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Sample records for high coral cover

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Low coral cover in a high-CO2 world

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2005-09-01

    Coral reefs generally exist within a relatively narrow band of temperatures, light, and seawater aragonite saturation states. The growth of coral reefs is minimal or nonexistent outside this envelope. Climate change, through its effect on ocean temperature, has already had an impact on the world's coral reefs, with almost 30% of corals having disappeared since the beginning of the 1980s. Abnormally warm temperatures cause corals to bleach (lose their brown dinoflagellate symbionts) and, if elevated for long enough, to die. Increasing atmospheric CO2 is also potentially affecting coral reefs by lowering the aragonite saturation state of seawater, making carbonate ions less available for calcification. The synergistic interaction of elevated temperature and CO2 is likely to produce major changes to coral reefs over the next few decades and centuries. Known tolerances of corals to projected changes to sea temperatures indicate that corals are unlikely to remain abundant on reefs and could be rare by the middle of this century if the atmospheric CO2 concentration doubles or triples. The combination of changes to sea temperature and carbonate ion availability could trigger large-scale changes in the biodiversity and function of coral reefs. The ramifications of these changes for the hundred of millions of coral reef-dependent people and industries living in a high-CO2 world have yet to be properly defined. The weight of evidence suggests, however, that projected changes will cause major shifts in the prospects for industries and societies that depend on having healthy coral reefs along their coastlines.

  5. Indirect benefits of high coral cover for non-corallivorous butterflyfishes

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2014-12-23

    Extensive coral loss often leads to pronounced declines in the abundance of fishes, which are not necessarily limited to those fishes that are directly reliant on live coral for food or shelter. This study explored changes in the abundance of two non-corallivorous butterflyfish, Chaetadon auriga and Chaetodon vagabundus, during declines in coral cover at Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef, caused by localised outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS). At North Reef, where COTS caused significant coral depletion, the abundance of C. auriga declined from 1995–1996 to 1997–1999, whereas abundance was unchanged at Washing Machine Reef, which was relatively unaffected by COTS. Abundance of C. vagabundus did not vary through the course of this study at either site. To better understand inter-specific differences in the responses of non-corallivorous butterflyfishes, feeding rates of C. auriga and C. vagabundus were quantified across sites with varying coral cover. Feeding rates of C. auriga were significantly and positively correlated with live coral cover. In contrast, feeding rates of C. vagabundus did not differ among sites with varying levels of live coral cover. This study shows that C. auriga is negatively affected by localised coral depletion, possibly because its prey is more abundant in coral-rich habitats. C. vagabundus, meanwhile, is generally unaffected by changes in coral cover. This study stresses the need for more detailed research in light of current and predicted declines in coral cover to elucidate specific differences in the dietary composition of C. auriga versus C. vagabundus, and the extent to which their prey is actually reliant on live coral.

  6. Coexistence of low coral cover and high fish biomass at Farquhar Atoll, Seychelles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friedlander, Alan M; Obura, David; Aumeeruddy, Riaz; Ballesteros, Enric; Church, Julie; Cebrian, Emma; Sala, Enric

    2014-01-01

    We report a reef ecosystem where corals may have lost their role as major reef engineering species but fish biomass and assemblage structure is comparable to unfished reefs elsewhere around the world. This scenario is based on an extensive assessment of the coral reefs of Farquhar Atoll, the most southern of the Seychelles Islands. Coral cover and overall benthic community condition at Farquhar was poor, likely due to a combination of limited habitat, localized upwelling, past coral bleaching, and cyclones. Farquhar Atoll harbors a relatively intact reef fish assemblage with very large biomass (3.2 t ha(-1)) reflecting natural ecological processes that are not influenced by fishing or other local anthropogenic factors. The most striking feature of the reef fish assemblage is the dominance by large groupers, snappers, and jacks with large (>1 m) potato cod (Epinephelus tukula) and marbled grouper (E. polyphekadion), commonly observed at many locations. Napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) and bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) are listed as endangered and vulnerable, respectively, but were frequently encountered at Farquhar. The high abundance and large sizes of parrotfishes at Farquhar also appears to regulate macroalgal abundance and enhance the dominance of crustose corallines, which are a necessary condition for maintenance of healthy reef communities. Overall fish biomass and biomass of large predators at Farquhar are substantially higher than other areas within the Seychelles, and are some of the highest recorded in the Indian Ocean. Remote islands like Farquhar Atoll with low human populations and limited fishing pressure offer ideal opportunities for understanding whether reefs can be resilient from global threats if local threats are minimized.

  7. Coexistence of low coral cover and high fish biomass at Farquhar Atoll, Seychelles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alan M Friedlander

    Full Text Available We report a reef ecosystem where corals may have lost their role as major reef engineering species but fish biomass and assemblage structure is comparable to unfished reefs elsewhere around the world. This scenario is based on an extensive assessment of the coral reefs of Farquhar Atoll, the most southern of the Seychelles Islands. Coral cover and overall benthic community condition at Farquhar was poor, likely due to a combination of limited habitat, localized upwelling, past coral bleaching, and cyclones. Farquhar Atoll harbors a relatively intact reef fish assemblage with very large biomass (3.2 t ha(-1 reflecting natural ecological processes that are not influenced by fishing or other local anthropogenic factors. The most striking feature of the reef fish assemblage is the dominance by large groupers, snappers, and jacks with large (>1 m potato cod (Epinephelus tukula and marbled grouper (E. polyphekadion, commonly observed at many locations. Napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus and bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum are listed as endangered and vulnerable, respectively, but were frequently encountered at Farquhar. The high abundance and large sizes of parrotfishes at Farquhar also appears to regulate macroalgal abundance and enhance the dominance of crustose corallines, which are a necessary condition for maintenance of healthy reef communities. Overall fish biomass and biomass of large predators at Farquhar are substantially higher than other areas within the Seychelles, and are some of the highest recorded in the Indian Ocean. Remote islands like Farquhar Atoll with low human populations and limited fishing pressure offer ideal opportunities for understanding whether reefs can be resilient from global threats if local threats are minimized.

  8. Indirect benefits of high coral cover for non-corallivorous butterflyfishes

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, Morgan S.; Blowes, Shane A.; Coker, Darren James; Kubacki, E.; Nowicki, Jessica P.; Hoey, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Extensive coral loss often leads to pronounced declines in the abundance of fishes, which are not necessarily limited to those fishes that are directly reliant on live coral for food or shelter. This study explored changes in the abundance of two

  9. 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.

  10. Thermal stress and coral cover as drivers of coral disease outbreaks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John F Bruno

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available Very little is known about how environmental changes such as increasing temperature affect disease dynamics in the ocean, especially at large spatial scales. We asked whether the frequency of warm temperature anomalies is positively related to the frequency of coral disease across 1,500 km of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. We used a new high-resolution satellite dataset of ocean temperature and 6 y of coral disease and coral cover data from annual surveys of 48 reefs to answer this question. We found a highly significant relationship between the frequencies of warm temperature anomalies and of white syndrome, an emergent disease, or potentially, a group of diseases, of Pacific reef-building corals. The effect of temperature was highly dependent on coral cover because white syndrome outbreaks followed warm years, but only on high (>50% cover reefs, suggesting an important role of host density as a threshold for outbreaks. Our results indicate that the frequency of temperature anomalies, which is predicted to increase in most tropical oceans, can increase the susceptibility of corals to disease, leading to outbreaks where corals are abundant.

  11. 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

  12. Live Coral Cover Index Testing and Application with Hyperspectral Airborne Image Data

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    Karen E. Joyce

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are complex, heterogeneous environments where it is common for the features of interest to be smaller than the spatial dimensions of imaging sensors. While the coverage of live coral at any point in time is a critical environmental management issue, image pixels may represent mixed proportions of coverage. In order to address this, we describe the development, application, and testing of a spectral index for mapping live coral cover using CASI-2 airborne hyperspectral high spatial resolution imagery of Heron Reef, Australia. Field surveys were conducted in areas of varying depth to quantify live coral cover. Image statistics were extracted from co-registered imagery in the form of reflectance, derivatives, and band ratios. Each of the spectral transforms was assessed for their correlation with live coral cover, determining that the second derivative around 564 nm was the most sensitive to live coral cover variations(r2 = 0.63. Extensive field survey was used to transform relative to absolute coral cover, which was then applied to produce a live coral cover map of Heron Reef. We present the live coral cover index as a simple and viable means to estimate the amount of live coral over potentially thousands of km2 and in clear-water reefs.

  13. Spectral classifying base on color of live corals and dead corals covered with algae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nurdin, Nurjannah; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Barille, Laurent; Akbar, A. S. M.; Sawayama, Shuhei; Fitrah, Muh. Nur; Prasyad, Hermansyah

    2016-05-01

    Pigments in the host tissues of corals can make a significant contribution to their spectral signature and can affect their apparent color as perceived by a human observer. The aim of this study is classifying the spectral reflectance of corals base on different color. It is expected that they can be used as references in discriminating between live corals, dead coral covered with algae Spectral reflectance data was collected in three small islands, Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia by using a hyperspectral radiometer underwater. First and second derivative analysis resolved the wavelength locations of dominant features contributing to reflectance in corals and support the distinct differences in spectra among colour existed. Spectral derivative analysis was used to determine the specific wavelength regions ideal for remote identification of substrate type. The analysis results shown that yellow, green, brown and violet live corals are spectrally separable from each other, but they are similar with dead coral covered with algae spectral.

  14. Net Community Metabolism and Seawater Carbonate Chemistry Scale Non-intuitively with Coral Cover

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heather N. Page

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Coral cover and reef health have been declining globally as reefs face local and global stressors including higher temperature and ocean acidification (OA. Ocean warming and acidification will alter rates of benthic reef metabolism (i.e., primary production, respiration, calcification, and CaCO3 dissolution, but our understanding of community and ecosystem level responses is limited in terms of functional, spatial, and temporal scales. Furthermore, dramatic changes in coral cover and benthic metabolism could alter seawater carbonate chemistry on coral reefs, locally alleviating or exacerbating OA. This study examines how benthic metabolic rates scale with changing coral cover (0–100%, and the subsequent influence of these coral communities on seawater carbonate chemistry based on mesocosm experiments in Bermuda and Hawaii. In Bermuda, no significant differences in benthic metabolism or seawater carbonate chemistry were observed for low (40% and high (80% coral cover due to large variability within treatments. In contrast, significant differences were detected between treatments in Hawaii with benthic metabolic rates increasing with increasing coral cover. Observed increases in daily net community calcification and nighttime net respiration scaled proportionally with coral cover. This was not true for daytime net community organic carbon production rates, which increased the most between 0 and 20% coral cover and then less so between 20 and 100%. Consequently, diel variability in seawater carbonate chemistry increased with increasing coral cover, but absolute values of pH, Ωa, and pCO2 were not significantly different during daytime. To place the results of the mesocosm experiments into a broader context, in situ seawater carbon dioxide (CO2 at three reef sites in Bermuda and Hawaii were also evaluated; reefs with higher coral cover experienced a greater range of diel CO2 levels, complementing the mesocosm results. The results from this study

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stimson, John

    2018-03-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. A 350 Year Cloud Cover Reconstruction Deduced from Caribbean Coral Proxies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winter, Amos; Sammarco, Paul; Mikolajewicz, Uwe; Jury, Mark; Zanchettin, Davide

    2015-04-01

    Clouds are a major factor contributing to climate change with respect to a variety of effects on the earth's climates, primarily radiative effects, amelioration of heating, and regional changes in precipitation patterns. There have been very few studies of decadal and longer term changes in cloud cover in the tropics and sub-tropics, both over land and the ocean. In the tropics, there is great uncertainty regarding how global warming will affect cloud cover. Observational satellite data is so short that it is difficult to discern any temporal trends. The skeletons of scleractinian corals are considered to contain among the best records of high-resolution (sub-annual) environmental variability in the tropical and sub-tropical oceans. Corals generally live in well-mixed coastal regions and can often record environmental conditions of large areas of the upper ocean. This is particularly the case at low latitudes. Scleractinian corals are sessile, epibenthic fauna, and the type of environmental information recorded at the location where the coral has been living is dependent upon the species of coral considered and proxy index of interest. Zooxanthellate hermatypic corals in tropical and sub-tropical seas precipitate CaCO3 skeletons as they grow. This growth is made possible through the manufacture of CaCO3 crystals, facilitated by the zooxanthellae. During the process of crystallization, the holobiont binds carbon of different isotopes into the crystals. Stable carbon isotope concentrations vary with a variety of environmental conditions. In the Caribbean, δ13C in corals of the species Montastraea faveolata can be used as a proxy for changes in cloud cover. In this contribution, we will demonstrate that the stable isotope 13C varies concomitantly with cloud cover and present a new reconstruction of cloud cover over the Caribbean Sea that extends back to the year 1760. We will show that there is good agreement between the main features of our coral proxy record of

  19. Regional decline of coral cover in the Indo-Pacific: timing, extent, and subregional comparisons.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John F Bruno

    2007-08-01

    Full Text Available A number of factors have recently caused mass coral mortality events in all of the world's tropical oceans. However, little is known about the timing, rate or spatial variability of the loss of reef-building corals, especially in the Indo-Pacific, which contains 75% of the world's coral reefs.We compiled and analyzed a coral cover database of 6001 quantitative surveys of 2667 Indo-Pacific coral reefs performed between 1968 and 2004. Surveys conducted during 2003 indicated that coral cover averaged only 22.1% (95% CI: 20.7, 23.4 and just 7 of 390 reefs surveyed that year had coral cover >60%. Estimated yearly coral cover loss based on annually pooled survey data was approximately 1% over the last twenty years and 2% between 1997 and 2003 (or 3,168 km(2 per year. The annual loss based on repeated measures regression analysis of a subset of reefs that were monitored for multiple years from 1997 to 2004 was 0.72 % (n = 476 reefs, 95% CI: 0.36, 1.08.The rate and extent of coral loss in the Indo-Pacific are greater than expected. Coral cover was also surprisingly uniform among subregions and declined decades earlier than previously assumed, even on some of the Pacific's most intensely managed reefs. These results have significant implications for policy makers and resource managers as they search for successful models to reverse coral loss.

  20. The percentage of coral reef cover in Saonek Kecil Island, Raja Ampat, West Papua

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiguna, D. A.; Masithah, E. D.; Manan, A.

    2018-04-01

    Raja Ampat archipelago is located in the heart of the world’s coral triangle which is the center of the richest tropical marine biodiversity in the world. The Saonek Kecil Island has a location close to the Waisai Harbour (±2 km of sea routes). The Island that has no inhabitants and has a location close to harbour activities potentially damage coral reefs. This research was conducted by Line Intercept Transect (LIT) method that calculate the length of each colony form of growth (life form) of coral reefs on the line transect which stretched along the 50 metres parallel to the coastline at each station to obtain the percentage cover data, diversity index, uniformity index, and dominance index. The results of research precentage cover of coral reeef in the waters of Small Saonek Island reach 68.80% – 79.30% by category according to the decision of the Minister of State for the Environment number 4 of 2001 about the damage the reefs criteria included in the category of good – very good. As for the value of diversity index (H’) of 0.487 – 0.675 (medium-high), uniformity index (J) 0.437 – 0.606 (medium-high), and dominance index (C) 0.338 – 0.502 (medium-high).

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-15

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

  2. Influence of coral cover and structural complexity on the accuracy of visual surveys of coral-reef fish communities

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James

    2017-04-20

    Using manipulated patch reefs with combinations of varying live-coral cover (low, medium and high) and structural complexity (low and high), common community metrics (abundance, diversity, richness and community composition) collected through standard underwater visual census techniques were compared with exhaustive collections using a fish anaesthetic (clove oil). This study showed that reef condition did not influence underwater visual census estimates at a community level, but reef condition can influence the detectability of some small and cryptic species and this may be exacerbated if surveys are conducted on a larger scale.

  3. Influence of coral cover and structural complexity on the accuracy of visual surveys of coral-reef fish communities

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James; Nowicki, J. P.; Graham, N. A. J.

    2017-01-01

    Using manipulated patch reefs with combinations of varying live-coral cover (low, medium and high) and structural complexity (low and high), common community metrics (abundance, diversity, richness and community composition) collected through standard underwater visual census techniques were compared with exhaustive collections using a fish anaesthetic (clove oil). This study showed that reef condition did not influence underwater visual census estimates at a community level, but reef condition can influence the detectability of some small and cryptic species and this may be exacerbated if surveys are conducted on a larger scale.

  4. Coral Diseases Following Massive Bleaching in 2005 Cause 60 Percent Decline in Coral Cover and Mortality of the Threatened Species, Acropora Palmata, on Reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2008-01-01

    Record-high seawater temperatures and calm seas in the summer of 2005 led to the most severe coral bleaching (greater than 90 percent bleached coral cover) ever observed in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) (figs. 1 and 2). All but a few coral species bleached, including the threatened species, Acropora palmata. Bleaching was seen from the surface to depths over 20 meters.

  5. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Saipan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  6. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Sarigan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  7. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Tutuila

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  8. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Anatahan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  9. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Alamagan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  10. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Agrihan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  11. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Asuncion

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  12. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Aguijan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  13. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Pagan

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  14. Mine waste disposal leads to lower coral cover, reduced species richness and a predominance of simple coral growth forms on a fringing coral reef in Papua New Guinea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haywood, M D E; Dennis, D; Thomson, D P; Pillans, R D

    2016-04-01

    A large gold mine has been operating at the Lihir Island Group, Papua New Guinea since 1997. The mine disposes of waste rock in nearshore waters, impacting nearby coral communities. During 2010, 2012 we conducted photographic surveys at 73 sites within 40 km of the mine to document impacts of mining operations on the hard coral communities. Coral communities close to the mine (∼2 km to the north and south of the mine) were depaurperate, but surprisingly, coral cover and community composition beyond this range appeared to be relatively similar, suggesting that the mine impacts were limited spatially. In particular, we found mining operations have resulted in a significant decrease in coral cover (4.4% 1.48 km from the disposal site c.f. 66.9% 10.36 km from the disposal site), decreased species richness and a predominance of less complex growth forms within ∼2 km to the north and south of the mine waste disposal site. In contrast to the two 'snapshot' surveys of corals performed in 2010 and 2012, long term data (1999-2012) based on visual estimates of coral cover suggested that impacts on coral communities may have been more extensive than this. With global pressures on the world's coral reefs increasing, it is vital that local, direct anthropogenic pressures are reduced, in order to help offset the impacts of climate change, disease and predation. Crown Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Coral disease following massive bleaching in 2005 causes 60% decline in coral cover on reefs in the US Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, J.; Muller, E.; Rogers, C.; Waara, R.; Atkinson, A.; Whelan, K.R.T.; Patterson, M.; Witcher, B.

    2009-01-01

    In the northeast Caribbean, doldrum-like conditions combined with elevated water temperatures in the summer/fall 2005 created the most severe coral bleaching event ever documented within this region. Video monitoring of 100 randomly chosen, permanent transects at five study sites in the US Virgin Islands revealed over 90% of the scleractinian coral cover showed signs of thermal stress by paling or becoming completely white. Lower water temperatures in October allowed some re-coloring of corals; however, a subsequent unprecedented regional outbreak of coral disease affected all sites. Five known diseases or syndromes were recorded; however, most lesions showed signs similar to white plague. Nineteen scleractinian species were affected by disease, with >90% of the disease-induced lesions occurring on the genus Montastraea. The disease outbreak peaked several months after the onset of bleaching at all sites but did not occur at the same time. The mean number of disease-induced lesions increased 51-fold and the mean area of disease-associated mortality increased 13-fold when compared with pre-bleaching disease levels. In the 12 months following the onset of bleaching, coral cover declined at all sites (average loss: 51.5%, range: 42.4-61.8%) reducing the five-site average from 21.4% before bleaching to 10.3% with most mortality caused by white plague disease, not bleaching. Continued losses through October 2007 reduced the average coral cover of the five sites to 8.3% (average 2-year loss: 61.1%, range: 53.0-79.3%). Mean cover by M. annularis (complex) decreased 51%, Colpophyllia natans 78% and Agaricia agaricites 87%. Isolated disease outbreaks have been documented before in the Virgin Islands, but never as widespread or devastating as the one that occurred after the 2005 Caribbean coral-bleaching event. This study provides insight into the effects of continued seawater warming and subsequent coral bleaching events in the Caribbean and highlights the need to

  16. Comparison of methods used to estimate coral cover in the Hawaiian Islands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul L. Jokiel

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Nine coral survey methods were compared at ten sites in various reef habitats with different levels of coral cover in Kāne‘ohe Bay, O’ahu, Hawaiʻi. Mean estimated coverage at the different sites ranged from less than 10% cover to greater than 90% cover. The methods evaluated include line transects, various visual and photographic belt transects, video transects and visual estimates. At each site 25 m transect lines were laid out and secured. Observers skilled in each method measured coral cover at each site. The time required to run each transect, time required to process data and time to record the results were documented. Cost of hardware and software for each method was also tabulated. Results of this investigation indicate that all of the methods used provide a good first estimate of coral cover on a reef. However, there were differences between the methods in detecting the number of coral species. For example, the classic “quadrat” method allows close examination of small and cryptic coral species that are not detected by other methods such as the “towboard” surveys. The time, effort and cost involved with each method varied widely, and the suitability of each method for answering particular research questions in various environments was evaluated. Results of this study support the finding of three other comparison method studies conducted at various geographic locations throughout the world. Thus, coral cover measured by different methods can be legitimately combined or compared in many situations. The success of a recent modeling effort based on coral cover data consisting of observations taken in Hawai‘i using the different methods supports this conclusion.

  17. Comparison of methods used to estimate coral cover in the Hawaiian Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jokiel, Paul L; Rodgers, Kuʻulei S; Brown, Eric K; Kenyon, Jean C; Aeby, Greta; Smith, William R; Farrell, Fred

    2015-01-01

    Nine coral survey methods were compared at ten sites in various reef habitats with different levels of coral cover in Kāne'ohe Bay, O'ahu, Hawai'i. Mean estimated coverage at the different sites ranged from less than 10% cover to greater than 90% cover. The methods evaluated include line transects, various visual and photographic belt transects, video transects and visual estimates. At each site 25 m transect lines were laid out and secured. Observers skilled in each method measured coral cover at each site. The time required to run each transect, time required to process data and time to record the results were documented. Cost of hardware and software for each method was also tabulated. Results of this investigation indicate that all of the methods used provide a good first estimate of coral cover on a reef. However, there were differences between the methods in detecting the number of coral species. For example, the classic "quadrat" method allows close examination of small and cryptic coral species that are not detected by other methods such as the "towboard" surveys. The time, effort and cost involved with each method varied widely, and the suitability of each method for answering particular research questions in various environments was evaluated. Results of this study support the finding of three other comparison method studies conducted at various geographic locations throughout the world. Thus, coral cover measured by different methods can be legitimately combined or compared in many situations. The success of a recent modeling effort based on coral cover data consisting of observations taken in Hawai'i using the different methods supports this conclusion.

  18. Stochastic spatio-temporal model of coral cover as a function of herbivorous grazers, water quality, and coral demographics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neuhausler, R.; Robinson, M.; Bruna, M.

    2017-12-01

    Over the last 60 years we have seen an increased amount of ecological regime shifts in tropical coastal zones, from coral reefs to macroalgae dominated states, as a result of natural and anthropogenic stresses. However, these shifts are not always immediate- macroalgae are generally present in coral reefs, with their distribution regulated by herbivorous fish. This is especially true in Moorea, French Polynesia, where macroalgae are shown to flourish in spaces that provide refuge from roaming herbivores. While there are currently modeling efforts in projecting ecological regime shifts in Moorea, temporal deterministic models have been utilized, which fail to capture metastability between multiple steady states and can have issues when dealing with very small populations. To address these concerns, we build on these models to account for spatial variations and individual organisms, as well as stochasticity. Our model can project the percent cover of coral, macroalgae, and algae turf as a function of herbivorous grazers, water quality, and coral demographics. Grazers, included as individual fish (particles), evolve according to a kinetic model and interact with neighbouring benthic assemblages, represented as nodes. Water quality and coral demographics are input parameters that can vary over time, allowing our model to be run for temporally changing scenarios and to be adjusted for different reefs. We plan to engage with previous Moorea Reef Resilience Models through a comparative analysis of our models' outcomes and existing Moorea data. Coupling projective models with available data is useful for informing environmental policy and advancing the modeling field.

  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. High Latitude Corals Tolerate Severe Cold Spell

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chenae A. Tuckett

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Climatically extreme weather events often drive long-term ecological responses of ecosystems. By disrupting the important symbiosis with zooxanthellae, Marine Cold Spells (MCS can cause bleaching and mortality in tropical and subtropical scleractinian corals. Here we report on the effects of a severe MCS on high latitude corals, where we expected to find bleaching and mortality. The MCS took place off the coast of Perth (32°S, Western Australia in 2016. Bleaching was assessed before (2014 and after (2017 the MCS from surveys of permanent plots, and with timed bleaching searches. Temperature data was recorded with in situ loggers. During the MCS temperatures dipped to the coldest recorded in ten years (15.3°C and periods of <17°C lasted for up to 19 days. Only 4.3% of the surveyed coral colonies showed signs of bleaching. Bleaching was observed in 8 species where those most affected were Plesiastrea versipora and Montipora mollis. These findings suggest that high latitude corals in this area are tolerant of cold stress and are not persisting near a lethal temperature minimum. It has not been established whether other environmental conditions are limiting these species, and if so, what the implications are for coral performance on these reefs in a warmer future.

  1. Scleractinian Coral Cover Maps Derived from Classified in situ Seafloor Imagery for Select U.S. Locations in the Pacific from 2001 to 2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Coral cover maps depict percentage of scleractinian (hard) coral cover along survey tracks, overlain on existing bathymetric grids and/or satellite images, for...

  2. High-resolution modeling of thermal thresholds and environmental influences on coral bleaching for local and regional reef management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumagai, Naoki H; Yamano, Hiroya

    2018-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the world's most threatened ecosystems, with global and local stressors contributing to their decline. Excessive sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) can cause coral bleaching, resulting in coral death and decreases in coral cover. A SST threshold of 1 °C over the climatological maximum is widely used to predict coral bleaching. In this study, we refined thermal indices predicting coral bleaching at high-spatial resolution (1 km) by statistically optimizing thermal thresholds, as well as considering other environmental influences on bleaching such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation, water turbidity, and cooling effects. We used a coral bleaching dataset derived from the web-based monitoring system Sango Map Project, at scales appropriate for the local and regional conservation of Japanese coral reefs. We recorded coral bleaching events in the years 2004-2016 in Japan. We revealed the influence of multiple factors on the ability to predict coral bleaching, including selection of thermal indices, statistical optimization of thermal thresholds, quantification of multiple environmental influences, and use of multiple modeling methods (generalized linear models and random forests). After optimization, differences in predictive ability among thermal indices were negligible. Thermal index, UV radiation, water turbidity, and cooling effects were important predictors of the occurrence of coral bleaching. Predictions based on the best model revealed that coral reefs in Japan have experienced recent and widespread bleaching. A practical method to reduce bleaching frequency by screening UV radiation was also demonstrated in this paper.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-08

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

  4. 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

  5. Spectral response of the coral rubble, living corals, and dead corals: study case on the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nurdin, Nurjannah; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Yamano, Hiroya; Arafat, Gulam; Rani, Chair; Akbar AS, M.

    2012-10-01

    Coral reefs play important ecological services such as providing foods, biodiversity, nutrient recycling etc. for human society. On the other hand, they are threatened by human impacts such as illegal fishing and environmental changes such as rises of sea water temperature and sea level due to global warming. Thus, it is very important to monitor dynamic spatial distributions of coral reefs and related habitats such as coral rubble, dead coral, bleached corals, seagrass, etc. Hyperspectral data, in particular, offer high potential for characterizing and mapping coral reefs because of their capability to identify individual reef components based on their detailed spectral response. We studied the optical properties by measuring in situ spectra of living corals, dead coral and coral rubble covered with algae. Study site was selected in Spermonde archipelago, South Sulawesi, Indonesia because this area is included in the highest diversity of corals in the world named as Coral Triangle, which is recognized as the global centre of marine biodiversity and a global priority for conservation. Correlation analysis and cluster analysis support that there are distinct differences in reflectance spectra among categories. Common spectral characteristic of living corals, dead corals and coral rubble covered with algae was a reflectance minimum at 674 nm. Healthy corals, dead coral covered with algae and coral rubble covered with algae showed high similarity of spectral reflectance. It is estimated that this is due to photsynthetic pigments.

  6. 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.

  7. Turning up the heat: increasing temperature and coral bleaching at the high latitude coral reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdo, David A; Bellchambers, Lynda M; Evans, Scott N

    2012-01-01

    Coral reefs face increasing pressures particularly when on the edge of their distributions. The Houtman Abrolhos Islands (Abrolhos) are the southernmost coral reef system in the Indian Ocean, and one of the highest latitude reefs in the world. These reefs have a unique mix of tropical and temperate marine fauna and flora and support 184 species of coral, dominated by Acropora species. A significant La Niña event during 2011 produced anomalous conditions of increased temperature along the whole Western Australian coastline, producing the first-recorded widespread bleaching of corals at the Abrolhos. We examined long term trends in the marine climate at the Abrolhos using historical sea surface temperature data (HadISST data set) from 1900-2011. In addition in situ water temperature data for the Abrolhos (from data loggers installed in 2008, across four island groups) were used to determine temperature exposure profiles. Coupled with the results of coral cover surveys conducted annually since 2007; we calculated bleaching thresholds for monitoring sites across the four Abrolhos groups. In situ temperature data revealed maximum daily water temperatures reached 29.54°C in March 2011 which is 4.2°C above mean maximum daily temperatures (2008-2010). The level of bleaching varied across sites with an average of ∼12% of corals bleached. Mortality was high, with a mean ∼50% following the 2011 bleaching event. Prior to 2011, summer temperatures reached a mean (across all monitoring sites) of 25.1°C for 2.5 days. However, in 2011 temperatures reached a mean of 28.1°C for 3.3 days. Longer term trends (1900-2011) showed mean annual sea surface temperatures increase by 0.01°C per annum. Long-term temperature data along with short-term peaks in 2011, outline the potential for corals to be exposed to more frequent bleaching risk with consequences for this high latitude coral reef system at the edge of its distribution.

  8. Monitoring Coral Health to Determine Coral Bleaching Response at High Latitude Eastern Australian Reefs: An Applied Model for A Changing Climate

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew G. Carroll

    2011-09-01

    seaboard are highly susceptible to thermal stress; which, in turn, could lead to a future decline in total live coral cover if predicted rising seawater temperatures lead to more frequent coral bleaching events in future.

  9. Long-term dynamics of a high-latitude coral reef community at Sodwana Bay, South Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Porter, S. N.; Schleyer, M. H.

    2017-06-01

    Dynamics in reef cover, mortality and recruitment success of a high-latitude coral community in South Africa were studied over 20 yr with the aim to detect the effects of climate change. Coral communities at this locality are the southernmost on the African continent, non-accretive, attain high biodiversity and are dominated by soft corals. Long-term monitoring within fixed transects on representative reef was initiated in 1993 and has entailed annual photo-quadrat surveys and hourly temperature logging. Although sea temperatures rose by 0.15 °C p.a. at the site up to 2000, they have subsequently been decreasing, and the overall trend based on monthly means has been a significant decrease of 0.03 °C p.a. Despite this, minor bleaching was encountered in the region during the 1998 El Niño-Southern Oscillation event, again in the summer of 2000/2001 and in 2005. A significant decreasing trend of 0.95% p.a. in soft coral cover has been evident throughout the monitoring period, attributable to significant decreases in Sinularia and Lobophytum spp. cover. In contrast, hard coral cover gradually and significantly increased up to 2005, this being largely attributable to increases in cover by Acropora spp. Recruitment success and mortality of both soft and hard corals has displayed high inter-annual variability with increasing but non-significant trends in the last 5 yr. The reduction in soft coral cover has been more consistent and greater than that of hard corals, but it is difficult at this stage to attribute this to changes in water quality, acidification-linked accretion or temperature.

  10. A new, high-resolution global mass coral bleaching database.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simon D Donner

    Full Text Available Episodes of mass coral bleaching have been reported in recent decades and have raised concerns about the future of coral reefs on a warming planet. Despite the efforts to enhance and coordinate coral reef monitoring within and across countries, our knowledge of the geographic extent of mass coral bleaching over the past few decades is incomplete. Existing databases, like ReefBase, are limited by the voluntary nature of contributions, geographical biases in data collection, and the variations in the spatial scale of bleaching reports. In this study, we have developed the first-ever gridded, global-scale historical coral bleaching database. First, we conducted a targeted search for bleaching reports not included in ReefBase by personally contacting scientists and divers conducting monitoring in under-reported locations and by extracting data from the literature. This search increased the number of observed bleaching reports by 79%, from 4146 to 7429. Second, we employed spatial interpolation techniques to develop annual 0.04° × 0.04° latitude-longitude global maps of the probability that bleaching occurred for 1985 through 2010. Initial results indicate that the area of coral reefs with a more likely than not (>50% or likely (>66% probability of bleaching was eight times higher in the second half of the assessed time period, after the 1997/1998 El Niño. The results also indicate that annual maximum Degree Heating Weeks, a measure of thermal stress, for coral reefs with a high probability of bleaching increased over time. The database will help the scientific community more accurately assess the change in the frequency of mass coral bleaching events, validate methods of predicting mass coral bleaching, and test whether coral reefs are adjusting to rising ocean temperatures.

  11. A new, high-resolution global mass coral bleaching database.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donner, Simon D; Rickbeil, Gregory J M; Heron, Scott F

    2017-01-01

    Episodes of mass coral bleaching have been reported in recent decades and have raised concerns about the future of coral reefs on a warming planet. Despite the efforts to enhance and coordinate coral reef monitoring within and across countries, our knowledge of the geographic extent of mass coral bleaching over the past few decades is incomplete. Existing databases, like ReefBase, are limited by the voluntary nature of contributions, geographical biases in data collection, and the variations in the spatial scale of bleaching reports. In this study, we have developed the first-ever gridded, global-scale historical coral bleaching database. First, we conducted a targeted search for bleaching reports not included in ReefBase by personally contacting scientists and divers conducting monitoring in under-reported locations and by extracting data from the literature. This search increased the number of observed bleaching reports by 79%, from 4146 to 7429. Second, we employed spatial interpolation techniques to develop annual 0.04° × 0.04° latitude-longitude global maps of the probability that bleaching occurred for 1985 through 2010. Initial results indicate that the area of coral reefs with a more likely than not (>50%) or likely (>66%) probability of bleaching was eight times higher in the second half of the assessed time period, after the 1997/1998 El Niño. The results also indicate that annual maximum Degree Heating Weeks, a measure of thermal stress, for coral reefs with a high probability of bleaching increased over time. The database will help the scientific community more accurately assess the change in the frequency of mass coral bleaching events, validate methods of predicting mass coral bleaching, and test whether coral reefs are adjusting to rising ocean temperatures.

  12. High salinity conveys thermotolerance in the coral model Aiptasia

    KAUST Repository

    Gegner, Hagen M.

    2017-12-15

    The endosymbiosis between dinoflagellate algae of the genus Symbiodinium and stony corals provides the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Coral bleaching, the expulsion of endosymbionts from the coral host tissue as a consequence of heat or light stress, poses a threat to reef ecosystem functioning on a global scale. Hence, a better understanding of the factors contributing to heat stress susceptibility and tolerance is needed. In this regard, some of the most thermotolerant corals also live in particularly saline habitats, but possible effects of high salinity on thermotolerance in corals are anecdotal. Here we test the hypothesis that high salinity may lead to increased thermotolerance. We conducted a heat stress experiment at low, intermediate, and high salinities using a set of host-endosymbiont combinations of the coral model Aiptasia. As expected, all host-endosymbiont combinations showed reduced photosynthetic efficiency and endosymbiont loss during heat stress, but the severity of bleaching was significantly reduced with increasing salinities for one of the host-endosymbiont combinations. Our results show that higher salinities can convey increased thermotolerance in Aiptasia, although this effect seems to be dependent on the particular host strain and/or associated symbiont type. This finding may help explain the extraordinarily high thermotolerance of corals in high salinity environments such as the Red Sea and the Persian/Arabian Gulf and provides novel insight regarding factors that contribute to thermotolerance. Since our results are based on a salinity effect in symbiotic sea anemones, it remains to be determined whether this salinity effect can also be observed in stony corals.

  13. High salinity conveys thermotolerance in the coral model Aiptasia

    KAUST Repository

    Gegner, Hagen M.; Ziegler, Maren; Radecker, Nils; Buitrago Lopez, Carol; Aranda, Manuel; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    The endosymbiosis between dinoflagellate algae of the genus Symbiodinium and stony corals provides the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. Coral bleaching, the expulsion of endosymbionts from the coral host tissue as a consequence of heat or light stress, poses a threat to reef ecosystem functioning on a global scale. Hence, a better understanding of the factors contributing to heat stress susceptibility and tolerance is needed. In this regard, some of the most thermotolerant corals also live in particularly saline habitats, but possible effects of high salinity on thermotolerance in corals are anecdotal. Here we test the hypothesis that high salinity may lead to increased thermotolerance. We conducted a heat stress experiment at low, intermediate, and high salinities using a set of host-endosymbiont combinations of the coral model Aiptasia. As expected, all host-endosymbiont combinations showed reduced photosynthetic efficiency and endosymbiont loss during heat stress, but the severity of bleaching was significantly reduced with increasing salinities for one of the host-endosymbiont combinations. Our results show that higher salinities can convey increased thermotolerance in Aiptasia, although this effect seems to be dependent on the particular host strain and/or associated symbiont type. This finding may help explain the extraordinarily high thermotolerance of corals in high salinity environments such as the Red Sea and the Persian/Arabian Gulf and provides novel insight regarding factors that contribute to thermotolerance. Since our results are based on a salinity effect in symbiotic sea anemones, it remains to be determined whether this salinity effect can also be observed in stony corals.

  14. Potential reversal of a phase shift: the rapid decrease in the cover of the invasive green macroalga Dictyosphaeria cavernosa Forsskål on coral reefs in Kāne`ohe Bay, Oahu, Hawai`i

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stimson, J.; Conklin, E.

    2008-12-01

    The native green macroalga Dictyosphaeria cavernosa dominated most of the reef slope habitat in Kāne‘ohe Bay, Hawai‘i for 40 years prior to 2006 and had displaced corals from the habitats they created. This has been one of the most oft-cited examples of a phase shift occurring on a coral reef. After decades of relatively constant, high abundance of the alga, percent cover declined dramatically throughout the bay between February and June 2006. The sudden decrease in cover of this alga appears to be the result of an unusually protracted cloudy, rainy period in March 2006, which may have reduced irradiance and caused the alga to lose weight. Corals and red macroalgae living at the same depths and in some of the same habitats were apparently not affected by this 42-day period of rain and overcast skies. Competition between corals and D. cavernosa for space on reef slopes has been virtually eliminated by the death of this alga, but the unstable rubble formations, which remain in much of the area formerly covered by D. cavernosa may not be conducive to rapid increase in cover by the remaining corals or to establishment by coral recruits. Two years later, there was still no recovery of D. cavernosa. This represents a rare example of decline in macroalgal dominance on a reef and a partial reversal, possibly only temporary, of a phase shift.

  15. Variable responses of benthic communities to anomalously warm sea temperatures on a high-latitude coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bridge, Tom C L; Ferrari, Renata; Bryson, Mitch; Hovey, Renae; Figueira, Will F; Williams, Stefan B; Pizarro, Oscar; Harborne, Alastair R; Byrne, Maria

    2014-01-01

    High-latitude reefs support unique ecological communities occurring at the biogeographic boundaries between tropical and temperate marine ecosystems. Due to their lower ambient temperatures, they are regarded as potential refugia for tropical species shifting poleward due to rising sea temperatures. However, acute warming events can cause rapid shifts in the composition of high-latitude reef communities, including range contractions of temperate macroalgae and bleaching-induced mortality in corals. While bleaching has been reported on numerous high-latitude reefs, post-bleaching trajectories of benthic communities are poorly described. Consequently, the longer-term effects of thermal anomalies on high-latitude reefs are difficult to predict. Here, we use an autonomous underwater vehicle to conduct repeated surveys of three 625 m(2) plots on a coral-dominated high-latitude reef in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, over a four-year period spanning a large-magnitude thermal anomaly. Quantification of benthic communities revealed high coral cover (>70%, comprising three main morphospecies) prior to the bleaching event. Plating Montipora was most susceptible to bleaching, but in the plot where it was most abundant, coral cover did not change significantly because of post-bleaching increases in branching Acropora. In the other two plots, coral cover decreased while macroalgal cover increased markedly. Overall, coral cover declined from 73% to 59% over the course of the study, while macroalgal cover increased from 11% to 24%. The significant differences in impacts and post-bleaching trajectories among plots underline the importance of understanding the underlying causes of such variation to improve predictions of how climate change will affect reefs, especially at high-latitudes.

  16. Variable responses of benthic communities to anomalously warm sea temperatures on a high-latitude coral reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom C L Bridge

    Full Text Available High-latitude reefs support unique ecological communities occurring at the biogeographic boundaries between tropical and temperate marine ecosystems. Due to their lower ambient temperatures, they are regarded as potential refugia for tropical species shifting poleward due to rising sea temperatures. However, acute warming events can cause rapid shifts in the composition of high-latitude reef communities, including range contractions of temperate macroalgae and bleaching-induced mortality in corals. While bleaching has been reported on numerous high-latitude reefs, post-bleaching trajectories of benthic communities are poorly described. Consequently, the longer-term effects of thermal anomalies on high-latitude reefs are difficult to predict. Here, we use an autonomous underwater vehicle to conduct repeated surveys of three 625 m(2 plots on a coral-dominated high-latitude reef in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, over a four-year period spanning a large-magnitude thermal anomaly. Quantification of benthic communities revealed high coral cover (>70%, comprising three main morphospecies prior to the bleaching event. Plating Montipora was most susceptible to bleaching, but in the plot where it was most abundant, coral cover did not change significantly because of post-bleaching increases in branching Acropora. In the other two plots, coral cover decreased while macroalgal cover increased markedly. Overall, coral cover declined from 73% to 59% over the course of the study, while macroalgal cover increased from 11% to 24%. The significant differences in impacts and post-bleaching trajectories among plots underline the importance of understanding the underlying causes of such variation to improve predictions of how climate change will affect reefs, especially at high-latitudes.

  17. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Kauai, 2005

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  18. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Niihau, 2005

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  19. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Raita Bank, 2001

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  20. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Kure Atoll, 2002-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  1. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Stingray Shoals

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  2. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Ofu & Olosega

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  3. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Laysan Island, 2002-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  4. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Eleven-Mile Bank

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  5. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Palmyra Atoll, 2002-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  6. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Lisianski Island, 2001-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  7. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Ta'u

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  8. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Gardner Pinnacles, 2003

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  9. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Pearl and Hermes Atoll, 2002-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  10. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Molokai, 2005

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  11. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Guam, 2003

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  12. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Baker Island, 2002-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  13. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at French Frigate Shoals

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  14. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Maro Reef, 2001-2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry.

  15. Monitoring Coral Health to Determine Coral Bleaching Response at High Latitude Eastern Australian Reefs: An Applied Model for A Changing Climate

    OpenAIRE

    Dalton, Steven J.; Carroll, Andrew G.

    2011-01-01

    Limited information is available on the bleaching susceptibility of coral species that dominate high latitude reefs along the eastern seaboard of Australia. The main aims of this study were to: (i) monitor coral health and spatial patterns of coral bleaching response at the Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP) and Lord Howe Island Marine Park (LHIMP), to determine variability of bleaching susceptibility among coral taxa; (ii) predict coral bleaching thresholds at 30 °S and 31.5 °S, extrapolate...

  16. Coral reef fish biomass and benthic cover data from Timor-Leste in June 2013

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Coral reef fish and benthos were surveyed at 150 shallow-water coral reef sites across the north coast of Timor-Leste and around Atauro Island in June 2013 during a...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    SUHARYANTO

    2008-07-01

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

  18. Benthic percent cover derived from analysis of benthic images collected at coral reef sites in Timor-Leste in 2013 and 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The benthic cover data described here result from benthic photo-quadrat surveys conducted by the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP) in hard bottom shallow...

  19. Map of percent scleractinian coral cover and sand along camera tow tracks in west Hawaii

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral and sand overlaid on bathymetry and landsat imagery northwest...

  20. Survival and settlement success of coral planulae: Independent and synergistic effects of macroalgae and microbes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vermeij, M.J.A.; Smith, J.E.; Smith, C.M.; Vega Thurber, R.; Sandin, S.A.

    2009-01-01

    Restoration of degraded coral reef communities is dependent on successful recruitment and survival of new coral planulae. Degraded reefs are often characterized by high cover of fleshy algae and high microbial densities, complemented by low abundance of coral and coral recruits. Here, we

  1. Coral bleaching on high-latitude marginal reefs at Sodwana Bay, South Africa

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Celliers, Louis; Schleyer, Michael H

    2002-12-01

    Coral bleaching, involving the expulsion of symbiotic zooxanthellae from the host cells, poses a major threat to coral reefs throughout their distributional range. The role of temperature in coral bleaching has been extensively investigated and is widely accepted. A bleaching event was observed on the marginal high-latitude reefs of South Africa located at Sodwana Bay during the summer months of 2000. This was associated with increased sea temperatures with high seasonal peaks in summer and increased radiation in exceptionally clear water. The bleaching was limited to Two-mile Reef and Nine-mile Reef at Sodwana Bay and affected <12% of the total living cover on Two-mile Reef. Montipora spp., Alveopora spongiosa and Acropora spp. were bleached, as well as some Alcyoniidae (Sinularia dura, Lobophytum depressum, L. patulum). A cyclical increase in sea temperature (with a period of 5-6 years) was recorded during 1998-2000 in addition to the regional temperature increase caused by the El Nino Southern Oscillation phenomenon. The mean sea temperature increased at a rate of 0.27 deg. C year{sup -1} from May 1994 to April 2000. High maximum temperatures were measured (>29 deg. C). The lowest mean monthly and the mean maximum monthly temperatures at which coral bleaching occurred were 27.5 and 28.8 deg. C, respectively, while the duration for which high temperatures occurred in 2000 was 67 days at {>=}27.5 deg. C (4 days at {>=}28.8 deg. C). Increased water clarity and radiation appeared to be a synergistic cause in the coral bleaching encountered at Sodwana Bay.

  2. Understanding uncertainties in non-linear population trajectories: a Bayesian semi-parametric hierarchical approach to large-scale surveys of coral cover.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julie Vercelloni

    Full Text Available Recently, attempts to improve decision making in species management have focussed on uncertainties associated with modelling temporal fluctuations in populations. Reducing model uncertainty is challenging; while larger samples improve estimation of species trajectories and reduce statistical errors, they typically amplify variability in observed trajectories. In particular, traditional modelling approaches aimed at estimating population trajectories usually do not account well for nonlinearities and uncertainties associated with multi-scale observations characteristic of large spatio-temporal surveys. We present a Bayesian semi-parametric hierarchical model for simultaneously quantifying uncertainties associated with model structure and parameters, and scale-specific variability over time. We estimate uncertainty across a four-tiered spatial hierarchy of coral cover from the Great Barrier Reef. Coral variability is well described; however, our results show that, in the absence of additional model specifications, conclusions regarding coral trajectories become highly uncertain when considering multiple reefs, suggesting that management should focus more at the scale of individual reefs. The approach presented facilitates the description and estimation of population trajectories and associated uncertainties when variability cannot be attributed to specific causes and origins. We argue that our model can unlock value contained in large-scale datasets, provide guidance for understanding sources of uncertainty, and support better informed decision making.

  3. Skeletal mineralogy of coral recruits under high temperature and pCO2

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Foster

    2016-03-01

    Our results show that elevated pCO2 alone is unlikely to drive changes in the skeletal mineralogy of young corals. Not having an ability to switch from aragonite to calcite precipitation may leave corals and ultimately coral reef ecosystems more susceptible to predicted ocean acidification. An important area for prospective research would be the investigation of the combined impact of high pCO2 and reduced Mg ∕ Ca ratio on coral skeletal mineralogy.

  4. Coral bleaching, hurricane damage, and benthic cover on coral reefs in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands: A comparison of surveys with the chain transect method and videography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, C.S.; Miller, J.

    2001-01-01

    The linear chain transect method and videography were used to quantify the percent cover by corals, macroalgae, gorgonians, other living organisms, and substrate along permanent transects on two fringing reefs off St. John. Both methods were used simultaneously on Lameshur reef in November 1998, and on Newfound reef in March and October 1998. Hurricane Georges passed over St. John in September 1998, and a severe coral bleaching episode began the same month. Both methods gave remarkably similar values for coral cover, while the video method gave consistently higher values for gorgonians and macroalgae. The most dramatic difference was in the quantification of bleaching. At Newfound, the chain method indicated 13.4% (SD = 14.1) of the coral tissues were bleached and the video method, 43.4% (SD = 13.0). Corresponding values at Lameshur were 18.1% (SD = 22.3) and 46.5% (SD = 13.3). Although hurricane damage was conspicuous at Newfound reef, neither method showed significant changes in coral cover or other categories as a result of the storm.

  5. Keeping It Local: Dispersal Limitations of Coral Larvae to the High Latitude Coral Reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Markey, Kathryn L; Abdo, Dave A; Evans, Scott N; Bosserelle, Cyprien

    2016-01-01

    In 2011 the first recorded bleaching event for the high latitude Houtman Abrolhos Islands (HAI) coral communities was documented. This bleaching event highlighted the question of whether a supply of 'heat tolerant' coral recruits from the tropical north would be sufficient to provide a level of resistance for these reefs to future warming events. Using Lagrangian modelling we showed that due to its regional isolation, large-scale larval input from potential tropical northern source populations to the HAI is unlikely, despite the southward flowing Leeuwin current. Successful recruitment to artificial substrates was recorded following the bleaching event. However, this was negligible (0.4 ± 0.1 recruits per tile) compared to 2013 post impact recruitment (128.8 ± 15.8 recruits per tile). Our data therefore provides preliminary evidence suggesting that the connectivity of the HAI with coral communities in the north is limited, and population maintenance and recovery is likely driven primarily by self-recruitment. Given the low thermal tolerance of the HAI coral communities, the dominance of Acropora, and the apparent reliance on self-recruitment, an increased frequency of thermally anomalous conditions at the HAI (such as experienced in 2011) has the potential to reduce the long-term stability of the HAI coral populations and species that depend upon them.

  6. Keeping It Local: Dispersal Limitations of Coral Larvae to the High Latitude Coral Reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn L Markey

    Full Text Available In 2011 the first recorded bleaching event for the high latitude Houtman Abrolhos Islands (HAI coral communities was documented. This bleaching event highlighted the question of whether a supply of 'heat tolerant' coral recruits from the tropical north would be sufficient to provide a level of resistance for these reefs to future warming events. Using Lagrangian modelling we showed that due to its regional isolation, large-scale larval input from potential tropical northern source populations to the HAI is unlikely, despite the southward flowing Leeuwin current. Successful recruitment to artificial substrates was recorded following the bleaching event. However, this was negligible (0.4 ± 0.1 recruits per tile compared to 2013 post impact recruitment (128.8 ± 15.8 recruits per tile. Our data therefore provides preliminary evidence suggesting that the connectivity of the HAI with coral communities in the north is limited, and population maintenance and recovery is likely driven primarily by self-recruitment. Given the low thermal tolerance of the HAI coral communities, the dominance of Acropora, and the apparent reliance on self-recruitment, an increased frequency of thermally anomalous conditions at the HAI (such as experienced in 2011 has the potential to reduce the long-term stability of the HAI coral populations and species that depend upon them.

  7. 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

  8. Local endemicity and high diversity characterise high-latitude coral- Symbiodinium partnerships

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wicks, L. C.; Sampayo, E.; Gardner, J. P. A.; Davy, S. K.

    2010-12-01

    Obligate symbiotic dinoflagellates ( Symbiodinium) residing within the tissues of most reef invertebrates are important in determining the tolerance range of their host. Coral communities living at high latitudes experience wide fluctuations in environmental conditions and thus provide an ideal system to gain insights into the range within which the symbiotic relationship can be sustained. Further, understanding whether and how symbiont communities associated with high-latitude coral reefs are different from their tropical counterparts will provide clues to the potential of corals to cope with marginal or changing conditions. However, little is known of the host and symbiont partnerships at high latitudes. Symbiodinium diversity and specificity of high-latitude coral communities were explored using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) analysis of the internal transcribed spacer regions (ITS1 and ITS2) of the ribosomal DNA at Lord Howe Island (31°S; Australia), and the Kermadec Islands (29°S; New Zealand). All but one host associated with clade C Symbiodinium, the exception being a soft coral ( Capnella sp.) that contained Symbiodinium B1. Besides ‘host-generalist’ Symbiodinium types C1 and C3, approximately 72% of the Symbiodinium identified were novel C types, and zonation of symbionts in relation to environmental parameters such as depth and turbidity was evident in certain host species. The high-latitude Symbiodinium communities showed little overlap and relatively high diversity compared with communities sampled on the tropical Great Barrier Reef. Although host specificity was maintained in certain species, others shared symbionts and this potential reduction of fidelity at high-latitude locations may be the result of locally challenging and highly variable environmental conditions.

  9. Coral reef fish biomass and benthic cover data from Timor-Leste in June 2013 (NCEI Accession 0165354)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Coral reef fish and benthos were surveyed at 150 shallow-water coral reef sites across the north coast of Timor-Leste and around Atauro Island in June 2013 during a...

  10. Coral energy reserves and calcification in a high-CO2 world at two temperatures.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Verena Schoepf

    Full Text Available Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations threaten coral reefs globally by causing ocean acidification (OA and warming. Yet, the combined effects of elevated pCO2 and temperature on coral physiology and resilience remain poorly understood. While coral calcification and energy reserves are important health indicators, no studies to date have measured energy reserve pools (i.e., lipid, protein, and carbohydrate together with calcification under OA conditions under different temperature scenarios. Four coral species, Acropora millepora, Montipora monasteriata, Pocillopora damicornis, Turbinaria reniformis, were reared under a total of six conditions for 3.5 weeks, representing three pCO2 levels (382, 607, 741 µatm, and two temperature regimes (26.5, 29.0 °C within each pCO2 level. After one month under experimental conditions, only A. millepora decreased calcification (-53% in response to seawater pCO2 expected by the end of this century, whereas the other three species maintained calcification rates even when both pCO2 and temperature were elevated. Coral energy reserves showed mixed responses to elevated pCO2 and temperature, and were either unaffected or displayed nonlinear responses with both the lowest and highest concentrations often observed at the mid-pCO2 level of 607 µatm. Biweekly feeding may have helped corals maintain calcification rates and energy reserves under these conditions. Temperature often modulated the response of many aspects of coral physiology to OA, and both mitigated and worsened pCO2 effects. This demonstrates for the first time that coral energy reserves are generally not metabolized to sustain calcification under OA, which has important implications for coral health and bleaching resilience in a high-CO2 world. Overall, these findings suggest that some corals could be more resistant to simultaneously warming and acidifying oceans than previously expected.

  11. Skeletal mineralogy of coral recruits under high temperature and pCO2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, T.; Clode, P. L.

    2016-03-01

    Aragonite, which is the polymorph of CaCO3 precipitated by modern corals during skeletal formation, has a higher solubility than the more stable polymorph calcite. This higher solubility may leave animals that produce aragonitic skeletons more vulnerable to anthropogenic ocean acidification. It is therefore important to determine whether scleractinian corals have the plasticity to adapt and produce calcite in their skeletons in response to changing environmental conditions. Both high pCO2 and lower Mg / Ca ratios in seawater are thought to have driven changes in the skeletal mineralogy of major marine calcifiers in the past ˜ 540 Ma. Experimentally reduced Mg / Ca ratios in ambient seawater have been shown to induce some calcite precipitation in both adult and newly settled modern corals; however, the impact of high pCO2 on the mineralogy of recruits is unknown. Here we determined the skeletal mineralogy of 1-month-old Acropora spicifera coral recruits grown under high temperature (+3 °C) and pCO2 (˜ 900 µatm) conditions, using X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. We found that newly settled coral recruits produced entirely aragonitic skeletons regardless of the treatment. Our results show that elevated pCO2 alone is unlikely to drive changes in the skeletal mineralogy of young corals. Not having an ability to switch from aragonite to calcite precipitation may leave corals and ultimately coral reef ecosystems more susceptible to predicted ocean acidification. An important area for prospective research would be the investigation of the combined impact of high pCO2 and reduced Mg / Ca ratio on coral skeletal mineralogy.

  12. 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.

  13. Benthic cover derived from analysis of benthic images collected at coral reef sites in Batangas, Philippines from 2015-05-23 to 2015-06-03 (NCEI Accession 0162828)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The benthic cover data described here result from benthic photo-quadrat surveys conducted by the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP) in 2015 along transects at...

  14. Guam Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program Benthic Percent Cover Derived from Image Analysis since 2010

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  15. Map of percent scleractinian coral cover along camera tows and ROV tracks in the Auau Channel, Island of Maui, Hawaii

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry and landsat imagery. Optical data were...

  16. Map of percent scleractinian coral cover and sand along camera tows and ROV tracks of West Maui, Hawaii

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral and sand overlaid on bathymetry and landsat imagery. Optical...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  18. 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...

  19. The cumulative impacts of repeated heavy rainfall, flooding and altered water quality on the high-latitude coral reefs of Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Butler, I R; Sommer, B; Zann, M; Zhao, J-X; Pandolfi, J M

    2015-07-15

    Terrestrial runoff and flooding have resulted in major impacts on coral communities worldwide, but we lack detailed understanding of flood plume conditions and their ecological effects. Over the course of repeated flooding between 2010 and 2013, we measured coral cover and water quality on the high-latitude coral reefs of Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. In 2013, salinity, total suspended solids, total nitrogen and total phosphorus were altered for up to six months post-flooding. Submarine groundwater caused hypo-saline conditions for a further four months. Despite the greater magnitude of flooding in 2013, declines in coral abundance (∼28%) from these floods were lower than the 2011 flood (∼40%), which occurred immediately after a decade of severe drought. There was an overall cumulative decrease of coral by ∼56% from 2010 to 2013. Our study highlights the need for local scale monitoring and research to facilitate informed management and conservation of catchments and marine environments. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. The northernmost coral frontier of the Maldives: The coral reefs of Ihavandippolu Atoll under long-term environmental change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tkachenko, Konstantin S

    2012-12-01

    Ihavandippolu, the northernmost atoll of the Maldives, experienced severe coral bleaching and mortality in 1998 followed by several bleaching episodes in the last decade. Coral cover in the 11 study sites surveyed in July-December of 2011 in the 3-5 m depth range varied from 1.7 to 51%. Reefs of the islands located in the center of Ihavandippolu lagoon have exhibited a very low coral recovery since 1998 and remain mostly degraded 12 years after the impact. At the same time, some reefs, especially in the inner part of the eastern ring of the atoll, demonstrate a high coral cover (>40%) with a dominance of branching Acropora that is known to be one of the coral genera that is most susceptible to thermal stress. The last severe bleaching event in 2010 resulted in high coral mortality in some sites of the atoll. Differences in coral mortality rates and proportion between "susceptible" and "resistant" taxa in study sites are apparently related to long-term adaptation and local hydrological features that can mitigate thermal impacts. Abundant herbivorous fish observed in the atoll prevent coral overgrowth by macroalgae even on degraded reefs. Despite the frequent influence of temperature anomalies and having less geomorphologic refuges for coral survivals than other larger Maldivian atolls, a major part of observed coral communities in Ihavandippolu Atoll exhibits high resilience and potential for further acclimatization to a changing environment. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Coral bleaching on high-latitude marginal reefs at Sodwana Bay, South Africa

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Celliers, Louis; Schleyer, Michael H.

    2002-01-01

    Coral bleaching, involving the expulsion of symbiotic zooxanthellae from the host cells, poses a major threat to coral reefs throughout their distributional range. The role of temperature in coral bleaching has been extensively investigated and is widely accepted. A bleaching event was observed on the marginal high-latitude reefs of South Africa located at Sodwana Bay during the summer months of 2000. This was associated with increased sea temperatures with high seasonal peaks in summer and increased radiation in exceptionally clear water. The bleaching was limited to Two-mile Reef and Nine-mile Reef at Sodwana Bay and affected -1 from May 1994 to April 2000. High maximum temperatures were measured (>29 deg. C). The lowest mean monthly and the mean maximum monthly temperatures at which coral bleaching occurred were 27.5 and 28.8 deg. C, respectively, while the duration for which high temperatures occurred in 2000 was 67 days at ≥27.5 deg. C (4 days at ≥28.8 deg. C). Increased water clarity and radiation appeared to be a synergistic cause in the coral bleaching encountered at Sodwana Bay

  2. High natural gene expression variation in the reef-building coral Acropora millepora: potential for acclimative and adaptive plasticity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Granados-Cifuentes, Camila; Bellantuono, Anthony J; Ridgway, Tyrone; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Rodriguez-Lanetty, Mauricio

    2013-04-08

    Ecosystems worldwide are suffering the consequences of anthropogenic impact. The diverse ecosystem of coral reefs, for example, are globally threatened by increases in sea surface temperatures due to global warming. Studies to date have focused on determining genetic diversity, the sequence variability of genes in a species, as a proxy to estimate and predict the potential adaptive response of coral populations to environmental changes linked to climate changes. However, the examination of natural gene expression variation has received less attention. This variation has been implicated as an important factor in evolutionary processes, upon which natural selection can act. We acclimatized coral nubbins from six colonies of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora to a common garden in Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef, GBR) for a period of four weeks to remove any site-specific environmental effects on the physiology of the coral nubbins. By using a cDNA microarray platform, we detected a high level of gene expression variation, with 17% (488) of the unigenes differentially expressed across coral nubbins of the six colonies (jsFDR-corrected, p natural variation between reef corals when assessing experimental gene expression differences. The high transcriptional variation detected in this study is interpreted and discussed within the context of adaptive potential and phenotypic plasticity of reef corals. Whether this variation will allow coral reefs to survive to current challenges remains unknown.

  3. High amino acid diversity and positive selection at a putative coral immunity gene (tachylectin-2

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hellberg Michael E

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Genes involved in immune functions, including pathogen recognition and the activation of innate defense pathways, are among the most genetically variable known, and the proteins that they encode are often characterized by high rates of amino acid substitutions, a hallmark of positive selection. The high levels of variation characteristic of immunity genes make them useful tools for conservation genetics. To date, highly variable immunity genes have yet to be found in corals, keystone organisms of the world's most diverse marine ecosystem, the coral reef. Here, we examine variation in and selection on a putative innate immunity gene from Oculina, a coral genus previously used as a model for studies of coral disease and bleaching. Results In a survey of 244 Oculina alleles, we find high nonsynonymous variation and a signature of positive selection, consistent with a putative role in immunity. Using computational protein structure prediction, we generate a structural model of the Oculina protein that closely matches the known structure of tachylectin-2 from the Japanese horseshoe crab (Tachypleus tridentatus, a protein with demonstrated function in microbial recognition and agglutination. We also demonstrate that at least three other genera of anthozoan cnidarians (Acropora, Montastrea and Nematostella possess proteins structurally similar to tachylectin-2. Conclusions Taken together, the evidence of high amino acid diversity, positive selection and structural correspondence to the horseshoe crab tachylectin-2 suggests that this protein is 1 part of Oculina's innate immunity repertoire, and 2 evolving adaptively, possibly under selective pressure from coral-associated microorganisms. Tachylectin-2 may serve as a candidate locus to screen coral populations for their capacity to respond adaptively to future environmental change.

  4. High Acidification Rate of Norwegian Sea Revealed by Boron Isotopes in the Deep-Sea Coral Madrepora Oculata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonzalez, C.; Douville, E.; Hall-Spencer, J.; Montagna, P.; Louvat, P.; Gaillardet, J.; Frank, N.; Bordier, L.; Juillet-Leclerc, A.

    2012-12-01

    Ocean acidification and global warming due to the increase of anthropogenic CO2 are major threats for marine calcifying organisms, such as deep-sea corals, particularly in high-latitude regions. In order to evaluate the current anthropogenic perturbation and to properly assess the impacts and responses of calcifiers to previous changes in pH it is critical to investigate past changes of the seawater carbonate system. Unfortunately, current instrumental records of oceanic pH are limited, covering only a few decades. Scleractinian coral skeletons record chemical parameters of the seawater in which they grow. However, pH variability over multidecadal timescales remains largely unknown in intermediate and deep seawater masses. Here we present a study that highlights the potential of deep-sea-corals to overcome the lack of long-term pH records and that emphasizes a rapid acidification of high latitude subsurface waters of Norwegian Sea during the past decades. We have reconstructed seawater pH and temperature from a well dated deep-sea coral specimen Madrepora oculata collected alive from Røst reef in Norwegian Sea (67°N, 9°E, 340 m depth). This large branching framework forming coral species grew its skeleton over more than four decades determined using AMS 14C and 210Pb dating (Sabatier et al. 2012). B-isotopes and Li/Mg ratios yield an acidification rate of about -0.0030±0.0008 pH-unit.year-1 and a warming of 0.3°C during the past four decades (1967-2007). Overall our reconstruction technique agrees well with previous pH calculations (Hönisch et al., 2007 vs. Trotter et al., 2011 and McCulloch et al., 2012, i.e. the iterative method), but additional corrections are here applied using stable isotope correlations (O, C, B) to properly address kinetic fractionation of boron isotopes used for pH reconstruction. The resulting pH curve strongly anti-correlates with the annual NAO index, which further strengthens our evidence for the ocean acidification rate

  5. Elevated temperatures and bleaching on a high latitude coral reef: the 1988 Bermuda event

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Clayton B.; Logan, Alan; Ward, Jack; Luckhurst, Brian; Berg, Carl J.

    1990-03-01

    Sea temperatures were normal in Bermuda during 1987, when Bermuda escaped the episodes of coral bleaching which were prevalent throughout the Caribbean region. Survey transecs in 1988 on 4 6 m reefs located on the rim margin and on a lagoonal patch reef revealed bleaching only of zoanthids between May and July. Transect and tow surveys in August and September revealed bleaching of several coral species; Millepora alcicornis on rim reefs was the most extensively affected. The frequency of bleaching in this species, Montastrea annularis and perhaps Diploria labyrinthiformis was significantly higher on outer reefs than on inshore reefs. This bleaching period coincided with the longest period of elevated sea temperatures in Bermuda in 38 years (28.9 30.9°C inshore, >28° offshore). By December, when temperatures had returned to normal, bleaching of seleractinians continued, but bleaching of M. alcicornis on the outer reefs was greatly reduced. Our observations suggest that corals which normally experience wide temperature ranges are less sensitive to thermal stress, and that high-latitude reef corals are sensitive to elevated temperatures which are within the normal thermal range of corals at lower latitudes.

  6. Does body type really matter? Relating climate change, coral morphology and resiliency

    Science.gov (United States)

    Camp, M.; Shein, K. A.; Foster, K.; Hendee, J. C.

    2016-02-01

    Average sea temperatures in many tropical regions are rising approximately 1-2˚C per century, and are thought to be a major driver of increased frequency of coral bleaching. However, certain coral morphologies appear to be more resilient to changes in the environment, particularly to sea temperature variations resulting from global climate change. Although branching corals (e.g., Acropora cervicornis, A. palmata) are highly susceptible to coral bleaching, this morphology is commonly used in coral restoration efforts because of its fast growth rate. Massive corals show higher resistance and resilience to elevated temperature events than branching species, but are less common in coral nurseries. The objective of this study was to compare coral resilience among morphology types in Little Cayman, a remote tropical island with <200 inhabitants where it is possible to decouple environmental and anthropogenic stressors. Three morphological groups (branching, intermediary and massive) were surveyed at 17 sites to estimate the percent cover of each group. Temperature profiles were observed at six moorings around the island, allowing for direct comparison between sea surface temperature, sea temperature at the reef depths, and coral cover, per morphology. The relationship between coral morphological coverage and temperature variation at depth was assessed in the context of geographic variation around the island. Understanding the relationship between coral morphology and resilience to temperature variability will enhance current coral restoration practices by identifying which morphologies have the highest chance of long-term survivorship following outplanting, concurrently optimizing cumulative reef survivorship.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. No variation and low synonymous substitution rates in coral mtDNA despite high nuclear variation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hellberg Michael E

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA of most animals evolves more rapidly than nuclear DNA, and often shows higher levels of intraspecific polymorphism and population subdivision. The mtDNA of anthozoans (corals, sea fans, and their kin, by contrast, appears to evolve slowly. Slow mtDNA evolution has been reported for several anthozoans, however this slow pace has been difficult to put in phylogenetic context without parallel surveys of nuclear variation or calibrated rates of synonymous substitution that could permit quantitative rate comparisons across taxa. Here, I survey variation in the coding region of a mitochondrial gene from a coral species (Balanophyllia elegans known to possess high levels of nuclear gene variation, and estimate synonymous rates of mtDNA substitution by comparison to another coral (Tubastrea coccinea. Results The mtDNA surveyed (630 bp of cytochrome oxidase subunit I was invariant among individuals sampled from 18 populations spanning 3000 km of the range of B. elegans, despite high levels of variation and population subdivision for allozymes over these same populations. The synonymous substitution rate between B. elegans and T. coccinea (0.05%/site/106 years is similar to that in most plants, but 50–100 times lower than rates typical for most animals. In addition, while substitutions to mtDNA in most animals exhibit a strong bias toward transitions, mtDNA from these corals does not. Conclusion Slow rates of mitochondrial nucleotide substitution result in low levels of intraspecific mtDNA variation in corals, even when nuclear loci vary. Slow mtDNA evolution appears to be the basal condition among eukaryotes. mtDNA substitution rates switch from slow to fast abruptly and unidirectionally. This switch may stem from the loss of just one or a few mitochondrion-specific DNA repair or replication genes.

  11. Multi-proxy experimental calibration in cold water corals for high resolution paleoreconstructions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pelejero, C.; Martínez-Dios, A.; Ko, S.; Sherrell, R. M.; Kozdon, R.; López-Sanz, À.; Calvo, E.

    2017-12-01

    Cold-water corals (CWCs) display an almost cosmopolitan distribution over a wide range of depths. Similar to their tropical counterparts, they can provide continuous, high-resolution records of up to a century or more. Several CWC elemental and isotopic ratios have been suggested as useful proxies, but robust calibrations under controlled conditions in aquaria are needed. Whereas a few such calibrations have been performed for tropical corals, they are still pending for CWCs. This reflects the technical challenges involved in maintaining these slow-growing animals alive during the long-term experiments required to achieve sufficient skeletal growth for geochemical analyses. We will show details of the set up and initial stages of a long-term experiment being run at the ICM (Barcelona), where live specimens (>150) of Desmophyllum dianthus sampled in Comau Fjord (Chile) are kept under controlled and manipulated physical chemistry (temperature, pH, phosphate, barium, cadmium) and feeding conditions. With this set up, we aim to calibrate experimentally several specific elemental ratios including P/Ca, Ba/Ca, Cd/Ca, B/Ca, U/Ca and Mg/Li as proxies of nutrients dynamics, pH, carbonate ion concentration and temperature. For the trace element analysis, we are analyzing coral skeletons using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), running quantitative analyses on spot sizes of tens of microns, and comparing to micromilling and solution ICP-MS. Preliminary data obtained using these techniques will be presented, as well as measurements of calcification rate. Since coral-water corals are potentially vulnerable to ocean acidification, the same experiment is being exploited to assess potential effects of the pH stressor in D. dianthus; main findings to date will be summarized.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James

    2015-11-03

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Darren J Coker

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. The role of floridoside in osmoadaptation of coral-associated algal endosymbionts to high-salinity conditions

    KAUST Repository

    Ochsenkuhn, Michael A.; Rö thig, Till; D’ Angelo, Cecilia; Wiedenmann, Jö rg; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    occur in the Persian/Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, which also represent the most saline coral habitats. We studied whether Symbiodinium alter their metabolite content in response to high-salinity environments. We found that Symbiodinium cells exposed

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heintz, T; Haapkylä, J; Gilbert, A

    2015-07-23

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

  18. Modeling regional coral reef responses to global warming and changes in ocean chemistry: Caribbean case study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buddemeier, R.W.; Lane, D.R.; Martinich, J.A.

    2011-01-01

    Climatic change threatens the future of coral reefs in the Caribbean and the important ecosystem services they provide. We used a simulation model [Combo ("COral Mortality and Bleaching Output")] to estimate future coral cover in the part of the eastern Caribbean impacted by a massive coral bleaching event in 2005. Combo calculates impacts of future climate change on coral reefs by combining impacts from long-term changes in average sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean acidification with impacts from episodic high temperature mortality (bleaching) events. We used mortality and heat dose data from the 2005 bleaching event to select historic temperature datasets, to use as a baseline for running Combo under different future climate scenarios and sets of assumptions. Results suggest a bleak future for coral reefs in the eastern Caribbean. For three different emissions scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC; B1, A1B, and A1FI), coral cover on most Caribbean reefs is projected to drop below 5% by the year 2035, if future mortality rates are equivalent to some of those observed in the 2005 event (50%). For a scenario where corals gain an additional 1-1. 5??C of heat tolerance through a shift in the algae that live in the coral tissue, coral cover above 5% is prolonged until 2065. Additional impacts such as storms or anthropogenic damage could result in declines in coral cover even faster than those projected here. These results suggest the need to identify and preserve the locations that are likely to have a higher resiliency to bleaching to save as many remnant populations of corals as possible in the face of projected wide-spread coral loss. ?? 2011 The Author(s).

  19. Trend in coral-algal phase shift in the Mandapam group of islands, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Machendiranathan, M.; Senthilnathan, L.; Ranith, R.; Saravanakumar, A.; Thangaradjou, T.; Choudhry, S. B.; Sasamal, S. K.

    2016-12-01

    The present study revealed proliferation of macro-algae modifying coral reef ecosystems in a different manner due to diseases and sedimentations in the Mandapam group of islands in the Gulf of Mannar. Benthic surveys were conducted with major attack of seven coral reefs diseases with high sedimentation rate, nine species of fleshy macro-algae ( Turbinaria ornata, Turbinaria conaides, Caulerpa scalpelliformis, Caulerpa racemosa, Kappaphycus alvarezii, Padina gymnosphora, Sargassum wightii, Ulva reticulata and Calurpa lentillifera) proliferation against major corals life forms (Acropora branching, Acropora digitate, Acropora tabulate, coral massive, coral submassive, coral foliose and coral encrusting). The results confirm that diseased corals most favor to macro-algae growth (15.27%) rather than the sedimentation covered corals (8.24 %). In the degradation of coral life forms, massive corals were more highly damaged (7.05%) than any other forms. Within a short period of time (May to September), coral coverage shrank to 17.4% from 21.9%, macro-algae increased 23.51% and the average sedimentation rate attained 77.52 mg cm-2d-1 with persisting coral reef diseases of 17.59%. The Pearson correlation showed that the coral cover decreased with increasing macro-algae growth, which was statistically significant ( r = -0.774, n = 100, P K. alvarezii, P. gymnosphora and C. lentillifera increased with percentages of 6.0, 5.8, 5.7, 4.9, 4.2, 3.7, 2.7 and 1.9, respectively. If this trend continues, the next generation of new recruit corals will undoubtedly lead to a phase shift in Gulf of Mannar corals.

  20. Southern Ocean Circulation: a High Resolution Examination of the Last Deglaciation from Deep-Sea Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, L. F.; Li, T.; Chen, T.; Burke, A.; Pegrum Haram, A.; Stewart, J.; Rae, J. W. B.; van de Flierdt, T.; Struve, T.; Wilson, D. J.

    2017-12-01

    Two decades ago it was first noted that the skeletal remains of deep-sea corals had the potential to provide absolutely dated archives of past ocean conditions. In the intervening twenty years this field has developed to the point where strategic collections and high throughput dating techniques now allow high resolution, well dated records of past deep sea behaviour to be produced. Likewise, efforts to improve understanding of biomineralisation and growth rates are leading to refinements in proxy tools useful for examining circulation, nutrient and carbon cycling, temperature and weathering processes. Deep-sea corals are particularly valuable archives in high latitude regions where radiocarbon-based age models are susceptible to large changes in surface reservoir ages. In this presentation we show new high resolution multiproxy records of the Southern Ocean (Drake Passage) made on U-Th dated corals spanning the last glacial cycle. With more than seventeen hundred reconnaissance ages, and around 200 precise isotope dilution U-Th ages, subtle changes in ocean behaviour can be identified during times of abrupt climate change. The geochemical signature of corals from the deepest sites, closest to modern day Lower Circumpolar Deep Waters, typically show a gradual shift from glacial to Holocene values during deglaciation, likely related to ventilation of the deep ocean. By contrast for the samples collected shallower in the water column (within sites currently bathed by Upper Circumpolar Deep Waters and Antarctic Intermediate and Mode Waters) the evidence points to a more complicated picture. Vertical zonation in the geochemical data suggests that periods of stratification are interspersed with mixing events within the upper 1500m of the water column. At the same time comparison to U-Th dated records from the low latitude Pacific and Atlantic points to an important role for the Southern Ocean in feeding the intermediate waters of both ocean basins throughout the

  1. In situ observations of coral bleaching in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea during the 2015/2016 global coral bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Monroe, Alison A; Ziegler, Maren; Roik, Anna; Röthig, Till; Hardenstine, Royale S; Emms, Madeleine A; Jensen, Thor; Voolstra, Christian R; Berumen, Michael L

    2018-01-01

    Coral bleaching continues to be one of the most devastating and immediate impacts of climate change on coral reef ecosystems worldwide. In 2015, a major bleaching event was declared as the "3rd global coral bleaching event" by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, impacting a large number of reefs in every major ocean. The Red Sea was no exception, and we present herein in situ observations of the status of coral reefs in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea from September 2015, following extended periods of high temperatures reaching upwards of 32.5°C in our study area. We examined eleven reefs using line-intercept transects at three different depths, including all reefs that were surveyed during a previous bleaching event in 2010. Bleaching was most prevalent on inshore reefs (55.6% ± 14.6% of live coral cover exhibited bleaching) and on shallower transects (41% ± 10.2% of live corals surveyed at 5m depth) within reefs. Similar taxonomic groups (e.g., Agariciidae) were affected in 2015 and in 2010. Most interestingly, Acropora and Porites had similar bleaching rates (~30% each) and similar relative coral cover (~7% each) across all reefs in 2015. Coral genera with the highest levels of bleaching (>60%) were also among the rarest (coral cover) in 2015. While this bodes well for the relative retention of coral cover, it may ultimately lead to decreased species richness, often considered an important component of a healthy coral reef. The resultant long-term changes in these coral reef communities remain to be seen.

  2. Coral Community Structure and Recruitment in Seagrass Meadows

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn E. Lohr

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Coral communities are increasingly found to populate non-reef habitats prone to high environmental variability. Such sites include seagrass meadows, which are generally not considered optimal habitats for corals as a result of limited suitable substrate for settlement and substantial diel and seasonal fluctuations in physicochemical conditions relative to neighboring reefs. Interest in understanding the ability of corals to persist in non-reef habitats has grown, however little baseline data exists on community structure and recruitment of scleractinian corals in seagrass meadows. To determine how corals populate seagrass meadows, we surveyed the established and recruited coral community over 25 months within seagrass meadows at Little Cayman, Cayman Islands. Simultaneous surveys of established and recruited coral communities at neighboring back-reef sites were conducted for comparison. To fully understand the amount of environmental variability to which corals in each habitat were exposed, we conducted complementary surveys of physicochemical conditions in both seagrass meadows and back-reefs. Despite overall higher variability in physicochemical conditions, particularly pH, compared to the back-reef, 14 coral taxa were capable of inhabiting seagrass meadows, and multiple coral families were also found to recruit to these sites. However, coral cover and species diversity, richness, and evenness were lower at sites within seagrass meadows compared to back-reef sites. Although questions remain regarding the processes governing recruitment, these results provide evidence that seagrass beds can serve as functional habitats for corals despite high levels of environmental variability and suboptimal conditions compared to neighboring reefs.

  3. 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.

  4. High salinity tolerance of the Red Sea coral Fungia granulosa under desalination concentrate discharge conditions: an in situ photophysiology experiment

    KAUST Repository

    Van Der Merwe, Riaan

    2014-11-10

    Seawater reverse osmosis desalination concentrate may have chronic and/or acute impacts on the marine ecosystems in the near-field area of the discharge. Environmental impact of the desalination plant discharge is supposedly site- and volumetric- specific, and also depends on the salinity tolerance of the organisms inhabiting the water column in and around a discharge environment. Scientific studies that aim to understand possible impacts of elevated salinity levels are important to assess detrimental effects to organisms, especially for species with no mechanism of osmoregulation, e.g., presumably corals. Previous studies on corals indicate sensitivity toward hypo- and hyper-saline environments with small changes in salinity already affecting coral physiology. In order to evaluate sensitivity of Red Sea corals to increased salinity levels, we conducted a long-term (29 days) in situ salinity tolerance transect study at an offshore seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) discharge on the coral Fungia granulosa. While we measured a pronounced increase in salinity and temperature at the direct outlet of the discharge structure, effects were indistinguishable from the surrounding environment at a distance of 5 m. Interestingly, corals were not affected by varying salinity levels as indicated by measurements of the photosynthetic efficiency. Similarly, cultured coral symbionts of the genus Symbiodinium displayed remarkable tolerance levels in regard to hypo- and hypersaline treatments. Our data suggest that increased salinity and temperature levels from discharge outlets wear off quickly in the surrounding environment. Furthermore, F. granulosa seem to tolerate levels of salinity that are distinctively higher than reported for other corals previously. It remains to be determined whether Red Sea corals in general display increased salinity tolerance, and whether this is related to prevailing levels of high(er) salinity in the Red Sea in comparison to other oceans.

  5. UAS applications in high alpine, snow-covered terrain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bühler, Y.; Stoffel, A.; Ginzler, C.

    2017-12-01

    Access to snow-covered, alpine terrain is often difficult and dangerous. Hence parameters such as snow depth or snow avalanche release and deposition zones are hard to map in situ with adequate spatial and temporal resolution and with spatial continuous coverage. These parameters are currently operationally measured at automated weather stations and by observer networks. However such isolated point measurements are not able to capture the information spatial continuous and to describe the high spatial variability present in complex mountain topography. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have the potential to fill this gap by frequently covering selected high alpine areas with high spatial resolution down to ground resolutions of even few millimeters. At the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF we test different photogrammetric UAS with visual and near infrared bands. During the last three years we were able to gather experience in more than 100 flight missions in extreme terrain. By processing the imagery applying state-of-the-art structure from motion (SfM) software, we were able to accurately document several avalanche events and to photogrammetrically map snow depth with accuracies from 1 to 20 cm (dependent on the flight height above ground) compare to manual snow probe measurements. This was even possible on homogenous snow surfaces with very little texture. A key issue in alpine terrain is flight planning. We need to cover regions at high elevations with large altitude differences (up to 1 km) with high wind speeds (up to 20 m/s) and cold temperatures (down to - 25°C). Only a few UAS are able to cope with these environmental conditions. We will give an overview on our applications of UAS in high alpine terrain that demonstrate the big potential of such systems to acquire frequent, accurate and high spatial resolution geodata in high alpine, snow covered terrain that could be essential to answer longstanding questions in avalanche and snow hydrology

  6. Macrobioerosion in Porites corals in subtropical northern South China Sea: a limiting factor for high-latitude reef framework development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Tianran; Li, Shu; Yu, Kefu

    2013-03-01

    Bioerosion is an important limiting factor in carbonate accretion and reef framework development; however, few studies have quantified the direct impact of macroborers on high-latitude coral communities, which are viewed as potential refuge during a period of global warming. In this study, internal macrobioerosion of Porites corals was examined at Daya Bay, subtropical northern South China Sea. The principal borers were the bivalve Lithophaga spp. and the sponges Cliona spp. and Cliothosa spp. (≥80 %), while sipunculid and polychaete worms and barnacles accounted for small amounts of bioerosion (≤20 %). Porites corals were heavily bioeroded in areas impacted by aquacultural and urban activities (10.34-27.55 %) compared with corals in relatively unpolluted areas (2.18-6.76 %). High levels of bioerosion, especially boring bivalve infestation, significantly weaken the corals and increase their susceptibility to dislodgement and fragmentation in typhoons, limiting accumulation of limestone framework. This study implies that carbonate accretion and reef development for high-latitude coral communities may be limited in future high-CO2 and eutrophication-stressed environments.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Linwood Pendleton

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

  10. Coastal protection by coral reefs: a framework for spatial assessment and economic valuation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Zanten, B.T.; van Beukering, P.J.H.; Wagtendonk, A.J.

    2014-01-01

    Coral reefs are highly productive ecosystems that provide various valuable ecosystem services. The worldwide decline in coral cover and the expected increase of hurricane frequencies and sea level rise have raised the attention to one ecosystem service in particular. This is the coastal protection

  11. The role of floridoside in osmoadaptation of coral-associated algal endosymbionts to high-salinity conditions

    KAUST Repository

    Ochsenkuhn, Michael A.

    2017-08-17

    The endosymbiosis between Symbiodinium dinoflagellates and stony corals provides the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. The survival of these ecosystems is under threat at a global scale, and better knowledge is needed to conceive strategies for mitigating future reef loss. Environmental disturbance imposing temperature, salinity, and nutrient stress can lead to the loss of the Symbiodinium partner, causing so-called coral bleaching. Some of the most thermotolerant coral-Symbiodinium associations occur in the Persian/Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, which also represent the most saline coral habitats. We studied whether Symbiodinium alter their metabolite content in response to high-salinity environments. We found that Symbiodinium cells exposed to high salinity produced high levels of the osmolyte 2-O-glycerol-α-d-galactopyranoside (floridoside), both in vitro and in their coral host animals, thereby increasing their capacity and, putatively, the capacity of the holobiont to cope with the effects of osmotic stress in extreme environments. Given that floridoside has been previously shown to also act as an antioxidant, this osmolyte may serve a dual function: first, to serve as a compatible organic osmolyte accumulated by Symbiodinium in response to elevated salinities and, second, to counter reactive oxygen species produced as a consequence of potential salinity and heat stress.

  12. Biogeography and change among regional coral communities across the Western Indian Ocean.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Timothy R McClanahan

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are biodiverse ecosystems structured by abiotic and biotic factors operating across many spatial scales. Regional-scale interactions between climate change, biogeography and fisheries management remain poorly understood. Here, we evaluated large-scale patterns of coral communities in the western Indian Ocean after a major coral bleaching event in 1998. We surveyed 291 coral reef sites in 11 countries and over 30° of latitude between 2004 and 2011 to evaluate variations in coral communities post 1998 across gradients in latitude, mainland-island geography and fisheries management. We used linear mixed-effect hierarchical models to assess total coral cover, the abundance of four major coral families (acroporids, faviids, pocilloporids and poritiids, coral genus richness and diversity, and the bleaching susceptibility of the coral communities. We found strong latitudinal and geographic gradients in coral community structure and composition that supports the presence of a high coral cover and diversity area that harbours temperature-sensitive taxa in the northern Mozambique Channel between Tanzania, northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar. Coral communities in the more northern latitudes of Kenya, Seychelles and the Maldives were generally composed of fewer bleaching-tolerant coral taxa and with reduced richness and diversity. There was also evidence for continued declines in the abundance of temperature-sensitive taxa and community change after 2004. While there are limitations of our regional dataset in terms of spatial and temporal replication, these patterns suggest that large-scale interactions between biogeographic factors and strong temperature anomalies influence coral communities while smaller-scale factors, such as the effect of fisheries closures, were weak. The northern Mozambique Channel, while not immune to temperature disturbances, shows continued signs of resistance to climate disturbances and remains a priority for

  13. Gene expression in the scleractinian Acropora microphthalma exposed to high solar irradiance reveals elements of photoprotection and coral bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Starcevic, Antonio; Dunlap, Walter C; Cullum, John; Shick, J Malcolm; Hranueli, Daslav; Long, Paul F

    2010-11-12

    The success of tropical reef-building corals depends on the metabolic co-operation between the animal host and the photosynthetic performance of endosymbiotic algae residing within its cells. To examine the molecular response of the coral Acropora microphthalma to high levels of solar irradiance, a cDNA library was constructed by PCR-based suppression subtractive hybridisation (PCR-SSH) from mRNA obtained by transplantation of a colony from a depth of 12.7 m to near-surface solar irradiance, during which the coral became noticeably paler from loss of endosymbionts in sun-exposed tissues. A novel approach to sequence annotation of the cDNA library gave genetic evidence for a hypothetical biosynthetic pathway branching from the shikimic acid pathway that leads to the formation of 4-deoxygadusol. This metabolite is a potent antioxidant and expected precursor of the UV-protective mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), which serve as sunscreens in coral phototrophic symbiosis. Empirical PCR based evidence further upholds the contention that the biosynthesis of these MAA sunscreens is a 'shared metabolic adaptation' between the symbiotic partners. Additionally, gene expression induced by enhanced solar irradiance reveals a cellular mechanism of light-induced coral bleaching that invokes a Ca(2+)-binding synaptotagmin-like regulator of SNARE protein assembly of phagosomal exocytosis, whereby algal partners are lost from the symbiosis. Bioinformatics analyses of DNA sequences obtained by differential gene expression of a coral exposed to high solar irradiance has revealed the identification of putative genes encoding key steps of the MAA biosynthetic pathway. Revealed also by this treatment are genes that implicate exocytosis as a cellular process contributing to a breakdown in the metabolically essential partnership between the coral host and endosymbiotic algae, which manifests as coral bleaching.

  14. Gene expression in the scleractinian Acropora microphthalma exposed to high solar irradiance reveals elements of photoprotection and coral bleaching.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Antonio Starcevic

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available The success of tropical reef-building corals depends on the metabolic co-operation between the animal host and the photosynthetic performance of endosymbiotic algae residing within its cells. To examine the molecular response of the coral Acropora microphthalma to high levels of solar irradiance, a cDNA library was constructed by PCR-based suppression subtractive hybridisation (PCR-SSH from mRNA obtained by transplantation of a colony from a depth of 12.7 m to near-surface solar irradiance, during which the coral became noticeably paler from loss of endosymbionts in sun-exposed tissues.A novel approach to sequence annotation of the cDNA library gave genetic evidence for a hypothetical biosynthetic pathway branching from the shikimic acid pathway that leads to the formation of 4-deoxygadusol. This metabolite is a potent antioxidant and expected precursor of the UV-protective mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs, which serve as sunscreens in coral phototrophic symbiosis. Empirical PCR based evidence further upholds the contention that the biosynthesis of these MAA sunscreens is a 'shared metabolic adaptation' between the symbiotic partners. Additionally, gene expression induced by enhanced solar irradiance reveals a cellular mechanism of light-induced coral bleaching that invokes a Ca(2+-binding synaptotagmin-like regulator of SNARE protein assembly of phagosomal exocytosis, whereby algal partners are lost from the symbiosis.Bioinformatics analyses of DNA sequences obtained by differential gene expression of a coral exposed to high solar irradiance has revealed the identification of putative genes encoding key steps of the MAA biosynthetic pathway. Revealed also by this treatment are genes that implicate exocytosis as a cellular process contributing to a breakdown in the metabolically essential partnership between the coral host and endosymbiotic algae, which manifests as coral bleaching.

  15. A high accuracy land use/cover retrieval system

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alaa Hefnawy

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available The effects of spatial resolution on the accuracy of mapping land use/cover types have received increasing attention as a large number of multi-scale earth observation data become available. Although many methods of semi automated image classification of remotely sensed data have been established for improving the accuracy of land use/cover classification during the past 40 years, most of them were employed in single-resolution image classification, which led to unsatisfactory results. In this paper, we propose a multi-resolution fast adaptive content-based retrieval system of satellite images. Through our proposed system, we apply a Super Resolution technique for the Landsat-TM images to have a high resolution dataset. The human–computer interactive system is based on modified radial basis function for retrieval of satellite database images. We apply the backpropagation supervised artificial neural network classifier for both the multi and single resolution datasets. The results show significant improved land use/cover classification accuracy for the multi-resolution approach compared with those from single-resolution approach.

  16. Warm-water coral reefs and climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spalding, Mark D; Brown, Barbara E

    2015-11-13

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

  17. Unprecedented Mass Bleaching and Loss of Coral across 12° of Latitude in Western Australia in 2010–11

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, James A. Y.; Bellchambers, Lynda M.; Depczynski, Martial R.; Evans, Richard D.; Evans, Scott N.; Field, Stuart N.; Friedman, Kim J.; Gilmour, James P.; Holmes, Thomas H.; Middlebrook, Rachael; Radford, Ben T.; Ridgway, Tyrone; Shedrawi, George; Taylor, Heather; Thomson, Damian P.; Wilson, Shaun K.

    2012-01-01

    Background Globally, coral bleaching has been responsible for a significant decline in both coral cover and diversity over the past two decades. During the summer of 2010–11, anomalous large-scale ocean warming induced unprecedented levels of coral bleaching accompanied by substantial storminess across more than 12° of latitude and 1200 kilometers of coastline in Western Australia (WA). Methodology/Principal Findings Extreme La-Niña conditions caused extensive warming of waters and drove considerable storminess and cyclonic activity across WA from October 2010 to May 2011. Satellite-derived sea surface temperature measurements recorded anomalies of up to 5°C above long-term averages. Benthic surveys quantified the extent of bleaching at 10 locations across four regions from tropical to temperate waters. Bleaching was recorded in all locations across regions and ranged between 17% (±5.5) in the temperate Perth region, to 95% (±3.5) in the Exmouth Gulf of the tropical Ningaloo region. Coincident with high levels of bleaching, three cyclones passed in close proximity to study locations around the time of peak temperatures. Follow-up surveys revealed spatial heterogeneity in coral cover change with four of ten locations recording significant loss of coral cover. Relative decreases ranged between 22%–83.9% of total coral cover, with the greatest losses in the Exmouth Gulf. Conclusions/Significance The anomalous thermal stress of 2010–11 induced mass bleaching of corals along central and southern WA coral reefs. Significant coral bleaching was observed at multiple locations across the tropical-temperate divide spanning more than 1200 km of coastline. Resultant spatially patchy loss of coral cover under widespread and high levels of bleaching and cyclonic activity, suggests a degree of resilience for WA coral communities. However, the spatial extent of bleaching casts some doubt over hypotheses suggesting that future impacts to coral reefs under forecast

  18. Unprecedented mass bleaching and loss of coral across 12° of latitude in Western Australia in 2010-11.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, James A Y; Bellchambers, Lynda M; Depczynski, Martial R; Evans, Richard D; Evans, Scott N; Field, Stuart N; Friedman, Kim J; Gilmour, James P; Holmes, Thomas H; Middlebrook, Rachael; Radford, Ben T; Ridgway, Tyrone; Shedrawi, George; Taylor, Heather; Thomson, Damian P; Wilson, Shaun K

    2012-01-01

    Globally, coral bleaching has been responsible for a significant decline in both coral cover and diversity over the past two decades. During the summer of 2010-11, anomalous large-scale ocean warming induced unprecedented levels of coral bleaching accompanied by substantial storminess across more than 12° of latitude and 1200 kilometers of coastline in Western Australia (WA). Extreme La-Niña conditions caused extensive warming of waters and drove considerable storminess and cyclonic activity across WA from October 2010 to May 2011. Satellite-derived sea surface temperature measurements recorded anomalies of up to 5°C above long-term averages. Benthic surveys quantified the extent of bleaching at 10 locations across four regions from tropical to temperate waters. Bleaching was recorded in all locations across regions and ranged between 17% (±5.5) in the temperate Perth region, to 95% (±3.5) in the Exmouth Gulf of the tropical Ningaloo region. Coincident with high levels of bleaching, three cyclones passed in close proximity to study locations around the time of peak temperatures. Follow-up surveys revealed spatial heterogeneity in coral cover change with four of ten locations recording significant loss of coral cover. Relative decreases ranged between 22%-83.9% of total coral cover, with the greatest losses in the Exmouth Gulf. The anomalous thermal stress of 2010-11 induced mass bleaching of corals along central and southern WA coral reefs. Significant coral bleaching was observed at multiple locations across the tropical-temperate divide spanning more than 1200 km of coastline. Resultant spatially patchy loss of coral cover under widespread and high levels of bleaching and cyclonic activity, suggests a degree of resilience for WA coral communities. However, the spatial extent of bleaching casts some doubt over hypotheses suggesting that future impacts to coral reefs under forecast warming regimes may in part be mitigated by southern thermal refugia.

  19. Assessing the spatial distribution of coral bleaching using small unmanned aerial systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Levy, Joshua; Hunter, Cynthia; Lukacazyk, Trent; Franklin, Erik C.

    2018-06-01

    Small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) are an affordable, effective complement to existing coral reef monitoring and assessment tools. sUAS provide repeatable low-altitude, high-resolution photogrammetry to address fundamental questions of spatial ecology and community dynamics for shallow coral reef ecosystems. Here, we qualitatively describe the use of sUAS to survey the spatial characteristics of coral cover and the distribution of coral bleaching across patch reefs in Kānéohe Bay, Hawaii, and address limitations and anticipated technology advancements within the field of UAS. Overlapping sub-decimeter low-altitude aerial reef imagery collected during the 2015 coral bleaching event was used to construct high-resolution reef image mosaics of coral bleaching responses on four Kānéohe Bay patch reefs, totaling 60,000 m2. Using sUAS imagery, we determined that paled, bleached and healthy corals on all four reefs were spatially clustered. Comparative analyses of data from sUAS imagery and in situ diver surveys found as much as 14% difference in coral cover values between survey methods, depending on the size of the reef and area surveyed. When comparing the abundance of unhealthy coral (paled and bleached) between sUAS and in situ diver surveys, we found differences in cover from 1 to 49%, depending on the depth of in situ surveys, the percent of reef area covered with sUAS surveys and patchiness of the bleaching response. This study demonstrates the effective use of sUAS surveys for assessing the spatial dynamics of coral bleaching at colony-scale resolutions across entire patch reefs and evaluates the complementarity of data from both sUAS and in situ diver surveys to more accurately characterize the spatial ecology of coral communities on reef flats and slopes.

  20. Osmoadjustment in the Coral Holobiont

    KAUST Repository

    Rö thig, Till

    2017-01-01

    and amino acids to be putatively involved in the osmoadjustment. Importantly, under high salinity the osmolyte floridoside was consistently increased. This could be corroborated in the coral model Aiptasia and in corals from the Persian/Arabian Gulf, where

  1. Global coral disease prevalence associated with sea temperature anomalies and local factors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruiz-Moreno, Diego; Willis, Bette L; Page, A Cathie; Weil, Ernesto; Cróquer, Aldo; Vargas-Angel, Bernardo; Jordan-Garza, Adán Guillermo; Jordán-Dahlgren, Eric; Raymundo, Laurie; Harvell, C Drew

    2012-09-12

    Coral diseases are taking an increasing toll on coral reef structure and biodiversity and are important indicators of declining health in the oceans. We implemented standardized coral disease surveys to pinpoint hotspots of coral disease, reveal vulnerable coral families and test hypotheses about climate drivers from 39 locations worldwide. We analyzed a 3 yr study of coral disease prevalence to identify links between disease and a range of covariates, including thermal anomalies (from satellite data), location and coral cover, using a Generalized Linear Mixed Model. Prevalence of unhealthy corals, i.e. those with signs of known diseases or with other signs of compromised health, exceeded 10% on many reefs and ranged to over 50% on some. Disease prevalence exceeded 10% on 20% of Caribbean reefs and 2.7% of Pacific reefs surveyed. Within the same coral families across oceans, prevalence of unhealthy colonies was higher and some diseases were more common at sites in the Caribbean than those in the Pacific. The effects of high disease prevalence are potentially extensive given that the most affected coral families, the acroporids, faviids and siderastreids, are among the major reef-builders at these sites. The poritids and agaricids stood out in the Caribbean as being the most resistant to disease, even though these families were abundant in our surveys. Regional warm temperature anomalies were strongly correlated with high disease prevalence. The levels of disease reported here will provide a much-needed local reference point against which to compare future change.

  2. Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation footprint on global high cloud cover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaideanu, Petru; Dima, Mihai; Voiculescu, Mirela

    2017-12-01

    Due to the complexity of the physical processes responsible for cloud formation and to the relatively short satellite database of continuous data records, cloud behavior in a warming climate remains uncertain. Identifying physical links between climate modes and clouds would contribute not only to a better understanding of the physical processes governing their formation and dynamics, but also to an improved representation of the clouds in climate models. Here, we identify the global footprint of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) on high cloud cover, with focus on the tropical and North Atlantic, tropical Pacific and on the circum-Antarctic sector. In the tropical band, the sea surface temperature (SST) and high cloud cover (HCC) anomalies are positively correlated, indicating a dominant role played by convection in mediating the influence of the AMO-related SST anomalies on the HCC field. The negative SST-HCC correlation observed in North Atlantic could be explained by the reduced meridional temperature gradient induced by the AMO positive phase, which would be reflected in less storms and negative HCC anomalies. A similar negative SST-HCC correlation is observed around Antarctica. The corresponding negative correlation around Antarctica could be generated dynamically, as a response to the intensified upward motion in the Ferrel cell. Despite the inherent imperfection of the observed and reanalysis data sets, the AMO footprint on HCC is found to be robust to the choice of dataset, statistical method, and specific time period considered.

  3. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1988-01-01 to 2012-01-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The NOAA Coral Reef Watch Experimental Ocean Acidification Product Suite (OAPS) offers an important synthesis of satellite and modeled environmental datasets to...

  4. NOAA Coral Reef Watch 25km Ocean Acidification Product Suite (OAPS) for January 1988 to the present covering the Greater Caribbean Region

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The NOAA Coral Reef Watch Experimental Ocean Acidification Product Suite (OAPS) offers an important synthesis of satellite and modeled environmental datasets to...

  5. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover along towed camera sled tracks and AUV dive tracks at Rota Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This map displays optical validation observation locations and percent coverage of scleractinian coral overlaid on bathymetry. Optical data were collected by CRED...

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Mass coral bleaching in 2010 in the southern Caribbean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alemu I, Jahson Berhane; Clement, Ysharda

    2014-01-01

    Ocean temperatures are increasing globally and the Caribbean is no exception. An extreme ocean warming event in 2010 placed Tobago's coral reefs under severe stress resulting in widespread coral bleaching and threatening the livelihoods that rely on them. The bleaching response of four reef building taxa was monitored over a six month period across three major reefs systems in Tobago. By identifying taxa resilient to bleaching we propose to assist local coral reef managers in the decision making process to cope with mass bleaching events. The bleaching signal (length of exposure to high ocean temperatures) varied widely between the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs, but regardless of this variation most taxa bleached. Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea faveolata and Siderastrea siderea were considered the most bleaching vulnerable taxa. Interestingly, reefs with the highest coral cover showed the greatest decline reef building taxa, and conversely, reefs with the lowest coral cover showed the most bleaching but lowest change in coral cover with little algal overgrowth post-bleaching.

  14. Mass Coral Bleaching in 2010 in the Southern Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alemu I, Jahson Berhane; Clement, Ysharda

    2014-01-01

    Ocean temperatures are increasing globally and the Caribbean is no exception. An extreme ocean warming event in 2010 placed Tobago's coral reefs under severe stress resulting in widespread coral bleaching and threatening the livelihoods that rely on them. The bleaching response of four reef building taxa was monitored over a six month period across three major reefs systems in Tobago. By identifying taxa resilient to bleaching we propose to assist local coral reef managers in the decision making process to cope with mass bleaching events. The bleaching signal (length of exposure to high ocean temperatures) varied widely between the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs, but regardless of this variation most taxa bleached. Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea faveolata and Siderastrea siderea were considered the most bleaching vulnerable taxa. Interestingly, reefs with the highest coral cover showed the greatest decline reef building taxa, and conversely, reefs with the lowest coral cover showed the most bleaching but lowest change in coral cover with little algal overgrowth post-bleaching. PMID:24400078

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-30

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Seaweed-coral interactions: variance in seaweed allelopathy, coral susceptibility, and potential effects on coral resilience.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberta M Bonaldo

    Full Text Available Tropical reefs are in global decline with seaweeds commonly replacing corals. Negative associations between macroalgae and corals are well documented, but the mechanisms involved, the dynamics of the interactions, and variance in effects of different macroalgal-coral pairings are poorly investigated. We assessed the frequency, magnitude, and dynamics of macroalgal-coral competition involving allelopathic and non-allelopathic macroalgae on three, spatially grouped pairs of no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs and non-MPAs in Fiji. In non-MPAs, biomass of herbivorous fishes was 70-80% lower, macroalgal cover 4-9 fold higher, macroalgal-coral contacts 5-15 fold more frequent and 23-67 fold more extensive (measured as % of colony margin contacted by macroalgae, and coral cover 51-68% lower than in MPAs. Coral contacts with allelopathic macroalgae occurred less frequently than expected by chance across all sites, while contact with non-allelopathic macroalgae tended to occur more frequently than expected. Transplants of allelopathic macroalgae (Chlorodesmis fastigiata and Galaxaura filamentosa against coral edges inflicted damage to Acropora aspera and Pocillopora damicornis more rapidly and extensively than to Porites cylindrica and Porites lobata, which appeared more resistant to these macroalgae. Montipora digitata experienced intermediate damage. Extent of damage from macroalgal contact was independent of coral colony size for each of the 10 macroalgal-coral pairings we established. When natural contacts with Galaxaura filamentosa were removed in the field, recovery was rapid for Porites lobata, but Pocillopora damicornis did not recover and damage continued to expand. As macroalgae increase on overfished tropical reefs, allelopathy could produce feedbacks that suppress coral resilience, prevent coral recovery, and promote the stability of algal beds in habitats previously available to corals.

  20. Juvenile corals can acquire more carbon from high-performance algal symbionts

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cantin, N. E.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Willis, B. L.; Mieog, J. C.; Negri, A. P.

    Algal endosymbionts of the genus Symbiodinium play a key role in the nutrition of reef building corals and strongly affect the thermal tolerance and growth rate of the animal host. This study reports that (14)C photosynthate incorporation into juvenile coral tissues was doubled in Acropora millepora

  1. Static measurements of the resilience of Caribbean coral populations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W. Bruckner

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available The progressive downward shift in dominance of key reef building corals, coupled with dramatic increases in macroalgae and other nuisance species, fields of unstable coral rubble ,loss of structural relief, and declines of major functional groups of fishes is a common occurrence throughout the Caribbean today. The incorporation of resilience principles into management is a proposed strategy to reverse this trend and ensure proper functioning of coral reefs under predicted scenarios of climate change, yet ecosystem processes and functions that underlie reef resilience are not fully understood. Rapid assessments using the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA and the IUCN Resilience Assessment protocol can provide baseline information on reef resilience. A key aspect of these surveys focuses on coral population dynamics, including measures of coral cover, size, partial and whole-colony mortality, condition, and recruitment. One challenge is that these represent static measures involving a single assessment. Without following individual corals over time, it is difficult to determine rates of survival and growth of recruits and adult colonies, and differentiation of juveniles from small remnants of older colonies may not be possible, especially when macroalgal cover is high. To address this limitation, corals assessed in Bonaire in July 2010 were subdivided into two categories: 1 colonies on the reef substrate; and 2 colonies colonizing dead corals and exposed skeletal surfaces of living corals. Coral populations in Bonaire exhibited many features indicative of high resilience, including high coral cover (often 30-50%, high levels of recruitment, and a large number of corals that settled on dead corals and survived to larger size-classes. Overall, the skeletal surfaces of 12 species of corals were colonized by 16 species of corals, with up to 12 settlers on each colony, most (67% on M. annularis (complex skeletons. Nevertheless, completely

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Evolutionary insights into scleractinian corals using comparative genomic hybridizations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aranda, Manuel; DeSalvo, Michael K; Bayer, Till; Medina, Monica; Voolstra, Christian R

    2012-09-21

    Coral reefs belong to the most ecologically and economically important ecosystems on our planet. Yet, they are under steady decline worldwide due to rising sea surface temperatures, disease, and pollution. Understanding the molecular impact of these stressors on different coral species is imperative in order to predict how coral populations will respond to this continued disturbance. The use of molecular tools such as microarrays has provided deep insight into the molecular stress response of corals. Here, we have performed comparative genomic hybridizations (CGH) with different coral species to an Acropora palmata microarray platform containing 13,546 cDNA clones in order to identify potentially rapidly evolving genes and to determine the suitability of existing microarray platforms for use in gene expression studies (via heterologous hybridization). Our results showed that the current microarray platform for A. palmata is able to provide biological relevant information for a wide variety of coral species covering both the complex clade as well the robust clade. Analysis of the fraction of highly diverged genes showed a significantly higher amount of genes without annotation corroborating previous findings that point towards a higher rate of divergence for taxonomically restricted genes. Among the genes with annotation, we found many mitochondrial genes to be highly diverged in M. faveolata when compared to A. palmata, while the majority of nuclear encoded genes maintained an average divergence rate. The use of present microarray platforms for transcriptional analyses in different coral species will greatly enhance the understanding of the molecular basis of stress and health and highlight evolutionary differences between scleractinian coral species. On a genomic basis, we show that cDNA arrays can be used to identify patterns of divergence. Mitochondrion-encoded genes seem to have diverged faster than nuclear encoded genes in robust corals. Accordingly, this

  5. Evolutionary insights into scleractinian corals using comparative genomic hybridizations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aranda Manuel

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Coral reefs belong to the most ecologically and economically important ecosystems on our planet. Yet, they are under steady decline worldwide due to rising sea surface temperatures, disease, and pollution. Understanding the molecular impact of these stressors on different coral species is imperative in order to predict how coral populations will respond to this continued disturbance. The use of molecular tools such as microarrays has provided deep insight into the molecular stress response of corals. Here, we have performed comparative genomic hybridizations (CGH with different coral species to an Acropora palmata microarray platform containing 13,546 cDNA clones in order to identify potentially rapidly evolving genes and to determine the suitability of existing microarray platforms for use in gene expression studies (via heterologous hybridization. Results Our results showed that the current microarray platform for A. palmata is able to provide biological relevant information for a wide variety of coral species covering both the complex clade as well the robust clade. Analysis of the fraction of highly diverged genes showed a significantly higher amount of genes without annotation corroborating previous findings that point towards a higher rate of divergence for taxonomically restricted genes. Among the genes with annotation, we found many mitochondrial genes to be highly diverged in M. faveolata when compared to A. palmata, while the majority of nuclear encoded genes maintained an average divergence rate. Conclusions The use of present microarray platforms for transcriptional analyses in different coral species will greatly enhance the understanding of the molecular basis of stress and health and highlight evolutionary differences between scleractinian coral species. On a genomic basis, we show that cDNA arrays can be used to identify patterns of divergence. Mitochondrion-encoded genes seem to have diverged faster than

  6. Linking Ecological and Perceptual Assessments for Environmental Management: a Coral Reef Case Study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth A. Dinsdale

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available Integrating information from a range of community members in environmental management provides a more complete assessment of the problem and a diversification of management options, but is difficult to achieve. To investigate the relationship between different environmental interpretations, I compared three distinct measures of anchor damage on coral reefs: ecological measures, perceptual meanings, and subjective health judgments. The ecological measures identified an increase in the number of overturned corals and a reduction in coral cover, the perceptual meanings identified a loss of visual quality, and the health judgments identified a reduction in the health of the coral reef sites associated with high levels of anchoring. Combining the perceptual meanings and health judgments identified that the judgment of environmental health was a key feature that both scientific and lay participants used to describe the environment. Some participants in the survey were familiar with the coral reef environment, and others were not. However, they provided consistent judgment of a healthy coral reef, suggesting that these judgments were not linked to present-day experiences. By combining subjective judgments and ecological measures, the point at which the environment is deemed to lose visual quality was identified; for these coral reefs, if the level of damage rose above 10.3% and the cover of branching corals dropped below 17.1%, the reefs were described as unhealthy. Therefore, by combining the information, a management agency can involve the community in identifying when remedial action is required or when management policies are effectively maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

  7. 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.

  8. Texture classification of vegetation cover in high altitude wetlands zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wentao, Zou; Bingfang, Wu; Hongbo, Ju; Hua, Liu

    2014-01-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of datasets composed of texture measures and other features for the classification of vegetation cover, specifically wetlands. QUEST decision tree classifier was applied to a SPOT-5 image sub-scene covering the typical wetlands area in Three River Sources region in Qinghai province, China. The dataset used for the classification comprised of: (1) spectral data and the components of principal component analysis; (2) texture measures derived from pixel basis; (3) DEM and other ancillary data covering the research area. Image textures is an important characteristic of remote sensing images; it can represent spatial variations with spectral brightness in digital numbers. When the spectral information is not enough to separate the different land covers, the texture information can be used to increase the classification accuracy. The texture measures used in this study were calculated from GLCM (Gray level Co-occurrence Matrix); eight frequently used measures were chosen to conduct the classification procedure. The results showed that variance, mean and entropy calculated by GLCM with a 9*9 size window were effective in distinguishing different vegetation types in wetlands zone. The overall accuracy of this method was 84.19% and the Kappa coefficient was 0.8261. The result indicated that the introduction of texture measures can improve the overall accuracy by 12.05% and the overall kappa coefficient by 0.1407 compared with the result using spectral and ancillary data

  9. 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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  11. Unexpected high vulnerability of functions in wilderness areas: evidence from coral reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vigliola, Laurent; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Wantiez, Laurent; Parravicini, Valeriano; Villéger, Sébastien; Mou-Tham, Gerard; Frolla, Philippe; Friedlander, Alan M.; Kulbicki, Michel; Mouillot, David

    2016-01-01

    High species richness is thought to support the delivery of multiple ecosystem functions and services under changing environments. Yet, some species might perform unique functional roles while others are redundant. Thus, the benefits of high species richness in maintaining ecosystem functioning are uncertain if functions have little redundancy, potentially leading to high vulnerability of functions. We studied the natural propensity of assemblages to be functionally buffered against loss prior to fishing activities, using functional trait combinations, in coral reef fish assemblages across unfished wilderness areas of the Indo-Pacific: Chagos Archipelago, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Fish functional diversity in these wilderness areas is highly vulnerable to fishing, explained by species- and abundance-based redundancy packed into a small combination of traits, leaving most other trait combinations (60%) sensitive to fishing, with no redundancy. Functional vulnerability peaks for mobile and sedentary top predators, and large species in general. Functional vulnerability decreases for certain functional entities in New Caledonia, where overall functional redundancy was higher. Uncovering these baseline patterns of functional vulnerability can offer early warning signals of the damaging effects from fishing, and may serve as baselines to guide precautionary and even proactive conservation actions. PMID:27928042

  12. 350 Year Cloud Reconstruction Deduced from Northeast Caribbean Coral Proxies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winter, A.; Sammarco, P. W.; Mikolajewicz, U.; Jury, M.; Zanchettin, D.

    2014-12-01

    Clouds are a major factor influencing the global climate and its response to external forcing through their implications for the global hydrological cycle, and hence for the planetary radiative budget. Clouds also contribute to regional climates and their variability through, e.g., the changes they induce in regional precipitation patterns. There have been very few studies of decadal and longer-term changes in cloud cover in the tropics and sub-tropics, both over land and the ocean. In the tropics, there is great uncertainty regarding how global warming will affect cloud cover. Observational satellite data are too short to unambiguously discern any temporal trends in cloud cover. Corals generally live in well-mixed coastal regions and can often record environmental conditions of large areas of the upper ocean. This is particularly the case at low latitudes. Scleractinian corals are sessile, epibenthic fauna, and the type of environmental information recorded at the location where the coral has been living is dependent upon the species of coral considered and proxy index of interest. Skeletons of scleractinian corals are considered to provide among the best records of high-resolution (sub-annual) environmental variability in the tropical and sub-tropical oceans. Zooxanthellate hermatypic corals in tropical and sub-tropical seas precipitate CaCO3 skeletons as they grow. This growth is made possible through the manufacture of CaCO3crystals, facilitated by the zooxanthellae. During the process of crystallization, the holobiont binds carbon of different isotopes into the crystals. Stable carbon isotope concentrations vary with a variety of environmental conditions. In the Caribbean, d13C in corals of the species Montastraea faveolata can be used as a proxy for changes in cloud cover. In this contribution, we will demonstrate that the stable isotope 13C varies concomitantly with cloud cover for the northeastern Caribbean region. Using this proxy we have been able to

  13. First biological measurements of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roder, C; Berumen, M L; Bouwmeester, J; Papathanassiou, E; Al-Suwailem, A; Voolstra, C R

    2013-10-03

    It is usually assumed that metabolic constraints restrict deep-sea corals to cold-water habitats, with 'deep-sea' and 'cold-water' corals often used as synonymous. Here we report on the first measurements of biological characters of deep-sea corals from the central Red Sea, where they occur at temperatures exceeding 20°C in highly oligotrophic and oxygen-limited waters. Low respiration rates, low calcification rates, and minimized tissue cover indicate that a reduced metabolism is one of the key adaptations to prevailing environmental conditions. We investigated four sites and encountered six species of which at least two appear to be undescribed. One species is previously reported from the Red Sea but occurs in deep cold waters outside the Red Sea raising interesting questions about presumed environmental constraints for other deep-sea corals. Our findings suggest that the present understanding of deep-sea coral persistence and resilience needs to be revisited.

  14. First biological measurements of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea.

    KAUST Repository

    Roder, Cornelia

    2013-10-03

    It is usually assumed that metabolic constraints restrict deep-sea corals to cold-water habitats, with \\'deep-sea\\' and \\'cold-water\\' corals often used as synonymous. Here we report on the first measurements of biological characters of deep-sea corals from the central Red Sea, where they occur at temperatures exceeding 20°C in highly oligotrophic and oxygen-limited waters. Low respiration rates, low calcification rates, and minimized tissue cover indicate that a reduced metabolism is one of the key adaptations to prevailing environmental conditions. We investigated four sites and encountered six species of which at least two appear to be undescribed. One species is previously reported from the Red Sea but occurs in deep cold waters outside the Red Sea raising interesting questions about presumed environmental constraints for other deep-sea corals. Our findings suggest that the present understanding of deep-sea coral persistence and resilience needs to be revisited.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patricia González-Díaz

    2010-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-06-01

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

  17. Beyond peak summer temperatures, branching corals in the Gulf of Aqaba are resilient to thermal stress but sensitive to high light

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellworthy, Jessica; Fine, Maoz

    2017-12-01

    Despite rapidly rising sea surface temperatures and recurrent positive temperature anomalies, corals in the Gulf of Aqaba (GoA) rarely experience thermal bleaching. Elsewhere, mass coral bleaching has been observed in corals when the water temperature exceeds 1-2 °C above the local maximum monthly mean (MMM). This threshold value or "bleaching rule" has been used to create predictive models of bleaching from satellite sea surface temperature observations, namely the "degree heating week" index. This study aimed to characterize the physiological changes of dominant reef building corals from the GoA in response to a temperature and light stress gradient. Coral collection and experiments began after a period of 14 consecutive days above MMM in the field. Stylophora pistillata showed negligible changes in symbiont and host physiology parameters after accumulating up to 9.4 degree heating weeks during peak summer temperatures, for which the index predicts widespread bleaching and some mortality. This result demonstrates acute thermal tolerance in S. pistillata from the GoA and deviation from the bleaching rule. In a second experiment after 4 weeks at 4 °C above peak summer temperatures, S. pistillata and Acropora eurystoma in the high-light treatment visibly paled and suffered greater midday and afternoon photoinhibition compared to corals under low-light conditions (35% of high-light treatment). However, light, not temperature (alone or in synergy with light), was the dominant factor in causing paling and the effective quantum yield of corals at 4 °C above ambient was indistinguishable from those in the ambient control. This result highlights the exceptional, atypical thermal tolerance of dominant GoA branching corals. Concomitantly, it validates the efficacy of protecting GoA reefs from local stressors if they are to serve as a coral refuge in the face of global sea temperature rise.

  18. C-CAP Santa Cruz 2001 era High Resolution Land Cover Metadata

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset represents land cover for the San Lorenzo River basin in Santa Cruz County, California derived from high resolution imagery. The land cover features in...

  19. A novel paleo-bleaching proxy using boron isotopes and high-resolution laser ablation to reconstruct coral bleaching events

    OpenAIRE

    Dishon, G.; Fisch, J.; Horn, Ingo; Kaczmarek, Karina; Bijma, Jelle; Gruber, D.F.; Nir, O.; Popovich, Y.; Tchernov, D.

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs occupy only ~ 0.1 percent of the ocean's habitat, but are the most biologically diverse marine ecosystem. In recent decades, coral reefs have experienced a significant global decline due to a variety of causes, one of the major causes being widespread coral bleaching events. During bleaching, the coral expels its symbiotic algae, thereby losing its main source of nutrition generally obtained through photosynthesis. While recent coral bleaching events have been ex...

  20. [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

  1. Diversity and stability of coral endolithic microbial communities at a naturally high pCO2 reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marcelino, Vanessa Rossetto; Morrow, Kathleen M; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Bourne, David G; Verbruggen, Heroen

    2017-10-01

    The health and functioning of reef-building corals is dependent on a balanced association with prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes. The coral skeleton harbours numerous endolithic microbes, but their diversity, ecological roles and responses to environmental stress, including ocean acidification (OA), are not well characterized. This study tests whether pH affects the diversity and structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic algal communities associated with skeletons of Porites spp. using targeted amplicon (16S rRNA gene, UPA and tufA) sequencing. We found that the composition of endolithic communities in the massive coral Porites spp. inhabiting a naturally high pCO 2 reef (avg. pCO 2 811 μatm) is not significantly different from corals inhabiting reference sites (avg. pCO 2 357 μatm), suggesting that these microbiomes are less disturbed by OA than previously thought. Possible explanations may be that the endolithic microhabitat is highly homeostatic or that the endolithic micro-organisms are well adapted to a wide pH range. Some of the microbial taxa identified include nitrogen-fixing bacteria (Rhizobiales and cyanobacteria), algicidal bacteria in the phylum Bacteroidetes, symbiotic bacteria in the family Endozoicomoniaceae, and endolithic green algae, considered the major microbial agent of reef bioerosion. Additionally, we test whether host species has an effect on the endolithic community structure. We show that the endolithic community of massive Porites spp. is substantially different and more diverse than that found in skeletons of the branching species Seriatopora hystrix and Pocillopora damicornis. This study reveals highly diverse and structured microbial communities in Porites spp. skeletons that are possibly resilient to OA. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. 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

  3. Coral recovery in the central Maldives archipelago since the last major mass-bleaching, in 1998

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pisapia, C.; Burn, D.; Yoosuf, R.; Najeeb, A.; Anderson, K. D.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2016-10-01

    Increasing frequency and severity of disturbances is causing global degradation of coral reef ecosystems. This study examined temporal changes in live coral cover and coral composition in the central Maldives from 1997 to 2016, encompassing two bleaching events, a tsunami, and an outbreak of Acanthaster planci. We also examined the contemporary size structure for five dominant coral taxa (tabular Acropora, Acropora muricata, Acropora humilis, Pocillopora spp, and massive Porites). Total coral cover increased throughout the study period, with marked increases following the 1998 mass-bleaching. The relative abundance of key genera has changed through time, where Acropora and Pocillopora (which are highly susceptible to bleaching) were under-represented following 1998 mass-bleaching but increased until outbreaks of A. planci in 2015. The contemporary size-structure for all coral taxa was dominated by larger colonies with peaked distributions suggesting that recent disturbances had a disproportionate impact on smaller colonies, or that recruitment is currently limited. This may suggest that coral resilience has been compromised by recent disturbances, and further bleaching (expected in 2016) could lead to highly protracted recovery times. We showed that Maldivian reefs recovered following the 1998 mass-bleaching event, but it took up to a decade, and ongoing disturbances may be eroding reef resilience.

  4. First biological measurements of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea

    OpenAIRE

    C. Roder; M. L. Berumen; J. Bouwmeester; E. Papathanassiou; A. Al-Suwailem; C. R. Voolstra

    2013-01-01

    It is usually assumed that metabolic constraints restrict deep-sea corals to cold-water habitats, with ?deep-sea? and ?cold-water? corals often used as synonymous. Here we report on the first measurements of biological characters of deep-sea corals from the central Red Sea, where they occur at temperatures exceeding 20?C in highly oligotrophic and oxygen-limited waters. Low respiration rates, low calcification rates, and minimized tissue cover indicate that a reduced metabolism is one of the ...

  5. Limited contemporary gene flow and high self-replenishment drives peripheral isolation in an endemic coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Meer, Martin H; Horne, John B; Gardner, Michael G; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; Pratchett, Morgan; van Herwerden, Lynne

    2013-06-01

    Extensive ongoing degradation of coral reef habitats worldwide has lead to declines in abundance of coral reef fishes and local extinction of some species. Those most vulnerable are ecological specialists and endemic species. Determining connectivity between locations is vital to understanding recovery and long-term persistence of these species following local extinction. This study explored population connectivity in the ecologically-specialized endemic three-striped butterflyfish (Chaetodon tricinctus) using mt and msatDNA (nuclear microsatellites) to distinguish evolutionary versus contemporary gene flow, estimate self-replenishment and measure genetic diversity among locations at the remote Australian offshore coral reefs of Middleton Reef (MR), Elizabeth Reef (ER), Lord Howe Island (LHI), and Norfolk Island (NI). Mt and msatDNA suggested genetic differentiation of the most peripheral location (NI) from the remaining three locations (MR, ER, LHI). Despite high levels of mtDNA gene flow, there is limited msatDNA gene flow with evidence of high levels of self-replenishment (≥76%) at all four locations. Taken together, this suggests prolonged population recovery times following population declines. The peripheral population (NI) is most vulnerable to local extinction due to its relative isolation, extreme levels of self-replenishment (95%), and low contemporary abundance.

  6. 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.

  7. Juvenile corals can acquire more carbon from high-performance algal symbionts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cantin, N. E.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Willis, B. L.; Mieog, J. C.; Negri, A. P.

    2009-06-01

    Algal endosymbionts of the genus Symbiodinium play a key role in the nutrition of reef building corals and strongly affect the thermal tolerance and growth rate of the animal host. This study reports that 14C photosynthate incorporation into juvenile coral tissues was doubled in Acropora millepora harbouring Symbiodinium C1 compared with juveniles from common parentage harbouring Symbiodinium D in a laboratory experiment. Rapid light curves performed on the same corals revealed that the relative electron transport rate of photosystem II (rETRMAX) was 87% greater in Symbiodinium C1 than in Symbiodinium D in hospite. The greater relative electron transport through photosystem II of Symbiodinium C1 is positively correlated with increased carbon delivery to the host under the applied experimental conditions ( r 2 = 0.91). This may translate into a competitive advantage for juveniles harbouring Symbiodinium C1 under certain field conditions, since rapid early growth typically limits mortality. Both symbiont types exhibited severe reductions in 14C incorporation during a 10-h exposure to the electron transport blocking herbicide diuron (DCMU), confirming the link between electron transport through PSII and photosynthate incorporation within the host tissue. These findings advance the current understanding of symbiotic relationships between corals and their symbionts, providing evidence that enhanced growth rates of juvenile corals may result from greater translocation of photosynthates from Symbiodinium C1.

  8. Static measurements of the resilience of Caribbean coral populations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W. Bruckner

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available The progressive downward shift in dominance of key reef building corals, coupled with dramatic increases in macroalgae and other nuisance species, fields of unstable coral rubble ,loss of structural relief, and declines of major functional groups of fishes is a common occurrence throughout the Caribbean today. The incorporation of resilience principles into management is a proposed strategy to reverse this trend and ensure proper functioning of coral reefs under predicted scenarios of climate change, yet ecosystem processes and functions that underlie reef resilience are not fully understood. Rapid assessments using the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA and the IUCN Resilience Assessment protocol can provide baseline information on reef resilience. A key aspect of these surveys focuses on coral population dynamics, including measures of coral cover, size, partial and whole-colony mortality, condition, and recruitment. One challenge is that these represent static measures involving a single assessment. Without following individual corals over time, it is difficult to determine rates of survival and growth of recruits and adult colonies, and differentiation of juveniles from small remnants of older colonies may not be possible, especially when macroalgal cover is high. To address this limitation, corals assessed in Bonaire in July 2010 were subdivided into two categories: 1 colonies on the reef substrate; and 2 colonies colonizing dead corals and exposed skeletal surfaces of living corals. Coral populations in Bonaire exhibited many features indicative of high resilience, including high coral cover (often 30-50%, high levels of recruitment, and a large number of corals that settled on dead corals and survived to larger size-classes. Overall, the skeletal surfaces of 12 species of corals were colonized by 16 species of corals, with up to 12 settlers on each colony, most (67% on M. annularis (complex skeletons. Nevertheless, completely

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patricia González-Díaz

    2010-06-01

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

  12. Geographic differences in vertical connectivity in the Caribbean coral Montastraea cavernosa despite high levels of horizontal connectivity at shallow depths.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Serrano, X; Baums, I B; O'Reilly, K; Smith, T B; Jones, R J; Shearer, T L; Nunes, F L D; Baker, A C

    2014-09-01

    The deep reef refugia hypothesis proposes that deep reefs can act as local recruitment sources for shallow reefs following disturbance. To test this hypothesis, nine polymorphic DNA microsatellite loci were developed and used to assess vertical connectivity in 583 coral colonies of the Caribbean depth-generalist coral Montastraea cavernosa. Samples were collected from three depth zones (≤10, 15-20 and ≥25 m) at sites in Florida (within the Upper Keys, Lower Keys and Dry Tortugas), Bermuda, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Migration rates were estimated to determine the probability of coral larval migration from shallow to deep and from deep to shallow. Finally, algal symbiont (Symbiodinium spp.) diversity and distribution were assessed in a subset of corals to test whether symbiont depth zonation might indicate limited vertical connectivity. Overall, analyses revealed significant genetic differentiation by depth in Florida, but not in Bermuda or the U.S. Virgin Islands, despite high levels of horizontal connectivity between these geographic locations at shallow depths. Within Florida, greater vertical connectivity was observed in the Dry Tortugas compared to the Lower or Upper Keys. However, at all sites, and regardless of the extent of vertical connectivity, migration occurred asymmetrically, with greater likelihood of migration from shallow to intermediate/deep habitats. Finally, most colonies hosted a single Symbiodinium type (C3), ruling out symbiont depth zonation of the dominant symbiont type as a structuring factor. Together, these findings suggest that the potential for shallow reefs to recover from deep-water refugia in M. cavernosa is location-specific, varying among and within geographic locations likely as a consequence of local hydrology. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Surface water processes in the Indonesian throughflow as documented by a high-resolution coral Δ14C record

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fallon, Stewart J.; Guilderson, Thomas P.

    2008-09-01

    To explore the seasonal to decadal variability in surface water masses that contribute to the Indonesian throughflow, we have generated a 115-year bimonthly coral-based radiocarbon time series from a coral in the Makassar Straits. In the pre-bomb (pre-1955) era from 1890 to 1954, the radiocarbon time series occasionally displays a small seasonal signal (10-15‰). After 1954 the radiocarbon record increases rapidly, in response to the increased atmospheric 14C content caused by nuclear weapons testing. From 1957 to 1986 the record displays clear seasonal variability from 15 to 60‰ and the post-bomb peak (163 per mil) occurred in 1974. The seasonal cycle of radiocarbon can be attributed to variations of surface waters passing through the South Makassar Strait. Southern Makassar is under the influence of the Northwest Monsoon, which is responsible for the high austral summer radiocarbon (North Pacific waters) and the Southeast Monsoon that flushes back a mixture of low (South Pacific and upwelling altered) radiocarbon water from the Banda Sea. The coral record also shows a significant 14C peak in 1955 due to the bomb-14C water advected into this region from nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands in 1954.

  14. Proteomics links the redox state to calcium signaling during bleaching of the scleractinian coral Acropora microphthalma on exposure to high solar irradiance and thermal stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weston, Andrew J; Dunlap, Walter C; Beltran, Victor H; Starcevic, Antonio; Hranueli, Daslav; Ward, Malcolm; Long, Paul F

    2015-03-01

    Shipboard experiments were each performed over a 2 day period to examine the proteomic response of the symbiotic coral Acropora microphthalma exposed to acute conditions of high temperature/low light or high light/low temperature stress. During these treatments, corals had noticeably bleached. The photosynthetic performance of residual algal endosymbionts was severely impaired but showed signs of recovery in both treatments by the end of the second day. Changes in the coral proteome were determined daily and, using recently available annotated genome sequences, the individual contributions of the coral host and algal endosymbionts could be extracted from these data. Quantitative changes in proteins relevant to redox state and calcium metabolism are presented. Notably, expression of common antioxidant proteins was not detected from the coral host but present in the algal endosymbiont proteome. Possible roles for elevated carbonic anhydrase in the coral host are considered: to restore intracellular pH diminished by loss of photosynthetic activity, to indirectly limit intracellular calcium influx linked with enhanced calmodulin expression to impede late-stage symbiont exocytosis, or to enhance inorganic carbon transport to improve the photosynthetic performance of algal symbionts that remain in hospite. Protein effectors of calcium-dependent exocytosis were present in both symbiotic partners. No caspase-family proteins associated with host cell apoptosis, with exception of the autophagy chaperone HSP70, were detected, suggesting that algal loss and photosynthetic dysfunction under these experimental conditions were not due to host-mediated phytosymbiont destruction. Instead, bleaching occurred by symbiont exocytosis and loss of light-harvesting pigments of algae that remain in hospite. These proteomic data are, therefore, consistent with our premise that coral endosymbionts can mediate their own retention or departure from the coral host, which may manifest as

  15. 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.

  16. Assessment of Machine Learning Algorithms for Automatic Benthic Cover Monitoring and Mapping Using Towed Underwater Video Camera and High-Resolution Satellite Images

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hassan Mohamed

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Benthic habitat monitoring is essential for many applications involving biodiversity, marine resource management, and the estimation of variations over temporal and spatial scales. Nevertheless, both automatic and semi-automatic analytical methods for deriving ecologically significant information from towed camera images are still limited. This study proposes a methodology that enables a high-resolution towed camera with a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS to adaptively monitor and map benthic habitats. First, the towed camera finishes a pre-programmed initial survey to collect benthic habitat videos, which can then be converted to geo-located benthic habitat images. Second, an expert labels a number of benthic habitat images to class habitats manually. Third, attributes for categorizing these images are extracted automatically using the Bag of Features (BOF algorithm. Fourth, benthic cover categories are detected automatically using Weighted Majority Voting (WMV ensembles for Support Vector Machines (SVM, K-Nearest Neighbor (K-NN, and Bagging (BAG classifiers. Fifth, WMV-trained ensembles can be used for categorizing more benthic cover images automatically. Finally, correctly categorized geo-located images can provide ground truth samples for benthic cover mapping using high-resolution satellite imagery. The proposed methodology was tested over Shiraho, Ishigaki Island, Japan, a heterogeneous coastal area. The WMV ensemble exhibited 89% overall accuracy for categorizing corals, sediments, seagrass, and algae species. Furthermore, the same WMV ensemble produced a benthic cover map using a Quickbird satellite image with 92.7% overall accuracy.

  17. Macroalgae Decrease Growth and Alter Microbial Community Structure of the Reef-Building Coral, Porites astreoides

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vega Thurber, Rebecca; Burkepile, Deron E.; Correa, Adrienne M. S.; Thurber, Andrew R.; Shantz, Andrew A.; Welsh, Rory; Pritchard, Catharine; Rosales, Stephanie

    2012-01-01

    With the continued and unprecedented decline of coral reefs worldwide, evaluating the factors that contribute to coral demise is of critical importance. As coral cover declines, macroalgae are becoming more common on tropical reefs. Interactions between these macroalgae and corals may alter the coral microbiome, which is thought to play an important role in colony health and survival. Together, such changes in benthic macroalgae and in the coral microbiome may result in a feedback mechanism that contributes to additional coral cover loss. To determine if macroalgae alter the coral microbiome, we conducted a field-based experiment in which the coral Porites astreoides was placed in competition with five species of macroalgae. Macroalgal contact increased variance in the coral-associated microbial community, and two algal species significantly altered microbial community composition. All macroalgae caused the disappearance of a γ-proteobacterium previously hypothesized to be an important mutualist of P. astreoides. Macroalgal contact also triggered: 1) increases or 2) decreases in microbial taxa already present in corals, 3) establishment of new taxa to the coral microbiome, and 4) vectoring and growth of microbial taxa from the macroalgae to the coral. Furthermore, macroalgal competition decreased coral growth rates by an average of 36.8%. Overall, this study found that competition between corals and certain species of macroalgae leads to an altered coral microbiome, providing a potential mechanism by which macroalgae-coral interactions reduce coral health and lead to coral loss on impacted reefs. PMID:22957055

  18. Macroalgae decrease growth and alter microbial community structure of the reef-building coral, Porites astreoides.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca Vega Thurber

    Full Text Available With the continued and unprecedented decline of coral reefs worldwide, evaluating the factors that contribute to coral demise is of critical importance. As coral cover declines, macroalgae are becoming more common on tropical reefs. Interactions between these macroalgae and corals may alter the coral microbiome, which is thought to play an important role in colony health and survival. Together, such changes in benthic macroalgae and in the coral microbiome may result in a feedback mechanism that contributes to additional coral cover loss. To determine if macroalgae alter the coral microbiome, we conducted a field-based experiment in which the coral Porites astreoides was placed in competition with five species of macroalgae. Macroalgal contact increased variance in the coral-associated microbial community, and two algal species significantly altered microbial community composition. All macroalgae caused the disappearance of a γ-proteobacterium previously hypothesized to be an important mutualist of P. astreoides. Macroalgal contact also triggered: 1 increases or 2 decreases in microbial taxa already present in corals, 3 establishment of new taxa to the coral microbiome, and 4 vectoring and growth of microbial taxa from the macroalgae to the coral. Furthermore, macroalgal competition decreased coral growth rates by an average of 36.8%. Overall, this study found that competition between corals and certain species of macroalgae leads to an altered coral microbiome, providing a potential mechanism by which macroalgae-coral interactions reduce coral health and lead to coral loss on impacted reefs.

  19. Colony-specific investigations reveal highly variable responses among individual corals to ocean acidification and warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kavousi, Javid; Reimer, James Davis; Tanaka, Yasuaki; Nakamura, Takashi

    2015-08-01

    As anthropogenic climate change is an ongoing concern, scientific investigations on its impacts on coral reefs are increasing. Although impacts of combined ocean acidification (OA) and temperature stress (T) on reef-building scleractinian corals have been studied at the genus, species and population levels, there are little data available on how individual corals respond to combined OA and anomalous temperatures. In this study, we exposed individual colonies of Acropora digitifera, Montipora digitata and Porites cylindrica to four pCO2-temperature treatments including 400 μatm-28 °C, 400 μatm-31 °C, 1000 μatm-28 °C and 1000 μatm-31 °C for 26 days. Physiological parameters including calcification, protein content, maximum photosynthetic efficiency, Symbiodinium density, and chlorophyll content along with Symbiodinium type of each colony were examined. Along with intercolonial responses, responses of individual colonies versus pooled data to the treatments were investigated. The main results were: 1) responses to either OA or T or their combination were different between individual colonies when considering physiological functions; 2) tolerance to either OA or T was not synonymous with tolerance to the other parameter; 3) tolerance to both OA and T did not necessarily lead to tolerance of OA and T combined (OAT) at the same time; 4) OAT had negative, positive or no impacts on physiological functions of coral colonies; and 5) pooled data were not representative of responses of all individual colonies. Indeed, the pooled data obscured actual responses of individual colonies or presented a response that was not observed in any individual. From the results of this study we recommend improving experimental designs of studies investigating physiological responses of corals to climate change by complementing them with colony-specific examinations. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. 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.

  1. Sea level high stand in Marine Isotope Stage 5e: evidence from coral terraces in Sumba Island, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    LU, Y.; Rigaud, S.; Leclerc, F.; Liu, X.; Chiang, H. W.; Djamil, Y. S.; Meilano, I.; Bijaksana, S.; Abidin, H. Z.; Tapponnier, P.; Wang, X.

    2017-12-01

    Uplifted coral reef terraces, possibly spanning the last one million years, are extensively exposed along the northern coast of Sumba Island, Indonesia. We collected a suite of fossil coral samples from the inner edges of terraces at Cape Laundi to study past sea level change, particularly that during the marine isotope stage 5e. These samples were dated by the high-precision U/Th disequilibrium dating methods. For those with δ234U-initial values beyond the range of 145±7‰[1,2] , the open-system model by Thompson et al. [3] was then applied to correct their ages. Only less than 20% of the samples could not derive reasonable ages after the correction, and their abnormally high δ234U-initial values (> 180‰) seem to suggest a limitation of open-system correction with the current model. After the correction of long-term uplift rate of 0.3 mm/kyr, we found that the relative sea level at Cape Laundi, Sumba was 7 m during MIS5e and then dropped to -20 m during the MIS5a and 5c. More importantly, our results indicate that sea level reached a high stand at 129±0.6 ka, supported by both U/Th dates on pristine corals and open-system model corrected ages. In line with the sea level reconstruction from western Australia, our results do not support a second and higher sea level during MIS5e. Moreover, there is no significant lead or lag between the timing of sea level high stand in Sumba and the peak of Northern Hemisphere summer insolation. 1. Robinson et al. (2004) Science. 305: 851-854 2. Cheng et al. (2013) Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 371-372: 82-91 3. Thompson et al. (2003) Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 210: 365-381

  2. Assessing Coral Community Recovery from Coral Bleaching by ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The densities of small colonies were lowest at the northern sites, and small colonies of genera of corals that suffered from high bleaching and mortality during the El Niño Southern Oscillation in 1998 were less abundant in the north. These northern reefs are relatively isolated from sources of coral larvae from reefs in the ...

  3. Osmoadjustment in the Coral Holobiont

    KAUST Repository

    Röthig, Till

    2017-04-01

    Coral reefs are under considerable decline. The framework builders in coral reefs are scleractinian corals, which comprise so-called holobionts, consisting of cnidarian host, algal symbionts (genus Symbiodinium), and other associated microbes. Corals are commonly considered stenohaline osmoconformers, possessing limited capability to adjust to salinity changes. However, corals differ in their ability to cope with different salinities. The underlying mechanisms have not yet been addressed. To further understand putative mechanisms involved, I examined coral holobiont osmoregulation conducting a range of experiments on the coral Fungia granulosa. In my research F. granulosa from the Red Sea exhibited pronounced physiological reactions (decreased photosynthesis, cessation of calcification) upon short-term incubations (4 h) to high salinity (55). However, during a 29-day in situ salinity transect experiment, coral holobiont photosynthesis was unimpaired under high salinity (49) indicating acclimatization. F. granulosa microbiome changes after the 29-day high salinity exposure aligned with a bacterial community restructuring that putatively supports the coral salinity acclimatization (osmolyte synthesis, nutrient fixation/cycling). Long-term incubations (7 d) of cultured Symbiodinium exhibited cell growth even at ‘extreme’ salinity levels of 25 and 55. Metabolic profiles of four Symbiodinium strains exposed to increased (55) and decreased (25) salinities for 4 h indicated distinct carbohydrates and amino acids to be putatively involved in the osmoadjustment. Importantly, under high salinity the osmolyte floridoside was consistently increased. This could be corroborated in the coral model Aiptasia and in corals from the Persian/Arabian Gulf, where floridoside was also markedly increased upon short- (15 h) and long-term (>24 months) exposure to high salinity, confirming an important role of floridoside in the osmoadjustment of cnidarian holobionts. This thesis

  4. Cover-layer with High Refractive Index for Near-Field Recording Media

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Jin-Hong; Lee, Jun-Seok

    2007-06-01

    TiO2 nanoparticles are added into UV-curable resin to increase the refractive index of the cover-layer laminated for cover-layer incident near-field recording media. A high refractive index is required for the cover-layer operating with an optical head with a high numerical aperture. The eye pattern from a cover-layer coated 20 GB read-only memory disc in which the refractive index of the cover-layer is 1.75 is achieved, but the gap servo is unstable owing to the rough surface of the cover-layer. Even though the light loss due to the nanoparticles is negligible, a rough microstructure is developed by adding the nanoparticles into an organic binder material. To achieve a smooth surface for a stable gap servo, the solubility of the nanoparticles should be enhanced by the optimization of the surface of the nanoparticles.

  5. Skeletal records of community-level bleaching in Porites corals from Palau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barkley, Hannah C.; Cohen, Anne L.

    2016-12-01

    Tropical Pacific sea surface temperature is projected to rise an additional 2-3 °C by the end of this century, driving an increase in the frequency and intensity of coral bleaching. With significant global coral reef cover already lost due to bleaching-induced mortality, efforts are underway to identify thermally tolerant coral communities that might survive projected warming. Massive, long-lived corals accrete skeletal bands of anomalously high density in response to episodes of thermal stress. These "stress bands" are potentially valuable proxies for thermal tolerance, but to date their application to questions of community bleaching history has been limited. Ecological surveys recorded bleaching of coral communities across the Palau archipelago during the 1998 and 2010 warm events. Between 2011 and 2015, we extracted skeletal cores from living Porites colonies at 10 sites spanning barrier reef and lagoon environments and quantified the proportion of stress bands present in each population during bleaching years. Across Palau, the prevalence of stress bands tracked the severity of thermal stress, with more stress bands occurring in 1998 (degree heating weeks = 13.57 °C-week) than during the less severe 2010 event (degree heating weeks = 4.86 °C-week). Stress band prevalence also varied by reef type, as more corals on the exposed barrier reef formed stress bands than did corals from sheltered lagoon environments. Comparison of Porites stress band prevalence with bleaching survey data revealed a strong correlation between percent community bleaching and the proportion of colonies with stress bands in each year. Conversely, annual calcification rates did not decline consistently during bleaching years nor did annually resolved calcification histories always track interannual variability in temperature. Our data suggest that stress bands in massive corals contain valuable information about spatial and temporal trends in coral reef bleaching and can aid in

  6. Coral colonisation of an artificial reef in a turbid nearshore environment, Dampier Harbour, western Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Blakeway

    Full Text Available A 0.6 hectare artificial reef of local rock and recycled concrete sleepers was constructed in December 2006 at Parker Point in the industrial port of Dampier, western Australia, with the aim of providing an environmental offset for a nearshore coral community lost to land reclamation. Corals successfully colonised the artificial reef, despite the relatively harsh environmental conditions at the site (annual water temperature range 18-32°C, intermittent high turbidity, frequent cyclones, frequent nearby ship movements. Coral settlement to the artificial reef was examined by terracotta tile deployments, and later stages of coral community development were examined by in-situ visual surveys within fixed 25 x 25 cm quadrats on the rock and concrete substrates. Mean coral density on the tiles varied from 113 ± 17 SE to 909 ± 85 SE per m(2 over five deployments, whereas mean coral density in the quadrats was only 6.0 ± 1.0 SE per m(2 at eight months post construction, increasing to 24.0 ± 2.1 SE per m(2 at 62 months post construction. Coral taxa colonising the artificial reef were a subset of those on the surrounding natural reef, but occurred in different proportions--Pseudosiderastrea tayami, Mycedium elephantotus and Leptastrea purpurea being disproportionately abundant on the artificial reef. Coral cover increased rapidly in the later stages of the study, reaching 2.3 ± 0.7 SE % at 62 months post construction. This study indicates that simple materials of opportunity can provide a suitable substrate for coral recruitment in Dampier Harbour, and that natural colonisation at the study site remains sufficient to initiate a coral community on artificial substrate despite ongoing natural and anthropogenic perturbations.

  7. An outbreak of sea cucumbers hinders coral recruitment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yu-Yang; McCook, Laurence; Jiang, Lei; Lian, Jian-Sheng; Liu, Sheng; Huang, Hui

    2018-06-01

    An outbreak of a small sessile sea cucumber, Ocnus sanya, occurred on the degraded Luhuitou coral reef in Sanya Bay, Hainan, China. This study explored the pattern of distribution of O. sanya on the reef and the impacts of the high abundance of O. sanya on post-settlement mortality of Pocillopora damicornis recruits. The density of O. sanya ranged from about 500 to over 2000 individuals m-2 with 10.95-23.69% cover on hard substrate. Terracotta tiles with O. sanya on the surface accumulated 19.7% more surface sediment than those without sea cucumbers. Post-settlement P. damicornis recruits had significantly higher mortality on terracotta tiles with O. sanya than those without O. sanya after 21 d. Overall, O. sanya appears to increase sediment stress and inhibit coral recruitment, exacerbating the degradation of Luhuitou Reef. This study raises the possibility that such novel outbreak species could contribute significant additional stress on coral reefs at larger scales.

  8. Diversity And Abundance Of Deep-Water Coral Mounds In The Straits Of Florida: A Result of Adaptability To Local Environments?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Correa, T. B.; Grasmueck, M.; Eberli, G.; Viggiano, D. A.; Rosenberg, A.; Reed, J. K.

    2007-12-01

    To improve the understanding of the Florida-Bahamas deep-water coral mound ecosystem, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) surveys were conducted on five coral mound fields throughout the Straits of Florida (three sites at the base of slope of Great Bahama Bank (GBB), one in the middle of the Straits (MS) and one at the base of the Miami Terrace (MT)) in water depths of 590 to 860 m. The AUV provides high-resolution bathymetric maps, sub-bottom profiles and oceanographic data. The AUV survey sites were subsequently groundtruthed via sample collection and video transects, using the Johnson Sealink submersible. Contrary to previous surveys, we found a high diversity in coral mound morphology between sites separated by 15 to 80 km. The MT site is characterized by sinusoidal coral mound ridges, while the MS site contains densely clustered small coral mounds. Meanwhile, mounds of the GBB region are better developed, with some individual mounds reaching up to 90 m in height. Benthic coverage of live corals also differs between sites; the GBB sites are characterized by mounds densely covered by large thickets of live corals, while small thickets of mostly dead corals dominate the MT and MS sites. Several environmental factors may explain these differences. For example, bottom current patterns change between sites. The MT and the MS sites have a unidirectional regime (southward or northward flow, respectively), whereas the GBB sites have a tidal current regime. Sedimentation patterns as depicted by sub-bottom profiles also vary between the sites; coral mounds in the GBB area appear to receive higher sediment input, which can significantly enhance mound growth rates as the reef framework baffles and traps mobile sediments. However, coral mounds that cannot keep-up with the sedimentation rate are buried. Therefore, in the high sedimentation areas of GBB, flourishing live coral mounds are limited to elevated positions (i.e. plateaus, ridges crests) where sediment accumulation

  9. 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.

  10. Highly heterogeneous bacterial communities associated with the South China Sea reef corals Porites lutea, Galaxea fascicularis and Acropora millepora.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jie Li

    Full Text Available Coral harbor diverse and specific bacteria play significant roles in coral holobiont function. Bacteria associated with three of the common and phylogenetically divergent reef-building corals in the South China Sea, Porites lutea, Galaxea fascicularis and Acropora millepora, were investigated using 454 barcoded-pyrosequencing. Three colonies of each species were sampled, and 16S rRNA gene libraries were constructed individually. Analysis of pyrosequencing libraries showed that bacterial communities associated with the three coral species were more diverse than previous estimates based on corals from the Caribbean Sea, Indo-Pacific reefs and the Red Sea. Three candidate phyla, including BRC1, OD1 and SR1, were found for the first time in corals. Bacterial communities were separated into three groups: P. lutea and G. fascicular, A. millepora and seawater. P. lutea and G. fascicular displayed more similar bacterial communities, and bacterial communities associated with A. millepora differed from the other two coral species. The three coral species shared only 22 OTUs, which were distributed in Alphaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria and an unclassified bacterial group. The composition of bacterial communities within each colony of each coral species also showed variation. The relatively small common and large specific bacterial communities in these corals implies that bacterial associations may be structured by multiple factors at different scales and that corals may associate with microbes in terms of similar function, rather than identical species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-01

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

  12. High-precision timing of Nanhai coral by using MC-ICP-MS and TIMS techniques and its paleo-environmental significance

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peng Zicheng; Nie Baofu; Chen Tegu

    2004-01-01

    The techniques of thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) and multicollector-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) were used for the high-precision timing of the domestic stalagmite standard (GBW04412), international coral standard (RKM-4) and the Nanhai corals. The results of uranium contents and the ratios of 234 U/ 238 U and 230 Th/ 234 U in the two standards measured by using two techniques were consistent within the error range. Most of the Nanhai corals have less than 3 μg/g of the uranium contents and 150 ± 5 of the δ 234 U(T) values, which means that the corals have not been subjected to the alternation since they were brought up 7000 years ago, therefore, they preserve the original environmental signals. The age sequence of the corals shows that three events of the high sea level happened in Nanhai area in the periods corresponding to 6799-6307 a B.P., 4472-4285 a B.P. and 1279-1012 a B.P. respectively. The above-mentioned three stages were relative to the Megathermal and Medieval Warm Periods in our country. (authors)

  13. Acclimatization to high-variance habitats does not enhance physiological tolerance of two key Caribbean corals to future temperature and pH.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Camp, Emma F; Smith, David J; Evenhuis, Chris; Enochs, Ian; Manzello, Derek; Woodcock, Stephen; Suggett, David J

    2016-05-25

    Corals are acclimatized to populate dynamic habitats that neighbour coral reefs. Habitats such as seagrass beds exhibit broad diel changes in temperature and pH that routinely expose corals to conditions predicted for reefs over the next 50-100 years. However, whether such acclimatization effectively enhances physiological tolerance to, and hence provides refuge against, future climate scenarios remains unknown. Also, whether corals living in low-variance habitats can tolerate present-day high-variance conditions remains untested. We experimentally examined how pH and temperature predicted for the year 2100 affects the growth and physiology of two dominant Caribbean corals (Acropora palmata and Porites astreoides) native to habitats with intrinsically low (outer-reef terrace, LV) and/or high (neighbouring seagrass, HV) environmental variance. Under present-day temperature and pH, growth and metabolic rates (calcification, respiration and photosynthesis) were unchanged for HV versus LV populations. Superimposing future climate scenarios onto the HV and LV conditions did not result in any enhanced tolerance to colonies native to HV. Calcification rates were always lower for elevated temperature and/or reduced pH. Together, these results suggest that seagrass habitats may not serve as refugia against climate change if the magnitude of future temperature and pH changes is equivalent to neighbouring reef habitats. © 2016 The Author(s).

  14. Ceria nanoparticles uniformly decorated on graphene nanosheets with coral-like morphology for high-performance supercapacitors

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tao, Yan; Ruiyi, Li; Haiyan, Zhu [School of Chemical and Material Engineering, Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122 (China); Zaijun, Li, E-mail: zaijunli@jiangnan.edu.cn [School of Chemical and Material Engineering, Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122 (China); Key Laboratory of Food Colloids and Biotechnology, Ministry of Education, Wuxi 214122 (China)

    2016-06-15

    Graphical abstract: The study reported the synthesis of coral-like CeO{sub 2}/GNs for supercapacitors. The unique architecture with overall connected framework and good conducting network of the graphene greatly boosts the Faradaic redox reaction. Therefore, the CeO{sub 2}/GNs delivers an excellent electrochemical performance. - Highlights: • The study reported the synthesis of CeO{sub 2}/GNs. • The graphene was woven into CeO{sub 2}, acting as a good conducting network. • The CeO{sub 2}/GNs shows a coral-like structure. • The architecture creates an overall connected framework. • The CeO{sub 2}/GNs delivers good capacitive performances. - Abstract: CeO{sub 2}/graphene was synthesized by a simple microwave method along with subsequent calcination. CeO{sub 2} nanoparticles with an average size of 68.8 nm are uniformly decorated on graphene nanosheets (CeO{sub 2}/GNs). The CeO{sub 2}/GNs displays a like-coral morphology. The architecture including overall connected framework, abundant intercrossed and interconnected nanochannels and perfect conducting network of the graphene, endows the CeO{sub 2}/GNs material with a superior electron and mass transport. As a result, the CeO{sub 2}/GNs gives a high specific capacitance of 503.4 F/g at 2 A/g and good cycle performance with 91.8% capacitance retention after 3000 cycles. Further, an asymmetric supercapacitors was assembled by using CeO{sub 2}/GNs as the positive electrode and activated carbon as the negative electrode, the asymmetric device demonstrate a favorable energy density of 30.2 Wh/kg at the power density of 750.0 W/kg and superior cycle life with 86.4% the capacitance retenion at 5 A/g after 3000 cycles.

  15. Ceria nanoparticles uniformly decorated on graphene nanosheets with coral-like morphology for high-performance supercapacitors

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tao, Yan; Ruiyi, Li; Haiyan, Zhu; Zaijun, Li

    2016-01-01

    Graphical abstract: The study reported the synthesis of coral-like CeO_2/GNs for supercapacitors. The unique architecture with overall connected framework and good conducting network of the graphene greatly boosts the Faradaic redox reaction. Therefore, the CeO_2/GNs delivers an excellent electrochemical performance. - Highlights: • The study reported the synthesis of CeO_2/GNs. • The graphene was woven into CeO_2, acting as a good conducting network. • The CeO_2/GNs shows a coral-like structure. • The architecture creates an overall connected framework. • The CeO_2/GNs delivers good capacitive performances. - Abstract: CeO_2/graphene was synthesized by a simple microwave method along with subsequent calcination. CeO_2 nanoparticles with an average size of 68.8 nm are uniformly decorated on graphene nanosheets (CeO_2/GNs). The CeO_2/GNs displays a like-coral morphology. The architecture including overall connected framework, abundant intercrossed and interconnected nanochannels and perfect conducting network of the graphene, endows the CeO_2/GNs material with a superior electron and mass transport. As a result, the CeO_2/GNs gives a high specific capacitance of 503.4 F/g at 2 A/g and good cycle performance with 91.8% capacitance retention after 3000 cycles. Further, an asymmetric supercapacitors was assembled by using CeO_2/GNs as the positive electrode and activated carbon as the negative electrode, the asymmetric device demonstrate a favorable energy density of 30.2 Wh/kg at the power density of 750.0 W/kg and superior cycle life with 86.4% the capacitance retenion at 5 A/g after 3000 cycles.

  16. Crowning corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.

    and build-awareness about the rich, diverse biological resources is warranted and a plea is made to manage the sewage, oil and thermal pollution to help preserve the biodiversity of coral and associated flora and fauna....

  17. 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.

  18. White syndrome on massive corals: A case study in Paiton power plant, East Java

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muzaki, Farid Kamal; Saptarini, Dian; Riznawati, Aida Efrini

    2017-06-01

    As a stenothermal organism, coral easily affected by high-temperature cooling water discharged by a power plant into surrounding waters; which may lead to a rapid spread and transmission of coral disease, including White Syndrome. This study aimed to measure the prevalence of WS on massive corals in Paiton Power Plant waters. Research was conductedduring May 2015 at three observation stations; west and east side of water discharge canal (DB and DT) and water intake canal (WI). Observed parameters including ambient environmental variables (sea surface and bottom temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen/DO, pH, and visibility); the cover of life corals (percent and genera composition) and prevalence of coral disease at 5 m depth. One-way ANOVA (analysis of variance, p=0.05) was performed to test the difference of coral disease prevalence from different observation stations. As the results, Coral coverage percentage in WI (85.75%), DB (60.75%), and DT (40.8%). Prevalence of WS in DB was highest (40.49±2.12% in DB, 13.53±11.5% in DT and 6.44±3.6 %, respectively). It can be assumed that prevalence of White Syndrome in those locations may be correlated to temperature which highest average temperature occurred in DB stations.

  19. Thermal refugia against coral bleaching throughout the northern Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Osman, Eslam O.

    2017-10-17

    Tropical reefs have been impacted by thermal anomalies caused by global warming that induced coral bleaching and mortality events globally. However, there have only been very few recordings of bleaching within the Red Sea despite covering a latitudinal range of 15° and consequently it has been considered a region that is less sensitive to thermal anomalies. We therefore examined historical patterns of sea surface temperature (SST) and associated anomalies (1982–2012) and compared warming trends with a unique compilation of corresponding coral bleaching records from throughout the region. These data indicated that the northern Red Sea has not experienced mass bleaching despite intensive Degree Heating Weeks (DHW) of >15°C-weeks. Severe bleaching was restricted to the central and southern Red Sea where DHWs have been more frequent, but far less intense (DHWs <4°C-weeks). A similar pattern was observed during the 2015–2016 El Niño event during which time corals in the northern Red Sea did not bleach despite high thermal stress (i.e. DHWs >8°C-weeks), and bleaching was restricted to the central and southern Red Sea despite the lower thermal stress (DHWs < 8°C-weeks). Heat stress assays carried out in the northern (Hurghada) and central (Thuwal) Red Sea on four key reef-building species confirmed different regional thermal susceptibility, and that central Red Sea corals are more sensitive to thermal anomalies as compared to those from the north. Together, our data demonstrate that corals in the northern Red Sea have a much higher heat tolerance than their prevailing temperature regime would suggest. In contrast, corals from the central Red Sea are close to their thermal limits, which closely match the maximum annual water temperatures. The northern Red Sea harbours reef-building corals that live well below their bleaching thresholds and thus we propose that the region represents a thermal refuge of global importance.

  20. Thermal refugia against coral bleaching throughout the northern Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Osman, Eslam O.; Smith, David J.; Ziegler, Maren; Kü rten, Benjamin; Conrad, Constanze; El-Haddad, Khaled M.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Suggett, David J.

    2017-01-01

    Tropical reefs have been impacted by thermal anomalies caused by global warming that induced coral bleaching and mortality events globally. However, there have only been very few recordings of bleaching within the Red Sea despite covering a latitudinal range of 15° and consequently it has been considered a region that is less sensitive to thermal anomalies. We therefore examined historical patterns of sea surface temperature (SST) and associated anomalies (1982–2012) and compared warming trends with a unique compilation of corresponding coral bleaching records from throughout the region. These data indicated that the northern Red Sea has not experienced mass bleaching despite intensive Degree Heating Weeks (DHW) of >15°C-weeks. Severe bleaching was restricted to the central and southern Red Sea where DHWs have been more frequent, but far less intense (DHWs <4°C-weeks). A similar pattern was observed during the 2015–2016 El Niño event during which time corals in the northern Red Sea did not bleach despite high thermal stress (i.e. DHWs >8°C-weeks), and bleaching was restricted to the central and southern Red Sea despite the lower thermal stress (DHWs < 8°C-weeks). Heat stress assays carried out in the northern (Hurghada) and central (Thuwal) Red Sea on four key reef-building species confirmed different regional thermal susceptibility, and that central Red Sea corals are more sensitive to thermal anomalies as compared to those from the north. Together, our data demonstrate that corals in the northern Red Sea have a much higher heat tolerance than their prevailing temperature regime would suggest. In contrast, corals from the central Red Sea are close to their thermal limits, which closely match the maximum annual water temperatures. The northern Red Sea harbours reef-building corals that live well below their bleaching thresholds and thus we propose that the region represents a thermal refuge of global importance.

  1. Bacterial community dynamics are linked to patterns of coral heat tolerance

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren

    2017-02-10

    Ocean warming threatens corals and the coral reef ecosystem. Nevertheless, corals can be adapted to their thermal environment and inherit heat tolerance across generations. In addition, the diverse microbes that associate with corals have the capacity for more rapid change, potentially aiding the adaptation of long-lived corals. Here, we show that the microbiome of reef corals is different across thermally variable habitats and changes over time when corals are reciprocally transplanted. Exposing these corals to thermal bleaching conditions changes the microbiome for heat-sensitive corals, but not for heat-tolerant corals growing in habitats with natural high heat extremes. Importantly, particular bacterial taxa predict the coral host response in a short-term heat stress experiment. Such associations could result from parallel responses of the coral and the microbial community to living at high natural temperatures. A competing hypothesis is that the microbial community and coral heat tolerance are causally linked.

  2. Bacterial community dynamics are linked to patterns of coral heat tolerance

    KAUST Repository

    Ziegler, Maren; Seneca, Francois O.; Yum, Lauren; Palumbi, Stephen R.; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Ocean warming threatens corals and the coral reef ecosystem. Nevertheless, corals can be adapted to their thermal environment and inherit heat tolerance across generations. In addition, the diverse microbes that associate with corals have the capacity for more rapid change, potentially aiding the adaptation of long-lived corals. Here, we show that the microbiome of reef corals is different across thermally variable habitats and changes over time when corals are reciprocally transplanted. Exposing these corals to thermal bleaching conditions changes the microbiome for heat-sensitive corals, but not for heat-tolerant corals growing in habitats with natural high heat extremes. Importantly, particular bacterial taxa predict the coral host response in a short-term heat stress experiment. Such associations could result from parallel responses of the coral and the microbial community to living at high natural temperatures. A competing hypothesis is that the microbial community and coral heat tolerance are causally linked.

  3. 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

  4. Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) High Resolution Land Cover and Change Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The NOAA Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) produces national standardized high resolution land cover and change products for the coastal regions of the U.S....

  5. Temperature Regimes Impact Coral Assemblages along Environmental Gradients on Lagoonal Reefs in Belize.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Justin H Baumann

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are increasingly threatened by global and local anthropogenic stressors such as rising seawater temperature, nutrient enrichment, sedimentation, and overfishing. Although many studies have investigated the impacts of local and global stressors on coral reefs, we still do not fully understand how these stressors influence coral community structure, particularly across environmental gradients on a reef system. Here, we investigate coral community composition across three different temperature and productivity regimes along a nearshore-offshore gradient on lagoonal reefs of the Belize Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS. A novel metric was developed using ultra-high-resolution satellite-derived estimates of sea surface temperatures (SST to classify reefs as exposed to low (lowTP, moderate (modTP, or high (highTP temperature parameters over 10 years (2003 to 2012. Coral species richness, abundance, diversity, density, and percent cover were lower at highTP sites relative to lowTP and modTP sites, but these coral community traits did not differ significantly between lowTP and modTP sites. Analysis of coral life history strategies revealed that highTP sites were dominated by hardy stress-tolerant and fast-growing weedy coral species, while lowTP and modTP sites consisted of competitive, generalist, weedy, and stress-tolerant coral species. Satellite-derived estimates of Chlorophyll-a (chl-a were obtained for 13-years (2003-2015 as a proxy for primary production. Chl-a concentrations were highest at highTP sites, medial at modTP sites, and lowest at lowTP sites. Notably, thermal parameters correlated better with coral community traits between site types than productivity, suggesting that temperature (specifically number of days above the thermal bleaching threshold played a greater role in defining coral community structure than productivity on the MBRS. Dominance of weedy and stress-tolerant genera at highTP sites suggests that corals

  6. 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.

  7. Revealing Holobiont Structure and Function of Three Red Sea Deep-Sea Corals

    KAUST Repository

    Yum, Lauren

    2014-12-01

    Deep-sea corals have long been regarded as cold-water coral; however a reevaluation of their habitat limitations has been suggested after the discovery of deep-sea coral in the Red Sea where temperatures exceed 20˚C. To gain further insight into the biology of deep-sea corals at these temperatures, the work in this PhD employed a holotranscriptomic approach, looking at coral animal host and bacterial symbiont gene expression in Dendrophyllia sp., Eguchipsammia fistula, and Rhizotrochus sp. sampled from the deep Red Sea. Bacterial community composition was analyzed via amplicon-based 16S surveys and cultured bacterial strains were subjected to bioprospecting in order to gauge the pharmaceutical potential of coralassociated microbes. Coral host transcriptome data suggest that coral can employ mitochondrial hypometabolism, anaerobic glycolysis, and surface cilia to enhance mass transport rates to manage the low oxygen and highly oligotrophic Red Sea waters. In the microbial community associated with these corals, ribokinases and retron-type reverse transcriptases are abundantly expressed. In its first application to deep-sea coral associated microbial communities, 16S-based next-generation sequencing found that a single operational taxonomic unit can comprise the majority of sequence reads and that a large number of low abundance populations are present, which cannot be visualized with first generation sequencing. Bioactivity testing of selected bacterial isolates was surveyed over 100 cytological parameters with high content screening, covering several major organelles and key proteins involved in a variety of signaling cascades. Some of these cytological profiles were similar to those of several reference pharmacologically active compounds, which suggest that the bacteria isolates produce compounds with similar mechanisms of action as the reference compounds. The sum of this work offers several mechanisms by which Red Sea deep-sea corals cope with environmental

  8. Evidence of mud diapirism and coral colonies in the ionian sea (central mediterranean from high resolution chirp sonar survey

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Corselli

    2006-06-01

    Full Text Available A chirp sonar survey in the Ionian Sea investigated the Calabrian margin, the Calabrian accretionary wedge, the Taranto Trench and the Apulian foreland. Shallow tectonics structures have been related to deeper ones, recognised on CROP seismic profiles. The identified echo characters have been compared with those described in the modern literature and have been related to different kinds of sediments, on the basis of core samples. Based on echo character and morphology we have recognised: 1 A widespread presence of mounds, up to 50 m high, occurring on the Apulian plateau as isolated mounds in the deepest zones (1600-800 m and in groups in the shallower ones (800-600 m; they have been interpreted as coral mounds, according to a recent discovery of living deep water coral colonies in this zone. 2 Some mud diapirs, isolated or in groups of two or three elements, widespread in the whole study area. In analogy of what has been observed on the Mediterranean Ridge, their presence suggests the activity of deep tectonic structures (thrusts and faults and a reduced thickness (or absence of Messinian evaporites in this part of the Ionian Sea.

  9. The cumulative impact of annual coral bleaching can turn some coral species winners into losers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grottoli, Andréa G; Warner, Mark E; Levas, Stephen J; Aschaffenburg, Matthew D; Schoepf, Verena; McGinley, Michael; Baumann, Justin; Matsui, Yohei

    2014-12-01

    Mass coral bleaching events caused by elevated seawater temperatures result in extensive coral loss throughout the tropics, and are projected to increase in frequency and severity. If bleaching becomes an annual event later in this century, more than 90% of coral reefs worldwide may be at risk of long-term degradation. While corals can recover from single isolated bleaching and can acclimate to recurring bleaching events that are separated by multiple years, it is currently unknown if and how they will survive and possibly acclimatize to annual coral bleaching. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that annual coral bleaching can dramatically alter thermal tolerance in Caribbean corals. We found that high coral energy reserves and changes in the dominant algal endosymbiont type (Symbiodinium spp.) facilitated rapid acclimation in Porites divaricata, whereas low energy reserves and a lack of algal phenotypic plasticity significantly increased susceptibility in Porites astreoides to bleaching the following year. Phenotypic plasticity in the dominant endosymbiont type of Orbicella faveolata did not prevent repeat bleaching, but may have facilitated rapid recovery. Thus, coral holobiont response to an isolated single bleaching event is not an accurate predictor of its response to bleaching the following year. Rather, the cumulative impact of annual coral bleaching can turn some coral species 'winners' into 'losers', and can also facilitate acclimation and turn some coral species 'losers' into 'winners'. Overall, these findings indicate that cumulative impact of annual coral bleaching could result in some species becoming increasingly susceptible to bleaching and face a long-term decline, while phenotypically plastic coral species will acclimatize and persist. Thus, annual coral bleaching and recovery could contribute to the selective loss of coral diversity as well as the overall decline of coral reefs in the Caribbean. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  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. 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...

  12. Coral Reef Status of Navassa Island 2004

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  13. A high resolution method for {sup 14}C analysis of a coral from South China Sea: Implication for “AD 775” {sup 14}C event

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ding, Ping [State Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510640 Guangzhou (China); Shen, Chengde, E-mail: cdshen@gig.ac.cn [State Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510640 Guangzhou (China); State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Physics and Technology, Peking University, 100871 Beijing (China); Yi, Weixi; Wang, Ning [State Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510640 Guangzhou (China); Ding, Xingfang; Liu, Kexin; Fu, Dongpo [State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Physics and Technology, Peking University, 100871 Beijing (China); Liu, Weiguo [State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, 710075 Xi’an (China); Liu, Yi [CAS Key Laboratory of Crust-Mantle Materials and Environments, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, 230026 Hefei (China)

    2015-10-15

    A pre-heating method that improves the background and precision of {sup 14}C dating significantly was applied for fossil coral dating with high resolution in our lab in Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (GIGCAS). The reaction tube is heated under 300 °C in a vacuum line before it is used for graphitization. The method can reduce the contamination absorbed in TiH{sub 2}, Zn and Fe power placed in the graphitization tube. With the pre-heating and average drilling method, bi-weekly resolution {sup 14}C dating in a fossil coral is carried out to investigate the “AD 775 {sup 14}C spike event”. Different from the tree ring {sup 14}C archives with the {sup 14}C spike of ∼15‰ (Δ{sup 14}C), the {sup 14}C spike in the coral shows an abrupt peak of 45‰ and two smaller spikes of Δ{sup 14}C > 20‰ in half a year in AD 776. And then, the {sup 14}C content in coral decreases gradually in AD 777. The peak time of the {sup 14}C spike event likely occurs in the summer of AD 776 according to the δ{sup 18}O variation in coral. High-resolution dating of {sup 14}C in coral provides not only a more detail process of the event than that from tree rings, but also the first report of the event from sea ecosystem. Both of them suggest an extraterrestrial origin of the event cause.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Microbial Ecology of Four Coral Atolls in the Northern Line Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smriga, Steven; Edwards, Robert A.; Angly, Florent; Wegley, Linda; Hatay, Mark; Hall, Dana; Brown, Elysa; Haynes, Matthew; Krause, Lutz; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A.; Thurber, Rebecca Vega; Willis, Bette L.; Azam, Farooq; Knowlton, Nancy; Rohwer, Forest

    2008-01-01

    Microbes are key players in both healthy and degraded coral reefs. A combination of metagenomics, microscopy, culturing, and water chemistry were used to characterize microbial communities on four coral atolls in the Northern Line Islands, central Pacific. Kingman, a small uninhabited atoll which lies most northerly in the chain, had microbial and water chemistry characteristic of an open ocean ecosystem. On this atoll the microbial community was equally divided between autotrophs (mostly Prochlorococcus spp.) and heterotrophs. In contrast, Kiritimati, a large and populated (∼5500 people) atoll, which is most southerly in the chain, had microbial and water chemistry characteristic of a near-shore environment. On Kiritimati, there were 10 times more microbial cells and virus-like particles in the water column and these microbes were dominated by heterotrophs, including a large percentage of potential pathogens. Culturable Vibrios were common only on Kiritimati. The benthic community on Kiritimati had the highest prevalence of coral disease and lowest coral cover. The middle atolls, Palmyra and Tabuaeran, had intermediate densities of microbes and viruses and higher percentages of autotrophic microbes than either Kingman or Kiritimati. The differences in microbial communities across atolls could reflect variation in 1) oceaonographic and/or hydrographic conditions or 2) human impacts associated with land-use and fishing. The fact that historically Kingman and Kiritimati did not differ strongly in their fish or benthic communities (both had large numbers of sharks and high coral cover) suggest an anthropogenic component in the differences in the microbial communities. Kingman is one of the world's most pristine coral reefs, and this dataset should serve as a baseline for future studies of coral reef microbes. Obtaining the microbial data set, from atolls is particularly important given the association of microbes in the ongoing degradation of coral reef ecosystems

  17. 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

  18. Microbial ecology of four coral atolls in the Northern Line Islands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth A Dinsdale

    Full Text Available Microbes are key players in both healthy and degraded coral reefs. A combination of metagenomics, microscopy, culturing, and water chemistry were used to characterize microbial communities on four coral atolls in the Northern Line Islands, central Pacific. Kingman, a small uninhabited atoll which lies most northerly in the chain, had microbial and water chemistry characteristic of an open ocean ecosystem. On this atoll the microbial community was equally divided between autotrophs (mostly Prochlorococcus spp. and heterotrophs. In contrast, Kiritimati, a large and populated ( approximately 5500 people atoll, which is most southerly in the chain, had microbial and water chemistry characteristic of a near-shore environment. On Kiritimati, there were 10 times more microbial cells and virus-like particles in the water column and these microbes were dominated by heterotrophs, including a large percentage of potential pathogens. Culturable Vibrios were common only on Kiritimati. The benthic community on Kiritimati had the highest prevalence of coral disease and lowest coral cover. The middle atolls, Palmyra and Tabuaeran, had intermediate densities of microbes and viruses and higher percentages of autotrophic microbes than either Kingman or Kiritimati. The differences in microbial communities across atolls could reflect variation in 1 oceaonographic and/or hydrographic conditions or 2 human impacts associated with land-use and fishing. The fact that historically Kingman and Kiritimati did not differ strongly in their fish or benthic communities (both had large numbers of sharks and high coral cover suggest an anthropogenic component in the differences in the microbial communities. Kingman is one of the world's most pristine coral reefs, and this dataset should serve as a baseline for future studies of coral reef microbes. Obtaining the microbial data set, from atolls is particularly important given the association of microbes in the ongoing degradation

  19. Effects of High Dissolved Inorganic and Organic Carbon Availability on the Physiology of the Hard Coral Acropora millepora from the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Friedrich W Meyer

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are facing major global and local threats due to climate change-induced increases in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC and because of land-derived increases in organic and inorganic nutrients. Recent research revealed that high availability of labile dissolved organic carbon (DOC negatively affects scleractinian corals. Studies on the interplay of these factors, however, are lacking, but urgently needed to understand coral reef functioning under present and near future conditions. This experimental study investigated the individual and combined effects of ambient and high DIC (pCO2 403 μatm/ pHTotal 8.2 and 996 μatm/pHTotal 7.8 and DOC (added as Glucose 0 and 294 μmol L-1, background DOC concentration of 83 μmol L-1 availability on the physiology (net and gross photosynthesis, respiration, dark and light calcification, and growth of the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora (Ehrenberg, 1834 from the Great Barrier Reef over a 16 day interval. High DIC availability did not affect photosynthesis, respiration and light calcification, but significantly reduced dark calcification and growth by 50 and 23%, respectively. High DOC availability reduced net and gross photosynthesis by 51% and 39%, respectively, but did not affect respiration. DOC addition did not influence calcification, but significantly increased growth by 42%. Combination of high DIC and high DOC availability did not affect photosynthesis, light calcification, respiration or growth, but significantly decreased dark calcification when compared to both controls and DIC treatments. On the ecosystem level, high DIC concentrations may lead to reduced accretion and growth of reefs dominated by Acropora that under elevated DOC concentrations will likely exhibit reduced primary production rates, ultimately leading to loss of hard substrate and reef erosion. It is therefore important to consider the potential impacts of elevated DOC and DIC simultaneously to assess real world

  20. Massive hard coral loss after a severe bleaching event in 2010 at Los Roques, Venezuela

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carolina Bastidas

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Thermal anomalies have become more severe, frequent and well-documented across the Caribbean for the past 30 years. This increase in temperature has caused coral bleaching resulting in reef decline. At Los Roques National Park, Venezuela, temperature has been monitored at four reef sites. In mid-September 2010, seawater temperature reached 30.85°C at 5 m depth in Los Roques, an archipelago only slightly affected by previous bleaching events. For example, bleaching in Los Roques in 2005 was mild compared to the rest of the Caribbean and to the results in this study. In 2010, seawater temperatures remained above 29.0°C from mid-August until the first week of November, resulting in +16 Degree Heating Weeks by that time. Our annual survey of four reef sites indicated that 72% of 563 scleractinian colonies were partial or totally bleached (white or pale (discolored in October 2010. In February 2011, there were still 46% of coral colonies affected; but most of them were pale and only 2% were bleached. By February, coral cover had declined 4 to 30% per transect, with a mean of 14.3%. Thus, mean coral cover dropped significantly from 45 to 31% cover (a 34% reduction. In addition to bleaching, corals showed a high prevalence (up to 16% of black band disease in October 2010 and of white plague (11% in February 2011. As a consequence, coral mortality is expected to be larger than reported here. Reef surveys since 2002 and personal observations for more than 20 years indicated that this bleaching event and its consequences in Los Roques have no precedent. Our results suggest that reef sites with no previous record of significant deterioration are more likely to become affected by thermal anomalies. However, this archipelago is relatively unaffected by local anthropogenic disturbance and has a high coral recruitment, which may contribute to its recovery

  1. 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.

  2. High tolerance to temperature and salinity change should enable scleractinian coral Platygyra acuta from marginal environments to persist under future climate change.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Apple Pui Yi Chui

    Full Text Available With projected changes in the marine environment under global climate change, the effects of single stressors on corals have been relatively well studied. However, more focus should be placed on the interactive effects of multiple stressors if their impacts upon corals are to be assessed more realistically. Elevation of sea surface temperature is projected under global climate change, and future increases in precipitation extremes related to the monsoon are also expected. Thus, the lowering of salinity could become a more common phenomenon and its impact on corals could be significant as extreme precipitation usually occurs during the coral spawning season. Here, we investigated the interactive effects of temperature [24, 27 (ambient, 30, 32°C] and salinity [33 psu (ambient, 30, 26, 22, 18, 14 psu] on larval settlement, post-settlement survival and early growth of the dominant coral Platygyra acuta from Hong Kong, a marginal environment for coral growth. The results indicate that elevated temperatures (+3°C and +5°C above ambient did not have any significant effects on larval settlement success and post-settlement survival for up to 56 days of prolonged exposure. Such thermal tolerance was markedly higher than that reported in the literature for other coral species. Moreover, there was a positive effect of these elevated temperatures in reducing the negative effects of lowered salinity (26 psu on settlement success. The enhanced settlement success brought about by elevated temperatures, together with the high post-settlement survival recorded up to 44 and 8 days of exposure under +3°C and +5°C ambient respectively, resulted in the overall positive effects of elevated temperatures on recruitment success. These results suggest that projected elevation in temperature over the next century should not pose any major problem for the recruitment success of P. acuta. The combined effects of higher temperatures and lowered salinity (26 psu could

  3. 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

  4. Coral reef carbonate budgets and ecological drivers in the naturally high temperature and high alkalinity environment of the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna

    2017-10-17

    The coral structural framework is crucial for maintaining reef ecosystem function and services. In the central Red Sea, a naturally high alkalinity is beneficial to reef growth, but rising water temperatures impair the calcification capacity of reef-building organisms. However, it is currently unknown how beneficial and detrimental factors affect the balance between calcification and erosion, and thereby the overall growth of the reef framework. To provide insight into present-day carbonate budgets and reef growth dynamics in the central Red Sea, we measured in situ net-accretion and net-erosion rates (Gnet) by deployment of limestone blocks and estimated census-based carbonate budgets (Gbudget) in four reef sites along a cross-shelf gradient (25 km). We assessed abiotic variables (i.e., temperature, inorganic nutrients, and carbonate system variables) and biotic drivers (i.e., calcifier and bioeroder abundances). On average, total alkalinity AT (2346-2431 μmol kg-1), aragonite saturation state (4.5-5.2 Ωa), and pCO2 (283-315 μatm) were close to estimates of pre-industrial global ocean surface waters. Despite these calcification-favorable carbonate system conditions, Gnet and Gbudget encompassed positive (offshore) and negative net-production (midshore-lagoon and exposed nearshore site) estimates. Notably, Gbudget maxima were lower compared to reef growth from pristine Indian Ocean sites. Yet, a comparison with historical data from the northern Red Sea suggests that overall reef growth in the Red Sea has likely remained similar since 1995. When assessing sites across the shelf gradient, AT correlated well with reef growth rates (ρ = 0.89), while temperature was a weaker, negative correlate (ρ = -0.71). Further, AT explained about 65% of Gbudget in a best fitting distance-based linear model. Interestingly, parrotfish abundances added up to 82% of explained variation, further substantiating recent studies highlighting the importance of parrotfish to reef

  5. Coral reef carbonate budgets and ecological drivers in the naturally high temperature and high alkalinity environment of the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna; Rö thig, Till; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    The coral structural framework is crucial for maintaining reef ecosystem function and services. In the central Red Sea, a naturally high alkalinity is beneficial to reef growth, but rising water temperatures impair the calcification capacity of reef-building organisms. However, it is currently unknown how beneficial and detrimental factors affect the balance between calcification and erosion, and thereby the overall growth of the reef framework. To provide insight into present-day carbonate budgets and reef growth dynamics in the central Red Sea, we measured in situ net-accretion and net-erosion rates (Gnet) by deployment of limestone blocks and estimated census-based carbonate budgets (Gbudget) in four reef sites along a cross-shelf gradient (25 km). We assessed abiotic variables (i.e., temperature, inorganic nutrients, and carbonate system variables) and biotic drivers (i.e., calcifier and bioeroder abundances). On average, total alkalinity AT (2346-2431 μmol kg-1), aragonite saturation state (4.5-5.2 Ωa), and pCO2 (283-315 μatm) were close to estimates of pre-industrial global ocean surface waters. Despite these calcification-favorable carbonate system conditions, Gnet and Gbudget encompassed positive (offshore) and negative net-production (midshore-lagoon and exposed nearshore site) estimates. Notably, Gbudget maxima were lower compared to reef growth from pristine Indian Ocean sites. Yet, a comparison with historical data from the northern Red Sea suggests that overall reef growth in the Red Sea has likely remained similar since 1995. When assessing sites across the shelf gradient, AT correlated well with reef growth rates (ρ = 0.89), while temperature was a weaker, negative correlate (ρ = -0.71). Further, AT explained about 65% of Gbudget in a best fitting distance-based linear model. Interestingly, parrotfish abundances added up to 82% of explained variation, further substantiating recent studies highlighting the importance of parrotfish to reef

  6. An automated approach for mapping persistent ice and snow cover over high latitude regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Selkowitz, David J.; Forster, Richard R.

    2016-01-01

    We developed an automated approach for mapping persistent ice and snow cover (glaciers and perennial snowfields) from Landsat TM and ETM+ data across a variety of topography, glacier types, and climatic conditions at high latitudes (above ~65°N). Our approach exploits all available Landsat scenes acquired during the late summer (1 August–15 September) over a multi-year period and employs an automated cloud masking algorithm optimized for snow and ice covered mountainous environments. Pixels from individual Landsat scenes were classified as snow/ice covered or snow/ice free based on the Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI), and pixels consistently identified as snow/ice covered over a five-year period were classified as persistent ice and snow cover. The same NDSI and ratio of snow/ice-covered days to total days thresholds applied consistently across eight study regions resulted in persistent ice and snow cover maps that agreed closely in most areas with glacier area mapped for the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI), with a mean accuracy (agreement with the RGI) of 0.96, a mean precision (user’s accuracy of the snow/ice cover class) of 0.92, a mean recall (producer’s accuracy of the snow/ice cover class) of 0.86, and a mean F-score (a measure that considers both precision and recall) of 0.88. We also compared results from our approach to glacier area mapped from high spatial resolution imagery at four study regions and found similar results. Accuracy was lowest in regions with substantial areas of debris-covered glacier ice, suggesting that manual editing would still be required in these regions to achieve reasonable results. The similarity of our results to those from the RGI as well as glacier area mapped from high spatial resolution imagery suggests it should be possible to apply this approach across large regions to produce updated 30-m resolution maps of persistent ice and snow cover. In the short term, automated PISC maps can be used to rapidly

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Coral reproduction in Western Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Speed, Conrad W.; Babcock, Russ

    2016-01-01

    Larval production and recruitment underpin the maintenance of coral populations, but these early life history stages are vulnerable to extreme variation in physical conditions. Environmental managers aim to minimise human impacts during significant periods of larval production and recruitment on reefs, but doing so requires knowledge of the modes and timing of coral reproduction. Most corals are hermaphroditic or gonochoric, with a brooding or broadcast spawning mode of reproduction. Brooding corals are a significant component of some reefs and produce larvae over consecutive months. Broadcast spawning corals are more common and display considerable variation in their patterns of spawning among reefs. Highly synchronous spawning can occur on reefs around Australia, particularly on the Great Barrier Reef. On Australia’s remote north-west coast there have been fewer studies of coral reproduction. The recent industrial expansion into these regions has facilitated research, but the associated data are often contained within confidential reports. Here we combine information in this grey-literature with that available publicly to update our knowledge of coral reproduction in WA, for tens of thousands of corals and hundreds of species from over a dozen reefs spanning 20° of latitude. We identified broad patterns in coral reproduction, but more detailed insights were hindered by biased sampling; most studies focused on species of Acropora sampled over a few months at several reefs. Within the existing data, there was a latitudinal gradient in spawning activity among seasons, with mass spawning during autumn occurring on all reefs (but the temperate south-west). Participation in a smaller, multi-specific spawning during spring decreased from approximately one quarter of corals on the Kimberley Oceanic reefs to little participation at Ningaloo. Within these seasons, spawning was concentrated in March and/or April, and October and/or November, depending on the timing of

  11. Cloud cover detection combining high dynamic range sky images and ceilometer measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Román, R.; Cazorla, A.; Toledano, C.; Olmo, F. J.; Cachorro, V. E.; de Frutos, A.; Alados-Arboledas, L.

    2017-11-01

    This paper presents a new algorithm for cloud detection based on high dynamic range images from a sky camera and ceilometer measurements. The algorithm is also able to detect the obstruction of the sun. This algorithm, called CPC (Camera Plus Ceilometer), is based on the assumption that under cloud-free conditions the sky field must show symmetry. The symmetry criteria are applied depending on ceilometer measurements of the cloud base height. CPC algorithm is applied in two Spanish locations (Granada and Valladolid). The performance of CPC retrieving the sun conditions (obstructed or unobstructed) is analyzed in detail using as reference pyranometer measurements at Granada. CPC retrievals are in agreement with those derived from the reference pyranometer in 85% of the cases (it seems that this agreement does not depend on aerosol size or optical depth). The agreement percentage goes down to only 48% when another algorithm, based on Red-Blue Ratio (RBR), is applied to the sky camera images. The retrieved cloud cover at Granada and Valladolid is compared with that registered by trained meteorological observers. CPC cloud cover is in agreement with the reference showing a slight overestimation and a mean absolute error around 1 okta. A major advantage of the CPC algorithm with respect to the RBR method is that the determined cloud cover is independent of aerosol properties. The RBR algorithm overestimates cloud cover for coarse aerosols and high loads. Cloud cover obtained only from ceilometer shows similar results than CPC algorithm; but the horizontal distribution cannot be obtained. In addition, it has been observed that under quick and strong changes on cloud cover ceilometers retrieve a cloud cover fitting worse with the real cloud cover.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-01

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

  13. 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

  14. Unprecedented evidence for high viral abundance and lytic activity in coral reef waters of the South Pacific Ocean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jérôme P. Payet

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Despite nutrient-depleted conditions, coral reef waters harbor abundant and diverse microbes; as major agents of microbial mortality, viruses are likely to influence microbial processes in these ecosystems. However, little is known about marine viruses in these rapidly changing ecosystems. Here we examined spatial and short-term temporal variability in marine viral abundance and viral lytic activity across various reef habitats surrounding Moorea Island (French Polynesia in the South Pacific. Water samples were collected along 4 regional cross-reef transects and during a time-series in Opunohu Bay. Results revealed high viral abundance (range: 5.6 x 106 – 3.6 x 107 viruses ml-1 and lytic viral production (range: 1.5 x 109 – 9.2 x 1010 viruses l-1 d-1. Flow cytometry revealed that viral assemblages were composed of three subsets that each displayed distinct spatiotemporal relationships with nutrient concentrations and autotrophic and heterotrophic microbial abundances. The results highlight dynamic shifts in viral community structure and imply that each of these three subsets is ecologically important and likely to infect distinct microbial hosts in reef waters. Based on viral-reduction approach, we estimate that lytic viruses were responsible for the removal of ca. 24% to 367% of bacterial standing stock d-1 and the release of ca. 1.1 to 62 µg of organic carbon l-1 d-1 in reef waters. Overall, this work demonstrates the highly dynamic distribution of viruses and their critical roles in controlling microbial mortality and nutrient cycling in coral reef water ecosystems.

  15. Variability of spawning time (lunar day) in Acropora versus merulinid corals: a 7-yr record of in situ coral spawning in Taiwan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Che-Hung; Nozawa, Yoko

    2017-12-01

    Despite the global accumulation of coral spawning records over the past three decades, information on inter-annual variation in spawning time is still insufficient, resulting in difficulty in predicting coral spawning time. Here, we present new information on in situ spawning times of scleractinian corals at Lyudao, Taiwan, covering their inter-annual variations over a 7-yr period (2010-2016). Spawning of 42 species from 16 genera in eight families was recorded. The majority were hermaphroditic spawners (38 of 42 species), and their spawning occurred 2-4 h after sunset on 1-11 d after the full moon (AFM), mostly in April and May. There were two distinct patterns in the two dominant taxa, the genus Acropora (14 species) and the family Merulinidae (18 species in eight genera). The annual spawning of Acropora corals mostly occurred on a single night in May with high inter-annual variation of spawning (lunar) days between 1 and 11 d AFM. In contrast, the annual spawning of merulinid corals commonly occurred over 2-3 consecutive nights in two consecutive months, April and May, with the specific range of spawning days around the last quarter moon (between 5 and 8 d AFM). The distinct spawning patterns of these taxa were also documented at Okinawa and Kochi, Japan, where similar long-term monitoring of in situ coral spawning has been conducted. This variability in spawning days implies different regulatory mechanisms of synchronous spawning where Acropora corals might be more sensitive to exogenous environmental factors (hourglass mechanism), compared to merulinid corals, which may rely more on endogenous biological rhythms (oscillator mechanism).

  16. The northern limit of corals of the genus Acropora in temperate zones is determined by their resilience to cold bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Higuchi, Tomihiko; Agostini, Sylvain; Casareto, Beatriz Estela; Suzuki, Yoshimi; Yuyama, Ikuko

    2015-12-18

    The distribution of corals in Japan covers a wide range of latitudes, encompassing tropical to temperate zones. However, coral communities in temperate zones contain only a small subset of species. Among the parameters that determine the distribution of corals, temperature plays an important role. We tested the resilience to cold stress of three coral species belonging to the genus Acropora in incubation experiments. Acropora pruinosa, which is the northernmost of the three species, bleached at 13 °C, but recovered once temperatures were increased. The two other species, A. hyacinthus and A. solitaryensis, which has a more southerly range than A. pruinosa, died rapidly after bleaching at 13 °C. The physiological effects of cold bleaching on the corals included decreased rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and calcification, similar to the physiological effects observed with bleaching due to high temperature stress. Contrasting hot bleaching, no increases in antioxidant enzyme activities were observed, suggesting that reactive oxygen species play a less important role in bleaching under cold stress. These results confirmed the importance of resilience to cold stress in determining the distribution and northern limits of coral species, as cold events causing coral bleaching and high mortality occur regularly in temperate zones.

  17. Corals like it waxed: paraffin-based antifouling technology enhances coral spat survival.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Tebben

    Full Text Available The early post-settlement stage is the most sensitive during the life history of reef building corals. However, few studies have examined the factors that influence coral mortality during this period. Here, the impact of fouling on the survival of newly settled coral spat of Acropora millepora was investigated by manipulating the extent of fouling cover on settlement tiles using non-toxic, wax antifouling coatings. Survival of spat on coated tiles was double that on control tiles. Moreover, there was a significant negative correlation between percentage cover of fouling and spat survival across all tiles types, suggesting that fouling in direct proximity to settled corals has detrimental effects on early post-settlement survival. While previous studies have shown that increased fouling negatively affects coral larval settlement and health of juvenile and adult corals, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show a direct relationship between fouling and early post-settlement survival for a broadcast spawning scleractinian coral. The negative effects of fouling on this sensitive life history stage may become more pronounced in the future as coastal eutrophication increases. Our results further suggest that targeted seeding of coral spat on artificial surfaces in combination with fouling control could prove useful to improve the efficiency of sexual reproduction-based coral propagation for reef rehabilitation.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Raiding the Coral Nurseries?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alison M. Jones

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available A recent shift in the pattern of commercial harvest in the Keppel Island region of the southern inshore Great Barrier Reef raises concern about the depletion of a number of relatively rare restricted range taxa. The shift appears to be driven by demand from the United States (US for corals for domestic aquaria. Data from the annual status reports from the Queensland Coral Fishery were compared with export trade data to the US from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES. Evidence was found of recent increases in the harvest of species from the Mussidae family (Acanthastrea spp. which appears to be largely driven by demand from the US. On present trends, the industry runs the risk of localized depletion of Blastomussa and Scolymia; evidenced by an increase in the harvest of small specimens and the trend of decreasing harvest despite a concurrent increase in demand. Considering their relatively high sediment tolerance compared to other reef-building species, and the current lack of information about their functional role in reef stability, the trend raises concerns about the impact of the harvest on local coral communities. The recent shift in harvest patterns could have impacts on slow-growing species by allowing harvest beyond the rate of population regeneration. In light of these factors, combined with the value of such species to local tourism, a commercial coral fishery based on uncommon but highly sought-after species may not be ecologically sustainable or economically viable in the Keppels.

  1. Snow cover volumes dynamic monitoring during melting season using high topographic accuracy approach for a Lebanese high plateau witness sinkhole

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abou Chakra, Charbel; Somma, Janine; Elali, Taha; Drapeau, Laurent

    2017-04-01

    Climate change and its negative impact on water resource is well described. For countries like Lebanon, undergoing major population's rise and already decreasing precipitations issues, effective water resources management is crucial. Their continuous and systematic monitoring overs long period of time is therefore an important activity to investigate drought risk scenarios for the Lebanese territory. Snow cover on Lebanese mountains is the most important water resources reserve. Consequently, systematic observation of snow cover dynamic plays a major role in order to support hydrologic research with accurate data on snow cover volumes over the melting season. For the last 20 years few studies have been conducted for Lebanese snow cover. They were focusing on estimating the snow cover surface using remote sensing and terrestrial measurement without obtaining accurate maps for the sampled locations. Indeed, estimations of both snow cover area and volumes are difficult due to snow accumulation very high variability and Lebanese mountains chains slopes topographic heterogeneity. Therefore, the snow cover relief measurement in its three-dimensional aspect and its Digital Elevation Model computation is essential to estimate snow cover volume. Despite the need to cover the all lebanese territory, we favored experimental terrestrial topographic site approaches due to high resolution satellite imagery cost, its limited accessibility and its acquisition restrictions. It is also most challenging to modelise snow cover at national scale. We therefore, selected a representative witness sinkhole located at Ouyoun el Siman to undertake systematic and continuous observations based on topographic approach using a total station. After four years of continuous observations, we acknowledged the relation between snow melt rate, date of total melting and neighboring springs discharges. Consequently, we are able to forecast, early in the season, dates of total snowmelt and springs low

  2. Threatened corals provide underexplored microbial habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shinichi Sunagawa

    2010-03-01

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

  3. Multitemporal analysis of the change of earth covering; high basin Guatiquia River - Low Sector

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Prieto Gonzalez, Jose Luis

    1999-01-01

    One of the basic functions inside the environmental administration has been the record of the variables of the natural environment. The earth covering corresponds to one of the elements that to the registered being and analyzed, shows with more fidelity the evolution of the environment. At the present time, and from their creation in 1992, the project Guatiquia River - PRG that covers 90.000 approximately has. Located between the Cundinamarca and Meta Departments, it has looked for to obtain the necessary technical elements to achieve a sustainable handling in the area, for it, it intended to be ahead a study that allows to quantify and to analyze the changes of the earth covering, reason for which, it was ahead the present study: multitemporal analysis of the change of earth covering high basin of the Guatiquia River low sector, for a total surface of 13997.64 hectares (corresponding to 15.8% of the area of action of the Project Guatiquia River), and having as basic tools the remote perception and the geographical information systems, it was carried out the prosecution of the information of earth covering in the study area for the years 1993 and 1997 starting from which, were determined and analyzed the changes of earth covering, they were presented in cartographic documents to scale 1:25.000, corresponding to a detailed study

  4. Autonomous Coral Reef Survey in Support of Remote Sensing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven G. Ackleson

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available An autonomous surface vehicle instrumented with optical and acoustical sensors was deployed in Kane'ohe Bay, HI, U.S.A., to provide high-resolution, in situ observations of coral reef reflectance with minimal human presence. The data represented a wide range in bottom type, water depth, and illumination and supported more thorough investigations of remote sensing methods for identifying and mapping shallow reef features. The in situ data were used to compute spectral bottom reflectance and remote sensing reflectance, Rrs,λ, as a function of water depth and benthic features. The signals were used to distinguish between live coral and uncolonized sediment within the depth range of the measurements (2.5–5 m. In situRrs, λ were found to compare well with remotely sensed measurements from an imaging spectrometer, the Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS, deployed on an aircraft at high altitude. Cloud cover and in situ sensor orientation were found to have minimal impact on in situRrs, λ, suggesting that valid reflectance data may be collected using autonomous surveys even when atmospheric conditions are not favorable for remote sensing operations. The use of reflectance in the red and near infrared portions of the spectrum, expressed as the red edge height, REHλ, was investigated for detecting live aquatic vegetative biomass, including coral symbionts and turf algae. The REHλ signal from live coral was detected in Kane'ohe Bay to a depth of approximately 4 m with in situ measurements. A remote sensing algorithm based on the REHλ signal was defined and applied to AVIRIS imagery of the entire bay and was found to reveal areas of shallow, dense coral and algal cover. The peak wavelength of REHλ decreased with increasing water depth, indicating that a more complete examination of the red edge signal may potentially yield a remote sensing approach to simultaneously estimate vegetative biomass and bathymetry in shallow water.

  5. Making a model meaningful to coral reef managers in a developing nation: a case study of overfishing and rock anchoring in Indonesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maynard, Jeffrey A; Anthony, Kenneth R N; Afatta, Siham; Dahl-Tacconi, Nancy; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2010-10-01

    Most of the world's coral reefs line the coasts of developing nations, where impacts from intense and destructive fishing practices form critical conservation issues for managers. Overfishing of herbivorous fishes can cause phase shifts to macroalgal dominance, and fishers' use of rocks as anchors lowers coral cover, giving further competitive advantage to macroalgae. Overfishing and anchoring have been studied extensively, but the role of their interaction in lowering coral reef resilience has not been quantified formally. We analyzed the combined effects of overfishing and rock anchoring on a range of reef habitat types--varying from high coral and low macroalgae cover to low coral and high macroalgae cover--in a marine park in Indonesia. We parameterized a model of coral and algal dynamics with three intensities of anchoring and fishing pressure. Results of the model indicated that damage caused by rock anchoring was equal to or possibly more devastating to coral reefs in the area than the impact of overfishing. This is an important outcome for local managers, who usually have the funds to distribute less-damaging anchors, but normally are unable to patrol regularly and effectively enough to reduce the impact of overfishing. We translated model results into an interactive visual tool that allows managers to explore the benefits of reducing anchoring frequency and fishing pressure. The potential consequences of inaction were made clear: the likelihood that any of the reef habitats will be dominated in the future by macroalgae rather than corals depends on reducing anchoring frequency, fishing pressure, or both. The tool provides a platform for strengthened relationships between managers and conservationists and can facilitate the uptake of recommendations regarding resource allocation and management actions. Conservation efforts for coral reefs in developing nations are likely to benefit from transforming model projections of habitat condition into tools local

  6. The 2014 coral bleaching and freshwater flood events in Kāne'ohe Bay, Hawai'i.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bahr, Keisha D; Jokiel, Paul L; Rodgers, Kuʻulei S

    2015-01-01

    Until recently, subtropical Hawai'i escaped the major bleaching events that have devastated many tropical regions, but the continued increases in global long-term mean temperatures and the apparent ending of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) cool phase have increased the risk of bleaching events. Climate models and observations predict that bleaching in Hawai'i will occur with increasing frequency and increasing severity over future decades. A freshwater "kill" event occurred during July 2014 in the northern part of Kāne'ohe Bay that reduced coral cover by 22.5% in the area directly impacted by flooding. A subsequent major bleaching event during September 2014 caused extensive coral bleaching and mortality throughout the bay and further reduced coral cover in the freshwater kill area by 60.0%. The high temperature bleaching event only caused a 1.0% reduction in live coral throughout the portion of the bay not directly impacted by the freshwater event. Thus, the combined impact of the low salinity event and the thermal bleaching event appears to be more than simply additive. The temperature regime during the September 2014 bleaching event was analogous in duration and intensity to that of the large bleaching event that occurred previously during August 1996, but resulted in a much larger area of bleaching and coral mortality. Apparently seasonal timing as well as duration and magnitude of heating is important. Coral spawning in the dominant coral species occurs early in the summer, so reservoirs of stored lipid in the corals had been depleted by spawning prior to the September 2014 event. Warm months above 27 °C result in lower coral growth and presumably could further decrease lipid reserves, leading to a bleaching event that was more severe than would have happened if the high temperatures occurred earlier in the summer. Hawaiian reef corals decrease skeletal growth at temperatures above 27 °C, so perhaps the "stress period" actually started long before the

  7. Nutrients, High Light and Shallow Depths Favor the Expansion of the Brown Macroalgae Turbinaria ornata in the Coral Reefs of Mo'orea, French Polynesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nieves, M.; Cordoba, G.; Rogers, J.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs provide food, recreation and economic resources for billions of people. Despite this importance, anthropogenic stressors including climate change and nutrification threaten coral reefs globally, causing phase-shifts to algal dominated ecosystems and loss of coral habitats. Throughout the tropical South Pacific, the brown macroalgae Turbinaria ornata is expanding its range and now dominates areas where corals used to thrive, especially shallow areas on fringing reefs of French Polynesia. Abiotic factors like light and nutrient availability could enhance the expansion of T. ornata by promoting its growth or by making it physically tougher, which could reduce herbivory pressure and enhance its survival in high energy zones. To understand the abiotic factors favoring growth and survival of T. ornata in Mo'orea, French Polynesia, we conducted a field experiment testing the effect of nutrients (+/- fertilizer), depth (1m within Turbinaria zone, 1.5m at border, 2m below depth distribution), and light (+/- shade) on the growth and toughness of T. ornata. Three-factor ANOVA showed that an interaction between nutrients and light favored T. ornata biomass accumulation (p=0.04). In addition, T. ornata from shallow depths were significantly tougher than those at intermediate depths (p=0.01). These results imply that nutrient enrichment combined with high light levels common in shallow coral reefs may promote growth and expansion of T. ornata to near-shore reef environments. Increased survival and population growth is likely further enhanced by increased toughness of T. ornata in shallow areas, which may limit herbivore grazing and improve survival in strong wave action or currents. Future research should examine whether reducing nutrient loading to coastal waters may limit the expansion of T. ornata in the South Pacific.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-06-01

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

  9. Excess labile carbon promotes the expression of virulence factors in coral reef bacterioplankton.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cárdenas, Anny; Neave, Matthew J; Haroon, Mohamed Fauzi; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Rädecker, Nils; Wild, Christian; Gärdes, Astrid; Voolstra, Christian R

    2018-01-01

    Coastal pollution and algal cover are increasing on many coral reefs, resulting in higher dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. High DOC concentrations strongly affect microbial activity in reef waters and select for copiotrophic, often potentially virulent microbial populations. High DOC concentrations on coral reefs are also hypothesized to be a determinant for switching microbial lifestyles from commensal to pathogenic, thereby contributing to coral reef degradation, but evidence is missing. In this study, we conducted ex situ incubations to assess gene expression of planktonic microbial populations under elevated concentrations of naturally abundant monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, mannose, and xylose) in algal exudates and sewage inflows. We assembled 27 near-complete (>70%) microbial genomes through metagenomic sequencing and determined associated expression patterns through metatranscriptomic sequencing. Differential gene expression analysis revealed a shift in the central carbohydrate metabolism and the induction of metalloproteases, siderophores, and toxins in Alteromonas, Erythrobacter, Oceanicola, and Alcanivorax populations. Sugar-specific induction of virulence factors suggests a mechanistic link for the switch from a commensal to a pathogenic lifestyle, particularly relevant during increased algal cover and human-derived pollution on coral reefs. Although an explicit test remains to be performed, our data support the hypothesis that increased availability of specific sugars changes net microbial community activity in ways that increase the emergence and abundance of opportunistic pathogens, potentially contributing to coral reef degradation.

  10. Excess labile carbon promotes the expression of virulence factors in coral reef bacterioplankton

    KAUST Repository

    Cardenas, Anny

    2017-09-12

    Coastal pollution and algal cover are increasing on many coral reefs, resulting in higher dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. High DOC concentrations strongly affect microbial activity in reef waters and select for copiotrophic, often potentially virulent microbial populations. High DOC concentrations on coral reefs are also hypothesized to be a determinant for switching microbial lifestyles from commensal to pathogenic, thereby contributing to coral reef degradation, but evidence is missing. In this study, we conducted ex situ incubations to assess gene expression of planktonic microbial populations under elevated concentrations of naturally abundant monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, mannose, and xylose) in algal exudates and sewage inflows. We assembled 27 near-complete (>70%) microbial genomes through metagenomic sequencing and determined associated expression patterns through metatranscriptomic sequencing. Differential gene expression analysis revealed a shift in the central carbohydrate metabolism and the induction of metalloproteases, siderophores, and toxins in Alteromonas, Erythrobacter, Oceanicola, and Alcanivorax populations. Sugar-specific induction of virulence factors suggests a mechanistic link for the switch from a commensal to a pathogenic lifestyle, particularly relevant during increased algal cover and human-derived pollution on coral reefs. Although an explicit test remains to be performed, our data support the hypothesis that increased availability of specific sugars changes net microbial community activity in ways that increase the emergence and abundance of opportunistic pathogens, potentially contributing to coral reef degradation.

  11. Excess labile carbon promotes the expression of virulence factors in coral reef bacterioplankton

    KAUST Repository

    Cardenas, Anny; Neave, Matthew J.; Haroon, Mohamed; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Radecker, Nils; Wild, Christian; Gä rdes, Astrid; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2017-01-01

    Coastal pollution and algal cover are increasing on many coral reefs, resulting in higher dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. High DOC concentrations strongly affect microbial activity in reef waters and select for copiotrophic, often potentially virulent microbial populations. High DOC concentrations on coral reefs are also hypothesized to be a determinant for switching microbial lifestyles from commensal to pathogenic, thereby contributing to coral reef degradation, but evidence is missing. In this study, we conducted ex situ incubations to assess gene expression of planktonic microbial populations under elevated concentrations of naturally abundant monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, mannose, and xylose) in algal exudates and sewage inflows. We assembled 27 near-complete (>70%) microbial genomes through metagenomic sequencing and determined associated expression patterns through metatranscriptomic sequencing. Differential gene expression analysis revealed a shift in the central carbohydrate metabolism and the induction of metalloproteases, siderophores, and toxins in Alteromonas, Erythrobacter, Oceanicola, and Alcanivorax populations. Sugar-specific induction of virulence factors suggests a mechanistic link for the switch from a commensal to a pathogenic lifestyle, particularly relevant during increased algal cover and human-derived pollution on coral reefs. Although an explicit test remains to be performed, our data support the hypothesis that increased availability of specific sugars changes net microbial community activity in ways that increase the emergence and abundance of opportunistic pathogens, potentially contributing to coral reef degradation.

  12. Sodium and cover gas chemistry in the high temperature sodium facility

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McCown, J.J.; Duncan, H.C.

    1976-01-01

    The equipment and procedures used in following sodium and cover gas chemistry changes in the High Temperature Sodium Facility are presented. The methods of analysis and results obtained are given. Impurity trends which have been measured during the facility operations are discussed

  13. High-temperature oxidation of tungsten covered by layer of glass-enamel melt

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vasnetsova, V.B.; Shardakov, N.T.; Kudyakov, V.Ya.; Deryabin, V.A.

    1997-01-01

    Corrosion losses of tungsten covered by the layer of glass-enamel melt were determined at 800, 850, 900, 950 deg C. It is shown that the rate of high-temperature oxidation of tungsten decreases after application of glass-enamel melt on its surface. This is probably conditioned by reduction of area of metal interaction with oxidizing atmosphere

  14. End to End Digitisation and Analysis of Three-Dimensional Coral Models, from Communities to Corallites.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luis Gutierrez-Heredia

    Full Text Available Coral reefs hosts nearly 25% of all marine species and provide food sources for half a billion people worldwide while only a very small percentage have been surveyed. Advances in technology and processing along with affordable underwater cameras and Internet availability gives us the possibility to provide tools and softwares to survey entire coral reefs. Holistic ecological analyses of corals require not only the community view (10s to 100s of meters, but also the single colony analysis as well as corallite identification. As corals are three-dimensional, classical approaches to determine percent cover and structural complexity across spatial scales are inefficient, time-consuming and limited to experts. Here we propose an end-to-end approach to estimate these parameters using low-cost equipment (GoPro, Canon and freeware (123D Catch, Meshmixer and Netfabb, allowing every community to participate in surveys and monitoring of their coral ecosystem. We demonstrate our approach on 9 species of underwater colonies in ranging size and morphology. 3D models of underwater colonies, fresh samples and bleached skeletons with high quality texture mapping and detailed topographic morphology were produced, and Surface Area and Volume measurements (parameters widely used for ecological and coral health studies were calculated and analysed. Moreover, we integrated collected sample models with micro-photogrammetry models of individual corallites to aid identification and colony and polyp scale analysis.

  15. End to End Digitisation and Analysis of Three-Dimensional Coral Models, from Communities to Corallites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutierrez-Heredia, Luis; Benzoni, Francesca; Murphy, Emma; Reynaud, Emmanuel G

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs hosts nearly 25% of all marine species and provide food sources for half a billion people worldwide while only a very small percentage have been surveyed. Advances in technology and processing along with affordable underwater cameras and Internet availability gives us the possibility to provide tools and softwares to survey entire coral reefs. Holistic ecological analyses of corals require not only the community view (10s to 100s of meters), but also the single colony analysis as well as corallite identification. As corals are three-dimensional, classical approaches to determine percent cover and structural complexity across spatial scales are inefficient, time-consuming and limited to experts. Here we propose an end-to-end approach to estimate these parameters using low-cost equipment (GoPro, Canon) and freeware (123D Catch, Meshmixer and Netfabb), allowing every community to participate in surveys and monitoring of their coral ecosystem. We demonstrate our approach on 9 species of underwater colonies in ranging size and morphology. 3D models of underwater colonies, fresh samples and bleached skeletons with high quality texture mapping and detailed topographic morphology were produced, and Surface Area and Volume measurements (parameters widely used for ecological and coral health studies) were calculated and analysed. Moreover, we integrated collected sample models with micro-photogrammetry models of individual corallites to aid identification and colony and polyp scale analysis.

  16. Generation of Land Cover Maps Using High-Resolution Multispectral Aerial Cameras

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Höhle, Joachim

    2013-01-01

    . The classification had an overall accuracy of 79%. Suggestions for the improvements in the applied methodology are made. The potential of land cover maps lies in updating of topographic databases, quality control of maps, studies of town development, and other geo-spatial domain applications. The automatic...... for classification of land cover. A high degree of automation can be achieved. The obtained results of a practical example are checked with reference values derived from ortho-images in natural colour and from colour images using stereo-vision. An error matrix is applied in the evaluation of the results...

  17. Snow cover dynamics and water balance in complex high alpine terrain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warscher, Michael; Kraller, Gabriele; Kunstmann, Harald; Strasser, Ulrich; Franz, Helmut

    2010-05-01

    The water balance in high alpine regions in its full complexity is so far insufficiently understood. High altitudinal gradients, a strong variability of meteorological variables in time and space, complex hydrogeological situations, unquantified lateral snow transport processes and heterogenous snow cover dynamics result in high uncertainties in the quantification of the water balance. To achieve interpretable modeling results we have complemented the deterministic hydrological model WaSiM-ETH with the high-alpine specific snow model AMUNDSEN. The integration of the new snow module was done to improve the modeling of water fluxes influenced by the dynamics of the snow cover, which greatly affect the water cycle in high alpine regions. To enhance the reproduction of snow deposition and ablation processes, the new approach calculates the energy balance of the snow cover considering the terrain-dependent radiation fluxes, the interaction between tree canopy and snow cover as well as lateral snow transport processes. The test site for our study is the Berchtesgaden National Park which is characterized by an extreme topography with mountain ranges covering an altitude from 607 to 2713 m.a.s.l. About one quarter of the investigated catchment area, which comprises 433 km² in total, is terrain steeper than 35°. Due to water soluble limestone being predominant in the region, a high number of subsurface water pathways (karst) exist. The results of several tracer experiments and extensive data of spring observations provide additional information to meet the challenge of modeling the unknown subsurface pathways and the complex groundwater system of the region. The validation of the new snow module is based on a dense network of meteorological stations which have been adapted to measure physical properties of the snow cover like snow water equivalent and liquid water content. We will present first results which show that the integration of the new snow module generates a

  18. Implications of coral harvest and transplantation on reefs in northwestern Dominica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W Bruckner

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available In June, 2002, the government of Dominica requested assistance in evaluating the coral culture and transplantation activities being undertaken by Oceanographic Institute of Dominica (OID, a coral farm culturing both western Atlantic and Indo-Pacific corals for restoration and commercial sales. We assessed the culture facilities of OID, the condition of reefs, potential impacts of coral collection and benefits of coral transplantation. Coral reefs (9 reefs, 3-20m depth were characterized by 35 species of scleractinian corals and a live coral cover of 8-35%. Early colonizing, brooders such as Porites astreoides (14.8% of all corals, P. porites (14.8%, Meandrina meandrites (14.7% and Agaricia agaricites (9.1% were the most abundant corals, but colonies were mostly small (mean=25cm diameter. Montastraea annularis (complex was the other dominant taxa (20.8% of all corals and colonies were larger (mean=70cm. Corals (pooled species were missing an average of 20% of their tissue, with a mean of 1.4% recent mortality. Coral diseases affected 6.4% of all colonies, with the highest prevalence at Cabrits West (11.0%, Douglas Bay (12.2% and Coconut Outer reef (20.7%. White plague and yellow band disease were causing the greatest loss of tissue, especially among M. annularis (complex, with localized impacts from corallivores, overgrowth by macroalgae, storm damage and sedimentation. While the reefs appeared to be undergoing substantial decline, restoration efforts by OID were unlikely to promote recovery. No Pacific species were identified at OID restoration sites, yet species chosen for transplantation with highest survival included short-lived brooders (Agaricia and Porites that were abundant in restoration sites, as well as non-reef builders (Palythoa and Erythropodium that monopolize substrates and overgrow corals. The species of highest value for restoration (massive broadcast spawners showed low survivorship and unrestored populations of these species

  19. Monitoring coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves in Costa Rica (CARICOMP

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge Cortés

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available The coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves from the Costa Rican Caribbean coast have been monitored since 1999 using the CARICOMP protocol. Live coral cover at Meager Shoal reef bank (7 to 10m depth at the Parque Nacional Cahuita (National Park, increased from 13.3% in 1999, to 28.2% in 2003, but decreased during the next 5 years to around 17.5%. Algal cover increased significantly since 2003 from 36.6% to 61.3% in 2008. The density of Diadema antillarum oscillated between 2 and 7ind/m2, while Echinometra viridis decreased significantly from 20 to 0.6ind/m2. Compared to other CARICOMP sites, live coral cover, fish diversity and density, and sea urchin density were low, and algal cover was intermediate. The seagrass site, also in the Parque Nacional Cahuita, is dominated by Thalassia testudinum and showed an intermediate productivity (2.7±1.15 g/m2/d and biomass (822.8±391.84 g/m2 compared to other CARICOMP sites. Coral reefs and seagrasses at the Parque Nacional Cahuita continue to be impacted by high sediment loads from terrestrial origin. The mangrove forest at Gandoca, within the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo (National Wildlife Refuge, surrounds a lagoon and it is dominated by the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle. Productivity and flower production peak was in July. Biomass (14kg/m2 and density (9.0±0.58 trees/100m2 in Gandoca were relatively low compared to other CARICOMP sites, while productivity in July in Costa Rica (4g/m2/d was intermediate, similar to most CARICOMP sites. This mangrove is expanding and has low human impact thus far. Management actions should be taken to protect and preserve these important coastal ecosystems. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (Suppl. 3: 1-22. Epub 2010 October 01.

  20. 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...

  1. 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.

  2. Land Cover Mapping in Northern High Latitude Permafrost Regions with Satellite Data: Achievements and Remaining Challenges

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Annett Bartsch

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Most applications of land cover maps that have been derived from satellite data over the Arctic require higher thematic detail than available in current global maps. A range of application studies has been reviewed, including up-scaling of carbon fluxes and pools, permafrost feature mapping and transition monitoring. Early land cover mapping studies were driven by the demand to characterize wildlife habitats. Later, in the 1990s, up-scaling of in situ measurements became central to the discipline of land cover mapping on local to regional scales at several sites across the Arctic. This includes the Kuparuk basin in Alaska, the Usa basin and the Lena Delta in Russia. All of these multi-purpose land cover maps have been derived from Landsat data. High resolution maps (from optical satellite data serve frequently as input for the characterization of periglacial features and also flux tower footprints in recent studies. The most used map to address circumpolar issues is the CAVM (Circum Arctic Vegetation Map based on AVHRR (1 km and has been manually derived. It provides the required thematic detail for many applications, but is confined to areas north of the treeline, and it is limited in spatial detail. A higher spatial resolution circumpolar land cover map with sufficient thematic content would be beneficial for a range of applications. Such a land cover classification should be compatible with existing global maps and applicable for multiple purposes. The thematic content of existing global maps has been assessed by comparison to the CAVM and regional maps. None of the maps provides the required thematic detail. Spatial resolution has been compared to used classes for local to regional applications. The required thematic detail increases with spatial resolution since coarser datasets are usually applied over larger areas covering more relevant landscape units. This is especially of concern when the entire Arctic is addressed. A spatial

  3. Out of their depth? Isolated deep populations of the cosmopolitan coral Desmophyllum dianthus may be highly vulnerable to environmental change.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karen J Miller

    Full Text Available Deep sea scleractinian corals will be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, facing loss of up to 70% of their habitat as the Aragonite Saturation Horizon (below which corals are unable to form calcium carbonate skeletons rises. Persistence of deep sea scleractinian corals will therefore rely on the ability of larvae to disperse to, and colonise, suitable shallow-water habitat. We used DNA sequence data of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS, the mitochondrial ribosomal subunit (16S and mitochondrial control region (MtC to determine levels of gene flow both within and among populations of the deep sea coral Desmophyllum dianthus in SE Australia, New Zealand and Chile to assess the ability of corals to disperse into different regions and habitats. We found significant genetic subdivision among the three widely separated geographic regions consistent with isolation and limited contemporary gene flow. Furthermore, corals from different depth strata (shallow 1500 m even on the same or nearby seamounts were strongly differentiated, indicating limited vertical larval dispersal. Genetic differentiation with depth is consistent with the stratification of the Subantarctic Mode Water, Antarctic Intermediate Water, the Circumpolar Deep and North Pacific Deep Waters in the Southern Ocean, and we propose that coral larvae will be retained within, and rarely migrate among, these water masses. The apparent absence of vertical larval dispersal suggests deep populations of D. dianthus are unlikely to colonise shallow water as the aragonite saturation horizon rises and deep waters become uninhabitable. Similarly, assumptions that deep populations will act as refuges for shallow populations that are impacted by activities such as fishing or mining are also unlikely to hold true. Clearly future environmental management strategies must consider both regional and depth-related isolation of deep-sea coral populations.

  4. Out of their depth? Isolated deep populations of the cosmopolitan coral Desmophyllum dianthus may be highly vulnerable to environmental change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Karen J; Rowden, Ashley A; Williams, Alan; Häussermann, Vreni

    2011-01-01

    Deep sea scleractinian corals will be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, facing loss of up to 70% of their habitat as the Aragonite Saturation Horizon (below which corals are unable to form calcium carbonate skeletons) rises. Persistence of deep sea scleractinian corals will therefore rely on the ability of larvae to disperse to, and colonise, suitable shallow-water habitat. We used DNA sequence data of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS), the mitochondrial ribosomal subunit (16S) and mitochondrial control region (MtC) to determine levels of gene flow both within and among populations of the deep sea coral Desmophyllum dianthus in SE Australia, New Zealand and Chile to assess the ability of corals to disperse into different regions and habitats. We found significant genetic subdivision among the three widely separated geographic regions consistent with isolation and limited contemporary gene flow. Furthermore, corals from different depth strata (shallow 1500 m) even on the same or nearby seamounts were strongly differentiated, indicating limited vertical larval dispersal. Genetic differentiation with depth is consistent with the stratification of the Subantarctic Mode Water, Antarctic Intermediate Water, the Circumpolar Deep and North Pacific Deep Waters in the Southern Ocean, and we propose that coral larvae will be retained within, and rarely migrate among, these water masses. The apparent absence of vertical larval dispersal suggests deep populations of D. dianthus are unlikely to colonise shallow water as the aragonite saturation horizon rises and deep waters become uninhabitable. Similarly, assumptions that deep populations will act as refuges for shallow populations that are impacted by activities such as fishing or mining are also unlikely to hold true. Clearly future environmental management strategies must consider both regional and depth-related isolation of deep-sea coral populations.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Cryptic changes in the genetic structure of a highly clonal coral population and the relationship with ecological performance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Dana E.; Miller, M. W.; Baums, I. B.

    2014-09-01

    Elkhorn coral , Acropora palmata, relies heavily on clonal propagation and often displays low genotypic (clonal) diversity. Populations in the Florida Keys experienced rapid declines in tissue cover between 2004 and 2006, largely due to hurricanes and disease, but remained stable from 2006 to 2010. All elkhorn colonies in 150 m2 permanent study plots were genotyped in 2006 ( n = 15 plots) and 2010 ( n = 24 plots), and plots sampled in both years were examined for changes in allelic and genotypic diversity during this period of stable ecological abundance. Overall, genetic diversity of Florida plots was low and declined further over the 4-yr period; seven of the 36 original genets and two of 67 alleles (among five microsatellite loci) were lost completely from the sampled population, and an additional 15 alleles were lost from individual reefs. In 2010, Florida plots (~19 colonies) contained an average of 2.2 ± 1.38 (mean ± SD) genets with a significant negative correlation between colony abundance and genotypic diversity. When scaled to total tissue abundance, genotypic diversity is even lower, with 43 % of genets below the size of sexual maturity. We examined the hypothesized positive relationship of local genotypic diversity with ecological performance measures. In Florida plots ( n = 15), genotypic diversity was not significantly correlated with tissue loss associated with chronic predation, nor with acute disease and storm-fragmentation events, though this relationship may be obscured by the low range of observed diversity and potential confounding with abundance. When more diverse plots in Curaçao ( n = 9) were examined, genotypic diversity was not significantly correlated with resistance during an acute storm disturbance or rate of recovery following disturbance. Cryptic loss of genetic diversity occurred in the apparently stable Florida population and confirms that stable or even increasing abundance does not necessarily indicate genetic stability.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Physiological outperformance at the morphologically-transformed edge of the cyanobacteriosponge Terpios hoshinota (Suberitidae: Hadromerida when confronting opponent corals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jih-Terng Wang

    Full Text Available Terpios hoshinota, an encrusting cyanosponge, is known as a strong substrate competitor of reef-building corals that kills encountered coral by overgrowth. Terpios outbreaks cause significant declines in living coral cover in Indo-Pacific coral reefs, with the damage usually lasting for decades. Recent studies show that there are morphological transformations at a sponge's growth front when confronting corals. Whether these morphological transformations at coral contacts are involved with physiological outperformance (e.g., higher metabolic activity or nutritional status over other portions of Terpios remains equivocal. In this study, we compared the indicators of photosynthetic capability and nitrogen status of a sponge-cyanobacteria association at proximal, middle, and distal portions of opponent corals. Terpios tissues in contact with corals displayed significant increases in photosynthetic oxygen production (ca. 61%, the δ13C value (ca. 4%, free proteinogenic amino acid content (ca. 85%, and Gln/Glu ratio (ca. 115% compared to middle and distal parts of the sponge. In contrast, the maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm, which is the indicator usually used to represent the integrity of photosystem II, of cyanobacteria photosynthesis was low (0.256~0.319 and showed an inverse trend of higher values in the distal portion of the sponge that might be due to high and variable levels of cyanobacterial phycocyanin. The inconsistent results between photosynthetic oxygen production and Fv/Fm values indicated that maximum quantum yields might not be a suitable indicator to represent the photosynthetic function of the Terpios-cyanobacteria association. Our data conclusively suggest that Terpios hoshinota competes with opponent corals not only by the morphological transformation of the sponge-cyanobacteria association but also by physiological outperformance in accumulating resources for the battle.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-01

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

  16. Mass coral bleaching in the northern Persian Gulf, 2012

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Javid Kavousi

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Coral bleaching events due to elevated temperatures are increasing in both frequency and magnitude worldwide. Mass bleaching was recorded at five sites in the northern Persian Gulf during August and September 2012. Based on available seawater temperature data from field, satellite and previous studies, we suggest that the coral bleaching threshold temperature in the northern Persian Gulf is between 33.5 and 34°C, which is about 1.5 to 2.5°C lower than that in the southern part. To assess the bleaching effects, coral genera counted during 60-minute dives were categorized into four groups including healthy, slightly bleached ( 50% bleached tissue and fully bleached colonies. The anomalously high sea surface temperature resulted in massive coral bleaching (~84% coral colonies affected. Acropora spp. colonies, which are known as the most vulnerable corals to thermal stress, were less affected by the bleaching than massive corals, such as Porites, which are among the most thermo-tolerant corals. Turbid waters, suggested as coral refugia against global warming, did not protect corals in this study since most affected corals were found in the most turbid waters. The 2012 bleaching in the northern Persian Gulf was relatively strong from the viewpoint of coral bleaching severity. Long-term monitoring is needed to understand the actual consequences of the bleaching event on the coral reefs and communities.

  17. Mortality, recovery, and community shifts of scleractinian corals in Puerto Rico one decade after the 2005 regional bleaching event

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge R. García-Sais

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available This work analyzes the mortality, recovery, and shifts in the composition of scleractinian corals from Puerto Rico one decade after the 2005 regional coral bleaching event. Temporal and spatial patterns of coral community structure were examined using a stratified, non-random sampling approach based on five permanent transects per reef at 16 reef stations. A negative correlation between percent coral cover loss and light attenuation coefficient (Kd490 was observed, suggesting that light attenuation, as influenced by water turbidity and depth, played a major role in coral protection during the bleaching event (“sunblock effect”. Responses of coral assemblages varied after the bleaching event, including shifts of cover from massive corals (Orbicella spp. to opportunistic (Porites astreoides and branching corals (Madracis auretenra, P. porites and/or turf algae; partial recovery of reef substrate cover by O. annularis complex; and no measurable changes in coral assemblages before and after the event.

  18. Mortality, recovery, and community shifts of scleractinian corals in Puerto Rico one decade after the 2005 regional bleaching event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Sais, Jorge R; Williams, Stacey M; Amirrezvani, Ali

    2017-01-01

    This work analyzes the mortality, recovery, and shifts in the composition of scleractinian corals from Puerto Rico one decade after the 2005 regional coral bleaching event. Temporal and spatial patterns of coral community structure were examined using a stratified, non-random sampling approach based on five permanent transects per reef at 16 reef stations. A negative correlation between percent coral cover loss and light attenuation coefficient (Kd 490 ) was observed, suggesting that light attenuation, as influenced by water turbidity and depth, played a major role in coral protection during the bleaching event ("sunblock effect"). Responses of coral assemblages varied after the bleaching event, including shifts of cover from massive corals ( Orbicella spp.) to opportunistic ( Porites astreoides ) and branching corals ( Madracis auretenra , P. porites ) and/or turf algae; partial recovery of reef substrate cover by O. annularis complex; and no measurable changes in coral assemblages before and after the event.

  19. Fluctuations in coral health of four common inshore reef corals in response to seasonal and anthropogenic changes in water quality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Browne, Nicola K; Tay, Jason K L; Low, Jeffrey; Larson, Ole; Todd, Peter A

    2015-04-01

    Environmental drivers of coral condition (maximum quantum yield, symbiont density, chlorophyll a content and coral skeletal growth rates) were assessed in the equatorial inshore coastal waters of Singapore, where the amplitude of seasonal variation is low, but anthropogenic influence is relatively high. Water quality variables (sediments, nutrients, trace metals, temperature, light) explained between 52 and 83% of the variation in coral condition, with sediments and light availability as key drivers of foliose corals (Merulina ampliata, Pachyseris speciosa), and temperature exerting a greater influence on a branching coral (Pocillopora damicornis). Seasonal reductions in water quality led to high chlorophyll a concentrations and maximum quantum yields in corals, but low growth rates. These marginal coral communities are potentially vulnerable to climate change, hence, we propose water quality thresholds for coral growth with the aim of mitigating both local and global environmental impacts. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Coral restoration Bonaire : an evaluation of growth, regeneration and survival

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Meesters, H.W.G.; Boomstra, B.; Hurtado-Lopez, N.; Montbrun, A.; Virdis, F.

    2015-01-01

    The Coral restoration of Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and Elkhorn (A. palmata) as practiced by the Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire (CRFB) is shown to be highly successful in terms of growth and survival of new colonies, in both nurseries and transplant locations. Coral restoration is

  1. Linear Subpixel Learning Algorithm for Land Cover Classification from WELD using High Performance Computing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganguly, S.; Kumar, U.; Nemani, R. R.; Kalia, S.; Michaelis, A.

    2017-12-01

    In this work, we use a Fully Constrained Least Squares Subpixel Learning Algorithm to unmix global WELD (Web Enabled Landsat Data) to obtain fractions or abundances of substrate (S), vegetation (V) and dark objects (D) classes. Because of the sheer nature of data and compute needs, we leveraged the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) high performance computing architecture to optimize and scale our algorithm for large-scale processing. Subsequently, the S-V-D abundance maps were characterized into 4 classes namely, forest, farmland, water and urban areas (with NPP-VIIRS - national polar orbiting partnership visible infrared imaging radiometer suite nighttime lights data) over California, USA using Random Forest classifier. Validation of these land cover maps with NLCD (National Land Cover Database) 2011 products and NAFD (North American Forest Dynamics) static forest cover maps showed that an overall classification accuracy of over 91% was achieved, which is a 6% improvement in unmixing based classification relative to per-pixel based classification. As such, abundance maps continue to offer an useful alternative to high-spatial resolution data derived classification maps for forest inventory analysis, multi-class mapping for eco-climatic models and applications, fast multi-temporal trend analysis and for societal and policy-relevant applications needed at the watershed scale.

  2. 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

  3. Coral calcification and ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jokiel, Paul L.; Jury, Christopher P.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.

    2016-01-01

    calcification and increases in Gnet. These relationships result in a correlation between Gnet and Ωarag, with both parameters being variables dependent on Pnet. Consequently the correlation between Gnet and Ωarag varies widely between different locations and times depending on the relative metabolic contributions of various calcifying and photosynthesizing organisms and local rates of carbonate dissolution. High rates of H+ efflux continue for several hours following the mid-day Gnet peak suggesting that corals have difficulty in shedding waste protons as described by the Proton Flux Model. DIC flux (uptake) tracks Pnet and Gnet and drops off rapidly after the photosynthesis-calcification maxima, indicating that corals can cope more effectively with the problem of limited DIC supply compared to the problem of eliminating H+. Predictive models of future global changes in coral and coral reef growth based on oceanic Ωarag must include the influence of future changes in localized Pnet on Gnet as well as changes in rates of reef carbonate dissolution. The correlation between Ωarag and Gnet over the diel cycle is simply the result of increasing pH due to photosynthesis that shifts the CO2-carbonate system equilibria to increase [CO32] relative to the other DIC components of [HCO3] and [CO2]. Therefore Ωarag closely tracks pH as an effect of Pnet, which also drives changes in Gnet. Measurements of DIC flux and H+ flux are far more useful than concentrations in describing coral metabolism dynamics. Coral reefs are systems that exist in constant disequilibrium with the water column.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-01-01

    resulted in coral reef coverage percentage of 63,33%. 75% of living coral found on this 10 meters depth are dominated by Acropora branching coral, while the rest 25,21% are filled by Acropora tabulate coral and non-Acropora coral in the life form of branching, massive, sub-massive, foliose, and mushroom, where coral Mortality Index (IM reached 28,5%. The high number of coral reef coverage percentage on Paiton is caused by successful coral transplantation and low activity of society in this location. The domination of large size Acropora branching coral were estimated comes from a few types, showing that coral resulted from transplantation has grown large and form a complex 3 dimension structure that is suitable for the life form of fish and living benthic.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-02-01

    resulted in coral reef coverage percentage of 63,33%. 75% of living coral found on this 10 meters depth are dominated by Acropora branching coral, while the rest 25,21% are filled by Acropora tabulate coral and non-Acropora coral in the life form of branching, massive, sub-massive, foliose, and mushroom, where coral Mortality Index (IM reached 28,5%. The high number of coral reef coverage percentage on Paiton is caused by successful coral transplantation and low activity of society in this location. The domination of large size Acropora branching coral were estimated comes from a few types, showing that coral resulted from transplantation has grown large and form a complex 3 dimension structure that is suitable for the life form of fish and living benthic.

  6. 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

  7. Overfishing and nutrient pollution interact with temperature to disrupt coral reefs down to microbial scales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaneveld, Jesse R; Burkepile, Deron E; Shantz, Andrew A; Pritchard, Catharine E; McMinds, Ryan; Payet, Jérôme P; Welsh, Rory; Correa, Adrienne M S; Lemoine, Nathan P; Rosales, Stephanie; Fuchs, Corinne; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Thurber, Rebecca Vega

    2016-06-07

    Losses of corals worldwide emphasize the need to understand what drives reef decline. Stressors such as overfishing and nutrient pollution may reduce resilience of coral reefs by increasing coral-algal competition and reducing coral recruitment, growth and survivorship. Such effects may themselves develop via several mechanisms, including disruption of coral microbiomes. Here we report the results of a 3-year field experiment simulating overfishing and nutrient pollution. These stressors increase turf and macroalgal cover, destabilizing microbiomes, elevating putative pathogen loads, increasing disease more than twofold and increasing mortality up to eightfold. Above-average temperatures exacerbate these effects, further disrupting microbiomes of unhealthy corals and concentrating 80% of mortality in the warmest seasons. Surprisingly, nutrients also increase bacterial opportunism and mortality in corals bitten by parrotfish, turning normal trophic interactions deadly for corals. Thus, overfishing and nutrient pollution impact reefs down to microbial scales, killing corals by sensitizing them to predation, above-average temperatures and bacterial opportunism.

  8. Geologic history of Grecian Rocks, Key Largo Coral Reef Marine Sanctuary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinn, E.A.

    1980-01-01

    Two transects were drilled across the major ecologic zones of the c. 750 by 200 m reef, whose accumulation was controlled by a local Pleistocene topographic feature. The Reef is composed of 5 major ecologic zones: 1) a deep seaward rubble zone, 6-8 m depth; 2) a poorly developed spur and groove zone composed of massive head corals and Millepora (4-6 m water depth); 3) a characteristic high-energy oriented Acropora palmata zone extending from the surface down to 4 m; 4) a distinct broad reef flat composed of in situ A. palmata and coral rubble, followed by 5) a narrow low- energy back-reef zone of unoriented A. palmata, thickets of A. cervicornis, and various massive head corals in water 0-3 m deep. An extensive grass-covered carbonate sand flat 3-4 m deep extends in a landward direction from zone 5. - from Author

  9. Multi-temporal high resolution monitoring of debris-covered glaciers using unmanned aerial vehicles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kraaijenbrink, Philip; Immerzeel, Walter; de Jong, Steven; Shea, Joseph; Pellicciotti, Francesca; Meijer, Sander; Shresta, Arun

    2016-04-01

    Debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas are relatively unstudied due to the difficulties in fieldwork caused by the inaccessible terrain and the presence of debris layers, which complicate in situ measurements. To overcome these difficulties an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been deployed multiple times over two debris covered glaciers in the Langtang catchment, located in the Nepalese Himalayas. Using differential GPS measurements and the Structure for Motion algorithm the UAV imagery was processed into accurate high-resolution digital elevation models and orthomosaics for both pre- and post-monsoon periods. These data were successfully used to estimate seasonal surface flow and mass wasting by using cross-correlation feature tracking and DEM differencing techniques. The results reveal large heterogeneity in mass loss and surface flow over the glacier surfaces, which are primarily caused by the presence of surface features such as ice cliffs and supra-glacial lakes. Accordingly, we systematically analyze those features using an object-based approach and relate their characteristics to the observed dynamics. We show that ice cliffs and supra-glacial lakes are contributing to a significant portion of the melt water of debris covered glaciers and we conclude that UAVs have great potential in understanding the key surface processes that remain largely undetected by using satellite remote sensing.

  10. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

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

  11. 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

  12. Contact with turf algae alters the coral microbiome: contact versus systemic impacts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratte, Zoe A.; Longo, Guilherme O.; Burns, Andrew S.; Hay, Mark E.; Stewart, Frank J.

    2018-03-01

    Coral reefs are degrading to algae-dominated reefs worldwide, with alterations of coral microbiomes commonly co-occurring with reef demise. The severe thermal anomaly during the 2016 El Niño event in the South Pacific killed many corals and stressed others. We examined the microbiome of turf algae and of the coral Porites sp. in contact with turf during this thermal event to investigate algal turf effects on the coral microbiome during a period of environmental stress. The microbial composition of turf did not differ between coral-contacted and non-contacted turfs. However, microbiomes of corals in direct contact with turf were similar to those of the turf microbiome, but differed significantly from coral portions 5 cm from the point of turf/coral contact and from portions of the coral that looked most healthy, regardless of location. Although the majority of significant differences occurred in coral samples at the point of contact, a small subset of microbial taxa was enriched in coral tissues taken 5 cm from turf contact compared to all other sample types, including samples from areas of the coral that appeared most healthy. These results suggest that the coral microbiome is susceptible to colonization by microbes from turf, but not vice versa. Results also suggest that algal contact elicits a subtle shift in the coral microbiome just beyond the contact site. The combination of turf microbiome stability and coral microbiome vulnerability at areas of contact may contribute to the continued decline in coral cover and increase in algal cover associated with coral-algae phase shifts.

  13. High Resolution Population Maps for Low Income Nations: Combining Land Cover and Census in East Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tatem, Andrew J.; Noor, Abdisalan M.; von Hagen, Craig; Di Gregorio, Antonio; Hay, Simon I.

    2007-01-01

    Background Between 2005 and 2050, the human population is forecast to grow by 2.7 billion, with the vast majority of this growth occurring in low income countries. This growth is likely to have significant social, economic and environmental impacts, and make the achievement of international development goals more difficult. The measurement, monitoring and potential mitigation of these impacts require high resolution, contemporary data on human population distributions. In low income countries, however, where the changes will be concentrated, the least information on the distribution of population exists. In this paper we investigate whether satellite imagery in combination with land cover information and census data can be used to create inexpensive, high resolution and easily-updatable settlement and population distribution maps over large areas. Methodology/Principal Findings We examine various approaches for the production of maps of the East African region (Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania) and where fine resolution census data exists, test the accuracies of map production approaches and existing population distribution products. The results show that combining high resolution census, settlement and land cover information is important in producing accurate population distribution maps. Conclusions We find that this semi-automated population distribution mapping at unprecedented spatial resolution produces more accurate results than existing products and can be undertaken for as little as $0.01 per km2. The resulting population maps are a product of the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP: http://www.map.ox.ac.uk) and are freely available. PMID:18074022

  14. High resolution population maps for low income nations: combining land cover and census in East Africa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew J Tatem

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available Between 2005 and 2050, the human population is forecast to grow by 2.7 billion, with the vast majority of this growth occurring in low income countries. This growth is likely to have significant social, economic and environmental impacts, and make the achievement of international development goals more difficult. The measurement, monitoring and potential mitigation of these impacts require high resolution, contemporary data on human population distributions. In low income countries, however, where the changes will be concentrated, the least information on the distribution of population exists. In this paper we investigate whether satellite imagery in combination with land cover information and census data can be used to create inexpensive, high resolution and easily-updatable settlement and population distribution maps over large areas.We examine various approaches for the production of maps of the East African region (Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania and where fine resolution census data exists, test the accuracies of map production approaches and existing population distribution products. The results show that combining high resolution census, settlement and land cover information is important in producing accurate population distribution maps.We find that this semi-automated population distribution mapping at unprecedented spatial resolution produces more accurate results than existing products and can be undertaken for as little as $0.01 per km(2. The resulting population maps are a product of the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP: http://www.map.ox.ac.uk and are freely available.

  15. Corals Form Characteristic Associations with Symbiotic Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lema, Kimberley A.; Willis, Bette L.

    2012-01-01

    The complex symbiotic relationship between corals and their dinoflagellate partner Symbiodinium is believed to be sustained through close associations with mutualistic bacterial communities, though little is known about coral associations with bacterial groups able to fix nitrogen (diazotrophs). In this study, we investigated the diversity of diazotrophic bacterial communities associated with three common coral species (Acropora millepora, Acropora muricata, and Pocillopora damicormis) from three midshelf locations of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) by profiling the conserved subunit of the nifH gene, which encodes the dinitrogenase iron protein. Comparisons of diazotrophic community diversity among coral tissue and mucus microenvironments and the surrounding seawater revealed that corals harbor diverse nifH phylotypes that differ between tissue and mucus microhabitats. Coral mucus nifH sequences displayed high heterogeneity, and many bacterial groups overlapped with those found in seawater. Moreover, coral mucus diazotrophs were specific neither to coral species nor to reef location, reflecting the ephemeral nature of coral mucus. In contrast, the dominant diazotrophic bacteria in tissue samples differed among coral species, with differences remaining consistent at all three reefs, indicating that coral-diazotroph associations are species specific. Notably, dominant diazotrophs for all coral species were closely related to the bacterial group rhizobia, which represented 71% of the total sequences retrieved from tissue samples. The species specificity of coral-diazotroph associations further supports the coral holobiont model that bacterial groups associated with corals are conserved. Our results suggest that, as in terrestrial plants, rhizobia have developed a mutualistic relationship with corals and may contribute fixed nitrogen to Symbiodinium. PMID:22344646

  16. Metagenomic and ecophysiological analysis of biofilms colonizing coral substrates: "Life after death of coral"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanchez, A., Sr.; Cerqueda-Garcia, D.; Falcón, L. I.; Iglesias-Prieto, R., Sr.

    2015-12-01

    Coral reefs are the most productive ecosystems on the planet and are the most important carbonated structures of biological origin. However, global warming is affecting the health and functionality of these ecosystems. Specifically, most of the Acropora sp. stony corals have declined their population all over the Mexican Caribbean in more than ~80% of their original coverage, resulting in vast extensions of dead coral rubble. When the coral dies, the skeleton begins to be colonized by algae, sponges, bacteria and others, forming a highly diverse biofilm. We analyzed the metagenomes of the dead A. palmata rubbles from Puerto Morelos, in the Mexican Caribbean. Also, we quantified the elemental composition of biomass and measured nitrogen fixation and emission of greenhouse gases over 24 hrs. This works provides information on how the community is composed and functions after the death of the coral, visualizing a possible picture for a world without coral reefs.

  17. Massive bleaching of coral reefs induced by the 2010 ENSO, Puerto Cabello, Venezuela.

    Science.gov (United States)

    del Mónaco, Carlos; Haiek, Gerard; Narciso, Samuel; Galindo, Miguel

    2012-06-01

    El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has generated global coral massive bleaching. The aim of this work was to evaluate the massive bleaching of coral reefs in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela derived from ENSO 2010. We evaluated the bleaching of reefs at five localities both at three and five meter depth. The coral cover and densities of colonies were estimated. We recorded living coral cover, number and diameter of bleached and non-bleached colonies of each coral species. The colonies were classified according to the proportion of bleached area. Satellite images (Modis Scar) were analyzed for chlorophyll-a concentration and temperature in August, September, October and November from 2008-2010. Precipitation, wind speed and air temperature information was evaluated in meteorological data for 2009 and 2010. A total of 58.3% of colonies, belonging to 11 hexacoral species, were affected and the greatest responses were observed in Colpophyllia natans, Montastraea annularis and Montastraeafaveolata. The most affected localities were closer to the mainland and had a bleached proportion up to 62.73+/-36.55%, with the highest proportion of affected colonies, whereas the farthest locality showed 20.25+/-14.00% bleached and the smallest proportion. The salinity in situ varied between 30 and 33ppm and high levels of turbidity were observed. According to the satellite images, in 2010 the surface water temperature reached 31 degree C in August, September and October, and resulted higher than those registered in 2008 and 2009. Regionally, chlorophyll values were higher in 2010 than in 2008 and 2009. The meteorological data indicated that precipitation in November 2010 was three times higher than in November 2009. Massive coral bleaching occurred due to a three month period of high temperatures followed by one month of intense ENSO-associated precipitation. However, this latter factor was likely the trigger because of the bleaching gradient observed.

  18. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W. Bruckner

    2014-09-01

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

  20. 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

  1. The effects of elevated seawater temperatures on Caribbean gorgonian corals and their algal symbionts, Symbiodinium spp.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tamar L Goulet

    Full Text Available Global climate change not only leads to elevated seawater temperatures but also to episodic anomalously high or low temperatures lasting for several hours to days. Scleractinian corals are detrimentally affected by thermal fluctuations, which often lead to an uncoupling of their mutualism with Symbiodinium spp. (coral bleaching and potentially coral death. Consequently, on many Caribbean reefs scleractinian coral cover has plummeted. Conversely, gorgonian corals persist, with their abundance even increasing. How gorgonians react to thermal anomalies has been investigated utilizing limited parameters of either the gorgonian, Symbiodinium or the combined symbiosis (holobiont. We employed a holistic approach to examine the effect of an experimental five-day elevated temperature episode on parameters of the host, symbiont, and the holobiont in Eunicea tourneforti, E. flexuosa and Pseudoplexaura porosa. These gorgonian corals reacted and coped with 32°C seawater temperatures. Neither Symbiodinium genotypes nor densities differed between the ambient 29.5°C and 32°C. Chlorophyll a and c2 per Symbiodinium cell, however, were lower at 32°C leading to a reduction in chlorophyll content in the branches and an associated reduction in estimated absorbance and increase in the chlorophyll a specific absorption coefficient. The adjustments in the photochemical parameters led to changes in photochemical efficiencies, although these too showed that the gorgonians were coping. For example, the maximum excitation pressure, Qm, was significantly lower at 32°C than at 29.5°C. In addition, although per dry weight the amount of protein and lipids were lower at 32°C, the overall energy content in the tissues did not differ between the temperatures. Antioxidant activity either remained the same or increased following exposure to 32°C further reiterating a response that dealt with the stressor. Taken together, the capability of Caribbean gorgonian corals to modify

  2. Using high-resolution radar images to determine vegetation cover for soil erosion assessments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bargiel, D; Herrmann, S; Jadczyszyn, J

    2013-07-30

    Healthy soils are crucial for human well-being. Because soils are threatened worldwide, politicians recognize the need for soil protection. For example, the European Commission has launched the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, which requests the European member states to identify high risk areas for soil degradation. Most states use the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) to assess soil erosion risk at the national scale. The USLE includes different factors, one of them is the vegetation cover and management factor (C factor). Modern satellite-based radar sensors now provide highly accurate vegetation cover data, enabling opportunities to improve the accuracy of the C factor. The presented study proves the suitability for C factor determination based on a multi-temporal classification of high-resolution radar images. Further USLE factors were derived from existing data sources (meteorological data, soil maps, digital elevation model) to conduct an USLE-based soil erosion assessment. The resulting map illustrates a qualitative assessment for soil erosion risk within a plot of about 7*12 km in an agricultural region in Poland that is very susceptible to soil erosion processes. A high erosion risk of more than 10 tonnes per ha and year was assessed to occur on 13.6% (646 ha) of the agricultural areas within the investigated plot. Further 7.8% (372 ha) of agricultural land is threaten by a medium risk of 5-10 tonnes per ha and year. Such a spatial information about areas of high or medium soil erosion risk are crucial for the development of strategies for the protection of soils. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. A relic coral fauna threatened by global changes and human activities, Eastern Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leão, Zelinda M A N; Kikuchi, Ruy K P

    2005-01-01

    Coral species composition of drilled cores from emergent bank reefs, and coral cover of the surface of old and living reefs located along the coast of the state of Bahia, Eastern Brazil, revealed that there is a marked change in the occurrence of the major building coral species in different time intervals of the reef structure, as well as in the living surface of reefs located in two different geographical sites. Holocene core sections from two reef areas (12 degrees 40'S-38 degrees 00'W and 18 degrees 00'S-39 degrees 00'W) have as major reef builders, on its topmost core interval (3 to 4 ky old), the endemic coral Mussismilia braziliensis Verrill, 1868, which also dominate on the 2.5-3.5 ky old surfaces of truncated reef tops. At the base of the cores (the 2m lower interval, older than 4 ky BP), another endemic coral Mussismilia harttii Verrill, 1868 is the dominant reef component. The relative abundance of M. braziliensis on the living surfaces of shallow reefs from both areas, shows that in the southern area, it is up to 98% on reefs located 60 km off the coast, in depths between 3 and 4m, but do not exceed 1.3% on the surface of the northern reefs located 1-2 km off the coast in depths 4-5m. The Holocene falling sea level that occurred along the coast of Brazil since 5.1 ky BP, causes an increasing runoff into the area of coastal reefs. This phenomenon may have affected the nearshore reef building fauna, replacing a more susceptive coral fauna with one better adapted to low light levels and higher sediment influx. The high turbidity associated with early Holocene shelf flooding, should also be responsible for the absence of M. braziliensis during the initial stages of reef buildup in Brazil. At the present time, the rapidly increasing human pressure, due to changes in land uses of the coastal zone (increasing sedimentation rate, nutrification of coastal waters, industrial pollution) and underwater practices, such as overfishing and an intense tourism, is

  4. A comparison of proxy performance in coral biodiversity monitoring

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richards, Zoe T.

    2013-03-01

    The productivity and health of coral reef habitat is diminishing worldwide; however, the effect that habitat declines have on coral reef biodiversity is not known. Logistical and financial constraints mean that surveys of hard coral communities rarely collect data at the species level; hence it is important to know if there are proxy metrics that can reliably predict biodiversity. Here, the performances of six proxy metrics are compared using regression analyses on survey data from a location in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Results suggest generic richness is a strong explanatory variable for spatial patterns in species richness (explaining 82 % of the variation when measured on a belt transect). The most commonly used metric of reef health, percentage live coral cover, is not positively or linearly related to hard coral species richness. This result raises doubt as to whether management actions based on such reefscape information will be effective for the conservation of coral biodiversity.

  5. Environmental Variability in the Florida Keys: Impacts on Coral Reef Resilience and Health

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soto, I. M.; Muller-Karger, F. E.

    2005-12-01

    Environmental variability contributes to both mass mortality and resilience in tropical coral reef communities. We assess variations in sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean color in the Florida Keys using satellite imagery, and provide insight into how this variability is associated with locations of resilient coral communities (those unaffected by or able to recover from major events). The project tests the hypothesis that areas with historically low environmental variability promote lower levels of coral reef resilience. Time series of SST from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensors and ocean color derived quantities (e.g., turbidity and chlorophyll) from the Sea-viewing Wide Field of View Sensor (SeaWiFS) are being constructed over the entire Florida Keys region for a period of twelve and nine years, respectively. These data will be compared with historical coral cover data derived from Landsat imagery (1984-2002). Improved understanding of the causes of coral reef decline or resilience will help protect and manage these natural treasures.

  6. Cacao Cultivation under Diverse Shade Tree Cover Allows High Carbon Storage and Sequestration without Yield Losses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abou Rajab, Yasmin; Leuschner, Christoph; Barus, Henry; Tjoa, Aiyen; Hertel, Dietrich

    2016-01-01

    One of the main drivers of tropical forest loss is their conversion to oil palm, soy or cacao plantations with low biodiversity and greatly reduced carbon storage. Southeast Asian cacao plantations are often established under shade tree cover, but are later converted to non-shaded monocultures to avoid resource competition. We compared three co-occurring cacao cultivation systems (3 replicate stands each) with different shade intensity (non-shaded monoculture, cacao with the legume Gliricidia sepium shade trees, and cacao with several shade tree species) in Sulawesi (Indonesia) with respect to above- and belowground biomass and productivity, and cacao bean yield. Total biomass C stocks (above- and belowground) increased fivefold from the monoculture to the multi-shade tree system (from 11 to 57 Mg ha-1), total net primary production rose twofold (from 9 to 18 Mg C ha-1 yr-1). This increase was associated with a 6fold increase in aboveground biomass, but only a 3.5fold increase in root biomass, indicating a clear shift in C allocation to aboveground tree organs with increasing shade for both cacao and shade trees. Despite a canopy cover increase from 50 to 93%, cacao bean yield remained invariant across the systems (variation: 1.1-1.2 Mg C ha-1 yr-1). The monocultures had a twice as rapid leaf turnover suggesting that shading reduces the exposure of cacao to atmospheric drought, probably resulting in greater leaf longevity. Thus, contrary to general belief, cacao bean yield does not necessarily decrease under shading which seems to reduce physical stress. If planned properly, cacao plantations under a shade tree cover allow combining high yield with benefits for carbon sequestration and storage, production system stability under stress, and higher levels of animal and plant diversity.

  7. Testing the Potential of Vegetation Indices for Land Use/cover Classification Using High Resolution Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karakacan Kuzucu, A.; Bektas Balcik, F.

    2017-11-01

    Accurate and reliable land use/land cover (LULC) information obtained by remote sensing technology is necessary in many applications such as environmental monitoring, agricultural management, urban planning, hydrological applications, soil management, vegetation condition study and suitability analysis. But this information still remains a challenge especially in heterogeneous landscapes covering urban and rural areas due to spectrally similar LULC features. In parallel with technological developments, supplementary data such as satellite-derived spectral indices have begun to be used as additional bands in classification to produce data with high accuracy. The aim of this research is to test the potential of spectral vegetation indices combination with supervised classification methods and to extract reliable LULC information from SPOT 7 multispectral imagery. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the Ratio Vegetation Index (RATIO), the Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI) were the three vegetation indices used in this study. The classical maximum likelihood classifier (MLC) and support vector machine (SVM) algorithm were applied to classify SPOT 7 image. Catalca is selected region located in the north west of the Istanbul in Turkey, which has complex landscape covering artificial surface, forest and natural area, agricultural field, quarry/mining area, pasture/scrubland and water body. Accuracy assessment of all classified images was performed through overall accuracy and kappa coefficient. The results indicated that the incorporation of these three different vegetation indices decrease the classification accuracy for the MLC and SVM classification. In addition, the maximum likelihood classification slightly outperformed the support vector machine classification approach in both overall accuracy and kappa statistics.

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  11. Microscopic observation of symbiotic and aposymbiotic juvenile corals in nutrient-enriched seawater.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Yasuaki; Iguchi, Akira; Inoue, Mayuri; Mori, Chiharu; Sakai, Kazuhiko; Suzuki, Atsushi; Kawahata, Hodaka; Nakamura, Takashi

    2013-03-15

    Symbiotic and aposymbiotic juvenile corals, which were grown in the laboratory from the gametes of the scleractinian coral Acropora digitifera and had settled down onto plastic culture plates, were observed with a microscope under different nutrient conditions. The symbiotic corals successfully removed the surrounding benthic microalgae (BMA), whereas the aposymbiotic corals were in close physical contact with BMA. The areal growth rate of the symbiotic corals was significantly higher than that of the aposymbiotic corals. The addition of nutrients to the culture seawater increased the chlorophyll a content in the symbiotic coral polyps and enhanced the growth of some of the symbiotic corals, however the average growth rate was not significantly affected, most likely because of the competition with BMA. The comparison between the symbiotic and aposymbiotic juvenile corals showed that the establishment of a symbiotic association could be imperative for post-settlement juvenile corals to survive in high-nutrient seawater. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  14. High-resolution Land Cover Datasets, Composite Curve Numbers, and Storm Water Retention in the Tampa Bay, FL region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Policy makers need to understand how land cover change alters storm water regimes, yet existing methods do not fully utilize newly available datasets to quantify storm water changes at a landscape-scale. Here, we use high-resolution, remotely-sensed land cover, imperviousness, an...

  15. Broadband plasmonic silver nanoflowers for high-performance random lasing covering visible region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chang Qing

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Multicolor random lasing has broad potential applications in the fields of imaging, sensing, and optoelectronics. Here, silver nanoflowers (Ag NF with abundant nanogaps are fabricated by a rapid one-step solution-phase synthesis method and are first proposed as effective broadband plasmonic scatterers to achieve different color random lasing. With abundant nanogaps and spiky tips near the surface and the interparticle coupling effect, Ag NFs greatly enhance the local electromagnetic field and induce broadband plasmonic scattering spectra over the whole visible range. The extremely low working threshold and the high-quality factor for Ag NF-based random lasers are thus demonstrated as 0.24 MW cm−2 and 11,851, respectively. Further, coherent colorful random lasing covering the visible range is realized using the dye molecules oxazine (red, Coumarin 440 (blue, and Coumarin 153 (green, showing high-quality factor of more than 10,000. All these features show that Ag NF are highly efficient scatterers for high-performance coherent random lasing and colorful random lasers.

  16. Land agroecological quality assessment in conditions of high spatial soil cover variability at the Pereslavskoye Opolye.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morev, Dmitriy; Vasenev, Ivan

    2015-04-01

    The essential spatial variability is mutual feature for most natural and man-changed soils at the Central region of European territory of Russia. The original spatial heterogeneity of forest soils has been further complicated by a specific land-use history and human impacts. For demand-driven land-use planning and decision making the quantitative analysis and agroecological interpretation of representative soil cover spatial variability is an important and challenging task that receives increasing attention from private companies, governmental and environmental bodies. Pereslavskoye Opolye is traditionally actively used in agriculture due to dominated high-quality cultivated soddy-podzoluvisols which are relatively reached in organic matter (especially for conditions of the North part at the European territory of Russia). However, the soil cover patterns are often very complicated even within the field that significantly influences on crop yield variability and have to be considered in farming system development and land agroecological quality evaluation. The detailed investigations of soil regimes and mapping of the winter rye yield have been carried in conditions of two representative fields with slopes sharply contrasted both in aspects and degrees. Rye biological productivity and weed infestation have been measured in elementary plots of 0.25 m2 with the following analysis the quality of the yield. In the same plot soil temperature and moisture have been measured by portable devices. Soil sampling was provided from three upper layers by drilling. The results of ray yield detailed mapping shown high differences both in average values and within-field variability on different slopes. In case of low-gradient slope (field 1) there is variability of ray yield from 39.4 to 44.8 dt/ha. In case of expressed slope (field 2) the same species of winter rye grown with the same technology has essentially lower yield and within-field variability from 20 to 29.6 dt/ha. The

  17. Beyond the Coral Triangle: high genetic diversity and near panmixia in Singapore's populations of the broadcast spawning sea star Protoreaster nodosus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tay, Y C; Chng, M W P; Sew, W W G; Rheindt, F E; Tun, K P P; Meier, R

    2016-08-01

    The Coral Triangle is widely considered the most important centre of marine biodiversity in Asia while areas on its periphery such as the South China Sea, have received much less interest. Here, we demonstrate that a small population of the knobbly sea star Protoreaster nodosus in Singapore has similarly high levels of genetic diversity as comparable Indonesian populations from the Coral Triangle. The high genetic diversity of this population is remarkable because it is maintained despite decades of continued anthropogenic disturbance. We postulate that it is probably due to broadcast spawning which is likely to maintain high levels of population connectivity. To test this, we analysed 6140 genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci for Singapore's populations and demonstrate a pattern of near panmixia. We here document a second case of high genetic diversity and low genetic structure for a broadcast spawner in Singapore, which suggests that such species have high resilience against anthropogenic disturbances. The study demonstrates the feasibility and power of using genome-wide SNPs for connectivity studies of marine invertebrates without a sequenced genome.

  18. Land use/land cover mapping using multi-scale texture processing of high resolution data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wong, S. N.; Sarker, M. L. R.

    2014-02-01

    Land use/land cover (LULC) maps are useful for many purposes, and for a long time remote sensing techniques have been used for LULC mapping using different types of data and image processing techniques. In this research, high resolution satellite data from IKONOS was used to perform land use/land cover mapping in Johor Bahru city and adjacent areas (Malaysia). Spatial image processing was carried out using the six texture algorithms (mean, variance, contrast, homogeneity, entropy, and GLDV angular second moment) with five difference window sizes (from 3×3 to 11×11). Three different classifiers i.e. Maximum Likelihood Classifier (MLC), Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Supported Vector Machine (SVM) were used to classify the texture parameters of different spectral bands individually and all bands together using the same training and validation samples. Results indicated that texture parameters of all bands together generally showed a better performance (overall accuracy = 90.10%) for land LULC mapping, however, single spectral band could only achieve an overall accuracy of 72.67%. This research also found an improvement of the overall accuracy (OA) using single-texture multi-scales approach (OA = 89.10%) and single-scale multi-textures approach (OA = 90.10%) compared with all original bands (OA = 84.02%) because of the complementary information from different bands and different texture algorithms. On the other hand, all of the three different classifiers have showed high accuracy when using different texture approaches, but SVM generally showed higher accuracy (90.10%) compared to MLC (89.10%) and ANN (89.67%) especially for the complex classes such as urban and road.

  19. Land use/land cover mapping using multi-scale texture processing of high resolution data

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wong, S N; Sarker, M L R

    2014-01-01

    Land use/land cover (LULC) maps are useful for many purposes, and for a long time remote sensing techniques have been used for LULC mapping using different types of data and image processing techniques. In this research, high resolution satellite data from IKONOS was used to perform land use/land cover mapping in Johor Bahru city and adjacent areas (Malaysia). Spatial image processing was carried out using the six texture algorithms (mean, variance, contrast, homogeneity, entropy, and GLDV angular second moment) with five difference window sizes (from 3×3 to 11×11). Three different classifiers i.e. Maximum Likelihood Classifier (MLC), Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Supported Vector Machine (SVM) were used to classify the texture parameters of different spectral bands individually and all bands together using the same training and validation samples. Results indicated that texture parameters of all bands together generally showed a better performance (overall accuracy = 90.10%) for land LULC mapping, however, single spectral band could only achieve an overall accuracy of 72.67%. This research also found an improvement of the overall accuracy (OA) using single-texture multi-scales approach (OA = 89.10%) and single-scale multi-textures approach (OA = 90.10%) compared with all original bands (OA = 84.02%) because of the complementary information from different bands and different texture algorithms. On the other hand, all of the three different classifiers have showed high accuracy when using different texture approaches, but SVM generally showed higher accuracy (90.10%) compared to MLC (89.10%) and ANN (89.67%) especially for the complex classes such as urban and road

  20. Oceanographic data collected during the Bonaire 2008: Exploring Coral Reef Sustainability with New Technologies (bonaire2008) on Fetch1 AUV and Gavia AUV's in Netherlands, Antilles from January 6, 2008 - January 29, 2008 (NODC Accession 0072312)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles, is arguably the most pristine coral reef environment in the Caribbean. The percent coral cover is the highest and percent algal cover...

  1. Coral Bleaching Assessment Through Remote Sensing and Integrated Citizen Science (CoralBASICS): Engaging Dive Instructors on Reef Characterization in Southwest, Puerto Rico Coupled with the Analysis of Water Quality Using NASA Earth Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torres-Perez, J. L.; Armstrong, R.; Detres, Y.; Aragones-Fred, C.; Melendez, J.

    2017-12-01

    As recurrences of extreme sea water thermal events increase with climate change, the need for continuous monitoring of coral reefs becomes even more evident. Enabling properly trained members from the local communities to actively participate in scientific programs/research projects, provides for such monitoring at little cost once the citizens are properly trained and committed. Further, the possibility of obtaining high temporal resolution data with citizen scientists can provide for new venues to answer questions that may not be answered with traditional research approaches. The CoralBASICS project engages members of the local diving industry in Puerto Rico on the assessment of coastal water quality and the status of Puerto Rico's coral reefs in an age of climate change and in particular, an increase in the frequency and magnitude of coral bleaching events. The project complements remote sensing data with community-based field assessments strictly supervised by the PI's. The study focuses on training citizen scientists (dive instructors) on the collection of benthic information related to the state of coral reefs using the Reef Check (fish and invertebrates ID and substrate composition) and video transects methodologies, monitoring of coral bleaching events, and collecting of water quality data using a smartphone ocean color application. The data collected by citizen scientists complements the validation of Landsat-8 (OLI) imagery for water quality assessment. At the same time, researchers from the University of Puerto Rico conduct field assessment of the bio-optical properties of waters surrounding the coral reef study areas. Dive instructors have been collecting benthic and water quality data for the past 4 months. Initial analysis using the Coral Point Count with excel extension (CPCe) software showed a dominance of gorgonians at most sites (up to 32.8%) with hard coral cover ranging between 5.5-13.2% of the hard substrates. No coral diseases or bleaching

  2. CORAL Server and CORAL Server Proxy: Scalable Access to Relational Databases from CORAL Applications

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Valassi, A; Kalkhof, A; Bartoldus, R; Salnikov, A; Wache, M

    2011-01-01

    The CORAL software is widely used at CERN by the LHC experiments to access the data they store on relational databases, such as Oracle. Two new components have recently been added to implement a model involving a middle tier 'CORAL server' deployed close to the database and a tree of 'CORAL server proxies', providing data caching and multiplexing, deployed close to the client. A first implementation of the two new components, released in the summer 2009, is now deployed in the ATLAS online system to read the data needed by the High Level Trigger, allowing the configuration of a farm of several thousand processes. This paper reviews the architecture of the software, its development status and its usage in ATLAS.

  3. 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.

  4. Bacterial acquisition in juveniles of several broadcast spawning coral species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Koty H Sharp

    Full Text Available Coral animals harbor diverse microorganisms in their tissues, including archaea, bacteria, viruses, and zooxanthellae. The extent to which coral-bacterial associations are specific and the mechanisms for their maintenance across generations in the environment are unknown. The high diversity of bacteria in adult coral colonies has made it challenging to identify species-specific patterns. Localization of bacteria in gametes and larvae of corals presents an opportunity for determining when bacterial-coral associations are initiated and whether they are dynamic throughout early development. This study focuses on the early onset of bacterial associations in the mass spawning corals Montastraea annularis, M. franksi, M. faveolata, Acropora palmata, A. cervicornis, Diploria strigosa, and A. humilis. The presence of bacteria and timing of bacterial colonization was evaluated in gametes, swimming planulae, and newly settled polyps by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH using general eubacterial probes and laser-scanning confocal microscopy. The coral species investigated in this study do not appear to transmit bacteria via their gametes, and bacteria are not detectable in or on the corals until after settlement and metamorphosis. This study suggests that mass-spawning corals do not acquire, or are not colonized by, detectable numbers of bacteria until after larval settlement and development of the juvenile polyp. This timing lays the groundwork for developing and testing new hypotheses regarding general regulatory mechanisms that control bacterial colonization and infection of corals, and how interactions among bacteria and juvenile polyps influence the structure of bacterial assemblages in corals.

  5. Bacterial acquisition in juveniles of several broadcast spawning coral species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharp, Koty H; Ritchie, Kim B; Schupp, Peter J; Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Paul, Valerie J

    2010-05-28

    Coral animals harbor diverse microorganisms in their tissues, including archaea, bacteria, viruses, and zooxanthellae. The extent to which coral-bacterial associations are specific and the mechanisms for their maintenance across generations in the environment are unknown. The high diversity of bacteria in adult coral colonies has made it challenging to identify species-specific patterns. Localization of bacteria in gametes and larvae of corals presents an opportunity for determining when bacterial-coral associations are initiated and whether they are dynamic throughout early development. This study focuses on the early onset of bacterial associations in the mass spawning corals Montastraea annularis, M. franksi, M. faveolata, Acropora palmata, A. cervicornis, Diploria strigosa, and A. humilis. The presence of bacteria and timing of bacterial colonization was evaluated in gametes, swimming planulae, and newly settled polyps by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using general eubacterial probes and laser-scanning confocal microscopy. The coral species investigated in this study do not appear to transmit bacteria via their gametes, and bacteria are not detectable in or on the corals until after settlement and metamorphosis. This study suggests that mass-spawning corals do not acquire, or are not colonized by, detectable numbers of bacteria until after larval settlement and development of the juvenile polyp. This timing lays the groundwork for developing and testing new hypotheses regarding general regulatory mechanisms that control bacterial colonization and infection of corals, and how interactions among bacteria and juvenile polyps influence the structure of bacterial assemblages in corals.

  6. Dissolved organic carbon in coral-reef lagoons, by high temperature catalytic oxidation and UV spectrometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pagès, Jean; Torréton, Jean-Pascal; Sempéré, Richard

    1997-06-01

    Two surveys were carried out on ten atolls in the Tuamotu archipelago (French Polynesia, Pacific Ocean). In vitro UV (250-400 nm) spectra of water samples gave absorption at 254 nm, A 254, and spectrum slope, S ⋆ (computed from In A λ versus λ).These two descriptors are negatively correlated, and data points are arrayed along a hyperbola spanned between an oceanic pole (high S ⋆, low A 254) and a confined pole (low 5 ⋆, high A 254). Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations, [C], as assessed by HTCO, exhibit a narrow range (0.7-1.0 mg C.L -1 for most lagoons) contrasting with the wide diversity of optical characteristics. [C] and A 254 are positively correlated, with a significant intercept (0.5 mg C.L -1) representing non-chromophoric DOC. Carbon-specific absorption, ɛ 254 increases (from 0.4 to 1.3 m 2.g -1) with increasing [C], mainly according to the literature) owing to increased average molecular weight (MW) of the chromophoric DOC fraction, which also lowers S ⋆. Our optical data thus illustrate a gradient of confinement (or residence time) that corresponds to a continuum in DOC nature, especially in MW and hence in bioavailability. Optical methods are confirmed as quick and effective means of assessing DOM distribution.

  7. Antibacterial Activity of Hawaiian Corals: Possible Protection from Disease?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gochfeld, D. J.; Aeby, G. S.; Miller, J. D.

    2006-12-01

    Reports of coral diseases in the Caribbean have appeared with increasing frequency over the past two decades; however, records of coral diseases in the Pacific have lagged far behind. Recent surveys of coral disease in the Hawaiian Islands indicate relatively low, but consistent, levels of disease throughout the inhabited Main and uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and demonstrate variation in levels of disease among the major genera of Hawaiian corals. Although little is known about immune defense to disease in corals, one potential mechanism of defense is the production of antimicrobial compounds that protect corals from pathogens. A preliminary survey of antibacterial chemical defenses among three dominant species of Hawaiian corals was undertaken. Crude aqueous extracts of Porites lobata, Pocillopora meandrina and Montipora capitata were tested against nine strains of bacteria in a growth inhibition assay. Inhibitory extracts were further tested to determine whether their effects were cytostatic or cytotoxic. The bacteria selected included known coral pathogens, potential marine pathogens found in human waste and strains previously identified from the surfaces of Hawaiian corals. Extracts from all three species of coral exhibited a high degree of antibacterial activity, but also a high degree of selectivity against different bacterial strains. In addition, some extracts were stimulatory to some bacteria. In addition to interspecific variability, extracts also exhibited intraspecific variability, both within and between sites. Hawaiian corals have significant antibacterial activity, which may explain the relatively low prevalence of disease in these corals; however, further characterization of pathogens specifically responsible for disease in Hawaiian corals is necessary before we can conclude that antibacterial activity protects Hawaiian corals from disease.

  8. Thermal-hydraulic Analysis of High-temperature Cover Gas Region in STELLA-2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jo, Youngchul; Son, Seok-Kwon; Yoon, Jung; Eoh, Jaehyuk; Jeong, Ji-Young [Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Daejeon (Korea, Republic of)

    2016-10-15

    The first phase of the program was focused on the key sodium component tests, and the second one has been concentrated on the sodium thermal-hydraulic integral effect test (STELLA-2). Based on its platform, simulation of the PGSFR transient will be made to evaluate plant dynamic behaviors as well as to demonstrate decay heat removal performance. Therefore, most design features of PGSFR have been modeled in STELLA-2 as closely as possible. The similarities of temperature and pressure between the model (STELLA-2) and the prototype (PGSFR) have been well preserved to reflect thermal-hydraulic behavior with natural convection as well as heat transfer between structure and sodium coolant inside the model reactor vessel (RV). For this reason, structural integrity of the entire test section should be confirmed as in the prototype. In particular, since the model reactor head in STELLA-2 supports key components and internal structures, its structural integrity exposed to high-temperature cover gas region should be confirmed. In order to reduce thermal radiation heat transfer from the hot sodium pool during normal operation, a dedicated insulation layer has been installed at the downward surface of the model reactor head to prevent direct heat flux from the sodium free surface at 545 .deg. C. Three-dimensional conjugate heat transfer analyses for the full-shape geometry of the upper part of the model reactor vessel in STELLA-2 have been carried out. Based on the results, steady-state temperature distributions in the cover gas region and the model reactor head itself have been obtained and the design requirement in temperature of the model reactor head has been newly proposed to be 350 .deg. C. For any elevated temperature conditions in STELLA-2, it was confirmed that the model reactor head generally satisfied the requirement. The CFD database constructed from this study will be used to optimize geometric parameters such as thicknesses and/or types of the insulator.

  9. Organic matter degradation drives benthic cyanobacterial mat abundance on Caribbean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brocke, Hannah J; Polerecky, Lubos; de Beer, Dirk; Weber, Miriam; Claudet, Joachim; Nugues, Maggy M

    2015-01-01

    Benthic cyanobacterial mats (BCMs) are impacting coral reefs worldwide. However, the factors and mechanisms driving their proliferation are unclear. We conducted a multi-year survey around the Caribbean island of Curaçao, which revealed highest BCM abundance on sheltered reefs close to urbanised areas. Reefs with high BCM abundance were also characterised by high benthic cover of macroalgae and low cover of corals. Nutrient concentrations in the water-column were consistently low, but markedly increased just above substrata (both sandy and hard) covered with BCMs. This was true for sites with both high and low BCM coverage, suggesting that BCM growth is stimulated by a localised, substrate-linked release of nutrients from the microbial degradation of organic matter. This hypothesis was supported by a higher organic content in sediments on reefs with high BCM coverage, and by an in situ experiment which showed that BCMs grew within days on sediments enriched with organic matter (Spirulina). We propose that nutrient runoff from urbanised areas stimulates phototrophic blooms and enhances organic matter concentrations on the reef. This organic matter is transported by currents and settles on the seabed at sites with low hydrodynamics. Subsequently, nutrients released from the organic matter degradation fuel the growth of BCMs. Improved management of nutrients generated on land should lower organic loading of sediments and other benthos (e.g. turf and macroalgae) to reduce BCM proliferation on coral reefs.

  10. Phylogenetic diversity of actinobacteria associated with soft coral Alcyonium gracllimum and stony coral Tubastraea coccinea in the East China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Shan; Sun, Wei; Tang, Cen; Jin, Liling; Zhang, Fengli; Li, Zhiyong

    2013-07-01

    Actinobacteria are widely distributed in the marine environment. To date, few studies have been performed to explore the coral-associated Actinobacteria, and little is known about the diversity of coral-associated Actinobacteria. In this study, the actinobacterial diversity associated with one soft coral Alcyonium gracllimum and one stony coral Tubastraea coccinea collected from the East China Sea was investigated using both culture-independent and culture-dependent approaches. A total of 19 actinobacterial genera were detected in these two corals, among which nine genera (Corynebacterium, Dietzia, Gordonia, Kocuria, Microbacterium, Micrococcus, Mycobacterium, Streptomyces, and Candidatus Microthrix) were common, three genera (Cellulomonas, Dermatophilus, and Janibacter) were unique to the soft coral, and seven genera (Brevibacterium, Dermacoccus, Leucobacter, Micromonospora, Nocardioides, Rhodococcus, and Serinicoccus) were unique to the stony coral. This finding suggested that highly diverse Actinobacteria were associated with different types of corals. In particular, five actinobacterial genera (Cellulomonas, Dermacoccus, Gordonia, Serinicoccus, and Candidatus Microthrix) were recovered from corals for the first time, extending the known diversity of coral-associated Actinobacteria. This study shows that soft and stony corals host diverse Actinobacteria and can serve as a new source of marine actinomycetes.

  11. The venom-gland transcriptome of the eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius) reveals high venom complexity in the intragenomic evolution of venoms

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-01

    Background Snake venom is shaped by the ecology and evolution of venomous species, and signals of positive selection in toxins have been consistently documented, reflecting the role of venoms as an ecologically critical phenotype. New World coral snakes (Elapidae) are represented by three genera and over 120 species and subspecies that are capable of causing significant human morbidity and mortality, yet coral-snake venom composition is poorly understood in comparison to that of Old World elapids. High-throughput sequencing is capable of identifying thousands of loci, while providing characterizations of expression patterns and the molecular evolutionary forces acting within the venom gland. Results We describe the de novo assembly and analysis of the venom-gland transcriptome of the eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius). We identified 1,950 nontoxin transcripts and 116 toxin transcripts. These transcripts accounted for 57.1% of the total reads, with toxins accounting for 45.8% of the total reads. Phospholipases A2 and three-finger toxins dominated expression, accounting for 86.0% of the toxin reads. A total of 15 toxin families were identified, revealing venom complexity previously unknown from New World coral snakes. Toxins exhibited high levels of heterozygosity relative to nontoxins, and overdominance may favor gene duplication leading to the fixation of advantageous alleles. Phospholipase A2 expression was uniformly distributed throughout the class while three-finger toxin expression was dominated by a handful of transcripts, and phylogenetic analyses indicate that toxin divergence may have occurred following speciation. Positive selection was detected in three of the four most diverse toxin classes, suggesting that venom diversification is driven by recurrent directional selection. Conclusions We describe the most complete characterization of an elapid venom gland to date. Toxin gene duplication may be driven by heterozygote advantage, as the frequency of

  12. The venom-gland transcriptome of the eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius) reveals high venom complexity in the intragenomic evolution of venoms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Margres, Mark J; Aronow, Karalyn; Loyacano, Jacob; Rokyta, Darin R

    2013-08-02

    Snake venom is shaped by the ecology and evolution of venomous species, and signals of positive selection in toxins have been consistently documented, reflecting the role of venoms as an ecologically critical phenotype. New World coral snakes (Elapidae) are represented by three genera and over 120 species and subspecies that are capable of causing significant human morbidity and mortality, yet coral-snake venom composition is poorly understood in comparison to that of Old World elapids. High-throughput sequencing is capable of identifying thousands of loci, while providing characterizations of expression patterns and the molecular evolutionary forces acting within the venom gland. We describe the de novo assembly and analysis of the venom-gland transcriptome of the eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius). We identified 1,950 nontoxin transcripts and 116 toxin transcripts. These transcripts accounted for 57.1% of the total reads, with toxins accounting for 45.8% of the total reads. Phospholipases A(2) and three-finger toxins dominated expression, accounting for 86.0% of the toxin reads. A total of 15 toxin families were identified, revealing venom complexity previously unknown from New World coral snakes. Toxins exhibited high levels of heterozygosity relative to nontoxins, and overdominance may favor gene duplication leading to the fixation of advantageous alleles. Phospholipase A(2) expression was uniformly distributed throughout the class while three-finger toxin expression was dominated by a handful of transcripts, and phylogenetic analyses indicate that toxin divergence may have occurred following speciation. Positive selection was detected in three of the four most diverse toxin classes, suggesting that venom diversification is driven by recurrent directional selection. We describe the most complete characterization of an elapid venom gland to date. Toxin gene duplication may be driven by heterozygote advantage, as the frequency of polymorphic toxin loci was

  13. SPECTRAL CHARACTERISTICS OF SELECTED HERMATYPIC CORALS FROM GULF OF KACHCHH, INDIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. Ray Chaudhury

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Hermatypic, scleractinian corals are the most important benthic substrates in a coral reef ecosystem. The existing, high (spatial resolution, broad-band, multi-spectral, space-borne sensors have limited capability to spatially detect and spectrally discriminate coral substrates. In situ hyperspectral signatures of eight coral targets were collected with the help of Analytical Spectral Devices FieldSpec spectroradiometer from Paga and Laku Point reefs of Gulf of Kachchh, India to study the spectral behaviour of corals. The eight coral targets consisted of seven live corals representing four distinct colony morphologies and one bleached coral target. The coral spectra were studied over a continuous range of 350 to 1350 nm. The corals strongly reflected in the NIR and MIR regions with regional central maximas located at 820 and 1070 nm respectively. In the visible region the live coral spectra conformed to "brown mode" of coral reflectance with triple-peaked pattern at 575, 600 and 650 nm. All coral spectra are characterized with two distinct absorption features: chlorophyll absorption at 675 nm and water absorption at 975 nm. The live and the bleached corals get distinguished in the visible region over 400 to 600 nm region. Water column over the targets modifies the spectral shape and magnitude. First and second-order derivatives help in identifying spectral windows to distinguish live and bleached corals.

  14. Resolving high-frequency internal waves generated at an isolated coral atoll using an unstructured grid ocean model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rayson, Matthew D.; Ivey, Gregory N.; Jones, Nicole L.; Fringer, Oliver B.

    2018-02-01

    We apply the unstructured grid hydrodynamic model SUNTANS to investigate the internal wave dynamics around Scott Reef, Western Australia, an isolated coral reef atoll located on the edge of the continental shelf in water depths of 500,m and more. The atoll is subject to strong semi-diurnal tidal forcing and consists of two relatively shallow lagoons separated by a 500 m deep, 2 km wide and 15 km long channel. We focus on the dynamics in this channel as the internal tide-driven flow and resulting mixing is thought to be a key mechanism controlling heat and nutrient fluxes into the reef lagoons. We use an unstructured grid to discretise the domain and capture both the complex topography and the range of internal wave length scales in the channel flow. The model internal wave field shows super-tidal frequency lee waves generated by the combination of the steep channel topography and strong tidal flow. We evaluate the model performance using observations of velocity and temperature from two through water-column moorings in the channel separating the two reefs. Three different global ocean state estimate datasets (global HYCOM, CSIRO Bluelink, CSIRO climatology atlas) were used to provide the model initial and boundary conditions, and the model outputs from each were evaluated against the field observations. The scenario incorporating the CSIRO Bluelink data performed best in terms of through-water column Murphy skill scores of water temperature and eastward velocity variability in the channel. The model captures the observed vertical structure of the tidal (M2) and super-tidal (M4) frequency temperature and velocity oscillations. The model also predicts the direction and magnitude of the M2 internal tide energy flux. An energy analysis reveals a net convergence of the M2 energy flux and a divergence of the M4 energy flux in the channel, indicating the channel is a region of either energy transfer to higher frequencies or energy loss to dissipation. This conclusion is

  15. Coral bleaching--capacity for acclimatization and adaptation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coles, S L; Brown, Barbara E

    2003-01-01

    Coral bleaching, i.e., loss of most of the symbiotic zooxanthellae normally found within coral tissue, has occurred with increasing frequency on coral reefs throughout the world in the last 20 years, mostly during periods of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Experiments and observations indicate that coral bleaching results primarily from elevated seawater temperatures under high light conditions, which increases rates of biochemical reactions associated with zooxanthellar photosynthesis, producing toxic forms of oxygen that interfere with cellular processes. Published projections of a baseline of increasing ocean temperature resulting from global warming have suggested that annual temperature maxima within 30 years may be at levels that will cause frequent coral bleaching and widespread mortality leading to decline of corals as dominant organisms on reefs. However, these projections have not considered the high variability in bleaching response that occurs among corals both within and among species. There is information that corals and their symbionts may be capable of acclimatization and selective adaptation to elevated temperatures that have already resulted in bleaching resistant coral populations, both locally and regionally, in various areas of the world. There are possible mechanisms that might provide resistance and protection to increased temperature and light. These include inducible heat shock proteins that act in refolding denatured cellular and structural proteins, production of oxidative enzymes that inactivate harmful oxygen radicals, fluorescent coral pigments that both reflect and dissipate light energy, and phenotypic adaptations of zooxanthellae and adaptive shifts in their populations at higher temperatures. Such mechanisms, when considered in conjunction with experimental and observational evidence for coral recovery in areas that have undergone coral bleaching, suggest an as yet undefined capacity in corals and zooxanthellae to adapt to

  16. Corals diseases are a major cause of coral death

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corals, like humans, are susceptible to diseases. Some coral diseases are associated with pathogenic bacteria; however, the causes of most remain unknown. Some diseases trigger rapid and extensive mortality, while others slowly cause localized color changes or injure coral tiss...

  17. 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.

  18. Coral reef health response to chronic and acute changes in water quality in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ennis, Rosmin S; Brandt, Marilyn E; Wilson Grimes, Kristin R; Smith, Tyler B

    2016-10-15

    It is suspected that land cover alteration on the southern coast of St. Thomas, USVI has increased runoff, degrading nearshore water quality and coral reef health. Chronic and acute changes in water quality, sediment deposition, and coral health metrics were assessed in three zones based upon perceived degree of human influence. Chlorophyll (pturbidity (p=0.0113) were significantly higher in nearshore zones and in the high impact zone during heavy precipitation. Net sediment deposition and terrigenous content increased in nearshore zones during periods of greater precipitation and port activity. Macroalgae overgrowth significantly increased along a gradient of decreasing water quality (p<0.0001). Coral bleaching in all zones peaked in November with a regional thermal stress event (p<0.0001). However, mean bleaching prevalence was significantly greater in the most impacted zone compared to the offshore zone (p=0.0396), suggesting a link between declining water quality and bleaching severity. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  19. The first occurence of a pleistocenic coral along the Brazilian coast - Age dating of the maximum of the penultimate transgression

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Martin, L.; Bittencourt, A.C.S.P.; Silva Vilas Boas, G. da

    1982-01-01

    Age dating work on a coral from Olivenca, Bahia, Brazil, has disclosed the first occurrence of a pleistocenic coral along the Brazilian coast. This coral has its top at the present high tide level and is covered by a series of beach-ridges formed after the maximum of the penultimate transgression that rose above present sea level. Five determinations by the Ionium ( 230 Th)/Uranium method produced ages ranging from 116.000 to 142.000 years B.P., indicating that maximum in the area to have taken place 120.000-125.000 years B.P., consistent with its documentation in other parts of the world. At that time, mean sea level was 8 + - 2 m above the present. (Author) [pt

  20. SCaMF–RM: A Fused High-Resolution Land Cover Product of the Rocky Mountains

    KAUST Repository

    Rodríguez-Jeangros, Nicolás

    2017-10-02

    Land cover (LC) products, derived primarily from satellite spectral imagery, are essential inputs for environmental studies because LC is a critical driver of processes involved in hydrology, ecology, and climatology, among others. However, existing LC products each have different temporal and spatial resolutions and different LC classes that rarely provide the detail required by these studies. Using multiple existing LC products, we implement our Spatiotemporal Categorical Map Fusion (SCaMF) methodology over a large region of the Rocky Mountains (RM), encompassing sections of six states, to create a new LC product, SCaMF–RM. To do this, we must adapt SCaMF to address the prediction of LC in large space–time regions that present nonstationarities, and we add more flexibility in the LC classifications of the predicted product. SCaMF–RM is produced at two high spatial resolutions, 30 and 50 m, and a yearly frequency for the 30-year period 1983–2012. When multiple products are available in time, we illustrate how SCaMF–RM captures relevant information from the different LC products and improves upon flaws observed in other products. Future work needed includes an exhaustive validation not only of SCaMF–RM but also of all input LC products.

  1. Fabrication of free-standing copper foils covered with highly-ordered copper nanowire arrays

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaraska, Leszek; Sulka, Grzegorz D.; Jaskuła, Marian

    2012-07-01

    The through-hole nanoporous anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) membranes with relatively large surface area (ca. 2 cm2) were employed for fabrication of free-standing and mechanically stable copper foils covered with close-packed and highly-ordered copper nanowire arrays. The home-made AAO membranes with different pore diameters and interpore distances were fabricated via a two-step self-organized anodization of aluminum performed in sulfuric acid, oxalic acid and phosphoric acid followed by the pore opening/widening procedure. The direct current (DC) electrodeposition of copper was performed efficiently on both sides of AAO templates. The bottom side of the AAO templates was not insulated and consequently Cu nanowire arrays on thick Cu layers were obtained. The proposed template-assisted fabrication of free-standing copper nanowire array electrodes is a promising method for synthesis of nanostructured current collectors. The composition of Cu nanowires was confirmed by energy dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy (EDS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses. The structural features of nanowires were evaluated from field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) images and compared with the characteristic parameters of anodic alumina membranes.

  2. Fabrication of free-standing copper foils covered with highly-ordered copper nanowire arrays

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zaraska, Leszek; Sulka, Grzegorz D.; Jaskuła, Marian

    2012-01-01

    The through-hole nanoporous anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) membranes with relatively large surface area (ca. 2 cm 2 ) were employed for fabrication of free-standing and mechanically stable copper foils covered with close-packed and highly-ordered copper nanowire arrays. The home-made AAO membranes with different pore diameters and interpore distances were fabricated via a two-step self-organized anodization of aluminum performed in sulfuric acid, oxalic acid and phosphoric acid followed by the pore opening/widening procedure. The direct current (DC) electrodeposition of copper was performed efficiently on both sides of AAO templates. The bottom side of the AAO templates was not insulated and consequently Cu nanowire arrays on thick Cu layers were obtained. The proposed template-assisted fabrication of free-standing copper nanowire array electrodes is a promising method for synthesis of nanostructured current collectors. The composition of Cu nanowires was confirmed by energy dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy (EDS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses. The structural features of nanowires were evaluated from field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) images and compared with the characteristic parameters of anodic alumina membranes.

  3. Arnfried Antonius, coral diseases, and the AMLC

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laurie L. Richardson

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available The study of coral diseases, coral pathogens, and the effects of diseases on tropical and subtropical coral reefs are all current, high-profile research areas. This interest has grown steadily since the first report of a coral disease in 1973. The author of this report was Arnfried Antonius and the publication was an abstract in the proceedings of a scientific meeting of the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean, or AMLC (then known as the Association of Island Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean. Since Antonius’ pioneering communication he continued working on coral diseases on reefs throughout the world, often documenting the first observation of a novel pathology in a novel location. Each of the coral diseases Antonius first described, in particular black band disease, is the subject of current and ongoing investigations addressing pathogens, etiology, and their effects on coral reefs. Many of the points and observations he made in his early papers are highly relevant to research today. This paper reviews aspects of Antonius’ early work, highlighting contributions he made that include the first in situ experimental studies aimed at discerning coral epizootiology and the first quantitative assessments of the role of environmental factors in coral disease. Antonius’ early findings are discussed in terms of relevant current controversies in this research areaEl estudio de las enfermedades de los corales, los patogenos de los corales y los efectos de estas enfermedades sobre los arrecifes tropicales y subtropicales son actualmente areas importantes de investigacion. El interés en este tema ha crecido continuamente desde el primer informe sobre una enfermedad de coral que se publico en 1973. El autor de este informe fue Arnfried Antonius y la publicacion fue un resumen en el Libro de Programa y Resumenes de la Decima Reunion de la Asociacion de Laboratorios Marinos Islenos del Caribe (conocida ahora como la Asociacion de

  4. Causes and effects of long periods of ice cover on a remote high Alpine lake

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael STURM

    2000-09-01

    Full Text Available The response of the physical and chemical limnology of Hagelseewli (2339 m a.s.l. to local meteorological forcing was investigated from 1996 to 1998 using an automatic weather station, thermistor chains, water samples and sediment traps. On-site meteorological measurements revealed the paramount importance of local topographic shading for the limnology of the lake. A high cliff to the south diminishes incident radiation by 15% to 90%, resulting in a long period of ice cover. Hence, the spring and summer seasons are extremely condensed, allowing only about 2 months per year for mixing, oxygen uptake, nutrient inflow, water exchange and phytoplankton growth. Regular measurements of water temperature, chemistry and diatom composition show that Hagelseewli responds very rapidly to changes in nutrient concentrations and light conditions. This response is restricted mainly to an extremely short productivity pulse, which takes place as soon as the lake is completely free of ice. Ice-free conditions are indicated by the occurrence of planktonic diatoms. In contrast to most low-altitude lakes, maximum productivity occurs in the middle of the water column (6-9 m, where first light, and then soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP, are the limiting factors. During the period of thawing, large amounts of ammonium enter the lake. Nevertheless, allochthonous nutrient input is not important because SRP, the limiting nutrient for algal growth, originates from the sediments. Water chemistry data and data from sediment traps show that, although autochthonous calcite precipitation does occur, the calcite crystals are redissolved completely in the bottom waters during the extended period of ice cover. Thus, the most important factor for changes in the nutrient budget, primary production and preservation of calcite is the bottom water oxygen status, which is governed by the occurrence of an ice-free period. We hypothesise that the duration of the ice-free period is of

  5. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Trevor Williams

    2006-03-01

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

  7. Generation and Assessment of Urban Land Cover Maps Using High-Resolution Multispectral Aerial Images

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Höhle, Joachim; Höhle, Michael

    2013-01-01

    a unique method for the automatic generation of urban land cover maps. In the present paper, imagery of a new medium-format aerial camera and advanced geoprocessing software are applied to derive normalized digital surface models and vegetation maps. These two intermediate products then become input...... to a tree structured classifier, which automatically derives land cover maps in 2D or 3D. We investigate the thematic accuracy of the produced land cover map by a class-wise stratified design and provide a method for deriving necessary sample sizes. Corresponding survey adjusted accuracy measures...... and their associated confidence intervals are used to adequately reflect uncertainty in the assessment based on the chosen sample size. Proof of concept for the method is given for an urban area in Switzerland. Here, the produced land cover map with six classes (building, wall and carport, road and parking lot, hedge...

  8. 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.

  9. Structural analysis of hatch cover plates on Fuels and Materials Examination Facility high bay mezzanine

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dixson, G.E.

    1997-01-01

    In order to move the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) Light Duty Utility Arm (LDUA) trailer into position for testing on the Fuels and Materials Examination Facility (FMEF) 42 ft level mezzanine one of the trailer's wheels will have to sit on a circular hatch cover fabricated from one-inch thick steel plate. The attached calculations verify that the hatch cover plate is strong enough to support the weight of the INEL LDUA trailer's wheel

  10. Biological Responses of the Coral Montastraea annularis to the Removal of Filamentous Turf Algae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cetz-Navarro, Neidy P.; Espinoza-Avalos, Julio; Hernández-Arana, Héctor A.; Carricart-Ganivet, Juan P.

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef degradation increases coral interactions with filamentous turf algae (FTA) and macroalgae, which may result in chronic stress for the corals. We evaluated the effects of short (2.5 month) and long (10 month) periods of FTA removal on tissue thickness (TT), zooxanthellae density (ZD), mitotic index (MI), and concentration of chlorophyll a (Chl a) in Montastraea annularis at the beginning and end of gametogenesis. Ramets (individual lobes within a colony) consistently surrounded by FTA and ramets surrounded by crustose coralline algae (CCA) were used as controls. FTA removal reduced coral stress, indicated by increased TT and ZD and lower MI. The measured effects were similar in magnitude for the short and long periods of algal removal. Ramets were more stressed at the end of gametogenesis compared with the beginning, with lower ZD and Chl a cm−2, and higher MI. However, it was not possible to distinguish the stress caused by the presence of FTA from that caused by seasonal changes in seawater temperature. Ramets surrounded by CCA showed less stress in comparison with ramets surrounded by FTA: with higher TT, Chl a cm−2 and ZD, and lower MI values. Coral responses indicated that ramets with FTA suffered the most deleterious effects and contrasted with those measured in ramets surrounded by CCA. According to published studies and our observations, there could be at least six mechanisms associated to FTA in the stress caused to M. annularis by FTA. Owing to the high cover of FTA (in contrast to macroalgae and CCA) in the Caribbean, the chronic stress, the overgrowth and mortality that this functional algal group can cause on M. annularis species complex, a further decline of this important reef-building coral in the Caribbean is expected. PMID:23372774

  11. Biological responses of the coral Montastraea annularis to the removal of filamentous turf algae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Neidy P Cetz-Navarro

    Full Text Available Coral reef degradation increases coral interactions with filamentous turf algae (FTA and macroalgae, which may result in chronic stress for the corals. We evaluated the effects of short (2.5 month and long (10 month periods of FTA removal on tissue thickness (TT, zooxanthellae density (ZD, mitotic index (MI, and concentration of chlorophyll a (Chl a in Montastraea annularis at the beginning and end of gametogenesis. Ramets (individual lobes within a colony consistently surrounded by FTA and ramets surrounded by crustose coralline algae (CCA were used as controls. FTA removal reduced coral stress, indicated by increased TT and ZD and lower MI. The measured effects were similar in magnitude for the short and long periods of algal removal. Ramets were more stressed at the end of gametogenesis compared with the beginning, with lower ZD and Chl a cm(-2, and higher MI. However, it was not possible to distinguish the stress caused by the presence of FTA from that caused by seasonal changes in seawater temperature. Ramets surrounded by CCA showed less stress in comparison with ramets surrounded by FTA: with higher TT, Chl a cm(-2 and ZD, and lower MI values. Coral responses indicated that ramets with FTA suffered the most deleterious effects and contrasted with those measured in ramets surrounded by CCA. According to published studies and our observations, there could be at least six mechanisms associated to FTA in the stress caused to M. annularis by FTA. Owing to the high cover of FTA (in contrast to macroalgae and CCA in the Caribbean, the chronic stress, the overgrowth and mortality that this functional algal group can cause on M. annularis species complex, a further decline of this important reef-building coral in the Caribbean is expected.

  12. Insights Into Nitrogen Isotope Fractionation in Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamb, K. A.; Swart, P. K.; Ellis, G. S.

    2002-12-01

    Environmental integrity in the Florida Reef tract and the Caribbean has been the center of concern for the past 15-20 years. Both the recreational and scientific communities alike have noticed an overall decline in coral reef health. This decline has manifested itself in the form of increased fleshy macroalgae growth and reduced coral cover, and in some cases, wide-scale coral mortality. Given the increasing dependence on a tourism-oriented economy in both South Florida and the Caribbean, much attention has been focused on maintaining reef longevity. A high nutrient load is believed to be the leading cause of degradation in the predominantly oligotrophic environment. Various studies have cited increased run off and input of anthropogenic wastes as the origin of these nutrients. It has also been suggested that the stable isotopes of nitrogen may provide a tracer with which to recognize the impact of anthropogenic nutrients within the coral reefs ecosystem. However, in utilizing both nitrogen and carbon stable isotopic methods on samples of particulate organic matter (POM) taken over the last three years, we find little evidence of the input of anthropogenic waste. δ15N values of POM fluctuate between +1 and +9 per mille, but usually remain in the +4 to +6 per mille range. Additionally, δ13C values are even more consistent, maintaining a balance between -19 to -21 per mille. These data are consistent with natural open-ocean values for δ15N and δ13C, indicating a lack of intense and prolonged exposure to anthropogenic wastes in the Florida Keys.

  13. 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.

  14. Chemoreception drives plastic consumption in a hard coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, Austin S; Seymour, Alexander C; Rittschof, Daniel

    2017-11-15

    The drivers behind microplastic (up to 5mm in diameter) consumption by animals are uncertain and impacts on foundational species are poorly understood. We investigated consumption of weathered, unfouled, biofouled, pre-production and microbe-free National Institute of Standards plastic by a scleractinian coral that relies on chemosensory cues for feeding. Experiment one found that corals ingested many plastic types while mostly ignoring organic-free sand, suggesting that plastic contains phagostimulents. Experiment two found that corals ingested more plastic that wasn't covered in a microbial biofilm than plastics that were biofilmed. Additionally, corals retained ~8% of ingested plastic for 24h or more and retained particles appeared stuck in corals, with consequences for energetics, pollutant toxicity and trophic transfer. The potential for chemoreception to drive plastic consumption in marine taxa has implications for conservation. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-09-15

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

  16. Changes in snow cover over China in the 21st century as simulated by a high resolution regional climate model

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shi Ying; Gao Xuejie; Wu Jia; Giorgi, Filippo

    2011-01-01

    On the basis of the climate change simulations conducted using a high resolution regional climate model, the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Regional Climate Model, RegCM3, at 25 km grid spacing, future changes in snow cover over China are analyzed. The simulations are carried out for the period of 1951–2100 following the IPCC SRES A1B emission scenario. The results suggest good performances of the model in simulating the number of snow cover days and the snow cover depth, as well as the starting and ending dates of snow cover to the present day (1981–2000). Their spatial distributions and amounts show fair consistency between the simulation and observation, although with some discrepancies. In general, decreases in the number of snow cover days and the snow cover depth, together with postponed snow starting dates and advanced snow ending dates, are simulated for the future, except in some places where the opposite appears. The most dramatic changes are found over the Tibetan Plateau among the three major snow cover areas of Northeast, Northwest and the Tibetan Plateau in China.

  17. High genotypic diversity of the reef-building coral Porites lobata (Scleractinia: Poritidae in Isla del Coco National Park, Costa Rica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer N. Boulay

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available The isolated Isla del Coco experiences periodic, extreme disturbances which devastate coral reefs surrounding the island. Scleractinian corals build the physical structure of the reef therefore ecosystem recovery relies on coral species recovery. Coral recruits can be of sexual or asexual origin, and the relative success of the two recruit types influences the speed and spread of recovery processes. Here we focus on the massive coral, Porites lobata, because it is the main reef-builder around Isla del Coco to describe the relative contribution of asexual and sexual recruits to population maintenance. P. lobata samples were collected using a spatially explicit random sampling design in three plots at Isla del Coco: Punta Ulloa (n=17, Bahía Weston (n=20 and Punta María (n=20 and samples were genotyped with 11 microsatellite markers. Additional sampling was conducted at three “coastal” sites near the Costa Rican mainland (Isla del Caño Biological Reserve: Caño1 (n=8, Caño2 (n=10, Caño5 (n=11 to compare the contributions of asexual and sexual recruits at Isla del Coco sites to coastal sites. Isla del Coco sites were characterized by small colony size (>60% of colonies <0.5m2 and high sexual reproduction. Sites were either mostly or entirely sexual,consisting of only unique genotypes (N G/N= 0.90-1.00; G O/G E=0.83-1.00; D=0.99-1.00. Although there were no significant differences in genetic diversity (number of alleles per locus, number of private alleles or colony size between Isla del Coco and the coastal sites, the coastal sites exhibited a greater range of genotypic diversity from moderately asexual (N G/N=0.5; G O/G E=0.36; D=0.8 to purely sexual (N G/N=1.0; G O/G E=1.0; D=1.0. The mode of asexual reproduction in P. lobata is likely fragmentation of adult colonies rather than asexual larval production because ramets of P. lobata occurred close together and asexually produced larvae have not been reported in gonochoric broadcast

  18. Vegetation cover, avoided erosion and water quality in high Andean wetlands, Yeso River Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    León, Alejandro; Soto, Jorge; Seguel, Oscar; Pérez, Javier; Osses, Daniela; Leiva, Nicolás; Zerega, Linka

    2017-04-01

    Wetlands on the high Andes mountains near Santiago de Chile have been impacted by overgrazing and off-road tourists. We studied wetlands in El Yeso River basin. In February 2015 we established 36 exclusions and measured vegetation cover and height, biomass production in and out the exclusions starting in October. Water and undisturbed soil samples were collected. Data were analyzed statistically to estimate i) the recovery of vegetation, and ii) the influence of grazing and vehicle traffic on vegetation loss, and iii) impacts on soil and water quality. In areas with less intense traffic, the difference in vegetation coverage in and out the exclusions is 22% (± 11.4%); in areas with more intense traffic this difference is 16% (± 16%). Height of vegetation, in the less intense traffic areas, ranges from 6.25 cm (± 2.8) to 13.32 cm (± 6.3). With higher traffic it varies between 6.9 cm (± 3.1) and 13.6 cm (± 5.4). Biomass varies between 0.06 kg DM/m2 to 0.57 kg DM/m2 depending on botanical composition and date. After water circulates through the wetlands its content of nitrogen increases 37.33% to 0.37 mg N/l and the fecal coliforms 66.67% to 0.67 MPN/100 ml, because of cattle. On the contrary, turbidity decreases 20.67% to 0.21 UNT because sediments are captured by vegetation. We also estimated an avoided erosion rate, ranging between 1.23% and 31.87% (depending on the slope) due to the increase in coverage within the exclusions.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClanahan, T R; Muthiga, N A

    2016-07-01

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

  20. Environmental controls of coral growth: Data driven multi-scale analyses of rates and patterns of growth in massive Porites corals around the Thai-Malay Peninsula

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tanzil, J.T.I.

    2013-01-01

    Scleractinian corals produce large amounts of calcium carbonate as they grow, sustaining the three-dimensional reef framework that supports the high productivity and biodiversity associated with tropical coral reefs. The rate of skeletal growth of corals is therefore not only essential for their

  1. Very High Resolution Tree Cover Mapping for Continental United States using Deep Convolutional Neural Networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganguly, Sangram; Kalia, Subodh; Li, Shuang; Michaelis, Andrew; Nemani, Ramakrishna R.; Saatchi, Sassan A

    2017-01-01

    Uncertainties in input land cover estimates contribute to a significant bias in modeled above ground biomass (AGB) and carbon estimates from satellite-derived data. The resolution of most currently used passive remote sensing products is not sufficient to capture tree canopy cover of less than ca. 10-20 percent, limiting their utility to estimate canopy cover and AGB for trees outside of forest land. In our study, we created a first of its kind Continental United States (CONUS) tree cover map at a spatial resolution of 1-m for the 2010-2012 epoch using the USDA NAIP imagery to address the present uncertainties in AGB estimates. The process involves different tasks including data acquisition ingestion to pre-processing and running a state-of-art encoder-decoder based deep convolutional neural network (CNN) algorithm for automatically generating a tree non-tree map for almost a quarter million scenes. The entire processing chain including generation of the largest open source existing aerial satellite image training database was performed at the NEX supercomputing and storage facility. We believe the resulting forest cover product will substantially contribute to filling the gaps in ongoing carbon and ecological monitoring research and help quantifying the errors and uncertainties in derived products.

  2. Very High Resolution Tree Cover Mapping for Continental United States using Deep Convolutional Neural Networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganguly, S.; Kalia, S.; Li, S.; Michaelis, A.; Nemani, R. R.; Saatchi, S.

    2017-12-01

    Uncertainties in input land cover estimates contribute to a significant bias in modeled above gound biomass (AGB) and carbon estimates from satellite-derived data. The resolution of most currently used passive remote sensing products is not sufficient to capture tree canopy cover of less than ca. 10-20 percent, limiting their utility to estimate canopy cover and AGB for trees outside of forest land. In our study, we created a first of its kind Continental United States (CONUS) tree cover map at a spatial resolution of 1-m for the 2010-2012 epoch using the USDA NAIP imagery to address the present uncertainties in AGB estimates. The process involves different tasks including data acquisition/ingestion to pre-processing and running a state-of-art encoder-decoder based deep convolutional neural network (CNN) algorithm for automatically generating a tree/non-tree map for almost a quarter million scenes. The entire processing chain including generation of the largest open source existing aerial/satellite image training database was performed at the NEX supercomputing and storage facility. We believe the resulting forest cover product will substantially contribute to filling the gaps in ongoing carbon and ecological monitoring research and help quantifying the errors and uncertainties in derived products.

  3. Recent expansion of heat-activated retrotransposons in the coral symbiont Symbiodinium microadriaticum

    KAUST Repository

    Chen, Jit Ern; Cui, Guoxin; Wang, Xin; Liew, Yi Jin; Aranda, Manuel

    2017-01-01

    Rising sea surface temperature is the main cause of global coral reef decline. Abnormally high temperatures trigger the breakdown of the symbiotic association between corals and their photosynthetic symbionts in the genus Symbiodinium. Higher

  4. Chronic nutrient enrichment increases prevalence and severity of coral disease and bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vega Thurber, Rebecca L; Burkepile, Deron E; Fuchs, Corinne; Shantz, Andrew A; McMinds, Ryan; Zaneveld, Jesse R

    2014-02-01

    Nutrient loading is one of the strongest drivers of marine habitat degradation. Yet, the link between nutrients and disease epizootics in marine organisms is often tenuous and supported only by correlative data. Here, we present experimental evidence that chronic nutrient exposure leads to increases in both disease prevalence and severity and coral bleaching in scleractinian corals, the major habitat-forming organisms in tropical reefs. Over 3 years, from June 2009 to June 2012, we continuously exposed areas of a coral reef to elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. At the termination of the enrichment, we surveyed over 1200 scleractinian corals for signs of disease or bleaching. Siderastrea siderea corals within enrichment plots had a twofold increase in both the prevalence and severity of disease compared with corals in unenriched control plots. In addition, elevated nutrient loading increased coral bleaching; Agaricia spp. of corals exposed to nutrients suffered a 3.5-fold increase in bleaching frequency relative to control corals, providing empirical support for a hypothesized link between nutrient loading and bleaching-induced coral declines. However, 1 year later, after nutrient enrichment had been terminated for 10 months, there were no differences in coral disease or coral bleaching prevalence between the previously enriched and control treatments. Given that our experimental enrichments were well within the ranges of ambient nutrient concentrations found on many degraded reefs worldwide, these data provide strong empirical support to the idea that coastal nutrient loading is one of the major factors contributing to the increasing levels of both coral disease and coral bleaching. Yet, these data also suggest that simple improvements to water quality may be an effective way to mitigate some coral disease epizootics and the corresponding loss of coral cover in the future. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  5. Pressure balanced type membrane covered polarographic oxygen detectors for use in high temperature-high pressure water, (1)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nakayama, Norio; Uchida, Shunsuke

    1984-01-01

    A pressure balanced type membrane covered polarographic oxygen detector was developed to determine directly oxygen concentrations in high temperature, high pressure water without cooling and pressure reducing procedures. The detector is characterized by the following features: (1) The detector body and the membrane for oxygen penetration are made of heat resistant resin. (2) The whole detector body is contained in a pressure chamber where interior and exterior pressures of the detector are balanced. (3) Thermal expansion of the electrolyte is absorbed by deformation of a diaphragm attached to the detector bottom. (4) The effect of dissolved Ag + on the signal current is eliminated by applying a guard electrode. As a result of performance tests at elevated temperature, it was demonstrated that a linear relationship between oxygen concentration and signal current was obtained up to 285 0 C, which was stabilized by the guard electrode. The minimum O 2 concentration detectable was 0.03ppm (9.4 x 10 -7 mol/kg). (author)

  6. Land cover mapping and change detection in urban watersheds using QuickBird high spatial resolution satellite imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hester, David Barry

    The objective of this research was to develop methods for urban land cover analysis using QuickBird high spatial resolution satellite imagery. Such imagery has emerged as a rich commercially available remote sensing data source and has enjoyed high-profile broadcast news media and Internet applications, but methods of quantitative analysis have not been thoroughly explored. The research described here consists of three studies focused on the use of pan-sharpened 61-cm spatial resolution QuickBird imagery, the spatial resolution of which is the highest of any commercial satellite. In the first study, a per-pixel land cover classification method is developed for use with this imagery. This method utilizes a per-pixel classification approach to generate an accurate six-category high spatial resolution land cover map of a developing suburban area. The primary objective of the second study was to develop an accurate land cover change detection method for use with QuickBird land cover products. This work presents an efficient fuzzy framework for transforming map uncertainty into accurate and meaningful high spatial resolution land cover change analysis. The third study described here is an urban planning application of the high spatial resolution QuickBird-based land cover product developed in the first study. This work both meaningfully connects this exciting new data source to urban watershed management and makes an important empirical contribution to the study of suburban watersheds. Its analysis of residential roads and driveways as well as retail parking lots sheds valuable light on the impact of transportation-related land use on the suburban landscape. Broadly, these studies provide new methods for using state-of-the-art remote sensing data to inform land cover analysis and urban planning. These methods are widely adaptable and produce land cover products that are both meaningful and accurate. As additional high spatial resolution satellites are launched and the

  7. 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.

  8. Community production modulates coral reef pH and the sensitivity of ecosystem calcification to ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeCarlo, Thomas M.; Cohen, Anne L.; Wong, George T. F.; Shiah, Fuh-Kwo; Lentz, Steven J.; Davis, Kristen A.; Shamberger, Kathryn E. F.; Lohmann, Pat

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs are built of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) produced biogenically by a diversity of calcifying plants, animals, and microbes. As the ocean warms and acidifies, there is mounting concern that declining calcification rates could shift coral reef CaCO3 budgets from net accretion to net dissolution. We quantified net ecosystem calcification (NEC) and production (NEP) on Dongsha Atoll, northern South China Sea, over a 2 week period that included a transient bleaching event. Peak daytime pH on the wide, shallow reef flat during the nonbleaching period was ˜8.5, significantly elevated above that of the surrounding open ocean (˜8.0-8.1) as a consequence of daytime NEP (up to 112 mmol C m-2 h-1). Diurnal-averaged NEC was 390 ± 90 mmol CaCO3 m-2 d-1, higher than any other coral reef studied to date despite comparable calcifier cover (25%) and relatively high fleshy algal cover (19%). Coral bleaching linked to elevated temperatures significantly reduced daytime NEP by 29 mmol C m-2 h-1. pH on the reef flat declined by 0.2 units, causing a 40% reduction in NEC in the absence of pH changes in the surrounding open ocean. Our findings highlight the interactive relationship between carbonate chemistry of coral reef ecosystems and ecosystem production and calcification rates, which are in turn impacted by ocean warming. As open-ocean waters bathing coral reefs warm and acidify over the 21st century, the health and composition of reef benthic communities will play a major role in determining on-reef conditions that will in turn dictate the ecosystem response to climate change.

  9. Land Cover Change in the Vicinity of MT. Qomolangma (everest), Central High Himalayas Since 1976

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Y.; Nie, Y.; Liu, L.; Wang, Z.; Ding, M.; Zhang, J.

    2010-12-01

    Under the background of global environmental change, the Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) region becomes the ideal place for the research of earth-atmosphere system, water and energy change, ecosystem patterns and processes change due to its sensitive and fragile natural environment. Land change science has emerged as a fundamental component of global environmental change and sustainability research. In this paper, geography, spatial information, climate science and other related theories and methods were applied, with the help of remote sensing, GIS, GPS, combining with a large number of RS data, field survey data and meteorological observation data to build 3 periods (1976, 1988 and 2006) of land cover, 30 periods (1970-2009) of major lakes data and long time-series NDVI change data from 1982 to 2009 in the Mt. Qomolangma region. The main results are as follows: 1. The land cover types in Mt. Qomolangma region are rich and with distinctive alpine features. The main land cover types include: closed to open grassland, alpine sparse vegetation, bare rock, closed grassland, forbs and glaciers (each percentage larger than 7%) with the area of 8274.27 km2, 7515.15 km2, 5450.82 km2, 5215.85 km2, 2782.66 km2 and 2710.17 km2 respectively in 2006. 2. The distribution of the main cover types are of obvious vertical zonallity. The transition of land cover types is forest→shrubland→grassland→meadow→sparse grassland→bare rock →glacier in order as the altitude arises with basically Gaussian distribution and assending peak in each elevation zone of types. The dominant natural zones distributed from bottom to top are: forest dominated zone (1500 ~ 3900 m), shrubland dominated zone (3900 ~ 4100 m), grassland dominated zone (4100 ~ 5000 m), sparse vegetation dominated zone (5000 ~ 5600 m), bare land dominated zone (5600 ~ 5900 m) and glacier (>5900 m). The altitude distribution of forest, shrubland and grassland in north and south slope are generally consistent. The range of

  10. Snowmelt in a High Latitude Mountain Catchment: Effect of Vegetation Cover and Elevation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pomeroy, J. W.; Essery, R. L.; Ellis, C. R.; Hedstrom, N. R.; Janowicz, R.; Granger, R. J.

    2004-12-01

    The energetics and mass balance of snowpacks in the premelt and melt period were compared from three elevation bands in a high latitude mountain catchment, Wolf Creek Research Basin, Yukon. Elevation is strongly correlated with vegetation cover and in this case the three elevation bands (low, middle, high) correspond to mature spruce forest, dense shrub tundra and sparse tundra (alpine). Measurements of radiation, ground heat flux, snow depth, snowfall, air temperature, wind speed were made on a half-hourly basis at the three elevations for a 10 year period. Sondes provided vertical gradients of air temperature, humidity, wind speed and air pressure. Snow depth and density surveys were conducted monthly. Comparisons of wind speed, air temperature and humidity at three elevations show that the expected elevational gradients in the free atmosphere were slightly enhanced just above the surface canopies, but that the climate at the snow surface was further influenced by complex canopy effects. Premelt snow accumulation was strongly affected by intercepted snow in the forest and blowing snow sublimation in the sparse tundra but not by the small elevational gradients in snowfall. As a result the maximum premelt SWE was found in the mid-elevation shrub tundra and was roughly double that of the sparse tundra or forest. Minimum variability of SWE was observed in the forest and shrub tundra (CV=0.25) while in the sparse tundra variability doubled (CV=0.5). Snowmelt was influenced by differences in premelt accumulation as well as differences in the net energy fluxes to snow. Elevation had a strong effect on the initiation of melt with the forest melt starting on average 16 days before the shrub tundra and 19 days before the sparse tundra. Mean melt rates showed a maximum in middle elevations and increased from 860 kJ/day in the forest to 1460 kJ/day in the sparse tundra and 2730 kJ/day in the shrub tundra. The forest canopy reduced melt while the shrub canopy enhanced it

  11. Relationships between benthic cover, current strength, herbivory, and a fisheries closure in Glovers Reef Atoll, Belize

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClanahan, T.; Karnauskas, M.

    2011-03-01

    Benthic cover, current strengths, and fish abundance and diversity were examined on 150 lagoonal patch reefs and mapped to determine their distribution, inter-relationships, and relationship to the fisheries closure in Glovers Reef Atoll. Current strength was highest at both the northern and southern ends of the atoll and largely controlled by local wind and weakly by tidal forcing. Benthic functional group distributions varied throughout the atoll and had distinct areas of dominance. In contrast, dominance of coral species was weaker, reflecting the lost cover and zonation of Acropora, Porites, and Montastraea that were reported in the 1970s. Hard and soft corals dominated the windward rim, while the central and leeward lagoon had lower current strengths and sea grass and fleshy green algae were relatively more abundant. Brown erect algae were relatively more common in the north and calcifying green and red algae the southern ends of the atoll. Only Montastraea- Agaricia agaricites distributions were similar to reports from the 1970s with high relative dominance in the southern and northeast atoll. The central-northern zone, which was described as an Acropora zone in the 1970s, was not recognizable, and Porites porites, P. astreoides, Millepora alcicornis, and Favia fragum were the most abundant species during this survey . Hard and soft coral cover abundance declined away from the reef rim and tidal channels and was associated with fast seawater turnover and high surgeonfish abundance. Consequently, the windward rim area has retained the most original and persistent hard-soft coral and surgeonfish community and is considered a priority for future management, if the goal is to protect coral from fishing impacts.

  12. 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.

  13. Multi-temporal high resolution monitoring of debris-covered glaciers using unmanned aerial vehicles

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kraaijenbrink, P.D.A.; Immerzeel, W.W.; de Jong, S.M.; Shea, Joseph M.; Pellicciotti, Francesca; Meijer, Sander W.; Shresta, A.B.

    Debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas are relatively unstudied due to the difficulties in fieldwork caused by the inaccessible terrain and the presence of debris layers, which complicate in situ measurements. To overcome these difficulties an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been deployed

  14. A High Performance Computing Approach to Tree Cover Delineation in 1-m NAIP Imagery Using a Probabilistic Learning Framework

    Science.gov (United States)

    Basu, Saikat; Ganguly, Sangram; Michaelis, Andrew; Votava, Petr; Roy, Anshuman; Mukhopadhyay, Supratik; Nemani, Ramakrishna

    2015-01-01

    Tree cover delineation is a useful instrument in deriving Above Ground Biomass (AGB) density estimates from Very High Resolution (VHR) airborne imagery data. Numerous algorithms have been designed to address this problem, but most of them do not scale to these datasets, which are of the order of terabytes. In this paper, we present a semi-automated probabilistic framework for the segmentation and classification of 1-m National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) for tree-cover delineation for the whole of Continental United States, using a High Performance Computing Architecture. Classification is performed using a multi-layer Feedforward Backpropagation Neural Network and segmentation is performed using a Statistical Region Merging algorithm. The results from the classification and segmentation algorithms are then consolidated into a structured prediction framework using a discriminative undirected probabilistic graphical model based on Conditional Random Field, which helps in capturing the higher order contextual dependencies between neighboring pixels. Once the final probability maps are generated, the framework is updated and re-trained by relabeling misclassified image patches. This leads to a significant improvement in the true positive rates and reduction in false positive rates. The tree cover maps were generated for the whole state of California, spanning a total of 11,095 NAIP tiles covering a total geographical area of 163,696 sq. miles. The framework produced true positive rates of around 88% for fragmented forests and 74% for urban tree cover areas, with false positive rates lower than 2% for both landscapes. Comparative studies with the National Land Cover Data (NLCD) algorithm and the LiDAR canopy height model (CHM) showed the effectiveness of our framework for generating accurate high-resolution tree-cover maps.

  15. A High Performance Computing Approach to Tree Cover Delineation in 1-m NAIP Imagery using a Probabilistic Learning Framework

    Science.gov (United States)

    Basu, S.; Ganguly, S.; Michaelis, A.; Votava, P.; Roy, A.; Mukhopadhyay, S.; Nemani, R. R.

    2015-12-01

    Tree cover delineation is a useful instrument in deriving Above Ground Biomass (AGB) density estimates from Very High Resolution (VHR) airborne imagery data. Numerous algorithms have been designed to address this problem, but most of them do not scale to these datasets which are of the order of terabytes. In this paper, we present a semi-automated probabilistic framework for the segmentation and classification of 1-m National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) for tree-cover delineation for the whole of Continental United States, using a High Performance Computing Architecture. Classification is performed using a multi-layer Feedforward Backpropagation Neural Network and segmentation is performed using a Statistical Region Merging algorithm. The results from the classification and segmentation algorithms are then consolidated into a structured prediction framework using a discriminative undirected probabilistic graphical model based on Conditional Random Field, which helps in capturing the higher order contextual dependencies between neighboring pixels. Once the final probability maps are generated, the framework is updated and re-trained by relabeling misclassified image patches. This leads to a significant improvement in the true positive rates and reduction in false positive rates. The tree cover maps were generated for the whole state of California, spanning a total of 11,095 NAIP tiles covering a total geographical area of 163,696 sq. miles. The framework produced true positive rates of around 88% for fragmented forests and 74% for urban tree cover areas, with false positive rates lower than 2% for both landscapes. Comparative studies with the National Land Cover Data (NLCD) algorithm and the LiDAR canopy height model (CHM) showed the effectiveness of our framework for generating accurate high-resolution tree-cover maps.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Integrating Landsat Data and High-Resolution Imagery for Applied Conservation Assessment of Forest Cover in Latin American Heterogenous Landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, N.; Rueda, X.; Lambin, E.; Mendenhall, C. D.

    2012-12-01

    Large intact forested regions of the world are known to be critical to maintaining Earth's climate, ecosystem health, and human livelihoods. Remote sensing has been successfully implemented as a tool to monitor forest cover and landscape dynamics over broad regions. Much of this work has been done using coarse resolution sensors such as AVHRR and MODIS in combination with moderate resolution sensors, particularly Landsat. Finer scale analysis of heterogeneous and fragmented landscapes is commonly performed with medium resolution data and has had varying success depending on many factors including the level of fragmentation, variability of land cover types, patch size, and image availability. Fine scale tree cover in mixed agricultural areas can have a major impact on biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability but may often be inadequately captured with the global to regional (coarse resolution and moderate resolution) satellite sensors and processing techniques widely used to detect land use and land cover changes. This study investigates whether advanced remote sensing methods are able to assess and monitor percent tree canopy cover in spatially complex human-dominated agricultural landscapes that prove challenging for traditional mapping techniques. Our study areas are in high altitude, mixed agricultural coffee-growing regions in Costa Rica and the Colombian Andes. We applied Random Forests regression tree analysis to Landsat data along with additional spectral, environmental, and spatial variables to predict percent tree canopy cover at 30m resolution. Image object-based texture, shape, and neighborhood metrics were generated at the Landsat scale using eCognition and included in the variable suite. Training and validation data was generated using high resolution imagery from digital aerial photography at 1m to 2.5 m resolution. Our results are promising with Pearson's correlation coefficients between observed and predicted percent tree canopy cover of .86 (Costa

  2. Real-time PCR reveals a high incidence of Symbiodinium clade D at low levels in four scleractinian corals across the Great Barrier Reef : implications for symbiont shuffling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mieog, J. C.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Cantin, N. E.; Stam, W. T.; Olsen, J. L.

    Reef corals form associations with an array of genetically and physiologically distinct endosymbionts from the genus Symbiodinium. Some corals harbor different clades of symbionts simultaneously, and over time the relative abundances of these clades may change through a process called symbiont

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mohn, Christian; Rengstorf, Anna; Grehan, Anthony

    . The model bathymetry was taken from highresolution INSS (Irish National Seabed Survey) seafloor mapping data. The model output of 6 hourly benthic currentsm, temperature and salinity was validated against in-situ measurements and compared with main coral assemblage patterns from in-situ Coral...

  4. Quantifying BRDF Effects in Comparing Landsat-7 and AVIRIS Near-Simultaneous Acquisitions for Studies of High Plains Vegetation Cover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goetz, A. F. H.; Heidebrecht, K. B.; Gutmann, E. D.; Warner, A. S.; Johnson, E. L.; Lestak, L. R.

    1999-01-01

    Approximately 100,000 sq. km of the High Plains of the central United States are covered by sand dunes and sand sheets deposited during the Holocene. Soil-dating evidence shows that there were at least four periods of dune reactivation during major droughts in the last 10,000 years. The dunes in this region are anchored by vegetation. We have undertaken a study of land-use change in the High Plains from 1985 to the present using Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ images to map variation in vegetation cover during wet and dry years. Mapping vegetation cover of less than 20% is important in modeling potential surface reactivation since at this level the vegetation no longer sufficiently shields sandy surfaces from movement by wind. Landsat TM data have both the spatial resolution and temporal coverage to facilitate vegetation cover analysis for model development and verification. However, there is still the question of how accurate TM data are for the measurement of both growing and senescent vegetation in and and semi-arid regions. AVIRIS provides both high spectral resolution as well as high signal-to-noise ratio and can be used to test the accuracy of Landsat TM and ETM+ data. We have analyzed data from AVIRIS flown nearly concurrently with a Landsat 7 overpass. The comparison between an AVIRIS image swath of 11 km width subtending a 30 deg. angle and the same area covered by a 0.8 deg. angle from Landsat required accounting for the BRDF. A normalization technique using the ratio of the reflectances from registered AVIRIS and Landsat data proved superior to the techniques of column averaging on AVIRIS data alone published previously by Kennedy et al. This technique can be applied to aircraft data covering a wider swath angle than AVIRIS to develop BRDF responses for a wide variety of surfaces more efficiently than from ground measurements.

  5. Cryobiology of coral fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagedorn, Mary; Farrell, Ann; Carter, Virginia L

    2013-02-01

    Around the world, coral reefs are dying due to human influences, and saving habitat alone may not stop this destruction. This investigation focused on the biological processes that will provide the first steps in understanding the cryobiology of whole coral fragments. Coral fragments are a partnership of coral tissue and endosymbiotic algae, Symbiodinium sp., commonly called zooxanthellae. These data reflected their separate sensitivities to chilling and a cryoprotectant (dimethyl sulfoxide) for the coral Pocillopora damicornis, as measured by tissue loss and Pulse Amplitude Modulated fluorometry 3weeks post-treatment. Five cryoprotectant treatments maintained the viability of the coral tissue and zooxanthellae at control values (1M dimethyl sulfoxide at 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0h exposures, and 1.5M dimethyl sulfoxide at 1.0 and 1.5h exposures, P>0.05, ANOVA), whereas 2M concentrations did not (Pzooxanthellae. During the winter when the fragments were chilled, the coral tissue remained relatively intact (∼25% loss) post-treatment, but the zooxanthellae numbers in the tissue declined after 5min of chilling (Pzooxanthellae numbers declined in response to chilling alone (P0.05, ANOVA), but it did not protect against the loss of zooxanthellae (Pzooxanthellae are the most sensitive element in the coral fragment complex and future cryopreservation protocols must be guided by their greater sensitivity. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Coral photobiology: new light on old views.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iluz, David; Dubinsky, Zvy

    2015-04-01

    The relationship between reef-building corals and light-harvesting pigments of zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium sp.) has been acknowledged for decades. The photosynthetic activity of the algal endocellular symbionts may provide up to 90% of the energy needed for the coral holobiont. This relationship limits the bathymetric distribution of coral reefs to the upper 100 m of tropical shorelines. However, even corals growing under high light intensities have to supplement the photosynthates translocated from the algae by predation on nutrient-rich zooplankton. New information has revealed how the fate of carbon acquired through photosynthesis differs from that secured by predation, whose rates are controlled by light-induced tentacular extension. The Goreau paradigm of "light-enhanced calcification" is being reevaluated, based on evidence that blue light stimulates coral calcification independently from photosynthesis rates. Furthermore, under dim light, calcification rates were stoichiometrically uncoupled from photosynthesis. The rates of photosynthesis of the zooxanthellae exhibit a clear endogenous rhythmicity maintained by light patterns. This daily pattern is concomitant with a periodicity of all the antioxidant protective mechanisms that wax and wane to meet the concomitant fluctuation in oxygen evolution. The phases of the moon are involved in the triggering of coral reproduction and control the spectacular annual mass-spawning events taking place in several reefs. The intensity and directionality of the underwater light field affect the architecture of coral colonies, leading to an optimization of the exposure of the zooxanthellae to light. We present a summary of major gaps in our understanding of the relationship between light and corals as a roadmap for future research. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  7. Distinct Bacterial Communities Associated with Massive and Branching Scleractinian Corals and Potential Linkages to Coral Susceptibility to Thermal or Cold Stress

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiayuan Liang

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available It is well known that different coral species have different tolerances to thermal or cold stress, which is presumed to be related to the density of Symbiodinium. However, the intrinsic factors between stress-tolerant characteristics and coral-associated bacteria are rarely studied. In this study, 16 massive coral and 9 branching coral colonies from 6 families, 10 genera, and 18 species were collected at the same time and location (Xinyi Reef in the South China Sea to investigate the bacterial communities. The results of an alpha diversity analysis showed that bacterial diversities associated with massive corals were generally higher than those with branching corals at different taxonomic levels (phylum, class, order, and so on. In addition, hierarchical clustering tree and PCoA analyses showed that coral species were clustered into two large groups according to the similarity of bacterial communities. Group I consisted of massive Goniastrea, Plesiastrea, Leptastrea, Platygyra, Echinopora, Porites, and Leptoria, and group II consisted of branching Acropora and Pocillopora. These findings suggested that both massive corals and branching corals have their own preference for the choice of associated bacteria, which may be involved in observed differences in thermal/cold tolerances. Further analysis found that 55 bacterial phyla, including 43 formally described phyla and 12 candidate phyla, were detected in these coral species. Among them, 52 phyla were recovered from the massive coral group, and 46 phyla were recovered from the branching coral group. Formally described coral pathogens have not been detected in these coral species, suggesting that they are less likely to be threatened by disease in this geographic area. This study highlights a clear relationship between the high complexity of bacterial community associated with coral, skeletal morphology of coral and potentially tolerances to thermal or cold stress.

  8. 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.

  9. Inversion tillage, high residue covers, and different herbicide regimes for palmer amaranth control in liberty link systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth is adversely affecting cotton production in the Southeast US. A field experiment was established in fall 2008 at the E.V. Smith Research Center, Field Crops Unit near Shorter, AL, to investigate the role of inversion tillage, high residue cover crops, and differ...

  10. Quantifying volume loss from ice cliffs on debris-covered glaciers using high-resolution terrestrial and aerial photogrammetry

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Brun, Fanny; Buri, Pascal; Miles, Evan S.; Wagnon, Patrick; Steiner, J.F.; Berthier, Etienne; Ragettli, S.; Kraaijenbrink, P.D.A.; Immerzeel, W.W.; Pellicciotti, Francesca

    Mass losses originating from supraglacial ice cliffs at the lower tongues of debris-covered glaciers are a potentially large component of the mass balance, but have rarely been quantified. In this study, we develop a method to estimate ice cliff volume losses based on high-resolution topographic

  11. Which Environmental Factors Predict Seasonal Variation in the Coral Health of Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera at Ningaloo Reef?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichs, Saskia; Patten, Nicole L.; Feng, Ming; Strickland, Daniel; Waite, Anya M.

    2013-01-01

    The impact of physico-chemical factors on percent coral cover and coral health was examined on a spatial basis for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera, at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia) in the southeast Indian Ocean. Coral health was investigated by measuring metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio and protein concentration), energy levels (lipid ratio) and autotrophic indices (chlorophyll a (chl a) and zooxanthellae density) at six stations during typical seasons (austral autumn 2010 (March and April), austral winter 2010 (August)) and during an extreme La Niña event in summer 2011 (February). These indices were correlated with 15 physico-chemical factors (measured immediately following coral sampling) to identify predictors for health indices. Variations in metabolic indices (protein concentration and RNA/DNA ratio) for A. spicifera were mainly explained by nitrogen, temperature and zooplankton concentrations under typical conditions, while for A. digitifera, light as well as phytoplankton, in particular picoeukaryotes, were important, possibly due to higher energy requirement for lipid synthesis and storage in A. digitifera. Optimum metabolic values occurred for both Acropora species at 26–28°C when autotrophic indices (chl a and zooxanthellae density) were lowest. The extreme temperature during the La Niña event resulted in a shift of feeding modes, with an increased importance of water column plankton concentrations for metabolic rates of A. digitifera and light and plankton for A. spicifera. Our results suggest that impacts of high sea surface temperatures during extreme events such as La Niña may be mitigated via reduction on metabolic rates in coral host. The high water column plankton concentrations and associated low light levels resulted in a shift towards high symbiont densities, with lower metabolic rates and energy levels than the seasonal norm for the coral host. PMID:23637770

  12. Which environmental factors predict seasonal variation in the coral health of Acropora digitifera and Acropora spicifera at Ningaloo Reef?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saskia Hinrichs

    Full Text Available The impact of physico-chemical factors on percent coral cover and coral health was examined on a spatial basis for two dominant Acropora species, A. digitifera and A. spicifera, at Ningaloo Reef (north-western Australia in the southeast Indian Ocean. Coral health was investigated by measuring metabolic indices (RNA/DNA ratio and protein concentration, energy levels (lipid ratio and autotrophic indices (chlorophyll a (chl a and zooxanthellae density at six stations during typical seasons (austral autumn 2010 (March and April, austral winter 2010 (August and during an extreme La Niña event in summer 2011 (February. These indices were correlated with 15 physico-chemical factors (measured immediately following coral sampling to identify predictors for health indices. Variations in metabolic indices (protein concentration and RNA/DNA ratio for A. spicifera were mainly explained by nitrogen, temperature and zooplankton concentrations under typical conditions, while for A. digitifera, light as well as phytoplankton, in particular picoeukaryotes, were important, possibly due to higher energy requirement for lipid synthesis and storage in A. digitifera. Optimum metabolic values occurred for both Acropora species at 26-28°C when autotrophic indices (chl a and zooxanthellae density were lowest. The extreme temperature during the La Niña event resulted in a shift of feeding modes, with an increased importance of water column plankton concentrations for metabolic rates of A. digitifera and light and plankton for A. spicifera. Our results suggest that impacts of high sea surface temperatures during extreme events such as La Niña may be mitigated via reduction on metabolic rates in coral host. The high water column plankton concentrations and associated low light levels resulted in a shift towards high symbiont densities, with lower metabolic rates and energy levels than the seasonal norm for the coral host.

  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. Clipperton Atoll (eastern Pacific): oceanography, geomorphology, reef-building coral ecology and biogeography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, P. W.; Veron, J. E. N.; Wellington, G. M.

    1996-06-01

    Coral reef geomorphology and community composition were investigated in the tropical northeastern Pacific during April 1994. Three areas were surveyed in the Revillagigedo Islands (Mexico), and an intensive study was conducted on Clipperton Atoll (1,300 km SW of Acapulco), including macro-scale surface circulation, sea surface temperature (SST) climatology, geomorphology, coral community structure, zonation, and biogeography. Satellite-tracked drifter buoys from 1979 1993 demonstrated complex patterns of surface circulation with dominantly easterly flow (North Equatorial Counter Current, NECC), but also westerly currents (South Equatorial Current, SEC) that could transport propagules to Clipperton from both central and eastern Pacific regions. The northernmost latitude reached by the NECC is not influenced by El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, but easterly flow velocity evidently is accelerated at such times. Maximum NECC flow rates indicate that the eastern Pacific barrier can be bridged in 60 to 120 days. SST anomalies at Clipperton occur during ENSO events and were greater at Clipperton in 1987 than during 1982 1983. Shallow (15 18 m)and deep (50 58 m) terraces are present around most of Clipperton, probably representing Modern and late Pleistocene sea level stands. Although Clipperton is a well developed atoll with high coral cover, the reef-building fauna is depauperate, consisting of only 7 species of scleractinian corals belonging to the genera Pocillopora, Porites, Pavona and Leptoseris, and 1 species of hydrocoral in the genus Millepora. The identities of the one Pocilpopora species and one of the two Porites species are still unknown. Two of the remaining scleractinians ( Pavona minuta, Leptoseris scabra) and the hydrocoral ( Millepora exaesa), all formerly known from central and western Pacific localities, represent new eastern Pacific records. Scleractinian corals predominate (10 100% cover) over insular shelf depths of 8 to 60m, and crustose

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J.

    2009-09-01

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

  16. Effects of irradiance and light spectrum on growth of the scleractinian coral Galaxea

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijgerde, T.H.M.; Henkemans, P.; Osinga, R.

    2012-01-01

    Due to global degradation of coral reefs and high demand for scleractinian corals, aquaculture of these marine organisms is gaining importance. To make coral aquaculture economically viable, optimisation of culture protocols is vital. We determined the effects of irradiance and light spectrum on the

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  18. Modeling the Impact of White-Plague Coral Disease in Climate Change Scenarios

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Zvuloni, A.; Artzy-Randrup, Y.; Katriel, G.; Loya, Y.; Stone, L.

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs are in global decline, with coral diseases increasing both in prevalence and in space, a situation that is expected only to worsen as future thermal stressors increase. Through intense surveillance, we have collected a unique and highly resolved dataset from the coral reef of Eilat

  19. 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.

  20. Species and size diversity in protective services offered by coral guard-crabs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Seabird McKeon

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Coral guard-crabs in the genus Trapezia are well-documented defenders of their pocilloporid coral hosts against coral predators such as the Crown-of-Thorns seastar (Acanthaster planci complex. The objectives of this study were to examine the protective services of six species of Trapezia against corallivory, and the extent of functional diversity among these Trapezia species.Studies conducted in Mo’orea, French Polynesia showed the Trapezia—coral mutualism protected the host corals from multiple predators through functional diversity in the assemblage of crab symbionts. Species differed in their defensive efficacy, but species within similar size classes shared similar abilities. Smaller-size Trapezia species, which were previously thought to be ineffective guards, play important defensive roles against small corallivores.We also measured the benefits of this mutualism to corals in the midst of an Acanthaster outbreak that reduced the live coral cover on the fore reef to less than 4%. The mutualism may positively affect the reef coral demography and potential for recovery during adverse predation events through shelter of multiple species of small corals near the host coral. Our results show that while functional diversity is supported within the genus, some Trapezia species may be functionally equivalent within the same size class, decreasing the threat of gaps in coral protection caused by absence or replacement of any single Trapezia species.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Negative response of photosynthesis to natural and projected high seawater temperatures estimated by pulse amplitude modulation fluorometry in a temperate coral.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caroselli, Erik; Falini, Giuseppe; Goffredo, Stefano; Dubinsky, Zvy; Levy, Oren

    2015-01-01

    Balanophyllia europaea is a shallow water solitary zooxanthellate coral, endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. Extensive field studies across a latitudinal temperature gradient highlight detrimental effects of rising temperatures on its growth, demography, and skeletal characteristics, suggesting that depression of photosynthesis at high temperatures might cause these negative effects. Here we test this hypothesis by analyzing, by means of pulse amplitude modulation fluorometry, the photosynthetic efficiency of B. europaea specimens exposed in aquaria to the annual range of temperatures experienced in the field (13, 18, and 28°C), and two extreme temperatures expected for 2100 as a consequence of global warming (29 and 32°C). The indicators of photosynthetic performance analyzed (maximum and effective quantum yield) showed that maximum efficiency was reached at 20.0-21.6°C, slightly higher than the annual mean temperature in the field (18°C). Photosynthetic efficiency decreased from 20.0 to 13°C and even more strongly from 21.6 to 32°C. An unusual form of bleaching was observed, with a maximum zooxanthellae density at 18°C that strongly decreased from 18 to 32°C. Chlorophyll a concentration per zooxanthellae cell showed an opposite trend as it was minimal at 18°C and increased from 18 to 32°C. Since the areal chlorophyll concentration is the product of the zooxanthellae density and its cellular content, these trends resulted in a homogeneous chlorophyll concentration per coral surface across temperature treatments. This confirms that B. europaea photosynthesis is progressively depressed at temperatures >21.6°C, supporting previous hypotheses raised by the studies on growth and demography of this species. This study also confirms the threats posed to this species by the ongoing seawater warming.

  4. Negative response of photosynthesis to natural and projected high seawater temperatures estimated by pulse amplitude modulation fluorometry in a temperate coral

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erik eCaroselli

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Balanophyllia europaea is a shallow water solitary zooxanthellate coral, endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. Extensive field studies across a latitudinal temperature gradient highlight detrimental effects of rising temperatures on its growth, demography and skeletal characteristics, suggesting that depression of photosynthesis at high temperatures might cause these negative effects. Here we test this hypothesis by analyzing, by means of pulse amplitude modulation fluorometry, the photosynthetic efficiency of B. europaea specimens exposed in aquaria to the annual range of temperatures experienced in the field (13°C, 18°C, and 28°C, and two extreme temperatures expected for 2100 as a consequence of global warming (29°C and 32°C. The indicators of photosynthetic performance analyzed (maximum and effective quantum yield showed that maximum efficiency was reached at 20.0-21.6°C, slightly higher than the annual mean temperature in the field (18°C. Photosynthetic efficiency decreased from 20.0°C to 13°C and even more strongly from 21.6°C to 32°C. An unusual form of bleaching was observed, with a maximum zooxanthellae density at 18°C that strongly decreased from 18°C to 32°C. Chlorophyll a concentration per zooxanthellae cell showed an opposite trend as it was minimal at 18°C and increased from 18°C to 32°C. Since the areal chlorophyll concentration is the product of the zooxanthellae density and its cellular content, these trends resulted in a homogeneous chlorophyll concentration per coral surface across temperature treatments. This confirms that B. europaea photosynthesis is progressively depressed at temperatures >21.6°C, supporting previous hypotheses raised by the studies on growth and demography of this species. This study also confirms the threats posed to this species by the ongoing seawater warming.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolfe, Kennedy; Byrne, Maria

    2017-12-01

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

  6. An Improved Estimation of Regional Fractional Woody/Herbaceous Cover Using Combined Satellite Data and High-Quality Training Samples

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xu Liu

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Mapping vegetation cover is critical for understanding and monitoring ecosystem functions in semi-arid biomes. As existing estimates tend to underestimate the woody cover in areas with dry deciduous shrubland and woodland, we present an approach to improve the regional estimation of woody and herbaceous fractional cover in the East Asia steppe. This developed approach uses Random Forest models by combining multiple remote sensing data—training samples derived from high-resolution image in a tailored spatial sampling and model inputs composed of specific metrics from MODIS sensor and ancillary variables including topographic, bioclimatic, and land surface information. We emphasize that effective spatial sampling, high-quality classification, and adequate geospatial information are important prerequisites of establishing appropriate model inputs and achieving high-quality training samples. This study suggests that the optimal models improve estimation accuracy (NMSE 0.47 for woody and 0.64 for herbaceous plants and show a consistent agreement with field observations. Compared with existing woody estimate product, the proposed woody cover estimation can delineate regions with subshrubs and shrubs, showing an improved capability of capturing spatialized detail of vegetation signals. This approach can be applicable over sizable semi-arid areas such as temperate steppes, savannas, and prairies.

  7. The ecotoxicology of vegetable versus mineral based lubricating oils 3. Coral fertilization and adult corals

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mercurio, Philip; Negri, Andrew P.; Burns, Kathryn A.; Heyward, Andrew J.

    2004-01-01

    Biodegradable vegetable-derived lubricants (VDL) might be less toxic to marine organisms than mineral-derived oils (MDL) due to the absence of high molecular weight aromatics, but this remains largely untested. In this laboratory study, adult corals and coral gametes were exposed to various concentrations of a two-stroke VDL-1A and a corresponding MDL to determine which lubricant type was more toxic to each life stage. In the fertilization experiment, gametes from the scleractinian coral Acropora microphthalma were exposed to water-accommodated fractions (WAF) of VDL-1A and MDL for four hours. The MDL and VDL-1A WAFs inhibited normal fertilization of the corals at 200 μg l -1 total hydrocarbon content (THC) and 150 μg l -1 THC respectively. Disturbance of a stable coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis is regarded as a valid measure of sub-lethal stress in adult corals. The state of the symbiosis in branchlets of adult colonies of Acropora formosa was monitored using indicators such as dinoflagellate expulsion and dark-adapted photosystem II yields of dinoflagellate (using pulse amplitude modulation fluorescence). An effect on symbiosis was measurable following 48 h exposure to the lubricants at concentrations of 190 μg l -1 and 37 μg l -1 THC for the MDL and VDL-1A respectively. GC/MS revealed that the main constituent of the VDL-1A WAF was the compound coumarin, added by the manufacturer to improve odour. The fragrance containing coumarin was removed from the lubricant formulation and the toxicity towards adult corals re-examined. The coumarin-free VDL-2 exhibited significantly less toxicity towards the adult corals than all of the other oil types tested, with the only measurable effect being a slight but significant drop in photosynthetic efficiency at 280 μg l -1 . - Vegetable-derived lubricants were less toxic to adult corals than their mineral counterparts

  8. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mélanie L. Trapon

    2011-01-01

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

  10. Unraveling the structure and composition of Varadero Reef, an improbable and imperiled coral reef in the Colombian Caribbean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valeria Pizarro

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are commonly associated with oligotrophic, well-illuminated waters. In 2013, a healthy coral reef was discovered in one of the least expected places within the Colombian Caribbean: at the entrance of Cartagena Bay, a highly-polluted system that receives industrial and sewage waste, as well as high sediment and freshwater loads from an outlet of the Magdalena River (the longest and most populated river basin in Colombia. Here we provide the first characterization of Varadero Reef’s geomorphology and biological diversity. We also compare these characteristics with those of a nearby reference reef, Barú Reef, located in an area much less influenced by the described polluted system. Below the murky waters, we found high coral cover of 45.1% (±3.9; up to 80% in some sectors, high species diversity, including 42 species of scleractinian coral, 38 of sponge, three of lobster, and eight of sea urchin; a fish community composed of 61 species belonging to 24 families, and the typical zonation of a Caribbean fringing reef. All attributes found correspond to a reef that, according to current standards should be considered in “good condition”. Current plans to dredge part of Varadero threaten the survival of this reef. There is, therefore, an urgent need to describe the location and characteristics of Varadero as a first step towards gaining acknowledgement of its existence and garnering inherent legal and environmental protections.

  11. The 2014 coral bleaching and freshwater flood events in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaiʻi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jokiel, Paul L.; Rodgers, Kuʻulei S.

    2015-01-01

    Until recently, subtropical Hawaiʻi escaped the major bleaching events that have devastated many tropical regions, but the continued increases in global long-term mean temperatures and the apparent ending of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) cool phase have increased the risk of bleaching events. Climate models and observations predict that bleaching in Hawaiʻi will occur with increasing frequency and increasing severity over future decades. A freshwater “kill” event occurred during July 2014 in the northern part of Kāneʻohe Bay that reduced coral cover by 22.5% in the area directly impacted by flooding. A subsequent major bleaching event during September 2014 caused extensive coral bleaching and mortality throughout the bay and further reduced coral cover in the freshwater kill area by 60.0%. The high temperature bleaching event only caused a 1.0% reduction in live coral throughout the portion of the bay not directly impacted by the freshwater event. Thus, the combined impact of the low salinity event and the thermal bleaching event appears to be more than simply additive. The temperature regime during the September 2014 bleaching event was analogous in duration and intensity to that of the large bleaching event that occurred previously during August 1996, but resulted in a much larger area of bleaching and coral mortality. Apparently seasonal timing as well as duration and magnitude of heating is important. Coral spawning in the dominant coral species occurs early in the summer, so reservoirs of stored lipid in the corals had been depleted by spawning prior to the September 2014 event. Warm months above 27 °C result in lower coral growth and presumably could further decrease lipid reserves, leading to a bleaching event that was more severe than would have happened if the high temperatures occurred earlier in the summer. Hawaiian reef corals decrease skeletal growth at temperatures above 27 °C, so perhaps the “stress period” actually started long

  12. The 2014 coral bleaching and freshwater flood events in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaiʻi

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keisha D. Bahr

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Until recently, subtropical Hawaiʻi escaped the major bleaching events that have devastated many tropical regions, but the continued increases in global long-term mean temperatures and the apparent ending of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO cool phase have increased the risk of bleaching events. Climate models and observations predict that bleaching in Hawaiʻi will occur with increasing frequency and increasing severity over future decades. A freshwater “kill” event occurred during July 2014 in the northern part of Kāneʻohe Bay that reduced coral cover by 22.5% in the area directly impacted by flooding. A subsequent major bleaching event during September 2014 caused extensive coral bleaching and mortality throughout the bay and further reduced coral cover in the freshwater kill area by 60.0%. The high temperature bleaching event only caused a 1.0% reduction in live coral throughout the portion of the bay not directly impacted by the freshwater event. Thus, the combined impact of the low salinity event and the thermal bleaching event appears to be more than simply additive. The temperature regime during the September 2014 bleaching event was analogous in duration and intensity to that of the large bleaching event that occurred previously during August 1996, but resulted in a much larger area of bleaching and coral mortality. Apparently seasonal timing as well as duration and magnitude of heating is important. Coral spawning in the dominant coral species occurs early in the summer, so reservoirs of stored lipid in the corals had been depleted by spawning prior to the September 2014 event. Warm months above 27 °C result in lower coral growth and presumably could further decrease lipid reserves, leading to a bleaching event that was more severe than would have happened if the high temperatures occurred earlier in the summer. Hawaiian reef corals decrease skeletal growth at temperatures above 27 °C, so perhaps the “stress period

  13. Long-term Shifts in Coral Communities On Shallow to Deep Reef Slopes of Curaçao and Bonaire: Are There Any Winners?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Bakker, D.M.; Meesters, E.H.; Bak, R.P.M.; Nieuwland, G.; van Duyl, F.C.

    2016-01-01

    Tropical coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse and economically important ecosystems on earth. Nevertheless, we found dramatic changes in coral communities on the reef slopes of Curaçao and Bonaire since 1973. Cover and abundance declined for virtually all coral species. The data show

  14. A Continental United States High Resolution NLCD Land Cover – MODIS Albedo Database to Examine Albedo and Land Cover Change Relationships

    Science.gov (United States)

    Surface albedo influences climate by affecting the amount of solar radiation that is reflected at the Earth’s surface, and surface albedo is, in turn, affected by land cover. General Circulation Models typically use modeled or prescribed albedo to assess the influence of land co...

  15. High spatial resolution mapping of land cover types in a priority area for conservation in the Brazilian savanna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ribeiro, F.; Roberts, D. A.; Hess, L. L.; Davis, F. W.; Caylor, K. K.; Nackoney, J.; Antunes Daldegan, G.

    2017-12-01

    Savannas are heterogeneous landscapes consisting of highly mixed land cover types that lack clear distinct boundaries. The Brazilian Cerrado is a Neotropical savanna considered a biodiversity hotspot for conservation due to its biodiversity richness and rapid transformation of its landscape by crop and pasture activities. The Cerrado is one of the most threatened Brazilian biomes and only 2.2% of its original extent is strictly protected. Accurate mapping and monitoring of its ecosystems and adjacent land use are important to select areas for conservation and to improve our understanding of the dynamics in this biome. Land cover mapping of savannas is difficult due to spectral similarity between land cover types resulting from similar vegetation structure, floristically similar components, generalization of land cover classes, and heterogeneity usually expressed as small patch sizes within the natural landscape. These factors are the major contributor to misclassification and low map accuracies among remote sensing studies in savannas. Specific challenges to map the Cerrado's land cover types are related to the spectral similarity between classes of land use and natural vegetation, such as natural grassland vs. cultivated pasture, and forest ecosystem vs. crops. This study seeks to classify and evaluate the land cover patterns across an area ranked as having extremely high priority for future conservation in the Cerrado. The main objective of this study is to identify the representativeness of each vegetation type across the landscape using high to moderate spatial resolution imagery using an automated scheme. A combination of pixel-based and object-based approaches were tested using RapidEye 3A imagery (5m spatial resolution) to classify the Cerrado's major land cover types. The random forest classifier was used to map the major ecosystems present across the area, and demonstrated to have an effective result with 68% of overall accuracy. Post

  16. Spatial distribution of benthic macroorganisms on reef flats at Porto de Galinhas Beach (northeastern Brazil, with special focus on corals and calcified hydroids

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juliana Imenis Barradas

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available Despite their ecological and social-economic importance, coral reefs are under constant threat and thus require proper management practices. Data on the spatial structure of these ecosystems are essential for good quality conservation projects in such areas. This study aimed to quantitatively analyze the spatial distribution of benthic macroorganisms from the reef environment of Porto de Galinhas Beach, with special focus on its corals and calcified hydroids. Reef flats of the area were surveyed by scuba diving, using 10m line transects. A high cover of macroalgae was verified, averaging 53% of the observations. Zoanthids were the second most representative group (11%. A total of 173 colonies of corals and calcified hydroids were observed and 40% of these colonies were partially or totally bleached.

  17. 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.