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Sample records for disturbed coral reef

  1. 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

  2. Human disturbances on coral reefs in Sri Lanka: A case study

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oehman, M C; Linden, O [Stockholm Univ. (Sweden). Dept. of Zoology; Rajasuriya, A [NARA, Crow Island, Colombo (Sri Lanka)

    1993-01-01

    The degradation of coral reefs in Sri Lanka has increased substantially over the last decades. Human activities causing this degradation include: mining for lime production, sewage discharges, discharges of oil and other pollutants in connection with shipping and port activities, destructive fishing practices, land and mangrove destruction, tourism and the collecting of fauna such as fish, shells and corals. In this study, three adjacent coral reefs; Bar Reef, Talawila Reef, and Kandakuliya Reef, which are widely scattered patch reefs off Kalpitiya Peninsula, northwestern Sri Lanka, were surveyed and compared in terms of their fish and coral diversity and abundance as well as human and natural disturbances. Information was gathered by snorkeling in visual overview surveys and by scuba diving in detailed transect surveys. When each reef was ranked according to the extent of live coral cover, and chaetodontid diversity, the results indicated that Bar Reef was in excellent condition, Talawila Reef was intermediate, and Kandakuliya Reef was in poor condition. The diversity of coral genera, the topographic relief and the proportion of coral rubble, did not follow the same pattern. The number of coral genera found was 49, while 283 fish species belonging to 51 families were recorded. Human disturbance factors on the reefs were found to be net fishing, boat anchoring and ornamental fish collection for the aquarium trade. Bottom.set nylon nets in particular were found to have a very destructive impact on the bottom fauna. 33 refs, 7 figs, 1 tab

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

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    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.

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

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

    2016-04-30

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

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

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    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Early-phase dynamics in coral recovery following cyclone disturbance on the inshore Great Barrier Reef, Australia

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    Sato, Yui; Bell, Sara C.; Nichols, Cassandra; Fry, Kent; Menéndez, Patricia; Bourne, David G.

    2018-06-01

    Coral recovery (the restoration of abundance and composition of coral communities) after disturbance is a key process that determines the resilience of reef ecosystems. To understand the mechanisms underlying the recovery process of coral communities, colony abundance and size distribution were followed on reefs around Pelorus Island, located in the inshore central region of the Great Barrier Reef, following a severe tropical cyclone in 2011 that caused dramatic loss of coral communities. Permanent quadrats (600 m2) were monitored biannually between 2012 and 2016, and individual coral colonies were counted, sized and categorized into morphological types. The abundance of coral recruits and coral cover were also examined using permanent quadrats and random line intercept transects, respectively. The number of colonies in the smallest size class (4-10 cm) increased substantially during the study period, driving the recovery of coral populations. The total number of coral colonies 5 yr post-cyclone reached between 73 and 122% of pre-cyclone levels though coral cover remained between 16 and 31% of pre-cyclone levels, due to the dominance of small coral colonies in the recovering communities. Temporal transitions of coral demography (i.e., colony-size distributions) illustrated that the number of recently established coral populations overtook communities of surviving colonies. Coral recruits (coral recovery. A shift in morphological composition of coral communities was also observed, with the relative abundance of encrusting corals reduced post-cyclone in contrast to their dominance prior to the disturbance. This study identifies the fine-scale processes involved in the initial recovery of coral reefs, providing insights into the dynamics of coral demography that are essential for determining coral reef resilience following major disturbance.

  8. Response diversity can increase ecological resilience to disturbance in coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baskett, Marissa L; Fabina, Nicholas S; Gross, Kevin

    2014-08-01

    Community-level resilience depends on the interaction between multiple populations that vary in individual responses to disturbance. For example, in tropical reefs, some corals can survive higher stress (resistance) while others exhibit faster recovery (engineering resilience) following disturbances such as thermal stress. While each type will negatively affect the other through competition, each might also benefit the other by reducing the potential for an additional competitor such as macroalgae to invade after a disturbance. To determine how community composition affects ecological resilience, we modeled coral-macroalgae interactions given either a resistant coral, a resilient coral, or both together. Having both coral types (i.e., response diversity) can lead to observable enhanced ecological resilience if (1) the resilient coral is not a superior competitor and (2) disturbance levels are high enough such that the resilient coral would collapse when considered alone. This enhanced resilience occurs through competitor-enabled rescue where each coral increases the potential for the other to recover from disturbance through external recruitment, such that both corals benefit from the presence of each other in terms of total cover and resilience. Therefore, conservation management aimed at protecting resilience under global change requires consideration of both diversity and connectivity between sites experiencing differential disturbance.

  9. Coral reef fish assemblages along a disturbance gradient in the northern Persian Gulf: A seasonal perspective.

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    Ghazilou, Amir; Shokri, Mohammad Reza; Gladstone, William

    2016-04-30

    Seasonal dynamics of coral reef fish assemblages were assessed along a gradient of potential anthropogenic disturbance in the Northern Persian Gulf. Overall, the attributes of coral reef fish assemblages showed seasonality at two different levels: seasonal changes irrespective of the magnitude of disturbance level (e.g. species richness), and seasonal changes in response to disturbance level (e.g. total abundance and assemblage composition). The examined parameters mostly belonged to the second group, but the interpretation of the relationship between patterns of seasonal changes and the disturbance level was not straightforward. The abundance of carnivorous fishes did not vary among seasons. SIMPER identified the family Nemipteridae as the major contributor to the observed spatiotemporal variations in the composition of coral reef fish assemblages in the study area. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Rapid recovery of a coral dominated Eastern Tropical Pacific reef after experimentally produced anthropogenic disturbance.

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    Muthukrishnan, Ranjan; Fong, Peggy

    2018-05-07

    Local anthropogenic stressors such as overfishing, nutrient enrichment and increased sediment loading have been shown to push coral reefs toward greater dominance by algae. In a few cases this shift has been temporary, with the ability to recover to a healthy coral-dominated community after disturbance, suggesting some systems have considerable resilience. However, an understanding of the circumstances under which reefs may recover is only beginning to emerge. We monitored recovery of a coral-dominated reef in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) after cessation of a ∼6 month multiple stressor experiment (with herbivore exclosure, nutrient addition, and sediment addition). We observed substantial recovery from small-scale disturbances, though there were differences in both the extent and temporal dynamics of recovery between treatments. Plots that had been caged showed the largest recovery in absolute terms and recovery was quite rapid, while nutrient and sediment addition plots were slower to recover. We also observed different recovery patterns depending on the type of algae that replaced coral during or after disturbances. Macroalgae that established during manipulation were almost completely removed within 2 weeks, revealing that a significant proportion had covered still-living coral. Turf algae persisted longer, but were almost completely replaced by regenerating coral within 18 months. Very little crustose coralline algae were apparent during manipulations, but coverage did increase during recovery. This rapid recovery of corals after simulated anthropogenic disturbance to ETP reefs underscores the value of management of local stressors for short-term recovery and perhaps as a buffer for longer-term global stressors. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. Interactive effects of three pervasive marine stressors in a post-disturbance coral reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gil, Michael A.; Goldenberg, Silvan U.; Ly Thai Bach, Anne; Mills, Suzanne C.; Claudet, Joachim

    2016-12-01

    Ecosystems are commonly affected by natural, episodic disturbances that can abruptly and drastically alter communities. Although it has been shown that resilient ecosystems can eventually recover to pre-disturbed states, the extent to which communities in early stages of recovery could be affected by multiple anthropogenic stressors is poorly understood. Pervasive and rising anthropogenic stressors in coastal marine systems that could interactively affect the recovery of these systems following natural disturbances include high sedimentation, nutrient enrichment, and overfishing. Using a 6-month field experiment, we examined the effects of all combinations of these three stressors on key functional groups in the benthic community growing on simulated, post-disturbance reef patches within a system recovering from large-scale natural disturbances (corallivorous seastar outbreak and cyclone). Our study revealed that sedimentation, nutrient enrichment, and overfishing (simulated using exclusion cages) interactively affected coral survival and algal growth, with taxon-specific effects at multiple scales. First, our treatments affected corals and algae differently, with sedimentation being more detrimental to macroalgal growth but less detrimental to coral ( Porites rus) survival in caged plots, driving significant interactions between sedimentation and caging for both taxa. We also observed distinct responses between coral species and between algal functional groups, with the most extensive responses from algal turf biomass, for which sedimentation suppressed the synergistic (positive) combined effect of nutrient enrichment and caging. Our findings suggest that different combinations of ubiquitous anthropogenic stressors, related to either sea- or land-based activities, interactively influence community recovery from disturbance and may alter species compositions in the resulting community. Our findings further suggest that anthropogenic stressors could promote further

  14. Warm-water coral reefs and climate change.

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    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.

  15. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

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

  16. Conservation Planning for Coral Reefs Accounting for Climate Warming Disturbances.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rafael A Magris

    Full Text Available Incorporating warming disturbances into the design of marine protected areas (MPAs is fundamental to developing appropriate conservation actions that confer coral reef resilience. We propose an MPA design approach that includes spatially- and temporally-varying sea-surface temperature (SST data, integrating both observed (1985-2009 and projected (2010-2099 time-series. We derived indices of acute (time under reduced ecosystem function following short-term events and chronic thermal stress (rate of warming and combined them to delineate thermal-stress regimes. Coral reefs located on the Brazilian coast were used as a case study because they are considered a conservation priority in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. We show that all coral reef areas in Brazil have experienced and are projected to continue to experience chronic warming, while acute events are expected to increase in frequency and intensity. We formulated quantitative conservation objectives for regimes of thermal stress. Based on these objectives, we then evaluated if/how they are achieved in existing Brazilian MPAs and identified priority areas where additional protection would reinforce resilience. Our results show that, although the current system of MPAs incorporates locations within some of our thermal-stress regimes, historical and future thermal refugia along the central coast are completely unprotected. Our approach is applicable to other marine ecosystems and adds to previous marine planning for climate change in two ways: (i by demonstrating how to spatially configure MPAs that meet conservation objectives for warming disturbance using spatially- and temporally-explicit data; and (ii by strategically allocating different forms of spatial management (MPA types intended to mitigate warming impacts and also enhance future resistance to climate warming.

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

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    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

  18. Understanding the Spatio-Temporal Response of Coral Reef Fish Communities to Natural Disturbances: Insights from Beta-Diversity Decomposition.

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    Lamy, Thomas; Legendre, Pierre; Chancerelle, Yannick; Siu, Gilles; Claudet, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how communities respond to natural disturbances is fundamental to assess the mechanisms of ecosystem resistance and resilience. However, ecosystem responses to natural disturbances are rarely monitored both through space and time, while the factors promoting ecosystem stability act at various temporal and spatial scales. Hence, assessing both the spatial and temporal variations in species composition is important to comprehensively explore the effects of natural disturbances. Here, we suggest a framework to better scrutinize the mechanisms underlying community responses to disturbances through both time and space. Our analytical approach is based on beta diversity decomposition into two components, replacement and biomass difference. We illustrate this approach using a 9-year monitoring of coral reef fish communities off Moorea Island (French Polynesia), which encompassed two severe natural disturbances: a crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak and a hurricane. These disturbances triggered a fast logistic decline in coral cover, which suffered a 90% decrease on all reefs. However, we found that the coral reef fish composition remained largely stable through time and space whereas compensatory changes in biomass among species were responsible for most of the temporal fluctuations, as outlined by the overall high contribution of the replacement component to total beta diversity. This suggests that, despite the severity of the two disturbances, fish communities exhibited high resistance and the ability to reorganize their compositions to maintain the same level of total community biomass as before the disturbances. We further investigated the spatial congruence of this pattern and showed that temporal dynamics involved different species across sites; yet, herbivores controlling the proliferation of algae that compete with coral communities were consistently favored. These results suggest that compensatory changes in biomass among species and spatial

  19. Topography and spatial arrangement of reef-building corals on the fringing reefs of North Jamaica may influence their response to disturbance from bleaching.

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    Crabbe, M J C

    2010-04-01

    Knowledge of factors that are important in reef resilience helps us understand how reefs react following major environmental disturbances such as hurricanes and bleaching. Here we test factors that might have influenced Jamaican reef resilience to, and subsequent recovery from, the 2005 bleaching event, and which might help inform management policy for reefs in the future: reef rugosity and contact of corals with macroalgae. In addition, we test in the field, on Dairy Bull reef, whether aggregated Porites astreoides colonies exhibit enhanced growth when exposed to superior competition from Acopora palmata, as has been found by experiment with the Indo-Pacific corals Porites lobata and the superior competitor Porites rus [Idjadi, J.A., Karlson, R.H., 2007. Spatial arrangement of competitors influences coexistence of reef-building corals. Ecology 88, 2449-2454]. There were significant linear relationships between rugosity and the increase in smallest size classes for Sidastrea siderea, Colpophyllia natans, P. astreoides and Agaricia species, and between rugosity and cover of the branching coral Acropora cervicornis. Linear extension rates of A. cervicornis and radial growth rates of P. astreoides were significantly lower (p6) when in contact with macroalgae. Aggregated colonies of P. astreoides in contact with one another, one of which was in contact with the faster growing competitor A. palmata showed significantly greater growth rates than with just two aggregated P. astreoides colonies alone. These findings suggest that three dimensional topography and complexity is important for reef resilience and viability in the face of environmental stressors such as bleaching. Our findings also support the idea that aggregated spatial arrangements of corals can influence the outcome of interspecific competition and promote species coexistence, important in times of reef recovery after disturbance. Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Using reefcheck monitoring database to develop the coral reef index of biological integrity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nguyen, Hai Yen T.; Pedersen, Ole; Ikejima, Kou

    2009-01-01

    The coral reef indices of biological integrity was constituted based on the reef check monitoring data. Seventy six minimally disturbed sites and 72 maximallv disturbed sites in shallow water and 39 minimally disturbed sites and 37 maximally disturbed sites in deep water were classified based...... on the high-end and low-end percentages and ratios of hard coral, dead coral and fieshy algae. A total of 52 candidate metrics was identified and compiled, Eight and four metrics were finally selected to constitute the shallow and deep water coral reef indices respectively. The rating curve was applied.......05) and coral damaged by other factors -0.283 (pcoral reef indices were sensitive responses to stressors and can be capable to use as the coral reef biological monitoring tool....

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Is coral richness related to community resistance to and recovery from disturbance?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stacy Y. Zhang

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available More diverse communities are thought to be more stable—the diversity–stability hypothesis—due to increased resistance to and recovery from disturbances. For example, high diversity can make the presence of resilient or fast growing species and key facilitations among species more likely. How natural, geographic biodiversity patterns and changes in biodiversity due to human activities mediate community-level disturbance dynamics is largely unknown, especially in diverse systems. For example, few studies have explored the role of diversity in tropical marine communities, especially at large scales. We tested the diversity–stability hypothesis by asking whether coral richness is related to resistance to and recovery from disturbances including storms, predator outbreaks, and coral bleaching on tropical coral reefs. We synthesized the results of 41 field studies conducted on 82 reefs, documenting changes in coral cover due to disturbance, across a global gradient of coral richness. Our results indicate that coral reefs in more species-rich regions were marginally less resistant to disturbance and did not recover more quickly. Coral community resistance was also highly dependent on pre-disturbance coral cover, probably due in part to the sensitivity of fast-growing and often dominant plating acroporid corals to disturbance. Our results suggest that coral communities in biodiverse regions, such as the western Pacific, may not be more resistant and resilient to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Further analyses controlling for disturbance intensity and other drivers of coral loss and recovery could improve our understanding of the influence of diversity on community stability in coral reef ecosystems.

  11. Is coral richness related to community resistance to and recovery from disturbance?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Stacy Y; Speare, Kelly E; Long, Zachary T; McKeever, Kimberly A; Gyoerkoe, Megan; Ramus, Aaron P; Mohorn, Zach; Akins, Kelsey L; Hambridge, Sarah M; Graham, Nicholas A J; Nash, Kirsty L; Selig, Elizabeth R; Bruno, John F

    2014-01-01

    More diverse communities are thought to be more stable-the diversity-stability hypothesis-due to increased resistance to and recovery from disturbances. For example, high diversity can make the presence of resilient or fast growing species and key facilitations among species more likely. How natural, geographic biodiversity patterns and changes in biodiversity due to human activities mediate community-level disturbance dynamics is largely unknown, especially in diverse systems. For example, few studies have explored the role of diversity in tropical marine communities, especially at large scales. We tested the diversity-stability hypothesis by asking whether coral richness is related to resistance to and recovery from disturbances including storms, predator outbreaks, and coral bleaching on tropical coral reefs. We synthesized the results of 41 field studies conducted on 82 reefs, documenting changes in coral cover due to disturbance, across a global gradient of coral richness. Our results indicate that coral reefs in more species-rich regions were marginally less resistant to disturbance and did not recover more quickly. Coral community resistance was also highly dependent on pre-disturbance coral cover, probably due in part to the sensitivity of fast-growing and often dominant plating acroporid corals to disturbance. Our results suggest that coral communities in biodiverse regions, such as the western Pacific, may not be more resistant and resilient to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Further analyses controlling for disturbance intensity and other drivers of coral loss and recovery could improve our understanding of the influence of diversity on community stability in coral reef ecosystems.

  12. 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)

  13. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Madeleine J.H. van Oppen

    2015-07-01

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

  15. 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

  16. Power analysis as a tool to identify statistically informative indicators for monitoring coral reef disturbances.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Wynsberge, Simon; Gilbert, Antoine; Guillemot, Nicolas; Heintz, Tom; Tremblay-Boyer, Laura

    2017-07-01

    Extensive biological field surveys are costly and time consuming. To optimize sampling and ensure regular monitoring on the long term, identifying informative indicators of anthropogenic disturbances is a priority. In this study, we used 1800 candidate indicators by combining metrics measured from coral, fish, and macro-invertebrate assemblages surveyed from 2006 to 2012 in the vicinity of an ongoing mining project in the Voh-Koné-Pouembout lagoon, New Caledonia. We performed a power analysis to identify a subset of indicators which would best discriminate temporal changes due to a simulated chronic anthropogenic impact. Only 4% of tested indicators were likely to detect a 10% annual decrease of values with sufficient power (>0.80). Corals generally exerted higher statistical power than macro-invertebrates and fishes because of lower natural variability and higher occurrence. For the same reasons, higher taxonomic ranks provided higher power than lower taxonomic ranks. Nevertheless, a number of families of common sedentary or sessile macro-invertebrates and fishes also performed well in detecting changes: Echinometridae, Isognomidae, Muricidae, Tridacninae, Arcidae, and Turbinidae for macro-invertebrates and Pomacentridae, Labridae, and Chaetodontidae for fishes. Interestingly, these families did not provide high power in all geomorphological strata, suggesting that the ability of indicators in detecting anthropogenic impacts was closely linked to reef geomorphology. This study provides a first operational step toward identifying statistically relevant indicators of anthropogenic disturbances in New Caledonia's coral reefs, which can be useful in similar tropical reef ecosystems where little information is available regarding the responses of ecological indicators to anthropogenic disturbances.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Intraspecific variation in physiological condition of reef-building corals associated with differential levels of chronic disturbance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, Chiara; Anderson, Kristen; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are subject to high levels of partial or whole-colony mortality, often caused by chronic and small-scale disturbances. Depending on levels of background mortality, these chronic disturbances may undermine individual fitness and have significant consequences on the ability of colonies to withstand subsequent acute disturbances or environmental change. This study quantified intraspecific variations in physiological condition (measured based on total lipid content and zooxanthellae density) through time in adult colonies of two common and widespread coral species (Acropora spathulata and Pocillopora damicornis), subject to different levels of biological and physical disturbances along the most disturbed reef habitat, the crest. Marked intraspecific variation in the physiological condition of A. spathulata was clearly linked to differences in local disturbance regimes and habitat. Specifically, zooxanthellae density decreased (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, pzooxanthellae density was strongly and negatively correlated with the individual level of partial mortality (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, pclimate-induced coral bleaching.

  3. 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.

  4. Localised hydrodynamics influence vulnerability of coral communities to environmental disturbances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shedrawi, George; Falter, James L.; Friedman, Kim J.; Lowe, Ryan J.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Simpson, Christopher J.; Speed, Conrad W.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Zhang, Zhenlin

    2017-09-01

    The movement of water can have a significant influence on the vulnerability of hermatypic corals to environmental disturbances such as cyclone damage, heat stress and anoxia. Here, we explore the relationship between small reef-scale water circulation patterns and measured differences in the abundance, composition and vulnerability of coral assemblages over decades. Changes in coral cover and community structure within Bill's Bay (Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia) over a 22-yr period, during which multiple disturbance events (including mass bleaching, anoxia, and tropical cyclones) have impacted the area, were compared with spatial variation in water residence times (WRT). We found that reef sites associated with longer water residence times (WRT >15 h) experienced higher rates of coral mortality during acute environmental disturbances compared to reef sites with shorter WRT. Shifts in coral community composition from acroporid to faviid-dominated assemblages were also more prominent at sites with long WRT compared to reef sites with shorter WRT, although shifts in community composition were also observed at sites close to shore. Interestingly, these same long-WRT sites also tended to have the fastest recovery rates so that coral cover was returned to original levels of approximately 20% over two decades. This study provides empirical evidence that spatial patterns in water circulation and flushing can influence the resilience of coral communities, thus identifying areas sensitive to emerging threats associated with global climate change.

  5. Coral population trajectories, increased disturbance and management intervention: A sensitivity analysis

    KAUST Repository

    Riegl, Bernhard; Berumen, Michael L.; Bruckner, Andrew

    2013-01-01

    Coral reefs distant from human population were sampled in the Red Sea and one-third showed degradation by predator outbreaks (crown-of-thorns-starfish=COTS observed in all regions in all years) or bleaching (1998, 2010). Models were built to assess future trajectories. They assumed variable coral types (slow/fast growing), disturbance frequencies (5,10,20years), mortality (equal or not), and connectivity (un/connected to un/disturbed community). Known disturbances were used to parameterize models. Present and future disturbances were estimated from remote-sensing chlorophyll and temperature data. Simulations and sensitivity analysis suggest community resilience at >20-year disturbance frequency, but degradation at higher frequency. Trajectories move from fast-grower to slow-grower dominance at intermediate disturbance frequency, then again to fast-grower dominance. A similar succession was observed in the field: Acropora to Porites to Stylophora/Pocillopora dominance on shallow reefs, and a transition from large poritids to small faviids on deep reefs. Synthesis and application: Even distant reefs are impacted by global changes. COTS impacts and bleaching were key driver of coral degradation, coral population decline could be reduced if these outbreaks and bleaching susceptibility were managed by maintaining water quality and by other interventions. Just leaving reefs alone, seems no longer a satisfactory option. 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution.

  6. Coral population trajectories, increased disturbance and management intervention: A sensitivity analysis

    KAUST Repository

    Riegl, Bernhard

    2013-03-07

    Coral reefs distant from human population were sampled in the Red Sea and one-third showed degradation by predator outbreaks (crown-of-thorns-starfish=COTS observed in all regions in all years) or bleaching (1998, 2010). Models were built to assess future trajectories. They assumed variable coral types (slow/fast growing), disturbance frequencies (5,10,20years), mortality (equal or not), and connectivity (un/connected to un/disturbed community). Known disturbances were used to parameterize models. Present and future disturbances were estimated from remote-sensing chlorophyll and temperature data. Simulations and sensitivity analysis suggest community resilience at >20-year disturbance frequency, but degradation at higher frequency. Trajectories move from fast-grower to slow-grower dominance at intermediate disturbance frequency, then again to fast-grower dominance. A similar succession was observed in the field: Acropora to Porites to Stylophora/Pocillopora dominance on shallow reefs, and a transition from large poritids to small faviids on deep reefs. Synthesis and application: Even distant reefs are impacted by global changes. COTS impacts and bleaching were key driver of coral degradation, coral population decline could be reduced if these outbreaks and bleaching susceptibility were managed by maintaining water quality and by other interventions. Just leaving reefs alone, seems no longer a satisfactory option. 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution.

  7. 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.

  8. Pattern and intensity of human impact on coral reefs depend on depth along the reef profile and on the descriptor adopted

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nepote, Ettore; Bianchi, Carlo Nike; Chiantore, Mariachiara; Morri, Carla; Montefalcone, Monica

    2016-09-01

    Coral reefs are threatened by multiple global and local disturbances. The Maldives, already heavily hit by the 1998 mass bleaching event, are currently affected also by growing tourism and coastal development that may add to global impacts. Most of the studies investigating effects of local disturbances on coral reefs assessed the response of communities along a horizontal distance from the impact source. This study investigated the status of a Maldivian coral reef around an island where an international touristic airport has been recently (2009-2011) built, at different depths along the reef profile (5-20 m depth) and considering the change in the percentage of cover of five different non-taxonomic descriptors assessed through underwater visual surveys: hard corals, soft corals, other invertebrates, macroalgae and abiotic attributes. Eight reefs in areas not affected by any coastal development were used as controls and showed a reduction of hard coral cover and an increase of abiotic attributes (i.e. sand, rock, coral rubble) at the impacted reef. However, hard coral cover, the most widely used descriptor of coral reef health, was not sufficient on its own to detect subtle indirect effects that occurred down the reef profile. Selecting an array of descriptors and considering different depths, where corals may find a refuge from climate impacts, could guide the efforts of minimising local human pressures on coral reefs.

  9. 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.

  10. Mid-term coral-algal dynamics and conservation status of a Gorgona Island (Tropical Eastern Pacific coral reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando A Zapata

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Colombian coral reefs, as other reefs worldwide, have deteriorated significantly during the last few decades due to both natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The National Monitoring System for Coral Reefs in Colombia (SIMAC was established in 1998 to provide long-term data bases to assess the changes of Colombian coral reefs against perturbations and to identify the factors responsible for their decline or recovery. On the Pacific coast, data on coral and algal cover have been collected yearly during seven consecutive years (1998-2004 from 20 permanent transects in two sites at La Azufrada reef, Gorgona Island. Overall, coral cover was high (55.1%-65.7% and algal cover low (28.8%-37.5% and both exhibited significant changes among years, most notably on shallow areas. Differences between sites in both coral and algal cover were present since the study began and may be explained by differences in sedimentation stress derived from soil runoff. Differences between depths most likely stem from the effects of low tidal sub-aerial exposures. Particularly intense sub-aerial exposures occurred repeatedly during January-March, 2001 and accounted for a decrease in coral and an increase in algal cover on shallow depths observed later that year. Additionally, the shallow area on the Northern site seems to be negatively affected by the combined effect of sedimentation and low tidal exposure. However, a decrease in coral cover and an increase of algal cover since 2001 on deep areas at both sites remain unexplained. Comparisons with previous studies suggest that the reef at La Azufrada has been more resilient than other reefs in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP, recovering pre-disturbance (1979 levels of coral cover within a 10 year period after the 1982-83 El Niño, which caused 85% mortality. Furthermore, the effects of the 1997-98 El Niño, indicated by the difference in overall live coral cover between 1998 and 1999, were minor (<6% reduction. Despite

  11. Mid-term coral-algal dynamics and conservation status of a Gorgona Island (Tropical Eastern Pacific) coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zapata, Fernando A; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto; Caro-Zambrano, Carlos; Garzón-Ferreira, Jaime

    2010-05-01

    Colombian coral reefs, as other reefs worldwide, have deteriorated significantly during the last few decades due to both natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The National Monitoring System for Coral Reefs in Colombia (SIMAC) was established in 1998 to provide long-term data bases to assess the changes of Colombian coral reefs against perturbations and to identify the factors responsible for their decline or recovery. On the Pacific coast, data on coral and algal cover have been collected yearly during seven consecutive years (1998-2004) from 20 permanent transects in two sites at La Azufrada reef, Gorgona Island. Overall, coral cover was high (55.1%-65.7%) and algal cover low (28.8%-37.5%) and both exhibited significant changes among years, most notably on shallow areas. Differences between sites in both coral and algal cover were present since the study began and may be explained by differences in sedimentation stress derived from soil runoff. Differences between depths most likely stem from the effects of low tidal sub-aerial exposures. Particularly intense sub-aerial exposures occurred repeatedly during January-March, 2001 and accounted for a decrease in coral and an increase in algal cover on shallow depths observed later that year. Additionally, the shallow area on the Northern site seems to be negatively affected by the combined effect of sedimentation and low tidal exposure. However, a decrease in coral cover and an increase of algal cover since 2001 on deep areas at both sites remain unexplained. Comparisons with previous studies suggest that the reef at La Azufrada has been more resilient than other reefs in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP), recovering pre-disturbance (1979) levels of coral cover within a 10 year period after the 1982-83 El Niño, which caused 85% mortality. Furthermore, the effects of the 1997-98 El Niño, indicated by the difference in overall live coral cover between 1998 and 1999, were minor (< 6% reduction). Despite recurrent

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Intraspecific Variation in Physiological Condition of Reef-Building Corals Associated with Differential Levels of Chronic Disturbance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, Chiara; Anderson, Kristen; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are subject to high levels of partial or whole-colony mortality, often caused by chronic and small-scale disturbances. Depending on levels of background mortality, these chronic disturbances may undermine individual fitness and have significant consequences on the ability of colonies to withstand subsequent acute disturbances or environmental change. This study quantified intraspecific variations in physiological condition (measured based on total lipid content and zooxanthellae density) through time in adult colonies of two common and widespread coral species (Acropora spathulata and Pocillopora damicornis), subject to different levels of biological and physical disturbances along the most disturbed reef habitat, the crest. Marked intraspecific variation in the physiological condition of A. spathulata was clearly linked to differences in local disturbance regimes and habitat. Specifically, zooxanthellae density decreased (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, pzooxanthellae density was strongly and negatively correlated with the individual level of partial mortality (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, p<0.02, B =  −7386077, p = 0.01). Conversely, P. damicornis exhibited very limited intraspecific variation in physiological condition, despite marked differences in levels of partial mortality. This is the first study to relate intraspecific variation in the condition of corals to localized differences in chronic disturbance regimes. The next step is to ascertain whether these differences have further ramifications for susceptibility to periodic acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. PMID:24626395

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-03-01

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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Virus-host interactions and their roles in coral reef health and disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thurber, Rebecca Vega; Payet, Jérôme P; Thurber, Andrew R; Correa, Adrienne M S

    2017-04-01

    Coral reefs occur in nutrient-poor shallow waters, constitute biodiversity and productivity hotspots, and are threatened by anthropogenic disturbance. This Review provides an introduction to coral reef virology and emphasizes the links between viruses, coral mortality and reef ecosystem decline. We describe the distinctive benthic-associated and water-column- associated viromes that are unique to coral reefs, which have received less attention than viruses in open-ocean systems. We hypothesize that viruses of bacteria and eukaryotes dynamically interact with their hosts in the water column and with scleractinian (stony) corals to influence microbial community dynamics, coral bleaching and disease, and reef biogeochemical cycling. Last, we outline how marine viruses are an integral part of the reef system and suggest that the influence of viruses on reef function is an essential component of these globally important environments.

  20. 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...

  1. Recent disturbances augment community shifts in coral assemblages in Moorea, French Polynesia

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, Morgan S.; Trapon, Melanie L.; Berumen, Michael L.; Chong-Seng, Karen M.

    2010-01-01

    Coral reefs are often subject to disturbances that can cause enduring changes in community structure and abundance of coral reef organisms. In Moorea, French Polynesia, frequent disturbances between 1979 and 2003 caused marked shifts in taxonomic composition of coral assemblages. This study explores recent changes in live cover and taxonomic structure of coral communities on the north coast of Moorea, French Polynesia, to assess whether coral assemblages are recovering (returning to a previous Acropora-dominated state) or continuing to move towards an alternative community structure. Coral cover declined by 29.7% between July 2003 and March 2009, mostly due to loss of Acropora and Montipora spp. Coral mortality varied among habitats, with highest levels of coral loss on the outer reef slope (7-20 m depth). In contrast, there was limited change in coral cover within the lagoon, and coral cover actually increased on the reef crest. Observed changes in coral cover and composition correspond closely with the known feeding preferences and observed spatial patterns of Acanthaster planci L., though observed coral loss also coincided with at least one episode of coral bleaching, as well as persistent populations of the corallivorous starfish Culcita novaeguineae Muller & Troschel. While climate change poses an important and significant threat to the future structure and dynamics coral reef communities, outbreaks of A. planci remain a significant cause of coral loss in Moorea. More importantly, these recent disturbances have followed long-term shifts in the structure of coral assemblages, and the relative abundance of both Pocillopora and Porites continue to increase due to disproportionate losses of Acropora and Montipora. Moreover, Pocillopora and Porites dominate assemblages of juvenile corals, suggesting that there is limited potential for a return to an Acropora-dominated state, last recorded in 1979. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

  2. Recent disturbances augment community shifts in coral assemblages in Moorea, French Polynesia

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2010-09-19

    Coral reefs are often subject to disturbances that can cause enduring changes in community structure and abundance of coral reef organisms. In Moorea, French Polynesia, frequent disturbances between 1979 and 2003 caused marked shifts in taxonomic composition of coral assemblages. This study explores recent changes in live cover and taxonomic structure of coral communities on the north coast of Moorea, French Polynesia, to assess whether coral assemblages are recovering (returning to a previous Acropora-dominated state) or continuing to move towards an alternative community structure. Coral cover declined by 29.7% between July 2003 and March 2009, mostly due to loss of Acropora and Montipora spp. Coral mortality varied among habitats, with highest levels of coral loss on the outer reef slope (7-20 m depth). In contrast, there was limited change in coral cover within the lagoon, and coral cover actually increased on the reef crest. Observed changes in coral cover and composition correspond closely with the known feeding preferences and observed spatial patterns of Acanthaster planci L., though observed coral loss also coincided with at least one episode of coral bleaching, as well as persistent populations of the corallivorous starfish Culcita novaeguineae Muller & Troschel. While climate change poses an important and significant threat to the future structure and dynamics coral reef communities, outbreaks of A. planci remain a significant cause of coral loss in Moorea. More importantly, these recent disturbances have followed long-term shifts in the structure of coral assemblages, and the relative abundance of both Pocillopora and Porites continue to increase due to disproportionate losses of Acropora and Montipora. Moreover, Pocillopora and Porites dominate assemblages of juvenile corals, suggesting that there is limited potential for a return to an Acropora-dominated state, last recorded in 1979. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

  3. 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...

  4. Remote coral reefs can sustain high growth potential and may match future sea-level trends.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perry, Chris T; Murphy, Gary N; Graham, Nicholas A J; Wilson, Shaun K; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A; East, Holly K

    2015-12-16

    Climate-induced disturbances are contributing to rapid, global-scale changes in coral reef ecology. As a consequence, reef carbonate budgets are declining, threatening reef growth potential and thus capacity to track rising sea-levels. Whether disturbed reefs can recover their growth potential and how rapidly, are thus critical research questions. Here we address these questions by measuring the carbonate budgets of 28 reefs across the Chagos Archipelago (Indian Ocean) which, while geographically remote and largely isolated from compounding human impacts, experienced severe (>90%) coral mortality during the 1998 warming event. Coral communities on most reefs recovered rapidly and we show that carbonate budgets in 2015 average +3.7 G (G = kg CaCO3 m(-2) yr(-1)). Most significantly the production rates on Acropora-dominated reefs, the corals most severely impacted in 1998, averaged +8.4 G by 2015, comparable with estimates under pre-human (Holocene) disturbance conditions. These positive budgets are reflected in high reef growth rates (4.2 mm yr(-1)) on Acropora-dominated reefs, demonstrating that carbonate budgets on these remote reefs have recovered rapidly from major climate-driven disturbances. Critically, these reefs retain the capacity to grow at rates exceeding measured regional mid-late Holocene and 20th century sea-level rise, and close to IPCC sea-level rise projections through to 2100.

  5. Temporal comparison and predictors of fish species abundance and richness on undisturbed coral reef patches

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elena L.E.S. Wagner

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Large disturbances can cause rapid degradation of coral reef communities, but what baseline changes in species assemblages occur on undisturbed reefs through time? We surveyed live coral cover, reef fish abundance and fish species richness in 1997 and again in 2007 on 47 fringing patch reefs of varying size and depth at Mersa Bareika, Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt. No major human or natural disturbance event occurred between these two survey periods in this remote protected area. In the absence of large disturbances, we found that live coral cover, reef fish abundance and fish species richness did not differ in 1997 compared to 2007. Fish abundance and species richness on patches was largely related to the presence of shelters (caves and/or holes, live coral cover and patch size (volume. The presence of the ectoparasite-eating cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, was also positively related to fish species richness. Our results underscore the importance of physical reef characteristics, such as patch size and shelter availability, in addition to biotic characteristics, such as live coral cover and cleaner wrasse abundance, in supporting reef fish species richness and abundance through time in a relatively undisturbed and understudied region.

  6. MANGROVE-DERIVED NUTRIENTS AND CORAL REEFS

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Intraspecific variation in physiological condition of reef-building corals associated with differential levels of chronic disturbance.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chiara Pisapia

    Full Text Available Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching, corals are subject to high levels of partial or whole-colony mortality, often caused by chronic and small-scale disturbances. Depending on levels of background mortality, these chronic disturbances may undermine individual fitness and have significant consequences on the ability of colonies to withstand subsequent acute disturbances or environmental change. This study quantified intraspecific variations in physiological condition (measured based on total lipid content and zooxanthellae density through time in adult colonies of two common and widespread coral species (Acropora spathulata and Pocillopora damicornis, subject to different levels of biological and physical disturbances along the most disturbed reef habitat, the crest. Marked intraspecific variation in the physiological condition of A. spathulata was clearly linked to differences in local disturbance regimes and habitat. Specifically, zooxanthellae density decreased (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, p<0.02, B =  -121255, p = 0.03 and total lipid content increased (r2 = 14, df = 5,42, p = 0.01, B = 0.9, p = 0.01 with increasing distance from exposed crests. Moreover, zooxanthellae density was strongly and negatively correlated with the individual level of partial mortality (r2 = 26, df = 5,42, p<0.02, B =  -7386077, p = 0.01. Conversely, P. damicornis exhibited very limited intraspecific variation in physiological condition, despite marked differences in levels of partial mortality. This is the first study to relate intraspecific variation in the condition of corals to localized differences in chronic disturbance regimes. The next step is to ascertain whether these differences have further ramifications for susceptibility to periodic acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching.

  14. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  16. 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...

  17. 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).

  18. 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

  19. Water quality and herbivory interactively drive coral-reef recovery patterns in American Samoa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter Houk

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Compared with a wealth of information regarding coral-reef recovery patterns following major disturbances, less insight exists to explain the cause(s of spatial variation in the recovery process. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study quantifies the influence of herbivory and water quality upon coral reef assemblages through space and time in Tutuila, American Samoa, a Pacific high island. Widespread declines in dominant corals (Acropora and Montipora resulted from cyclone Heta at the end of 2003, shortly after the study began. Four sites that initially had similar coral reef assemblages but differential temporal dynamics four years following the disturbance event were classified by standardized measures of 'recovery status', defined by rates of change in ecological measures that are known to be sensitive to localized stressors. Status was best predicted, interactively, by water quality and herbivory. Expanding upon temporal trends, this study examined if similar dependencies existed through space; building multiple regression models to identify linkages between similar status measures and local stressors for 17 localities around Tutuila. The results highlighted consistent, interactive interdependencies for coral reef assemblages residing upon two unique geological reef types. Finally, the predictive regression models produced at the island scale were graphically interpreted with respect to hypothesized site-specific recovery thresholds. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Cumulatively, our study purports that moving away from describing relatively well-known patterns behind recovery, and focusing upon understanding causes, improves our foundation to predict future ecological dynamics, and thus improves coral reef management.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Status of coral reefs in South Asia: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajasuriya, A.; Zahir, H.; Muley, E.V.; Subramanian, B.R.; Venkataraman, K.; Wafar, M.V.M.; Khan, S.M.M.H.; Whittingham, E.

    only around St. Martin's Island. Pakistan has poorly developed scattered reef communities. Natural disturbances and the lack of management of human activities continue to cause widespread damage to coral reefs in the region. In general, legal...

  6. 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

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. 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.

  12. Effects of Simulated Eutrophication and Overfishing on Coral Reef Invertebrates, Algae and Microbes in the Red Sea

    OpenAIRE

    Jessen, Christian

    2013-01-01

    Besides the main climate change consequences, ocean warming and acidification, local disturbances such as overfishing and eutrophication are major threats to coral reefs worldwide. Despite its relatively healthy coral reefs that are increasingly faced with growing coastal development, the Red Sea is highly under-investigated, particularly outside the Gulf of Aqaba. This thesis therefore aims to contribute to the understanding of eutrophication and overfishing effects on Red Sea coral reefs by...

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Coral Ecosystem Resilience, Conservation and Management on the Reefs of Jamaica in the Face of Anthropogenic Activities and Climate Change

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. James C. Crabbe

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available Knowledge of factors that are important in reef resilience and integrity help us understand how reef ecosystems react following major anthropogenic and environmental disturbances. The North Jamaican fringing reefs have shown some recent resilience to acute disturbances from hurricanes and bleaching, in addition to the recurring chronic stressors of over-fishing and land development. Factors that can improve coral reef resilience are reviewed, and reef rugosity is shown to correlate with coral cover and growth, particularly for branching Acropora species. The biodiversity index for the Jamaican reefs was lowered after the 2005 mass bleaching event, as were the numbers of coral colonies, but both had recovered by 2009. The importance of coastal zone reef management strategies and the economic value of reefs are discussed, and a protocol is suggested for future management of Jamaican reefs.

  16. Impact of anthropogenic disturbances on the diversity of shallow stony corals in the Veracruz Reef System National Park Impacto de perturbaciones antrópicas sobre la diversidad de corales pétreos superficiales en el Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal veracruzano

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carla V. Gutiérrez-Ruiz

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic disturbances may affect the development and maintenance of coral reefs by promoting diseases and other syndromes. In turn, this may cause local decreases in coral species diversity. In this study, we compared the prevalence of syndromes (including diseases and non-disease syndromes and the diversity of stony coral species between reefs located close (Sacrificios reef and far away (Santiaguillo reef of the port of Veracruz, Mexico. The prevalence of syndromes was higher at Sacrificios than at Santiaguillo, and it also increased with the abundance of coral colonies at the former reef. On the other hand, coral diversity was lower at Sacrificios than at Santiaguillo, suggesting that anthropogenic disturbances, besides promoting diseases and other syndromes, also lead to local decreases in species diversity.Las perturbaciones antropogénicas pueden afectar el desarrollo y mantenimiento de los arrecifes de coral mediante la promoción de las enfermedades y otros síndromes. A su vez, esto puede producir un descenso en la diversidad local de especies. En este estudio, se comparó la prevalencia de síndromes (tanto aquellos causados por enfermedades, como por otros factores y la diversidad de especies de corales pétreos entre arrecifes ubicados cerca (Sacrificios y lejos (Santiaguillo del puerto de Veracruz, México. La prevalencia de síndromes fue mayor en Sacrificios que en Santiaguillo, y también se incrementó con la abundancia de colonias de coral en Sacrificios. Por otra parte, la diversidad de corales fue menor en Sacrificios que en Santiaguillo, sugiriendo que las perturbaciones antropogénicas, además de promover las enfermedades y otros síndromes, también disminuyen localmente la diversidad de especies.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. A study on the recovery of Tobago's coral reefs following the 2010 mass bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buglass, Salome; Donner, Simon D; Alemu I, Jahson B

    2016-03-15

    In 2010, severe coral bleaching was observed across the southeastern Caribbean, including the island of Tobago, where coral reefs are subject to sedimentation and high nutrient levels from terrestrial runoff. Here we examine changes in corals' colony size distributions over time (2010-2013), juvenile abundances and sedimentation rates for sites across Tobago following the 2010 bleaching event. The results indicated that since pre-bleaching coral cover was already low due to local factors and past disturbance, the 2010 event affected only particular susceptible species' population size structure and increased the proportion of small sized colonies. The low density of juveniles (mean of 5.4±6.3 juveniles/m(-2)) suggests that Tobago's reefs already experienced limited recruitment, especially of large broadcasting species. The juvenile distribution and the response of individual species to the bleaching event support the notion that Caribbean reefs are becoming dominated by weedy non-framework building taxa which are more resilient to disturbances. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Model suggests potential for Porites coral population recovery after removal of anthropogenic disturbance (Luhuitou, Hainan, South China Sea).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Meixia; Riegl, Bernhard; Yu, Kefu; Shi, Qi; Zhang, Qiaomin; Liu, Guohui; Yang, Hongqiang; Yan, Hongqiang

    2016-09-13

    Population models are important for resource management and can inform about potential trajectories useful for planning purposes, even with incomplete monitoring data. From size frequency data on Luhuitou fringing reef, Hainan, South China Sea, a matrix population model of massive corals (Porites lutea) was developed and trajectories over 100 years under no disturbance and random disturbances were projected. The model reflects a largely open population of Porites lutea, with low local recruitment and preponderance of imported recruitment. Under no further disturbance, the population of Porites lutea will grow and its size structure will change from predominance of small size classes to large size classes. Therewith, total Porites cover will increase. Even under random disturbances every 10 to 20 years, the Porites population could remain viable, albeit at lower space cover. The models suggest recovery at Luhuitou following the removal of chronic anthropogenic disturbance. Extending the area of coral reef reserves to protect the open coral community and the path of connectivity is advisable and imperative for the conservation of Hainan's coral reefs.

  5. Model suggests potential for Porites coral population recovery after removal of anthropogenic disturbance (Luhuitou, Hainan, South China Sea)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Meixia; Riegl, Bernhard; Yu, Kefu; Shi, Qi; Zhang, Qiaomin; Liu, Guohui; Yang, Hongqiang; Yan, Hongqiang

    2016-09-01

    Population models are important for resource management and can inform about potential trajectories useful for planning purposes, even with incomplete monitoring data. From size frequency data on Luhuitou fringing reef, Hainan, South China Sea, a matrix population model of massive corals (Porites lutea) was developed and trajectories over 100 years under no disturbance and random disturbances were projected. The model reflects a largely open population of Porites lutea, with low local recruitment and preponderance of imported recruitment. Under no further disturbance, the population of Porites lutea will grow and its size structure will change from predominance of small size classes to large size classes. Therewith, total Porites cover will increase. Even under random disturbances every 10 to 20 years, the Porites population could remain viable, albeit at lower space cover. The models suggest recovery at Luhuitou following the removal of chronic anthropogenic disturbance. Extending the area of coral reef reserves to protect the open coral community and the path of connectivity is advisable and imperative for the conservation of Hainan’s coral reefs.

  6. 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.

  7. Benthic community structure on coral reefs exposed to intensive recreational snorkeling.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bobbie Renfro

    Full Text Available Chronic anthropogenic disturbances on coral reefs in the form of overfishing and pollution can shift benthic community composition away from stony corals and toward macroalgae. The use of reefs for recreational snorkeling and diving potentially can lead to similar ecological impacts if not well-managed, but impacts of snorkeling on benthic organisms are not well understood. We quantified variation in benthic community structure along a gradient of snorkeling frequency in an intensively-visited portion of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. We determined rates of snorkeling in 6 water sections and rates of beach visitation in 4 adjacent land sections at Akumal Bay, Mexico. For each in-water section at 1-3 m depth, we also assessed the percent cover of benthic organisms including taxa of stony corals and macroalgae. Rates of recreational snorkeling varied from low in the southwestern to very high (>1000 snorkelers d-1 in the northeastern sections of the bay. Stony coral cover decreased and macroalgal cover increased significantly with levels of snorkeling, while trends varied among taxa for other organisms such as gorgonians, fire corals, and sea urchins. We conclude that benthic organisms appear to exhibit taxon-specific variation with levels of recreational snorkeling. To prevent further degradation, we recommend limitation of snorkeler visitation rates, coupled with visitor education and in-water guides to reduce reef-damaging behaviors by snorkelers in high-use areas. These types of management activities, integrated with reef monitoring and subsequent readjustment of management, have the potential to reverse the damage potentially inflicted on coral reefs by the expansion of reef-based recreational snorkeling.

  8. 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.

  9. Ultrastructural biomarkers in symbiotic algae reflect the availability of dissolved inorganic nutrients and particulate food to the reef coral holobiont

    OpenAIRE

    Sabrina eRosset; Cecilia eD'Angelo; Jörg eWiedenmann; Jörg eWiedenmann

    2015-01-01

    Reef building corals associated with symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) can access environmental nutrients from different sources, most significantly via the uptake of dissolved inorganic nutrients by the algal symbiont and heterotrophic feeding of the coral host. Climate change is expected to alter the nutrient environment in coral reefs with the potential to benefit or disturb coral reef resilience. At present, the relative importance of the two major nutrient sources is not well understood, m...

  10. Impact of herbivore identity on algal succession and coral growth on a Caribbean reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deron E Burkepile

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Herbivory is an important top-down force on coral reefs that regulates macroalgal abundance, mediates competitive interactions between macroalgae and corals, and provides resilience following disturbances such as hurricanes and coral bleaching. However, reductions in herbivore diversity and abundance via disease or over-fishing may harm corals directly and may indirectly increase coral susceptibility to other disturbances.In two experiments over two years, we enclosed equivalent densities and masses of either single-species or mixed-species of herbivorous fishes in replicate, 4 m(2 cages at a depth of 17 m on a reef in the Florida Keys, USA to evaluate the effects of herbivore identity and species richness on colonization and development of macroalgal communities and the cascading effects of algae on coral growth. In Year 1, we used the redband parrotfish (Sparisoma aurofrenatum and the ocean surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus; in Year 2, we used the redband parrotfish and the princess parrotfish (Scarus taeniopterus. On new substrates, rapid grazing by ocean surgeonfish and princess parrotfish kept communities in an early successional stage dominated by short, filamentous algae and crustose coralline algae that did not suppress coral growth. In contrast, feeding by redband parrotfish allowed an accumulation of tall filaments and later successional macroalgae that suppressed coral growth. These patterns contrast with patterns from established communities not undergoing primary succession; on established substrates redband parrotfish significantly reduced upright macroalgal cover while ocean surgeonfish and princess parrotfish allowed significant increases in late successional macroalgae.This study further highlights the importance of biodiversity in affecting ecosystem function in that different species of herbivorous fishes had very different impacts on reef communities depending on the developmental stage of the community. The species

  11. 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.

  12. Assessing the herbivore role of the sea-urchin Echinometra viridis: Keys to determine the structure of communities in disturbed coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sangil, Carlos; Guzman, Hector M

    2016-09-01

    Echinometra viridis previously was considered a cryptic species unable to control the development and growth of macroalgae on coral reefs. Its role as a herbivore was seen as minor compared to other grazers present on the reef. However, the present disturbed state of some reefs has highlighted the role played by this sea-urchin. Combining field data with experiments on the Caribbean coast of Panama, we demonstrate that the current community organization on disturbed coral reefs in the Mesoamerican Caribbean is largely due to the action of E. viridis. It is the most abundant sea-urchin species, together with two others (Diadema antillarum and Echinometra lucunter). Field data also indicate that the relationship between its density and the abundance of macroalgae is stronger and it is more negative in impact than those of the other two. However, the niche this urchin exploits most efficiently is confined to leeward reefs with low levels of sedimentation. Outside these habitats, their populations are not decisive in controlling macroalgal growth. Grazing experiments showed that E. viridis consumes more fresh macroalgae per day and per weight of sea-urchin, and is a more effective grazer than D. antillarum or E. lucunter. E. viridis showed food preferences for early-successional turf macroalgae (Acanthophora spicifera), avoiding the less palatable late-successional and fleshy macroalgae (Lobophora variegata, Halimeda opuntia). However, it becomes a generalist herbivore feeding on all varieties of macroalgae when resources are scarce. H. opuntia is the macroalga that most resists E. viridis activity, which may explain its wide distribution. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. An Integrated Coral Reef Ecosystem Model to Support Resource Management under a Changing Climate.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A.; Kaplan, Isaac C.; Gorton, Rebecca; Leemans, Rik; Mooij, W.M.; Brainard, Russell E.

    2015-01-01

    Millions of people rely on the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs, but sustaining these benefits requires an understanding of how reefs and their biotic communities are affected by local human-induced disturbances and global climate change. Ecosystem-based management that explicitly

  14. An Integrated Coral Reef Ecosystem Model to Support Resource Management under a Changing Climate

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A.; Kaplan, Isaac C.; Gorton, Rebecca; Leemans, R.; Mooij, W.M.; Brainard, Russell E.

    2015-01-01

    Millions of people rely on the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs, but sustaining these benefits requires an understanding of how reefs and their biotic communities are affected by local human-induced disturbances and global climate change. Ecosystem-based management that explicitly

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Understanding coral reefs as complex systems: degradation and prospects for recovery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raymond T. Dizon

    2006-06-01

    Full Text Available The present century is witness to unprecedented levels of coral reef degradation worldwide. Current understanding based on traditional ideas is unlikely to capture adequately the dynamics of phenomena accompanying this trend. In this regard, the ideas of complexity are reviewed. Some applications to coral reefs as complex systems have already been discussed in the literature although further progress is warranted as the search for new and more effective management tools continues, and the direction towards more holistic, integrative and large scale approaches gains wider acceptance. We distinguish between the concepts of robustness and resilience in the face of disturbance, highlight the various mechanisms that foster these stability properties and provide some coral reef examples. We identify some of the driving forces behind succession that are critical for community assembly and possible reef recovery. Finally, we consider how self-organization arises out of apparently random and chaotic processes and interactions to exhibit certain regularities and patterns especially when moving up on the scale of space and/or time.

  20. 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...

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Caught in the middle: combined impacts of shark removal and coral loss on the fish communities of coral reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan L W Ruppert

    Full Text Available Due to human activities, marine and terrestrial ecosystems face a future where disturbances are predicted to occur at a frequency and severity unprecedented in the recent past. Of particular concern is the ability of systems to recover where multiple stressors act simultaneously. We examine this issue in the context of a coral reef ecosystem where increases in stressors, such as fisheries, benthic degradation, cyclones and coral bleaching, are occurring at global scales. By utilizing long-term (decadal monitoring programs, we examined the combined effects of chronic (removal of sharks and pulse (cyclones, bleaching disturbances on the trophic structure of coral reef fishes at two isolated atoll systems off the coast of northwest Australia. We provide evidence consistent with the hypothesis that the loss of sharks can have an impact that propagates down the food chain, potentially contributing to mesopredator release and altering the numbers of primary consumers. Simultaneously, we show how the effects of bottom-up processes of bleaching and cyclones appear to propagate up the food chain through herbivores, planktivores and corallivores, but do not affect carnivores. Because their presence may promote the abundance of herbivores, the removal of sharks by fishing has implications for both natural and anthropogenic disturbances involving the loss of corals, as herbivores are critical to the progress and outcome of coral recovery.

  5. 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...

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Unexpected complexity of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora transcription factor network.

    KAUST Repository

    Ryu, Tae Woo

    2011-04-28

    Coral reefs are disturbed on a global scale by environmental changes including rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Little is known about how corals respond or adapt to these environmental changes especially at the molecular level. This is mostly because of the paucity of genome-wide studies on corals and the application of systems approaches that incorporate the latter. Like in any other organism, the response of corals to stress is tightly controlled by the coordinated interplay of many transcription factors.

  11. Unexpected complexity of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora transcription factor network.

    KAUST Repository

    Ryu, Tae Woo; Mavromatis, Charalampos Harris; Bayer, Till; Voolstra, Christian R.; Ravasi, Timothy

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs are disturbed on a global scale by environmental changes including rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Little is known about how corals respond or adapt to these environmental changes especially at the molecular level. This is mostly because of the paucity of genome-wide studies on corals and the application of systems approaches that incorporate the latter. Like in any other organism, the response of corals to stress is tightly controlled by the coordinated interplay of many transcription factors.

  12. Testing animal-assisted cleaning prior to transplantation in coral reef restoration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frias-Torres, Sarah; van de Geer, Casper

    2015-01-01

    Rearing coral fragments in nurseries and subsequent transplantation onto a degraded reef is a common approach for coral reef restoration. However, if barnacles and other biofouling organisms are not removed prior to transplantation, fish will dislodge newly cemented corals when feeding on biofouling organisms. This behavior can lead to an increase in diver time due to the need to reattach the corals. Thus, cleaning nurseries to remove biofouling organisms such as algae and invertebrates is necessary prior to transplantation, and this cleaning constitutes a significant time investment in a restoration project. We tested a novel biomimicry technique of animal-assisted cleaning on nursery corals prior to transplantation at a coral reef restoration site in Seychelles, Indian Ocean. To determine whether animal-assisted cleaning was possible, preliminary visual underwater surveys were performed to quantify the fish community at the study site. Then, cleaning stations consisting of nursery ropes carrying corals and biofouling organisms, set at 0.3 m, 2 m, 4 m, 6 m and 8 m from the seabed, were placed at both the transplantation (treatment) site and the nursery (control) site. Remote GoPro video cameras recorded fish feeding at the nursery ropes without human disturbance. A reef fish assemblage of 32 species from 4 trophic levels (18.8% herbivores, 18.8% omnivores, 59.3% secondary consumers and 3.1% carnivores) consumed 95% of the barnacles on the coral nursery ropes placed 0.3 m above the seabed. Using this cleaning station, we reduced coral dislodgement from 16% to zero. This cleaning station technique could be included as a step prior to coral transplantation worldwide on the basis of location-specific fish assemblages and during the early nursery phase of sexually produced juvenile corals.

  13. Testing animal-assisted cleaning prior to transplantation in coral reef restoration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah Frias-Torres

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Rearing coral fragments in nurseries and subsequent transplantation onto a degraded reef is a common approach for coral reef restoration. However, if barnacles and other biofouling organisms are not removed prior to transplantation, fish will dislodge newly cemented corals when feeding on biofouling organisms. This behavior can lead to an increase in diver time due to the need to reattach the corals. Thus, cleaning nurseries to remove biofouling organisms such as algae and invertebrates is necessary prior to transplantation, and this cleaning constitutes a significant time investment in a restoration project. We tested a novel biomimicry technique of animal-assisted cleaning on nursery corals prior to transplantation at a coral reef restoration site in Seychelles, Indian Ocean. To determine whether animal-assisted cleaning was possible, preliminary visual underwater surveys were performed to quantify the fish community at the study site. Then, cleaning stations consisting of nursery ropes carrying corals and biofouling organisms, set at 0.3 m, 2 m, 4 m, 6 m and 8 m from the seabed, were placed at both the transplantation (treatment site and the nursery (control site. Remote GoPro video cameras recorded fish feeding at the nursery ropes without human disturbance. A reef fish assemblage of 32 species from 4 trophic levels (18.8% herbivores, 18.8% omnivores, 59.3% secondary consumers and 3.1% carnivores consumed 95% of the barnacles on the coral nursery ropes placed 0.3 m above the seabed. Using this cleaning station, we reduced coral dislodgement from 16% to zero. This cleaning station technique could be included as a step prior to coral transplantation worldwide on the basis of location-specific fish assemblages and during the early nursery phase of sexually produced juvenile corals.

  14. Testing animal-assisted cleaning prior to transplantation in coral reef restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    van de Geer, Casper

    2015-01-01

    Rearing coral fragments in nurseries and subsequent transplantation onto a degraded reef is a common approach for coral reef restoration. However, if barnacles and other biofouling organisms are not removed prior to transplantation, fish will dislodge newly cemented corals when feeding on biofouling organisms. This behavior can lead to an increase in diver time due to the need to reattach the corals. Thus, cleaning nurseries to remove biofouling organisms such as algae and invertebrates is necessary prior to transplantation, and this cleaning constitutes a significant time investment in a restoration project. We tested a novel biomimicry technique of animal-assisted cleaning on nursery corals prior to transplantation at a coral reef restoration site in Seychelles, Indian Ocean. To determine whether animal-assisted cleaning was possible, preliminary visual underwater surveys were performed to quantify the fish community at the study site. Then, cleaning stations consisting of nursery ropes carrying corals and biofouling organisms, set at 0.3 m, 2 m, 4 m, 6 m and 8 m from the seabed, were placed at both the transplantation (treatment) site and the nursery (control) site. Remote GoPro video cameras recorded fish feeding at the nursery ropes without human disturbance. A reef fish assemblage of 32 species from 4 trophic levels (18.8% herbivores, 18.8% omnivores, 59.3% secondary consumers and 3.1% carnivores) consumed 95% of the barnacles on the coral nursery ropes placed 0.3 m above the seabed. Using this cleaning station, we reduced coral dislodgement from 16% to zero. This cleaning station technique could be included as a step prior to coral transplantation worldwide on the basis of location-specific fish assemblages and during the early nursery phase of sexually produced juvenile corals. PMID:26468440

  15. Integration of coral reef ecosystem process studies and remote sensing: Chapter 5

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brook, John; Yates, Kimberly; Halley, Robert

    2006-01-01

    anthropogenic causes (Brown, 1988). Models of coral reef ecosystems, parameterized by process measurements and scaled in time-space using remote sensing, have the potential to address pressing research questions that are central to devising valid management strategies (Grigg el al., 1984; Hatcher, 1997b). To attain this goal, ecosystem-level models that integrate studies of physical and chemical forcing with observed biological and geological responses are required. This interdisciplinary approach to understanding reef biogeochemical dynamics can allow investigations that integrate the scales of time and space (Hatcher, 1997a), thereby enabling prediction of coral reef change (Andréfouët and Payri, 2001). In turn, prediction of holistic ecosystem function within various environmental focusing scenarios has substantial promise in mitigating future disturbance. Indeed, management of coral reefs at the ecosystem level has been suggested as the only meaningful approach to preserving coral reefs (Bohnsack and Ault, 1996; Christensen et al., 1996).

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Effects of Protection and Sediment Stress on Coral Reefs in Saint Lucia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bégin, Chantale; Schelten, Christiane K; Nugues, Maggy M; Hawkins, Julie; Roberts, Callum; Côté, Isabelle M

    2016-01-01

    The extent to which Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) benefit corals is contentious. On one hand, MPAs could enhance coral growth and survival through increases in herbivory within their borders; on the other, they are unlikely to prevent disturbances, such as terrestrial runoff, that originate outside their boundaries. We examined the effect of spatial protection and terrestrial sediment on the benthic composition of coral reefs in Saint Lucia. In 2011 (10 to 16 years after MPAs were created), we resurveyed 21 reefs that had been surveyed in 2001 and analyzed current benthic assemblages as well as changes in benthic cover over that decade in relation to protection status, terrestrial sediment influence (measured as the proportion of terrigenous material in reef-associated sediment) and depth. The cover of all benthic biotic components has changed significantly over the decade, including a decline in coral and increase in macroalgae. Protection status was not a significant predictor of either current benthic composition or changes in composition, but current cover and change in cover of several components were related to terrigenous content of sediment deposited recently. Sites with a higher proportion of terrigenous sediment had lower current coral cover, higher macroalgal cover and greater coral declines. Our results suggest that terrestrial sediment is an important factor in the recent degradation of coral reefs in Saint Lucia and that the current MPA network should be complemented by measures to reduce runoff from land.

  20. Effects of Protection and Sediment Stress on Coral Reefs in Saint Lucia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chantale Bégin

    Full Text Available The extent to which Marine Protected Areas (MPAs benefit corals is contentious. On one hand, MPAs could enhance coral growth and survival through increases in herbivory within their borders; on the other, they are unlikely to prevent disturbances, such as terrestrial runoff, that originate outside their boundaries. We examined the effect of spatial protection and terrestrial sediment on the benthic composition of coral reefs in Saint Lucia. In 2011 (10 to 16 years after MPAs were created, we resurveyed 21 reefs that had been surveyed in 2001 and analyzed current benthic assemblages as well as changes in benthic cover over that decade in relation to protection status, terrestrial sediment influence (measured as the proportion of terrigenous material in reef-associated sediment and depth. The cover of all benthic biotic components has changed significantly over the decade, including a decline in coral and increase in macroalgae. Protection status was not a significant predictor of either current benthic composition or changes in composition, but current cover and change in cover of several components were related to terrigenous content of sediment deposited recently. Sites with a higher proportion of terrigenous sediment had lower current coral cover, higher macroalgal cover and greater coral declines. Our results suggest that terrestrial sediment is an important factor in the recent degradation of coral reefs in Saint Lucia and that the current MPA network should be complemented by measures to reduce runoff from land.

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. 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...

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. Succession of crustose coralline red algae (Rhodophyta) on coralgal reefs exposed to physical disturbance in the southwest Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mariath, Rodrigo; Rodriguez, Rafael Riosmena; Figueiredo, Marcia A. O.

    2013-12-01

    Biological and physical disturbances create the conditions for species succession in any biological ecosystem. In particular, coral reefs are susceptible to this process because of the complexity of their ecological relationships. In the southwest Atlantic, nearshore reefs are mostly coated by a thin layer of coralline crusts rather than stony corals. However, little is known about the succession of crustose coralline algae. We studied this process by means of a series of experimental and control discs exposed to physical disturbance. Our results showed that the dominant species in natural conditions, Pneophyllum conicum, had early recruits and later became dominant on the discs, replicating the community structure of the actual reef. This species had mature reproductive structures and available spores from the beginning of the colonization experiments. Thicker crusts of Porolithon pachydermum and Peyssonnelia sp. were found on the discs after 112 days, and significantly increased their cover over the succeeding months; and after 1 year, P. conicum was less abundant. Physical disturbance increased crust recruitment and the low-light environment created by sediments. The data demonstrated coexistence among crustose coralline species and a tolerance to physical disturbance, which seemed to favor the thinner crusts of P. conicum over thick-crust species during succession. The succession pattern observed in this subtropical Brazilian coral reef differs from that described for shallow tropical reef communities.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Climate warming, marine protected areas and the ocean-scale integrity of coral reef ecosystems.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A J Graham

    Full Text Available Coral reefs have emerged as one of the ecosystems most vulnerable to climate variation and change. While the contribution of a warming climate to the loss of live coral cover has been well documented across large spatial and temporal scales, the associated effects on fish have not. Here, we respond to recent and repeated calls to assess the importance of local management in conserving coral reefs in the context of global climate change. Such information is important, as coral reef fish assemblages are the most species dense vertebrate communities on earth, contributing critical ecosystem functions and providing crucial ecosystem services to human societies in tropical countries. Our assessment of the impacts of the 1998 mass bleaching event on coral cover, reef structural complexity, and reef associated fishes spans 7 countries, 66 sites and 26 degrees of latitude in the Indian Ocean. Using Bayesian meta-analysis we show that changes in the size structure, diversity and trophic composition of the reef fish community have followed coral declines. Although the ocean scale integrity of these coral reef ecosystems has been lost, it is positive to see the effects are spatially variable at multiple scales, with impacts and vulnerability affected by geography but not management regime. Existing no-take marine protected areas still support high biomass of fish, however they had no positive affect on the ecosystem response to large-scale disturbance. This suggests a need for future conservation and management efforts to identify and protect regional refugia, which should be integrated into existing management frameworks and combined with policies to improve system-wide resilience to climate variation and change.

  11. Climate warming, marine protected areas and the ocean-scale integrity of coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; McClanahan, Tim R; MacNeil, M Aaron; Wilson, Shaun K; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Jennings, Simon; Chabanet, Pascale; Clark, Susan; Spalding, Mark D; Letourneur, Yves; Bigot, Lionel; Galzin, René; Ohman, Marcus C; Garpe, Kajsa C; Edwards, Alasdair J; Sheppard, Charles R C

    2008-08-27

    Coral reefs have emerged as one of the ecosystems most vulnerable to climate variation and change. While the contribution of a warming climate to the loss of live coral cover has been well documented across large spatial and temporal scales, the associated effects on fish have not. Here, we respond to recent and repeated calls to assess the importance of local management in conserving coral reefs in the context of global climate change. Such information is important, as coral reef fish assemblages are the most species dense vertebrate communities on earth, contributing critical ecosystem functions and providing crucial ecosystem services to human societies in tropical countries. Our assessment of the impacts of the 1998 mass bleaching event on coral cover, reef structural complexity, and reef associated fishes spans 7 countries, 66 sites and 26 degrees of latitude in the Indian Ocean. Using Bayesian meta-analysis we show that changes in the size structure, diversity and trophic composition of the reef fish community have followed coral declines. Although the ocean scale integrity of these coral reef ecosystems has been lost, it is positive to see the effects are spatially variable at multiple scales, with impacts and vulnerability affected by geography but not management regime. Existing no-take marine protected areas still support high biomass of fish, however they had no positive affect on the ecosystem response to large-scale disturbance. This suggests a need for future conservation and management efforts to identify and protect regional refugia, which should be integrated into existing management frameworks and combined with policies to improve system-wide resilience to climate variation and change.

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. 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...

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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)

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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…

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. Coral reef degradation and metabolic performance of the scleractinian coral Porites lutea under anthropogenic impact along the NE coast of Hainan Island, South China Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, Cornelia; Wu, Zhongjie; Richter, Claudio; Zhang, Jing

    2013-01-01

    Hainan's coast provides favorable climatic, geochemical and biogeographic conditions for the development of extensive coral reefs in China. Observations in five reefs along the NE coast of Hainan showed, however, that the overall density of mobile macrofauna is low and key functional groups such as browsing, scraping or excavating herbivore fish are missing altogether. Coral diseases, partial mortality or tissue degradation are abundant and growth of macroalgal space competitors extensive. Signs of eutrophication, siltation and destructive fishing practices are evident resulting in a strongly altered environment unfavorable for coral recruitment success and survival. Acclimation to the anthropogenically altered conditions in the massive coral Porites lutea occurs at the cost of a decreased photosynthesis: respiration ratio reducing the regenerative capacity of these key framebuilding organisms. Even though, on the organismal level, corals are able to cope with these stressful conditions, a shift is imminent on the ecosystem level from a coral reef to a macroalgae-dominated community if land-based disturbance prevails unabated. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

  3. Coral reef degradation and metabolic performance of the scleractinian coral Porites lutea under anthropogenic impact along the NE coast of Hainan Island, South China Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, Cornelia

    2013-04-01

    Hainan\\'s coast provides favorable climatic, geochemical and biogeographic conditions for the development of extensive coral reefs in China. Observations in five reefs along the NE coast of Hainan showed, however, that the overall density of mobile macrofauna is low and key functional groups such as browsing, scraping or excavating herbivore fish are missing altogether. Coral diseases, partial mortality or tissue degradation are abundant and growth of macroalgal space competitors extensive. Signs of eutrophication, siltation and destructive fishing practices are evident resulting in a strongly altered environment unfavorable for coral recruitment success and survival. Acclimation to the anthropogenically altered conditions in the massive coral Porites lutea occurs at the cost of a decreased photosynthesis: respiration ratio reducing the regenerative capacity of these key framebuilding organisms. Even though, on the organismal level, corals are able to cope with these stressful conditions, a shift is imminent on the ecosystem level from a coral reef to a macroalgae-dominated community if land-based disturbance prevails unabated. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Interspecific Hybridization May Provide Novel Opportunities for Coral Reef Restoration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wing Yan Chan

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Climate change and other anthropogenic disturbances have created an era characterized by the inability of most ecosystems to maintain their original, pristine states, the Anthropocene. Investigating new and innovative strategies that may facilitate ecosystem restoration is thus becoming increasingly important, particularly for coral reefs around the globe which are deteriorating at an alarming rate. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR lost half its coral cover between 1985 and 2012, and experienced back-to-back heat-induced mass bleaching events and high coral mortality in 2016 and 2017. Here we investigate the efficacy of interspecific hybridization as a tool to develop coral stock with enhanced climate resilience. We crossed two Acropora species pairs from the GBR and examined several phenotypic traits over 28 weeks of exposure to ambient and elevated temperature and pCO2. While elevated temperature and pCO2 conditions negatively affected size and survival of both purebreds and hybrids, higher survival and larger recruit size were observed in some of the hybrid offspring groups under both ambient and elevated conditions. Further, interspecific hybrids had high fertilization rates, normal embryonic development, and similar Symbiodinium uptake and photochemical efficiency as purebred offspring. While the fitness of these hybrids in the field and their reproductive and backcrossing potential remain to be investigated, current findings provide proof-of-concept that interspecific hybridization may produce genotypes with enhanced climate resilience, and has the potential to increase the success of coral reef restoration initiatives.

  8. Demographic Mechanisms of Reef Coral Species Winnowing from Communities under Increased Environmental Stress

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bernhard Riegl

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Winnowing of poorly-adapted species from local communities causes shifts/declines in species richness, making ecosystems increasingly ecologically depauperate. Low diversity can be associated with marginality of environments, which is increasing as climate change impacts ecosystems globally. This paper demonstrates the demographic mechanisms (size-specific mortality, growth, fertility; and metapopulation connectivity associated with population-level changes due to thermal stress extremes for five zooxanthellate reef-coral species. Effects vary among species, leading to predictable changes in population size and, consequently, community structure. The Persian/Arabian Gulf (PAG is an ecologically marginal reef environment with a subset of Indo-Pacific species, plus endemics. Local heating correlates with changes in coral population dynamics and community structure. Recent population dynamics of PAG corals were quantified in two phases (medium disturbed MD 1998–2010 and 2013–2017, severely disturbed SD 1996/8, 2010/11/12 with two stable states of declining coral frequency and cover. The strongest changes in life-dynamics, as expressed by transition matrices solved for MD and SD periods were in Acropora downingi and Porites harrisoni, which showed significant partial and whole-colony mortality (termed “shrinkers”. But in Dipsastrea pallida, Platygyra daedalea, Cyphastraea microphthalma the changes to life dynamics were more subtle, with only partial tissue mortality (termed “persisters”. Metapopulation models suggested recovery predominantly in species experiencing partial rather than whole-colony mortality. Increased frequency of disturbance caused progressive reduction in coral size, cover, and population fecundity. Also, the greater the frequency of disturbance, the more larval connectivity is required to maintain the metapopulation. An oceanographic model revealed important local larval retention and connectivity primarily between

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. [Community structure of zooxanthellate corals (Anthozoa: Scleractinia) in Carrizales coral reef, Pacific coast, Mexico].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyes-Bonilla, Hector; Escobosa-González, Laura Elena; Cupul-Magaña, Amilcar L; Medina-Rosas, Pedro; Calderón-Aguilera, Luis E

    2013-06-01

    Coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific and notably those of the continental coastline of Colima state are still poorly studied. Fortunately, recent efforts have been carried out by researchers from different Mexican institutions to fill up these information gaps. The aim of this study was to determine the ecological structure of the rich and undisturbed coral building communities of Carrizales by using the point transect interception method (25m-long). For this, three survey expeditions were conducted between June and October 2005 and September 2006; and for comparison purposes, the reef was subdivided according to its position in the bay, and depth (0 to 5 m, and 6 to 10 m). Thirteen coral species were observed in the area, with Pocillopora verrucosa as the most abundant, contributing up to 32.8% of total cover, followed by Porites panamensis and Pocillopora capitata with 11% and 7%, respectively. Other species, Pocillopora damicornis, Pavona gigantea, Pocillopora eydouxi and Pocillopora inflata accounted for 1.5% to 2% of coral cover whereas the remaining five species had cover of less than 1%. Seven of the observed species represented new records for Colima state coastline: Pocillopora eydouxi, P inflata, P meandrina, Pavona duerdeni, P varians, Psammocora stellata and P contigua. This last species is a relevant record, because it has never been observed before in the Eastern Pacific. Although there was no significant difference (ANOVA, p = 0.478) neither in the abundance between the sides of the bay, nor between the depths considered, and the shallow zone observed the higher coral cover. Live coral cover was up to 61%, one of the highest ever reported for the Mexican Pacific, including the Gulf of California. The observed values of diversity (H' = 0.44 +/- 0.02), uniformity (J' = 0.76 +/- 0.02), and taxonomic distinctness index (delta* = 45.87 +/- 3.16), showed that currently this is the most important coral reef of Colima coastline. Currently, this region does not

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Assessing coral reefs on a Pacific-wide scale using the microbialization score.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tracey McDole

    Full Text Available The majority of the world's coral reefs are in various stages of decline. While a suite of disturbances (overfishing, eutrophication, and global climate change have been identified, the mechanism(s of reef system decline remain elusive. Increased microbial and viral loading with higher percentages of opportunistic and specific microbial pathogens have been identified as potentially unifying features of coral reefs in decline. Due to their relative size and high per cell activity, a small change in microbial biomass may signal a large reallocation of available energy in an ecosystem; that is the microbialization of the coral reef. Our hypothesis was that human activities alter the energy budget of the reef system, specifically by altering the allocation of metabolic energy between microbes and macrobes. To determine if this is occurring on a regional scale, we calculated the basal metabolic rates for the fish and microbial communities at 99 sites on twenty-nine coral islands throughout the Pacific Ocean using previously established scaling relationships. From these metabolic rate predictions, we derived a new metric for assessing and comparing reef health called the microbialization score. The microbialization score represents the percentage of the combined fish and microbial predicted metabolic rate that is microbial. Our results demonstrate a strong positive correlation between reef microbialization scores and human impact. In contrast, microbialization scores did not significantly correlate with ocean net primary production, local chla concentrations, or the combined metabolic rate of the fish and microbial communities. These findings support the hypothesis that human activities are shifting energy to the microbes, at the expense of the macrobes. Regardless of oceanographic context, the microbialization score is a powerful metric for assessing the level of human impact a reef system is experiencing.

  19. Assessing coral reefs on a Pacific-wide scale using the microbialization score.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDole, Tracey; Nulton, James; Barott, Katie L; Felts, Ben; Hand, Carol; Hatay, Mark; Lee, Hochul; Nadon, Marc O; Nosrat, Bahador; Salamon, Peter; Bailey, Barbara; Sandin, Stuart A; Vargas-Angel, Bernardo; Youle, Merry; Zgliczynski, Brian J; Brainard, Russell E; Rohwer, Forest

    2012-01-01

    The majority of the world's coral reefs are in various stages of decline. While a suite of disturbances (overfishing, eutrophication, and global climate change) have been identified, the mechanism(s) of reef system decline remain elusive. Increased microbial and viral loading with higher percentages of opportunistic and specific microbial pathogens have been identified as potentially unifying features of coral reefs in decline. Due to their relative size and high per cell activity, a small change in microbial biomass may signal a large reallocation of available energy in an ecosystem; that is the microbialization of the coral reef. Our hypothesis was that human activities alter the energy budget of the reef system, specifically by altering the allocation of metabolic energy between microbes and macrobes. To determine if this is occurring on a regional scale, we calculated the basal metabolic rates for the fish and microbial communities at 99 sites on twenty-nine coral islands throughout the Pacific Ocean using previously established scaling relationships. From these metabolic rate predictions, we derived a new metric for assessing and comparing reef health called the microbialization score. The microbialization score represents the percentage of the combined fish and microbial predicted metabolic rate that is microbial. Our results demonstrate a strong positive correlation between reef microbialization scores and human impact. In contrast, microbialization scores did not significantly correlate with ocean net primary production, local chla concentrations, or the combined metabolic rate of the fish and microbial communities. These findings support the hypothesis that human activities are shifting energy to the microbes, at the expense of the macrobes. Regardless of oceanographic context, the microbialization score is a powerful metric for assessing the level of human impact a reef system is experiencing.

  20. Asymmetric competition prevents the outbreak of an opportunistic species after coral reef degradation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Rivero, Manuel; Bozec, Yves-Marie; Chollett, Iliana; Ferrari, Renata; Schönberg, Christine H L; Mumby, Peter J

    2016-05-01

    Disturbance releases space and allows the growth of opportunistic species, excluded by the old stands, with a potential to alter community dynamics. In coral reefs, abundances of fast-growing, and disturbance-tolerant sponges are expected to increase and dominate as space becomes available following acute coral mortality events. Yet, an increase in abundance of these opportunistic species has been reported in only a few studies, suggesting certain mechanisms may be acting to regulate sponge populations. To gain insights into mechanisms of population control, we simulated the dynamics of the common reef-excavating sponge Cliona tenuis in the Caribbean using an individual-based model. An orthogonal hypothesis testing approach was used, where four candidate mechanisms-algal competition, stock-recruitment limitation, whole and partial mortality-were incorporated sequentially into the model and the results were tested against independent field observations taken over a decade in Belize, Central America. We found that releasing space after coral mortality can promote C. tenuis outbreaks, but such outbreaks can be curtailed by macroalgal competition. The asymmetrical competitive superiority of macroalgae, given by their capacity to pre-empt space and outcompete with the sponge in a size-dependant fashion, supports their capacity to steal the opportunity from other opportunists. While multiple system stages can be expected in coral reefs following intense perturbation macroalgae may prevent the growth of other space-occupiers, such as bioeroding sponges, under low grazing pressure.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  2. Mid-term coral-algal dynamics and conservation status of a Gorgona Island (Tropical Eastern Pacific coral reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando A Zapata

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Colombian coral reefs, as other reefs worldwide, have deteriorated significantly during the last few decades due to both natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The National Monitoring System for Coral Reefs in Colombia (SIMAC was established in 1998 to provide long-term data bases to assess the changes of Colombian coral reefs against perturbations and to identify the factors responsible for their decline or recovery. On the Pacific coast, data on coral and algal cover have been collected yearly during seven consecutive years (1998-2004 from 20 permanent transects in two sites at La Azufrada reef, Gorgona Island. Overall, coral cover was high (55.1%-65.7% and algal cover low (28.8%-37.5% and both exhibited significant changes among years, most notably on shallow areas. Differences between sites in both coral and algal cover were present since the study began and may be explained by differences in sedimentation stress derived from soil runoff. Differences between depths most likely stem from the effects of low tidal sub-aerial exposures. Particularly intense sub-aerial exposures occurred repeatedly during January-March, 2001 and accounted for a decrease in coral and an increase in algal cover on shallow depths observed later that year. Additionally, the shallow area on the Northern site seems to be negatively affected by the combined effect of sedimentation and low tidal exposure. However, a decrease in coral cover and an increase of algal cover since 2001 on deep areas at both sites remain unexplained. Comparisons with previous studies suggest that the reef at La Azufrada has been more resilient than other reefs in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP, recovering pre-disturbance (1979 levels of coral cover within a 10 year period after the 1982-83 El Niño, which caused 85% mortality. Furthermore, the effects of the 1997-98 El Niño, indicated by the difference in overall live coral cover between 1998 and 1999, were minor (A través del Sistema

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Effects of reduced water quality on coral reefs in and out of no-take marine reserves.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wenger, Amelia S; Williamson, David H; da Silva, Eduardo T; Ceccarelli, Daniela M; Browne, Nicola K; Petus, Caroline; Devlin, Michelle J

    2016-02-01

    Near-shore marine environments are increasingly subjected to reduced water quality, and their ability to withstand it is critical to their persistence. The potential role marine reserves may play in mitigating the effects of reduced water quality has received little attention. We investigated the spatial and temporal variability in live coral and macro-algal cover and water quality during moderate and major flooding events of the Fitzroy River within the Keppel Bay region of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park from 2007 to 2013. We used 7 years of remote sensing data on water quality and data from long-term monitoring of coral reefs to quantify exposure of coral reefs to flood plumes. We used a distance linear model to partition the contribution of abiotic and biotic factors, including zoning, as drivers of the observed changes in coral and macro-algae cover. Moderate flood plumes from 2007 to 2009 did not affect coral cover on reefs in the Keppel Islands, suggesting the reef has intrinsic resistance against short-term exposure to reduced water quality. However, from 2009 to 2013, live coral cover declined by ∼ 50% following several weeks of exposure to turbid, low salinity water from major flood plume events in 2011 and subsequent moderate events in 2012 and 2013. Although the flooding events in 2012 and 2013 were smaller than the flooding events between 2007 to 2009, the ability of the reefs to withstand these moderate floods was lost, as evidenced by a ∼ 20% decline in coral cover between 2011 to 2013. Although zoning (no-take reserve or fished) was identified a significant driver of coral cover, we recorded consistently lower coral cover on reserve reefs than on fished reefs throughout the study period and significantly lower cover in 2011. Our findings suggest that even reefs with an inherent resistance to reduced water quality are not able to withstand repeated disturbance events. The limitations of reserves in mitigating the effects of reduced water

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-06-01

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

  9. 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.

  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. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Occurrence, sources and transport of antibiotics in the surface water of coral reef regions in the South China Sea: Potential risk to coral growth

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zhang, Ruijie; Zhang, Ruiling; Yu, Kefu; Wang, Yinghui; Huang, Xueyong; Pei, Jiying; Wei, Chaoshuai; Pan, Ziliang; Qin, Zhenjun; Zhang, Gan

    2018-01-01

    Laboratory research has indicated that antibiotics had negative effects on coral growth by disturbing natural microbiota; however, no field studies have reported antibiotic contamination levels and their influence on coral growth in natural coral reef regions (CRRs). This study investigated antibiotic occurrence and sources in the surface water from CRRs that have suffered from rapid coral degradation and evaluated their risk to coral growth. These regions are in the South China Sea, including four coastal and two offshore CRRs. The results show that 13 antibiotics were detected in the coastal CRRs with concentrations ranging from 10 −2 –10 0  ng L −1 , while 5 antibiotics occurred in offshore CRRs (300–950 km from the mainland), with concentrations ranging from 10 −2 to 10 −1  ng L −1 . Their concentrations decreased gradually from the coast to offshore in the transport process. However, Yongxing Island, which is approximately 300 km from the mainland, was an exception with relatively higher concentrations than the surrounding reefs because of the ever-increasing human activity on the island. The presence of anthropogenic contaminants antibiotics in CRRs may be a potential risk to coral growth. - Highlights: • The study first studied antibiotic contamination in seawater from coral reef regions. • Thirteen antibiotics were detected at the level of 10 −2 - 10 0  ng L −1 . • The antibiotic concentrations decreased gradually from the coast to offshore. • Higher concentrations were detected in one offshore reef with more human activities. • Potential risk of the antibiotics to the coral could be ruled out. - Antibiotic contamination level, sources and their potential risk to coral growth were first studied in the surface water of natural coral reef regions.

  14. Prioritizing key resilience indicators to support coral reef management in a changing climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClanahan, Tim R; Donner, Simon D; Maynard, Jeffrey A; MacNeil, M Aaron; Graham, Nicholas A J; Maina, Joseph; Baker, Andrew C; Alemu I, Jahson B; Beger, Maria; Campbell, Stuart J; Darling, Emily S; Eakin, C Mark; Heron, Scott F; Jupiter, Stacy D; Lundquist, Carolyn J; McLeod, Elizabeth; Mumby, Peter J; Paddack, Michelle J; Selig, Elizabeth R; van Woesik, Robert

    2012-01-01

    Managing coral reefs for resilience to climate change is a popular concept but has been difficult to implement because the empirical scientific evidence has either not been evaluated or is sometimes unsupportive of theory, which leads to uncertainty when considering methods and identifying priority reefs. We asked experts and reviewed the scientific literature for guidance on the multiple physical and biological factors that affect the ability of coral reefs to resist and recover from climate disturbance. Eleven key factors to inform decisions based on scaling scientific evidence and the achievability of quantifying the factors were identified. Factors important to resistance and recovery, which are important components of resilience, were not strongly related, and should be assessed independently. The abundance of resistant (heat-tolerant) coral species and past temperature variability were perceived to provide the greatest resistance to climate change, while coral recruitment rates, and macroalgae abundance were most influential in the recovery process. Based on the 11 key factors, we tested an evidence-based framework for climate change resilience in an Indonesian marine protected area. The results suggest our evidence-weighted framework improved upon existing un-weighted methods in terms of characterizing resilience and distinguishing priority sites. The evaluation supports the concept that, despite high ecological complexity, relatively few strong variables can be important in influencing ecosystem dynamics. This is the first rigorous assessment of factors promoting coral reef resilience based on their perceived importance, empirical evidence, and feasibility of measurement. There were few differences between scientists' perceptions of factor importance and the scientific evidence found in journal publications but more before and after impact studies will be required to fully test the validity of all the factors. The methods here will increase the feasibility

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  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. Modelling coral reef futures to inform management: can reducing local-scale stressors conserve reefs under climate change?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gurney, Georgina G; Melbourne-Thomas, Jessica; Geronimo, Rollan C; Aliño, Perry M; Johnson, Craig R

    2013-01-01

    Climate change has emerged as a principal threat to coral reefs, and is expected to exacerbate coral reef degradation caused by more localised stressors. Management of local stressors is widely advocated to bolster coral reef resilience, but the extent to which management of local stressors might affect future trajectories of reef state remains unclear. This is in part because of limited understanding of the cumulative impact of multiple stressors. Models are ideal tools to aid understanding of future reef state under alternative management and climatic scenarios, but to date few have been sufficiently developed to be useful as decision support tools for local management of coral reefs subject to multiple stressors. We used a simulation model of coral reefs to investigate the extent to which the management of local stressors (namely poor water quality and fishing) might influence future reef state under varying climatic scenarios relating to coral bleaching. We parameterised the model for Bolinao, the Philippines, and explored how simulation modelling can be used to provide decision support for local management. We found that management of water quality, and to a lesser extent fishing, can have a significant impact on future reef state, including coral recovery following bleaching-induced mortality. The stressors we examined interacted antagonistically to affect reef state, highlighting the importance of considering the combined impact of multiple stressors rather than considering them individually. Further, by providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, such as which course of management action will most likely to be effective over what time scales and at which sites, we demonstrated the utility of simulation models for supporting management. Aside from providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, our study offers insights which could inform reef management more broadly, as well as general understanding of reef

  6. Modelling Coral Reef Futures to Inform Management: Can Reducing Local-Scale Stressors Conserve Reefs under Climate Change?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gurney, Georgina G.; Melbourne-Thomas, Jessica; Geronimo, Rollan C.; Aliño, Perry M.; Johnson, Craig R.

    2013-01-01

    Climate change has emerged as a principal threat to coral reefs, and is expected to exacerbate coral reef degradation caused by more localised stressors. Management of local stressors is widely advocated to bolster coral reef resilience, but the extent to which management of local stressors might affect future trajectories of reef state remains unclear. This is in part because of limited understanding of the cumulative impact of multiple stressors. Models are ideal tools to aid understanding of future reef state under alternative management and climatic scenarios, but to date few have been sufficiently developed to be useful as decision support tools for local management of coral reefs subject to multiple stressors. We used a simulation model of coral reefs to investigate the extent to which the management of local stressors (namely poor water quality and fishing) might influence future reef state under varying climatic scenarios relating to coral bleaching. We parameterised the model for Bolinao, the Philippines, and explored how simulation modelling can be used to provide decision support for local management. We found that management of water quality, and to a lesser extent fishing, can have a significant impact on future reef state, including coral recovery following bleaching-induced mortality. The stressors we examined interacted antagonistically to affect reef state, highlighting the importance of considering the combined impact of multiple stressors rather than considering them individually. Further, by providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, such as which course of management action will most likely to be effective over what time scales and at which sites, we demonstrated the utility of simulation models for supporting management. Aside from providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, our study offers insights which could inform reef management more broadly, as well as general understanding of reef

  7. Modelling coral reef futures to inform management: can reducing local-scale stressors conserve reefs under climate change?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Georgina G Gurney

    Full Text Available Climate change has emerged as a principal threat to coral reefs, and is expected to exacerbate coral reef degradation caused by more localised stressors. Management of local stressors is widely advocated to bolster coral reef resilience, but the extent to which management of local stressors might affect future trajectories of reef state remains unclear. This is in part because of limited understanding of the cumulative impact of multiple stressors. Models are ideal tools to aid understanding of future reef state under alternative management and climatic scenarios, but to date few have been sufficiently developed to be useful as decision support tools for local management of coral reefs subject to multiple stressors. We used a simulation model of coral reefs to investigate the extent to which the management of local stressors (namely poor water quality and fishing might influence future reef state under varying climatic scenarios relating to coral bleaching. We parameterised the model for Bolinao, the Philippines, and explored how simulation modelling can be used to provide decision support for local management. We found that management of water quality, and to a lesser extent fishing, can have a significant impact on future reef state, including coral recovery following bleaching-induced mortality. The stressors we examined interacted antagonistically to affect reef state, highlighting the importance of considering the combined impact of multiple stressors rather than considering them individually. Further, by providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, such as which course of management action will most likely to be effective over what time scales and at which sites, we demonstrated the utility of simulation models for supporting management. Aside from providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, our study offers insights which could inform reef management more broadly, as well as general

  8. The effects of top-down versus bottom-up control on benthic coral reef community structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Jennifer E; Hunter, Cynthia L; Smith, Celia M

    2010-06-01

    While climate change and associated increases in sea surface temperature and ocean acidification, are among the most important global stressors to coral reefs, overfishing and nutrient pollution are among the most significant local threats. Here we examined the independent and interactive effects of reduced grazing pressure and nutrient enrichment using settlement tiles on a coral-dominated reef via long-term manipulative experimentation. We found that unique assemblages developed in each treatment combination confirming that both nutrients and herbivores are important drivers of reef community structure. When herbivores were removed, fleshy algae dominated, while crustose coralline algae (CCA) and coral were more abundant when herbivores were present. The effects of fertilization varied depending on herbivore treatment; without herbivores fleshy algae increased in abundance and with herbivores, CCA increased. Coral recruits only persisted in treatments exposed to grazers. Herbivore removal resulted in rapid changes in community structure while there was a lag in response to fertilization. Lastly, re-exposure of communities to natural herbivore populations caused reversals in benthic community trajectories but the effects of fertilization remained for at least 2 months. These results suggest that increasing herbivore populations on degraded reefs may be an effective strategy for restoring ecosystem structure and function and in reversing coral-algal phase-shifts but that this strategy may be most effective in the absence of other confounding disturbances such as nutrient pollution.

  9. 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.)

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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 ...

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. The hidden half: ecology and evolution of cryptobenthic fishes on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandl, Simon J; Goatley, Christopher H R; Bellwood, David R; Tornabene, Luke

    2018-05-07

    have enabled CRFs to overcome these limitations. In turn, these adaptations bestow a unique socio-ecological role on CRFs, which includes a key role in coral reef trophodynamics by cycling trophic energy provided by microscopic prey to larger consumers. Although small in body size, the ecology and evolutionary history of CRFs may make them a critical component of coral-reef food webs; yet our review also shows that these fishes are highly susceptible to a variety of anthropogenic disturbances. Understanding the consequences of these changes for CRFs and coral reef ecosystems will require us to shed more light on this frequently overlooked but highly diverse and abundant guild of coral reef fishes. © 2018 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 ...

  20. Coral Reef Functioning Along a Cross‐shelf Environmental Gradient: Abiotic and Biotic Drivers of Coral Reef Growth in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna

    2016-06-01

    Despite high temperature and salinity conditions that challenge reef growth in other oceans, the Red Sea maintains amongst the most biodiverse and productive coral reefs worldwide. It is therefore an important region for the exploration of coral reef functioning, and expected to contribute valuable insights towards the understanding of coral reefs in challenging environments. This dissertation assessed the baseline variability of in situ abiotic conditions (temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and total alkalinity, among others) in the central Red Sea and highlights these environmental regimes in a global context. Further, focus was directed on biotic factors (biofilm community dynamics, calcification and bioerosion), which underlie reef growth processes and are crucial for maintaining coral reef functioning and ecosystem services. Using full‐year data from an environmental cross‐shelf gradient, the dynamic interplay of abiotic and biotic factors was investigated. In situ observations demonstrate that central Red Sea coral reefs were highly variable on spatial, seasonal, and diel scales, and exhibited comparably high temperature, high salinity, and low dissolved oxygen levels, which on the one hand reflect future ocean predictions. Under these conditions epilithic bacterial and algal assemblages were mainly driven by variables (i.e., temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen) which are predicted to change strongly in the progression of global climate change, implying an influential bottom up effect on reef‐building communities. On the other hand, measured alkalinity and other carbonate chemistry value were close to the estimates of preindustrial global ocean surface water and thus in favor of reef growth processes. Despite this beneficial carbonate chemistry, calcification and carbonate budgets in the reefs were not higher than in other coral reef regions. In this regard, seasonal calcification patterns suggest that summer temperatures may be exceeding the optima

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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) and resilience (the probability of a reef remaining within a coral attractor). We find that acute mechanisms have the greatest impact overall, but the nature of the interaction with chronic stress depends on the metric considered. Chronic and acute stress act additively on reef state but form a strong synergy when influencing resilience by intensifying a regime shift. Chronic stress increases the size of the algal basin of attraction (at the expense of the coral basin), whereas coral bleaching pushes the system closer to the algal attractor. Resilience can change faster—and earlier—than a change in reef state. Therefore, we caution against basing management solely on measures of reef state because a loss of resilience can go unnoticed for many years and then become disproportionately more difficult to restore.

  2. 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.

  3. Bottlenecks to coral recovery in the Seychelles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chong-Seng, K. M.; Graham, N. A. J.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2014-06-01

    Processes that affect recovery of coral assemblages require investigation because coral reefs are experiencing a diverse array of more frequent disturbances. Potential bottlenecks to coral recovery include limited larval supply, low rates of settlement, and high mortality of new recruits or juvenile corals. We investigated spatial variation in local abundance of scleractinian corals in the Seychelles at three distinct life history stages (recruits, juveniles, and adults) on reefs with differing benthic conditions. Following widespread coral loss due to the 1998 bleaching event, some reefs are recovering (i.e., relatively high scleractinian coral cover: `coral-dominated'), some reefs have low cover of living macrobenthos and unconsolidated rubble substrates (`rubble-dominated'), and some reefs have high cover of macroalgae (`macroalgal-dominated'). Rates of coral recruitment to artificial settlement tiles were similar across all reef conditions, suggesting that larval supply does not explain differential coral recovery across the three reef types. However, acroporid recruits were absent on macroalgal-dominated reefs (0.0 ± 0.0 recruits tile-1) in comparison to coral-dominated reefs (5.2 ± 1.6 recruits tile-1). Juvenile coral colony density was significantly lower on macroalgal-dominated reefs (2.4 ± 1.1 colonies m-2), compared to coral-dominated reefs (16.8 ± 2.4 m-2) and rubble-dominated reefs (33.1 ± 7.3 m-2), suggesting that macroalgal-dominated reefs have either a bottleneck to successful settlement on the natural substrates or a high post-settlement mortality bottleneck. Rubble-dominated reefs had very low cover of adult corals (10.0 ± 1.7 %) compared to coral-dominated reefs (33.4 ± 3.6 %) despite no statistical difference in their juvenile coral densities. A bottleneck caused by low juvenile colony survivorship on unconsolidated rubble-dominated reefs is possible, or alternatively, recruitment to rubble-dominated reefs has only recently begun. This

  4. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zarinah Waheed

    Full Text Available The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39, Agariciidae (n = 30 and Euphylliidae (n = 15. The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51% and good (38%. Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

  5. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waheed, Zarinah; van Mil, Harald G J; Syed Hussein, Muhammad Ali; Jumin, Robecca; Golam Ahad, Bobita; Hoeksema, Bert W

    2015-01-01

    The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

  6. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waheed, Zarinah; van Mil, Harald G. J.; Syed Hussein, Muhammad Ali; Jumin, Robecca; Golam Ahad, Bobita; Hoeksema, Bert W.

    2015-01-01

    The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park. PMID:26719987

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

  10. 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

  11. 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)

  12. Workshop on Biological Integrity of Coral Reefs August 21-22, 2012, Caribbean Coral Reef Institute, Isla Magueyes, La Parguera, Puerto Rico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    This report summarizes an EPA-sponsored workshop on coral reef biological integrity held at the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute in La Parguera, Puerto Rico on August 21-22, 2012. The goals of this workshop were to:• Identify key qualitative and quantitative ecological characterist...

  13. 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...

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. "Choice" and destiny: the substrate composition and mechanical stability of settlement structures can mediate coral recruit fate in post-bleached reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yadav, Shreya; Rathod, Pooja; Alcoverro, Teresa; Arthur, Rohan

    2016-03-01

    Increasingly frequent and intense ocean warming events seriously test the buffer and recovery capacities of tropical coral reefs. Post-disturbance, available settlement structures on a reef (often dead coral skeletons) vary considerably in their mechanical stability and substrate composition, critically influencing coral recruit settlement choice and fate. In the wake of a coral mass mortality in the Lakshadweep archipelago, we examine (1) the relative availability of recruit settlement structures (from stable to unstable: reef platform, dead massive coral, consolidated rubble, dead corymbose coral, dead tabular coral, and unconsolidated rubble) in 12 recovering reefs across three atolls in the archipelago, (2) the substrate composition [crustose coralline algae (CCA), mixed turf, macroalgae] of these structural forms, and (3) whether the choice and fate of young coral are mediated by the substrate and stability of different structural forms. For this, we measured the abundance and distribution of recruit (<1 cm), juvenile (1-5 cm), and young adult (5-10) corals of 24 common coral genera. Four years after the mass mortality, reefs differed considerably in composition of settlement structures. The structures themselves varied significantly in substrate cover with dead tables largely covered in CCA [60 ± 6.05 % (SE)] and dead corymbose coral dominated by mixed turf (61.83 ± 3.8 %). The youngest visible recruits (<1 cm) clearly preferred CCA-rich structures such as dead massives and tables. However, older size classes were rarely found on unstable structures (strongly "avoiding" tables, Ivlev's electivity index, E = -0.5). Our results indicate that while substrate cover might mediate coral choice, the mechanical stability of settlement structures is critical in determining post-settlement coral survival. The composition and availability of settlement structures on a reef may serve as a characteristic signature of its recovery potential, aiding in assessments of reef

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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...

  2. 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.

  3. Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America

    KAUST Repository

    Wild, Christian; Jantzen, Carin; Kremb, Stephan Georg

    2014-01-01

    Many coral reefs in the Caribbean experienced substantial changes in their benthic community composition during the last decades. This often resulted in phase shifts from scleractinian coral dominance to that by other benthic invertebrate or algae. However, knowledge about how the related role of coral-algae contacts may negatively affect corals is scarce. Therefore, benthic community composition, abundance of algae grazers, and the abundance and character of coral-algae contacts were assessed in situ at 13 Belizean reef sites distributed along a distance gradient to the Belizean mainland (12–70 km): Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (inshore), Turneffe Atoll (inner and outer midshore), and Lighthouse Reef (offshore). In situ surveys revealed significantly higher benthic cover by scleractinian corals at the remote Lighthouse Reef (26–29%) when compared to the other sites (4–19%). The abundance of herbivorous fish and the sea urchin Diadema antillarum significantly increased towards the offshore reef sites, while the occurrence of direct coral-algae contacts consequently increased significantly with decreasing distance to shore. About 60% of these algae contacts were harmful (exhibiting coral tissue damage, pigmentation change, or overgrowth) for corals (mainly genera Orbicella and Agaricia), particularly when filamentous turf algae were involved. These findings provide support to the hypothesis that (turf) algae-mediated coral damage occurs in Belizean coastal, near-shore coral reefs.

  4. Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wild, Christian; Jantzen, Carin; Kremb, Stephan Georg

    2014-01-01

    Many coral reefs in the Caribbean experienced substantial changes in their benthic community composition during the last decades. This often resulted in phase shifts from scleractinian coral dominance to that by other benthic invertebrate or algae. However, knowledge about how the related role of coral-algae contacts may negatively affect corals is scarce. Therefore, benthic community composition, abundance of algae grazers, and the abundance and character of coral-algae contacts were assessed in situ at 13 Belizean reef sites distributed along a distance gradient to the Belizean mainland (12-70 km): Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (inshore), Turneffe Atoll (inner and outer midshore), and Lighthouse Reef (offshore). In situ surveys revealed significantly higher benthic cover by scleractinian corals at the remote Lighthouse Reef (26-29%) when compared to the other sites (4-19%). The abundance of herbivorous fish and the sea urchin Diadema antillarum significantly increased towards the offshore reef sites, while the occurrence of direct coral-algae contacts consequently increased significantly with decreasing distance to shore. About 60% of these algae contacts were harmful (exhibiting coral tissue damage, pigmentation change, or overgrowth) for corals (mainly genera Orbicella and Agaricia), particularly when filamentous turf algae were involved. These findings provide support to the hypothesis that (turf) algae-mediated coral damage occurs in Belizean coastal, near-shore coral reefs.

  5. Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America

    KAUST Repository

    Wild, Christian

    2014-09-16

    Many coral reefs in the Caribbean experienced substantial changes in their benthic community composition during the last decades. This often resulted in phase shifts from scleractinian coral dominance to that by other benthic invertebrate or algae. However, knowledge about how the related role of coral-algae contacts may negatively affect corals is scarce. Therefore, benthic community composition, abundance of algae grazers, and the abundance and character of coral-algae contacts were assessed in situ at 13 Belizean reef sites distributed along a distance gradient to the Belizean mainland (12–70 km): Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (inshore), Turneffe Atoll (inner and outer midshore), and Lighthouse Reef (offshore). In situ surveys revealed significantly higher benthic cover by scleractinian corals at the remote Lighthouse Reef (26–29%) when compared to the other sites (4–19%). The abundance of herbivorous fish and the sea urchin Diadema antillarum significantly increased towards the offshore reef sites, while the occurrence of direct coral-algae contacts consequently increased significantly with decreasing distance to shore. About 60% of these algae contacts were harmful (exhibiting coral tissue damage, pigmentation change, or overgrowth) for corals (mainly genera Orbicella and Agaricia), particularly when filamentous turf algae were involved. These findings provide support to the hypothesis that (turf) algae-mediated coral damage occurs in Belizean coastal, near-shore coral reefs.

  6. Individual-based analyses reveal limited functional overlap in a coral reef fish community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandl, Simon J; Bellwood, David R

    2014-05-01

    Detailed knowledge of a species' functional niche is crucial for the study of ecological communities and processes. The extent of niche overlap, functional redundancy and functional complementarity is of particular importance if we are to understand ecosystem processes and their vulnerability to disturbances. Coral reefs are among the most threatened marine systems, and anthropogenic activity is changing the functional composition of reefs. The loss of herbivorous fishes is particularly concerning as the removal of algae is crucial for the growth and survival of corals. Yet, the foraging patterns of the various herbivorous fish species are poorly understood. Using a multidimensional framework, we present novel individual-based analyses of species' realized functional niches, which we apply to a herbivorous coral reef fish community. In calculating niche volumes for 21 species, based on their microhabitat utilization patterns during foraging, and computing functional overlaps, we provide a measurement of functional redundancy or complementarity. Complementarity is the inverse of redundancy and is defined as less than 50% overlap in niche volumes. The analyses reveal extensive complementarity with an average functional overlap of just 15.2%. Furthermore, the analyses divide herbivorous reef fishes into two broad groups. The first group (predominantly surgeonfishes and parrotfishes) comprises species feeding on exposed surfaces and predominantly open reef matrix or sandy substrata, resulting in small niche volumes and extensive complementarity. In contrast, the second group consists of species (predominantly rabbitfishes) that feed over a wider range of microhabitats, penetrating the reef matrix to exploit concealed surfaces of various substratum types. These species show high variation among individuals, leading to large niche volumes, more overlap and less complementarity. These results may have crucial consequences for our understanding of herbivorous processes on

  7. 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

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. The abundance of herbivorous fish on an inshore Red Sea reef following a mass coral bleaching event

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha T.

    2013-01-08

    A healthy herbivore community is critical for the ability of a reef to resist and recover from severe disturbances and to regain lost coral cover (i.e., resilience). The densities of the two major herbivorous fish groups (the family Acanthuridae and scarine labrids) were comparatively studied for an inshore reef that was severely impacted by a mass coral bleaching event in 2010 and an unaffected reef within the same region. Densities were found to be significantly higher on the affected reef, most likely due to the high algal densities on that reef. However, densities of herbivores on both reefs were found to be on average about 1-2 orders of magnitude lower than previously published reports from some Pacific reefs and from Red Sea reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba and only slightly higher than Caribbean reefs. Thus, it is predicted that recovery for this reef and similarly affected reefs may be very slow. The protection of herbivores from overfishing and the introduction of other management strategies that maximize reef resilience in Saudi Arabian waters are highly recommended. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

  11. 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.

  12. The growth of coral reef science in the Gulf: a historical perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, John A

    2013-07-30

    Coral reef science has grown exponentially in recent decades in the Gulf. Analysis of literature from 1950 to 2012 identified 270 publications on coral reefs in the Gulf, half of which were published in just the past decade. This paper summarizes the growth and evolution of coral reef science in the Gulf by examining when, where and how research has been conducted on Gulf reefs, who conducted that research, and what themes and taxa have dominated scientific interest. The results demonstrate that there has been significant growth in our understanding of the valuable coral reefs of the Gulf, but also highlight the fact that we are documenting an increasingly degraded ecosystem. Reef scientists must make a concerted effort to improve dialogue with regional reef management and decision-makers if we are to stem the tide of decline in coral reefs in the Gulf. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Prioritizing key resilience indicators to support coral reef management in a changing climate.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim R McClanahan

    Full Text Available Managing coral reefs for resilience to climate change is a popular concept but has been difficult to implement because the empirical scientific evidence has either not been evaluated or is sometimes unsupportive of theory, which leads to uncertainty when considering methods and identifying priority reefs. We asked experts and reviewed the scientific literature for guidance on the multiple physical and biological factors that affect the ability of coral reefs to resist and recover from climate disturbance. Eleven key factors to inform decisions based on scaling scientific evidence and the achievability of quantifying the factors were identified. Factors important to resistance and recovery, which are important components of resilience, were not strongly related, and should be assessed independently. The abundance of resistant (heat-tolerant coral species and past temperature variability were perceived to provide the greatest resistance to climate change, while coral recruitment rates, and macroalgae abundance were most influential in the recovery process. Based on the 11 key factors, we tested an evidence-based framework for climate change resilience in an Indonesian marine protected area. The results suggest our evidence-weighted framework improved upon existing un-weighted methods in terms of characterizing resilience and distinguishing priority sites. The evaluation supports the concept that, despite high ecological complexity, relatively few strong variables can be important in influencing ecosystem dynamics. This is the first rigorous assessment of factors promoting coral reef resilience based on their perceived importance, empirical evidence, and feasibility of measurement. There were few differences between scientists' perceptions of factor importance and the scientific evidence found in journal publications but more before and after impact studies will be required to fully test the validity of all the factors. The methods here will

  14. 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...

  15. Coral reefs as eco-energy factories. Eco-energy kichi to shite no sangosho

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nozaki, K [Electrochemical Laboratory, Tsukuba (Japan)

    1993-05-01

    This paper gives an outline of basic problems related to possibilities of CO2 fixing technologies using coral reefs, and problems in their development. The paper describes that primary production (of organic matters) per unit area of a coral reef shows a value exceeding that with tropical rain forests. However, with respect to whether an effective CO2 fixing system could be structured, there are questions to be answered to CO2 fixing mechanisms in coral reefs and to where organic matters produced in coral reefs would go. For the latter problem, the following three cases may be assumed: Accumulation in coral bottom materials; flow-out from a coral reef and transfer to deep ocean layers; and decomposition into CO2 and water as a result of actions of microorganisms. As regards development of CO2 fixing technologies, the paper indicates necessity of discussions on the following matters: Utilization of ocean thermal energy conversion in addition to promoting CO2 fixation using coral reefs; dissolution of coral reef limestone by injecting liquefied CO2; and utilization of coral reefs as energy transportation relaying stations. 3 refs., 2 figs.

  16. 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.

  17. Vulnerability of Coral Reefs to Bioerosion From Land-Based Sources of Pollution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prouty, Nancy G.; Cohen, Anne; Yates, Kimberly K.; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Swarzenski, Peter W.; White, Darla

    2017-12-01

    Ocean acidification (OA), the gradual decline in ocean pH and [CO32-] caused by rising levels of atmospheric CO2, poses a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems, depressing rates of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) production, and enhancing rates of bioerosion and dissolution. As ocean pH and [CO32-] decline globally, there is increasing emphasis on managing local stressors that can exacerbate the vulnerability of coral reefs to the effects of OA. We show that sustained, nutrient rich, lower pH submarine groundwater discharging onto nearshore coral reefs off west Maui lowers the pH of seawater and exposes corals to nitrate concentrations 50 times higher than ambient. Rates of coral calcification are substantially decreased, and rates of bioerosion are orders of magnitude higher than those observed in coral cores collected in the Pacific under equivalent low pH conditions but living in oligotrophic waters. Heavier coral nitrogen isotope (δ15N) values pinpoint not only site-specific eutrophication, but also a sewage nitrogen source enriched in 15N. Our results show that eutrophication of reef seawater by land-based sources of pollution can magnify the effects of OA through nutrient driven-bioerosion. These conditions could contribute to the collapse of coastal coral reef ecosystems sooner than current projections predict based only on ocean acidification.Plain Language SummaryWe show that sustained, nutrient rich, lower pH submarine groundwater discharging onto nearshore coral reefs off west Maui lowers the pH of seawater and exposes corals to nitrate concentrations 50 times higher than ambient. Rates of coral calcification are substantially decreased, and rates of bioerosion are orders of magnitude higher than those observed in coral cores collected in the Pacific. With many of Maui's coral reefs in significant decline reducing any stressors at a local scale is important to sustaining future coral reef ecosystems and planning for resiliency.

  18. Does herbivorous fish protection really improve coral reef resilience? A case study from new caledonia (South Pacific).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carassou, Laure; Léopold, Marc; Guillemot, Nicolas; Wantiez, Laurent; Kulbicki, Michel

    2013-01-01

    Parts of coral reefs from New Caledonia (South Pacific) were registered at the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2008. Management strategies aiming at preserving the exceptional ecological value of these reefs in the context of climate change are currently being considered. This study evaluates the appropriateness of an exclusive fishing ban of herbivorous fish as a strategy to enhance coral reef resilience to hurricanes and bleaching in the UNESCO-registered areas of New Caledonia. A two-phase approach was developed: 1) coral, macroalgal, and herbivorous fish communities were examined in four biotopes from 14 reefs submitted to different fishing pressures in New Caledonia, and 2) results from these analyses were challenged in the context of a global synthesis of the relationship between herbivorous fish protection, coral recovery and relative macroalgal development after hurricanes and bleaching. Analyses of New Caledonia data indicated that 1) current fishing pressure only slightly affected herbivorous fish communities in the country, and 2) coral and macroalgal covers remained unrelated, and macroalgal cover was not related to the biomass, density or diversity of macroalgae feeders, whatever the biotope or level of fishing pressure considered. At a global scale, we found no relationship between reef protection status, coral recovery and relative macroalgal development after major climatic events. These results suggest that an exclusive protection of herbivorous fish in New Caledonia is unlikely to improve coral reef resilience to large-scale climatic disturbances, especially in the lightly fished UNESCO-registered areas. More efforts towards the survey and regulation of major chronic stress factors such as mining are rather recommended. In the most heavily fished areas of the country, carnivorous fish and large targeted herbivores may however be monitored as part of a precautionary approach.

  19. Coral reefs: threats and conservation in an era of global change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riegl, Bernhard; Bruckner, Andy; Coles, Steve L; Renaud, Philip; Dodge, Richard E

    2009-04-01

    Coral reefs are iconic, threatened ecosystems that have been in existence for approximately 500 million years, yet their continued ecological persistence seems doubtful at present. Anthropogenic modification of chemical and physical atmospheric dynamics that cause coral death by bleaching and newly emergent diseases due to increased heat and irradiation, as well as decline in calcification caused by ocean acidification due to increased CO(2), are the most important large-scale threats. On more local scales, overfishing and destructive fisheries, coastal construction, nutrient enrichment, increased runoff and sedimentation, and the introduction of nonindigenous invasive species have caused phase shifts away from corals. Already approximately 20% of the world's reefs are lost and approximately 26% are under imminent threat. Conservation science of coral reefs is well advanced, but its practical application has often been lagging. Societal priorites, economic pressures, and legal/administrative systems of many countries are more prone to destroy rather than conserve coral-reef ecosystems. Nevertheless, many examples of successful conservation exist from the national level to community-enforced local action. When effectively managed, protected areas have contributed to regeneration of coral reefs and stocks of associated marine resources. Local communities often support coral-reef conservation in order to raise income potential associated with tourism and/or improved resource levels. Coral reefs create an annual income in S-Florida alone of over $4 billion. Thus, no conflict between development, societal welfare, and coral-reef conservation needs to exist. Despite growing threats, it is not too late for decisive action to protect and save these economically and ecologically high-value ecosystems. Conservation science plays a critical role in designing effective strategies.

  20. Differential response of fish assemblages to coral reef-based seaweed farming.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E James Hehre

    Full Text Available As the global demand for seaweed-derived products drives the expansion of seaweed farming onto shallow coral ecosystems, the effects of farms on fish assemblages remain largely unexplored. Shallow coral reefs provide food and shelter for highly diverse fish assemblages but are increasingly modified by anthropogenic activities. We hypothesized that the introduction of seaweed farms into degraded shallow coral reefs had potential to generate ecological benefits for fish by adding structural complexity and a possible food source. We conducted 210 transects at 14 locations, with sampling stratified across seaweed farms and sites adjacent to and distant from farms. At a seascape scale, locations were classified by their level of exposure to human disturbance. We compared sites where (1 marine protected areas (MPAs were established, (2 neither MPAs nor blast fishing was present (hence "unprotected", and (3 blast fishing occurred. We observed 80,186 fish representing 148 species from 38 families. The negative effects of seaweed farms on fish assemblages appeared stronger in the absence of blast fishing and were strongest when MPAs were present, likely reflecting the positive influence of the MPAs on fish within them. Species differentiating fish assemblages with respect to seaweed farming and disturbance were typically small but also included two key target species. The propensity for seaweed farms to increase fish diversity, abundance, and biomass is limited and may reduce MPA benefits. We suggest that careful consideration be given to the placement of seaweed farms relative to MPAs.

  1. Differential response of fish assemblages to coral reef-based seaweed farming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hehre, E James; Meeuwig, J J

    2015-01-01

    As the global demand for seaweed-derived products drives the expansion of seaweed farming onto shallow coral ecosystems, the effects of farms on fish assemblages remain largely unexplored. Shallow coral reefs provide food and shelter for highly diverse fish assemblages but are increasingly modified by anthropogenic activities. We hypothesized that the introduction of seaweed farms into degraded shallow coral reefs had potential to generate ecological benefits for fish by adding structural complexity and a possible food source. We conducted 210 transects at 14 locations, with sampling stratified across seaweed farms and sites adjacent to and distant from farms. At a seascape scale, locations were classified by their level of exposure to human disturbance. We compared sites where (1) marine protected areas (MPAs) were established, (2) neither MPAs nor blast fishing was present (hence "unprotected"), and (3) blast fishing occurred. We observed 80,186 fish representing 148 species from 38 families. The negative effects of seaweed farms on fish assemblages appeared stronger in the absence of blast fishing and were strongest when MPAs were present, likely reflecting the positive influence of the MPAs on fish within them. Species differentiating fish assemblages with respect to seaweed farming and disturbance were typically small but also included two key target species. The propensity for seaweed farms to increase fish diversity, abundance, and biomass is limited and may reduce MPA benefits. We suggest that careful consideration be given to the placement of seaweed farms relative to MPAs.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 ...

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. A clear human footprint in the coral reefs of the Caribbean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mora, Camilo

    2008-04-07

    The recent degradation of coral reefs worldwide is increasingly well documented, yet the underlying causes remain debated. In this study, we used a large-scale database on the status of coral reef communities in the Caribbean and analysed it in combination with a comprehensive set of socioeconomic and environmental databases to decouple confounding factors and identify the drivers of change in coral reef communities. Our results indicated that human activities related to agricultural land use, coastal development, overfishing and climate change had created independent and overwhelming responses in fishes, corals and macroalgae. While the effective implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs) increased the biomass of fish populations, coral reef builders and macroalgae followed patterns of change independent of MPAs. However, we also found significant ecological links among all these groups of organisms suggesting that the long-term stability of coral reefs as a whole requires a holistic and regional approach to the control of human-related stressors in addition to the improvement and establishment of new MPAs.

  10. 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

    regenerating and recovering coral reefs have originated from broadcast spawning taxa with a potential for asexual growth, relatively long distance dispersal, successful settlement, rapid growth and a capacity for framework construction. Whether or not affected reefs can continue to function as before will depend on: (1) how much coral cover is lost, and which species are locally extirpated; (2) the ability of remnant and recovering coral communities to adapt or acclimatize to higher temperatures and other climatic factors such as reductions in aragonite saturation state; (3) the changing balance between reef accumulation and bioerosion; and (4) our ability to maintain ecosystem resilience by restoring healthy levels of herbivory, macroalgal cover, and coral recruitment. Bleaching disturbances are likely to become a chronic stress in many reef areas in the coming decades, and coral communities, if they cannot recover quickly enough, are likely to be reduced to their most hardy or adaptable constituents. Some degraded reefs may already be approaching this ecological asymptote, although to date there have not been any global extinctions of individual coral species as a result of bleaching events. Since human populations inhabiting tropical coastal areas derive great value from coral reefs, the degradation of these ecosystems as a result of coral bleaching and its associated impacts is of considerable societal, as well as biological concern. Coral reef conservation strategies now recognize climate change as a principal threat, and are engaged in efforts to allocate conservation activity according to geographic-, taxonomic-, and habitat-specific priorities to maximize coral reef survival. Efforts to forecast and monitor bleaching, involving both remote sensed observations and coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models, are also underway. In addition to these efforts, attempts to minimize and mitigate bleaching impacts on reefs are immediately required. If significant reductions in

  11. Genotype and local environment dynamically influence growth, disturbance response and survivorship in the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drury, Crawford; Manzello, Derek; Lirman, Diego

    2017-01-01

    The relationship between the coral genotype and the environment is an important area of research in degraded coral reef ecosystems. We used a reciprocal outplanting experiment with 930 corals representing ten genotypes on each of eight reefs to investigate the influence of genotype and the environment on growth and survivorship in the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis. Coral genotype and site were strong drivers of coral growth and individual genotypes exhibited flexible, non-conserved reaction norms, complemented by ten-fold differences in growth between specific G-E combinations. Growth plasticity may diminish the influence of local adaptation, where foreign corals grew faster than native corals at their home sites. Novel combinations of environment and genotype also significantly affected disturbance response during and after the 2015 bleaching event, where these factors acted synergistically to drive variation in bleaching and recovery. Importantly, small differences in temperature stress elicit variable patterns of survivorship based on genotype and illustrate the importance of novel combinations of coral genetics and small differences between sites representing habitat refugia. In this context, acclimatization and flexibility is especially important given the long lifespan of corals coping with complex environmental change. The combined influence of site and genotype creates short-term differences in growth and survivorship, contributing to the standing genetic variation needed for adaptation to occur over longer timescales and the recovery of degraded reefs through natural mechanisms.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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...

  15. Operationalizing resilience for adaptive coral reef management under global environmental change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anthony, Kenneth R N; Marshall, Paul A; Abdulla, Ameer; Beeden, Roger; Bergh, Chris; Black, Ryan; Eakin, C Mark; Game, Edward T; Gooch, Margaret; Graham, Nicholas A J; Green, Alison; Heron, Scott F; van Hooidonk, Ruben; Knowland, Cheryl; Mangubhai, Sangeeta; Marshall, Nadine; Maynard, Jeffrey A; McGinnity, Peter; McLeod, Elizabeth; Mumby, Peter J; Nyström, Magnus; Obura, David; Oliver, Jamie; Possingham, Hugh P; Pressey, Robert L; Rowlands, Gwilym P; Tamelander, Jerker; Wachenfeld, David; Wear, Stephanie

    2015-01-01

    Cumulative pressures from global climate and ocean change combined with multiple regional and local-scale stressors pose fundamental challenges to coral reef managers worldwide. Understanding how cumulative stressors affect coral reef vulnerability is critical for successful reef conservation now and in the future. In this review, we present the case that strategically managing for increased ecological resilience (capacity for stress resistance and recovery) can reduce coral reef vulnerability (risk of net decline) up to a point. Specifically, we propose an operational framework for identifying effective management levers to enhance resilience and support management decisions that reduce reef vulnerability. Building on a system understanding of biological and ecological processes that drive resilience of coral reefs in different environmental and socio-economic settings, we present an Adaptive Resilience-Based management (ARBM) framework and suggest a set of guidelines for how and where resilience can be enhanced via management interventions. We argue that press-type stressors (pollution, sedimentation, overfishing, ocean warming and acidification) are key threats to coral reef resilience by affecting processes underpinning resistance and recovery, while pulse-type (acute) stressors (e.g. storms, bleaching events, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks) increase the demand for resilience. We apply the framework to a set of example problems for Caribbean and Indo-Pacific reefs. A combined strategy of active risk reduction and resilience support is needed, informed by key management objectives, knowledge of reef ecosystem processes and consideration of environmental and social drivers. As climate change and ocean acidification erode the resilience and increase the vulnerability of coral reefs globally, successful adaptive management of coral reefs will become increasingly difficult. Given limited resources, on-the-ground solutions are likely to focus increasingly on

  16. 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

  17. From Citizen Science to Policy Development on the Coral Reefs of Jamaica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. James C. Crabbe

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper explores the application of citizen science to help generation of scientific data and capacity-building, and so underpin scientific ideas and policy development in the area of coral reef management, on the coral reefs of Jamaica. From 2000 to 2008, ninety Earthwatch volunteers were trained in coral reef data acquisition and analysis and made over 6,000 measurements on fringing reef sites along the north coast of Jamaica. Their work showed that while recruitment of small corals is returning after the major bleaching event of 2005, larger corals are not necessarily so resilient and so need careful management if the reefs are to survive such major extreme events. These findings were used in the development of an action plan for Jamaican coral reefs, presented to the Jamaican National Environmental Protection Agency. It was agreed that a number of themes and tactics need to be implemented in order to facilitate coral reef conservation in the Caribbean. The use of volunteers and citizen scientists from both developed and developing countries can help in forging links which can assist in data collection and analysis and, ultimately, in ecosystem management and policy development.

  18. Coral reefs - sources or sinks of atmospheric CO[sub 2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ware, J R; Smith, S V; Reakakudla, M L [Hawaii University, Honolulu, HI (USA). Dept. of Oceanography

    1992-09-01

    Because the precipitation of calcium carbonate results in the sequestering of carbon, it frequently has been thought that coral reefs function as sinks of global atmospheric CO[sub 2]. However, the precipitation of calcium carbonate is accompanied by a shift of pH that results in the release of CO[sub 2]. This release of CO[sub 2] is less in buffered sea water than fresh water systems; nevertheless, coral reefs are sources, not sinks, of atmospheric carbon. Using estimated rates of coral reef carbonate production, we compute that coral reefs release 0.02 to 0.08 Gt C as CO[sub 2] annually. This is approximately 0.4% to 1.4% of the current anthropogenic CO[sub 2] production due to fossil fuel combustion.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guillermo Diaz-Pulido

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. U-Th dating reveals regional-scale decline of branching Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef over the past century

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Tara R.; Roff, George; Zhao, Jian-xin; Feng, Yue-xing; Done, Terence J.; McCook, Laurence J.; Pandolfi, John M.

    2017-09-01

    Hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is on a trajectory of decline. However, little is known about past coral mortality before the advent of long-term monitoring (circa 1980s). Using paleoecological analysis and high-precision uranium-thorium (U-Th) dating, we reveal an extensive loss of branching Acropora corals and changes in coral community structure in the Palm Islands region of the central GBR over the past century. In 2008, dead coral assemblages were dominated by large, branching Acropora and living coral assemblages by genera typically found in turbid inshore environments. The timing of Acropora mortality was found to be occasionally synchronous among reefs and frequently linked to discrete disturbance events, occurring in the 1920s to 1960s and again in the 1980s to 1990s. Surveys conducted in 2014 revealed low Acropora cover (shifted baseline.

  13. Coral reefs in an urban embayment in Hawaii: a complex case history controlled by natural and anthropogenic stress

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grigg, R. W.

    1995-11-01

    The effects of natural and anthropogenic stress need to be separated before coral reef ecosystems can be effectively managed. In this paper, a 25 year case history of coral reefs in an urban embayment (Mamala Bay) off Honolulu, Hawaii is described and differences between natural and man-induced stress are distinguished. Mamala Bay is a 30 km long shallow coastal bay bordering the southern (leeward) shore of Oahu and the city of Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands. During the last 25 years, this area has been hit by two magnitude 5 hurricane events (winds > 240 km/h) generating waves in excess of 7.5 m. Also during this period, two large sewer outfalls have discharged up to 90 million gallons per day (mgd) or (360 × 106 L/day) of point source pollution into the bay. Initially the discharge was raw sewage, but since 1977 it has received advanced primary treatment. Non-point source run-off from the Honolulu watershed also enters the bay on a daily basis. The results of the study show that discharge of raw sewage had a serious but highly localized impact on shallow (˜10 m) reef corals in the bay prior to 1977. After 1977, when treatment was upgraded to the advanced primary level and outfalls were extended to deep water (> 65 m), impacts to reef corals were no longer significant. No measurable effects of either point or non-point source pollution on coral calcification, growth, species composition, diversity or community structure related to pollution can now be detected. Conversely the effects of hurricane waves in 1982 and 1992 together caused major physical destruction to the reefs. In 1982, average coral cover of well-developed offshore reefs dropped from 60-75% to 5-15%. Only massive species in high relief areas survived. Today, recovery is occurring, and notwithstanding major future disturbance events, long-term biological processes should eventually return the coral ecosystems to a more mature successional stage. This case history illustrates the complex nature of

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Coral reefs as fixers of CO2. Sangosho ni yoru nisanka tanso no kotei

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yamamuro, M [Geological Survey of Japan, Tsukuba (Japan)

    1992-07-25

    This paper explains CO2 fixing mechanisms in coral reefs and technologies to construct coral reef eco-factories. A coral reef fists CO2 through two routes of photosynthesis and calcification, with both processes proceeding conjugately. Calcification is driven by the photosynthesis that proceeds at a rate more than ten times faster than the calcification. The Geological Survey of Japan is working on elucidating CO2 fixing mechanisms in coral reefs and studying coral reef eco-factory structuring technologies to utilize the capability of the mechanisms at a possible maximum extent. This study is directed to optimizing site conditions for coral reefs, optimal arrangements and environmental conditions for clusters, and production process determining factors. The structuring technologies may include controlling water temperatures, water flows, nutritious salts, and suspended substances that match optimal CO2 fixing conditions in coral reefs; seeding technologies for coral reef organisms; aquaculture techniques utilizing fixed CO2; combination with cultivating techniques; and combination with new energy technologies including sea water temperature difference power generation to control water flows and maintain facilities. 4 refs., 5 figs.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. A clear human footprint in the coral reefs of the Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mora, Camilo

    2008-01-01

    The recent degradation of coral reefs worldwide is increasingly well documented, yet the underlying causes remain debated. In this study, we used a large-scale database on the status of coral reef communities in the Caribbean and analysed it in combination with a comprehensive set of socioeconomic and environmental databases to decouple confounding factors and identify the drivers of change in coral reef communities. Our results indicated that human activities related to agricultural land use, coastal development, overfishing and climate change had created independent and overwhelming responses in fishes, corals and macroalgae. While the effective implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs) increased the biomass of fish populations, coral reef builders and macroalgae followed patterns of change independent of MPAs. However, we also found significant ecological links among all these groups of organisms suggesting that the long-term stability of coral reefs as a whole requires a holistic and regional approach to the control of human-related stressors in addition to the improvement and establishment of new MPAs. PMID:18182370

  1. 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

    2015-02-05

    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 <31 years, implying that measured environmental variables indeed shaped populations and community. An Indo-Pacific-wide model suggests reefs in the northwest and central Indian Ocean, as well as the central west Pacific, are at highest risk of degradation, and those at high latitudes the least. The model pinpoints regions where 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.

  2. Assessing land use, sedimentation, and water quality stressors as predictors of coral reef condition in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliver, L M; Fisher, W S; Fore, L; Smith, A; Bradley, P

    2018-03-13

    Coral reef condition on the south shore of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, was assessed at various distances from Charlotte Amalie, the most densely populated city on the island. Human influence in the area includes industrial activity, wastewater discharge, cruise ship docks, and impervious surfaces throughout the watershed. Anthropogenic activity was characterized using a landscape development intensity (LDI) index, sedimentation threat (ST) estimates, and water quality (WQ) impairments in the near-coastal zone. Total three-dimensional coral cover, reef rugosity, and coral diversity had significant negative coefficients for LDI index, as did densities of dominant species Orbicella annularis, Orbicella franksi, Montastraea cavernosa, Orbicella faveolata, and Porites porites. However, overall stony coral colony density was not significantly correlated with stressors. Positive relationships between reef rugosity and ST, between coral diversity and ST, and between coral diversity and WQ were unexpected because these stressors are generally thought to negatively influence coral growth and health. Sponge density was greater with higher disturbance indicators (ST and WQ), consistent with reports of greater resistance by sponges to degraded water quality compared to stony corals. The highest FoRAM (Foraminifera in Reef Assessment and Monitoring) indices indicating good water quality were found offshore from the main island and outside the harbor. Negative associations between stony coral metrics and LDI index have been reported elsewhere in the Caribbean and highlight LDI index potential as a spatial tool to characterize land-based anthropogenic stressor gradients relevant to coral reefs. Fewer relationships were found with an integrated stressor index but with similar trends in response direction.

  3. Deposition of calcium carbonate into postglacial reefs: a test on a 'coral reef hypothesis'. Kohyoki no sangosho eno tansan calcium taiseki sokudo

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kayanne, H [Geological Survey of Japan, Tsukuba (Japan)

    1993-06-15

    This paper describes the following matters on changes in rates of deposition of calcium carbonate into postglacial coral reefs: Estimation was made on change in CaCO3 deposition in four coral reefs the data of which relating to all cross sections down to reef base have been acquired by drilling; the main deposition periods in the coral reefs formed in the postglacial period were five to six thousand years ago; the maximum deposition rate is estimated to be 2.7 [times] 10[sup 14] gC per one thousand years under an assumption that the total deposition amount in postglacial coral reefs is 1.2 [times] 10[sup 18] gC (converted to carbon amount); the recent deposition rate is (1/7.5) that of the former rate; from information obtained on submerged coral reefs, deposition amounts in coral reefs before 10,000 years ago are judged to have been smaller than those thereafter; and the above knowledges do not support the 'coral reef hypothesis' by Berger et al. that deposition of calcium carbonate into postglacial coral reefs has occurred from 15,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago. 30 refs., 2 figs.

  4. Global and local threats to coral reef functioning and existence: review and predictions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wilkinson, C.R. [Australian Institute of Marine Sciences, Townsville, Qld. (Australia)

    1999-07-01

    Factors causing global degradation of coral reefs are examined briefly as a basis for predicting the likely consequences of increases in these factors. The earlier consensus was that widespread but localized damage from natural factors such as storms, and direct anthropogenic effects such as increased sedimentation, pollution and exploitation, posed the largest immediate threat to coral reefs. Now truly global factors associated with accelerating Global Climate Change are either damaging coral reefs or have the potential to inflict greater damage in the immediate future e.g. increases in coral bleaching and mortality, and reduction in coral calcification due to changes in sea-water chemistry with increasing carbon dioxide concentrations. Rises in sea level will probably disrupt human communities and their cultures by making coral cays uninhabitable, whereas coral reefs will sustain minimal damage from the rise in sea level. The short-term (decades) prognosis is that major reductions are almost certain in the extent and biodiversity of coral reefs, and severe disruptions to cultures and economies dependent on reef resources will occur. The long-term (centuries to millennia) prognosis is more encouraging because coral reefs have remarkable resilience to severe disruption and will probably show this resilience in the future when climate changes either stabilize or reverse.

  5. 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.

  6. Environmental characteristics of tropical coral reef-seagrass dominated lagoons (Lakshadweep, India) and implications to resilience to climate change.

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Nobi, E.P.; DineshKumar, P.K.

    , also known as rainforests of the sea, are some of the most diverse ecosystems on earth (Davidson 1998). The health, abundance and diversity of organisms of coral reef ecosystems are directly linked to the surrounding marine environment. Seagrass beds... to a disturbed ecosystem (Gunderson 2000). Since the health and growth of coral and seagrass are regulated by several factors, the environmental monitoring of the coral ecosystem is a challenging study (Bulthius 1983; Haynes et al. 2005; Prange et...

  7. A diverse assemblage of reef corals thriving in a dynamic intertidal reef setting (Bonaparte Archipelago, Kimberley, Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zoe T Richards

    Full Text Available The susceptibility of reef-building corals to climatic anomalies is well documented and a cause of great concern for the future of coral reefs. Reef corals are normally considered to tolerate only a narrow range of climatic conditions with only a small number of species considered heat-tolerant. Occasionally however, corals can be seen thriving in unusually harsh reef settings and these are cause for some optimism about the future of coral reefs. Here we document for the first time a diverse assemblage of 225 species of hard corals occurring in the intertidal zone of the Bonaparte Archipelago, north western Australia. We compare the environmental conditions at our study site (tidal regime, SST and level of turbidity with those experienced at four other more typical tropical reef locations with similar levels of diversity. Physical extremes in the Bonaparte Archipelago include tidal oscillations of up to 8 m, long subaerial exposure times (>3.5 hrs, prolonged exposure to high SST and fluctuating turbidity levels. We conclude the timing of low tide in the coolest parts of the day ameliorates the severity of subaerial exposure, and the combination of strong currents and a naturally high sediment regime helps to offset light and heat stress. The low level of anthropogenic impact and proximity to the Indo-west Pacific centre of diversity are likely to further promote resistance and resilience in this community. This assemblage provides an indication of what corals may have existed in other nearshore locations in the past prior to widespread coastal development, eutrophication, coral predator and disease outbreaks and coral bleaching events. Our results call for a re-evaluation of what conditions are optimal for coral survival, and the Bonaparte intertidal community presents an ideal model system for exploring how species resilience is conferred in the absence of confounding factors such as pollution.

  8. 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.

  9. Effects of ocean acidification on the dissolution rates of reef-coral skeletons

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert van Woesik

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Ocean acidification threatens the foundation of tropical coral reefs. This study investigated three aspects of ocean acidification: (i the rates at which perforate and imperforate coral-colony skeletons passively dissolve when pH is 7.8, which is predicted to occur globally by 2100, (ii the rates of passive dissolution of corals with respect to coral-colony surface areas, and (iii the comparative rates of a vertical reef-growth model, incorporating passive dissolution rates, and predicted sea-level rise. By 2100, when the ocean pH is expected to be 7.8, perforate Montipora coral skeletons will lose on average 15 kg CaCO3 m−2 y−1, which is approximately −10.5 mm of vertical reduction of reef framework per year. This rate of passive dissolution is higher than the average rate of reef growth over the last several millennia and suggests that reefs composed of perforate Montipora coral skeletons will have trouble keeping up with sea-level rise under ocean acidification. Reefs composed of primarily imperforate coral skeletons will not likely dissolve as rapidly, but our model shows they will also have trouble keeping up with sea-level rise by 2050.

  10. Socio-ecological dynamics of Caribbean coral reef ecosystems and conservation opinion propagation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thampi, Vivek A; Anand, Madhur; Bauch, Chris T

    2018-02-07

    The Caribbean coral reef ecosystem has experienced a long history of deterioration due to various stressors. For instance, over-fishing of parrotfish - an important grazer of macroalgae that can prevent destructive overgrowth of macroalgae - has threatened reef ecosystems in recent decades and stimulated conservation efforts such as the formation of marine protected areas. Here we develop a mathematical model of coupled socio-ecological interactions between reef dynamics and conservation opinion dynamics to better understand how natural and human factors interact individually and in combination to determine coral reef cover. We find that the coupling opinion and reef systems generates complex dynamics that are difficult to anticipate without use of a model. For instance, instead of converging to a stable state of constant coral cover and conservationist opinion, the system can oscillate between low and high live coral cover as human opinion oscillates in a boom-bust cycle between complacency and concern. Out of various possible parameter manipulations, we also find that raising awareness of coral reef endangerment best avoids counter-productive nonlinear feedbacks and always increases and stabilizes live coral reef cover. In conclusion, an improved understanding of coupled opinion-reef dynamics under anthrogenic stressors is possible using coupled socio-ecological models, and such models should be further researched.

  11. Carbon dioxide addition to coral reef waters suppresses net community calcification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albright, Rebecca; Takeshita, Yuichiro; Koweek, David A.; Ninokawa, Aaron; Wolfe, Kennedy; Rivlin, Tanya; Nebuchina, Yana; Young, Jordan; Caldeira, Ken

    2018-03-01

    Coral reefs feed millions of people worldwide, provide coastal protection and generate billions of dollars annually in tourism revenue. The underlying architecture of a reef is a biogenic carbonate structure that accretes over many years of active biomineralization by calcifying organisms, including corals and algae. Ocean acidification poses a chronic threat to coral reefs by reducing the saturation state of the aragonite mineral of which coral skeletons are primarily composed, and lowering the concentration of carbonate ions required to maintain the carbonate reef. Reduced calcification, coupled with increased bioerosion and dissolution, may drive reefs into a state of net loss this century. Our ability to predict changes in ecosystem function and associated services ultimately hinges on our understanding of community- and ecosystem-scale responses. Past research has primarily focused on the responses of individual species rather than evaluating more complex, community-level responses. Here we use an in situ carbon dioxide enrichment experiment to quantify the net calcification response of a coral reef flat to acidification. We present an estimate of community-scale calcification sensitivity to ocean acidification that is, to our knowledge, the first to be based on a controlled experiment in the natural environment. This estimate provides evidence that near-future reductions in the aragonite saturation state will compromise the ecosystem function of coral reefs.

  12. 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.

  13. The effects of natural disturbances, reef state, and herbivorous fish densities on ciguatera poisoning in Rarotonga, southern Cook Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rongo, Teina; van Woesik, Robert

    2013-03-15

    Ciguatera poisoning is a critical public-health issue among Pacific island nations. Accurately predicting ciguatera outbreaks has become a priority, particularly in Rarotonga in the southern Cook Islands, which has reported the highest incidence of ciguatera poisoning globally. Since 2006, however, cases of ciguatera poisoning have declined, and in 2011 ciguatera cases were the lowest in nearly 20 years. Here we examined the relationships between cases of ciguatera poisoning, from 1994 to 2011, and: (i) coral cover, used as a proxy of reef state, (ii) the densities of herbivorous fishes, and (iii) reef disturbances. We found that coral cover was not a good predictor of cases of ciguatera poisoning, but high densities of the herbivorous fish Ctenochaetus striatus and reef disturbances were both strong predictors of ciguatera poisoning. Yet these two predictors were correlated, because the densities of C. striatus increased only after major cyclones had disturbed the reefs. Since 2006, the number of cyclones has decreased considerably in Rarotonga, because of the climatic shift toward the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. We suggest that fewer cyclones have led to decreases in both the densities of C. striatus and of the number of reported cases of ciguatera poisoning in Rarotonga. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. 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

  15. 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

    Branching hydrocorals from the genus Millepora play an important ecological role in South Atlantic reefs, where branching scleractinian corals are absent. Previous studies have shown a high proportion of reef fish species using branching fire-coral colonies as shelter, breeding, and feeding sites. However, the effects of Millepora spp. colony size and how the agonistic behaviour of a competitive damselfish affect the associated reef fish community are still unknown. The present study examined how fire-coral colony volume and the presence of a highly territorial and aggressive damselfish (Brazilian endemic Stegastes fuscus) affects the reef fish community associated with the fire-coral Millepora alcicornis. M. alcicornis colonies were surveyed from September 2012 to April 2013 at Tamandaré Reefs off Northeast Brazil. Our results show that the abundance and richness of coral associated fish was positively correlated with M. alcicornis coral colony volume. Additionally, behaviour of S. fuscus, the most abundant reef fish species found associated with fire-coral colonies (almost 57% of the fish community), was also influenced by fire-coral colony volume. There was a clear trend of increased agonistic behaviour and feeding on coral polyps as colony volume increased. This trend was reversed for the non-occupational swimming category, which decreased as M. alcicornis colony volume increased. Behavioural ontogenetic changes were also detected for S. fuscus individuals. Juveniles mainly showed two distinct behaviours: sheltered on coral branches and feeding on coral polyps. In contrast, adults presented greater equitability among the behavioural categories, mostly non-occupational swimming around coral colonies and agonistic behaviour. Lastly, S. fuscus individuals actively defended fire-coral colonies from intruders. A large number of agonistic interactions occurred against potential food competitors, which were mainly roving herbivores, omnivores, and sessile

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. Genotype and local environment dynamically influence growth, disturbance response and survivorship in the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Crawford Drury

    Full Text Available The relationship between the coral genotype and the environment is an important area of research in degraded coral reef ecosystems. We used a reciprocal outplanting experiment with 930 corals representing ten genotypes on each of eight reefs to investigate the influence of genotype and the environment on growth and survivorship in the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis. Coral genotype and site were strong drivers of coral growth and individual genotypes exhibited flexible, non-conserved reaction norms, complemented by ten-fold differences in growth between specific G-E combinations. Growth plasticity may diminish the influence of local adaptation, where foreign corals grew faster than native corals at their home sites. Novel combinations of environment and genotype also significantly affected disturbance response during and after the 2015 bleaching event, where these factors acted synergistically to drive variation in bleaching and recovery. Importantly, small differences in temperature stress elicit variable patterns of survivorship based on genotype and illustrate the importance of novel combinations of coral genetics and small differences between sites representing habitat refugia. In this context, acclimatization and flexibility is especially important given the long lifespan of corals coping with complex environmental change. The combined influence of site and genotype creates short-term differences in growth and survivorship, contributing to the standing genetic variation needed for adaptation to occur over longer timescales and the recovery of degraded reefs through natural mechanisms.

  19. Permanent 'phase shifts' or reversible declines in coral cover? Lack of recovery of two coral reefs in St. John, US Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, C.S.; Miller, J.

    2006-01-01

    Caribbean coral reefs have changed dramatically in the last 3 to 4 decades, with significant loss of coral cover and increases in algae. Here we present trends in benthic cover from 1989 to 2003 at 2 reefs (Lameshur Reef and Newfound Reef) off St. John, US Virgin Islands (USVI). Coral cover has declined in the fore-reef zones at both sites, and no recovery is evident. At Lameshur Reef, Hurricane Hugo (1989) caused significant physical damage and loss of coral. We suggest that macroalgae rapidly colonized new substrate made available by this storm and have hindered or prevented growth of adult corals, as well as settlement and survival of new coral recruits. Overfishing of herbivorous fishes in the USVI and loss of shelter for these fishes because of major storms has presumably reduced the levels of herbivory that formerly controlled algal abundance. Coral cover declined at Newfound Reef from 1999 to 2000, most likely because of coral diseases. The trends that we have documented, loss of coral followed by no evidence of recovery, appear similar to findings from other studies in the Caribbean. We need to focus on functional shifts in the resilience of coral reefs that result in their inability to recover from natural and human-caused stressors. ?? Inter-Research 2006.

  20. Pleistocene corals of the Florida keys: Architects of imposing reefs - Why?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lidz, B.H.

    2006-01-01

    Five asymmetrical, discontinuous, stratigraphically successive Pleistocene reef tracts rim the windward platform margin off the Florida Keys. Built of large head corals, the reefs are imposing in relief (???30 m high by 1 km wide), as measured from seismic profiles. Well dated to marine oxygen isotope substages 5c, 5b, and 5a, corals at depth are inferred to date to the Stage 6/5 transition. The size of these reefs attests to late Pleistocene conditions that repeatedly induced vigorous and sustained coral growth. In contrast, the setting today, linked to Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, is generally deemed marginal for reef accretion. Incursion onto the reef tract of waters that contain seasonally inconsistent temperature, salinity, turbidity, and nutrient content impedes coral growth. Fluctuating sea level and consequent settings controlled deposition. The primary dynamic was position of eustatic zeniths relative to regional topographic elevations. Sea level during the past 150 ka reached a maximum of ???10.6 m higher than at present ???125 ka, which gave rise to an inland coral reef (Key Largo Limestone) and ooid complex (Miami Limestone) during isotope substage 5e. These formations now form the Florida Keys and a bedrock ridge beneath The Quicksands (Gulf of Mexico). High-precision radiometric ages and depths of dated corals indicate subsequent apices remained ???15 to 9 m, respectively, below present sea level. Those peaks provided accommodation space sufficient for vertical reef growth yet exposed a broad landmass landward of the reefs for >100 ka. With time, space, lack of bay waters, and protection from the Gulf of Mexico, corals thrived in clear oceanic waters of the Gulf Stream, the only waters to reach them.

  1. Satellite Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs: By Learning about Coral Reefs, Students Gain an Understanding of Ecosystems and How Cutting-Edge Technology Can Be Used to Study Ecological Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palandro, David; Thoms, Kristin; Kusek, Kristen; Muller-Karger, Frank; Greely, Teresa

    2005-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems on the planet, providing sustenance to both marine organisms and humans. Yet they are also one of the most endangered ecosystems as coral reef coverage has declined dramatically in the past three decades. Researchers continually seek better ways to map coral reef coverage and monitor changes…

  2. Preliminary numerical simulation for shallow strata stability of coral reef in South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Qinqin; Zhan, Wenhuan; Zhang, Jinchang

    2017-04-01

    Coral reefs are the geologic material and special rock and soil, which live in shallow water of the tropic ocean and are formed through biological and geological action. Since infrastructure construction is being increasingly developed on coral reefs during recent years, it is necessary to evaluate the shallow strata stability of coral reefs in the South China Sea. The paper is to study the borehole profiles for shallow strata of coral reefs in the South China Sea, especially in the hydrodynamic marine environment?, and to establish a geological model for numerical simulation with Geo-Studio software. Five drilling holes show a six-layer shallow structure of South China Sea, including filling layer, mid-coarse sand, coral sand gravel, fine sand, limestone debris and reef limestone. The shallow coral reef profile next to lagoon is similar to "layers cake", in which the right side close to the sea is analogous to "block cake". The simulation results show that coral reef stability depends on wave loads and earthquake strength, as well as the physical properties of coral reefs themselves. The safety factor of the outer reef is greater than 10.0 in the static condition, indicating that outer reefs are less affected by the wave and earthquake. However, the safety factor next to lagoon is ranging from 0.1 to 4.9. The main reason for the variations that the strata of coral reefs close to the sea are thick. For example, the thickness of reef limestone is more than 10 m and equivalent to the block. When the thickness of inside strata is less than 10 m, they show weak engineering geological characteristics. These findings can provide useful information for coral reef constructions in future. This work was funded by National Basic Research Program of China (contract: 2013CB956104) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (contract: 41376063).

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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,

  6. 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.

  7. Hurricanes and coral bleaching linked to changes in coral recruitment in Tobago.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallela, J; Crabbe, M J C

    2009-10-01

    Knowledge of coral recruitment patterns helps us understand how reefs react following major disturbances and provides us with an early warning system for predicting future reef health problems. We have reconstructed and interpreted historical and modern-day recruitment patterns, using a combination of growth modelling and in situ recruitment experiments, in order to understand how hurricanes, storms and bleaching events have influenced coral recruitment on the Caribbean coastline of Tobago. Whilst Tobago does not lie within the main hurricane belt results indicate that regional hurricane events negatively impact coral recruitment patterns in the Southern Caribbean. In years following hurricanes, tropical storms and bleaching events, coral recruitment was reduced when compared to normal years (p=0.016). Following Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and the 2005-2006 bleaching event, coral recruitment was markedly limited with only 2% (n=6) of colonies estimated to have recruited during 2006 and 2007. Our experimental results indicate that despite multiple large-scale disturbances corals are still recruiting on Tobago's marginal reef systems, albeit in low numbers.

  8. Large-scale coral reef restoration could assist natural recovery in Seychelles, Indian Ocean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Phanor Hernando Montoya Maya

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available The aim of ecological restoration is to establish self-sustaining and resilient systems. In coral reef restoration, transplantation of nursery-grown corals is seen as a potential method to mitigate reef degradation and enhance recovery. The transplanted reef should be capable of recruiting new juvenile corals to ensure long-term resilience. Here, we quantified how coral transplantation influenced natural coral recruitment at a large-scale coral reef restoration site in Seychelles, Indian Ocean. Between November 2011 and June 2014 a total of 24,431 nursery-grown coral colonies from 10 different coral species were transplanted in 5,225 m2 (0.52 ha of degraded reef at the no-take marine reserve of Cousin Island Special Reserve in an attempt to assist in natural reef recovery. We present the results of research and monitoring conducted before and after coral transplantation to evaluate the positive effect that the project had on coral recruitment and reef recovery at the restored site. We quantified the density of coral recruits (spat <1 cm and juveniles (colonies 1-5 cm at the transplanted site, a degraded control site and a healthy control site at the marine reserve. We used ceramic tiles to estimate coral settlement and visual surveys with 1 m2 quadrats to estimate coral recruitment. Six months after tile deployment, total spat density at the transplanted site (123.4 ± 13.3 spat m-2 was 1.8 times higher than at healthy site (68.4 ± 7.8 spat m-2 and 1.6 times higher than at degraded site (78.2 ± 7.17 spat m-2. Two years after first transplantation, the total recruit density was highest at healthy site (4.8 ± 0.4 recruits m-2, intermediate at transplanted site (2.7 ± 0.4 recruits m-2, and lowest at degraded site (1.7 ± 0.3 recruits m-2. The results suggest that large-scale coral restoration may have a positive influence on coral recruitment and juveniles. The effect of key project techniques on the results are discussed. This study supports

  9. No Reef Is an Island: Integrating Coral Reef Connectivity Data into the Design of Regional-Scale Marine Protected Area Networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schill, Steven R; Raber, George T; Roberts, Jason J; Treml, Eric A; Brenner, Jorge; Halpin, Patrick N

    2015-01-01

    We integrated coral reef connectivity data for the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico into a conservation decision-making framework for designing a regional scale marine protected area (MPA) network that provides insight into ecological and political contexts. We used an ocean circulation model and regional coral reef data to simulate eight spawning events from 2008-2011, applying a maximum 30-day pelagic larval duration and 20% mortality rate. Coral larval dispersal patterns were analyzed between coral reefs across jurisdictional marine zones to identify spatial relationships between larval sources and destinations within countries and territories across the region. We applied our results in Marxan, a conservation planning software tool, to identify a regional coral reef MPA network design that meets conservation goals, minimizes underlying threats, and maintains coral reef connectivity. Our results suggest that approximately 77% of coral reefs identified as having a high regional connectivity value are not included in the existing MPA network. This research is unique because we quantify and report coral larval connectivity data by marine ecoregions and Exclusive Economic Zones (EZZ) and use this information to identify gaps in the current Caribbean-wide MPA network by integrating asymmetric connectivity information in Marxan to design a regional MPA network that includes important reef network connections. The identification of important reef connectivity metrics guides the selection of priority conservation areas and supports resilience at the whole system level into the future.

  10. No Reef Is an Island: Integrating Coral Reef Connectivity Data into the Design of Regional-Scale Marine Protected Area Networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven R Schill

    Full Text Available We integrated coral reef connectivity data for the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico into a conservation decision-making framework for designing a regional scale marine protected area (MPA network that provides insight into ecological and political contexts. We used an ocean circulation model and regional coral reef data to simulate eight spawning events from 2008-2011, applying a maximum 30-day pelagic larval duration and 20% mortality rate. Coral larval dispersal patterns were analyzed between coral reefs across jurisdictional marine zones to identify spatial relationships between larval sources and destinations within countries and territories across the region. We applied our results in Marxan, a conservation planning software tool, to identify a regional coral reef MPA network design that meets conservation goals, minimizes underlying threats, and maintains coral reef connectivity. Our results suggest that approximately 77% of coral reefs identified as having a high regional connectivity value are not included in the existing MPA network. This research is unique because we quantify and report coral larval connectivity data by marine ecoregions and Exclusive Economic Zones (EZZ and use this information to identify gaps in the current Caribbean-wide MPA network by integrating asymmetric connectivity information in Marxan to design a regional MPA network that includes important reef network connections. The identification of important reef connectivity metrics guides the selection of priority conservation areas and supports resilience at the whole system level into the future.

  11. 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...

  12. 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…

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Norbert Englebert

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

  17. 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.

  18. Ultrastructural biomarkers in symbiotic algae reflect the availability of dissolved inorganic nutrients and particulate food to the reef coral holobiont

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sabrina eRosset

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Reef building corals associated with symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae can access environmental nutrients from different sources, most significantly via the uptake of dissolved inorganic nutrients by the algal symbiont and heterotrophic feeding of the coral host. Climate change is expected to alter the nutrient environment in coral reefs with the potential to benefit or disturb coral reef resilience. At present, the relative importance of the two major nutrient sources is not well understood, making predictions of the responses of corals to changes in their nutrient environment difficult. Therefore, we have examined the long-term effects of the availability of different concentrations of dissolved inorganic nutrients and of nutrients in particulate organic form on the model coral Euphyllia paradivisa. Coral and algal biomass showed a significantly stronger increase in response to elevated levels of dissolved inorganic nutrients as compared to the supply with particulate food. Also, changes in the zooxanthellae ultrastructure, determined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM, were mostly driven by the availability of dissolved inorganic nutrients under the present experimental conditions. The larger size of symbiont cells, their increased accumulation of lipid bodies, a higher number of starch granules and the fragmentation of their accumulation body could be established as reliable biomarkers of low availability of dissolved inorganic nutrients to the coral holobiont.

  19. Human Dimensions of Coral Reef Social-Ecological Systems

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    John N. Kittinger

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet but are declining because of human activities. Despite general recognition of the human role in the plight of coral reefs, the vast majority of research focuses on the ecological rather than the human dimensions of reef ecosystems, limiting our understanding of social relationships with these environments as well as potential solutions for reef recovery. General frameworks for social-ecological systems (SESs have been advanced, but system-specific approaches are needed to develop a more nuanced view of human-environmental interactions for specific contexts and resource systems, and at specific scales. We synthesize existing concepts related to SESs and present a human dimensions framework that explores the linkages between social system structural traits, human activities, ecosystem services, and human well-being in coral reef SESs. Key features of the framework include social-ecological reciprocity, proximate and underlying dimensions, and the directionality of key relationships and feedback loops. Such frameworks are needed if human dimensions research is to be more fully integrated into studies of ecosystem change and the sustainability of linked SESs.

  20. 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.

  1. 50 CFR 665.220 - Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved] 665.220 Section 665.220 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL... PACIFIC Hawaii Fisheries § 665.220 Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved] ...

  2. Community Structure Of Coral Reefs In Saebus Island, Sumenep District, East Java

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rizmaadi, Mada; Riter, Johannes; Fatimah, Siti; Rifaldi, Riyan; Yoga, Arditho; Ramadhan, Fikri; Ambariyanto, Ambariyanto

    2018-02-01

    Increasing degradation coral reefs ecosystem has created many concerns. Reduction of this damage can only be done with good and proper management of coral reef ecosystem based on existing condition. The condition of coral reef ecosystem can be determined by assessing its community structure. This study investigates community structure of coral reef ecosystems around Saebus Island, Sumenep District, East Java, by using satellite imagery analysis and field observations. Satellite imagery analysis by Lyzenga methods was used to determine the observation stations and substrate distribution. Field observations were done by using Line Intercept Transect method at 4 stations, at the depth of 3 and 10 meters. The results showed that the percentage of coral reef coverage at the depth of 3 and 10 meters were 64.36% and 59.29%, respectively, and included in fine coverage category. This study found in total 25 genera from 13 families of corals at all stations. The most common species found were Acropora, Porites, and Pocillopora, while the least common species were Favites and Montastrea. Average value of Diversity, Uniformity and Dominancy indices were 2.94, 0.8 and 0.18 which include as medium, high, and low category, respectively. These results suggest that coral reef ecosystems around Saebus Island is in a good condition.

  3. An Integrated Coral Reef Ecosystem Model to Support Resource Management under a Changing Climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A; Kaplan, Isaac C; Gorton, Rebecca; Leemans, Rik; Mooij, Wolf M; Brainard, Russell E

    2015-01-01

    Millions of people rely on the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs, but sustaining these benefits requires an understanding of how reefs and their biotic communities are affected by local human-induced disturbances and global climate change. Ecosystem-based management that explicitly considers the indirect and cumulative effects of multiple disturbances has been recommended and adopted in policies in many places around the globe. Ecosystem models give insight into complex reef dynamics and their responses to multiple disturbances and are useful tools to support planning and implementation of ecosystem-based management. We adapted the Atlantis Ecosystem Model to incorporate key dynamics for a coral reef ecosystem around Guam in the tropical western Pacific. We used this model to quantify the effects of predicted climate and ocean changes and current levels of current land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) and fishing. We used the following six ecosystem metrics as indicators of ecosystem state, resilience and harvest potential: 1) ratio of calcifying to non-calcifying benthic groups, 2) trophic level of the community, 3) biomass of apex predators, 4) biomass of herbivorous fishes, 5) total biomass of living groups and 6) the end-to-start ratio of exploited fish groups. Simulation tests of the effects of each of the three drivers separately suggest that by mid-century climate change will have the largest overall effect on this suite of ecosystem metrics due to substantial negative effects on coral cover. The effects of fishing were also important, negatively influencing five out of the six metrics. Moreover, LBSP exacerbates this effect for all metrics but not quite as badly as would be expected under additive assumptions, although the magnitude of the effects of LBSP are sensitive to uncertainty associated with primary productivity. Over longer time spans (i.e., 65 year simulations), climate change impacts have a slight positive interaction with other drivers

  4. An Integrated Coral Reef Ecosystem Model to Support Resource Management under a Changing Climate.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mariska Weijerman

    Full Text Available Millions of people rely on the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs, but sustaining these benefits requires an understanding of how reefs and their biotic communities are affected by local human-induced disturbances and global climate change. Ecosystem-based management that explicitly considers the indirect and cumulative effects of multiple disturbances has been recommended and adopted in policies in many places around the globe. Ecosystem models give insight into complex reef dynamics and their responses to multiple disturbances and are useful tools to support planning and implementation of ecosystem-based management. We adapted the Atlantis Ecosystem Model to incorporate key dynamics for a coral reef ecosystem around Guam in the tropical western Pacific. We used this model to quantify the effects of predicted climate and ocean changes and current levels of current land-based sources of pollution (LBSP and fishing. We used the following six ecosystem metrics as indicators of ecosystem state, resilience and harvest potential: 1 ratio of calcifying to non-calcifying benthic groups, 2 trophic level of the community, 3 biomass of apex predators, 4 biomass of herbivorous fishes, 5 total biomass of living groups and 6 the end-to-start ratio of exploited fish groups. Simulation tests of the effects of each of the three drivers separately suggest that by mid-century climate change will have the largest overall effect on this suite of ecosystem metrics due to substantial negative effects on coral cover. The effects of fishing were also important, negatively influencing five out of the six metrics. Moreover, LBSP exacerbates this effect for all metrics but not quite as badly as would be expected under additive assumptions, although the magnitude of the effects of LBSP are sensitive to uncertainty associated with primary productivity. Over longer time spans (i.e., 65 year simulations, climate change impacts have a slight positive interaction with

  5. Response of reef corals on a fringing reef flat to elevated suspended-sediment concentrations: Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jokiel, Paul L.; Rodgers, Ku'ulei S.; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Field, Michael E.; Lager, Claire V.; Lager, Dan

    2014-01-01

    A long-term (10 month exposure) experiment on effects of suspended sediment on the mortality, growth, and recruitment of the reef corals Montipora capitata and Porites compressa was conducted on the shallow reef flat off south Molokaʻi, Hawaiʻi. Corals were grown on wire platforms with attached coral recruitment tiles along a suspended solid concentration (SSC) gradient that ranged from 37 mg l−1 (inshore) to 3 mg l−1(offshore). Natural coral reef development on the reef flat is limited to areas with SSCs less than 10 mg l−1 as previously suggested in the scientific literature. However, the experimental corals held at much higher levels of turbidity showed surprisingly good survivorship and growth. High SSCs encountered on the reef flat reduced coral recruitment by one to three orders of magnitude compared to other sites throughout Hawaiʻi. There was a significant correlation between the biomass of macroalgae attached to the wire growth platforms at the end of the experiment and percentage of the corals showing mortality. We conclude that lack of suitable hard substrate, macroalgal competition, and blockage of recruitment on available substratum are major factors accounting for the low natural coral coverage in areas of high turbidity. The direct impact of high turbidity on growth and mortality is of lesser importance.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karlo Hock

    2017-11-01

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

  7. How models can support ecosystem-based management of coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, M.W.; Fulton, E.A.; Janssen, A.B.G.; Kuiper, J.J.; Leemans, R.; Leemput, van de I.A.; Mooij, W.M.

    2015-01-01

    Despite the importance of coral reef ecosystems to the social and economic welfare of coastal communities, the condition of these marine ecosystems have generally degraded over the past decades. With an increased knowledge of coral reef ecosystem processes and a rise in computer power, dynamic

  8. 50 CFR 665.420 - Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved] 665.420 Section 665.420 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL... PACIFIC Mariana Archipelago Fisheries § 665.420 Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved] ...

  9. 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.

  10. Importance of Mangroves, Seagrass Beds and the Shallow Coral Reef as a Nursery for Important Coral Reef Fishes, Using a Visual Census Technique

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagelkerken, I.; van der Velde, G.; Gorissen, M. W.; Meijer, G. J.; Van't Hof, T.; den Hartog, C.

    2000-07-01

    The nursery function of various biotopes for coral reef fishes was investigated on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. Length and abundance of 16 commercially important reef fish species were determined by means of visual censuses during the day in six different biotopes: mangrove prop-roots ( Rhizophora mangle) and seagrass beds ( Thalassia testudinum) in Lac Bay, and four depth zones on the coral reef (0 to 3 m, 3 to 5 m, 10 to 15 m and 15 to 20 m). The mangroves, seagrass beds and shallow coral reef (0 to 3 m) appeared to be the main nursery biotopes for the juveniles of the selected species. Mutual comparison between biotopes showed that the seagrass beds were the most important nursery biotope for juvenile Haemulon flavolineatum, H. sciurus, Ocyurus chrysurus, Acanthurus chirurgus and Sparisoma viride, the mangroves for juvenile Lutjanus apodus, L. griseus, Sphyraena barracuda and Chaetodon capistratus, and the shallow coral reef for juvenile H. chrysargyreum, L. mahogoni , A. bahianus and Abudefduf saxatilis. Juvenile Acanthurus coeruleus utilized all six biotopes, while juvenile H. carbonarium and Anisotremus surinamensis were not observed in any of the six biotopes. Although fishes showed a clear preference for a specific nursery biotope, most fish species utilized multiple nursery biotopes simultaneously. The almost complete absence of juveniles on the deeper reef zones indicates the high dependence of juveniles on the shallow water biotopes as a nursery. For most fish species an (partial) ontogenetic shift was observed at a particular life stage from their (shallow) nursery biotopes to the (deeper) coral reef. Cluster analyses showed that closely related species within the families Haemulidae, Lutjanidae and Acanthuridae, and the different size classes within species in most cases had a spatial separation in biotope utilization.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Mapping Prevalence and Incidence of Coral Disease in reef-building corals at two Natural Reserves of the Southwest Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanchez Viruet, I.; Irizarry-Soto, E.; Ruiz-Valentín, I.

    2016-02-01

    Coral diseases seems to be the main cause of coral reef decline in the Caribbean. Before the bleaching event of 2005, coral reefs in Puerto Rico were dominated by the reef-building taxa: Orbicella annularis, Porites astreoides, Montastrea cavernosa, Agaricia agaracites and Colpophyllia natans. After the event, live-coral cover significantly declined and more than 90% of the scleractinian corals in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico showed signals of thermal stressors. The prevalence of coral diseases in five reef-building coral (Orbicella annularis, Orbicella franksi, Orbicella faveolata, Porites porites and Pseudiploria strigosa) species was assessed by tagging, photographing, and mapping all diseased and healthy colonies within 10 permanent 40m2 band transects at each inshore and mid-shelf reefs of Belvedere and Punta Guaniquilla Natural Reserves using a random stratified sampling method. Maximum and perpendicular diameter was used to assess coral size using Coral Point Count with Excel Extension. Corals were classified into three size class populations (class I: 0-50cm, class II: 50-100cm and class III: >100 cm). Data was used to develop a GIS-based map containing coral species, size and disease presence. Preliminary results of the inshore area showed a higher disease prevalence in Belvedere natural reserve and for P. strigosa (17.1%) and O. annularis (9.3%). Frequency distribution analysis showed a dominance of O. faveolata at Punta Guaniquilla and Belvedere (127 and 88 individuals respectively). Size class I dominates the distribution of each species within the natural reserves with a higher disease prevalence. Future work include continue prevalence surveys of the outer reef shelf on both natural reserves, monitoring and GIS-based mapping of incidence and resilience through time. This study will help in the assessment of the status of the coral reef of the southwest insular platform.

  14. 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

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. 50 CFR 665.620 - PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved] 665.620 Section 665.620 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL... PACIFIC Pacific Remote Island Area Fisheries § 665.620 PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved] ...

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. CO2 fixation by coral reefs. Sangosho ni yoru nisanka tanso no kotei

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1993-05-01

    In order for a coral reef to be a CO2 absorbing source, a condition would have to be satisfied that, with respect to production of organic carbon through photosynthesis, a total production by coral reef organism association is large, and the ratio of the total production to a total consumption is more than one. A requirement that the ratio of inorganic carbon production through calcification be 1.5 or more must also be met. Measurements have been carried out at coral fields off the Ishigaki Island by the Geological Research Center. The measurement results revealed that production is high for both of organic carbon and inorganic carbon, surplus organic carbon is produced, and CO2 is absorbed into the coral reefs. It was also found by measuring the stable isotope ratio of nitrogen in coral reef organisms that nitrogen required for the production in the coral reefs is supplied from the atmosphere through nitrogen fixation. The paper adds a description that CaCO3 deposition in the coral reefs has peaked in 5000 years to 6000 years ago, and it is in a ceiling-hit condition now. 25 refs., 3 figs.

  2. Critical research needs for identifying future changes in Gulf coral reef ecosystems

    KAUST Repository

    Feary, David A.

    2013-07-01

    Expert opinion was assessed to identify current knowledge gaps in determining future changes in Arabian/Persian Gulf (thereafter \\'Gulf\\') coral reefs. Thirty-one participants submitted 71 research questions that were peer-assessed in terms of scientific importance (i.e., filled a knowledge gap and was a research priority) and efficiency in resource use (i.e., was highly feasible and ecologically broad). Ten research questions, in six major research areas, were highly important for both understanding Gulf coral reef ecosystems and also an efficient use of limited research resources. These questions mirrored global evaluations of the importance of understanding and evaluating biodiversity, determining the potential impacts of climate change, the role of anthropogenic impacts in structuring coral reef communities, and economically evaluating coral reef communities. These questions provide guidance for future research on coral reef ecosystems within the Gulf, and enhance the potential for assessment and management of future changes in this globally significant region. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

  3. Critical research needs for identifying future changes in Gulf coral reef ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feary, David A.; Burt, John A.; Bauman, Andrew G.; Al Hazeem, Shaker; Abdel-Moati, Mohamed A.; Al-Khalifa, Khalifa A.; Anderson, Donald M.; Amos, Carl; Baker, Andrew; Bartholomew, Aaron; Bento, Rita; Cavalcante, Geórgenes H.; Chen, Chaolun Allen; Coles, Steve L.; Dab, Koosha; Fowler, Ashley M.; George, David; Grandcourt, Edwin; Hill, Ross; John, David M.; Jones, David A.; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Mahmoud, Huda; Moradi Och Tapeh, Mahdi; Mostafavi, Pargol Ghavam; Naser, Humood; Pichon, Michel; Purkis, Sam; Riegl, Bernhard; Samimi-Namin, Kaveh; Sheppard, Charles; Vajed Samiei, Jahangir; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wiedenmann, Joerg

    2014-01-01

    Expert opinion was assessed to identify current knowledge gaps in determining future changes in Arabian/ Persian Gulf (thereafter ‘Gulf’) coral reefs. Thirty-one participants submitted 71 research questions that were peer-assessed in terms of scientific importance (i.e., filled a knowledge gap and was a research priority) and efficiency in resource use (i.e., was highly feasible and ecologically broad). Ten research questions, in six major research areas, were highly important for both understanding Gulf coral reef ecosystems and also an efficient use of limited research resources. These questions mirrored global evaluations of the importance of understanding and evaluating biodiversity, determining the potential impacts of climate change, the role of anthropogenic impacts in structuring coral reef communities, and economically evaluating coral reef communities. These questions provide guidance for future research on coral reef ecosystems within the Gulf, and enhance the potential for assessment and management of future changes in this globally significant region. PMID:23643407

  4. Diverse coral communities in naturally acidified waters of a Western Pacific reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shamberger, Kathryn E. F.; Cohen, Anne L.; Golbuu, Yimnang; McCorkle, Daniel C.; Lentz, Steven J.; Barkley, Hannah C.

    2014-01-01

    Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are acidifying the oceans, reducing the concentration of carbonate ions ([CO32-]) that calcifying organisms need to build and cement coral reefs. To date, studies of a handful of naturally acidified reef systems reveal depauperate communities, sometimes with reduced coral cover and calcification rates, consistent with results of laboratory-based studies. Here we report the existence of highly diverse, coral-dominated reef communities under chronically low pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωar). Biological and hydrographic processes change the chemistry of the seawater moving across the barrier reefs and into Palau's Rock Island bays, where levels of acidification approach those projected for the western tropical Pacific open ocean by 2100. Nevertheless, coral diversity, cover, and calcification rates are maintained across this natural acidification gradient. Identifying the combination of biological and environmental factors that enable these communities to persist could provide important insights into the future of coral reefs under anthropogenic acidification.

  5. Critical research needs for identifying future changes in Gulf coral reef ecosystems

    KAUST Repository

    Feary, David A.; Burt, John A.; Bauman, Andrew G.; Al Hazeem, Shaker; Abdel-Moati, Mohamed A R; Al-Khalifa, Khalifa A.; Anderson, Donald M.; Amos, Carl L.; Baker, Andrew C.; Bartholomew, Aaron; Bento, Rita; Cavalcante, Geó rgenes H.; Chen, Chaolun Allen; Coles, Steve L.; Dab, Koosha; Fowler, Ashley M.; George, David Glen; Grandcourt, Edwin Mark; Hill, Ross; John, David Michael; Jones, David Alan; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Mahmoud, Huda M A; Moradi Och Tapeh, Mahdi; Mostafavi, Pargol Ghavam; Naser, Humood A.; Pichon, Michel; Purkis, Sam J.; Riegl, Bernhard M.; Samimi-Namin, Kaveh; Sheppard, Charles R C; Vajed Samiei, Jahangir; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wiedenmann, Jö rg

    2013-01-01

    Expert opinion was assessed to identify current knowledge gaps in determining future changes in Arabian/Persian Gulf (thereafter 'Gulf') coral reefs. Thirty-one participants submitted 71 research questions that were peer-assessed in terms of scientific importance (i.e., filled a knowledge gap and was a research priority) and efficiency in resource use (i.e., was highly feasible and ecologically broad). Ten research questions, in six major research areas, were highly important for both understanding Gulf coral reef ecosystems and also an efficient use of limited research resources. These questions mirrored global evaluations of the importance of understanding and evaluating biodiversity, determining the potential impacts of climate change, the role of anthropogenic impacts in structuring coral reef communities, and economically evaluating coral reef communities. These questions provide guidance for future research on coral reef ecosystems within the Gulf, and enhance the potential for assessment and management of future changes in this globally significant region. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

  6. 77 FR 25407 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-30

    ... 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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)

  11. Coastal nutrification and coral health at Porto Seguro reefs, Brazil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Costa, O.; Attrill, M.; Nimmo, M.

    2003-04-01

    correlation between zoanthids and algal abundance and a positive correlation with the amount of available space for settlement. On the offshore reef, correlation of algal cover with both zoanthids and available space were negative, suggesting that hard substrate may be the primary limiting factor for algal settlement and growth in the nearshore reefs. Highly variable physical disturbances (like wave energy and low tide exposure) between landward and seaward reef sides appear to be the factors controlling algal distribution in the offshore reef. Highly spatial variability in coral cover ultimately reflects the patchy distribution of stony corals over the reefs.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Additive diversity partitioning of fish in a Caribbean coral reef undergoing shift transition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Acosta-González, Gilberto; Rodríguez-Zaragoza, Fabián A; Hernández-Landa, Roberto C; Arias-González, Jesús E

    2013-01-01

    Shift transitions in dominance on coral reefs from hard coral cover to fleshy macroalgae are having negative effects on Caribbean coral reef communities. Data on spatiotemporal changes in biodiversity during these modifications are important for decision support for coral reef biodiversity protection. The main objective of this study is to detect the spatiotemporal patterns of coral reef fish diversity during this transition using additive diversity-partitioning analysis. We examined α, β and γ fish diversity from 2000 to 2010, during which time a shift transition occurred at Mahahual Reef, located in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Data on coral reef fish and benthic communities were obtained from 12 transects per geomorphological unit (GU) in two GUs (reef slope and terrace) over six years (2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010). Spatial analysis within and between the GUs indicated that the γ-diversity was primarily related to higher β-diversity. Throughout the six study years, there were losses of α, β and γ-diversity associated spatially with the shallow (reef slope) and deeper (reef terrace) GUs and temporally with the transition in cover from mound corals to fleshy macroalgae and boulder corals. Despite a drastic reduction in the number of species over time, β-diversity continues to be the highest component of γ-diversity. The shift transition had a negative effect on α, β and γ-diversity, primarily by impacting rare species, leading a group of small and less vulnerable fish species to become common and an important group of rare species to become locally extinct. The maintenance of fish heterogeneity (β-diversity) over time may imply the abetment of vulnerability in the face of local and global changes.

  16. Additive diversity partitioning of fish in a Caribbean coral reef undergoing shift transition.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gilberto Acosta-González

    Full Text Available Shift transitions in dominance on coral reefs from hard coral cover to fleshy macroalgae are having negative effects on Caribbean coral reef communities. Data on spatiotemporal changes in biodiversity during these modifications are important for decision support for coral reef biodiversity protection. The main objective of this study is to detect the spatiotemporal patterns of coral reef fish diversity during this transition using additive diversity-partitioning analysis. We examined α, β and γ fish diversity from 2000 to 2010, during which time a shift transition occurred at Mahahual Reef, located in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Data on coral reef fish and benthic communities were obtained from 12 transects per geomorphological unit (GU in two GUs (reef slope and terrace over six years (2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010. Spatial analysis within and between the GUs indicated that the γ-diversity was primarily related to higher β-diversity. Throughout the six study years, there were losses of α, β and γ-diversity associated spatially with the shallow (reef slope and deeper (reef terrace GUs and temporally with the transition in cover from mound corals to fleshy macroalgae and boulder corals. Despite a drastic reduction in the number of species over time, β-diversity continues to be the highest component of γ-diversity. The shift transition had a negative effect on α, β and γ-diversity, primarily by impacting rare species, leading a group of small and less vulnerable fish species to become common and an important group of rare species to become locally extinct. The maintenance of fish heterogeneity (β-diversity over time may imply the abetment of vulnerability in the face of local and global changes.

  17. Spatio-temporal patterns in the coral reef communities of the Spermonde Archipelago, 2012–2014, II: Fish assemblages display structured variation related to benthic condition

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah Grahm; Teichberg, Mirta; Bednarz, Vanessa N.

    2018-01-01

    The Spermonde Archipelago is a complex of ~70 mostly populated islands off Southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia, in the center of the Coral Triangle. The reefs in this area are exposed to a high level of anthropogenic disturbances. Previous studies have shown that variation in the benthos is strongly...... with distance, while few species were present across the entire range of sites. Relating fish communities to benthic composition using a multivariate generalized linear model confirmed that fish groups relate to structural complexity (rugosity) or differing benthic groups; either algae, reef builders (coral...... and crustose coralline algae) or invertebrates and rubble. From these relationships we can identify sets of fish species that may be lost given continued degradation of the Spermonde reefs. Lastly, the incorporation of water quality, benthic and fish indices indicates that local coral reefs responded...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Possibility of high CO{sub 2} fixation rate by coral reef ecosystems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    K. Yamada; Y. Suzuki; B.E. Casareto; H. Komiyama [Shinshu University, Tokida (Japan). Dept. of Fine Materials Engineering

    2003-07-01

    Previous net rates of CO{sub 2} fixation by coral reef ecosystems have been said to be nearly zero due to a balance between CO{sub 2} fixed by organic carbon production and CO{sub 2} released by both organic carbon decomposition and inorganic carbon formation. But this study, conducted in Bora Bay, Miyako Island, Japan showed net rates of about 7 gC m{sup -2} d{sup -1} inside a coral reef and on a coral reef. It was found by experiment that the photosynthetic rate of coral increased with the increase of the flow rate of seawater. The authors tried to calculate net primary production (= net rates of CO{sub 2} fixation) outside a coral reef with flow rate. A flow rate on the coral reef of the open seaside is much higher than that in a lagoon. As an example, the CO{sub 2} fixation rates at the flow rates of 6 and 30 cm/s are compared. When it is assumed that the length of the whole coral reef facing the ocean is 50,000 km and its width is 100 m, and the flow rate is 30cm/s, the CO{sub 2} fixation rate is calculated to be 6.3 x 10{sup 6} t-C/y (3.5g-C/m{sup 2}d). This value is 2.2 times higher than that at the flow rate of 6 cm/s. This fixation rate is only by the coral itself. It means that the CO{sub 2} fixation rate by coral reef ecosystems can be much higher and the magnitude for worldwide ecosystems can be in the order of 10{sup 6}-10{sup 7} t-C/y. 14 refs., 5 tabs.

  1. Decline of coral reefs during late Paleocene to early Eocene global warming

    OpenAIRE

    Scheibner , C.; Speijer , R. P.

    2007-01-01

    International audience; Since the 1980s the frequency of warming events has intensified and simultaneously widespread coral bleaching, and enhanced coral mortality have been observed. Yet, it remains unpredictable how tropical coral reef communities will react to prolonged adverse conditions. Possibly, coral reef systems are sufficiently robust to withstand continued environmental pressures. But if coral mortality increases, what will platform communities of the future look like? The co-evolu...

  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. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

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

  5. 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...

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

    KAUST Repository

    Berumen, Michael L.

    2013-06-21

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

  8. Occurrence, sources and transport of antibiotics in the surface water of coral reef regions in the South China Sea: Potential risk to coral growth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Ruijie; Zhang, Ruiling; Yu, Kefu; Wang, Yinghui; Huang, Xueyong; Pei, Jiying; Wei, Chaoshuai; Pan, Ziliang; Qin, Zhenjun; Zhang, Gan

    2018-01-01

    Laboratory research has indicated that antibiotics had negative effects on coral growth by disturbing natural microbiota; however, no field studies have reported antibiotic contamination levels and their influence on coral growth in natural coral reef regions (CRRs). This study investigated antibiotic occurrence and sources in the surface water from CRRs that have suffered from rapid coral degradation and evaluated their risk to coral growth. These regions are in the South China Sea, including four coastal and two offshore CRRs. The results show that 13 antibiotics were detected in the coastal CRRs with concentrations ranging from 10 -2 -10 0  ng L -1 , while 5 antibiotics occurred in offshore CRRs (300-950 km from the mainland), with concentrations ranging from 10 -2 to 10 -1  ng L -1 . Their concentrations decreased gradually from the coast to offshore in the transport process. However, Yongxing Island, which is approximately 300 km from the mainland, was an exception with relatively higher concentrations than the surrounding reefs because of the ever-increasing human activity on the island. The presence of anthropogenic contaminants antibiotics in CRRs may be a potential risk to coral growth. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Patterns of Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) diversity and assemblages among diverse hosts and the coral reef environment of Lizard Island, Australia

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2018-04-26

    Large-scale environmental disturbances may impact both partners in coral host-Symbiodinium systems. Elucidation of the assembly patterns in such complex and interdependent communities may enable better prediction of environmental impacts across coral reef ecosystems. In this study, we investigated how the community composition and diversity of dinoflagellate symbionts in the genus Symbiodinium were distributed among 12 host species from six taxonomic orders (Actinaria, Alcyonacea, Miliolida, Porifera, Rhizostoma, Scleractinia) and in the reef water and sediments at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef before the 3rd Global Coral Bleaching Event. 454 pyrosequencing of the ITS2 region of Symbiodinium yielded 83 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) at a 97% similarity cut-off. Approximately half of the Symbiodinium OTUs from reef water or sediments were also present in symbio. OTUs belonged to six clades (A-D, F-G), but community structure was uneven. The two most abundant OTUs (100% matches to types C1 and A3) comprised 91% of reads and OTU C1 was shared by all species. However, sequence-based analysis of these dominant OTUs revealed host species-specificity, suggesting that genetic similarity cut-offs of Symbiodinium ITS2 data sets need careful evaluation. Of the less abundant OTUs, roughly half occurred at only one site or in one species and the background Symbiodinium communities were distinct between individual samples. We conclude that sampling multiple host taxa with differing life history traits will be critical to fully understand the symbiont diversity of a given system and to predict coral ecosystem responses to environmental change and disturbance considering the differential stress response of the taxa within. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  10. 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

  11. Quantifying and Valuing Potential Climate Change Impacts on Coral Reefs in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wobus, C. W.; Lane, D.; Buddemeier, R. W.; Ready, R. C.; Shouse, K. C.; Martinich, J.

    2012-12-01

    Global climate change presents a two-pronged threat to coral reef ecosystems: increasing sea surface temperatures will increase the likelihood of episodic bleaching events, while increasing ocean carbon dioxide concentrations will change the carbonate chemistry that drives coral growth. Because coral reefs have important societal as well as ecological benefits, climate change mitigation policies that ameliorate these impacts may create substantial economic value. We present a model that evaluates both the ecological and the economic impacts of climate change on coral reefs in the United States. We use a coral reef mortality and bleaching model to project future coral reef declines under a range of climate change policy scenarios for south Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Using a benefits transfer approach, the outputs from the physical model are then used to quantify the economic impacts of these coral reef declines for each of these regions. We find that differing climate change trajectories create substantial changes in projected coral cover and value for Hawaii, but that the ecological and economic benefits of more stringent emissions scenarios are less clear for Florida and Puerto Rico. Overall, our results indicate that the effectiveness of climate change mitigation policies may be region-specific, but that these policies could result in a net increase of nearly $10 billion in economic value from coral reef-related recreational activities alone, over the 21st century.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo B.

    2017-10-28

    Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems, where numerous closely related species often coexist. How new species arise and are maintained in these high geneflow environments have been long-standing conundrums. Hybridization and patterns of introgression between sympatric species provide a unique insight into the mechanisms of speciation and the maintenance of species boundaries. In this study, we investigate the extent of hybridization between two closely related species of coral reef fish: the common coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus) and the bar-cheek coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus). Using a complementary set of 25 microsatellite loci, we distinguish pure genotype classes from first- and later-generation hybrids, identifying 124 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 processes are acting to maintain species barriers. We elaborate on these finding to investigate the extent of genomic introgression and admixture from 2,271 SNP loci recovered from a ddRAD library of pure and hybrid individuals. An analysis of genomic clines on recovered loci indicates that 261 SNP loci deviate from a model of neutral introgression, of which 132 indicate a pattern of introgression consistent with selection favouring both hybrid and parental genotypes. Our findings indicate genome-wide, bidirectional introgression between two sympatric species of coral reef fishes and provide further support to a growing body of evidence for the role of hybridization in the evolution of coral reef fishes.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. Performance Evaluation of CRW Reef-Scale and Broad-Scale SST-Based Coral Monitoring Products in Fringing Reef Systems of Tobago

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shaazia S. Mohammed

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST is used to monitor coral bleaching through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch (CRW Decision Support System (DSS. Since 2000, a broad-scale 50 km SST was used to monitor thermal stress for coral reefs globally. However, some discrepancies were noted when applied to small-scale fringing coral reefs. To address this, CRW created a new DSS, specifically targeted at or near reef scales. Here, we evaluated the new reef-scale (5 km resolution products using in situ temperature data and coral bleaching surveys which were also compared with the heritage broad-scale (50 km for three reefs (Buccoo Reef, Culloden and Speyside of the southern Caribbean island of Tobago. Seasonal and annual biases indicated the new 5 km SST generally represents the conditions at these reefs more accurately and more consistently than the 50 km SST. Consistency between satellite and in situ temperature data influences the performance of anomaly-based predictions of bleaching: the 5 km DHW product showed better consistency with bleaching observations than the 50 km product. These results are the first to demonstrate the improvement of the 5 km products over the 50 km predecessors and support their use in monitoring thermal stress of reefs in the southern Caribbean.

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. Sediment-induced turbidity impairs foraging performance and prey choice of planktivorous coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johansen, J L; Jones, G P

    2013-09-01

    Sedimentation is a substantial threat to aquatic ecosystems and a primary cause of habitat degradation on near-shore coral reefs. Although numerous studies have demonstrated major impacts of sedimentation and turbidity on corals, virtually nothing is known of the sensitivity of reef fishes. Planktivorous fishes are an important trophic group that funnels pelagic energy sources into reef ecosystems. These fishes are visual predators whose foraging is likely to be impaired by turbidity, but the threshold for such effects and their magnitude are unknown. This study examined the effect of sediment-induced turbidity on foraging in four species of planktivorous damselfishes (Pomacentridae) of the Great Barrier Reef, including inshore and offshore species that potentially differ in tolerance for turbidity. An experimental flow tunnel was used to quantify their ability to catch mobile and immobile planktonic prey under different levels of turbidity and velocity in the range encountered on natural and disturbed reefs. Turbidity of just 4 NTU (nephelometric turbidity units) reduced average attack success by up to 56%, with higher effect sizes for species with offshore distributions. Only the inshore species (Neopomacentrus bankieri), which frequently encounters this turbidity on coastal reefs, could maintain high prey capture success. At elevated turbidity similar to that found on disturbed reefs (8 NTU), attack success was reduced in all species examined by up to 69%. These reductions in attack success led to a 21-24% decrease in foraging rates for all mid to outer-shelf species, in spite of increasing attack rates at high turbidity. Although effects of turbidity varied among species, it always depended heavily on prey mobility and ambient velocity. Attack success was up to 14 times lower on mobile prey, leaving species relatively incapable of foraging on anything but immobile prey at high turbidity. Effects of turbidity were particularly prominent at higher velocities, as

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  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. A review of Computational Intelligence techniques in coral reef-related applications

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Salcedo-Sanz, S.; Cuadra, L.; Vermeij, M.J.A.

    Studies on coral reefs increasingly combine aspects of science and technology to understand the complex dynamics and processes that shape these benthic ecosystems. Recently, the use of advanced computational algorithms has entered coral reef science as new powerful tools that help solve complex

  4. 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

  5. Human activity selectively impacts the ecosystem roles of parrotfishes on coral reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bellwood, David R.

    2011-11-16

    Around the globe, coral reefs and other marine ecosystems are increasingly overfished. Conventionally, studies of fishing impacts have focused on the population size and dynamics of targeted stocks rather than the broader ecosystem-wide effects of harvesting. Using parrotfishes as an example, we show how coral reef fish populations respond to escalating fishing pressure across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Based on these fish abundance data, we infer the potential impact on four key functional roles performed by parrotfishes. Rates of bioerosion and coral predation are highly sensitive to human activity, whereas grazing and sediment removal are resilient to fishing. Our results offer new insights into the vulnerability and resilience of coral reefs to the ever-growing human footprint. The depletion of fishes causes differential decline of key ecosystem functions, radically changing the dynamics of coral reefs and setting the stage for future ecological surprises. © 2011 The Royal Society.

  6. Human activity selectively impacts the ecosystem roles of parrotfishes on coral reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bellwood, David R.; Hoey, Andrew; Hughes, Terence P.

    2011-01-01

    Around the globe, coral reefs and other marine ecosystems are increasingly overfished. Conventionally, studies of fishing impacts have focused on the population size and dynamics of targeted stocks rather than the broader ecosystem-wide effects of harvesting. Using parrotfishes as an example, we show how coral reef fish populations respond to escalating fishing pressure across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Based on these fish abundance data, we infer the potential impact on four key functional roles performed by parrotfishes. Rates of bioerosion and coral predation are highly sensitive to human activity, whereas grazing and sediment removal are resilient to fishing. Our results offer new insights into the vulnerability and resilience of coral reefs to the ever-growing human footprint. The depletion of fishes causes differential decline of key ecosystem functions, radically changing the dynamics of coral reefs and setting the stage for future ecological surprises. © 2011 The Royal Society.

  7. Baseline assessments for coral reef community structure and demographics on West Maui

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vargas-Angel, Bernardo; White, Darla; Storlazzi, Curt; Callender, Tova; Maurin, Paulo

    2017-01-01

    The coastal and upslope terrains of West Maui have had a long history of impacts owing to more than a century of human activities. Resource extraction, agriculture, as well as residential and resort development have caused land-based pollution that impairs water quality and adversely impact the adjacent marine ecosystem. Today, West Maui’s coral reefs are chronically impacted by the effects of land-based pollution, mainly sedimentation and nutrients, with documented losses of 30 – 75% in coral cover over the last 20 years. Nonetheless, despite their current status and levels of environmental impact, these coral reef communities represent a key local resource and a counterpoint to the overall low coral reef development levels both island- and state-wide. This is of high relevance because the occurrence of coral-rich assemblages and accreted reef complexes statewide is sparse. Only limited segments along the coastlines of Maui, Hawai‘i, Lana‘i, Moloka‘i, and Kaho‘olawe, harbor mature, fringing coral reefs; and unfortunately, many of them are seriously threatened by terrestrial runoff. This report describes the results of baseline assessment surveys of coral reef benthic structure, coral community demographics, and coral condition. These surveys are intended to provide benchmarks for continued monitoring efforts and provide a gauge for comparing and evaluating the effectiveness of management actions to reduce land-based sources of pollution in priority watersheds on West Maui. Within this context, 12 permanent, long-term monitoring sites were strategically established adjacent to the 7 primary stream drainages (Wahikuli, Honokōwai, Mahinahina, Kahana/Ka‘opala, Honokeana, Honokahua, and Honolua) within the five priority watersheds (Wahikuli, Honokōwai, Kahana, Honokahua, and Honolua). Herein, benthic cover and composition, coral demographics, and coral condition of the monitoring sites are described and contrasted in the “Benthic Characterization

  8. Revisiting the Cassandra syndrome; the changing climate of coral reef research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maynard, J. A.; Baird, A. H.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2008-12-01

    Climate change will be with us for decades, even with significant reductions in emissions. Therefore, predictions made with respect to climate change impacts on coral reefs need to be highly defensible to ensure credibility over the timeframes this issue demands. If not, a Cassandra syndrome could be created whereby future more well-supported predictions of the fate of reefs are neither heard nor acted upon. Herein, popularising predictions based on essentially untested assumptions regarding reefs and their capacity to cope with future climate change is questioned. Some of these assumptions include that: all corals live close to their thermal limits, corals cannot adapt/acclimatize to rapid rates of change, physiological trade-offs resulting from ocean acidification will lead to reduced fecundity, and that climate-induced coral loss leads to widespread fisheries collapse. We argue that, while there is a place for popularising worst-case scenarios, the coral reef crisis has been effectively communicated and, though this communication should be sustained, efforts should now focus on addressing critical knowledge gaps.

  9. Community metabolism in shallow coral reef and seagrass ecosystems, lower Florida Keys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turk, Daniela; Yates, Kimberly K.; Vega-Rodriguez, Maria; Toro-Farmer, Gerardo; L'Esperance, Chris; Melo, Nelson; Ramsewak, Deanesch; Estrada, S. Cerdeira; Muller-Karger, Frank E.; Herwitz, Stan R.; McGillis, Wade

    2016-01-01

    Diurnal variation of net community production (NEP) and net community calcification (NEC) were measured in coral reef and seagrass biomes during October 2012 in the lower Florida Keys using a mesocosm enclosure and the oxygen gradient flux technique. Seagrass and coral reef sites showed diurnal variations of NEP and NEC, with positive values at near-seafloor light levels >100–300 µEinstein m-2 s-1. During daylight hours, we detected an average NEP of 12.3 and 8.6 mmol O2 m-2 h-1 at the seagrass and coral reef site, respectively. At night, NEP at the seagrass site was relatively constant, while on the coral reef, net respiration was highest immediately after dusk and decreased during the rest of the night. At the seagrass site, NEC values ranged from 0.20 g CaCO3 m-2 h-1 during daylight to -0.15 g CaCO3 m-2 h-1 at night, and from 0.17 to -0.10 g CaCO3 m-2 h-1 at the coral reef site. There were no significant differences in pH and aragonite saturation states (Ωar) between the seagrass and coral reef sites. Decrease in light levels during thunderstorms significantly decreased NEP, transforming the system from net autotrophic to net heterotrophic.

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. Lithifying Microbes Associated to Coral Rubbles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beltran, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Microbial communities taking part in calcium carbonate lithification processes are particularly relevant to coral reef formation in as much as this lithification allows the stabilization of secondary reef structure. This second framework promotes long-term permanence of the reef, favoring the establishment of macro-reef builders, including corals. The reef-bacterial crusts formed by microbial communities are composed of magnesium calcite. Although prokaryotes are not proper calcifiers, carbonate precipitation can be induced by their metabolic activity and EPS production. Coral reefs are rapidly declining due to several variables associated to environmental change. Specifically in the Caribbean, stony coral Acropora palmata have suffered damage due to diseases, bleaching and storms. Some reports show that in highly disturbed areas wide ridges of reef rubbles are formed by biological and physical lithification. In this study we explore microbial diversity associated to lithified rubbles left after the great decline of reef-building A. palmata.

  13. Coral reef structural complexity provides important coastal protection from waves under rising sea levels

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, Daniel L.; Rovere, Alessio; Casella, Elisa; Power, Hannah; Canavesio, Remy; Collin, Antoine; Pomeroy, Andrew; Webster, Jody M.; Parravicini, Valeriano

    2018-01-01

    Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems that support millions of people worldwide by providing coastal protection from waves. Climate change and human impacts are leading to degraded coral reefs and to rising sea levels, posing concerns for the protection of tropical coastal regions in the near future. We use a wave dissipation model calibrated with empirical wave data to calculate the future increase of back-reef wave height. We show that, in the near future, the structural complexity of coral reefs is more important than sea-level rise in determining the coastal protection provided by coral reefs from average waves. We also show that a significant increase in average wave heights could occur at present sea level if there is sustained degradation of benthic structural complexity. Our results highlight that maintaining the structural complexity of coral reefs is key to ensure coastal protection on tropical coastlines in the future. PMID:29503866

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Suzuki, Atsushi; Kawahata, Hodaka

    2003-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  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. 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...

  18. 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 ...

  19. Effects of ocean acidification and sea-level rise on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yates, K.K.; Moyer, R.P.

    2010-01-01

    U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists are developing comprehensive records of historical and modern coral reef growth and calcification rates relative to changing seawater chemistry resulting from increasing atmospheric CO2 from the pre-industrial period to the present. These records will provide the scientific foundation for predicting future impacts of ocean acidification and sea-level rise on coral reef growth. Changes in coral growth rates in response to past changes in seawater pH are being examined by using cores from coral colonies.

  20. 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.

  1. Biological and remote sensing perspectives of pigmentation in coral reef organisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hedley, John D; Mumby, Peter J

    2002-01-01

    Coral reef communities face unprecedented pressures on local, regional and global scales as a consequence of climate change and anthropogenic disturbance. Optical remote sensing, from satellites or aircraft, is possibly the only means of measuring the effects of such stresses at appropriately large spatial scales (many thousands of square kilometres). To map key variables such as coral community structure, percentages of living coral or percentages of dead coral, a remote sensing instrument must be able to distinguish the reflectance spectra (i.e. "spectral signature", reflected light as a function of wavelength) of each category. For biotic classes, reflectance is a complex function of pigmentation, structure and morphology. Studies of coral "colour" fall into two disparate but potentially complementary types. Firstly, biological studies tend to investigate the structure and significance of pigmentation in reef organisms. These studies often lack details that would be useful from a remote sensing perspective such as intraspecific variation in pigment concentration or the contribution of fluorescence to reflectance. Secondly, remote sensing studies take empirical measurements of spectra and seek wavelengths that discriminate benthic categories. Benthic categories used in remote sensing sometimes consist of species groupings that are biologically or spectrally inappropriate (e.g. merging of algal phyla with distinct pigments). Here, we attempt to bridge the gap between biological and remote sensing perspectives of pigmentation in reef taxa. The aim is to assess the extent to which spectral discrimination can be given a biological foundation, to reduce the ad hoc nature of discriminatory criteria, and to understand the fundamental (biological) limitations in the spectral separability of biotic classes. Sources of pigmentation in reef biota are reviewed together with remote sensing studies where spectral discrimination has been effectively demonstrated between benthic

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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...

  5. Climate change, global warming and coral reefs: modelling the effects of temperature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crabbe, M James C

    2008-10-01

    Climate change and global warming have severe consequences for the survival of scleractinian (reef-building) corals and their associated ecosystems. This review summarizes recent literature on the influence of temperature on coral growth, coral bleaching, and modelling the effects of high temperature on corals. Satellite-based sea surface temperature (SST) and coral bleaching information available on the internet is an important tool in monitoring and modelling coral responses to temperature. Within the narrow temperature range for coral growth, corals can respond to rate of temperature change as well as to temperature per se. We need to continue to develop models of how non-steady-state processes such as global warming and climate change will affect coral reefs.

  6. Coral reef degradation is not correlated with local human population density

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruno, John F.; Valdivia, Abel

    2016-07-01

    The global decline of reef-building corals is understood to be due to a combination of local and global stressors. However, many reef scientists assume that local factors predominate and that isolated reefs, far from human activities, are generally healthier and more resilient. Here we show that coral reef degradation is not correlated with human population density. This suggests that local factors such as fishing and pollution are having minimal effects or that their impacts are masked by global drivers such as ocean warming. Our results also suggest that the effects of local and global stressors are antagonistic, rather than synergistic as widely assumed. These findings indicate that local management alone cannot restore coral populations or increase the resilience of reefs to large-scale impacts. They also highlight the truly global reach of anthropogenic warming and the immediate need for drastic and sustained cuts in carbon emissions.

  7. Transplantation of storm-generated coral fragments to enhance Caribbean coral reefs: A successful method but not a solution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Virginia H. Garrison

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available In response to dramatic losses of reef-building corals and ongoing lack of recovery, a small-scale coral transplant project was initiated in the Caribbean (U.S. Virgin Islands in 1999 and was followed for 12 years. The primary objectives were to (1 identify a source of coral colonies for transplantation that would not result in damage to reefs, (2 test the feasibility of transplanting storm-generated coral fragments, and (3 develop a simple, inexpensive method for transplanting fragments that could be conducted by the local community. The ultimate goal was to enhance abundance of threatened reef-building species on local reefs. Storm-produced coral fragments of two threatened reef-building species [Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis (Acroporidae] and another fast-growing species [Porites porites (Poritidae] were collected from environments hostile to coral fragment survival and transplanted to degraded reefs. Inert nylon cable ties were used to attach transplanted coral fragments to dead coral substrate. Survival of 75 reference colonies and 60 transplants was assessed over 12 years. Only 9% of colonies were alive after 12 years: no A. cervicornis; 3% of A. palmata transplants and 18% of reference colonies; and 13% of P. porites transplants and 7% of reference colonies. Mortality rates for all species were high and were similar for transplant and reference colonies. Physical dislodgement resulted in the loss of 56% of colonies, whereas 35% died in place. Only A. palmata showed a difference between transplant and reference colony survival and that was in the first year only. Location was a factor in survival only for A. palmata reference colonies and after year 10. Even though the tested methods and concepts were proven effective in the field over the 12-year study, they do not present a solution. No coral conservation strategy will be effective until underlying intrinsic and/or extrinsic factors driving high mortality rates are understood and

  8. 77 FR 48504 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Economic Value of Puerto Rico's Coral Reef...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-08-14