominated by bivalves associated with living corals. The Barbatia setigera- Ctenoides annulata assemblage includes a broad variety of taxa, molluscan life habits and bottom types, but occurs mainly on faviid carpets and is transitional among the other three assemblages. A predicted degradation of coral coverage to rock bottoms due to increasing eutrophication and physical damage in the study area (Riegl and Piller 2000) will result in a loss of coral-associated molluscs in favor of bivalve crevice dwellers in dead coral heads and of encrusters on dead hard substrata.

  6. Unmixing-Based Denoising as a Pre-Processing Step for Coral Reef Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerra, D.; Traganos, D.; Gege, P.; Reinartz, P.

    2017-05-01

    Coral reefs, among the world's most biodiverse and productive submerged habitats, have faced several mass bleaching events due to climate change during the past 35 years. In the course of this century, global warming and ocean acidification are expected to cause corals to become increasingly rare on reef systems. This will result in a sharp decrease in the biodiversity of reef communities and carbonate reef structures. Coral reefs may be mapped, characterized and monitored through remote sensing. Hyperspectral images in particular excel in being used in coral monitoring, being characterized by very rich spectral information, which results in a strong discrimination power to characterize a target of interest, and separate healthy corals from bleached ones. Being submerged habitats, coral reef systems are difficult to analyse in airborne or satellite images, as relevant information is conveyed in bands in the blue range which exhibit lower signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) with respect to other spectral ranges; furthermore, water is absorbing most of the incident solar radiation, further decreasing the SNR. Derivative features, which are important in coral analysis, result greatly affected by the resulting noise present in relevant spectral bands, justifying the need of new denoising techniques able to keep local spatial and spectral features. In this paper, Unmixing-based Denoising (UBD) is used to enable analysis of a hyperspectral image acquired over a coral reef system in the Red Sea based on derivative features. UBD reconstructs pixelwise a dataset with reduced noise effects, by forcing each spectrum to a linear combination of other reference spectra, exploiting the high dimensionality of hyperspectral datasets. Results show clear enhancements with respect to traditional denoising methods based on spatial and spectral smoothing, facilitating the coral detection task.

  7. Coral biodiversity and bioconstruction in the northern sector of the Mesoamerican Reef system

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fabian Alejandro Rodriguez-Zaragoza

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available As the impact of anthropogenic activity and climate change continue to accelerate rates of degradation on Caribbean coral reefs, conservation and restoration faces greater challenges. At at this stage, of particular importance in coral reefs, is to recognize and to understand the structural spatial patterns of benthic assemblages. We developed a field-based framework of a Caribbean reefscape benthic structure by using hermatypic corals as an indicator group of global biodiversity and bio-construction patterns in eleven reefs of the northern sector of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (nsMBRS. Four hundred and seventy four video-transects (50 m long by 0.4 m wide were performed throughout a gradient of reef complexity from north to south (∼400 km to identify coral species, families and ensembles of corals. Composition and abundance of species, families and ensembles showed differences among reefs. In the northern zone, the reefs had shallow, partial reef developments with low diversities, dominated by Acropora palmata, Siderastrea spp., Pseudodiploria strigosa and Agaricia tenuifolia. In the central and southern zones, reefs presented extensive developments, high habitat heterogeneity, and the greatest diversity and dominance of Orbicella annularis and Orbicella faveolata. These two species determined the structure and diversity of corals in the central and southern zones of the nsMBRS and their bio-construction in these zones is unique in the Caribbean. Their abundance and distribution depended on the reef habitat area, topographic complexity and species richness. Orbicella species complex were crucial for maintaining the biodiversity and bio-construction of the central and southern zones while A. palmata in the northern zones of the nsMBRS.

  8. Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals Critical Habitat

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data represent the critical habitat for elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and staghorn coral (A. cervicornis) as designated by 73 FR 72210, November 26, 2008,...

  9. Deep-Sea Soft Coral Habitat Suitability

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Deep-sea corals, also known as cold water corals, create complex communities that provide habitat for a variety of invertebrate and fish species, such as grouper,...

  10. Deep-Sea Stony Coral Habitat Suitability

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Deep-sea corals, also known as cold water corals, create complex communities that provide habitat for a variety of invertebrate and fish species, such as grouper,...

  11. The DNA of coral reef biodiversity: predicting and protecting genetic diversity of reef assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Selkoe, Kimberly A; Gaggiotti, Oscar E; Treml, Eric A; Wren, Johanna L K; Donovan, Mary K; Toonen, Robert J

    2016-04-27

    Conservation of ecological communities requires deepening our understanding of genetic diversity patterns and drivers at community-wide scales. Here, we use seascape genetic analysis of a diversity metric, allelic richness (AR), for 47 reef species sampled across 13 Hawaiian Islands to empirically demonstrate that large reefs high in coral cover harbour the greatest genetic diversity on average. We found that a species's life history (e.g. depth range and herbivory) mediates response of genetic diversity to seascape drivers in logical ways. Furthermore, a metric of combined multi-species AR showed strong coupling to species richness and habitat area, quality and stability that few species showed individually. We hypothesize that macro-ecological forces and species interactions, by mediating species turnover and occupancy (and thus a site's mean effective population size), influence the aggregate genetic diversity of a site, potentially allowing it to behave as an apparent emergent trait that is shaped by the dominant seascape drivers. The results highlight inherent feedbacks between ecology and genetics, raise concern that genetic resilience of entire reef communities is compromised by factors that reduce coral cover or available habitat, including thermal stress, and provide a foundation for new strategies for monitoring and preserving biodiversity of entire reef ecosystems. © 2016 The Authors.

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    effects of fishing intensity, reef geomorphology and benthic cover. Distance from the .... on herbivorous fish communities relevant to the proposed ... fragments, nearshore coastal fringing reefs ..... Over-fishing and coral bleaching pose the most ...

  15. 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

  16. The importance of sponges and mangroves in supporting fish communities on degraded coral reefs in Caribbean Panama.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seemann, Janina; Yingst, Alexandra; Stuart-Smith, Rick D; Edgar, Graham J; Altieri, Andrew H

    2018-01-01

    Fish communities associated with coral reefs worldwide are threatened by habitat degradation and overexploitation. We assessed coral reefs, mangrove fringes, and seagrass meadows on the Caribbean coast of Panama to explore the influences of their proximity to one another, habitat cover, and environmental characteristics in sustaining biomass, species richness and trophic structure of fish communities in a degraded tropical ecosystem. We found 94% of all fish across all habitat types were of small body size (≤10 cm), with communities dominated by fishes that usually live in habitats of low complexity, such as Pomacentridae (damselfishes) and Gobiidae (gobies). Total fish biomass was very low, with the trend of small fishes from low trophic levels over-represented, and top predators under-represented, relative to coral reefs elsewhere in the Caribbean. For example, herbivorous fishes comprised 27% of total fish biomass in Panama relative to 10% in the wider Caribbean, and the small parrotfish Scarus iseri comprised 72% of the parrotfish biomass. We found evidence that non-coral biogenic habitats support reef-associated fish communities. In particular, the abundance of sponges on a given reef and proximity of mangroves were found to be important positive correlates of reef fish species richness, biomass, abundance and trophic structure. Our study indicates that a diverse fish community can persist on degraded coral reefs, and that the availability and arrangement within the seascape of other habitat-forming organisms, including sponges and mangroves, is critical to the maintenance of functional processes in such ecosystems.

  17. Reef corals bleach to resist stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obura, David O

    2009-02-01

    A rationale is presented here for a primary role of bleaching in regulation of the coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis under conditions of stress. Corals and zooxanthellae have fundamentally different metabolic rates, requiring active homeostasis to limit zooxanthellae production and manage translocated products to maintain the symbiosis. The control processes for homeostasis are compromised by environmental stress, resulting in metabolic imbalance between the symbionts. For the coral-zooxanthella symbiosis the most direct way to minimize metabolic imbalance under stress is to reduce photosynthetic production by zooxanthellae. Two mechanisms have been demonstrated that do this: reduction of the chlorophyll concentration in individual zooxanthellae and reduction of the relative biomass of zooxanthellae. Both mechanisms result in visual whitening of the coral, termed bleaching. Arguments are presented here that bleaching provides the final control to minimize physiological damage from stress as an adversity response to metabolic imbalance. As such, bleaching meets the requirements of a stress response syndrome/general adaptive mechanism that is sensitive to internal states rather than external parameters. Variation in bleaching responses among holobionts reflects genotypic and phenotypic differentiation, allowing evolutionary change by natural selection. Thus, reef corals bleach to resist stress, and thereby have some capacity to adapt to and survive change. The extreme thermal anomalies causing mass coral bleaching worldwide lie outside the reaction norms for most coral-zooxanthellae holobionts, revealing the limitations of bleaching as a control mechanism.

  18. Tight coupling between coral reef morphology and mapped resilience in the Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowlands, Gwilym; Purkis, Sam; Bruckner, Andrew

    2016-04-30

    Lack of knowledge on the conservation value of different reef types can stymie decision making, and result in less optimal management solutions. Addressing the information gap of coral reef resilience, we produce a map-based Remote Sensed Resilience Index (RSRI) from data describing the spatial distribution of stressors, and properties of reef habitats on the Farasan Banks, Saudi Arabia. We contrast the distribution of this index among fourteen reef types, categorized on a scale of maturity that includes juvenile (poorly aggraded), mature (partially aggraded), and senile (fully aggraded) reefs. Sites with high reef resilience can be found in most detached reef types; however they are most common in mature reefs. We aim to stimulate debate on the coupling that exists between geomorphology and conservation biology, and consider how such information can be used to inform management decisions. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Conservation genetics and the resilience of reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Gates, Ruth D

    2006-11-01

    Coral reefs have suffered long-term decline due to a range of anthropogenic disturbances and are now also under threat from climate change. For appropriate management of these vulnerable and valuable ecosystems it is important to understand the factors and processes that determine their resilience and that of the organisms inhabiting them, as well as those that have led to existing patterns of coral reef biodiversity. The scleractinian (stony) corals deposit the structural framework that supports and promotes the maintenance of biological diversity and complexity of coral reefs, and as such, are major components of these ecosystems. The success of reef-building corals is related to their obligate symbiotic association with dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. These one-celled algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) live in the endodermal tissues of their coral host, provide most of the host's energy budget and promote rapid calcification. Furthermore, zooxanthellae are the main primary producers on coral reefs due to the oligotrophic nature of the surrounding waters. In this review paper, we summarize and critically evaluate studies that have employed genetics and/or molecular biology in examining questions relating to the evolution and ecology of reef-building corals and their algal endosymbionts, and that bear relevance to coral reef conservation. We discuss how these studies can focus future efforts, and examine how these approaches enhance our understanding of the resilience of reef-building corals.

  20. Warm-water coral reefs and climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spalding, Mark D; Brown, Barbara E

    2015-11-13

    Coral reefs are highly dynamic ecosystems that are regularly exposed to natural perturbations. Human activities have increased the range, intensity, and frequency of disturbance to reefs. Threats such as overfishing and pollution are being compounded by climate change, notably warming and ocean acidification. Elevated temperatures are driving increasingly frequent bleaching events that can lead to the loss of both coral cover and reef structural complexity. There remains considerable variability in the distribution of threats and in the ability of reefs to survive or recover from such disturbances. Without significant emissions reductions, however, the future of coral reefs is increasingly bleak. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  1. Shifting paradigms in restoration of the world's coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Gates, Ruth D; Blackall, Linda L; Cantin, Neal; Chakravarti, Leela J; Chan, Wing Y; Cormick, Craig; Crean, Angela; Damjanovic, Katarina; Epstein, Hannah; Harrison, Peter L; Jones, Thomas A; Miller, Margaret; Pears, Rachel J; Peplow, Lesa M; Raftos, David A; Schaffelke, Britta; Stewart, Kristen; Torda, Gergely; Wachenfeld, David; Weeks, Andrew R; Putnam, Hollie M

    2017-09-01

    Many ecosystems around the world are rapidly deteriorating due to both local and global pressures, and perhaps none so precipitously as coral reefs. Management of coral reefs through maintenance (e.g., marine-protected areas, catchment management to improve water quality), restoration, as well as global and national governmental agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., the 2015 Paris Agreement) is critical for the persistence of coral reefs. Despite these initiatives, the health and abundance of corals reefs are rapidly declining and other solutions will soon be required. We have recently discussed options for using assisted evolution (i.e., selective breeding, assisted gene flow, conditioning or epigenetic programming, and the manipulation of the coral microbiome) as a means to enhance environmental stress tolerance of corals and the success of coral reef restoration efforts. The 2014-2016 global coral bleaching event has sharpened the focus on such interventionist approaches. We highlight the necessity for consideration of alternative (e.g., hybrid) ecosystem states, discuss traits of resilient corals and coral reef ecosystems, and propose a decision tree for incorporating assisted evolution into restoration initiatives to enhance climate resilience of coral reefs. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. Oman's coral reefs: A unique ecosystem challenged by natural and man-related stresses and in need of conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, J A; Coles, S; van Lavieren, H; Taylor, O; Looker, E; Samimi-Namin, K

    2016-04-30

    Oman contains diverse and abundant reef coral communities that extend along a coast that borders three environmentally distinct water bodies, with corals existing under unique and often stressful environmental conditions. In recent years Oman's reefs have undergone considerable change due to recurrent predatory starfish outbreaks, cyclone damage, harmful algal blooms, and other stressors. In this review we summarize current knowledge of the biology and status of corals in Oman, particularly in light of recent stressors and projected future threats, and examine current reef management practices. Oman's coral communities occur in marginal environmental conditions for reefs, and hence are quite vulnerable to anthropogenic effects. We recommend a focus on developing conservation-oriented coral research to guide proactive management and expansion of the number and size of designated protected areas in Oman, particularly those associated with critical coral habitat. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  3. Snapping shrimp sound production patterns on Caribbean coral reefs: relationships with celestial cycles and environmental variables

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lillis, Ashlee; Mooney, T. Aran

    2018-06-01

    The rich acoustic environment of coral reefs, including the sounds of a variety of fish and invertebrates, is a reflection of the structural complexity and biological diversity of these habitats. Emerging interest in applying passive acoustic monitoring and soundscape analysis to measure coral reef habitat characteristics and track ecological patterns is hindered by a poor understanding of the most common and abundant sound producers on reefs—the snapping shrimp. Here, we sought to address several basic biophysical drivers of reef sound by investigating acoustic activity patterns of snapping shrimp populations on two adjacent coral reefs using a detailed snap detection analysis routine to a high-resolution 2.5-month acoustic dataset from the US Virgin Islands. The reefs exhibited strong diel and lunar periodicity in snap rates and clear spatial differences in snapping levels. Snap rates peaked at dawn and dusk and were higher overall during daytime versus nighttime, a seldom-reported pattern in earlier descriptions of diel snapping shrimp acoustic activity. Small differences between the sites in snap rate rhythms were detected and illustrate how analyses of specific soundscape elements might reveal subtle between-reef variation. Snap rates were highly correlated with environmental variables, including water temperature and light, and were found to be sensitive to changes in oceanographic forcing. This study further establishes snapping shrimp as key players in the coral reef chorus and provides evidence that their acoustic output reflects a combination of environmental conditions, celestial influences, and spatial habitat variation. Effective application of passive acoustic monitoring in coral reef habitats using snap rates or snapping-influenced acoustic metrics will require a mechanistic understanding of the underlying spatial and temporal variation in snapping shrimp sound production across multiple scales.

  4. 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.

  5. Ecological States and the Resilience of Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim McClanahan

    2002-12-01

    Full Text Available We review the evidence for multiple ecological states and the factors that create ecological resilience in coral reef ecosystems. There are natural differences among benthic communities along gradients of water temperature, light, nutrients, and organic matter associated with upwelling-downwelling and onshore-offshore systems. Along gradients from oligotrophy to eutrophy, plant-animal symbioses tend to decrease, and the abundance of algae and heterotrophic suspension feeders and the ratio of organic to inorganic carbon production tend to increase. Human influences such as fishing, increased organic matter and nutrients, sediments, warm water, and transportation of xenobiotics and diseases are common causes of a large number of recently reported ecological shifts. It is often the interaction of persistent and multiple synergistic disturbances that causes permanent ecological transitions, rather than the succession of individual short-term disturbances. For example, fishing can remove top-level predators, resulting in the ecological release of prey such as sea urchins and coral-eating invertebrates. When sea urchins are not common because of unsuitable habitat, recruitment limitations, and diseases, and when overfishing removes herbivorous fish, frondose brown algae can dominate. Terrigenous sediments carried onto reefs as a result of increased soil erosion largely promote the dominance of turf or articulated green algae. Elevated nutrients and organic matter can increase internal eroders of reef substratum and a mixture of filamentous algae. Local conservation actions that attempt to reduce fishing and terrestrial influences promote the high production of inorganic carbon that is necessary for reef growth. However, global climate change threatens to undermine such actions because of increased bleaching and mortality caused by warm-water anomalies, weakened coral skeletons caused by reduced aragonite availability in reef waters, and increased

  6. Non-Random Variability in Functional Composition of Coral Reef Fish Communities along an Environmental Gradient.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah G; Taylor, Marc H; Husain, Aidah A A; Teichberg, Mirta C; Ferse, Sebastian C A

    2016-01-01

    Changes in the coral reef complex can affect predator-prey relationships, resource availability and niche utilisation in the associated fish community, which may be reflected in decreased stability of the functional traits present in a community. This is because particular traits may be favoured by a changing environment, or by habitat degradation. Furthermore, other traits can be selected against because degradation can relax the association between fishes and benthic habitat. We characterised six important ecological traits for fish species occurring at seven sites across a disturbed coral reef archipelago in Indonesia, where reefs have been exposed to eutrophication and destructive fishing practices for decades. Functional diversity was assessed using two complementary indices (FRic and RaoQ) and correlated to important environmental factors (live coral cover and rugosity, representing local reef health, and distance from shore, representing a cross-shelf environmental gradient). Indices were examined for both a change in their mean, as well as temporal (short-term; hours) and spatial (cross-shelf) variability, to assess whether fish-habitat association became relaxed along with habitat degradation. Furthermore, variability in individual traits was examined to identify the traits that are most affected by habitat change. Increases in the general reef health indicators, live coral cover and rugosity (correlated with distance from the mainland), were associated with decreases in the variability of functional diversity and with community-level changes in the abundance of several traits (notably home range size, maximum length, microalgae, detritus and small invertebrate feeding and reproductive turnover). A decrease in coral cover increased variability of RaoQ while rugosity and distance both inversely affected variability of FRic; however, averages for these indices did not reveal patterns associated with the environment. These results suggest that increased

  7. Revealing the regime of shallow coral reefs at patch scale by continuous spatial modeling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Antoine eCollin

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Reliably translating real-world spatial patterns of ecosystems is critical for understanding processes susceptible to reinforce resilience. However the great majority of studies in spatial ecology use thematic maps to describe habitats and species in a binary scheme. By discretizing the transitional areas and neglecting the gradual replacement across a given space, the thematic approach may suffer from substantial limitations when interpreting patterns created by many continuous variables. Here, local and regional spectral proxies were used to design and spatially map at very fine scale a continuous index dedicated to one of the most complex seascapes, the coral reefscape. Through a groundbreaking merge of bottom-up and top-down approach, we demonstrate that three to seven-habitat continuous indices can be modeled by nine, six, four and three spectral proxies, respectively, at 0.5 m spatial resolution using hand- and spaceborne measurements. We map the seven-habitat continuous index, spanning major Indo-Pacific coral reef habitats through the far red-green normalized difference ratio over the entire lagoon of a low (Tetiaroa atoll and a high volcanic (Moorea island in French Polynesia with 84% and 82% accuracy, respectively. Further examinations of the two resulting spatial models using a customized histoscape (density function of model values distributed on a concentric strip across the reef crest-coastline distance show that Tetiaroa exhibits a greater variety of coral reef habitats than Moorea. By designing such easy-to-implement, transferrable spectral proxies of coral reef regime, this study initiates a framework for spatial ecologists tackling coral reef biodiversity, responses to stresses, perturbations and shifts. We discuss the limitations and contributions of our findings towards the study of worldwide coral reef resilience following stochastic environmental change.

  8. Can mesophotic reefs replenish shallow reefs? Reduced coral reproductive performance casts a doubt.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shlesinger, Tom; Grinblat, Mila; Rapuano, Hanna; Amit, Tal; Loya, Yossi

    2018-02-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (i.e., deep coral reefs at 30-120 m depth) appear to be thriving while many shallow reefs in the world are declining. Amid efforts to understand and manage their decline, it was suggested that mesophotic reefs might serve as natural refuges and a possible source of propagules for the shallow reefs. However, our knowledge of how reproductive performance of corals alters with depth is sparse. Here, we present a comprehensive study of the reproductive phenology, fecundity, and abundance of seven reef-building conspecific corals in shallow and mesophotic habitats. Significant differences were found in the synchrony and timing of gametogenesis and spawning between shallow and mesophotic coral populations. Thus, mesophotic populations exhibited delayed or protracted spawning events, which led to spawning of the mesophotic colonies in large proportions at times where the shallow ones had long been depleted of reproductive material. All species investigated demonstrated a substantial reduction in fecundity and/or oocyte sizes at mesophotic depths (40-60 m). Two species (Seriatopora hystrix and Galaxea fascicularis) displayed a reduction in both fecundity and oocyte size at mesophotic depths. Turbinaria reniformis had only reduced fecundity and Acropora squarrosa and Acropora valida only reduced oocyte size. In Montipora verrucosa, reduced fecundity was found during one annual reproductive season while, in the following year, only reduced oocyte size was found. In contrast, reduced oocyte size in mesophotic populations of Acropora squarrosa was consistent along three studied years. One species, Acropora pharaonis, was found to be infertile at mesophotic depths along two studied years. This indicates that reproductive performance decreases with depth; and that although some species are capable of reproducing at mesophotic depths, their contribution to the replenishment of shallow reefs may be inconsequential. Reduced reproductive performance

  9. Coral Reef Resilience, Tipping Points and the Strength of Herbivory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Adam, Thomas C; Brooks, Andrew J

    2016-11-02

    Coral reefs increasingly are undergoing transitions from coral to macroalgal dominance. Although the functional roles of reef herbivores in controlling algae are becoming better understood, identifying possible tipping points in the herbivory-macroalgae relationships has remained a challenge. Assessment of where any coral reef ecosystem lies in relation to the coral-to-macroalgae tipping point is fundamental to understanding resilience properties, forecasting state shifts, and developing effective management practices. We conducted a multi-year field experiment in Moorea, French Polynesia to estimate these properties. While we found a sharp herbivory threshold where macroalgae escape control, ambient levels of herbivory by reef fishes were well above that needed to prevent proliferation of macroalgae. These findings are consistent with previously observed high resilience of the fore reef in Moorea. Our approach can identify vulnerable coral reef systems in urgent need of management action to both forestall shifts to macroalgae and preserve properties essential for resilience.

  10. Recent Advances in Understanding the Effects of Climate Change on Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew S. Hoey

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Climate change is one of the greatest threats to the persistence of coral reefs. Sustained and ongoing increases in ocean temperatures and acidification are altering the structure and function of reefs globally. Here, we summarise recent advances in our understanding of the effects of climate change on scleractinian corals and reef fish. Although there is considerable among-species variability in responses to increasing temperature and seawater chemistry, changing temperature regimes are likely to have the greatest influence on the structure of coral and fish assemblages, at least over short–medium timeframes. Recent evidence of increases in coral bleaching thresholds, local genetic adaptation and inheritance of heat tolerance suggest that coral populations may have some capacity to respond to warming, although the extent to which these changes can keep pace with changing environmental conditions is unknown. For coral reef fishes, current evidence indicates increasing seawater temperature will be a major determinant of future assemblages, through both habitat degradation and direct effects on physiology and behaviour. The effects of climate change are, however, being compounded by a range of anthropogenic disturbances, which may undermine the capacity of coral reef organisms to acclimate and/or adapt to specific changes in environmental conditions.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. The Ecological Role of Sharks on Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roff, George; Doropoulos, Christopher; Rogers, Alice; Bozec, Yves-Marie; Krueck, Nils C; Aurellado, Eleanor; Priest, Mark; Birrell, Chico; Mumby, Peter J

    2016-05-01

    Sharks are considered the apex predator of coral reefs, but the consequences of their global depletion are uncertain. Here we explore the ecological roles of sharks on coral reefs and, conversely, the importance of reefs for sharks. We find that most reef-associated shark species do not act as apex predators but instead function as mesopredators along with a diverse group of reef fish. While sharks perform important direct and indirect ecological roles, the evidence to support hypothesised shark-driven trophic cascades that benefit corals is weak and equivocal. Coral reefs provide some functional benefits to sharks, but sharks do not appear to favour healthier reef environments. Restoring populations of sharks is important and can yet deliver ecological surprise. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Coral reef surveys in India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    and in persuading the Government agencies to take protective and conservational measures. The current approach is towards establishing a monitoring design to detect changes in reef ecology in the long-term, and to standardize the survey techniques to be compatible...

  15. 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.

  16. Balance of constructive and destructive carbonate processes on mesophotic coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weinstein, D. K.; Klaus, J. S.; Smith, T. B.; Helmle, K. P.; Marshall, D.

    2013-12-01

    Net carbonate accumulation of coral reefs is the product of both constructive and destructive processes that can ultimately influence overall reef geomorphology. Differences in these processes with depth may in part explain why the coral growth-light intensity association does no result in the traditionally theorized reef accretion decrease with depth. Until recently, physical sampling limitations had prevented the acquisition of sedimentary data needed to assess in situ carbonate accumulation in mesophotic reefs (30-150 m). Coral framework production, secondary carbonate production (calcareous encrusters), and bioerosion, the three most critical components of net carbonate accumulation, were analyzed in mesophotic reefs more than 10 km south of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands along a very gradual slope that limits sediment transport and sedimentation. Recently dead samples of the massive coral, Orbicella annularis collected from three structurally different upper mesophotic coral reef habitats (30-45 m) were cut parallel to the primary growth axis to identify density banding through standard x-radiographic techniques. Assuming annual banding, mesophotic linear extension rates were calculated on the order of 0.7-1.5 mm/yr. Weight change of experimental coral substrates exposed for 3 years indicate differing rates (1.1-17.2 g/yr) of bioerosion and secondary accretion between mesophotic sites. When correcting bioerosion rates for high mesophotic skeletal density, carbonate accumulation rates were found to vary significantly between neighboring mesophotic reefs with distinctive structures. Results imply variable rates of mesophotic reef net carbonate accretion with the potential to influence overall reef/platform morphology, including localized mesophotic reef structure.

  17. Lophelia II 2009: Deepwater Program: Exploration and Research of Northern Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Natural and Artificial Hard Bottom Habitats with Emphasis on Coral Communities: Reefs, Rigs and Wrecks on NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown between 20090819 and 20090912

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This cruise used the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason II to: explore 4-6 new sites for the occurrence of deep water coral reefs; made collections of Lophelia...

  18. Fish Habitat Utilization Patterns and Evaluation of the Efficacy of Marine Protected Areas in Hawaii: Integration of NOAA Digital Benthic Habitat Mapping and Coral Reef Ecological Studies

    OpenAIRE

    Friedlander, Alan M.; Brown, Eric; Monaco, Mark E.; Clarke, Athline

    2006-01-01

    Over the past four decades, the state of Hawaii has developed a system of eleven Marine Life Conservation Districts (MLCDs) to conserve and replenish marine resources around the state. Initially established to provide opportunities for public interaction with the marine environment, these MLCDs vary in size, habitat quality, and management regimes, providing an excellent opportunity to test hypotheses concerning marine protected area (MPA) design and function using multiple discreet sampling ...

  19. 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...

  20. Bacterial community composition and potential driving factors in different reef habitats of the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kegler, Hauke F.; Lukman, Muhammad; Teichberg, Mirta

    2017-01-01

    Coastal eutrophication is a key driver of shifts in bacterial communities on coral reefs. With fringing and patch reefs at varying distances from the coast the Spermonde Archipelago in southern Sulawesi, Indonesia offers ideal conditions to study the effects of coastal eutrophication along...... a spatially defined gradient. The present study investigated bacterial community composition of three coral reef habitats: the water column, sediments, and mucus of the hard coral genus Fungia, along that cross shelf environmental and water quality gradient. The main research questions were: (1) How do water....../Shigella (Gammaproteobacteria) and Raistonia (Betaproteobacteria), respectively, both dominated the bacterial community composition of the both size fractions of the water column and coral mucus. The sampled reef sediments were more diverse, and no single OTUs was dominant. There was no gradual shift in bacterial classes...

  1. Interoceanic differences in the reproduction of coral-reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thresher, R E

    1982-10-01

    Eggs of demersal spawning coral-reef fishes of the tropical western Atlantic are smaller than those of related species in the western Pacific. Decreased egg volume may result in increased fecundity per unit body weight of Atlantic species, a factor that may underlie apparent differences in the stability of the respective coral-reef fish communities.

  2. Coral Reefs and Their Management in Tanzania | Wagner | Western ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    management approaches and strategies implemented by various ICM programs, conservation areas and marine parks in Tanzania. It also provides recommendations for further research and coral reef management strategies. Keywords: coral reefs, threats, management, recent initiatives, Tanzania West Indian Ocean ...

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Coral reef monitoring (CRM) has been recognised as an important management tool and has consequently been incorporated in Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM) programmes in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO). Community-based coral reef monitoring (CB-CRM), which uses simplified procedures suitable for ...

  4. Coral reefs as eco-factories for fixing CO2

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kayanne, H.

    1994-01-01

    This paper presents an estimation of carbon dioxide fixation rate by the natural coral reefs. The author explains mechanism and rate of carbon dioxide fixation; then he presents the fixation by coral reefs on Ishigaki Island. (TEC). 3 refs., 3 figs

  5. Potential Habitat of Acropora spp. on Reefs of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands

    OpenAIRE

    Katherine E. Wirt; Pamela Hallock; David Palandro; Kathleen Semon Lunz

    2015-01-01

    Elkhorn and staghorn corals (Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis) were listed in 2006 as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The goal of this study was to create model potential-habitat maps for A. palmata and A. cervicornis, while identifying areas for possible re-establishment. These maps were created using a database of reported field observations in combination with existing benthic habitat maps. The mapped coral reef and hardbottom classifications throughout Florida, Puerto R...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-10-06

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

  7. Retention of habitat complexity minimizes disassembly of reef fish communities following disturbance: a large-scale natural experiment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael J Emslie

    Full Text Available High biodiversity ecosystems are commonly associated with complex habitats. Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems, but are under increasing pressure from numerous stressors, many of which reduce live coral cover and habitat complexity with concomitant effects on other organisms such as reef fishes. While previous studies have highlighted the importance of habitat complexity in structuring reef fish communities, they employed gradient or meta-analyses which lacked a controlled experimental design over broad spatial scales to explicitly separate the influence of live coral cover from overall habitat complexity. Here a natural experiment using a long term (20 year, spatially extensive (∼ 115,000 kms(2 dataset from the Great Barrier Reef revealed the fundamental importance of overall habitat complexity for reef fishes. Reductions of both live coral cover and habitat complexity had substantial impacts on fish communities compared to relatively minor impacts after major reductions in coral cover but not habitat complexity. Where habitat complexity was substantially reduced, species abundances broadly declined and a far greater number of fish species were locally extirpated, including economically important fishes. This resulted in decreased species richness and a loss of diversity within functional groups. Our results suggest that the retention of habitat complexity following disturbances can ameliorate the impacts of coral declines on reef fishes, so preserving their capacity to perform important functional roles essential to reef resilience. These results add to a growing body of evidence about the importance of habitat complexity for reef fishes, and represent the first large-scale examination of this question on the Great Barrier Reef.

  8. 78 FR 66683 - Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-06

    ... the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries... special coral reef ecosystem fishing permit. SUMMARY: NMFS issued a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that authorizes Kampachi Farms, LLC, to culture and harvest a coral reef ecosystem management unit...

  9. Trophodynamics as a Tool for Understanding Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stacy L. Bierwagen

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available The increased frequency of publications concerning trophic ecology of coral reefs suggests a degree of interest in the role species and functional groups play in energy flow within these systems. Coral reef ecosystems are particularly complex, however, and assignment of trophic positions requires precise knowledge of mechanisms driving food webs and population dynamics. Competent analytical tools and empirical analysis are integral to defining ecosystem processes and avoiding misinterpretation of results. Here we examine the contribution of trophodynamics to informing ecological roles and understanding of coral reef ecology. Applied trophic studies of coral reefs were used to identify recent trends in methodology and analysis. Although research is increasing, clear definitions and scaling of studies is lacking. Trophodynamic studies will require more precise spatial and temporal data collection and analysis using multiple methods to fully explore the complex interactions within coral reef ecosystems.

  10. 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…

  11. Crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes

    KAUST Repository

    Wilson, S. K.

    2010-02-26

    Expert opinion was canvassed to identify crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes. Scientists that had published three or more papers on the effects of climate and environmental factors on reef fishes were invited to submit five questions that, if addressed, would improve our understanding of climate change effects on coral reef fishes. Thirty-three scientists provided 155 questions, and 32 scientists scored these questions in terms of: (i) identifying a knowledge gap, (ii) achievability, (iii) applicability to a broad spectrum of species and reef habitats, and (iv) priority. Forty-two per cent of the questions related to habitat associations and community dynamics of fish, reflecting the established effects and immediate concern relating to climate-induced coral loss and habitat degradation. However, there were also questions on fish demographics, physiology, behaviour and management, all of which could be potentially affected by climate change. Irrespective of their individual expertise and background, scientists scored questions from different topics similarly, suggesting limited bias and recognition of a need for greater interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Presented here are the 53 highest-scoring unique questions. These questions should act as a guide for future research, providing a basis for better assessment and management of climate change impacts on coral reefs and associated fish communities.

  12. Herbivory versus corallivory: are parrotfish good or bad for Caribbean coral reefs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J.

    2009-09-01

    With coral cover in decline on many Caribbean reefs, any process of coral mortality is of potential concern. While sparisomid parrotfishes are major grazers of Caribbean reefs and help control algal blooms, the fact that they also undertake corallivory has prompted some to question the rationale for their conservation. Here the weight of evidence for beneficial effects of parrotfishes, in terms of reducing algal cover and facilitating demographic processes in corals, and the deleterious effects of parrotfishes in terms of causing coral mortality and chronic stress, are reviewed. While elevated parrotfish density will likely increase the predation rate upon juvenile corals, the net effect appears to be positive in enhancing coral recruitment through removal of macroalgal competitors. Parrotfish corallivory can cause modest partial colony mortality in the most intensively grazed species of Montastraea but the generation and healing of bite scars appear to be in near equilibrium, even when coral cover is low. Whole colony mortality in adult corals can lead to complete exclusion of some delicate, lagoonal species of Porites from forereef environments but is only reported for one reef species ( Porites astreoides), for one habitat (backreef), and with uncertain incidence (though likely zooxanthellae after bleaching events may be retarded. The balance of evidence to date finds strong support for the herbivory role of parrotfishes in facilitating coral recruitment, growth, and fecundity. In contrast, no net deleterious effects of corallivory have been reported for reef corals. Corallivory is unlikely to constrain overall coral cover but contraints upon dwindling populations of the Montastraea annularis species complex are feasible and the role of parrotfishes as a vector of coral disease requires evaluation. However, any assertion that conservation practices should guard against protecting corallivorous parrotfishes appears to be unwarranted at this stage.

  13. Quantifying uncertainty and resilience on coral reefs using a Bayesian approach

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Woesik, R

    2013-01-01

    Coral reefs are rapidly deteriorating globally. The contemporary management option favors managing for resilience to provide reefs with the capacity to tolerate human-induced disturbances. Yet resilience is most commonly defined as the capacity of a system to absorb disturbances without changing fundamental processes or functionality. Quantifying no change, or the uncertainty of a null hypothesis, is nonsensical using frequentist statistics, but is achievable using a Bayesian approach. This study outlines a practical Bayesian framework that quantifies the resilience of coral reefs using two inter-related models. The first model examines the functionality of coral reefs in the context of their reef-building capacity, whereas the second model examines the recovery rates of coral cover after disturbances. Quantifying intrinsic rates of increase in coral cover and habitat-specific, steady-state equilibria are useful proxies of resilience. A reduction in the intrinsic rate of increase following a disturbance, or the slowing of recovery over time, can be useful indicators of stress; a change in the steady-state equilibrium suggests a phase shift. Quantifying the uncertainty of key reef-building processes and recovery parameters, and comparing these parameters against benchmarks, facilitates the detection of loss of resilience and provides signals of imminent change. (letter)

  14. Quantifying uncertainty and resilience on coral reefs using a Bayesian approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Woesik, R.

    2013-12-01

    Coral reefs are rapidly deteriorating globally. The contemporary management option favors managing for resilience to provide reefs with the capacity to tolerate human-induced disturbances. Yet resilience is most commonly defined as the capacity of a system to absorb disturbances without changing fundamental processes or functionality. Quantifying no change, or the uncertainty of a null hypothesis, is nonsensical using frequentist statistics, but is achievable using a Bayesian approach. This study outlines a practical Bayesian framework that quantifies the resilience of coral reefs using two inter-related models. The first model examines the functionality of coral reefs in the context of their reef-building capacity, whereas the second model examines the recovery rates of coral cover after disturbances. Quantifying intrinsic rates of increase in coral cover and habitat-specific, steady-state equilibria are useful proxies of resilience. A reduction in the intrinsic rate of increase following a disturbance, or the slowing of recovery over time, can be useful indicators of stress; a change in the steady-state equilibrium suggests a phase shift. Quantifying the uncertainty of key reef-building processes and recovery parameters, and comparing these parameters against benchmarks, facilitates the detection of loss of resilience and provides signals of imminent change.

  15. Predicting Heat Stress to Inform Reef Management: NOAA Coral Reef Watch's 4-Month Coral Bleaching Outlook

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gang Liu

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW operates a global 4-Month Coral Bleaching Outlook system for shallow-water coral reefs in collaboration with NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP. The Outlooks are generated by applying the algorithm used in CRW's operational satellite coral bleaching heat stress monitoring, with slight modifications, to the sea surface temperature (SST predictions from NCEP's operational Climate Forecast System Version 2 (CFSv2. Once a week, the probability of heat stress capable of causing mass coral bleaching is predicted for 4-months in advance. Each day, CFSv2 generates an ensemble of 16 forecasts, with nine runs out to 45-days, three runs out to 3-months, and four runs out to 9-months. This results in 28–112 ensemble members produced each week. A composite for each predicted week is derived from daily predictions within each ensemble member. The probability of each of four heat stress ranges (Watch and higher, Warning and higher, Alert Level 1 and higher, and Alert Level 2 is determined from all the available ensemble members for the week to form the weekly probabilistic Outlook. The probabilistic 4-Month Outlook is the highest weekly probability predicted among all the weekly Outlooks during a 4-month period for each of the stress ranges. An initial qualitative skill analysis of the Outlooks for 2011–2015, compared with CRW's satellite-based coral bleaching heat stress products, indicated the Outlook has performed well with high hit rates and low miss rates for most coral reef areas. Regions identified with high false alarm rates will guide future improvements. This Outlook system, as the first and only freely available global coral bleaching prediction system, has been providing critical early warning to marine resource managers, scientists, and decision makers around the world to guide management, protection, and monitoring of coral reefs

  16. Simulated NASA Satellite Data Products for the NOAA Integrated Coral Reef Observation Network/Coral Reef Early Warning System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estep, Leland; Spruce, Joseph P.

    2007-01-01

    This RPC (Rapid Prototyping Capability) experiment will demonstrate the use of VIIRS (Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite) and LDCM (Landsat Data Continuity Mission) sensor data as significant input to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) ICON/ CREWS (Integrated Coral Reef Observation System/Coral Reef Early Warning System). The project affects the Coastal Management Program Element of the Applied Sciences Program.

  17. Selective feeding by coral reef fishes on coral lesions associated with brown band and black band disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chong-Seng, K. M.; Cole, A. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Willis, B. L.

    2011-06-01

    Recent studies have suggested that corallivorous fishes may be vectors for coral disease, but the extent to which fishes actually feed on and thereby potentially transmit coral pathogens is largely unknown. For this study, in situ video observations were used to assess the level to which fishes fed on diseased coral tissues at Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef. Surveys conducted at multiple locations around Lizard Island revealed that coral disease prevalence, especially of brown band disease (BrB), was higher in lagoon and backreef locations than in exposed reef crests. Accordingly, video cameras were deployed in lagoon and backreef habitats to record feeding by fishes during 1-h periods on diseased sections of each of 44 different coral colonies. Twenty-five species from five fish families (Blennidae, Chaetodontidae, Gobiidae, Labridae and Pomacentridae) were observed to feed on infected coral tissues of staghorn species of Acropora that were naturally infected with black band disease (BBD) or brown band disease (BrB). Collectively, these fishes took an average of 18.6 (±5.6 SE) and 14.3 (±6.1 SE) bites per hour from BBD and BrB lesions, respectively. More than 40% (408/948 bites) and nearly 25% (314/1319 bites) of bites were observed on lesions associated with BBD and BrB, respectively, despite these bands each representing only about 1% of the substratum available. Moreover, many corallivorous fishes ( Labrichthys unilineatus, Chaetodon aureofasciatus, C. baronessa, C. lunulatus, C. trifascialis, Cheiloprion labiatus) selectively targeted disease lesions over adjacent healthy coral tissues. These findings highlight the important role that reef fishes may play in the dynamics of coral diseases, either as vectors for the spread of coral disease or in reducing coral disease progression through intensive and selective consumption of diseased coral tissues.

  18. Larval settlement: the role of surface topography for sessile coral reef invertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whalan, Steve; Wahab, Muhammad A Abdul; Sprungala, Susanne; Poole, Andrew J; de Nys, Rocky

    2015-01-01

    For sessile marine invertebrates with complex life cycles, habitat choice is directed by the larval phase. Defining which habitat-linked cues are implicated in sessile invertebrate larval settlement has largely concentrated on chemical cues which are thought to signal optimal habitat. There has been less effort establishing physical settlement cues, including the role of surface microtopography. This laboratory based study tested whether surface microtopography alone (without chemical cues) plays an important contributing role in the settlement of larvae of coral reef sessile invertebrates. We measured settlement to tiles, engineered with surface microtopography (holes) that closely matched the sizes (width) of larvae of a range of corals and sponges, in addition to surfaces with holes that were markedly larger than larvae. Larvae from two species of scleractinian corals (Acropora millepora and Ctenactis crassa) and three species of coral reef sponges (Luffariella variabilis, Carteriospongia foliascens and Ircinia sp.,) were used in experiments. L. variabilis, A. millepora and C. crassa showed markedly higher settlement to surface microtopography that closely matched their larval width. C. foliascens and Ircinia sp., showed no specificity to surface microtopography, settling just as often to microtopography as to flat surfaces. The findings of this study question the sole reliance on chemical based larval settlement cues, previously established for some coral and sponge species, and demonstrate that specific physical cues (surface complexity) can also play an important role in larval settlement of coral reef sessile invertebrates.

  19. The potential for coral reef establishment through free-living stabilization

    KAUST Repository

    Hennige, S. J.

    2017-10-11

    Corals thrive in a variety of environments, from low wave and tidal energy lagoons, to high energy tidal reef flats, but remain dependent upon suitable substrate. Herein we reviewed the phenomenon of free-living corals (coralliths), examined whether they have the capacity to create their own stable habitat in otherwise uninhabitable, poor substrate environments through \\'free-living stabilization\\', and explore their potential ecological role on coral reefs. This stabilization could be achieved by coral settlement and survival on mobile substrate, with subsequent growth into free-living coralliths until a critical mass is reached that prevents further movement. This allows for secondary reef colonization by other coral species. To preliminarily test this hypothesis we provide evidence that the potential to support secondary coral colonisation increases with corallith size. Due to the limited diversity of corallith species observed here and in the literature, and the lack of physiological differences exhibited by coralliths here to static controls, it seems likely that only a small selection of coral species have the ability to form coralliths, and the potential to create their own stable habitat.

  20. The potential for coral reef establishment through free-living stabilization

    KAUST Repository

    Hennige, S. J.; Burdett, H. L.; Perna, Gabriela; Tudhope, A. W.; Kamenos, N. A.

    2017-01-01

    Corals thrive in a variety of environments, from low wave and tidal energy lagoons, to high energy tidal reef flats, but remain dependent upon suitable substrate. Herein we reviewed the phenomenon of free-living corals (coralliths), examined whether they have the capacity to create their own stable habitat in otherwise uninhabitable, poor substrate environments through 'free-living stabilization', and explore their potential ecological role on coral reefs. This stabilization could be achieved by coral settlement and survival on mobile substrate, with subsequent growth into free-living coralliths until a critical mass is reached that prevents further movement. This allows for secondary reef colonization by other coral species. To preliminarily test this hypothesis we provide evidence that the potential to support secondary coral colonisation increases with corallith size. Due to the limited diversity of corallith species observed here and in the literature, and the lack of physiological differences exhibited by coralliths here to static controls, it seems likely that only a small selection of coral species have the ability to form coralliths, and the potential to create their own stable habitat.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lidz, Barbara H.

    2001-01-01

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

  2. Climate change impacts on freshwater fish, coral reefs, and related ecosystem services in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    We analyzed the potential physical and economic impacts of climate change on freshwater fisheries and coral reefs in the United States, examining a reference scenario and two policy scenarios that limit global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We modeled shifts in suitable habitat ...

  3. Wave Dissipation on Low- to Super-Energy Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, D. L.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs are valuable, complex and bio-diverse ecosystems and are also known to be one of the most effective barriers to swell events in coastal environments. Previous research has found coral reefs to be remarkably efficient in removing most of the wave energy during the initial breaking and transformation on the reef flats. The rate of dissipation is so rapid that coral reefs have been referred to as rougher than any known coastal barrier. The dissipation of wave energy across reef flats is crucial in maintaining the relatively low-energy conditions in the back reef and lagoonal environments providing vital protection to adjacent beach or coastal regions from cyclone and storm events. A shift in the regulation of wave energy by reef flats could have catastrophic consequences ecologically, socially, and economically. This study examined the dissipation of wave energy during two swell events in Tahiti and Moorea, French Polyesia. Field sites were chosen in varying degrees of exposure and geomorphology from low-energy protected sites (Tiahura, Moorea) to super-energy sites (Teahupo'o, Tahiti). Waves were measured during two moderate to large swell events in cross reef transects using short-term high-resolution pressure transducers. Wave conditions were found to be similar in all back reef locations despite the very different wave exposure at each reef site. However, wave conditions on the reef flats were different and mirrored the variation in wave exposure with depth over the reef flat the primary regulator of reef flat wave height. These results indicate that coral reef flats evolve morphodynamically with the wave climate, which creates coral reef geomorphologies capable of dissipating wave energy that results in similar back reef wave conditions regardless of the offshore wave climate.

  4. Habitat Selectivity and Reliance on Live Corals for Indo-Pacific Hawkfishes (Family: Cirrhitidae)

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James

    2015-11-03

    Hawkfishes (family: Cirrhitidae) are small conspicuous reef predators that commonly perch on, or shelter within, the branches of coral colonies. This study examined habitat associations of hawkfishes, and explicitly tested whether hawkfishes associate with specific types of live coral. Live coral use and habitat selectivity of hawkfishes was explored at six locations from Chagos in the central Indian Ocean extending east to Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. A total of 529 hawkfishes from seven species were recorded across all locations with 63% of individuals observed perching on, or sheltering within, live coral colonies. Five species (all except Cirrhitus pinnulatus and Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus) associated with live coral habitats. Cirrhitichthys falco selected for species of Pocillopora while Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri selected for both Pocillopora and Acropora, revealing that these habitats are used disproportionately more than expected based on the local cover of these coral genera. Habitat selection was consistent across geographic locations, and species of Pocillopora were the most frequently used and most consistently selected even though this coral genus never comprised more than 6% of the total coral cover at any of the locations. Across locations, Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri were the most abundant species and variation in their abundance corresponded with local patterns of live coral cover and abundance of Pocilloporid corals, respectively. These findings demonstrate the link between small predatory fishes and live coral habitats adding to the growing body of literature highlighting that live corals (especially erect branching corals) are critically important for sustaining high abundance and diversity of fishes on coral reefs.

  5. Habitat Selectivity and Reliance on Live Corals for Indo-Pacific Hawkfishes (Family: Cirrhitidae)

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James; Hoey, Andrew S.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Depczynski, Martial; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.; Holmes, Thomas H.; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2015-01-01

    Hawkfishes (family: Cirrhitidae) are small conspicuous reef predators that commonly perch on, or shelter within, the branches of coral colonies. This study examined habitat associations of hawkfishes, and explicitly tested whether hawkfishes associate with specific types of live coral. Live coral use and habitat selectivity of hawkfishes was explored at six locations from Chagos in the central Indian Ocean extending east to Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. A total of 529 hawkfishes from seven species were recorded across all locations with 63% of individuals observed perching on, or sheltering within, live coral colonies. Five species (all except Cirrhitus pinnulatus and Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus) associated with live coral habitats. Cirrhitichthys falco selected for species of Pocillopora while Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri selected for both Pocillopora and Acropora, revealing that these habitats are used disproportionately more than expected based on the local cover of these coral genera. Habitat selection was consistent across geographic locations, and species of Pocillopora were the most frequently used and most consistently selected even though this coral genus never comprised more than 6% of the total coral cover at any of the locations. Across locations, Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri were the most abundant species and variation in their abundance corresponded with local patterns of live coral cover and abundance of Pocilloporid corals, respectively. These findings demonstrate the link between small predatory fishes and live coral habitats adding to the growing body of literature highlighting that live corals (especially erect branching corals) are critically important for sustaining high abundance and diversity of fishes on coral reefs.

  6. Habitat Selectivity and Reliance on Live Corals for Indo-Pacific Hawkfishes (Family: Cirrhitidae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Darren J Coker

    Full Text Available Hawkfishes (family: Cirrhitidae are small conspicuous reef predators that commonly perch on, or shelter within, the branches of coral colonies. This study examined habitat associations of hawkfishes, and explicitly tested whether hawkfishes associate with specific types of live coral. Live coral use and habitat selectivity of hawkfishes was explored at six locations from Chagos in the central Indian Ocean extending east to Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. A total of 529 hawkfishes from seven species were recorded across all locations with 63% of individuals observed perching on, or sheltering within, live coral colonies. Five species (all except Cirrhitus pinnulatus and Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus associated with live coral habitats. Cirrhitichthys falco selected for species of Pocillopora while Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri selected for both Pocillopora and Acropora, revealing that these habitats are used disproportionately more than expected based on the local cover of these coral genera. Habitat selection was consistent across geographic locations, and species of Pocillopora were the most frequently used and most consistently selected even though this coral genus never comprised more than 6% of the total coral cover at any of the locations. Across locations, Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri were the most abundant species and variation in their abundance corresponded with local patterns of live coral cover and abundance of Pocilloporid corals, respectively. These findings demonstrate the link between small predatory fishes and live coral habitats adding to the growing body of literature highlighting that live corals (especially erect branching corals are critically important for sustaining high abundance and diversity of fishes on coral reefs.

  7. Habitat Selectivity and Reliance on Live Corals for Indo-Pacific Hawkfishes (Family: Cirrhitidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coker, Darren J; Hoey, Andrew S; Wilson, Shaun K; Depczynski, Martial; Graham, Nicholas A J; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; Holmes, Thomas H; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2015-01-01

    Hawkfishes (family: Cirrhitidae) are small conspicuous reef predators that commonly perch on, or shelter within, the branches of coral colonies. This study examined habitat associations of hawkfishes, and explicitly tested whether hawkfishes associate with specific types of live coral. Live coral use and habitat selectivity of hawkfishes was explored at six locations from Chagos in the central Indian Ocean extending east to Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. A total of 529 hawkfishes from seven species were recorded across all locations with 63% of individuals observed perching on, or sheltering within, live coral colonies. Five species (all except Cirrhitus pinnulatus and Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus) associated with live coral habitats. Cirrhitichthys falco selected for species of Pocillopora while Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri selected for both Pocillopora and Acropora, revealing that these habitats are used disproportionately more than expected based on the local cover of these coral genera. Habitat selection was consistent across geographic locations, and species of Pocillopora were the most frequently used and most consistently selected even though this coral genus never comprised more than 6% of the total coral cover at any of the locations. Across locations, Paracirrhites arcatus and P. forsteri were the most abundant species and variation in their abundance corresponded with local patterns of live coral cover and abundance of Pocilloporid corals, respectively. These findings demonstrate the link between small predatory fishes and live coral habitats adding to the growing body of literature highlighting that live corals (especially erect branching corals) are critically important for sustaining high abundance and diversity of fishes on coral reefs.

  8. Diseases of corals with particular reference to Indian reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Raghukumar, C.

    Diseases are one of the factors that change the structure and functioning of coral-reef communities as they cause irreversible damage to the corals Reports on coral diseases describe the etiological agents responsible for the disease and in a few...

  9. Elevated Colonization of Microborers at a Volcanically Acidified Coral Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Enochs, Ian C; Manzello, Derek P; Tribollet, Aline; Valentino, Lauren; Kolodziej, Graham; Donham, Emily M; Fitchett, Mark D; Carlton, Renee; Price, Nichole N

    2016-01-01

    Experiments have demonstrated that ocean acidification (OA) conditions projected to occur by the end of the century will slow the calcification of numerous coral species and accelerate the biological erosion of reef habitats (bioerosion). Microborers, which bore holes less than 100 μm diameter, are one of the most pervasive agents of bioerosion and are present throughout all calcium carbonate substrates within the reef environment. The response of diverse reef functional groups to OA is known from real-world ecosystems, but to date our understanding of the relationship between ocean pH and carbonate dissolution by microborers is limited to controlled laboratory experiments. Here we examine the settlement of microborers to pure mineral calcium carbonate substrates (calcite) along a natural pH gradient at a volcanically acidified reef at Maug, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Colonization of pioneer microborers was higher in the lower pH waters near the vent field. Depth of microborer penetration was highly variable both among and within sites (4.2-195.5 μm) over the short duration of the study (3 mo.) and no clear relationship to increasing CO2 was observed. Calculated rates of biogenic dissolution, however, were highest at the two sites closer to the vent and were not significantly different from each other. These data represent the first evidence of OA-enhancement of microboring flora colonization in newly available substrates and provide further evidence that microborers, especially bioeroding chlorophytes, respond positively to low pH. The accelerated breakdown and dissolution of reef framework structures with OA will likely lead to declines in structural complexity and integrity, as well as possible loss of essential habitat.

  10. Elevated Colonization of Microborers at a Volcanically Acidified Coral Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ian C Enochs

    Full Text Available Experiments have demonstrated that ocean acidification (OA conditions projected to occur by the end of the century will slow the calcification of numerous coral species and accelerate the biological erosion of reef habitats (bioerosion. Microborers, which bore holes less than 100 μm diameter, are one of the most pervasive agents of bioerosion and are present throughout all calcium carbonate substrates within the reef environment. The response of diverse reef functional groups to OA is known from real-world ecosystems, but to date our understanding of the relationship between ocean pH and carbonate dissolution by microborers is limited to controlled laboratory experiments. Here we examine the settlement of microborers to pure mineral calcium carbonate substrates (calcite along a natural pH gradient at a volcanically acidified reef at Maug, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI. Colonization of pioneer microborers was higher in the lower pH waters near the vent field. Depth of microborer penetration was highly variable both among and within sites (4.2-195.5 μm over the short duration of the study (3 mo. and no clear relationship to increasing CO2 was observed. Calculated rates of biogenic dissolution, however, were highest at the two sites closer to the vent and were not significantly different from each other. These data represent the first evidence of OA-enhancement of microboring flora colonization in newly available substrates and provide further evidence that microborers, especially bioeroding chlorophytes, respond positively to low pH. The accelerated breakdown and dissolution of reef framework structures with OA will likely lead to declines in structural complexity and integrity, as well as possible loss of essential habitat.

  11. Climate change and coral reef bleaching: An ecological assessment of long-term impacts, recovery trends and future outlook

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, Andrew C.; Glynn, Peter W.; Riegl, Bernhard

    2008-12-01

    Since the early 1980s, episodes of coral reef bleaching and mortality, due primarily to climate-induced ocean warming, have occurred almost annually in one or more of the world's tropical or subtropical seas. Bleaching is episodic, with the most severe events typically accompanying coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomena, such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which result in sustained regional elevations of ocean temperature. Using this extended dataset (25+ years), we review the short- and long-term ecological impacts of coral bleaching on reef ecosystems, and quantitatively synthesize recovery data worldwide. Bleaching episodes have resulted in catastrophic loss of coral cover in some locations, and have changed coral community structure in many others, with a potentially critical influence on the maintenance of biodiversity in the marine tropics. Bleaching has also set the stage for other declines in reef health, such as increases in coral diseases, the breakdown of reef framework by bioeroders, and the loss of critical habitat for associated reef fishes and other biota. Secondary ecological effects, such as the concentration of predators on remnant surviving coral populations, have also accelerated the pace of decline in some areas. Although bleaching severity and recovery have been variable across all spatial scales, some reefs have experienced relatively rapid recovery from severe bleaching impacts. There has been a significant overall recovery of coral cover in the Indian Ocean, where many reefs were devastated by a single large bleaching event in 1998. In contrast, coral cover on western Atlantic reefs has generally continued to decline in response to multiple smaller bleaching events and a diverse set of chronic secondary stressors. No clear trends are apparent in the eastern Pacific, the central-southern-western Pacific or the Arabian Gulf, where some reefs are recovering and others are not. The majority of survivors and new recruits on

  12. Reef-fidelity and migration of tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, across the coral sea

    KAUST Repository

    Werry, Jonathan M.

    2014-01-08

    Knowledge of the habitat use and migration patterns of large sharks is important for assessing the effectiveness of large predator Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), vulnerability to fisheries and environmental influences, and management of shark-human interactions. Here we compare movement, reef-fidelity, and ocean migration for tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, across the Coral Sea, with an emphasis on New Caledonia. Thirty-three tiger sharks (1.54 to 3.9 m total length) were tagged with passive acoustic transmitters and their localised movements monitored on receiver arrays in New Caledonia, the Chesterfield and Lord Howe Islands in the Coral Sea, and the east coast of Queensland, Australia. Satellite tags were also used to determine habitat use and movements among habitats across the Coral Sea. Sub-adults and one male adult tiger shark displayed year-round residency in the Chesterfields with two females tagged in the Chesterfields and detected on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, after 591 and 842 days respectively. In coastal barrier reefs, tiger sharks were transient at acoustic arrays and each individual demonstrated a unique pattern of occurrence. From 2009 to 2013, fourteen sharks with satellite and acoustic tags undertook wide-ranging movements up to 1114 km across the Coral Sea with eight detected back on acoustic arrays up to 405 days after being tagged. Tiger sharks dove 1136 m and utilised three-dimensional activity spaces averaged at 2360 km3. The Chesterfield Islands appear to be important habitat for sub-adults and adult male tiger sharks. Management strategies need to consider the wide-ranging movements of large (sub-adult and adult) male and female tiger sharks at the individual level, whereas fidelity to specific coastal reefs may be consistent across groups of individuals. Coastal barrier reef MPAs, however, only afford brief protection for large tiger sharks, therefore determining the importance of other oceanic Coral Sea reefs should be a

  13. Reef-fidelity and migration of tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, across the coral sea

    KAUST Repository

    Werry, Jonathan M.; Planes, Serge; Berumen, Michael L.; Lee, Kate A.; Braun, Camrin D.; Clua, Eric

    2014-01-01

    Knowledge of the habitat use and migration patterns of large sharks is important for assessing the effectiveness of large predator Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), vulnerability to fisheries and environmental influences, and management of shark-human interactions. Here we compare movement, reef-fidelity, and ocean migration for tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, across the Coral Sea, with an emphasis on New Caledonia. Thirty-three tiger sharks (1.54 to 3.9 m total length) were tagged with passive acoustic transmitters and their localised movements monitored on receiver arrays in New Caledonia, the Chesterfield and Lord Howe Islands in the Coral Sea, and the east coast of Queensland, Australia. Satellite tags were also used to determine habitat use and movements among habitats across the Coral Sea. Sub-adults and one male adult tiger shark displayed year-round residency in the Chesterfields with two females tagged in the Chesterfields and detected on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, after 591 and 842 days respectively. In coastal barrier reefs, tiger sharks were transient at acoustic arrays and each individual demonstrated a unique pattern of occurrence. From 2009 to 2013, fourteen sharks with satellite and acoustic tags undertook wide-ranging movements up to 1114 km across the Coral Sea with eight detected back on acoustic arrays up to 405 days after being tagged. Tiger sharks dove 1136 m and utilised three-dimensional activity spaces averaged at 2360 km3. The Chesterfield Islands appear to be important habitat for sub-adults and adult male tiger sharks. Management strategies need to consider the wide-ranging movements of large (sub-adult and adult) male and female tiger sharks at the individual level, whereas fidelity to specific coastal reefs may be consistent across groups of individuals. Coastal barrier reef MPAs, however, only afford brief protection for large tiger sharks, therefore determining the importance of other oceanic Coral Sea reefs should be a

  14. Reef-fidelity and migration of tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, across the Coral Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Werry, Jonathan M; Planes, Serge; Berumen, Michael L; Lee, Kate A; Braun, Camrin D; Clua, Eric

    2014-01-01

    Knowledge of the habitat use and migration patterns of large sharks is important for assessing the effectiveness of large predator Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), vulnerability to fisheries and environmental influences, and management of shark-human interactions. Here we compare movement, reef-fidelity, and ocean migration for tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, across the Coral Sea, with an emphasis on New Caledonia. Thirty-three tiger sharks (1.54 to 3.9 m total length) were tagged with passive acoustic transmitters and their localised movements monitored on receiver arrays in New Caledonia, the Chesterfield and Lord Howe Islands in the Coral Sea, and the east coast of Queensland, Australia. Satellite tags were also used to determine habitat use and movements among habitats across the Coral Sea. Sub-adults and one male adult tiger shark displayed year-round residency in the Chesterfields with two females tagged in the Chesterfields and detected on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, after 591 and 842 days respectively. In coastal barrier reefs, tiger sharks were transient at acoustic arrays and each individual demonstrated a unique pattern of occurrence. From 2009 to 2013, fourteen sharks with satellite and acoustic tags undertook wide-ranging movements up to 1114 km across the Coral Sea with eight detected back on acoustic arrays up to 405 days after being tagged. Tiger sharks dove 1136 m and utilised three-dimensional activity spaces averaged at 2360 km³. The Chesterfield Islands appear to be important habitat for sub-adults and adult male tiger sharks. Management strategies need to consider the wide-ranging movements of large (sub-adult and adult) male and female tiger sharks at the individual level, whereas fidelity to specific coastal reefs may be consistent across groups of individuals. Coastal barrier reef MPAs, however, only afford brief protection for large tiger sharks, therefore determining the importance of other oceanic Coral Sea reefs should be a

  15. Physiology can contribute to better understanding, management, and conservation of coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Illing, Björn; Rummer, Jodie L

    2017-01-01

    Coral reef fishes, like many other marine organisms, are affected by anthropogenic stressors such as fishing and pollution and, owing to climate change, are experiencing increasing water temperatures and ocean acidification. Against the backdrop of these various stressors, a mechanistic understanding of processes governing individual organismal performance is the first step for identifying drivers of coral reef fish population dynamics. In fact, physiological measurements can help to reveal potential cause-and-effect relationships and enable physiologists to advise conservation management by upscaling results from cellular and individual organismal levels to population levels. Here, we highlight studies that include physiological measurements of coral reef fishes and those that give advice for their conservation. A literature search using combined physiological, conservation and coral reef fish key words resulted in ~1900 studies, of which only 99 matched predefined requirements. We observed that, over the last 20 years, the combination of physiological and conservation aspects in studies on coral reef fishes has received increased attention. Most of the selected studies made their physiological observations at the whole organism level and used their findings to give conservation advice on population dynamics, habitat use or the potential effects of climate change. The precision of the recommendations differed greatly and, not surprisingly, was least concrete when studies examined the effects of projected climate change scenarios. Although more and more physiological studies on coral reef fishes include conservation aspects, there is still a lack of concrete advice for conservation managers, with only very few published examples of physiological findings leading to improved management practices. We conclude with a call to action to foster better knowledge exchange between natural scientists and conservation managers to translate physiological findings more

  16. Local extinction of a coral reef fish explained by inflexible prey choice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooker, R. M.; Munday, P. L.; Brandl, S. J.; Jones, G. P.

    2014-12-01

    While global extinctions of marine species are infrequent, local extinctions are becoming common. However, the role of habitat degradation and resource specialisation in explaining local extinction is unknown. On coral reefs, coral bleaching is an increasingly frequent cause of coral mortality that can result in dramatic changes to coral community composition. Coral-associated fishes are often specialised on a limited suite of coral species and are therefore sensitive to these changes. This study documents the local extinction of a corallivorous reef fish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, following a mass bleaching event that altered the species composition of associated coral communities. Local extinction only occurred on reefs that also completely lost a key prey species, Acropora millepora, even though coral cover remained high. In an experimental test, fish continued to select bleached A. millepora over the healthy, but less-preferred prey species that resisted bleaching. These results suggest that behavioural inflexibility may limit the ability of specialists to cope with even subtle changes to resource availability.

  17. 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.

  18. Boat noise prevents soundscape-based habitat selection by coral planulae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lecchini, David; Bertucci, Frédéric; Gache, Camille; Khalife, Adam; Besson, Marc; Roux, Natacha; Berthe, Cecile; Singh, Shubha; Parmentier, Eric; Nugues, Maggy M; Brooker, Rohan M; Dixson, Danielle L; Hédouin, Laetitia

    2018-06-18

    Understanding the relationship between coral reef condition and recruitment potential is vital for the development of effective management strategies that maintain coral cover and biodiversity. Coral larvae (planulae) have been shown to use certain sensory cues to orient towards settlement habitats (e.g. the odour of live crustose coralline algae - CCA). However, the influence of auditory cues on coral recruitment, and any effect of anthropogenic noise on this process, remain largely unknown. Here, we determined the effect of protected reef (MPA), exploited reef (non-MPA) soundscapes, and a source of anthropogenic noise (boat) on the habitat preference for live CCA over dead CCA in the planula of two common Indo-Pacific coral species (Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora cytherea). Soundscapes from protected reefs significantly increased the phonotaxis of planulae of both species towards live CCA, especially when compared to boat noise. Boat noise playback prevented this preferential selection of live CCA as a settlement substrate. These results suggest that sources of anthropogenic noise such as motor boat can disrupt the settlement behaviours of coral planulae. Acoustic cues should be accounted for when developing management strategies aimed at maximizing larval recruitment to coral reefs.

  19. 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.

    stream_size 4 stream_content_type text/plain stream_name Region_Workshop_Conserv_Sustain_Mgmt_Coral_Reefs_1997_C83.pdf.txt stream_source_info Region_Workshop_Conserv_Sustain_Mgmt_Coral_Reefs_1997_C83.pdf.txt Content-Encoding ISO-8859...

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Using virtual reality to estimate aesthetic values of coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clifford, Sam; Caley, M. Julian; Pearse, Alan R.; Brown, Ross; James, Allan; Christensen, Bryce; Bednarz, Tomasz; Anthony, Ken; González-Rivero, Manuel; Mengersen, Kerrie; Peterson, Erin E.

    2018-01-01

    Aesthetic value, or beauty, is important to the relationship between humans and natural environments and is, therefore, a fundamental socio-economic attribute of conservation alongside other ecosystem services. However, beauty is difficult to quantify and is not estimated well using traditional approaches to monitoring coral-reef aesthetics. To improve the estimation of ecosystem aesthetic values, we developed and implemented a novel framework used to quantify features of coral-reef aesthetics based on people's perceptions of beauty. Three observer groups with different experience to reef environments (Marine Scientist, Experienced Diver and Citizen) were virtually immersed in Australian's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) using 360° images. Perceptions of beauty and observations were used to assess the importance of eight potential attributes of reef-aesthetic value. Among these, heterogeneity, defined by structural complexity and colour diversity, was positively associated with coral-reef-aesthetic values. There were no group-level differences in the way the observer groups perceived reef aesthetics suggesting that past experiences with coral reefs do not necessarily influence the perception of beauty by the observer. The framework developed here provides a generic tool to help identify indicators of aesthetic value applicable to a wide variety of natural systems. The ability to estimate aesthetic values robustly adds an important dimension to the holistic conservation of the GBR, coral reefs worldwide and other natural ecosystems. PMID:29765676

  3. 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....

  4. The status of coral reefs and associated fishes and invertebrates of commercial importance in Pedro Bank, Jamaica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W. Bruckner

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available The coral reefs located off the north coast of the Jamaican mainland are some of the best and most studied reefs in the world. Coral reefs of Pedro Bank, Jamaica were assessed in March, 2012 as part of the KSLOF Global Reef Expedition using a modified Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA protocol. The main objectives were to: 1 characterize the distribution, structure and health of coral reefs; and 2 evaluate the population status of commercially important reef fishes and invertebrates. This work was conducted to assist in characterizing coral reef habitats within and outside a proposed fishery reserve, and identify other possible conservation zones. Within 20 reefs, live coral cover ranged from 4.9% to 19.2%. Coral communities were dominated by small corals (esp. Agaricia, Porites and Siderastrea although many sites had high abundances of large colonies of Montastraea annularis and M. faveolata, and these were generally in good condition. A single area, within the proposed fishery reserve, had extensive Acropora cervicornis thickets, and several shallow locations had small, but recovering A. palmata stands. Macroalgal cover at all sites was relatively low, with only three sites having greater than 30% cover; crustose coralline algae (CCA was high, with eight sites exceeding 20% cover. Fish biomass at all sites near the Cays was low, with a dominance of herbivores (parrotfish and surgeonfish and a near absence of groupers, snappers and other commercially important species. While parrotfish were the most abundant fish, these were all extremely small (mean size= 12cm; <4% over 29cm, and they were dominated by red band parrotfish (Sparisoma aurofrenatum followed by striped parrotfish (Scarus iseri. While coral communities remain in better condition than most coastal reefs in Jamaica, intense fishing pressure using fish traps (main target species: surgeonfish and hookah/spear fishing (main target: parrotfish is of grave concern to the

  5. Geographic extent and variation of a coral reef trophic cascade.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClanahan, T R; Muthiga, N A

    2016-07-01

    Trophic cascades caused by a reduction in predators of sea urchins have been reported in Indian Ocean and Caribbean coral reefs. Previous studies have been constrained by their site-specific nature and limited spatial replication, which has produced site and species-specific understanding that can potentially preclude larger community-organization nuances and generalizations. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the extent and variability of the cascade community in response to fishing across ~23° of latitude and longitude in coral reefs in the southwestern Indian Ocean. The taxonomic composition of predators of sea urchins, the sea urchin community itself, and potential effects of changing grazer abundance on the calcifying benthic organisms were studied in 171 unique coral reef sites. We found that geography and habitat were less important than the predator-prey relationships. There were seven sea urchin community clusters that aligned with a gradient of declining fishable biomass and the abundance of a key predator, the orange-lined triggerfish (Balistapus undulatus). The orange-lined triggerfish dominated where sea urchin numbers and diversity were low but the relative abundance of wrasses and emperors increased where sea urchin numbers were high. Two-thirds of the study sites had high sea urchin biomass (>2,300 kg/ha) and could be dominated by four different sea urchin species, Echinothrix diadema, Diadema savignyi, D. setosum, and Echinometra mathaei, depending on the community of sea urchin predators, geographic location, and water depth. One-third of the sites had low sea urchin biomass and diversity and were typified by high fish biomass, predators of sea urchins, and herbivore abundance, representing lightly fished communities with generally higher cover of calcifying algae. Calcifying algal cover was associated with low urchin abundance where as noncalcifying fleshy algal cover was not clearly associated with herbivore abundance. Fishing of the orange

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Linking social and ecological systems to sustain coral reef fisheries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cinner, Joshua E; McClanahan, Timothy R; Daw, Tim M; Graham, Nicholas A J; Maina, Joseph; Wilson, Shaun K; Hughes, Terence P

    2009-02-10

    The ecosystem goods and services provided by coral reefs are critical to the social and economic welfare of hundreds of millions of people, overwhelmingly in developing countries [1]. Widespread reef degradation is severely eroding these goods and services, but the socioeconomic factors shaping the ways that societies use coral reefs are poorly understood [2]. We examine relationships between human population density, a multidimensional index of socioeconomic development, reef complexity, and the condition of coral reef fish populations in five countries across the Indian Ocean. In fished sites, fish biomass was negatively related to human population density, but it was best explained by reef complexity and a U-shaped relationship with socioeconomic development. The biomass of reef fishes was four times lower at locations with intermediate levels of economic development than at locations with both low and high development. In contrast, average biomass inside fishery closures was three times higher than in fished sites and was not associated with socioeconomic development. Sustaining coral reef fisheries requires an integrated approach that uses tools such as protected areas to quickly build reef resources while also building capacities and capital in societies over longer time frames to address the complex underlying causes of reef degradation.

  10. Accretion history of mid-Holocene coral reefs from the southeast Florida continental reef tract, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stathakopoulos, A.; Riegl, B. M.

    2015-03-01

    Sixteen new coral reef cores were collected to better understand the accretion history and composition of submerged relict reefs offshore of continental southeast (SE) Florida. Coral radiometric ages from three sites on the shallow inner reef indicate accretion initiated by 8,050 Cal BP and terminated by 5,640 Cal BP. The reef accreted up to 3.75 m of vertical framework with accretion rates that averaged 2.53 m kyr-1. The reef was composed of a nearly even mixture of Acropora palmata and massive corals. In many cases, cores show an upward transition from massives to A. palmata and may indicate local dominance by this species prior to reef demise. Quantitative macroscopic analyses of reef clasts for various taphonomic and diagenetic features did not correlate well with depth/environmental-related trends established in other studies. The mixed coral framestone reef lacks a classical Caribbean reef zonation and is best described as an immature reef and/or a series of fused patch reefs; a pattern that is evident in both cores and reef morphology. This is in stark contrast to the older and deeper outer reef of the SE Florida continental reef tract. Accretion of the outer reef lasted from 10,695-8,000 Cal BP and resulted in a larger and better developed structure that achieved a distinct reef zonation. The discrepancies in overall reef morphology and size as well as the causes of reef terminations remain elusive without further study, yet they likely point to different climatic/environmental conditions during their respective accretion histories.

  11. ESR dosimetric properties of modern coral reef

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sharaf, M.A. E-mail: mokhtar_sharaf@yahoo.com; Hassan, Gamal M

    2004-06-01

    Modern coral reef samples from Egypt were irradiated with {sup 60}Co{gamma}-rays to study radicals for dosimetric materials with electron spin resonance (ESR). The ESR spectrum for the radical species in unirradiated coral is characterized by four signals with spectroscopic splitting factors of g=2.0056, 2.0030, 2.0006 and 1.997. The signal at g=2.0006{+-}0.0005 is ascribed to free rotation CO{sub 2}{sup -} radicals and used as a dosimetric one. The response to {gamma}-ray doses ranging from 5 to 10{sup 3} Gy and the thermal stability has been studied. The number of free radicals per 100 eV (G-value) was found to be 0.45 {+-} 0.1 and 0.9 {+-} 0.18 for coral and alanine, respectively. The lifetime of radicals and the activation energy were estimated from Arrhenius plots to be approximately 8 x 10{sup 5} {+-} 1.6 x 10{sup 5} years, and 1.12 eV, respectively.

  12. Hurricanes, coral reefs and rainforests: resistance, ruin and recovery in the Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lugo, Ariel E.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Nixon, Scott W.

    2000-01-01

    The coexistence of hurricanes, coral reefs, and rainforests in the Caribbean demonstrates that highly structured ecosystems with great diversity can flourish in spite of recurring exposure to intense destructive energy. Coral reefs develop in response to wave energy and resist hurricanes largely by virtue of their structural strength. Limited fetch also protects some reefs from fully developed hurricane waves. While storms may produce dramatic local reef damage, they appear to have little impact on the ability of coral reefs to provide food or habitat for fish and other animals. Rainforests experience an enormous increase in wind energy during hurricanes with dramatic structural changes in the vegetation. The resulting changes in forest microclimate are larger than those on reefs and the loss of fruit, leaves, cover, and microclimate has a great impact on animal populations. Recovery of many aspects of rainforest structure and function is rapid, though there may be long-term changes in species composition. While resistance and repair have maintained reefs and rainforests in the past, human impacts may threaten their ability to survive.

  13. 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.

  14. Biological impacts of oil pollution: coral reefs. V. 3

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1997-01-01

    Coral reefs are the largest structures made by living things and exist as extremely productive ecosystems in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Their location in nearshore waters means that there is a potential danger to corals from tanker accidents, refinery operations, oil exploration and production. There are now a number of published scientific papers concerning the effects of oils on corals, but results are not entirely consistent. This report summarizes and interprets the findings, and provides background information on the structure and ecology of coral reefs. Clean-up options and their implications are discussed in the light of the latest evidence from case histories and field experiments. (UK)

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Coral diseases and their research in Colombian reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gil A, Diego L; Navas C, Raul; RodrIguez, Alberto; Reyes, Maria C

    2009-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most beautiful and important ecosystems in the planet. These ecosystems have existed for over 200 million years and have survived extreme episodes such as glaciation and mass extinctions during their history. Nonetheless, during the last three decades, these ecosystems have registered sudden and dramatic changes that, according to some researchers, endanger their survival and persistence. One of the major problems coral reefs are facing nowadays is the outbreak of diseases that affect corals, which constitute the basic unit of this ecosystem. There is no consensus regarding whether these disease outbreaks are recent episodes; but what seems to be true is that some of these diseases have favored unprecedented changes in coral reefs. Coral reefs in Colombia have also been affected by disease events, and since the 1980, several coral diseases have been observed and studied, and even one of them was first described in Colombian reefs. This work presents a compendium of the main coral diseases registered around the world and is meant to serve as a guide for new studies in this topic. Similarly, a summary of coral disease research carried out in Colombia is presented as well as a discussion on current perspectives for the study of this field in the country.

  19. Carbonate Budget data of the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI) region from 2014-09-29 to 2014-10-17 (NCEI Accession 0156913)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set includes census based carbonate budget data that was collected in coral reef habitats located within the SEFCRI region. Surveys (based on Perry et al...

  20. Ocular media transmission of coral reef fish--can coral reef fish see ultraviolet light?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siebeck, U E; Marshall, N J

    2001-01-15

    Many coral reef fish are beautifully coloured and the reflectance spectra of their colour patterns may include UVa wavelengths (315-400 nm) that are largely invisible to the human eye (Losey, G. S., Cronin, T. W., Goldsmith, T. H., David, H., Marshall, N. J., & McFarland, W.N. (1999). The uv visual world of fishes: a review. Journal of Fish Biology, 54, 921-943; Marshall, N. J. & Oberwinkler, J. (1999). The colourful world of the mantis shrimp. Nature, 401, 873-874). Before the possible functional significance of UV patterns can be investigated, it is of course essential to establish whether coral reef fishes can see ultraviolet light. As a means of tackling this question, in this study the transmittance of the ocular media of 211 coral reef fish species was measured. It was found that the ocular media of 50.2% of the examined species strongly absorb light of wavelengths below 400 nm, which makes the perception of UV in these fish very unlikely. The remaining 49.8% of the species studied possess ocular media that do transmit UV light, making the perception of UV possible.

  1. 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...

  2. 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

  3. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hochberg, E. J.

    2016-02-01

    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.

  5. 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...

  6. 443 ANTHROPOGENIC IMPACTS ON CORAL REEFS AND THEIR ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Osondu

    Data collection methodology included household questionnaire survey, key informant interviews, participant .... Anthropogenic Impacts on Coral Reefs and Their Effect on Fishery ................Mbije & ... common along Kilwa coastline, away of large markets ... questionnaire whereas content analysis was used for analyzing ...

  7. 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...

  8. Global change and the decline of coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Strasser, A.

    1999-01-01

    Ever since coral reefs exist, changing environmental conditions have periodically led to their decline. However, within the perspective of geological time-spans, corals have always managed to re-install themselves. Today, human activity has enhanced stress factors and added new ones that cause a rapid and (on the human time-scale) irreversible decline of many reef ecosystems. The reasons for the disturbance of these complex communities are multiple, but global warming is a k...

  9. Calcite/aragonite-biocoated artificial coral reefs for marine parks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Volodymyr Ivanov

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Natural formation of the coral reefs is complicated by slow biomediated precipitation of calcium carbonate from seawater. Therefore, manufactured artificial coral reefs can be used for the formation of “underwater gardens” in marine parks for the recreational fishing and diving that will protect natural coral reefs from negative anthropogenic effects. Additionally, the coating of the concrete, plastic or wooden surfaces of artificial coral reef with calcium carbonate layer could promote attachment and growth of coral larvae and photosynthetic epibiota on these surfaces. Three methods of biotechnological coating of the artificial coral reefs have been tested: (1 microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation from concentrated calcium chloride solution using live bacterial culture of Bacillus sp. VS1 or dead but urease-active cells of Yaniella sp. VS8; (2 precipitation from calcium bicarbonate solution; (3 precipitation using aerobic oxidation of calcium acetate by bacteria Bacillus ginsengi strain VSA1. The thickness of biotechnologically produced calcium carbonate coating layer was from 0.3 to 3 mm. Biocoating using calcium salt and urea produced calcite in fresh water and aragonite in seawater. The calcium carbonate-coated surfaces were colonized in aquarium with seawater and hard corals as inoculum or in aquarium with fresh water using cyanobacteria Chlorella sorokiana as inoculum. The biofilm on the light-exposed side of calcium carbonate-coated surfaces was formed after six weeks of incubation and developed up to the average thickness of 250 µm in seawater and about 150 µm in fresh water after six weeks of incubation. The biotechnological manufacturing of calcium carbonate-coated concrete, plastic, or wooden surfaces of the structures imitating natural coral reef is technologically feasible. It could be commercially attractive solution for the introduction of aesthetically pleasant artificial coral reefs in marine parks and

  10. Resource partitioning along multiple niche axes drives functional diversity in parrotfishes on Caribbean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adam, Thomas C; Kelley, Megan; Ruttenberg, Benjamin I; Burkepile, Deron E

    2015-12-01

    The recent loss of key consumers to exploitation and habitat degradation has significantly altered community dynamics and ecosystem function across many ecosystems worldwide. Predicting the impacts of consumer losses requires knowing the level of functional diversity that exists within a consumer assemblage. In this study, we document functional diversity among nine species of parrotfishes on Caribbean coral reefs. Parrotfishes are key herbivores that facilitate the maintenance and recovery of coral-dominated reefs by controlling algae and provisioning space for the recruitment of corals. We observed large functional differences among two genera of parrotfishes that were driven by differences in diet. Fishes in the genus Scarus targeted filamentous algal turf assemblages, crustose coralline algae, and endolithic algae and avoided macroalgae, while fishes in the genus Sparisoma preferentially targeted macroalgae. However, species with similar diets were dissimilar in other attributes, including the habitats they frequented, the types of substrate they fed from, and the spatial scale at which they foraged. These differences indicate that species that appear to be functionally redundant when looking at diet alone exhibit high levels of complementarity when we consider multiple functional traits. By identifying key functional differences among parrotfishes, we provide critical information needed to manage parrotfishes to enhance the resilience of coral-dominated reefs and reverse phase shifts on algal-dominated reefs throughout the wider Caribbean. Further, our study provides a framework for predicting the impacts of consumer losses in other species rich ecosystems.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Global warming and coral reefs. Chikyu ondanka to sangosho

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kayane, H [Geological Survey of Japan, Tokyo (Japan)

    1991-09-01

    A summary is described with respect to the relation of the global warming with coral reefs on the environmental estimation based on the sea level rise, and the development of counter-technologies utilizing the CO{sub 2} fixing capability of coral reefs. if no measures are taken to reduce discharge of greenhouse effective gases, the air temperature will rise by 1{degree}C by the year 2025, and 3{degree}C by 2100. The thermal expansion of sea water and partial melting of land ice caused from the said temperature rise will cause the annual sea level rising speed to climb to 6 mm in the next century. It is estimated that the sea level will be elevated higher by 25 cm by the year 2025, 65 cm by 2100, and the maximum of 1 m than the present level. The upward growth rate of reef ridges is between 1m and 4m in 1000 years, and the growth of reef rides as the frameworks of coral reefs and lime alga ridges can not catch up the sea level rise of 6 mm/year. This may cause a possibility of sea water erosion or inundation. As a possible contermeasure, an expectation is placed on structuring coral reef eco-factories which may be possible as a result of elucidating the CO{sub 2} fixing mechanism in coral reefs and utilizing the capability to its maximum. 23 refs., 7 figs., 1 tab.

  14. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Water Chemistry of the Coral Reefs in American Samoa from Water Samples collected since 2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Water samples are collected and analyzed to assess spatial and temporal variation in the seawater carbonate systems of coral reef ecosystems in the Hawaiian and...

  15. Challenges for Ecosystem Services Provided by Coral Reefs In the Face of Climate Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kikuchi, R. K.; Elliff, C. I.

    2014-12-01

    to increase resilience and guarantee the adaptation of this ecosystem to climate change. Thus, considering that the majority of the marine ecosystem services we benefit from are provided from coastal habitats, of which coral reefs play an important role, the challenge at hand is in fact the interaction between local factors and climate change

  16. 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.

  17. Co-existence of Coral Reef Conservation and Tourism at Pigeon Island National Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nishanthi Marian Perera

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available AbstractPigeon islands National Park (PINP is one of the three Marine National Parks in Sri Lanka with coral reefs being the major habitat protected. A study was undertaken at PINP with the objective of understanding the challenges encountered and opportunities available for managing the park addressing both coral reef conservation and increasing tourism potential. Field visits, formal and informal group discussions, expert opinions, web based information and literature surveys were the methodology utilized.  Despise the impose of an entrance fee in May 2011,  146,375 tourists visited the 471 ha park within 40 month period indicating that one hectare of coral reefs can earn more revenue than larger terrestrial parks with charismatic species such as elephants.  Foreign tourist arrivals had increased from 11.9% in 2011 to 25.13% by 2014.  Visitor reviews indicates that their experience was either excellent (46% or very good (30% due to abundance of marine life, while12% had either a poor or a terrible visitor experience at the site owing to overcrowding, reef damage and high price. With only 21% of live coral cover in 2013, it is evident that the reef is being degraded, indicating that a Protected Area which emphasizes on collecting user-fee revenues can lose sight of its primary conservation objectives and is not undertaking sustainable tourism.  Park management effectiveness is not at desirable level (43%, mainly due to non- implementation of a scientifically based management plan. A continuous monitoring programme to check the health of the reef is need, while the introduction of a multi-tiered user fee structures can enhance the economic reruns.  Incorporating PINP into wider Seascape/landscape management through utilizing Special Area Management approach needed to be promoted. Key Words: Coral Reefs; Pigeon Island National Park; Management Effectiveness; Sustainable Tourism; Stakeholders     

  18. The importance of sponges and mangroves in supporting fish communities on degraded coral reefs in Caribbean Panama

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janina Seemann

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Fish communities associated with coral reefs worldwide are threatened by habitat degradation and overexploitation. We assessed coral reefs, mangrove fringes, and seagrass meadows on the Caribbean coast of Panama to explore the influences of their proximity to one another, habitat cover, and environmental characteristics in sustaining biomass, species richness and trophic structure of fish communities in a degraded tropical ecosystem. We found 94% of all fish across all habitat types were of small body size (≤10 cm, with communities dominated by fishes that usually live in habitats of low complexity, such as Pomacentridae (damselfishes and Gobiidae (gobies. Total fish biomass was very low, with the trend of small fishes from low trophic levels over-represented, and top predators under-represented, relative to coral reefs elsewhere in the Caribbean. For example, herbivorous fishes comprised 27% of total fish biomass in Panama relative to 10% in the wider Caribbean, and the small parrotfish Scarus iseri comprised 72% of the parrotfish biomass. We found evidence that non-coral biogenic habitats support reef-associated fish communities. In particular, the abundance of sponges on a given reef and proximity of mangroves were found to be important positive correlates of reef fish species richness, biomass, abundance and trophic structure. Our study indicates that a diverse fish community can persist on degraded coral reefs, and that the availability and arrangement within the seascape of other habitat-forming organisms, including sponges and mangroves, is critical to the maintenance of functional processes in such ecosystems.

  19. A role for partially protected areas on coral reefs: Maintaining fish diversity?

    KAUST Repository

    Tyler, Elizabeth

    2011-04-15

    1. Completely banning fishing from coral reefs is now accepted to have significant benefits for marine biodiversity and in many cases, fisheries. However, the benefits of regulating fishing on coral reefs, by restricting the methods used, or the total amount of fishing, are less well understood, even though such regulations are much more likely to be supported by fishermen. 2. This study assesses whether banning illegal, destructive fishing methods and reducing the numbers of fishermen visiting from outside an area benefits a coral reef fishery, despite unregulated fishing by local fishermen using non-destructive methods. 3. The abundance, biomass, mean length, and species richness of nine commercially important fish families are compared across ten independent patch reefs inside and outside the 470km2 Menai Bay Conservation Area in Zanzibar, Tanzania. 4. Even after taking into account the effect of differences in habitat and the distance between reefs, 61% (±19.7%) more fish species were found in regulated than unregulated reefs. Fish abundance, biomass, and length were not affected, suggesting that banning destructive fishing may improve biodiversity, but that further regulations may be required to improve fish stocks. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

  20. Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs for Monitoring and Management: A Review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John D. Hedley

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are in decline worldwide and monitoring activities are important for assessing the impact of disturbance on reefs and tracking subsequent recovery or decline. Monitoring by field surveys provides accurate data but at highly localised scales and so is not cost-effective for reef scale monitoring at frequent time points. Remote sensing from satellites is an alternative and complementary approach. While remote sensing cannot provide the level of detail and accuracy at a single point than a field survey, the statistical power for inferring large scale patterns benefits in having complete areal coverage. This review considers the state of the art of coral reef remote sensing for the diverse range of objectives relevant for management, ranging from the composition of the reef: physical extent, benthic cover, bathymetry, rugosity; to environmental parameters: sea surface temperature, exposure, light, carbonate chemistry. In addition to updating previous reviews, here we also consider the capability to go beyond basic maps of habitats or environmental variables, to discuss concepts highly relevant to stakeholders, policy makers and public communication: such as biodiversity, environmental threat and ecosystem services. A clear conclusion of the review is that advances in both sensor technology and processing algorithms continue to drive forward remote sensing capability for coral reef mapping, particularly with respect to spatial resolution of maps, and synthesis across multiple data products. Both trends can be expected to continue.

  1. Implementing Biocriteria: Coral Reef Protection Using the Clean Water Act

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biological assessments (surveying the presence, number, size and condition of fish, coral and other biota) provide important information about the health and integrity of coral reef ecosystems. Biological criteria are one means under the Clean Water Act (CWA) that managers can us...

  2. 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...

  3. Norwegian deep-water coral reefs: cultivation and molecular analysis of planktonic microbial communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jensen, Sigmund; Lynch, Michael D J; Ray, Jessica L; Neufeld, Josh D; Hovland, Martin

    2015-10-01

    Deep-sea coral reefs do not receive sunlight and depend on plankton. Little is known about the plankton composition at such reefs, even though they constitute habitats for many invertebrates and fish. We investigated plankton communities from three reefs at 260-350 m depth at hydrocarbon fields off the mid-Norwegian coast using a combination of cultivation and small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene and transcript sequencing. Eight months incubations of a reef water sample with minimal medium, supplemented with carbon dioxide and gaseous alkanes at in situ-like conditions, enabled isolation of mostly Alphaproteobacteria (Sulfitobacter, Loktanella), Gammaproteobacteria (Colwellia) and Flavobacteria (Polaribacter). The relative abundance of isolates in the original sample ranged from ∼ 0.01% to 0.80%. Comparisons of bacterial SSU sequences from filtered plankton of reef and non-reef control samples indicated high abundance and metabolic activity of primarily Alphaproteobacteria (SAR11 Ia), Gammaproteobacteria (ARCTIC96BD-19), but also of Deltaproteobacteria (Nitrospina, SAR324). Eukaryote SSU sequences indicated metabolically active microalgae and animals, including codfish, at the reef sites. The plankton community composition varied between reefs and differed between DNA and RNA assessments. Over 5000 operational taxonomic units were detected, some indicators of reef sites (e.g. Flavobacteria, Cercozoa, Demospongiae) and some more active at reef sites (e.g. Gammaproteobacteria, Ciliophora, Copepoda). © 2014 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  4. The evolution of fishes and corals on reefs: form, function and interdependence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellwood, David R; Goatley, Christopher H R; Bellwood, Orpha

    2017-05-01

    Coral reefs are renowned for their spectacular biodiversity and the close links between fishes and corals. Despite extensive fossil records and common biogeographic histories, the evolution of these two key groups has rarely been considered together. We therefore examine recent advances in molecular phylogenetics and palaeoecology, and place the evolution of fishes and corals in a functional context. In critically reviewing the available fossil and phylogenetic evidence, we reveal a marked congruence in the evolution of the two groups. Despite one group consisting of swimming vertebrates and the other colonial symbiotic invertebrates, fishes and corals have remarkably similar evolutionary histories. In the Paleocene and Eocene [66-34 million years ago (Ma)] most modern fish and coral families were present, and both were represented by a wide range of functional morphotypes. However, there is little evidence of diversification at this time. By contrast, in the Oligocene and Miocene (34-5.3 Ma), both groups exhibited rapid lineage diversification. There is also evidence of increasing reef area, occupation of new habitats, increasing coral cover, and potentially, increasing fish abundance. Functionally, the Oligocene-Miocene is marked by the appearance of new fish and coral taxa associated with high-turnover fast-growth ecosystems and the colonization of reef flats. It is in this period that the functional characteristics of modern coral reefs were established. Most species, however, only arose in the last 5.3 million years (Myr; Plio-Pleistocene), with the average age of fish species being 5.3 Myr, and corals just 1.9 Myr. While these species are genetically distinct, phenotypic differences are often limited to variation in colour or minor morphological features. This suggests that the rapid increase in biodiversity during the last 5.3 Myr was not matched by changes in ecosystem function. For reef fishes, colour appears to be central to recent

  5. Benthic habitat map of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Watershed Partnership Initiative Kā'anapali priority study area and the State of Hawai'i Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area, west-central Maui, Hawai'i

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cochran, Susan A.; Gibbs, Ann E.; White, Darla J.

    2014-01-01

    Nearshore areas off of west-central Maui, Hawai‘i, once dominated by abundant coral coverage, now are characterized by an increased abundance of turf algae and macroalgae. In an effort to improve the health and resilience of the coral reef system, the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area was established by the State of Hawai‘i, and the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force selected the Kā‘anapali region as a priority study area. To support these efforts, the U.S. Geological survey mapped nearly 5 km2 of sea floor from the shoreline to water depths of about 30 m. Unconsolidated sediment (predominantly sand) constitutes 65 percent of the sea floor in the mapped area. Reef and other hardbottom potentially available for coral recruitments constitutes 35 percent of the mapped area. Of this potentially available hardbottom, only 51 percent is covered with a minimum of 10 percent coral, and most is found between 5 and 10 m water depth.

  6. Coral reef connectivity within the Western Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salas-Monreal, David; Marin-Hernandez, Mark; Salas-Perez, Jose de Jesus; Salas-de-Leon, David Alberto; Monreal-Gomez, Maria Adela; Perez-España, Horacio

    2018-03-01

    The yearlong monthly mean satellite data of the geostrophic velocities, the sea surface temperature and the chlorophyll-a values were used to elucidate any possible pathway among the different coral reef systems of the Western Gulf of Mexico (WGM). The geostrophic current velocities suggested different pathways connecting the coral reef areas. The typical coastal alongshore pathway constricted to the continental shelf, and two open ocean pathway, the first connecting the Campeche Reef System (CRS) with the Veracruz (VRS) and Tuxpan-Lobos Reef Systems (TLRS), and the second pathway connecting the Tuxpan-Lobos Reef System with the Flower Garden Reef System (FGRS). According to the pathways there should be more larvae transport from the southern Gulf of Mexico reef systems toward the FGRS than the other way. The connection from the southern Gulf of Mexico toward the FGRS took place during January, May, July, August and September (2015), while the connection from the FGRS toward the southern Gulf of Mexico reef system took place during January and February (2015), this was also suggested via model outputs. The density radio (R) was used as a first approximation to elucidate the influence of the freshwater continental discharges within the continental shelf. All coral reef areas were located where the Chlorophyll-a monthly mean values had values bellow 1 mg m- 2 with a density radio between 0 and 1, i.e. under the influence of continental discharges.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2002-01-01

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

  8. Responses of reef building corals to microplastic exposure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reichert, Jessica; Schellenberg, Johannes; Schubert, Patrick; Wilke, Thomas

    2018-06-01

    Pollution of marine environments with microplastic particles (i.e. plastic fragments terrestrial origin, coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs are particularly threatened. Recent studies revealed that microplastic ingestion can have adverse effects on marine invertebrates. However, little is known about its effects on small-polyp stony corals that are the main framework builders in coral reefs. The goal of this study is to characterise how different coral species I) respond to microplastic particles and whether the exposure might II) lead to health effects. Therefore, six small-polyp stony coral species belonging to the genera Acropora, Pocillopora, and Porites were exposed to microplastics (polyethylene, size 37-163 μm, concentration ca. 4000 particles L -1 ) over four weeks, and responses and effects on health were documented. The study showed that the corals responded differentially to microplastics. Cleaning mechanisms (direct interaction, mucus production) but also feeding interactions (i.e. interaction with mesenterial filaments, ingestion, and egestion) were observed. Additionally, passive contact through overgrowth was documented. In five of the six studied species, negative effects on health (i.e. bleaching and tissue necrosis) were reported. We here provide preliminary knowledge about coral-microplastic-interactions. The results call for further investigations of the effects of realistic microplastic concentrations on growth, reproduction, and survival of stony corals. This might lead to a better understanding of resilience capacities in coral reef ecosystems. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs | Science ...

    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 established. Developing stressor gradients presents challenges including: stressors which co-occur but operate at different or unknown spatial and temporal scales, inconsistent data availability measuring stressor levels, and unknown effects on exposed reef biota. We are developing a generalized stressor model using Puerto Rico as case study location, to represent the cumulative spatial/temporal co-occurrence of multiple anthropogenic stressors. Our approach builds on multi-stressor research in streams and rivers, and focuses on three high-priority stressors identified by coral reef experts: land-based sources of pollution (LBSP), global climate change (GCC) related temperature anomalies, and fishing pressure. Landscape development intensity index, based on land use/land cover data, estimates human impact in watersheds adjacent to coral reefs and is proxy for LBSP. NOAA’s retrospective daily thermal anomaly data is used to determine GCC thermal anomalies. Fishing pressure is modeled using gear-specific and fishery landings data. Stressor data was adjusted to a common scale or weighted for relative importance, buffered to account for diminished impact further from source, and compared wit

  10. Potential Habitat of Acropora spp. on Reefs of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katherine E. Wirt

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Elkhorn and staghorn corals (Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis were listed in 2006 as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The goal of this study was to create model potential-habitat maps for A. palmata and A. cervicornis, while identifying areas for possible re-establishment. These maps were created using a database of reported field observations in combination with existing benthic habitat maps. The mapped coral reef and hardbottom classifications throughout Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Island reef tracts were used to generate potential-habitat polygons using buffers that incorporated 95% and 99% of reported observations of Acropora spp. Locations of 92% of A. palmata observations and 84% of A. cervicornis observations coincided with mapped coral reef or hard-bottom habitat throughout the study area. These results indicate that potential habitat for A. palmata is currently well defined throughout this region, but that potential habitat for A. cervicornis is more variable and has a wider range than that for A. palmata. This study provides a novel method of combining data sets at various geographic spatial scales and may be used to inform and refine the current National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration critical habitat map.

  11. 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...

  12. 77 FR 6786 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-09

    ... DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Coral Reef Task Force... of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. The meeting will be held in Washington, DC This meeting, the 27th [[Page 6787

  13. Community Change within a Caribbean Coral Reef Marine Protected Area following Two Decades of Local Management

    KAUST Repository

    Noble, Mae M.; van Laake, Gregoor; Berumen, Michael L.; Fulton, Christopher J.

    2013-01-01

    and replenishment of reef fishes, and the likely role of chronic disturbance in driving coral decline across the region, we explore how local spatial management can help protect coral reef ecosystems within the context of large-scale environmental pressures

  14. A role for partially protected areas on coral reefs: Maintaining fish diversity?

    KAUST Repository

    Tyler, Elizabeth; Manica, Andrea; Jiddawi, Narriman S.; Speight, Martin R.

    2011-01-01

    1. Completely banning fishing from coral reefs is now accepted to have significant benefits for marine biodiversity and in many cases, fisheries. However, the benefits of regulating fishing on coral reefs, by restricting the methods used

  15. Role of coral reefs in global ocean production

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Crossland, C J; Hatcher, B G; Smith, S V [CSIRO Institute of Natural Resources and Environment, Dickson, ACT (Australia)

    1991-01-01

    Coral reefs cover some 600 thousand square kilometres of the earth's surface (0.17% of the ocean surface). First order estimates show coral reefs to contribute about 0.05% of the estimated net CO{sub 2} fixation rate of the global oceans. Gross CO{sub 2} fixation is relatively high (of the order 700 x 10{sup 12}g C year{sup -1}), but most of this material is recycled within the reefs. Excess (net) production of organic material (E) is much smaller, of the order 20 x 10{sup 12}g C year{sup -1}. 75% of E is available for export from coral reefs to adjacent areas. Comparison of estimates for net production by reefs and their surrounding oceans indicates that the excess production by coral reefs is similar to new production in the photic zone of oligotrophic oceans. Consequently, estimates for global ocean production should as a first approximation include reefal areas with the surrounding ocean when assigning average net production rates. It can be concluded that organic production by reefs plays a relatively minor role in the global scale of fluxes and storage of elements. In comparison, the companion process of biologically-mediated inorganic carbon precipitation represents a major role for reefs. While reef production does respond on local scales to variation in ocean climate, neither the absolute rates nor the amount accumulated into organic pools appear to be either sensitive indicators or accurate recorders of climatic change in most reef systems. Similarly, the productivity of most reefs should be little affected by currently predicted environmental changes resulting from the greenhouse effect. 86 refs., 2 figs., 1 tab.

  16. Towards a new paleotemperature proxy from reef coral occurrences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lauchstedt, Andreas; Pandolfi, John M; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2017-09-05

    Global mean temperature is thought to have exceeded that of today during the last interglacial episode (LIG, ~ 125,000 yrs b.p.) but robust paleoclimate data are still rare in low latitudes. Occurrence data of tropical reef corals may provide new proxies of low latitude sea-surface temperatures. Using modern reef coral distributions we developed a geographically explicit model of sea surface temperatures. Applying this model to coral occurrence data of the LIG provides a latitudinal U-shaped pattern of temperature anomalies with cooler than modern temperatures around the equator and warmer subtropical climes. Our results agree with previously published estimates of LIG temperatures and suggest a poleward broadening of the habitable zone for reef corals during the LIG.

  17. Remote Sensing Tropical Coral Reefs: The View from Above

    Science.gov (United States)

    Purkis, Sam J.

    2018-01-01

    Carbonate precipitation has been a common life strategy for marine organisms for 3.7 billion years, as, therefore, has their construction of reefs. As favored by modern corals, reef-forming organisms have typically adopted a niche in warm, shallow, well-lit, tropical marine waters, where they are capable of building vast carbonate edifices. Because fossil reefs form water aquifers and hydrocarbon reservoirs, considerable effort has been dedicated to understanding their anatomy and morphology. Remote sensing has a particular role to play here. Interpretation of satellite images has done much to reveal the grand spatial and temporal tapestry of tropical reefs. Comparative sedimentology, whereby modern environments are contrasted with the rock record to improve interpretation, has been particularly transformed by observations made from orbit. Satellite mapping has also become a keystone technology to quantify the coral reef crisis—it can be deployed not only directly to quantify the distribution of coral communities, but also indirectly to establish a climatology for their physical environment. This article reviews the application of remote sensing to tropical coralgal reefs in order to communicate how this fast-growing technology might be central to addressing the coral reef crisis and to look ahead at future developments in the science.

  18. Remote Sensing Tropical Coral Reefs: The View from Above.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Purkis, Sam J

    2018-01-03

    Carbonate precipitation has been a common life strategy for marine organisms for 3.7 billion years, as, therefore, has their construction of reefs. As favored by modern corals, reef-forming organisms have typically adopted a niche in warm, shallow, well-lit, tropical marine waters, where they are capable of building vast carbonate edifices. Because fossil reefs form water aquifers and hydrocarbon reservoirs, considerable effort has been dedicated to understanding their anatomy and morphology. Remote sensing has a particular role to play here. Interpretation of satellite images has done much to reveal the grand spatial and temporal tapestry of tropical reefs. Comparative sedimentology, whereby modern environments are contrasted with the rock record to improve interpretation, has been particularly transformed by observations made from orbit. Satellite mapping has also become a keystone technology to quantify the coral reef crisis-it can be deployed not only directly to quantify the distribution of coral communities, but also indirectly to establish a climatology for their physical environment. This article reviews the application of remote sensing to tropical coralgal reefs in order to communicate how this fast-growing technology might be central to addressing the coral reef crisis and to look ahead at future developments in the science.

  19. Atoll-scale patterns in coral reef community structure: Human signatures on Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crane, Nicole L; Nelson, Peter; Abelson, Avigdor; Precoda, Kristin; Rulmal, John; Bernardi, Giacomo; Paddack, Michelle

    2017-01-01

    The dynamic relationship between reefs and the people who utilize them at a subsistence level is poorly understood. This paper characterizes atoll-scale patterns in shallow coral reef habitat and fish community structure, and correlates these with environmental characteristics and anthropogenic factors, critical to conservation efforts for the reefs and the people who depend on them. Hierarchical clustering analyses by site for benthic composition and fish community resulted in the same 3 major clusters: cluster 1-oceanic (close proximity to deep water) and uninhabited (low human impact); cluster 2-oceanic and inhabited (high human impact); and cluster 3-lagoonal (facing the inside of the lagoon) and inhabited (highest human impact). Distance from village, reef exposure to deep water and human population size had the greatest effect in predicting the fish and benthic community structure. Our study demonstrates a strong association between benthic and fish community structure and human use across the Ulithi Atoll (Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia) and confirms a pattern observed by local people that an 'opportunistic' scleractinian coral (Montipora sp.) is associated with more highly impacted reefs. Our findings suggest that small human populations (subsistence fishing) can nevertheless have considerable ecological impacts on reefs due, in part, to changes in fishing practices rather than overfishing per se, as well as larger global trends. Findings from this work can assist in building local capacity to manage reef resources across an atoll-wide scale, and illustrates the importance of anthropogenic impact even in small communities.

  20. Atoll-scale patterns in coral reef community structure: Human signatures on Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicole L Crane

    Full Text Available The dynamic relationship between reefs and the people who utilize them at a subsistence level is poorly understood. This paper characterizes atoll-scale patterns in shallow coral reef habitat and fish community structure, and correlates these with environmental characteristics and anthropogenic factors, critical to conservation efforts for the reefs and the people who depend on them. Hierarchical clustering analyses by site for benthic composition and fish community resulted in the same 3 major clusters: cluster 1-oceanic (close proximity to deep water and uninhabited (low human impact; cluster 2-oceanic and inhabited (high human impact; and cluster 3-lagoonal (facing the inside of the lagoon and inhabited (highest human impact. Distance from village, reef exposure to deep water and human population size had the greatest effect in predicting the fish and benthic community structure. Our study demonstrates a strong association between benthic and fish community structure and human use across the Ulithi Atoll (Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia and confirms a pattern observed by local people that an 'opportunistic' scleractinian coral (Montipora sp. is associated with more highly impacted reefs. Our findings suggest that small human populations (subsistence fishing can nevertheless have considerable ecological impacts on reefs due, in part, to changes in fishing practices rather than overfishing per se, as well as larger global trends. Findings from this work can assist in building local capacity to manage reef resources across an atoll-wide scale, and illustrates the importance of anthropogenic impact even in small communities.

  1. 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...

  2. Guam Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program Reef Fish Surveys FY2014

    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 University of Guam Marine Lab, involves the collection of data for a suite of...

  3. Recovery of coral cover in records spanning 44 yr for reefs in Kāne`ohe Bay, Oa`hu, Hawai`i

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stimson, John

    2018-03-01

    Published and unpublished long-term studies are assembled to examine trends in coral cover and the dependence of change in coral cover on the initial coral cover in Kāne`ohe Bay over the last 44 yr. Each study showed there had been periods of increase in coral cover in the bay and showed that the rate of change in cover has been inversely dependent on the initial cover at a site. When coral cover is high on upper reef slopes, the fragile structure of reefs in this sheltered bay often collapses, resulting in a decrease in coral cover. The rate of change in coral cover was also inversely dependent on cover in one of the two studies that included analysis of reef-flat corals; the cause of decrease in cover in this habitat is thought to be attributable to particularly low sea levels in Hawai`i in the late 1990s and 2009-2010. The inverse relationship between initial coral cover and change in cover, and the intersections of the regression lines of these variables with the x-axis at intermediate values of coral cover, is indicative of resilience in this ecosystem over the last 44 yr. In the 1970s, the invasive macroscopic green alga Dictyosphaeria cavernosa covered a high percentage of coral habitat and commonly displaced corals from the reef slope and outer reef flats; the change was cited as an example of a phase shift on a reef. This alga has virtually disappeared from the bay, thus increasing the space available to corals; its disappearance is coincident with the increase in coral cover. Other species of macroalgae, including alien species, have not replaced D. cavernosa as major space competitors. The increase in coral cover and virtual disappearance of D. cavernosa constitute an example of a phase-shift reversal.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Acoustic and biological trends on coral reefs off Maui, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaplan, Maxwell B.; Lammers, Marc O.; Zang, Eden; Aran Mooney, T.

    2018-03-01

    Coral reefs are characterized by high biodiversity, and evidence suggests that reef soundscapes reflect local species assemblages. To investigate how sounds produced on a given reef relate to abiotic and biotic parameters and how that relationship may change over time, an observational study was conducted between September 2014 and January 2016 at seven Hawaiian reefs that varied in coral cover, rugosity, and fish assemblages. The reefs were equipped with temperature loggers and acoustic recording devices that recorded on a 10% duty cycle. Benthic and fish visual survey data were collected four times over the course of the study. On average, reefs ranged from 0 to 80% live coral cover, although changes between surveys were noted, in particular during the major El Niño-related bleaching event of October 2015. Acoustic analyses focused on two frequency bands (50-1200 and 1.8-20.5 kHz) that corresponded to the dominant spectral features of the major sound-producing taxa on these reefs, fish, and snapping shrimp, respectively. In the low-frequency band, the presence of humpback whales (December-May) was a major contributor to sound level, whereas in the high-frequency band sound level closely tracked water temperature. On shorter timescales, the magnitude of the diel trend in sound production was greater than that of the lunar trend, but both varied in strength among reefs, which may reflect differences in the species assemblages present. Results indicated that the magnitude of the diel trend was related to fish densities at low frequencies and coral cover at high frequencies; however, the strength of these relationships varied by season. Thus, long-term acoustic recordings capture the substantial acoustic variability present in coral-reef ecosystems and provide insight into the presence and relative abundance of sound-producing organisms.

  8. Advancing the integration of spatial data to map human and natural drivers on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gove, Jamison M.; Walecka, Hilary R.; Donovan, Mary K.; Williams, Gareth J.; Jouffray, Jean-Baptiste; Crowder, Larry B.; Erickson, Ashley; Falinski, Kim; Friedlander, Alan M.; Kappel, Carrie V.; Kittinger, John N.; McCoy, Kaylyn; Norström, Albert; Nyström, Magnus; Oleson, Kirsten L. L.; Stamoulis, Kostantinos A.; White, Crow; Selkoe, Kimberly A.

    2018-01-01

    A major challenge for coral reef conservation and management is understanding how a wide range of interacting human and natural drivers cumulatively impact and shape these ecosystems. Despite the importance of understanding these interactions, a methodological framework to synthesize spatially explicit data of such drivers is lacking. To fill this gap, we established a transferable data synthesis methodology to integrate spatial data on environmental and anthropogenic drivers of coral reefs, and applied this methodology to a case study location–the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). Environmental drivers were derived from time series (2002–2013) of climatological ranges and anomalies of remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a, irradiance, and wave power. Anthropogenic drivers were characterized using empirically derived and modeled datasets of spatial fisheries catch, sedimentation, nutrient input, new development, habitat modification, and invasive species. Within our case study system, resulting driver maps showed high spatial heterogeneity across the MHI, with anthropogenic drivers generally greatest and most widespread on O‘ahu, where 70% of the state’s population resides, while sedimentation and nutrients were dominant in less populated islands. Together, the spatial integration of environmental and anthropogenic driver data described here provides a first-ever synthetic approach to visualize how the drivers of coral reef state vary in space and demonstrates a methodological framework for implementation of this approach in other regions of the world. By quantifying and synthesizing spatial drivers of change on coral reefs, we provide an avenue for further research to understand how drivers determine reef diversity and resilience, which can ultimately inform policies to protect coral reefs. PMID:29494613

  9. 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.

  10. Loss of live coral compromises predator-avoidance behaviour in coral reef damselfish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boström-Einarsson, Lisa; Bonin, Mary C; Munday, Philip L; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2018-05-17

    Tropical reefs have experienced an unprecedented loss of live coral in the past few decades and the biodiversity of coral-dependent species is under threat. Many reef fish species decline in abundance as coral cover is lost, yet the mechanisms responsible for these losses are largely unknown. A commonly hypothesised cause of fish decline is the loss of shelter space between branches as dead corals become overgrown by algae. Here we tested this hypothesis by quantifying changes in predator-avoidance behaviour of a common damselfish, Pomacentrus moluccensis, before and after the death of their coral colony. Groups of P. moluccensis were placed on either healthy or degraded coral colonies, startled using a visual stimulus and their sheltering responses compared over a 7-week period. P. moluccensis stopped sheltering amongst the coral branches immediately following the death of the coral, despite the presence of ample shelter space. Instead, most individuals swam away from the dead coral, potentially increasing their exposure to predators. It appears that the presence of live coral rather than shelter per se is the necessary cue that elicits the appropriate behavioural response to potential predators. The disruption of this link poses an immediate threat to coral-associated fishes on degrading reefs.

  11. Functional connectivity of coral reef fishes in a tropical seascape assessed by compound-specific stable isotope analyses

    KAUST Repository

    McMahon, Kelton W.

    2011-01-01

    The ecological integrity of tropical habitats, including mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs, is coming under increasing pressure from human activities. Many coral reef fish species are thought to use mangroves and seagrass beds as juvenile nurseries before migrating to coral reefs as adults. Identifying essential habitats and preserving functional linkages among these habitats is likely necessary to promote ecosystem health and sustainable fisheries on coral reefs. This necessitates quantitative assessment of functional connectivity among essential habitats at the seascape level. This thesis presents the development and first application of a method for tracking fish migration using amino acid (AA) δ13C analysis in otoliths. In a controlled feeding experiment with fish reared on isotopically distinct diets, we showed that essential AAs exhibited minimal trophic fractionation between consumer and diet, providing a δ13C record of the baseline isoscape. We explored the potential for geochemical signatures in otoliths of snapper to act as natural tags of residency in seagrass beds, mangroves and coral reefs in the Red Sea, Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean. The δ13C values of otolith essential AAs varied as a function of habitat type and provided a better tracer of residence in juvenile nursery habitats than conventional bulk stable isotope analyses (SIA). Using our otolith AA SIA approach, we quantified the relative contribution of coastal wetlands and reef habitats to Lutjanus ehrenbergii populations on coastal, shelf and oceanic coral reefs in the Red Sea. L. ehrenbergii made significant ontogenetic migrations, traveling more than 30 km from juvenile nurseries to coral reefs and across deep open water. Coastal wetlands were important nurseries for L. ehrenbergii; however, there was significant plasticity in L. ehrenbergii juvenile habitat requirements. Seascape configuration played an important role in determining the functional connectivity of L

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Habitat selection, facilitation, and biotic settlement cues affect distribution and performance of coral recruits in French Polynesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Price, Nichole

    2010-07-01

    Habitat selection can determine the distribution and performance of individuals if the precision with which sites are chosen corresponds with exposure to risks or resources. Contrastingly, facilitation can allow persistence of individuals arriving by chance and potentially maladapted to local abiotic conditions. For marine organisms, selection of a permanent attachment site at the end of their larval stage or the presence of a facilitator can be a critical determinant of recruitment success. In coral reef ecosystems, it is well known that settling planula larvae of reef-building corals use coarse environmental cues (i.e., light) for habitat selection. Although laboratory studies suggest that larvae can also use precise biotic cues produced by crustose coralline algae (CCA) to select attachment sites, the ecological consequences of biotic cues for corals are poorly understood in situ. In a field experiment exploring the relative importance of biotic cues and variability in habitat quality to recruitment of hard corals, pocilloporid and acroporid corals recruited more frequently to one species of CCA, Titanoderma prototypum, and significantly less so to other species of CCA; these results are consistent with laboratory assays from other studies. The provision of the biotic cue accurately predicted coral recruitment rates across habitats of varying quality. At the scale of CCA, corals attached to the "preferred" CCA experienced increased survivorship while recruits attached elsewhere had lower colony growth and survivorship. For reef-building corals, the behavioral selection of habitat using chemical cues both reduces the risk of incidental mortality and indicates the presence of a facilitator.

  15. Current status of coral reefs in the United Arab Emirates: Distribution, extent, and community structure with implications for management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grizzle, Raymond E; Ward, Krystin M; AlShihi, Rashid M S; Burt, John A

    2016-04-30

    Coral reefs of the United Arab Emirates were once extensive, but have declined dramatically in recent decades. Marine management and policy have been hampered by outdated and inaccurate habitat maps and habitat quality information. We combined existing recent datasets with our newly mapped coral habitats to provide a current assessment of nation-wide extent, and performed quantitative surveys of communities at 23 sites to assess coral cover and composition. Over 132 km(2) of coral habitat was mapped, averaging 28.6 ± 3.8% live coral cover at surveyed sites. In the Arabian Gulf low cover, low richness Porites dominated communities characterized western Abu Dhabi, while reefs northeast of Abu Dhabi city generally contained higher richness and cover, and were dominated by merulinids (formerly faviids). Distinct communities occur in the Sea of Oman, where cover and richness were low. We provide management recommendations to enhance conservation of vulnerable coral reefs in the UAE. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Management Strategy Evaluation Applied to Coral Reef Ecosystems in Support of Ecosystem-Based Management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A; Brainard, Russell E

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem modelling is increasingly used to explore ecosystem-level effects of changing environmental conditions and management actions. For coral reefs there has been increasing interest in recent decades in the use of ecosystem models for evaluating the effects of fishing and the efficacy of marine protected areas. However, ecosystem models that integrate physical forcings, biogeochemical and ecological dynamics, and human induced perturbations are still underdeveloped. We applied an ecosystem model (Atlantis) to the coral reef ecosystem of Guam using a suite of management scenarios prioritized in consultation with local resource managers to review the effects of each scenario on performance measures related to the ecosystem, the reef-fish fishery (e.g., fish landings) and coral habitat. Comparing tradeoffs across the selected scenarios showed that each scenario performed best for at least one of the selected performance indicators. The integrated 'full regulation' scenario outperformed other scenarios with four out of the six performance metrics at the cost of reef-fish landings. This model application quantifies the socio-ecological costs and benefits of alternative management scenarios. When the effects of climate change were taken into account, several scenarios performed equally well, but none prevented a collapse in coral biomass over the next few decades assuming a business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions scenario.

  17. Management Strategy Evaluation Applied to Coral Reef Ecosystems in Support of Ecosystem-Based Management.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mariska Weijerman

    Full Text Available Ecosystem modelling is increasingly used to explore ecosystem-level effects of changing environmental conditions and management actions. For coral reefs there has been increasing interest in recent decades in the use of ecosystem models for evaluating the effects of fishing and the efficacy of marine protected areas. However, ecosystem models that integrate physical forcings, biogeochemical and ecological dynamics, and human induced perturbations are still underdeveloped. We applied an ecosystem model (Atlantis to the coral reef ecosystem of Guam using a suite of management scenarios prioritized in consultation with local resource managers to review the effects of each scenario on performance measures related to the ecosystem, the reef-fish fishery (e.g., fish landings and coral habitat. Comparing tradeoffs across the selected scenarios showed that each scenario performed best for at least one of the selected performance indicators. The integrated 'full regulation' scenario outperformed other scenarios with four out of the six performance metrics at the cost of reef-fish landings. This model application quantifies the socio-ecological costs and benefits of alternative management scenarios. When the effects of climate change were taken into account, several scenarios performed equally well, but none prevented a collapse in coral biomass over the next few decades assuming a business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions scenario.

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-04-26

    ... DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Draft Programmatic... Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Biscayne National Park. SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental... availability of a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Coral Reef Restoration Plan...

  2. 77 FR 12567 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-03-01

    ... Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Logbook and Reporting AGENCY... with, or any U.S. citizen issued with, a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit (authorized under the Fishery Management Plan for Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Western Pacific Region), to complete...

  3. 76 FR 52318 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-08-22

    ... DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Coral Reef Task Force... of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. The meeting will be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This meeting, the 26th bi-annual meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, provides a forum for coordinated...

  4. 76 FR 24050 - Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, Biscayne National...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-04-29

    ... DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [2310-0003-422] Coral Reef Restoration Plan... for the Coral Reef Restoration Plan, Biscayne National Park. SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National... availability of a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Coral Reef Restoration Plan (Plan...

  5. 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...

  6. 77 FR 48504 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Economic Value of Puerto Rico's Coral Reef...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-08-14

    ... Collection; Comment Request; Economic Value of Puerto Rico's Coral Reef Ecosystems for Recreation-Tourism... the market and non-market economic values of Puerto Rico's coral reef ecosystems. Estimates will be... Puerto Rico's coral reef ecosystems. The required information is to conduct focus groups to help in...

  7. 77 FR 39724 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-07-05

    ...-DS61200000] U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service... Wildlife Service (Service), announce a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) and a... strengthen U.S. government actions to better preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The Departments of...

  8. 75 FR 47624 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-06

    ... DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and... (Service), announce a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) and a request for written.... Coral Reef Task Force Department of the Interior Liaison, U.S. Department of the Interior, MS-3530-MIB...

  9. 77 FR 12243 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-29

    ... Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Permit Form AGENCY: National... using a vessel to fish for Western Pacific coral reef ecosystem management unit species in the... allowed in the regulations; or (3) fishing for, taking, or retaining any Potentially Harvested Coral Reef...

  10. 76 FR 7579 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-02-10

    .... Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior... Service (Service), announce a public business meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) [email protected] ); or Liza Johnson, U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Department of the Interior Liaison, U.S...

  11. Monitoring the impacts of Ocean Acidification on coral reef bioerosion: challenges, methods, recommendations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Enochs, I.; Manzello, D.; Carlton, R.

    2013-05-01

    Coral reef habitats exist as a dynamic balance between the additive process of calcification and the destructive effects of erosion. A disruption to either the positive or negative side of the coral reef carbonate budget can push a reef system towards rapid collapse. It is well understood that Ocean Acidification (OA) may impair calcification and emerging experimental evidence suggests that it will likely increase the erosive potential of a diverse suite of bioeroding taxa. This may lead to previously unforeseen scenarios where reef framework degradation occurs at a faster pace than that predicted by more simplistic models, resulting from the multifaceted impacts of both slower coral growth and enhanced rates of habitat erosion. As such, it is of paramount importance that monitoring plans tasked with assessing reef resilience to climate change and OA incorporate methods for quantifying bioerosion. This is a complex undertaking as reef ecosystem bioerosion is the result of numerous behaviors, employed by diverse flora and fauna, operating at vastly different scales. Furthermore, these erosive processes are highly variable, dependent on seasonal fluctuations and differing between reef regions, species, individuals, and even the physical characteristics of the substrates acted upon. The strengths and weaknesses of existing bioerosion monitoring methodologies are discussed, ranging from quantification of single species erosion rates to multi-phyletic census-based approaches. Traditional techniques involving the weight change of carbonate blocks are compared alongside more modern methodologies such as micro computed tomography. Finally, recommendations are made for a comprehensive monitoring strategy, incorporating multiple methodologies in a time and cost-effective manner.

  12. Radiography of X-ray in coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Djoli Soembogo

    2016-01-01

    The application of X-ray radiography has been developed and it is already widely used in metal materials such as metal steel and carbon steel. This radiography using a source of radiation from X-ray machines. This research attempts to use the application of digital radiography X-ray source and use scanner Epson V700 positive films media for digitization results of conventional radiographic films on coral reefs. It has been testing radiography using Fuji film 100 to get the contrast medium, the sensitivity of the medium and image quality is good, Single Wall Single Image method , and using the media scanner films positive and X-ray sources, observation parameter are density radiographic film and the defect shape. Radiography uses Fuji film 100 to obtain a good contrast medium, good medium sensitivity and good quality image. Radiography of X-ray on coral reefs aims to find defects or discontinuities coral reefs such as porosity which would interfere with the determination of the age of the coral reefs. X-ray exposure time is 1 seconds for a thickness of 5.45 mm and 5.60 mm coral reefs by using a high voltage X-ray machine Rigaku of 130 kV. The result of the positive film scanner in the form of digital radiography that allows for the transfer of digital data or digital computerized data storage. The test results of radiographic on coral reefs with Single Wall Single Image method obtained radiographic film density parameter for Fuji film 100 on coral reefs No. 2 are 2.55; 2.53; 2.59 and on coral reefs No. 4 are 2.62; 2.65; 2.66, unsharpness geometric of radiographic results obtained 0.022 mm and 0.023 mm, sensitivity radiography are 1.648% and 1.604%. No defect found of Porosity that is significant. Status is acceptable for Fuji film 100, because the density of the film is in conformity with the standards referred to. Status of coral reefs No. 2 and No. 4 can be accepted, because it has conformed with the standards referred. (author)

  13. 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

  14. Length-weight relationships of coral reef fishes from the Alacran Reef, Yucatan, Mexico

    OpenAIRE

    Gonzalez-Gandara, C.; Perez-Diaz, E.; Santos-Rodriguez, L.; Arias-Gonzalez, J.E.

    2003-01-01

    Length-weight relationships were computed for 42 species of coral reef fishes from 14 families from the Alacran Reef (Yucatan, Mexico). A total of 1 892 individuals was used for this purpose. The fish species were caught by different fishing techniques such as fishhooks, harpoons, gill and trawl nets. The sampling period was from March 1998 to January 2000.

  15. 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

  16. The Ecology of Coral Reef Top Predators in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan J. Dale

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Coral reef habitats in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM are characterized by abundant top-level predators such as sharks and jacks. The predator assemblage is dominated both numerically and in biomass by giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis and Galapagos sharks (Carcharhinus galapagensis. A lower diversity of predatory teleosts, particularly groupers and snappers, distinguishes the PMNM from other remote, unfished atolls in the Pacific. Most coral reef top predators are site attached to a “home” atoll, but move extensively within these atolls. Abundances of the most common sharks and jacks are highest in atoll fore reef habitats. Top predators within the PMNM forage on a diverse range of prey and exert top-down control over shallow-water reef fish assemblages. Ecological models suggest ecosystem processes may be most impacted by top predators through indirect effects of predation. Knowledge gaps are identified to guide future studies of top predators in the PMNM.

  17. 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.

  18. 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. © 2016 The Author(s).

  19. Plastic waste associated with disease on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamb, Joleah B; Willis, Bette L; Fiorenza, Evan A; Couch, Courtney S; Howard, Robert; Rader, Douglas N; True, James D; Kelly, Lisa A; Ahmad, Awaludinnoer; Jompa, Jamaluddin; Harvell, C Drew

    2018-01-26

    Plastic waste can promote microbial colonization by pathogens implicated in outbreaks of disease in the ocean. We assessed the influence of plastic waste on disease risk in 124,000 reef-building corals from 159 reefs in the Asia-Pacific region. The likelihood of disease increases from 4% to 89% when corals are in contact with plastic. Structurally complex corals are eight times more likely to be affected by plastic, suggesting that microhabitats for reef-associated organisms and valuable fisheries will be disproportionately affected. Plastic levels on coral reefs correspond to estimates of terrestrial mismanaged plastic waste entering the ocean. We estimate that 11.1 billion plastic items are entangled on coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific and project this number to increase 40% by 2025. Plastic waste management is critical for reducing diseases that threaten ecosystem health and human livelihoods. Copyright © 2018, The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.

  20. 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.

  1. Effects of human population density and proximity to markets on coral reef fishes vulnerable to extinction by fishing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brewer, T D; Cinner, J E; Green, A; Pressey, R L

    2013-06-01

    Coral reef fisheries are crucial to the livelihoods of tens of millions of people; yet, widespread habitat degradation and unsustainable fishing are causing severe depletion of stocks of reef fish. Understanding how social and economic factors, such as human population density, access to external markets, and modernization interact with fishing and habitat degradation to affect fish stocks is vital to sustainable management of coral reef fisheries. We used fish survey data, national social and economic data, and path analyses to assess whether these factors explain variation in biomass of coral reef fishes among 25 sites in Solomon Islands. We categorized fishes into 3 groups on the basis of life-history characteristics associated with vulnerability to extinction by fishing (high, medium, and low vulnerability). The biomass of fish with low vulnerability was positively related to habitat condition. The biomass of fishes with high vulnerability was negatively related to fishing conducted with efficient gear. Use of efficient gear, in turn, was strongly and positively related to both population density and market proximity. This result suggests local population pressure and external markets have additive negative effects on vulnerable reef fish. Biomass of the fish of medium vulnerability was not explained by fishing intensity or habitat condition, which suggests these species may be relatively resilient to both habitat degradation and fishing. © 2012 Society for Conservation Biology.

  2. Macroalgae in the coral reefs of Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea) as a possible indicator of reef degradation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bahartan, Karnit; Zibdah, Mohammad; Ahmed, Yousef; Israel, Alvaro; Brickner, Itzchak; Abelson, Avigdor

    2010-01-01

    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 (<6%). We believe that turf dominancy can indicate degradation in these 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.

  3. 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...

  4. Widespread hybridization and bidirectional introgression in sympatric species of coral reef fish

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo B.; Berumen, Michael L.; Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo; Salas, Eva; Williamson, David H.; Jones, Geoffrey P.

    2017-01-01

    interspecific hybrids from a collection of 2,991 coral trout sampled in inshore and mid-shelf reefs of the southern Great Barrier Reef. Hybrids were ubiquitous among reefs, fertile and spanned multiple generations suggesting both ecological and evolutionary

  5. 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"...

  6. Water column productivity and temperature predict coral reef regeneration across the Indo-Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riegl, B.; Glynn, P. W.; Wieters, E.; Purkis, S.; D'Angelo, C.; Wiedenmann, J.

    2015-02-01

    Predicted increases in seawater temperatures accelerate coral reef decline due to mortality by heat-driven coral bleaching. Alteration of the natural nutrient environment of reef corals reduces tolerance of corals to heat and light stress and thus will exacerbate impacts of global warming on reefs. Still, many reefs demonstrate remarkable regeneration from past stress events. This paper investigates the effects of sea surface temperature (SST) and water column productivity on recovery of coral reefs. In 71 Indo-Pacific sites, coral cover changes over the past 1-3 decades correlated negative-exponentially with mean SST, chlorophyll a, and SST rise. At six monitoring sites (Persian/Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, northern and southern Galápagos, Easter Island, Panama), over half of all corals were coral reefs presently have the best chances for survival. However, reefs best buffered against temperature and nutrient effects are those that current studies suggest to be most at peril from future ocean acidification.

  7. Environmental factors affecting large-bodied coral reef fish assemblages in the Mariana Archipelago.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin L Richards

    Full Text Available Large-bodied reef fishes represent an economically and ecologically important segment of the coral reef fish assemblage. Many of these individuals supply the bulk of the reproductive output for their population and have a disproportionate effect on their environment (e.g. as apex predators or bioeroding herbivores. Large-bodied reef fishes also tend to be at greatest risk of overfishing, and their loss can result in a myriad of either cascading (direct or indirect trophic and other effects. While many studies have investigated habitat characteristics affecting populations of small-bodied reef fishes, few have explored the relationship between large-bodied species and their environment. Here, we describe the distribution of the large-bodied reef fishes in the Mariana Archipelago with an emphasis on the environmental factors associated with their distribution. Of the factors considered in this study, a negative association with human population density showed the highest relative influence on the distribution of large-bodied reef fishes; however, depth, water temperature, and distance to deep water also were important. These findings provide new information on the ecology of large-bodied reef fishes can inform discussions concerning essential fish habitat and ecosystem-based management for these species and highlight important knowledge gaps worthy of additional research.

  8. Host population genetic structure and zooxanthellae diversity of two reef-building coral species along the Florida Reef Tract and wider Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baums, I. B.; Johnson, M. E.; Devlin-Durante, M. K.; Miller, M. W.

    2010-12-01

    In preparation for a large-scale coral restoration project, we surveyed host population genetic structure and symbiont diversity of two reef-building corals in four reef zones along the Florida reef tract (FRT). There was no evidence for coral population subdivision along the FRT in Acropora cervicornis or Montastraea faveolata based on microsatellite markers. However, in A. cervicornis, significant genetic differentiation was apparent when extending the analysis to broader scales (Caribbean). Clade diversity of the zooxanthellae differed along the FRT. A. cervicornis harbored mostly clade A with clade D zooxanthellae being prominent in colonies growing inshore and in the mid-channel zones that experience greater temperature fluctuations and receive significant nutrient and sediment input. M. faveolata harbored a more diverse array of symbionts, and variation in symbiont diversity among four habitat zones was more subtle but still significant. Implications of these results are discussed for ongoing restoration and conservation work.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    2007-12-01

    Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to exceed 500 parts per million and global temperatures to rise by at least 2°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.

  12. 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

    ... the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic... South Carolina Aquarium to collect, with certain conditions, various species of reef fish, crabs, and..., marine sanctuaries, special management zones, or artificial reefs without additional authorization...

  13. CORAL CONDITION: HOW TO FATHOM THE DECLINE OF CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs have experienced unprecedented levels of bleaching, disease and mortality during the last three decades. The goal of EPA-ORD research is to identify the culpable stressors in different species, reefs and regions using integrated field and laboratory studies.

  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. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Larval Connectivity, Florida Reef Tract

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  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. Sponge communities on Caribbean coral reefs are structured by factors that are top-down, not bottom-up.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pawlik, Joseph R; Loh, Tse-Lynn; McMurray, Steven E; Finelli, Christopher M

    2013-01-01

    Caribbean coral reefs have been transformed in the past few decades with the demise of reef-building corals, and sponges are now the dominant habitat-forming organisms on most reefs. Competing hypotheses propose that sponge communities are controlled primarily by predatory fishes (top-down) or by the availability of picoplankton to suspension-feeding sponges (bottom-up). We tested these hypotheses on Conch Reef, off Key Largo, Florida, by placing sponges inside and outside predator-excluding cages at sites with less and more planktonic food availability (15 m vs. 30 m depth). There was no evidence of a bottom-up effect on the growth of any of 5 sponge species, and 2 of 5 species grew more when caged at the shallow site with lower food abundance. There was, however, a strong effect of predation by fishes on sponge species that lacked chemical defenses. Sponges with chemical defenses grew slower than undefended species, demonstrating a resource trade-off between growth and the production of secondary metabolites. Surveys of the benthic community on Conch Reef similarly did not support a bottom-up effect, with higher sponge cover at the shallower depth. We conclude that the structure of sponge communities on Caribbean coral reefs is primarily top-down, and predict that removal of sponge predators by overfishing will shift communities toward faster-growing, undefended species that better compete for space with threatened reef-building corals.

  18. Sponge communities on Caribbean coral reefs are structured by factors that are top-down, not bottom-up.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joseph R Pawlik

    Full Text Available Caribbean coral reefs have been transformed in the past few decades with the demise of reef-building corals, and sponges are now the dominant habitat-forming organisms on most reefs. Competing hypotheses propose that sponge communities are controlled primarily by predatory fishes (top-down or by the availability of picoplankton to suspension-feeding sponges (bottom-up. We tested these hypotheses on Conch Reef, off Key Largo, Florida, by placing sponges inside and outside predator-excluding cages at sites with less and more planktonic food availability (15 m vs. 30 m depth. There was no evidence of a bottom-up effect on the growth of any of 5 sponge species, and 2 of 5 species grew more when caged at the shallow site with lower food abundance. There was, however, a strong effect of predation by fishes on sponge species that lacked chemical defenses. Sponges with chemical defenses grew slower than undefended species, demonstrating a resource trade-off between growth and the production of secondary metabolites. Surveys of the benthic community on Conch Reef similarly did not support a bottom-up effect, with higher sponge cover at the shallower depth. We conclude that the structure of sponge communities on Caribbean coral reefs is primarily top-down, and predict that removal of sponge predators by overfishing will shift communities toward faster-growing, undefended species that better compete for space with threatened reef-building corals.

  19. Ocean Acidification and Coral Reefs: An Emerging Big Picture

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John E. N. Veron

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available This article summarises the sometimes controversial contributions made by the different sciences to predict the path of ocean acidification impacts on the diversity of coral reefs during the present century. Although the seawater carbonate system has been known for a long time, the understanding of acidification impacts on marine biota is in its infancy. Most publications about ocean acidification are less than a decade old and over half are about coral reefs. Contributions from physiological studies, particularly of coral calcification, have covered such a wide spectrum of variables that no cohesive picture of the mechanisms involved has yet emerged. To date, these studies show that coral calcification varies with carbonate ion availability which, in turn controls aragonite saturation. They also reveal synergies between acidification and the better understood role of elevated temperature. Ecological studies are unlikely to reveal much detail except for the observations of the effects of carbon dioxide springs in reefs. Although ocean acidification events are not well constrained in the geological record, recent studies show that they are clearly linked to extinction events including four of the five greatest crises in the history of coral reefs. However, as ocean acidification is now occurring faster than at any know time in the past, future predictions based on past events are in unchartered waters. Pooled evidence to date indicates that ocean acidification will be severely affecting reefs by mid century and will have reduced them to ecologically collapsed carbonate platforms by the century’s end. This review concludes that most impacts will be synergistic and that the primary outcome will be a progressive reduction of species diversity correlated with habitat loss and widespread extinctions in most metazoan phyla.

  20. DIVERSITY OF REEF FISH FUNGSIONAL GROUPS IN TERMS OF CORAL REEF RESILIENCES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Isa Nagib edrus

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Infrastructure development in the particular sites of  Seribu Islands as well as those in main land of Jakarta City increased with coastal population this phenomenon is likely to increase the effects to the adjacent coral waters of Seribu Islands.  Chemical pollutants, sedimentation, and domestic wastes are the common impact and threatening, the survival of coral reef ecosystem. Coral reef resiliences naturaly remained on their processes under many influences of supporting factors. One of the major factor is the role of reef fish functional groups on controling algae growth to recolonize coral juveniles. The  aim of this study to obtain data of a herbivory and other fish functional groups of reef fishes in the Pari Islands that are resilience indicators, or that may indicate the effectiveness of management actions. A conventional scientific approach on fish diversity and abundance data gathering was conducted by the underwater visual cencus. Diversity values of the reef fish functional groups, such as the abundance of individual fish including species, were collected and tabulated by classes and weighted as a baseline to understand the resilience of coral reed based on Obura and Grimsditch (2009 techniques. The results succesfully identified several fish functional groups such as harbivores (21 species, carnivores (13 species and fish indicator (5 species occurred in the area. Regarding the aspects of fish density and its diversity, especially herbivorous fish functional group, were presumably in the state of rarely available to support the coral reef resiliences. Resilience indices ranged from 1 (low level to 3 (moderate level and averages of the quality levels ranged from 227 to 674. These levels were inadequate to support coral reef recolonization.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. African dust and the demise of Caribbean coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinn, E.A.; Smith, G.W.; Prospero, J.M.; Betzer, P.; Hayes, M.L.; Garrison, V.; Barber, R.T.

    2000-01-01

    The vitality of Caribbean coral reefs has undergone a continual state of decline since the late 1970s, a period of time coincidental with large increases in transatlantic dust transport. It is proposed that the hundreds of millions of tons/year of soil dust that have been crossing the Atlantic during the last 25 years could be a significant contributor to coral reef decline and may be affecting other ecosystems. Benchmark events, such as near synchronous Caribbean-wide mortalities of acroporid corals and the urchin Diadema in 1983, and coral bleaching beginning in 1987, correlate with the years of maximum dust flux into the Caribbean. Besides crustal elements, in particular Fe, Si, and aluminosilicate clays, the dust can serve as a substrate for numerous species of viable spores, especially the soil fungus Aspergillus. Aspergillus sydowii, the cause of an ongoing Caribbean-wide seafan disease, has been cultured from Caribbean air samples and used to inoculate sea fans.

  4. Aura-biomes are present in the water layer above coral reef benthic macro-organisms

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kevin Walsh

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available As coral reef habitats decline worldwide, some reefs are transitioning from coral- to algal-dominated benthos with the exact cause for this shift remaining elusive. Increases in the abundance of microbes in the water column has been correlated with an increase in coral disease and reduction in coral cover. Here we investigated how multiple reef organisms influence microbial communities in the surrounding water column. Our study consisted of a field assessment of microbial communities above replicate patches dominated by a single macro-organism. Metagenomes were constructed from 20 L of water above distinct macro-organisms, including (1 the coral Mussismilia braziliensis, (2 fleshy macroalgae (Stypopodium, Dictota and Canistrocarpus, (3 turf algae, and (4 the zoanthid Palythoa caribaeorum and were compared to the water microbes collected 3 m above the reef. Microbial genera and functional potential were annotated using MG-RAST and showed that the dominant benthic macro-organisms influence the taxa and functions of microbes in the water column surrounding them, developing a specific “aura-biome”. The coral aura-biome reflected the open water column, and was associated with Synechococcus and functions suggesting oligotrophic growth, while the fleshy macroalgae aura-biome was associated with Ruegeria, Pseudomonas, and microbial functions suggesting low oxygen conditions. The turf algae aura-biome was associated with Vibrio, Flavobacterium, and functions suggesting pathogenic activity, while zoanthids were associated with Alteromonas and functions suggesting a stressful environment. Because each benthic organism has a distinct aura-biome, a change in benthic cover will change the microbial community of the water, which may lead to either the stimulation or suppression of the recruitment of benthic organisms.

  5. Aura-biomes are present in the water layer above coral reef benthic macro-organisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walsh, Kevin; Haggerty, J Matthew; Doane, Michael P; Hansen, John J; Morris, Megan M; Moreira, Ana Paula B; de Oliveira, Louisi; Leomil, Luciana; Garcia, Gizele D; Thompson, Fabiano; Dinsdale, Elizabeth A

    2017-01-01

    As coral reef habitats decline worldwide, some reefs are transitioning from coral- to algal-dominated benthos with the exact cause for this shift remaining elusive. Increases in the abundance of microbes in the water column has been correlated with an increase in coral disease and reduction in coral cover. Here we investigated how multiple reef organisms influence microbial communities in the surrounding water column. Our study consisted of a field assessment of microbial communities above replicate patches dominated by a single macro-organism. Metagenomes were constructed from 20 L of water above distinct macro-organisms, including (1) the coral Mussismilia braziliensis , (2) fleshy macroalgae ( Stypopodium , Dictota and Canistrocarpus ), (3) turf algae, and (4) the zoanthid Palythoa caribaeorum and were compared to the water microbes collected 3 m above the reef. Microbial genera and functional potential were annotated using MG-RAST and showed that the dominant benthic macro-organisms influence the taxa and functions of microbes in the water column surrounding them, developing a specific "aura-biome". The coral aura-biome reflected the open water column, and was associated with Synechococcus and functions suggesting oligotrophic growth, while the fleshy macroalgae aura-biome was associated with Ruegeria , Pseudomonas, and microbial functions suggesting low oxygen conditions. The turf algae aura-biome was associated with Vibrio, Flavobacterium, and functions suggesting pathogenic activity, while zoanthids were associated with Alteromonas and functions suggesting a stressful environment. Because each benthic organism has a distinct aura-biome, a change in benthic cover will change the microbial community of the water, which may lead to either the stimulation or suppression of the recruitment of benthic organisms.

  6. 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...

  7. LIDAR optical rugosity of coral reefs in Biscayne National Park, Florida

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brock, J.C.; Wright, C.W.; Clayton, T.D.; Nayegandhi, A.

    2004-01-01

    The NASA Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL), a temporal waveform-resolving, airborne, green wavelength LIDAR (light detection and ranging), is designed to measure the submeter-scale topography of shallow reef substrates. Topographic variability is a prime component of habitat complexity, an ecological factor that both expresses and controls the abundance and distribution of many reef organisms. Following the acquisition of EAARL coverage over both mid-platform patch reefs and shelf-margin bank reefs within Biscayne National Park in August 2002, EAARL-based optical indices of topographic variability were evaluated at 15 patch reef and bank reef sites. Several sites were selected to match reefs previously evaluated in situ along underwater video and belt transects. The analysis used large populations of submarine topographic transects derived from the examination of closely spaced laser spot reflections along LIDAR raster scans. At all 15 sites, each LIDAR transect was evaluated separately to determine optical rugosity (Rotran), and the average elevation difference between adjacent points (Av(??E ap)). Further, the whole-site mean and maximum values of Ro tran and Av(??Eap) for the entire population of transects at each analysis site, along with their standard deviations, were calculated. This study revealed that the greater habitat complexity of inshore patch reefs versus outer bank reefs results in relative differences in topographic complexity that can be discerned in the laser returns. Accordingly, LIDAR sensing of optical rugosity is proposed as a complementary new technique for the rapid assessment of shallow coral reefs. ?? Springer-Verlag 2004.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Advancing Ocean Monitoring Near Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heron, Scott F.; Steinberg, Craig R.; Heron, Mal L.; Mantovanelli, Alessandra; Jaffrés, Jasmine B. D.; Skirving, William J.; McAllister, Felicity; Rigby, Paul; Wisdom, Daniel; Bainbridge, Scott

    2010-10-01

    Corals, the foundation of tropical marine ecosystems, exist in a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae (algae). The corals obtain much of their energy by consuming compounds derived from photosynthesis by these microorganisms; the microorganisms, which reside in the coral tissue, in turn use waste products from the corals to sustain photosynthesis. This symbiosis is very sensitive to subtle changes in environment, such as increased ocean acidity, temperature, and light. When unduly stressed, the colorful algae are expelled from the corals, causing the corals to “bleach” and potentially die [e.g., van Oppen and Lough, 2009].

  11. Two ;pillars; of cold-water coral reefs along Atlantic European margins: Prevalent association of Madrepora oculata with Lophelia pertusa, from reef to colony scale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnaud-Haond, S.; Van den Beld, I. M. J.; Becheler, R.; Orejas, C.; Menot, L.; Frank, N.; Grehan, A.; Bourillet, J. F.

    2017-11-01

    The scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa has been the focus of deep-sea research since the recognition of the vast extent of coral reefs in North Atlantic waters two decades ago, long after their existence was mentioned by fishermen. These reefs where shown to provide habitat, concentrate biomass and act as feeding or nursery grounds for many species, including those targeted by commercial fisheries. Thus, the attention given to this cold-water coral (CWC) species from researchers and the wider public has increased. Consequently, new research programs triggered research to determine the full extent of the corals geographic distribution and ecological dynamics of ;Lophelia reefs;. The present study is based on a systematic standardised sampling design to analyze the distribution and coverage of CWC reefs along European margins from the Bay of Biscay to Iceland. Based on Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) image analysis, we report an almost systematic occurrence of Madrepora oculata in association with L. pertusa with similar abundances of both species within explored reefs, despite a tendency of increased abundance of L. pertusa compared to M. oculata toward higher latitudes. This systematic association occasionally reached the colony scale, with ;twin; colonies of both species often observed growing next to each other when isolated structures were occurring off-reefs. Finally, several ;false chimaera; were observed within reefs, confirming that colonial structures can be ;coral bushes; formed by an accumulation of multiple colonies even at the inter-specific scale, with no need for self-recognition mechanisms. Thus, we underline the importance of the hitherto underexplored M. oculata in the Eastern Atlantic, re-establishing a more balanced view that both species and their yet unknown interactions are required to better elucidate the ecology, dynamics and fate of European CWC reefs in a changing environment.

  12. Holocene emerged coral reef in Takarajima and Kodakarajima, Ryukyu islands, Southwest Japan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nakata, Takashi; Omoto, Kunio; Koba, Motoharu

    1978-01-01

    Due to the recent development of radiometric dating, coral reefs emerged in Holocene epoch are studied intensively worldwidely in relation to sea level change and coral reef formation. Attempt was made to determine the age, pattern and growth rate of coral reefs in the marginal area of coral sea in the Northwest Pacific. Field observation was made in the emerged coral reefs in Takarajima and Kodakarajima islands and the samples for radiocarbon dating were taken from geological sections across the emerged reefs. These islands are located at about 29 deg 10 min N, 129 deg 15 min E, where warm Kuroshio current pushes the margin of coral sea northward, and furnished with flourishing development of coral reefs emerged in both pleistocence and Holocene epochs. Though without earthquake records, it is assumed that Holocene reefs have been terraced due to sudden uplift associated with major earthquakes. (Mori, K.)

  13. Holocene emerged coral reef in Takarajima and Kodakarajima, Ryukyu islands, Southwest Japan

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nakata, T; Omoto, K; Koba, M [Tohoku Univ., Sendai (Japan). Faculty of Science

    1978-06-01

    Due to the recent development of radiometric dating, coral reefs emerged in Holocene epoch are studied intensively worldwidely in relation to sea level change and coral reef formation. Attempt was made to determine the age, pattern and growth rate of coral reefs in the marginal area of coral sea in the Northwest Pacific. Field observation was made in the emerged coral reefs in Takarajima and Kodakarajima islands and the samples for radiocarbon dating were taken from geological sections across the emerged reefs. These islands are located at about 29 deg 10 min N, 129 deg 15 min E, where warm Kuroshio current pushes the margin of coral sea northward, and furnished with flourishing development of coral reefs emerged in both pleistocence and Holocene epochs. Though without earthquake records, it is assumed that Holocene reefs have been terraced due to sudden uplift associated with major earthquakes.

  14. The effect of adult aggression on habitat selection by settlers of two coral-dwelling damselfishes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ofer Ben-Tzvi

    Full Text Available Coral-reef fishes experience a major challenge when facing settlement in a multi-threat environment, within which, using settlement cues, they need to select a suitable site. Studies in laboratories and artificial setups have shown that the presence of conspecific adults often serves as a positive settlement cue, whose value is explained by the increased survival of juveniles in an already proven fit environment. However, settlement in already inhabited corals may expose the recruits to adult aggression. Daily observations and manipulation experiments were used in the present study, which was conducted in the natural reef. We revealed differential strategies of settlers, which do not necessarily join conspecific adults. Dascyllus aruanus prefer to settle near (not with their aggressive adults, and to join them only after gaining in size; whereas Dascyllus marginatus settlers in densely populated reefs settle independently of their adult distribution. Our results present different solutions to the challenges faced by fish recruits while selecting their microhabitat, and emphasize the complexity of habitat selection by the naïve settlers. Although laboratory experiments are important to the understanding of fish habitat selection, further studies in natural habitats are essential in order to elucidate the actual patterns of settlement and habitat selection, which are crucial for the survival of coral-reef fish populations.

  15. 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.

  16. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Towed-diver Surveys of Benthic Habitat, Key Benthic Species, and Marine Debris Sightings of the Marianas since 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The towed-diver method is used to conduct benthic surveys, assessing large-scale disturbances (e.g., bleaching) and quantifying benthic components such as habitat...

  17. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Towed-diver Surveys of Benthic Habitat, Key Benthic Species, and Marine Debris Sightings of American Samoa in 2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The towed-diver method is used to conduct benthic surveys, assessing large-scale disturbances (e.g., bleaching) and quantifying benthic components such as habitat...

  18. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Towed-diver Surveys of Benthic Habitat, Key Benthic Species, and Marine Debris Sightings of the Hawaiian Archipelago in 2016

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The towed-diver method is used to conduct benthic surveys, assessing large-scale disturbances (e.g., bleaching) and quantifying benthic components such as habitat...

  19. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Towed-diver Surveys of Benthic Habitat, Key Benthic Species, and Marine Debris Sightings of the Pacific Remote Island Areas since 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The towed-diver method is used to conduct benthic surveys, assessing large-scale disturbances (e.g., bleaching) and quantifying benthic components such as habitat...

  20. 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.

  1. Synergistic impacts of global warming on the resilience of coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Bozec, Yves-Marie; Mumby, Peter J.

    2015-01-01

    Recent epizootics have removed important functional species from Caribbean coral reefs and left communities vulnerable to alternative attractors. Global warming will impact reefs further through two mechanisms. A chronic mechanism reduces coral calcification, which can result in depressed somatic growth. An acute mechanism, coral bleaching, causes extreme mortality when sea temperatures become anomalously high. We ask how these two mechanisms interact in driving future reef state (coral cover...

  2. 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

  3. Vulnerability of coral reef fisheries to a loss of structural complexity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Alice; Blanchard, Julia L; Mumby, Peter J

    2014-05-05

    Coral reefs face a diverse array of threats, from eutrophication and overfishing to climate change. As live corals are lost and their skeletons eroded, the structural complexity of reefs declines. This may have important consequences for the survival and growth of reef fish because complex habitats mediate predator-prey interactions [1, 2] and influence competition [3-5] through the provision of prey refugia. A positive correlation exists between structural complexity and reef fish abundance and diversity in both temperate and tropical ecosystems [6-10]. However, it is not clear how the diversity of available refugia interacts with individual predator-prey relationships to explain emergent properties at the community scale. Furthermore, we do not yet have the ability to predict how habitat loss might affect the productivity of whole reef communities and the fisheries they support. Using data from an unfished reserve in The Bahamas, we find that structural complexity is associated not only with increased fish biomass and abundance, but also with nonlinearities in the size spectra of fish, implying disproportionately high abundances of certain size classes. By developing a size spectrum food web model that links the vulnerability of prey to predation with the structural complexity of a reef, we show that these nonlinearities can be explained by size-structured prey refugia that reduce mortality rates and alter growth rates in different parts of the size spectrum. Fitting the model with data from a structurally complex habitat, we predict that a loss of complexity could cause more than a 3-fold reduction in fishery productivity. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. The Paradoxical Roles of Climate Stressors on Disturbance and Recovery of Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manfrino, C.; Foster, G.; Camp, E.

    2013-05-01

    The geographic isolation, absence of significant anthropogenic impacts, compressed spatial scale, and habitat diversity of Little Cayman combine to make it a natural laboratory for elucidating the dualistic impacts of various climatic events. These events both impart ecosystem disturbances and aid in the subsequent recovery of coral reef habitats. Within the isolated microcosm of Little Cayman the environmental factors commonly associated with coral stress, mortality, resilience and recovery hinted at by regional-scale observations can be more clearly observed. The primary thrust of this study is to reveal the under-pinning biophysical and hydrologic factors pertinent to reef resilience and to better understand the various roles played by climatic disturbances that have led to the rapid recovery of corals at Little Cayman following a spate of high temperature anomalies. Six closely-spaced high-temperature events were recorded in the Caribbean between the years of 1987 and 2009. Of these, only the 1998 global ENSO event, with well-documented levels of elevated SST, reduced cloud cover and surface water texture with concomittant increases in UV and irradiance and reduced water velocity, resulted in significant mortality at Little Cayman. Following this event, island-wide live coral cover decreased by 40%, from 26% to 14%. Annual monitoring of live coral cover following the 1998 ENSO event revealed no significant recovery of live coral cover until 2009, at which point there was a rapid rebound to pre-disturbance levels by 2011. Such a protracted step-change in coral recovery is indicative of one or more episodic events. The proposed scenario is that the numerous thermal stress events damaged the photo-system of the zooxanthellae, limiting the scope for growth and recovery as the metabolic budgets of corals were diverted to cellular repair. It is posited that the rapid cooling effect of frequent Tropical Storms and Hurricanes between 2002 - 2008, coupled with the

  5. Relative and combined effects of habitat and fishing on reef fish communities across a limited fishing gradient at Ningaloo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Shaun K; Babcock, Russ C; Fisher, Rebecca; Holmes, Thomas H; Moore, James A Y; Thomson, Damian P

    2012-10-01

    Habitat degradation and fishing are major drivers of temporal and spatial changes in fish communities. The independent effects of these drivers are well documented, but the relative importance and interaction between fishing and habitat shifts is poorly understood, particularly in complex systems such as coral reefs. To assess the combined and relative effects of fishing and habitat we examined the composition of fish communities on patch reefs across a gradient of high to low structural complexity in fished and unfished areas of the Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia. Biomass and species richness of fish were positively correlated with structural complexity of reefs and negatively related to macroalgal cover. Total abundance of fish was also positively related to structural complexity, however this relationship was stronger on fished reefs than those where fishing is prohibited. The interaction between habitat condition and fishing pressure is primarily due to the high abundance of small bodied planktivorous fish on fished reefs. However, the influence of management zones on the abundance and biomass of predators and target species is small, implying spatial differences in fishing pressure are low and unlikely to be driving this interaction. Our results emphasise the importance of habitat in structuring reef fish communities on coral reefs especially when gradients in fishing pressure are low. The influence of fishing effort on this relationship may however become more important as fishing pressure increases. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. 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.

  7. Detecting sedimentation impacts to coral reefs resulting from dredging the Port of Miami, Florida USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Margaret W; Karazsia, Jocelyn; Groves, Carolyn E; Griffin, Sean; Moore, Tom; Wilber, Pace; Gregg, Kurtis

    2016-01-01

    The federal channel at Port of Miami, Florida, USA, was dredged between late 2013 and early 2015 to widen and deepen the channel. Due to the limited spatial extent of impact-assessment monitoring associated with the project, the extent of the dredging impacts on surrounding coral reefs has not been well quantified. Previously published remote sensing analyses, as well as agency and anecdotal reports suggest the most severe and largest area of sedimentation occurred on a coral reef feature referred to as the Inner Reef, particularly in the sector north of the channel. A confounding regional warm-water mass bleaching event followed by a coral disease outbreak during this same time frame made the assessment of dredging-related impacts to coral reefs adjacent to the federal channel difficult but still feasible. The current study sought to better understand the sedimentation impacts that occurred in the coral reef environment surrounding Port of Miami, to distinguish those impacts from other regional events or disturbances, and provide supplemental information on impact assessment that will inform discussions on compensatory mitigation requirements. To this end, in-water field assessments conducted after the completion of dredging and a time series analysis of tagged corals photographed pre-, during, and post-dredging, are used to discern dredging-related sedimentation impacts for the Inner Reef north. Results indicate increased sediment accumulation, severe in certain times and places, and an associated biological response (e.g., higher prevalence of partial mortality of corals) extended up to 700 m from the channel, whereas project-associated monitoring was limited to 50 m from the channel. These results can contribute to more realistic prediction of areas of indirect effect from dredging projects needed to accurately evaluate proposed projects and design appropriate compliance monitoring. Dredging projects near valuable and sensitive habitats subject to local and

  8. Detecting sedimentation impacts to coral reefs resulting from dredging the Port of Miami, Florida USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Margaret W. Miller

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available The federal channel at Port of Miami, Florida, USA, was dredged between late 2013 and early 2015 to widen and deepen the channel. Due to the limited spatial extent of impact-assessment monitoring associated with the project, the extent of the dredging impacts on surrounding coral reefs has not been well quantified. Previously published remote sensing analyses, as well as agency and anecdotal reports suggest the most severe and largest area of sedimentation occurred on a coral reef feature referred to as the Inner Reef, particularly in the sector north of the channel. A confounding regional warm-water mass bleaching event followed by a coral disease outbreak during this same time frame made the assessment of dredging-related impacts to coral reefs adjacent to the federal channel difficult but still feasible. The current study sought to better understand the sedimentation impacts that occurred in the coral reef environment surrounding Port of Miami, to distinguish those impacts from other regional events or disturbances, and provide supplemental information on impact assessment that will inform discussions on compensatory mitigation requirements. To this end, in-water field assessments conducted after the completion of dredging and a time series analysis of tagged corals photographed pre-, during, and post-dredging, are used to discern dredging-related sedimentation impacts for the Inner Reef north. Results indicate increased sediment accumulation, severe in certain times and places, and an associated biological response (e.g., higher prevalence of partial mortality of corals extended up to 700 m from the channel, whereas project-associated monitoring was limited to 50 m from the channel. These results can contribute to more realistic prediction of areas of indirect effect from dredging projects needed to accurately evaluate proposed projects and design appropriate compliance monitoring. Dredging projects near valuable and sensitive habitats

  9. 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.

  10. [Changes in fish communities of coral reefs at Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, Cuba].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Claro, Rodolfo; Cantelar, Karel; Amargós, Fabián Pina; García-Arteaga, Juan P

    2007-06-01

    A comparison of fish community structure in the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago (1988-1989 and 2000) using visual census surveys (eight belt transects 2x50 m in each site) suggests a notable decrease on species richness, and a two thirds reduction in fish density and biomass on coral reefs. This decrease in fish populations may be related to the alarming decrease of scleractinian coral cover, and an enormous proliferation of algae, which currently covers 70-80% of the hard substrate, impeding the recovery of corals and other benthic organisms. High coral mortalities occurred between the study periods, which correlate with the high temperatures caused by the ENSO events of 1995, 1997 and 1998. These events caused massive bleaching of corals and subsequent algae overgrowth. Evidence of nutrient enrichment from the inner lagoons and overfishing are also present. Collectively, these effects have provoked a marked degradation of reef habitats. These changes appear to have affected the availability of refuges and food for fishes, and may be constraining individual growth potential and population size.

  11. Population genetic structure of coral reef species Plectorhinchus ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    STORAGESEVER

    2008-06-03

    Jun 3, 2008 ... 1The Key Laboratory of Mariculture, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of China, Qingdao. 266003 P. R. ... marginal sea of Western Pacific, which was an enclosed inland sea ... coral islands and reefs in South China Sea. There are ..... strong genetic divergence in Southeast Asia (Liu et al., 2006).

  12. Population genetic structure of coral reef species Plectorhinchus ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The population genetic structure and the dispersal ability of Plectorhinchus flavomaculatus from South China Sea were examined with a 464 bp segment of mtDNA control region. A total of 116 individuals were collected from 12 coral reefs in Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha archipelagos and 22 haplotypes were obtained.

  13. 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

  14. 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...

  15. 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…

  16. TEMPORAL TRENDS IN THE HEALTH OF SOUTH FLORIDA CORAL REEFS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barron, M.G., D.L. Santavy, L. MacLaughlin, E. Mueller, E. Peters, B. Quarles and J. Campbell. In press. Temporal Trends in the Health of South Florida Coral Reefs (Abstract). To be presented at the SETAC Fourth World Congress, 14-18 November 2004, Portland, OR. 1 p. (ERL,GB R100...

  17. Factors Affecting Detection Probability of Acoustic Tags in Coral Reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bermudez, Edgar F.

    2012-01-01

    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

  18. 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

  19. Parrotfish grazing on coral reefs : A trophic novelty

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bruggemann, Johann Henrich

    1995-01-01

    Parrotfish (family Scaridae) are grazers that are restricted to shallow tropical marine environments, and form an important component of the herbivore assemblage on Caribbean and Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Most scarid species have fused jaw teeth with which they scrape off algae that grow on and in

  20. Self-recognition in corals facilitates deep-sea habitat engineering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hennige, Sebastian J; Morrison, Cheryl L.; Form, Armin U.; Buscher, Janina; Kamenos, Nicholas A.; Roberts, J. Murray

    2014-01-01

    The ability of coral reefs to engineer complex three-dimensional habitats is central to their success and the rich biodiversity they support. In tropical reefs, encrusting coralline algae bind together substrates and dead coral framework to make continuous reef structures, but beyond the photic zone, the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa also forms large biogenic reefs, facilitated by skeletal fusion. Skeletal fusion in tropical corals can occur in closely related or juvenile individuals as a result of non-aggressive skeletal overgrowth or allogeneic tissue fusion, but contact reactions in many species result in mortality if there is no ‘self-recognition’ on a broad species level. This study reveals areas of ‘flawless’ skeletal fusion in Lophelia pertusa, potentially facilitated by allogeneic tissue fusion, are identified as having small aragonitic crystals or low levels of crystal organisation, and strong molecular bonding. Regardless of the mechanism, the recognition of ‘self’ between adjacent L. pertusa colonies leads to no observable mortality, facilitates ecosystem engineering and reduces aggression-related energetic expenditure in an environment where energy conservation is crucial. The potential for self-recognition at a species level, and subsequent skeletal fusion in framework-forming cold-water corals is an important first step in understanding their significance as ecological engineers in deep-seas worldwide.

  1. 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