WorldWideScience

Sample records for high coral cover

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-01

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

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

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    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, M. S.; Blowes, S. A.; Coker, D.; Kubacki, E.; Nowicki, J.; Hoey, A. S.

    2015-06-01

    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 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. Evidence of extensive reef development and high coral cover in nearshore environments: implications for understanding coral adaptation in turbid settings

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    Morgan, Kyle M.; Perry, Chris T.; Smithers, Scott G.; Johnson, Jamie A.; Daniell, James J.

    2016-07-01

    Mean coral cover has reportedly declined by over 15% during the last 30 years across the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Here, we present new data that documents widespread reef development within the more poorly studied turbid nearshore areas (30 m) mesophotic equivalents and may have similar potential as refugia from large-scale disturbances.

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

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    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. 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.

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

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    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.

  10. 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.

  11. Growing coral larger and faster: micro-colony-fusion as a strategy for accelerating coral cover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forsman, Zac H; Page, Christopher A; Toonen, Robert J; Vaughan, David

    2015-01-01

    Fusion is an important life history strategy for clonal organisms to increase access to shared resources, to compete for space, and to recover from disturbance. For reef building corals, fragmentation and colony fusion are key components of resilience to disturbance. Observations of small fragments spreading tissue and fusing over artificial substrates prompted experiments aimed at further characterizing Atlantic and Pacific corals under various conditions. Small (∼1-3 cm(2)) fragments from the same colony spaced regularly over ceramic tiles resulted in spreading at rapid rates (e.g., tens of square centimeters per month) followed by isogenic fusion. Using this strategy, we demonstrate growth, in terms of area encrusted and covered by living tissue, of Orbicella faveolata, Pseudodiploria clivosa, and Porites lobata as high as 63, 48, and 23 cm(2) per month respectively. We found a relationship between starting and ending size of fragments, with larger fragments growing at a faster rate. Porites lobata showed significant tank effects on rates of tissue spreading indicating sensitivity to biotic and abiotic factors. The tendency of small coral fragments to encrust and fuse over a variety of surfaces can be exploited for a variety of applications such as coral cultivation, assays for coral growth, and reef restoration.

  12. Growing coral larger and faster: micro-colony-fusion as a strategy for accelerating coral cover

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zac H. Forsman

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Fusion is an important life history strategy for clonal organisms to increase access to shared resources, to compete for space, and to recover from disturbance. For reef building corals, fragmentation and colony fusion are key components of resilience to disturbance. Observations of small fragments spreading tissue and fusing over artificial substrates prompted experiments aimed at further characterizing Atlantic and Pacific corals under various conditions. Small (∼1–3 cm2 fragments from the same colony spaced regularly over ceramic tiles resulted in spreading at rapid rates (e.g., tens of square centimeters per month followed by isogenic fusion. Using this strategy, we demonstrate growth, in terms of area encrusted and covered by living tissue, of Orbicella faveolata, Pseudodiploria clivosa, and Porites lobata as high as 63, 48, and 23 cm2 per month respectively. We found a relationship between starting and ending size of fragments, with larger fragments growing at a faster rate. Porites lobata showed significant tank effects on rates of tissue spreading indicating sensitivity to biotic and abiotic factors. The tendency of small coral fragments to encrust and fuse over a variety of surfaces can be exploited for a variety of applications such as coral cultivation, assays for coral growth, and reef restoration.

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

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    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

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    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. Structure and dynamics of turbulent boundary layer flow over healthy and algae-covered corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stocking, Jonathan B.; Rippe, John P.; Reidenbach, Matthew A.

    2016-09-01

    Fine-scale velocity measurements over healthy and algae-covered corals were collected in situ to characterize combined wave-current boundary layer flow and the effects of algal canopies on turbulence hydrodynamics. Data were collected using acoustic Doppler velocimetry and particle image velocimetry. Flow over healthy corals is well described by traditional wall-bounded shear layers, distinguished by a logarithmic velocity profile, a local balance of turbulence production and dissipation, and high levels of bed shear stress. Healthy corals exhibit significant spatial heterogeneity in boundary layer flow structure resulting from variations in large-scale coral topography. By contrast, the turbulence structure of algae-covered corals is best represented by a plane mixing layer, with a sharp inflection point in mean velocity at the canopy top, a large imbalance of turbulence production and dissipation, and strongly damped flow and shear stresses within the canopy. The presence of an algal canopy increases turbulent kinetic energy within the roughness sublayer by ~2.5 times compared to healthy corals while simultaneously reducing bed shear stress by nearly an order of magnitude. Reduced bed shear at the coral surface and within-canopy turbulent stresses imply reduced mass transfer of necessary metabolites (e.g., oxygen, nutrients), leading to negative impacts on coral health.

  16. Disturbance and the dynamics of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995-2009.

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    Kate Osborne

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR is currently lacking. Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years with no net decline between 1995 and 2009. Subregional trends (10-100 km in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families. Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral. Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980's suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10-100 km, driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery.

  17. Disturbance and the dynamics of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995-2009).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osborne, Kate; Dolman, Andrew M; Burgess, Scott C; Johns, Kerryn A

    2011-03-10

    Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently lacking. Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009. Subregional trends (10-100 km) in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families. Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral. Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980's suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10-100 km), driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery.

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

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    John F Bruno

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: 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. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPLE FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, D. J.

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

  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. The 27-year decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef and its causes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De'ath, Glenn; Fabricius, Katharina E; Sweatman, Hugh; Puotinen, Marji

    2012-10-30

    The world's coral reefs are being degraded, and the need to reduce local pressures to offset the effects of increasing global pressures is now widely recognized. This study investigates the spatial and temporal dynamics of coral cover, identifies the main drivers of coral mortality, and quantifies the rates of potential recovery of the Great Barrier Reef. Based on the world's most extensive time series data on reef condition (2,258 surveys of 214 reefs over 1985-2012), we show a major decline in coral cover from 28.0% to 13.8% (0.53% y(-1)), a loss of 50.7% of initial coral cover. Tropical cyclones, coral predation by crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), and coral bleaching accounted for 48%, 42%, and 10% of the respective estimated losses, amounting to 3.38% y(-1) mortality rate. Importantly, the relatively pristine northern region showed no overall decline. The estimated rate of increase in coral cover in the absence of cyclones, COTS, and bleaching was 2.85% y(-1), demonstrating substantial capacity for recovery of reefs. In the absence of COTS, coral cover would increase at 0.89% y(-1), despite ongoing losses due to cyclones and bleaching. Thus, reducing COTS populations, by improving water quality and developing alternative control measures, could prevent further coral decline and improve the outlook for the Great Barrier Reef. Such strategies can, however, only be successful if climatic conditions are stabilized, as losses due to bleaching and cyclones will otherwise increase.

  3. 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.

  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. Spatiotemporal variations of live coral cover in the northern Mesoamerican Reef System, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Linda M. Barranco

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Evaluating the response of coral assemblages to different disturbances is important because variations in species composition may have consequences for ecosystem functioning due to their different functional roles in coral reefs. This study evaluates changes in diversity, structure and composition of coral assemblages of the coral reefs of two national parks in the northern sector of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System spanning the period from 2006 to 2012, just after the impact of two hurricanes in the area. Coral assemblages in the Cancún National Park included fewer species and lower live coral coverage ( < 15% than those recorded in Cozumel. In the Cancún National Park, the species with the highest coral cover was Porites astreoides (more than 40% relative cover, and no significant temporal changes were observed in live coral cover and species composition. On the other hand, in the Cozumel National Park the dominant species were Agaricia agaricites, Siderastrea siderea and Porites astreoides, and the coral reefs showed an increase in live coral cover from 16% in 2006 to 29% in 2012. The dynamics of coral assemblages differed between the two parks: while there is an apparent stability in the current composition of the Cancún reefs, the Cozumel reefs show an increase in the abundance of the aforementioned dominant species. However, it is possible that the population characteristics of the species that dominate the coral assemblages in both national parks, such as those of fast population growth and of small colony size, do not entirely fulfill the main function of accretion and habitat heterogeneity, and more research is therefore needed to test this hypothesis.

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

    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 Maug

    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 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.

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

    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 Arakane

    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 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Page, Heather N.; Courtney, Travis A.; Andrew Collins; De Carlo, Eric H.; Andersson, Andreas J.

    2017-01-01

    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 benthi...

  16. Bacteria associated with an encrusting sponge (Terpios hoshinota) and the corals partially covered by the sponge.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Sen-Lin; Hong, Mei-Jhu; Liao, Ming-Hui; Jane, Wann-Neng; Chiang, Pei-Wen; Chen, Chung-Bin; Chen, Chaolun A

    2011-05-01

    Terpios hoshinota, a dark encrusting sponge, is known to be a competitor for space in coral reef environments, and facilitates the death of corals. Although numerous cyanobacteria have been detected in the sponge, little is known of the sponge-associated bacterial community. This study examined the sponge-associated bacterial community and the difference between the bacterial communities in the sponge and the coral partially covered by the sponge by analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences of samples isolated from the sponge covering the corals Favia complanata, Isopora palifera, Millepora sp., Montipora efflorescens and Porites lutea. The sponge-associated bacterial community was mainly (61-98%) composed of cyanobacteria, with approximately 15% of these alphaproteobacteria and gammaproteobacteria, although the proportions varied in different sponge samples. The dominant cyanobacteria group was an isolated group closely related to Prochloron sp. The comparison of the bacterial communities isolated from sponge-free and the sponge-covered P. lutea showed that covering by the sponge caused changes in the coral-associated bacterial communities, with the presence of bacteria similar to those detected in black-band disease, suggesting the sponge might benefit from the presence of bacteria associated with unhealthy coral, particularly in the parts of the coral closest to the margin of the sponge.

  17. 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

  18. Watershed- and island wide-scale land cover changes in Puerto Rico (1930s-2004) and their potential effects on coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramos-Scharrón, Carlos E; Torres-Pulliza, Damaris; Hernández-Delgado, Edwin A

    2015-02-15

    Anthropogenically enhanced delivery of sediments and other land-based sources of pollution represent well-recognized threats to nearshore coral reef communities worldwide. Land cover change is commonly used as a proxy to document human-induced alterations to sediment and pollutant delivery rates to coral reef bearing waters. In this article, land cover change was assessed for a 69-km(2) watershed in Puerto Rico between 1936 and 2004 by aerial photograph interpretation. Forests and sugar cane fields predominated from 1936 through the late 1970s, but while cropland dipped to negligible levels by 2004, net forest cover doubled and built-up areas increased tenfold. The watershed-scale land cover changes documented here mimicked those of the entire Puerto Rican landmass. Sediment yield predictions that rely on the sort of land cover changes reported here inevitably result in declining trends, but anecdotal and scientific evidence in the study watershed and throughout Puerto Rico suggests that sediment and pollutant loading rates still remain high and at potentially threatening levels. The simultaneous reduction in living coral cover that accompanied reforestation and urbanization patterns since the 1970s in our study region is discussed here within the context of the following non-mutually exclusive potential explanations: (a) the inability of land cover change-based assessments to discern spatially-focused, yet highly influential sources of sediment; (b) the potentially secondary role of cropland and forest cover changes in influencing nearshore coral reef conditions relative to other types of stressors like those related to climate change; and (c) the potentially dominant role that urban development may have had in altering marine water quality to the extent of reducing live coral cover. Since identification of the causes for coral reef degradation has proven elusive here and elsewhere, we infer that coral reef management may only be effective when numerous land- and

  19. Coral cover as a proxy of disturbance: A case study of the biodiversity of the hermatypic corals in Yongxing Island, Xisha Islands in the South China Sea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    HUANG Hui; LIAN Jiansheng; HUANG Xiaoping; HUANG Liangmin; ZOU Renlin; WANG Daoru

    2006-01-01

    The Yongxing Island is the biggest island of Xisha Islands in the middle part of the South China Sea. It occupies 1.8 square kilometers of land area and has permanent residence on it. There are only a few papers on the coral community of the Xisha Islands, reporting the species composition,structure and zonations of the hermatypic coral community in 1970s. The present study describes the hermatypic coral community based on the quadrat survey after almost 30 years in Yongxing Island in August 2002. It was the first time to present the percent cover data of live corals of Yongxing Island via a systematic scheme of quantitative quadrat sampling.The average total percent cover of the live coral is 68.4%. We found the total percent cover (TPC) could be an idea proxy of the overall disturbance regime impinging on the coral community. TPC can be used as an integrated measure of disturbance to coral reef.Using this surrogate, the best fit relation between TPC of the live corals and species richness, species diversity, or the species evenness is the unimodal second-order polymorphic parabola equation. This result is expected by the intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH). From the fitted parabola equations,we calculated the best TPCs corresponding to the maximal species richness, the highest species diversity, or the most evenness respectively. They are surprisingly stabilized between 55% and 58%. Coral cover is the basic parameter widely available for most observation, research or monitoring programs.The good qualitative characteristics of percent cover provide powerful tool for the experimental, theoretical and modeling studies of coral reef in response to the disturbance.

  20. Historical photographs revisited: A case study for dating and characterizing recent loss of coral cover on the inshore Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Tara R; Leonard, Nicole D; Zhao, Jian-Xin; Brodie, Jon; McCook, Laurence J; Wachenfeld, David R; Duc Nguyen, Ai; Markham, Hannah L; Pandolfi, John M

    2016-01-27

    Long-term data with high-precision chronology are essential to elucidate past ecological changes on coral reefs beyond the period of modern-day monitoring programs. In 2012 we revisited two inshore reefs within the central Great Barrier Reef, where a series of historical photographs document a loss of hard coral cover between c.1890-1994 AD. Here we use an integrated approach that includes high-precision U-Th dating specifically tailored for determining the age of extremely young corals to provide a robust, objective characterisation of ecological transition. The timing of mortality for most of the dead in situ corals sampled from the historical photograph locations was found to coincide with major flood events in 1990-1991 at Bramston Reef and 1970 and 2008 at Stone Island. Evidence of some recovery was found at Bramston Reef with living coral genera similar to what was described in c.1890 present in 2012. In contrast, very little sign of coral re-establishment was found at Stone Island suggesting delayed recovery. These results provide a valuable reference point for managers to continue monitoring the recovery (or lack thereof) of coral communities at these reefs.

  1. Historical photographs revisited: A case study for dating and characterizing recent loss of coral cover on the inshore Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Tara R.; Leonard, Nicole D.; Zhao, Jian-Xin; Brodie, Jon; McCook, Laurence J.; Wachenfeld, David R.; Duc Nguyen, Ai; Markham, Hannah L.; Pandolfi, John M.

    2016-01-01

    Long-term data with high-precision chronology are essential to elucidate past ecological changes on coral reefs beyond the period of modern-day monitoring programs. In 2012 we revisited two inshore reefs within the central Great Barrier Reef, where a series of historical photographs document a loss of hard coral cover between c.1890–1994 AD. Here we use an integrated approach that includes high-precision U-Th dating specifically tailored for determining the age of extremely young corals to provide a robust, objective characterisation of ecological transition. The timing of mortality for most of the dead in situ corals sampled from the historical photograph locations was found to coincide with major flood events in 1990–1991 at Bramston Reef and 1970 and 2008 at Stone Island. Evidence of some recovery was found at Bramston Reef with living coral genera similar to what was described in c.1890 present in 2012. In contrast, very little sign of coral re-establishment was found at Stone Island suggesting delayed recovery. These results provide a valuable reference point for managers to continue monitoring the recovery (or lack thereof) of coral communities at these reefs.

  2. Shifting base-lines, declining coral cover, and the erosion of reef resilience: comment on Sweatman et al. (2011)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, T. P.; Bellwood, D. R.; Baird, A. H.; Brodie, J.; Bruno, J. F.; Pandolfi, J. M.

    2011-09-01

    Formal monitoring of the Great Barrier Reef was initiated in 1986 in response to the clear scientific evidence (and growing public concern) over the loss of corals caused by two protracted outbreaks of crown-of thorns starfish, which began in 1962 and 1979. Using monitoring data from manta tows along and across the Great Barrier Reef, Sweatman et al. (Coral Reefs 30:521-531, 2011) show that coral cover after these outbreaks declined further from 28 to 22% between 1986 and 2004. Pointing to the current levels of protection of the Great Barrier Reef, they state that earlier estimates of losses of coral cover since the early 1960s have been exaggerated. However, the loss of close to one-quarter of the coral cover over the past two decades represents an average loss of 0.34% cover per year across the whole GBR after 1986, which is very similar to previously reported rates of annual loss measured over a longer timeframe. The heaviest recent losses have occurred on inshore and mid-shelf reefs, which Sweatman et al. (Coral Reefs 30:521-531, 2011) attribute to a natural cycle of disturbance and recovery. But there has been very limited recovery. While coral cover has increased for short periods on some individual reefs, it has declined sharply on many more to produce the observed system-wide trend of declining cover. Close to 40% of coral cover on inner reefs has been lost since 1986. Of particular significance is the new evidence that coral cover has remained unchanged or declined further from a low 1986 baseline in 28 out of 29 sub-regions of the Great Barrier Reef, indicating a gradual erosion of resilience that is impeding the capacity of this huge reef system to return towards its earlier condition. This result, and other clear evidence of widespread incremental degradation from overfishing, pollution, and climate change, calls for action rather than complacency or denial.

  3. Assessing loss of coral cover on Australia's Great Barrier Reef over two decades, with implications for longer-term trends

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sweatman, H.; Delean, S.; Syms, C.

    2011-06-01

    While coral reefs in many parts of the world are in decline as a direct consequence of human pressures, Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is unusual in that direct human pressures are low and the entire system of ~2,900 reefs has been managed as a marine park since the 1980s. In spite of these advantages, standard annual surveys of a large number of reefs showed that from 1986 to 2004, average live coral cover across the GBR declined from 28 to 22%. This overall decline was mainly due to large losses in six (21%) of 29 subregions. Declines in live coral cover on reefs in two inshore subregions coincided with thermal bleaching in 1998, while declines in four mid-self subregions were due to outbreaks of predatory starfish. Otherwise, living coral cover increased in one subregion (3%) and 22 subregions (76%) showed no substantial change. Reefs in the great majority of subregions showed cycles of decline and recovery over the survey period, but with little synchrony among subregions. Two previous studies examined long-term changes in live coral cover on GBR reefs using meta-analyses including historical data from before the mid-1980s. Both found greater rates of loss of coral and recorded a marked decrease in living coral cover on the GBR in 1986, coinciding exactly with the start of large-scale monitoring. We argue that much of the apparent long-term decrease results from combining data from selective, sparse, small-scale studies before 1986 with data from both small-scale studies and large-scale monitoring surveys after that date. The GBR has clearly been changed by human activities and live coral cover has declined overall, but losses of coral in the past 40-50 years have probably been overestimated.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew G Bauman

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

  7. 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.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Highly infectious symbiont dominates initial uptake in coral juveniles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abrego, David; VAN Oppen, Madeleine J H; Willis, Bette L

    2009-08-01

    The majority of reef-building corals acquire their obligate algal symbionts (Symbiodinium) from the environment. However, factors shaping the initial establishment of coral-algal symbioses, including parental effects, local environmental conditions and local availability of symbionts, are not well understood. This study monitored the uptake and maintenance of Symbiodinium in juveniles of two common corals, Acropora tenuis and Acropora millepora, that were reciprocally explanted between sites where adult colonies host different types of Symbiodinium. We found that coral juveniles were rapidly dominated by type D Symbiodinium, even though this type is not found in adult colonies (including the parental colonies) in four out of the five study populations. Furthermore, type D Symbiodinium was found in less than one-third of a wide range of coral species (n > 50) sampled at the two main study sites, suggesting that its dominance in the acroporid juveniles is not because it is the most abundant local endosymbiotic type. Moreover, dominance by type D was observed irrespective of the light intensity to which juveniles were exposed in a field study. In summary, despite its relatively low abundance in coral assemblages at the study sites and irrespective of the surrounding light environment, type D Symbiodinium is the main symbiont type initially acquired by juveniles of A. millepora and A. tenuis. We conclude that during early ontogeny in these corals, there are few barriers to the uptake of Symbiodinium types which differ from those found in parental colonies, resulting in dominance by a highly infectious and potentially opportunistic symbiont.

  15. High plains cover crop research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Some recent statements have been made about the benefits of growing cover crops in mixtures as compared with single-species plantings of cover crops. Those stated benefits have included greatly reduced water use, enhanced soil microbiological activity, increased biomass productivity, and enhanced wa...

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Midway Atoll, 2002-04

    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 St. Rogatien West, 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Supply Reef

    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 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.

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

  7. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Santa Rosa Reef

    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 Necker 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Johnston Atoll, 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.

  17. CRED Cumulative Map of Percent Scleractinian Coral Cover at Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas)

    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 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.

  19. Coverage, Diversity, and Functionality of a High-Latitude Coral Community (Tatsukushi, Shikoku Island, Japan)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Denis, Vianney; Mezaki, Takuma; Tanaka, Kouki; Kuo, Chao-Yang; De Palmas, Stéphane; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2013-01-01

    Background Seawater temperature is the main factor restricting shallow-water zooxanthellate coral reefs to low latitudes. As temperatures increase, coral species and perhaps reefs may move into higher-latitude waters, increasing the chances of coral reef ecosystems surviving despite global warming. However, there is a growing need to understand the structure of these high-latitude coral communities in order to analyze their future dynamics and to detect any potential changes. Methodology/Principal Findings The high-latitude (32.75°N) community surveyed was located at Tatsukushi, Shikoku Island, Japan. Coral cover was 60±2% and was composed of 73 scleractinian species partitioned into 7 functional groups. Although only 6% of species belonged to the ‘plate-like’ functional group, it was the major contributor to species coverage. This was explained by the dominance of plate-like species such as Acropora hyacinthus and A. solitaryensis. Comparison with historical data suggests a relatively recent colonization/development of A. hyacinthus in this region and a potential increase in coral diversity over the last century. Low coverage of macroalgae (2% of the benthic cover) contrasted with the low abundance of herbivorous fishes, but may be reasonably explained by the high density of sea urchins (12.9±3.3 individuals m−2). Conclusions/Significance The structure and composition of this benthic community are relatively remarkable for a site where winter temperature can durably fall below the accepted limit for coral reef development. Despite limited functionalities and functional redundancy, the current benthic structure might provide a base upon which a reef could eventually develop, as characterized by opportunistic and pioneer frame-building species. In addition to increasing seawater temperatures, on-going management actions and sea urchin density might also explain the observed state of this community. A focus on such ‘marginal’ communities should be a

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

    OpenAIRE

    Carroll, Andrew G; Dalton, Steven J.

    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...

  1. 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.

  2. Sr/Ca and stable isotopes in a coral from the Venezuelan coast: A record of 20th-century changes in SST, SSS and cloud cover?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hetzinger, S.; Pfeiffer, M.; Dullo, W.; Zinke, J.; Garbe-Schoenberg, C.

    2011-12-01

    We present a record of monthly δ18O and Sr/Ca variations in coral aragonite from a massive Diploria strigosa colony retrieved from a coastal NW-Venezuelan reef site (10.55°N, 67.24°W; 1940-2004). Linear regression of coral proxies to high resolution satellite sea surface temperature (SST) data (NASA OBPG MODIS-Aqua, 9-km resolution) demonstrates that both geochemical proxies record seasonal temperature variability in ambient seawater (Sr/Ca: r=-0.68 monthly, r=-0.60 annual; δ18O: r=-0.57 monthly, r=-0.46 annual; 1985-2004). On longer time scales both proxies record local as well as regional SST dynamics in the southeastern Caribbean and northern North Tropical Atlantic. A statistically significant relationship is observed between coral δ18O and local air temperature (r=-0.56; 1951-2002), while correspondence of δ18O to SST products (e.g. ERSST, SODA reanalysis) is lower than for Sr/Ca ratios. However, coral δ18O is a function of both temperature and δ18Oseawater and δ18Oseawater in turn is dependent on salinity. A comparison of δ18O to sea surface salinity (SSS) data confirms the existence of a strong salinity component in coral δ18O on annual and longer time scales (SODA reanalysis, r=0.65 for annual means, r=0.84 for 3-year average; 1958-2001). A decreasing trend from the mid-1980s onwards is evident in both SSS and coral δ18O, corresponding to trends seen in other Caribbean studies. Further, both geochemical proxies show a significant negative correlation to cloud cover averaged over a regional box (r=-0.66 for Sr/Ca; r=-0.48 for δ18O; 1941-2003). A significant drop in cloud cover is seen around the year 1947, which is displayed in both proxies as a distinct positive peak and coincides with a drop in instrumental SST. Interestingly, a marked decrease in annual coral growth rate is observed in the uppermost years of the core (1999 to 2004), as well as a reduced seasonal amplitude in δ18O variability and a trend to more negative δ18O-values at the

  3. 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

  4. 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...

  5. Map of percent scleractinian coral cover 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 overlaid on bathymetry and landsat imagery northwest of...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. Cohabitation promotes high diversity of clownfishes in the Coral Triangle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Camp, Emma F; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; De Brauwer, Maarten; Dumbrell, Alex J; Smith, David J

    2016-03-30

    Global marine biodiversity peaks within the Coral Triangle, and understanding how such high diversity is maintained is a central question in marine ecology. We investigated broad-scale patterns in the diversity of clownfishes and their host sea anemones by conducting 981 belt-transects at 20 locations throughout the Indo-Pacific. Of the 1508 clownfishes encountered, 377 fish occurred in interspecific cohabiting groups and cohabitation was almost entirely restricted to the Coral Triangle. Neither the diversity nor density of host anemone or clownfish species alone influenced rates of interspecific cohabitation. Rather cohabitation occurred in areas where the number of clownfish species exceeds the number of host anemone species. In the Coral Triangle, cohabiting individuals were observed to finely partition their host anemone, with the subordinate species inhabiting the periphery. Furthermore, aggression did not increase in interspecific cohabiting groups, instead dominant species were accepting of subordinate species. Various combinations of clownfish species were observed cohabiting (independent of body size, phylogenetic relatedness, evolutionary age, dentition, level of specialization) in a range of anemone species, thereby ensuring that each clownfish species had dominant reproductive individuals in some cohabiting groups. Clownfishes are obligate commensals, thus cohabitation is an important process in maintaining biodiversity in high diversity systems because it supports the persistence of many species when host availability is limiting. Cohabitation is a likely explanation for high species richness in other obligate commensals within the Coral Triangle, and highlights the importance of protecting these habitats in order to conserve unique marine biodiversity.

  9. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vercelloni, Julie; Caley, M Julian; Kayal, Mohsen; Low-Choy, Samantha; Mengersen, Kerrie

    2014-01-01

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Small cryptopredators contribute to high predation rates on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goatley, Christopher H. R.; González-Cabello, Alonso; Bellwood, David R.

    2017-03-01

    Small fishes suffer high mortality rates on coral reefs, primarily due to predation. Although studies have identified the predators of early post-settlement fishes, the predators of small cryptobenthic fishes remain largely unknown. We therefore used a series of mesocosm experiments with natural habitat and cryptobenthic fish communities to identify the impacts of a range of small potential predators, including several invertebrates, on prey fish populations. While there was high variability in predation rates, many members of the cryptobenthic fish community act as facultative cryptopredators, being prey when small and piscivores when larger. Surprisingly, we also found that smashing mantis shrimps may be important fish predators. Our results highlight the diversity of the predatory community on coral reefs and identify previously unknown trophic links in these complex ecosystems.

  14. Long-term community changes on a high-latitude coral reef in the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schleyer, Michael H; Kruger, Alke; Celliers, Louis

    2008-03-01

    South African coral reefs are limited in size but, being marginal, provide a model for the study of many of the stresses to which these valuable systems are being subjected globally. Soft coral cover, comprising relatively few species, exceeds that of scleractinians over much of the reefs. The coral communities nevertheless attain a high biodiversity at this latitude on the East African coast. A long-term monitoring programme was initiated in 1993, entailing temperature logging and image analysis of high resolution photographs of fixed quadrats on representative reef. Sea temperatures rose by 0.15 degrees C p.a. at the site up to 2000 but have subsequently been decreasing by 0.07 degrees C p.a. Insignificant bleaching was encountered in the region during the 1998 El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event, unlike elsewhere in East Africa, but quantifiable bleaching occurred during an extended period of warming in 2000. Peak temperatures on the South African reefs thus appear to have attained the coral bleaching threshold. While this has resulted in relatively little bleaching thus far, the increased temperatures appear to have had a deleterious effect on coral recruitment success as other anthropogenic influences on the reefs are minimal. Recruitment success diminished remarkably up to 2004 but appears again to be improving. Throughout, the corals have also manifested changes in community structure, involving an increase in hard coral cover and reduction in that of soft corals, resulting in a 5.5% drop in overall coral cover. These "silent" effects of temperature increase do not appear to have been reported elsewhere in the literature.

  15. Maintenance of fish diversity on disturbed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-03-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Density-associated recruitment mediates coral population dynamics on a coral reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bramanti, Lorenzo; Edmunds, Peter J.

    2016-06-01

    Theory suggests that density-associated processes can modulate community resilience following declines in population size. Here, we demonstrate density-associated processes in two scleractinian populations on the outer reef of Moorea, French Polynesia, that are rapidly increasing in size following the effects of two catastrophic disturbances. Between 2006 and 2010, predation by the corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea star reduced coral cover by 93 %; in 2010, the dead coral skeletons were removed by a cyclone, and in 2011 and 2012, high coral recruitment initiated population recovery. Coral recruitment was associated with coral cover, but the relationship differed between two coral genera that are almost exclusively broadcast spawners in Moorea. Acroporids recruited at low densities, and the density of recruits was positively associated with cover of Acropora, whereas pocilloporids recruited at high densities, and densities of their recruits were negatively associated with cover of Pocillopora. Together, our results suggest that associations between adult cover and density of both juveniles and recruits can mediate rapid coral community recovery after large disturbances. The difference between taxa in sign of the relationships between recruit density and coral cover indicate that they reflect contrasting mechanisms with the potential to mediate temporal shifts in taxonomic composition of coral communities.

  18. 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.

  19. Limits to the thermal tolerance of corals adapted to a highly fluctuating, naturally extreme temperature environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoepf, Verena; Stat, Michael; Falter, James L.; McCulloch, Malcolm T.

    2015-12-01

    Naturally extreme temperature environments can provide important insights into the processes underlying coral thermal tolerance. We determined the bleaching resistance of Acropora aspera and Dipsastraea sp. from both intertidal and subtidal environments of the naturally extreme Kimberley region in northwest Australia. Here tides of up to 10 m can cause aerial exposure of corals and temperatures as high as 37 °C that fluctuate daily by up to 7 °C. Control corals were maintained at ambient nearshore temperatures which varied diurnally by 4-5 °C, while treatment corals were exposed to similar diurnal variations and heat stress corresponding to ~20 degree heating days. All corals hosted Symbiodinium clade C independent of treatment or origin. Detailed physiological measurements showed that these corals were nevertheless highly sensitive to daily average temperatures exceeding their maximum monthly mean of ~31 °C by 1 °C for only a few days. Generally, Acropora was much more susceptible to bleaching than Dipsastraea and experienced up to 75% mortality, whereas all Dipsastraea survived. Furthermore, subtidal corals, which originated from a more thermally stable environment compared to intertidal corals, were more susceptible to bleaching. This demonstrates that while highly fluctuating temperatures enhance coral resilience to thermal stress, they do not provide immunity to extreme heat stress events.

  20. Limits to the thermal tolerance of corals adapted to a highly fluctuating, naturally extreme temperature environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoepf, Verena; Stat, Michael; Falter, James L; McCulloch, Malcolm T

    2015-12-02

    Naturally extreme temperature environments can provide important insights into the processes underlying coral thermal tolerance. We determined the bleaching resistance of Acropora aspera and Dipsastraea sp. from both intertidal and subtidal environments of the naturally extreme Kimberley region in northwest Australia. Here tides of up to 10 m can cause aerial exposure of corals and temperatures as high as 37 °C that fluctuate daily by up to 7 °C. Control corals were maintained at ambient nearshore temperatures which varied diurnally by 4-5 °C, while treatment corals were exposed to similar diurnal variations and heat stress corresponding to ~20 degree heating days. All corals hosted Symbiodinium clade C independent of treatment or origin. Detailed physiological measurements showed that these corals were nevertheless highly sensitive to daily average temperatures exceeding their maximum monthly mean of ~31 °C by 1 °C for only a few days. Generally, Acropora was much more susceptible to bleaching than Dipsastraea and experienced up to 75% mortality, whereas all Dipsastraea survived. Furthermore, subtidal corals, which originated from a more thermally stable environment compared to intertidal corals, were more susceptible to bleaching. This demonstrates that while highly fluctuating temperatures enhance coral resilience to thermal stress, they do not provide immunity to extreme heat stress events.

  1. 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

  2. High spatial variability in coral bleaching around Moorea (French Polynesia): patterns across locations and water depths.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Penin, Lucie; Adjeroud, Mehdi; Schrimm, Muriel; Lenihan, Hunter Stanton

    2007-02-01

    Mass coral bleaching events are one of the main threats to coral reefs. A severe bleaching event impacted Moorea, French Polynesia, between March and July 2002, causing 55+/-14% of colonies to suffer bleaching around the island. However, bleaching varied significantly across coral genera, locations, and as a function of water depth, with a bleaching level as high as 72% at some stations. Corals in deeper water bleached at a higher rate than those in shallow water, and the north coast was more impacted than the west coast. The relatively small scale of variability in bleaching responses probably resulted from the interaction between extrinsic factors, including hydrodynamic condition, and intrinsic factors, such as differential adaptation of the coral/algal association.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Dishon

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs occupy only ~0.1% of the oceans habitat, but are the most biologically diverse marine ecosystem. In recent decades, coral reefs have experienced significant global declines due to a variety of causes, one of the major being widespread coral bleaching events. During bleaching the coral expels its symbiotic algae losing its main source of nutrition generally obtained through photosynthesis. While recent coral bleaching events have been extensively investigated, there is no scientific data on historical coral bleaching prior to 1979. In this study, we employ high-resolution femtosecond Laser Ablation Multiple Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-MC-ICP-MS to demonstrate a distinct biologically-induced decline of boron (B isotopic composition (δ11B as a result of coral bleaching. These findings and methodology offer a new use for a previously developed isotopic proxy to reconstruct paleo-coral bleaching events. Based on a literature review of published δ11B data and our recorded "vital effect" of coral bleaching on the δ11B signal, we also describe at least two possible coral bleaching events since the Last Glacial Maximum. The implementation of this bleaching proxy holds the potential of identifying occurrences of coral bleaching throughout the geological record. A deeper temporal view of coral bleaching will enable scientists to determine if it occurred in the past during times of environmental change and what outcome it may have had on coral population structure.

  4. 西沙群岛永兴岛礁坡石珊瑚覆盖率的空间变化%Spatial variations of stony coral cover on the reef slope of Yongxing Island,Xisha Islands

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    施祺; 严宏强; 张会领; 赵美霞

    2011-01-01

    连续影像样方调查方法较常用的截线样条法具有空间分辨率高的特点.采用该方法于2008年7月在西沙群岛永兴岛礁坡开展了5条垂直岸线断面和2条平行岸线断面的石珊瑚覆盖率调查.调查发现,永兴岛珊瑚覆盖率存在显著的空间差异,北、西北和东部断面珊瑚分布相对较多,覆盖率较高;西和西南部断面珊瑚分布稀少,覆盖率低.其中北、西北和东部断面沿礁坡方向珊瑚分布明显减少,礁坡中上部30-50m以上、水深5-6m以浅的区域,珊瑚覆盖率高;而礁坡中下部50m以下、水深约6m以深区域,珊瑚分布少,覆盖率低.此外,北和西北部断面还发现由棘冠海星Acanthaster planci和黑皮海绵Terpios hoshinota分别造成的珊瑚白化和珊瑚黑死现象,一定程度上降低了珊瑚覆盖率.永兴岛珊瑚覆盖率的下降以及空间变化格局的形成主要与30年以来日益增加的人类活动和珊瑚礁区过度开发有关.%A method of successive image quadrat has characteristics of high spatial resolution, comparing with a conventional method of line intercept transect. This study investigated stony coral covers of five transects perpendicular to the coastline and two transects parallel to the coastline over the reef slope of Yongxing Island, one of the Xisha Islands, in July 2008 using the successive image quadrat method. The results reveal an evident spatial difference of cover rate of the reef slope, which was distributed widely with high cover rates along the transects over the northern, northwestern, and eastern slopes and scattered rarely with low cover rates along the transects over the western and southwestern slopes. Along the transects over the northern,northwestern, and eastern slopes corals reduced obviously along the slopes, showing relatively high abundance with high cover rate in the areas of upper slopes over 30-50 m and shallower than 5-6 m and less abundance with low cover rate in the areas of

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark I McCormick

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoepf, Verena; Grottoli, Andréa G; Warner, Mark E; Cai, Wei-Jun; Melman, Todd F; Hoadley, Kenneth D; Pettay, D Tye; Hu, Xinping; Li, Qian; Xu, Hui; Wang, Yongchen; Matsui, Yohei; Baumann, Justin H

    2013-01-01

    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.

  7. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Foster

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available 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 leaves 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 myr. 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 one-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 to investigate the combined impact of high pCO2 and reduced Mg / Ca ratio on coral skeletal mineralogy.

  9. Trophic designation and live coral cover predict changes in reef-fish community structure along a shallow to mesophotic gradient in Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kane, Corinne N.; Tissot, Brian N.

    2017-09-01

    Reef-fish community structure and habitat associations are well documented for shallow coral reefs (reefs (mesophotic reefs; >30 m). We documented the community structure of fishes and seafloor habitat composition through visual observations at depth intervals from 3 to 50 m in West Hawaii. Community structure changed gradually with depth, with more than 78% of fish species observed at mesophotic depths also found in shallow reef habitats. Depth explained 17% of the variation in reef-fish community structure; live coral cover explained 10% and prevalence of sand accounted for 7% of the fitted variation indicating that depth-related factors and coral habitat play a predominant role in structuring these communities. Differences in community structure also appear to be linked closely with feeding behavior. Trophic designation accounted for 31% of the fitted variation, with changes in herbivore abundance accounting for 10% of the variation. These findings suggest that changes in reef-fish community composition from shallow to mesophotic environments are largely influenced by trophic position, coral habitat and indirect effects of depth itself.

  10. Regional hard coral distribution within geomorphic and reef flat ecological zones determined by satellite imagery of the Xisha Islands, South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zuo, Xiuling; Su, Fenzhen; Zhao, Huanting; Zhang, Junjue; Wang, Qi; Wu, Di

    2017-05-01

    Coral reefs in the Xisha Islands (also known as the Paracel Islands in English), South China Sea, have experienced dramatic declines in coral cover. However, the current regional scale hard coral distribution of geomorphic and ecological zones, essential for reefs management in the context of global warming and ocean acidification, is not well documented. We analyzed data from field surveys, Landsat-8 and GF-1 images to map the distribution of hard coral within geomorphic zones and reef flat ecological zones. In situ surveys conducted in June 2014 on nine reefs provided a complete picture of reef status with regard to live coral diversity, evenness of coral cover and reef health (live versus dead cover) for the Xisha Islands. Mean coral cover was 12.5% in 2014 and damaged reefs seemed to show signs of recovery. Coral cover in sheltered habitats such as lagoon patch reefs and biotic dense zones of reef flats was higher, but there were large regional differences and low diversity. In contrast, the more exposed reef slopes had high coral diversity, along with high and more equal distributions of coral cover. Mean hard coral cover of other zones was reef system was estimated to cover 1 060 km2, and the emergent reefs covered 787 m2. Hard corals of emergent reefs were considered to cover 97 km2. The biotic dense zone of the reef flat was a very common zone on all simple atolls, especially the broader northern reef flats. The total cover of live and dead coral can reach above 70% in this zone, showing an equilibrium between live and dead coral as opposed to coral and algae. This information regarding the spatial distribution of hard coral can support and inform the management of Xisha reef ecosystems.

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-06-01

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

  15. Resilience potential of an Indian Ocean reef: an assessment through coral recruitment pattern and survivability of juvenile corals to recurrent stress events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manikandan, Balakrishnan; Ravindran, Jeyaraman; Vidya, Pottekkatt Jayabalan; Shrinivasu, Selvaraju; Manimurali, Rajagopal; Paramasivam, Kaliyaperumal

    2017-05-01

    Coral reefs are degraded by the synergistic action of climate and anthropogenic stressors. Coral cover in the Palk Bay reef at the northern Indian Ocean largely declined in the past decade due to frequent bleaching events, tsunami and increased fishing activities. In this study, we carried out a comparative assessment to assess the differences in the recovery and resilience of three spatially distant reefs viz. Vedhalai, Mandapam and Pamban along Palk Bay affected by moderate, severe and low fishing pressure respectively. The assessment was based on the juvenile coral recruitment pattern and its survivability combined with availability of hard substratum, live coral cover and herbivore reef fish stock. The Vedhalai reef has the highest coral cover (14.6 ± 6.3%), and ≥90% of the live corals in Vedhalai and Mandapam were affected by turf algal overgrowth. The density of herbivore reef fish was low in Vedhalai and Mandapam reefs compared to the Pamban reef with relatively few grazing species. The juvenile coral diversity and density were high in the Pamban reef and low in Vedhalai and Mandapam reefs despite high hard substratum cover. In total, 22 species of juvenile corals of 10 genera were recorded in Palk Bay. Comparison of the species diversity of juvenile corals with adult ones suggested that the Pamban reef is connected with other distant reefs whereas Vedhalai and Mandapam reefs were self-seeded. There was no statistically significant difference in the survivability of juvenile corals between the study sites, and in total, ≥90% of the juvenile corals survived the high sedimentation stress triggered by the northeast monsoon and bleaching stress that occurred recurrently. Our results indicated that the human activities indirectly affected the juvenile coral recruitment by degrading the live coral cover and contributed to the spatial variation in the recovery and resilience of the Palk Bay reef. Low species diversity of the juvenile corals will increase the

  16. 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.

  17. Persistence and change in community composition of reef corals through present, past, and future climates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edmunds, Peter J; Adjeroud, Mehdi; Baskett, Marissa L; Baums, Iliana B; Budd, Ann F; Carpenter, Robert C; Fabina, Nicholas S; Fan, Tung-Yung; Franklin, Erik C; Gross, Kevin; Han, Xueying; Jacobson, Lianne; Klaus, James S; McClanahan, Tim R; O'Leary, Jennifer K; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Pochon, Xavier; Putnam, Hollie M; Smith, Tyler B; Stat, Michael; Sweatman, Hugh; van Woesik, Robert; Gates, Ruth D

    2014-01-01

    The reduction in coral cover on many contemporary tropical reefs suggests a different set of coral community assemblages will dominate future reefs. To evaluate the capacity of reef corals to persist over various time scales, we examined coral community dynamics in contemporary, fossil, and simulated future coral reef ecosystems. Based on studies between 1987 and 2012 at two locations in the Caribbean, and between 1981 and 2013 at five locations in the Indo-Pacific, we show that many coral genera declined in abundance, some showed no change in abundance, and a few coral genera increased in abundance. Whether the abundance of a genus declined, increased, or was conserved, was independent of coral family. An analysis of fossil-reef communities in the Caribbean revealed changes in numerical dominance and relative abundances of coral genera, and demonstrated that neither dominance nor taxon was associated with persistence. As coral family was a poor predictor of performance on contemporary reefs, a trait-based, dynamic, multi-patch model was developed to explore the phenotypic basis of ecological performance in a warmer future. Sensitivity analyses revealed that upon exposure to thermal stress, thermal tolerance, growth rate, and longevity were the most important predictors of coral persistence. Together, our results underscore the high variation in the rates and direction of change in coral abundances on contemporary and fossil reefs. Given this variation, it remains possible that coral reefs will be populated by a subset of the present coral fauna in a future that is warmer than the recent past.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dishon, G.; Fisch, J.; Horn, I.; Kaczmarek, K.; Bijma, J.; Gruber, D. F.; Nir, O.; Popovich, Y.; Tchernov, D.

    2015-10-01

    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 extensively investigated, there is no scientific data on historical coral bleaching prior to 1979. In this study, we employ high-resolution femtosecond Laser Ablation Multiple Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-MC-ICP-MS) to demonstrate a distinct biologically induced decline of boron (B) isotopic composition (δ11B) as a result of coral bleaching. These findings and methodology offer a new use for a previously developed isotopic proxy to reconstruct paleo-coral bleaching events. Based on a literature review of published δ11B data and our recorded vital effect of coral bleaching on the δ11B signal, we also describe at least two possible coral bleaching events since the Last Glacial Maximum. The implementation of this bleaching proxy holds the potential of identifying occurrences of coral bleaching throughout the geological record. A deeper temporal view of coral bleaching will enable scientists to determine if it occurred in the past during times of environmental change and what outcome it may have had on coral population structure. Understanding the frequency of bleaching events is also critical for determining the relationship between natural and anthropogenic causes of these events.

  19. Suitability of Selected Coral Species for Culture in the Ornamental ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The SEM (April to. October) is characterized by high cloud cover, .... Mean monthly variation of temperature and salinity measured at the coral culture site and remotely sensed monthly .... Wave induced net circulation in ringed lagoon: Bamburi ...

  20. Marine reserves enhance the recovery of corals on Caribbean reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter J Mumby

    Full Text Available The fisheries and biodiversity benefits of marine reserves are widely recognised but there is mounting interest in exploiting the importance of herbivorous fishes as a tool to help ecosystems recover from climate change impacts. This approach might be particularly suitable for coral reefs, which are acutely threatened by climate change, yet the trophic cascades generated by reserves are strong enough that they might theoretically enhance the rate of coral recovery after disturbance. However, evidence for reserves facilitating coral recovery has been lacking. Here we investigate whether reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes within a reserve, have resulted in a faster rate of coral recovery than in areas subject to fishing. Surveys of ten sites inside and outside a Bahamian marine reserve over a 2.5-year period demonstrated that increases in coral cover, including adjustments for the initial size-distribution of corals, were significantly higher at reserve sites than those in non-reserve sites. Furthermore, macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time. Recovery rates of individual species were generally consistent with small-scale manipulations on coral-macroalgal interactions, but also revealed differences that demonstrate the difficulties of translating experiments across spatial scales. Size-frequency data indicated that species which were particularly affected by high abundances of macroalgae outside the reserve had a population bottleneck restricting the supply of smaller corals to larger size classes. Importantly, because coral cover increased from a heavily degraded state, and recovery from such states has not previously been described, similar or better outcomes should be expected for many reefs in the region. Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.

  1. Marine reserves enhance the recovery of corals on Caribbean reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J; Harborne, Alastair R

    2010-01-11

    The fisheries and biodiversity benefits of marine reserves are widely recognised but there is mounting interest in exploiting the importance of herbivorous fishes as a tool to help ecosystems recover from climate change impacts. This approach might be particularly suitable for coral reefs, which are acutely threatened by climate change, yet the trophic cascades generated by reserves are strong enough that they might theoretically enhance the rate of coral recovery after disturbance. However, evidence for reserves facilitating coral recovery has been lacking. Here we investigate whether reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes within a reserve, have resulted in a faster rate of coral recovery than in areas subject to fishing. Surveys of ten sites inside and outside a Bahamian marine reserve over a 2.5-year period demonstrated that increases in coral cover, including adjustments for the initial size-distribution of corals, were significantly higher at reserve sites than those in non-reserve sites. Furthermore, macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time. Recovery rates of individual species were generally consistent with small-scale manipulations on coral-macroalgal interactions, but also revealed differences that demonstrate the difficulties of translating experiments across spatial scales. Size-frequency data indicated that species which were particularly affected by high abundances of macroalgae outside the reserve had a population bottleneck restricting the supply of smaller corals to larger size classes. Importantly, because coral cover increased from a heavily degraded state, and recovery from such states has not previously been described, similar or better outcomes should be expected for many reefs in the region. Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.

  2. 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.

  3. Pd-Pt Alloy with Coral-Like Nanostructures Showing High Performance for Oxygen Electrocatalytic Reduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Xing-Quan; Chen, Xue-Song; Wu, Jian; Yao, Lei

    2016-03-01

    Three-dimensional (3D) Pd-Pt alloy with coral-like nanostructures were synthesized via bubble dynamic templated electrodeposition method at room temperature. The morphology of the as-prepared nanostructures was characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), EDS, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), respectively. Cyclic voltammetry method was adopted to evaluate the electrocatalytic activities of the synthesized electrodes toward oxygen reduction in KCl solution. The electrochemical results indicated that the Pd-Pt alloy with coral-like nanostructures hold the high performance for oxygen reduction.

  4. 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

  5. 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 (coral cover in 2004 was as high as

  6. Evaluating Reduction of Sediment Pollution as a Strategy for Conservation of Coral Reef in High C02 World

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maina, J. M.; de Moel, H.; Mora, C.; Ward, P.; Watson, J.

    2014-12-01

    One of the key strategies for coral reef conservation in a high CO2 world is reduction of sediment and nutrient pollution. However, the reduction of sediment is a complicated planning issue as a result of the competing land uses from the demands to satisfy food production needs and from economic development, among others. Moreover, despite the significance of sedimentation as a threat to coral reefs, historical baseline and future estimates of sediment discharge on coral reefs remains poorly quantified. Therefore, the effectiveness of this strategy hinges upon (i) identifying the future sediment discharge on coral reefs relative to historical baseline, and (ii) on identifying spatially where sediment reduction actions are urgently needed and where they are likely to succeed. We provide this understanding by simulating sediment dynamics for historical and future time scales using models of land use and climate, for coastal watersheds adjacent coral reefs where they are found globally.

  7. Proximate environmental drivers of coral communities at Palmyra Atoll: establishing baselines prior to removing a WWII military causeway.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Gareth J; Knapp, Ingrid S; Maragos, James E; Davy, Simon K

    2011-08-01

    A management proposal aims to partly remove a WWII military causeway at Palmyra Atoll to improve lagoon water circulation and alleviate sedimentation stress on the southeast backreef, an area of high coral cover and diversity. This action could result in a shift in sedimentation across reef sites. To provide management advice, we quantified the proximate environmental factors driving scleractinian coral cover and community patterns at Palmyra. The proportion of fine sedimentation was the optimal predictor of coral cover and changes in community structure, explaining 23.7% and 24.7% of the variation between sites, respectively. Scleractinian coral cover was negatively correlated with increases in fine sedimentation. Removing the causeway could negatively affect the Montipora corals that dominate the western reef terrace, as this genus was negatively correlated with levels of fine sedimentation. The tolerance limits of corals, and sediment re-distribution patterns, should be determined prior to complete removal of the causeway.

  8. Bioindication in coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yap, H T

    1986-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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).

  11. 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.

  12. Coupled dynamics of territorial damselfishes and juvenile corals on the reef crest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casey, J. M.; Choat, J. H.; Connolly, S. R.

    2015-03-01

    Territories of grazing fishes in the family Pomacentridae have been documented to cover a substantial proportion of shallow, exposed coral reef fronts, and these fishes can have profound effects on benthic community composition, including the recruitment and post-settlement survival of scleractinian corals. However, current studies of territorial grazer effects on corals have focused on back-reef habitats. Territorial damselfishes occur in distinct behavioural guilds ranging from indeterminate territorial grazers with thin algal turfs and low rates of territorial aggression to intensive territorial grazers with thick turfs and high rates of aggression. To determine the impact of territorial grazers on the establishment of juvenile corals, we surveyed the reef crest habitat of Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, using fixed transects to assess the effects of indeterminate and intensive territorial grazers on juvenile coral abundance and taxonomic composition. In addition, the turnover of territorial pomacentrids was monitored as well as the effects of turnover on juvenile coral assemblages. Intensive territorial grazers were associated with a significantly lower juvenile coral abundance (34 % decrease), but neither intensive nor indeterminate grazer territories impacted juvenile coral taxonomic composition. Over the course of 1 yr, there was a high rate of territorial turnover (39.7 %). Turnover from control plots to intensive damselfish territories was accompanied by a 44 % decrease in juvenile corals; conversely, turnover from intensive damselfish territories to control plots coincided with a 48 % increase in juvenile corals. These findings reveal two main conclusions. Firstly, the association between damselfish territories and the abundance and spatial turnover of juvenile corals strongly implies that territorial grazers have a negative effect on juvenile coral populations. Secondly, the unexpectedly high temporal turnover of damselfish territories indicates that

  13. 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 < 0.0005). The proliferation of the various macro-algae C. scalpellifrmis, T. ornata, C. racemosa, T. conaides, U. reticulata, S. wightii, 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.

  14. Trend in Coral-Algal Phase Shift in the Mandapam Group of Islands, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, India

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

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

    2016-01-01

    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 andCalurpa 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 77.52mgcm−2d−1 with per-sisting 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<0.0005). The proliferation of the various macro-algaeC. scalpel-lifrmis, T.ornata, C. racemosa,T. conaides,U. reticulata, S. wightii, K. alvarezii,P. gymnosphoraand 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.

  15. Projected changes to growth and mortality of Hawaiian corals over the next 100 years.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ron K Hoeke

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Recent reviews suggest that the warming and acidification of ocean surface waters predicated by most accepted climate projections will lead to mass mortality and declining calcification rates of reef-building corals. This study investigates the use of modeling techniques to quantitatively examine rates of coral cover change due to these effects. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Broad-scale probabilities of change in shallow-water scleractinian coral cover in the Hawaiian Archipelago for years 2000-2099 A.D. were calculated assuming a single middle-of-the-road greenhouse gas emissions scenario. These projections were based on ensemble calculations of a growth and mortality model that used sea surface temperature (SST, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO(2, observed coral growth (calcification rates, and observed mortality linked to mass coral bleaching episodes as inputs. SST and CO(2 predictions were derived from the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP multi-model dataset, statistically downscaled with historical data. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The model calculations illustrate a practical approach to systematic evaluation of climate change effects on corals, and also show the effect of uncertainties in current climate predictions and in coral adaptation capabilities on estimated changes in coral cover. Despite these large uncertainties, this analysis quantitatively illustrates that a large decline in coral cover is highly likely in the 21(st Century, but that there are significant spatial and temporal variances in outcomes, even under a single climate change scenario.

  16. Projected changes to growth and mortality of Hawaiian corals over the next 100 years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoeke, R.K.; Jokiel, P.L.; Buddemeier, R.W.; Brainard, R.E.

    2011-01-01

    Background: Recent reviews suggest that the warming and acidification of ocean surface waters predicated by most accepted climate projections will lead to mass mortality and declining calcification rates of reef-building corals. This study investigates the use of modeling techniques to quantitatively examine rates of coral cover change due to these effects. Methodology/Principal Findings: Broad-scale probabilities of change in shallow-water scleractinian coral cover in the Hawaiian Archipelago for years 2000-2099 A.D. were calculated assuming a single middle-of-the-road greenhouse gas emissions scenario. These projections were based on ensemble calculations of a growth and mortality model that used sea surface temperature (SST), atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), observed coral growth (calcification) rates, and observed mortality linked to mass coral bleaching episodes as inputs. SST and CO2 predictions were derived from the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) multi-model dataset, statistically downscaled with historical data. Conclusions/Significance: The model calculations illustrate a practical approach to systematic evaluation of climate change effects on corals, and also show the effect of uncertainties in current climate predictions and in coral adaptation capabilities on estimated changes in coral cover. Despite these large uncertainties, this analysis quantitatively illustrates that a large decline in coral cover is highly likely in the 21st Century, but that there are significant spatial and temporal variances in outcomes, even under a single climate change scenario.

  17. Recruitment, mortality, and resilience potential of scleractinian corals at Eilat, Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shlesinger, Tom; Loya, Yossi

    2016-12-01

    Events of mass coral bleaching and mortality have increased in recent decades worldwide, making coral recruitment more important than ever in sustaining coral-reef ecosystems and ensuring their resilience. During the last four decades, the coral reefs of Eilat have undergone severe deterioration due to both anthropogenic and natural causes. Recruitment failure has been frequently suggested as one of the main mechanisms underlying this deterioration. Here we assess the demographic replenishment and resilience potential of the local reefs, i.e., the potential for new sexually derived corals to recruit and exceed the community's mortality rate. We present a detailed analysis of coral community demography, obtained by means of high-resolution photographic monitoring of permanently marked plots. Coral spats as small as 1 mm were documented and the detailed dynamics of coral recruitment and mortality were recorded, in addition to other common ecological measurements. The cumulative quantity of recruited individuals was twofold to fivefold higher than total mortality. The most significant predictor variable for coral recruitment among all ecological parameters measured was the available substrate for settlement, and the survival of recruited corals was correlated with reef structural complexity. Two consecutive annual reproductive seasons (June-September of each year) with high recruitment rates were monitored. Combined with the high survival of recruits and the increase in coral live cover and abundance, the findings from this study indicate an encouraging potential for recovery of these reefs.

  18. High Precision Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometric Dating of Corals and Its Application to Paleo—Environmental Study

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    王兆荣; 张兆峰; 等

    2001-01-01

    Global change has become a hot spot in Quaternary geology,and high-precision,high-sensitivity dating is also an urgent problem which needs to be solved.This paper presents some achievements in U-servies dating of marine corals by thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) and its application to the study of paleo-environments.Recently,coral samples were determined for their ages on a MAT-262 mass spectrometer and satisfactory results have been obtained.

  19. High Precision Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometric Dating of Corals and Its Application to Paleo-Environmental Study

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    王兆荣; 张兆峰; 彭子成; 马志邦

    2001-01-01

    Global change has become a hot spot in Quaternary geology, and high-precision,high-sensitivity dating is also an urgent problem which needs to be solved. This paper presents some achievements in U-series dating of marine corals by thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) and its application to the study of paleo-environments. Recently, coral samples were determined for their ages on a MAT-262 mass spectrometer and satisfactory results have been obtained.

  20. Applying cathodically polarised substrata to the restoration of a high value coral

    OpenAIRE

    Benedetti, Alessandro; Bramanti, Lorenzo; Tsounis, Gerogios; Faimali, Marco; Pavanello, Giovanni; Rossi, Sergio; Gili, Josep Maria; Santangelo, Giovanni

    2011-01-01

    Larval settlement of the high value red coral, Corallium rubrum, was studied on three different CaCO3 substrata, viz. lithogenic (marble), electro-accreted calcium carbonate in the presence and in the absence of cathodic polarisation. The last two substrata consisted of stainless steel plates galvanically coupled with Zn anodes. The electrochemical characterization of the settlement device was studied in order to investigate correlations between cathodic parameters (polarisation potential, cu...

  1. How Selected High School Newspapers Covered the Persian Gulf War.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peterson, Jane W.; Maronn, Michelle

    1995-01-01

    Discusses the many ways in which high school newspapers covered the Persian Gulf War, ranging from a serious analysis to satire in the form of a Cliff Notes summary. Compares two editorials from "The Little Hawk" (Iowa City, Iowa), one supporting the war and the other against. (PA)

  2. Enhanced macroboring and depressed calcification drive net dissolution at high-CO2 coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Enochs, Ian C; Manzello, Derek P; Kolodziej, Graham; Noonan, Sam H C; Valentino, Lauren; Fabricius, Katharina E

    2016-11-16

    Ocean acidification (OA) impacts the physiology of diverse marine taxa; among them corals that create complex reef framework structures. Biological processes operating on coral reef frameworks remain largely unknown from naturally high-carbon-dioxide (CO2) ecosystems. For the first time, we independently quantified the response of multiple functional groups instrumental in the construction and erosion of these frameworks (accretion, macroboring, microboring, and grazing) along natural OA gradients. We deployed blocks of dead coral skeleton for roughly 2 years at two reefs in Papua New Guinea, each experiencing volcanically enriched CO2, and employed high-resolution micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) to create three-dimensional models of changing skeletal structure. OA conditions were correlated with decreased calcification and increased macroboring, primarily by annelids, representing a group of bioeroders not previously known to respond to OA. Incubation of these blocks, using the alkalinity anomaly methodology, revealed a switch from net calcification to net dissolution at a pH of roughly 7.8, within Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) predictions for global ocean waters by the end of the century. Together these data represent the first comprehensive experimental study of bioerosion and calcification from a naturally high-CO2 reef ecosystem, where the processes of accelerated erosion and depressed calcification have combined to alter the permanence of this essential framework habitat. © 2016 The Authors.

  3. 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.

  4. Ecological complexity of coral recruitment processes: effects of invertebrate herbivores on coral recruitment and growth depends upon substratum properties and coral species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah W Davies

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The transition from planktonic planula to sessile adult corals occurs at low frequencies and post settlement mortality is extremely high. Herbivores promote settlement by reducing algal competition. This study investigates whether invertebrate herbivory might be modulated by other ecological factors such as substrata variations and coral species identity. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The experiment was conducted at the Flower Garden Banks, one of the few Atlantic reefs not experiencing considerable degradation. Tiles of differing texture and orientation were kept in bins surrounded by reef (24 m. Controls contained no herbivores while treatment bins contained urchins (Diadema antillarum or herbivorous gastropods (Cerithium litteratum. Juvenile corals settling naturally were monitored by photography for 14 months to evaluate the effects of invertebrate herbivory and substratum properties. Herbivory reduced algae cover in urchin treatments. Two genera of brooding coral juveniles were observed, Agaricia and Porites, both of which are common but not dominant on adjacent reef. No broadcast spawning corals were observed on tiles. Overall, juveniles were more abundant in urchin treatments and on vertical, rough textured surfaces. Although more abundant, Agaricia juveniles were smaller in urchin treatments, presumably due to destructive overgrazing. Still, Agaricia growth increased with herbivory and substrata texture-orientation interactions were observed with reduced growth on rough tiles in control treatments and increased growth on vertical tiles in herbivore treatments. In contrast to Agaricia, Porites juveniles were larger on horizontal tiles, irrespective of herbivore treatment. Mortality was affected by substrata orientation with vertical surfaces increasing coral survival. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We further substantiate that invertebrate herbivores play major roles in early settlement processes of corals and highlight the need

  5. 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

  6. Biogeography and Change among Regional Coral Communities across the Western Indian Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClanahan, Timothy R.; Ateweberhan, Mebrahtu; Darling, Emily S.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Muthiga, Nyawira A.

    2014-01-01

    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 future regional

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Competitors as accomplices: seaweed competitors hide corals from predatory sea stars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clements, Cody S; Hay, Mark E

    2015-09-01

    Indirect biotic effects arising from multispecies interactions can alter the structure and function of ecological communities--often in surprising ways that can vary in direction and magnitude. On Pacific coral reefs, predation by the crown-of-thorns sea star, Acanthaster planci, is associated with broad-scale losses of coral cover and increases of macroalgal cover. Macroalgal blooms increase coral-macroalgal competition and can generate further coral decline. However, using a combination of manipulative field experiments and observations, we demonstrate that macroalgae, such as Sargassum polycystum, produce associational refuges for corals and dramatically reduce their consumption by Acanthaster. Thus, as Acanthaster densities increase, macroalgae can become coral mutualists, despite being competitors that significantly suppress coral growth. Field feeding experiments revealed that the protective effects of macroalgae were strong enough to cause Acanthaster to consume low-preference corals instead of high-preference corals surrounded by macroalgae. This highlights the context-dependent nature of coral-algal interactions when consumers are common. Macroalgal creation of associational refuges from Acanthaster predation may have important implications for the structure,function and resilience of reef communities subject to an increasing number of biotic disturbances.

  10. 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.

  11. High CO2 enhances the competitive strength of seaweeds over corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo; Gouezo, Marine; Tilbrook, Bronte; Dove, Sophie; Anthony, Kenneth R N

    2011-01-01

    Space competition between corals and seaweeds is an important ecological process underlying coral-reef dynamics. Processes promoting seaweed growth and survival, such as herbivore overfishing and eutrophication, can lead to local reef degradation. Here, we present the case that increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 may be an additional process driving a shift from corals to seaweeds on reefs. Coral (Acropora intermedia) mortality in contact with a common coral-reef seaweed (Lobophora papenfussii) increased two- to threefold between background CO2 (400 ppm) and highest level projected for late 21st century (1140 ppm). The strong interaction between CO2 and seaweeds on coral mortality was most likely attributable to a chemical competitive mechanism, as control corals with algal mimics showed no mortality. Our results suggest that coral (Acropora) reefs may become increasingly susceptible to seaweed proliferation under ocean acidification, and processes regulating algal abundance (e.g. herbivory) will play an increasingly important role in maintaining coral abundance. PMID:21155961

  12. Latitudinal limits to coral reef accretion: Testing the Darwin Point hypothesis at Kure Atoll, northwestern Hawaiian Islands, using new evidence from high resolution remote sensing and in situ data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siciliano, Daria

    This dissertation focused on assessing patterns of carbonate production in a marginal reef environment as the key to understand the mechanisms that limit modern reef distribution, and those that effect the response of coral reefs to a changing environment. This investigation was carried out at Kure atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the northernmost atoll in the world. A less detailed comparative study was carried out throughout the 10 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, with the goal of revisiting Grigg's (1982) Darwin Point hypothesis on the limit of coral reef formation. Patterns of carbonate metabolism and benthic diversity at Kure Atoll were obtained from analysis of high resolution IKONOS multispectral imagery; calcification rates were obtained from x-rayed slabs of coral samples and cores of the main coral reef-builders, collected in different habitats at Kure; data on habitat-specific bioerosion rates were obtained from in situ surveys of the main bioeroding taxa. These data were used to construct a habitat-specific carbonate budget for Kure Atoll. The main sources and sinks of CaCO3 at Kure Atoll were identified and their spatial extent quantified. Calcification rates vary significantly between the different habitats, with the warmer and wave-protected lagoonal patch reefs and back reef habitat exhibiting the largest growth rates. Average calcification rates were found to be one order of magnitude greater than those reported by Grigg (1982), as was the total amount of CaCO3 deposited by reef-building corals. The new habitat mapping techniques employed here show that the reef building area and amount of live coral cover in all three main geomorphic habitats of Kure Atoll is greater than previously estimated, and that the lagoonal environments of Kure Atoll contribute the greatest amount to the accretion potential of the atoll, followed by the actively accreting fore reef environment. Stable isotopic measurements indicate that the decrease in coral

  13. Chemically cued suppression of coral reef resilience: Where is the tipping point?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooker, Rohan M.; Hay, Mark E.; Dixson, Danielle L.

    2016-12-01

    Coral reefs worldwide are shifting from high-diversity, coral-dominated communities to low-diversity systems dominated by seaweeds. This shift can impact essential recovery processes such as larval recruitment and ecosystem resilience. Recent evidence suggests that chemical cues from certain corals attract, and from certain seaweeds suppress, recruitment of juvenile fishes, with loss of coral cover and increases in seaweed cover creating negative feedbacks that prevent reef recovery and sustain seaweed dominance. Unfortunately, the level of seaweed increase and coral decline that creates this chemically cued tipping point remains unknown, depriving managers of data-based targets to prevent damaging feedbacks. We conducted flume and field assays that suggest juvenile fishes sense and respond to cues produced by low levels of seaweed cover. However, the herbivore species we tested was more tolerant of degraded reef cues than non-herbivores, possibly providing some degree of resilience if these fishes recruit, consume macroalgae, and diminish negative cues.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-04-05

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: 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. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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

  17. A high resolution δ13C record in a modern Porites lobata coral: Insights into controls on skeletal δ13C

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allison, Nicola; Finch, Adrian A.; EIMF

    2012-05-01

    δ13C was determined at a high spatial resolution by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) across a 1 year section of a modern Porites lobata coral skeleton from Hawaii. Skeletal δ13C is dominated by large oscillations of 5-7‰ that typically cover skeletal distances equivalent to periods of ˜14-40 days. These variations do not reflect seawater temperature and it is unlikely that they reflect variations in the δ13C of local seawater. We observe no correlation between skeletal δ13C and the pH of the calcification fluid (estimated from previous measurements of skeletal δ11B). We conclude that either the proportion of skeletal carbon derived from metabolic CO2 is not reflected by estimated ECF pH (as the [CO2] in the overlying coral tissue varies) and/or the δ13C composition of the metabolic CO2 is highly variable. We also observe no correlation between skeletal δ13C and previous δ18O SIMS measurements. Variations in skeletal δ13C and δ18O do not have a common timing, providing no evidence that skeletal δ13C and δ18O vary in response to a single factor. This suggests that skeletal δ13C is principally driven by variations in the δ13C composition of metabolic CO2 rather than by the abundance of metabolic CO2, which would also affect skeletal δ18O. The δ13C composition of metabolic CO2 reflects the processes of photosynthesis, heterotrophic feeding and respiration in the overlying coral tissue. Corals catabolise stored lipid reserves to meet energetic demands when photosynthesis conditions are sub-optimal. Variations in the amounts and types of reserves utilised could induce changes in the δ13C composition of metabolic CO2 and the resultant skeleton which are temporally offset from skeletal δ18O records.

  18. Coral benchmarks in the center of biodiversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Licuanan, W Y; Robles, R; Dygico, M; Songco, A; van Woesik, R

    2017-01-30

    There is an urgent need to quantify coral reef benchmarks that assess changes and recovery rates through time and serve as goals for management. Yet, few studies have identified benchmarks for hard coral cover and diversity in the center of marine diversity. In this study, we estimated coral cover and generic diversity benchmarks on the Tubbataha reefs, the largest and best-enforced no-take marine protected area in the Philippines. The shallow (2-6m) reef slopes of Tubbataha were monitored annually, from 2012 to 2015, using hierarchical sampling. Mean coral cover was 34% (σ±1.7) and generic diversity was 18 (σ±0.9) per 75m by 25m station. The southeastern leeward slopes supported on average 56% coral cover, whereas the northeastern windward slopes supported 30%, and the western slopes supported 18% coral cover. Generic diversity was more spatially homogeneous than coral cover. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. The threat to coral reefs from more intense cyclones under climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheal, Alistair J; MacNeil, M Aaron; Emslie, Michael J; Sweatman, Hugh

    2017-04-01

    Ocean warming under climate change threatens coral reefs directly, through fatal heat stress to corals and indirectly, by boosting the energy of cyclones that cause coral destruction and loss of associated organisms. Although cyclone frequency is unlikely to rise, cyclone intensity is predicted to increase globally, causing more frequent occurrences of the most destructive cyclones with potentially severe consequences for coral reef ecosystems. While increasing heat stress is considered a pervasive risk to coral reefs, quantitative estimates of threats from cyclone intensification are lacking due to limited data on cyclone impacts to inform projections. Here, using extensive data from Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), we show that increases in cyclone intensity predicted for this century are sufficient to greatly accelerate coral reef degradation. Coral losses on the outer GBR were small, localized and offset by gains on undisturbed reefs for more than a decade, despite numerous cyclones and periods of record heat stress, until three unusually intense cyclones over 5 years drove coral cover to record lows over >1500 km. Ecological damage was particularly severe in the central-southern region where 68% of coral cover was destroyed over >1000 km, forcing record declines in the species richness and abundance of associated fish communities, with many local extirpations. Four years later, recovery of average coral cover was relatively slow and there were further declines in fish species richness and abundance. Slow recovery of community diversity appears likely from such a degraded starting point. Highly unusual characteristics of two of the cyclones, aside from high intensity, inflated the extent of severe ecological damage that would more typically have occurred over 100s of km. Modelling published predictions of future cyclone activity, the likelihood of more intense cyclones within time frames of coral recovery by mid-century poses a global threat to coral

  20. Effectiveness of coral relocation as a mitigation strategy in Kāne'ohe Bay, Hawai'i.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodgers, Ku'ulei S; Lorance, Koi; Richards Donà, Angela; Stender, Yuko; Lager, Claire; Jokiel, Paul L

    2017-01-01

    Coral reef restoration and management techniques are in ever-increasing demand due to the global decline of coral reefs in the last several decades. Coral relocation has been established as an appropriate restoration technique in select cases, particularly where corals are scheduled for destruction. However, continued long-term monitoring of recovery of transplanted corals is seldom sustained. Removal of coral from a navigation channel and relocation to a similar nearby dredged site occurred in 2005. Coral recovery at the donor site and changes in fish populations at the receiving site were tracked periodically over the following decade. Coral regrowth at the donor site was rapid until a recent bleaching event reduced coral cover by more than half. The transplant of mature colonies increased spatial complexity at the receiving site, immediately increasing fish biomass, abundance, and species that was maintained throughout subsequent surveys. Our research indicates that unlike the majority of historical accounts of coral relocation in the Pacific, corals transplanted into wave-protected areas with similar conditions as the original site can have high survival rates. Data on long-term monitoring of coral transplants in diverse environments is central in developing management and mitigation strategies.

  1. Effectiveness of coral relocation as a mitigation strategy in Kāne‘ohe Bay, Hawai‘i

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ku’ulei S. Rodgers

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Coral reef restoration and management techniques are in ever-increasing demand due to the global decline of coral reefs in the last several decades. Coral relocation has been established as an appropriate restoration technique in select cases, particularly where corals are scheduled for destruction. However, continued long-term monitoring of recovery of transplanted corals is seldom sustained. Removal of coral from a navigation channel and relocation to a similar nearby dredged site occurred in 2005. Coral recovery at the donor site and changes in fish populations at the receiving site were tracked periodically over the following decade. Coral regrowth at the donor site was rapid until a recent bleaching event reduced coral cover by more than half. The transplant of mature colonies increased spatial complexity at the receiving site, immediately increasing fish biomass, abundance, and species that was maintained throughout subsequent surveys. Our research indicates that unlike the majority of historical accounts of coral relocation in the Pacific, corals transplanted into wave-protected areas with similar conditions as the original site can have high survival rates. Data on long-term monitoring of coral transplants in diverse environments is central in developing management and mitigation strategies.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James A Y Moore

    Full Text Available 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, C. S.

    1993-11-01

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

  4. An assessment of Qatar's coral communities in a regional context.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, John A; Smith, Edward G; Warren, Christopher; Dupont, Jennifer

    2016-04-30

    Qatar's once extensive coral communities have undergone considerable change in recent decades. We quantitatively surveyed three coral assemblages in Qatar to assess current status, and compared these against 14 sites in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to evaluate Qatar in a larger biogeographic context. Umm Al-Arshan had the highest species richness of 17 sites examined in the southern Arabian Gulf, as well as the highest coral cover and the only Acropora observed on sites in Qatar. Coral cover and richness were more modest at Fuwayrit and Al-Ashat, reflecting greater impacts from earlier stress events. Two distinct communities were identified across the southern Gulf, with Umm Al-Arshan clustering with high-cover, mixed merulinid/poritid assemblages that were less impacted by earlier bleaching and long-term stress, while Fuwayrit and Al-Ashat grouped with a lower-cover, stress-tolerant community characteristic of more extreme environments in the southern Gulf. We recommend implementation of a nation-wide baseline assessment of coral communities to guide development of an MPA network and long-term coral monitoring program for Qatar.

  5. Abundance and physiology of dominant soft corals linked to water quality in Jakarta Bay, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gunilla Baum

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Declining water quality is one of the main reasons of coral reef degradation in the Thousand Islands off the megacity Jakarta, Indonesia. Shifts in benthic community composition to higher soft coral abundances have been reported for many degraded reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. However, it is not clear to what extent soft coral abundance and physiology are influenced by water quality. In this study, live benthic cover and water quality (i.e. dissolved inorganic nutrients (DIN, turbidity (NTU, and sedimentation were assessed at three sites (< 20 km north of Jakarta in Jakarta Bay (JB and five sites along the outer Thousand Islands (20–60 km north of Jakarta. This was supplemented by measurements of photosynthetic yield and, for the first time, respiratory electron transport system (ETS activity of two dominant soft coral genera, Sarcophyton spp. and Nephthea spp. Findings revealed highly eutrophic water conditions in JB compared to the outer Thousand Islands, with 44% higher DIN load (7.65 μM/L, 67% higher NTU (1.49 NTU and 47% higher sedimentation rate (30.4 g m−2 d−1. Soft corals were the dominant type of coral cover within the bay (2.4% hard and 12.8% soft coral cover compared to the outer Thousand Islands (28.3% hard and 6.9% soft coral cover. Soft coral abundances, photosynthetic yield, and ETS activity were highly correlated with key water quality parameters, particularly DIN and sedimentation rates. The findings suggest water quality controls the relative abundance and physiology of dominant soft corals in JB and may thus contribute to phase shifts from hard to soft coral dominance, highlighting the need to better manage water quality in order to prevent or reverse phase shifts.

  6. Gradients in coral reef communities exposed to muddy river discharge in Pohnpei, Micronesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Golbuu, Yimnang; Fabricius, Katharina; Victor, Steven; Richmond, Robert H.

    2008-01-01

    This study analyzed how coral communities change along a gradient of increasing exposure to a mud-discharging river in the Enipein Catchment, Pohnpei, Micronesia. Using video transects, we quantified benthic communities at five sites along a gradient moving away from the river mouth towards the barrier reef. The most river-impacted site was characterized by a high accumulation of mud, low coral cover and low coral diversity. Although coral cover leveled off at ˜400 m from the river mouth to values found at the outer-most sites, coral diversity continued to increase with increasing distance, suggesting that the most distant site was still impacted by the river discharges. Fungiidae, Pavona, Acropora, Pachyseris and Porites rus all significantly increased in cover with distance from the river, while Turbinaria decreased. The combined presence and abundance of these six species groups, together with coral species richness, may help to indicate the effects of terrestrial runoff in similar runoff-exposed settings around Micronesia, whereas coral cover is not a sensitive indicator for river impact. Coral reefs are important resources for the people of Pohnpei. To prevent further degradation of this important resource, an integrated watershed approach is needed to control terrestrial activities.

  7. Persistence and change in community composition of reef corals through present, past, and future climates.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter J Edmunds

    Full Text Available The reduction in coral cover on many contemporary tropical reefs suggests a different set of coral community assemblages will dominate future reefs. To evaluate the capacity of reef corals to persist over various time scales, we examined coral community dynamics in contemporary, fossil, and simulated future coral reef ecosystems. Based on studies between 1987 and 2012 at two locations in the Caribbean, and between 1981 and 2013 at five locations in the Indo-Pacific, we show that many coral genera declined in abundance, some showed no change in abundance, and a few coral genera increased in abundance. Whether the abundance of a genus declined, increased, or was conserved, was independent of coral family. An analysis of fossil-reef communities in the Caribbean revealed changes in numerical dominance and relative abundances of coral genera, and demonstrated that neither dominance nor taxon was associated with persistence. As coral family was a poor predictor of performance on contemporary reefs, a trait-based, dynamic, multi-patch model was developed to explore the phenotypic basis of ecological performance in a warmer future. Sensitivity analyses revealed that upon exposure to thermal stress, thermal tolerance, growth rate, and longevity were the most important predictors of coral persistence. Together, our results underscore the high variation in the rates and direction of change in coral abundances on contemporary and fossil reefs. Given this variation, it remains possible that coral reefs will be populated by a subset of the present coral fauna in a future that is warmer than the recent past.

  8. Assessing coral reef health across onshore to offshore stress gradients in the US Virgin Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, T B; Nemeth, R S; Blondeau, J; Calnan, J M; Kadison, E; Herzlieb, S

    2008-12-01

    Managing the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on coral reefs is highly dependant on effective strategies to assess degradation and recovery. We used five years of field data in the US Virgin Islands to investigate coral reef response to a potential gradient of stress. We found that the prevalence of old partial mortality, bleaching, and all forms of coral health impairment (a novel category) increased with nearshore anthropogenic processes, such as a five-fold higher rate of clay and silt sedimentation. Other patterns of coral health, such as recent partial mortality, other diseases, and benthic cover, did not respond to this potential gradient of stress or their response could not be resolved at the frequency or scale of monitoring. We suggest that persistent signs of disturbance are more useful to short-term, non-intensive (annual) coral reef assessments, but more intensive (semi-annual) assessments are necessary to resolve patterns of transient signs of coral health impairment.

  9. Boring sponges, an increasing threat for coral reefs affected by bleaching events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carballo, José L; Bautista, Eric; Nava, Héctor; Cruz-Barraza, José A; Chávez, Jesus A

    2013-04-01

    Coral bleaching is a stress response of corals induced by a variety of factors, but these events have become more frequent and intense in response to recent climate-change-related temperature anomalies. We tested the hypothesis that coral reefs affected by bleaching events are currently heavily infested by boring sponges, which are playing a significant role in the destruction of their physical structure. Seventeen reefs that cover the entire distributional range of corals along the Mexican Pacific coast were studied between 2005/2006, and later between 2009/2010. Most of these coral reefs were previously impacted by bleaching events, which resulted in coral mortalities. Sponge abundance and species richness was used as an indicator of bioerosion, and coral cover was used to describe the present condition of coral reefs. Coral reefs are currently highly invaded (46% of the samples examined) by a very high diversity of boring sponges (20 species); being the coral reef framework the substrate most invaded (56%) followed by the rubbles (45%), and the living colonies (36%). The results also indicated that boring sponges are promoting the dislodgment of live colonies and large fragments from the framework. In summary, the eastern coral reefs affected by bleaching phenomena, mainly provoked by El Niño, present a high diversity and abundance of boring sponges, which are weakening the union of the colony with the reef framework and promoting their dislodgment. These phenomena will probably become even more intense and severe, as temperatures are projected to continue to rise under the scenarios for future climate change, which could place many eastern coral reefs beyond their survival threshold.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. A cross-ocean comparison of responses to settlement cues in reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, Sarah W; Meyer, Eli; Guermond, Sarah M; Matz, Mikhail V

    2014-01-01

    Caribbean coral reefs have deteriorated substantially over the past 30 years, which is broadly attributable to the effects of global climate change. In the same time, Indo-Pacific reefs maintain higher coral cover and typically recover rapidly after disturbances. This difference in reef resilience is largely due to much higher coral recruitment rates in the Pacific. We hypothesized that the lack of Caribbean recruitment might be explained by diminishing quality of settlement cues and/or impaired sensitivity of Caribbean coral larvae to those cues, relative to the Pacific. To evaluate this hypothesis, we assembled a collection of bulk samples of reef encrusting communities, mostly consisting of crustose coralline algae (CCA), from various reefs around the world and tested them as settlement cues for several coral species originating from different ocean provinces. Cue samples were meta-barcoded to evaluate their taxonomic diversity. We observed no systematic differences either in cue potency or in strength of larval responses depending on the ocean province, and no preference of coral larvae towards cues from the same ocean. Instead, we detected significant differences in cue preferences among coral species, even for corals originating from the same reef. We conclude that the region-wide disruption of the settlement process is unlikely to be the major cause of Caribbean reef loss. However, due to their high sensitivity to the effects of climate change, shifts in the composition of CCA-associated communities, combined with pronounced differences in cue preferences among coral species, could substantially influence future coral community structure.

  13. 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.

  14. 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...

  15. Coral microbiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Kellogg, Christina A.; Rohwer, Forest

    2007-01-01

    In the last 30 years, there has been approximately a 30% loss of corals worldwide, largely due to emerging diseases (Harvell et al., 2002, 2007; Hughes et al., 2003). Coral microbiology is a new field, driven largely by a desire to understand the interactions between corals and their symbiotic microorganisms and to use this knowledge to eventually prevent the spread of coral diseases.

  16. Spatial and temporal patterns of coral health and disease along leeward Hawai'i Island

    Science.gov (United States)

    Couch, C. S.; Garriques, J. D.; Barnett, C.; Preskitt, L.; Cotton, S.; Giddens, J.; Walsh, W.

    2014-09-01

    Ecological processes including disease, competition for space, and predation strongly influence coral reef health from the colony to reef level. The leeward/west coast of the island of Hawai'i consists of the largest expanse of intact reefs in the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI), yet little is known about the health of its coral communities. We measured prevalence of coral diseases and non-disease conditions at nine regions across two depths in the summer and winter months between 2010 and 2011. We also assessed long-term changes in coral cover (2003-2011). Mean prevalence of chronic diseases was 5-21 times greater than previously reported for the MHI. Coral health varied minimally across survey months with mild seasonality only detected in algal overgrowth (ALOG). Coral health varied considerably by depth and site, and was primarily driven by the most prevalent and common conditions: Porites growth anomalies (13.7 ± 0.82 %), Porites trematodiasis (9.5 ± 0.90 %), discoloration (5.6 ± 0.33 %), ALOG (9.9 ± 0.54 %), and gastropod predation (2.4 ± 0.23). While several conditions were significantly elevated in shallow zones, unique site × depth interactions suggest that specific site-level factors are driving prevalence. At the coast-wide level, percentage of coral cover did not change significantly between 2003 and 2011, but decreased significantly at two sites and increased at one site. Based on coral cover decline and high prevalence of certain coral health conditions, we identified four regions of concern (Puakō, Mauna Lani, Ka'ūpūlehu, and Hōnaunau). The high spatial variation in coral health not only advances our understanding of coral disease ecology, but also supports reef resilience planning by identifying vulnerable areas that would benefit most from targeted conservation and management efforts.

  17. Physiological Response of the Hard Coral Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to Two Common Pollutants in Combination with High Temperature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kegler, Pia; Baum, Gunilla; Indriana, Lisa F; Wild, Christian; Kunzmann, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge on interactive effects of global (e.g. ocean warming) and local stressors (e.g. pollution) is needed to develop appropriate management strategies for coral reefs. Surfactants and diesel are common coastal pollutants, but knowledge of their effects on hard corals as key reef ecosystem engineers is scarce. This study thus investigated the physiological reaction of Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to exposure with a) the water-soluble fraction of diesel (determined by total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH); 0.69 ± 0.14 mg L-1), b) the surfactant linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS; 0.95 ± 0.02 mg L-1) and c) combinations of each pollutant with high temperature (+3°C). To determine effects on metabolism, respiration, photosynthetic efficiency and coral tissue health were measured. Findings revealed no significant effects of diesel, while LAS resulted in severe coral tissue losses (16-95% after 84 h). High temperature led to an increase in photosynthetic yield of corals after 48 h compared to the control treatment, but no difference was detected thereafter. In combination, diesel and high temperature significantly increased coral dark respiration, whereas LAS and high temperature caused higher tissue losses (81-100% after 84 h) and indicated a severe decline in maximum quantum yield. These results confirm the hypothesized combined effects of high temperature with either of the two investigated pollutants. Our study demonstrates the importance of reducing import of these pollutants in coastal areas in future adaptive reef management, particularly in the context of ocean warming.

  18. Physiological Response of the Hard Coral Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to Two Common Pollutants in Combination with High Temperature.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pia Kegler

    Full Text Available Knowledge on interactive effects of global (e.g. ocean warming and local stressors (e.g. pollution is needed to develop appropriate management strategies for coral reefs. Surfactants and diesel are common coastal pollutants, but knowledge of their effects on hard corals as key reef ecosystem engineers is scarce. This study thus investigated the physiological reaction of Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to exposure with a the water-soluble fraction of diesel (determined by total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH; 0.69 ± 0.14 mg L-1, b the surfactant linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS; 0.95 ± 0.02 mg L-1 and c combinations of each pollutant with high temperature (+3°C. To determine effects on metabolism, respiration, photosynthetic efficiency and coral tissue health were measured. Findings revealed no significant effects of diesel, while LAS resulted in severe coral tissue losses (16-95% after 84 h. High temperature led to an increase in photosynthetic yield of corals after 48 h compared to the control treatment, but no difference was detected thereafter. In combination, diesel and high temperature significantly increased coral dark respiration, whereas LAS and high temperature caused higher tissue losses (81-100% after 84 h and indicated a severe decline in maximum quantum yield. These results confirm the hypothesized combined effects of high temperature with either of the two investigated pollutants. Our study demonstrates the importance of reducing import of these pollutants in coastal areas in future adaptive reef management, particularly in the context of ocean warming.

  19. Physiological Response of the Hard Coral Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to Two Common Pollutants in Combination with High Temperature

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kegler, Pia; Baum, Gunilla; Indriana, Lisa F.; Wild, Christian; Kunzmann, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge on interactive effects of global (e.g. ocean warming) and local stressors (e.g. pollution) is needed to develop appropriate management strategies for coral reefs. Surfactants and diesel are common coastal pollutants, but knowledge of their effects on hard corals as key reef ecosystem engineers is scarce. This study thus investigated the physiological reaction of Pocillopora verrucosa from Lombok, Indonesia, to exposure with a) the water-soluble fraction of diesel (determined by total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH); 0.69 ± 0.14 mg L-1), b) the surfactant linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS; 0.95 ± 0.02 mg L-1) and c) combinations of each pollutant with high temperature (+3°C). To determine effects on metabolism, respiration, photosynthetic efficiency and coral tissue health were measured. Findings revealed no significant effects of diesel, while LAS resulted in severe coral tissue losses (16–95% after 84 h). High temperature led to an increase in photosynthetic yield of corals after 48 h compared to the control treatment, but no difference was detected thereafter. In combination, diesel and high temperature significantly increased coral dark respiration, whereas LAS and high temperature caused higher tissue losses (81–100% after 84 h) and indicated a severe decline in maximum quantum yield. These results confirm the hypothesized combined effects of high temperature with either of the two investigated pollutants. Our study demonstrates the importance of reducing import of these pollutants in coastal areas in future adaptive reef management, particularly in the context of ocean warming. PMID:26555818

  20. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jahson Berhane Alemu I

    Full Text Available 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Ocean acidification accelerates dissolution of experimental coral reef communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Comeau

    2014-08-01

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

  4. Monte Carlo modeling of photon propagation reveals highly scattering coral tissue

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel Wangpraseurt

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Corals are very efficient at using solar radiation, with photosynthetic quantum efficiencies approaching theoretical limits. Here, we investigated potential mechanisms underlying such outstanding photosynthetic performance through extracting inherent optical properties of the living coral tissue and skeleton in a massive faviid coral. Using Monte Carlo simulations developed for medical tissue optics it is shown that for the investigated faviid coral, the coral tissue was a strongly light scattering matrix with a reduced scattering coefficient of µs’ =10 cm-1 (at 636 nm. In contrast, the scattering coefficient of the coral skeleton was µs’ =3.4 cm-1, which facilitated the efficient propagation of light to otherwise shaded coral tissue layers, thus supporting photosynthesis in lower tissues. Our study provides a quantification of coral tissue optical properties in a massive faviid coral and suggests a novel light harvesting strategy, where tissue and skeletal optics act in concert to optimize the illumination of the photosynthesizing algal symbionts embedded within the living coral tissue.

  5. Occurrence of the putatively heat-tolerant Symbiodinium phylotype D in high-latitudinal outlying coral communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lien, Yi-T.; Nakano, Y.; Plathong, S.; Fukami, H.; Wang, Jih-T.; Chen, C. A.

    2007-03-01

    Biogeographic investigations have suggested that coral-symbiont associations can adapt to higher temperatures by hosting a heat-tolerant Symbiodinium, phylotype D. It is hypothesized that phylotype D is absent in high latitudes due to its heat-tolerant characteristics. In this study, this hypothesis was tested by examining the symbiont diversity in a scleractinian coral, Oulastrea crispata, throughout its entire latitudinal distribution range in the West Pacific. Molecular phylotyping of the 5'-end of the nuclear large subunit of ribosomal DNA (lsu rDNA) indicated that phylotype D was the dominant Symbiodinium in O. crispata from the tropical reefs to the marginal non-reefal coral communities. Several colonies of tropical populations were associated with phylotype C, either alone or simultaneously with phylotype D. Analysis of the polymerase chain reaction products using single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) detected relatively low densities of phylotype C in most of the O. crispata colonies surveyed. These results provide evidence for the occurrence of phylotype D in cold-water outlying coral communities. The dominant occurrence of phylotype C in some O. crispata colonies on tropical reefs and the relatively low densities of phylotype C identified by SSCP in subtropical and temperate populations show that the dominant symbiont type can vary in this coral species and that multiple symbionts can co-occur in the same host.

  6. 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 strength, frequency, and rainfall of the most severe tropical cyclones with climate change in combination with ocean acidification will negatively impact the structural persistence of coral reefs over this century.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Coral reef mesopredators switch prey, shortening food chains, in response to habitat degradation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hempson, Tessa N; Graham, Nicholas A J; MacNeil, M Aaron; Williamson, David H; Jones, Geoffrey P; Almany, Glenn R

    2017-04-01

    Diet specificity is likely to be the key predictor of a predator's vulnerability to changing habitat and prey conditions. Understanding the degree to which predatory coral reef fishes adjust or maintain prey choice, in response to declines in coral cover and changes in prey availability, is critical for predicting how they may respond to reef habitat degradation. Here, we use stable isotope analyses to characterize the trophic structure of predator-prey interactions on coral reefs of the Keppel Island Group on the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. These reefs, previously typified by exceptionally high coral cover, have recently lost much of their coral cover due to coral bleaching and frequent inundation by sediment-laden, freshwater flood plumes associated with increased rainfall patterns. Long-term monitoring of these reefs demonstrates that, as coral cover declined, there has been a decrease in prey biomass, and a shift in dominant prey species from pelagic plankton-feeding damselfishes to territorial benthic algal-feeding damselfishes, resulting in differences in the principal carbon pathways in the food web. Using isotopes, we tested whether this changing prey availability could be detected in the diet of a mesopredator (coral grouper, Plectropomus maculatus). The δ(13)C signature in grouper tissue in the Keppel Islands shifted from a more pelagic to a more benthic signal, demonstrating a change in carbon sources aligning with the change in prey availability due to habitat degradation. Grouper with a more benthic carbon signature were also feeding at a lower trophic level, indicating a shortening in food chains. Further, we found a decline in the coral grouper population accompanying a decrease in total available prey biomass. Thus, while the ability to adapt diets could ameliorate the short-term impacts of habitat degradation on mesopredators, long-term effects may negatively impact mesopredator populations and alter the trophic structure of coral reef

  11. Long-term monitoring of reef corals at the Flower Garden Banks (northwest Gulf of Mexico): Reef coral population changes and historical incorporation of barium in Montastrea annularis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Deslarzes, K.J.P.

    1992-01-01

    Reef coral populations were monitored from 1988 to 1991 at the Flower Garden Banks located in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The status of reef coral populations, and natural or man-made factors potentially affecting their well-being were determined. Man-made chronic disturbances are degrading coral reef resources on a global scale. Yet, the Flower Garden coral reefs seem to have been sheltered from the effects of regional stresses generated by population growth and increased industrial activity. Since 1974, reef coral population levels have remained unchanged in the Montastrea-Diploria Zones at the Flower Garden Banks. Live coral cover ranges between 46 and 46.5%. Montastrea annularis and Diploria strigosa comprise 80% of the coral cover on either bank. The remainder of the cover is mostly shared by eight other taxa. Coral taxa appear to be more homogeneously distributed on the West Bank. The relatively greater number of Agaricia spp., Madracis decastis, and P. astreoides colonies on the East Bank may be the source of a decreased evenness. The health of reef corals was assessed using repetitive and non-repetitive photographic methods, and accretionary growth measurements of M. annularis. Reef corals have undergone small scale changes at the Flower Gardens probably reflecting natural disturbance, predation, disease, and inter-specific competition. White mat disease (ridge disease) is shown to generate more tissue loss than any of the three bleaching events that took place at the Flower Gardens (1989, 1990, and 1991). Advance to retreat linear ratios of encrusting growth revealed a net tissue gain on the East Bank and a net tissue loss on the West Bank. Growth rates of M. annularis were highly variable. The annual barium content from 1910 in 1989 in a M. annularis colony from the West Flower Garden did not reveal trends associated with the extensive oil and gas exploration in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

  12. Global patterns of solar influence on high cloud cover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dima, Mihai; Voiculescu, Mirela

    2016-07-01

    One of the main sources of uncertainty in climate projections is represented by clouds, which have a profound influence on the Earth's radiation budget through the feedbacks in which they are involved. The improvement of clouds representation in General Circulation Models relies largely on constraints derived from observations and on correct identification of processes that influence cloud formation or lifetime. Here we identify solar forced high cloud cover (HCC) patterns in reanalysis and observed data extending over the 1871-2009 period, based on their associations with known fingerprints of the same forcing on surface air temperature, sea surface temperature (SST) and sea level pressure fields. The solar influence on HCC has maximum amplitudes over the Pacific basin, where HCC anomalies are distributed in bands of alternating polarities. The colocation of the HCC and SST anomalies bands indicates a thermal influence on high clouds through convection and an amplification of the HCC anomalies by a positive feedback of long-wave fluxes, which increases the solar signal. Consistent with numerical simulations, the solar forced HCC pattern appears to be generated through a constructive interference between the so-called "top-down" and "bottom-up" mechanisms of solar influence on climate and is amplified by ocean-atmosphere positive feedbacks.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonaldo, Roberta M; Hay, Mark E

    2014-01-01

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. Monitored and modeled coral population dynamics and the refuge concept.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riegl, B; Purkis, S J; Keck, J; Rowlands, G P

    2009-01-01

    With large-scale impacts on coral reefs due to global climatic change projected to increase dramatically, and suitability of many areas for reef growth projected to decrease, the question arises whether particular settings might serve as refugia that can maintain higher coral populations than surrounding areas. We examine this hypothesis on a small, local scale in Honduras, western Caribbean. Dense coral thickets containing high numbers of the endangered coral Acropora cervicornis occur on offshore banks while being rare on the fringing reef on nearby Roatán. Geomorphological setting and community dynamics were evaluated and monitored from 1996 to 2005. A model of population dynamics was developed to test assumptions derived from monitoring. Coral cover on the fringing reef declined in 1998 from >30% to causes good flushing. Only four A. cervicornis recruits were recorded on the fringing reef over 6 years. Runoff associated with hurricanes caused greater mortality than did bleaching in 1998 and 2005 on the fringing reef, but not on the banks. Since 1870, our analysis suggests that corals on the banks may have been favored during 17 runoff events associated with tropical depressions and storms and potentially also during five bleaching events, but this is more uncertain. Our model suggests that under this disturbance regime, the banks will indeed maintain higher coral populations than the fringing reef and supports the assumption that offshore banks could serve as refugia with the capacity to subsidize depleted mainland populations.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

    2009-01-01

    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 (14)C photosynthate incorporation into juvenile coral tissues was doubled in Acropora millepora

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

    OpenAIRE

    2014-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. The dynamics of architectural complexity on coral reefs under climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bozec, Yves-Marie; Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Mumby, Peter J

    2015-01-01

    One striking feature of coral reef ecosystems is the complex benthic architecture which supports diverse and abundant fauna, particularly of reef fish. Reef-building corals are in decline worldwide, with a corresponding loss of live coral cover resulting in a loss of architectural complexity. Understanding the dynamics of the reef architecture is therefore important to envision the ability of corals to maintain functional habitats in an era of climate change. Here, we develop a mechanistic model of reef topographical complexity for contemporary Caribbean reefs. The model describes the dynamics of corals and other benthic taxa under climate-driven disturbances (hurricanes and coral bleaching). Corals have a simplified shape with explicit diameter and height, allowing species-specific calculation of their colony surface and volume. Growth and the mechanical (hurricanes) and biological erosion (parrotfish) of carbonate skeletons are important in driving the pace of extension/reduction in the upper reef surface, the net outcome being quantified by a simple surface roughness index (reef rugosity). The model accurately simulated the decadal changes of coral cover observed in Cozumel (Mexico) between 1984 and 2008, and provided a realistic hindcast of coral colony-scale (1-10 m) changing rugosity over the same period. We then projected future changes of Caribbean reef rugosity in response to global warming. Under severe and frequent thermal stress, the model predicted a dramatic loss of rugosity over the next two or three decades. Critically, reefs with managed parrotfish populations were able to delay the general loss of architectural complexity, as the benefits of grazing in maintaining living coral outweighed the bioerosion of dead coral skeletons. Overall, this model provides the first explicit projections of reef rugosity in a warming climate, and highlights the need of combining local (protecting and restoring high grazing) to global (mitigation of greenhouse gas

  5. Coral transplantation triggers shift in microbiome and promotion of coral disease associated potential pathogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casey, Jordan M; Connolly, Sean R; Ainsworth, Tracy D

    2015-07-06

    By cultivating turf algae and aggressively defending their territories, territorial damselfishes in the genus Stegastes play a major role in shaping coral-algal dynamics on coral reefs. The epilithic algal matrix (EAM) inside Stegastes' territories is known to harbor high abundances of potential coral disease pathogens. To determine the impact of territorial grazers on coral microbial assemblages, we established a coral transplant inside and outside of Stegastes' territories. Over the course of one year, the percent mortality of transplanted corals was monitored and coral samples were collected for microbial analysis. As compared to outside damselfish territories, Stegastes were associated with a higher rate of mortality of transplanted corals. However, 16S rDNA sequencing revealed that territorial grazers do not differentially impact the microbial assemblage of corals exposed to the EAM. Regardless of Stegastes presence or absence, coral transplantation resulted in a shift in the coral-associated microbial community and an increase in coral disease associated potential pathogens. Further, transplanted corals that suffer low to high mortality undergo a microbial transition from a microbiome similar to that of healthy corals to that resembling the EAM. These findings demonstrate that coral transplantation significantly impacts coral microbial communities, and transplantation may increase susceptibility to coral disease.

  6. Monitoring Watershed Water Quality Impacts on Near-Shore Coral Reef Ecosystems in American Samoa using NASA Earth Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teaby, A.; Price, J.; Minovitz, D.; Makely, L.; Torres-Perez, J. L.; Schmidt, C.; Guild, L. S.; Palacios, S. L.

    2014-12-01

    Land use changes can greatly increase erosion and sediment loads reaching watersheds and downstream coastal waters. In coastal environments with steep terrain and small drainage basins, sedimentation directly influences water quality in near-shore marine environments. Poor water quality indicators (i.e., dissolved nutrients and high particulates) affect coral calcification, photosynthesis, and coral cover. The abundance, recruitment, and biodiversity of American Samoa's coral reefs have been heavily affected by population growth, land cover change, pollution, and sediment influx. Monitoring, managing, and protecting these fragile ecosystems remains difficult due to limited resource availability, steep terrain, and local land ownership. Despite extensive field hours, traditional field and lab-based water quality research produces temporally and spatially limited datasets. Using a 'ridge to reef' effort, this project built a management tool to assess coral reef vulnerability using land use, hydrology, water quality, and coral reef cover in American Samoa to provide local agencies and partners with spatial representation of water quality parameters and site-specific implications for coral reef vulnerability. This project used land cover classified from Landsat 7 and 8 images, precipitation data from NOAA, and physical ocean factors from Terra MODIS. Changes in land cover from 2000 to 2014 were also estimated using Landsat imagery. Final products were distributed to partners to enhance water quality management, community outreach, and coral reef conservation.

  7. Quantifying and valuing potential climate change impacts on coral reefs in the United States: comparison of two scenarios.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lane, Diana R; Ready, Richard C; Buddemeier, Robert W; Martinich, Jeremy A; Shouse, Kate Cardamone; Wobus, Cameron W

    2013-01-01

    The biological and economic values of coral reefs are highly vulnerable to increasing atmospheric and ocean carbon dioxide concentrations. We applied the COMBO simulation model (COral Mortality and Bleaching Output) to three major U.S. locations for shallow water reefs: South Florida, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. We compared estimates of future coral cover from 2000 to 2100 for a "business as usual" (BAU) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions scenario with a GHG mitigation policy scenario involving full international participation in reducing GHG emissions. We also calculated the economic value of changes in coral cover using a benefit transfer approach based on published studies of consumers' recreational values for snorkeling and diving on coral reefs as well as existence values for coral reefs. Our results suggest that a reduced emissions scenario would provide a large benefit to shallow water reefs in Hawaii by delaying or avoiding potential future bleaching events. For Hawaii, reducing emissions is projected to result in an estimated "avoided loss" from 2000 to 2100 of approximately $10.6 billion in recreational use values compared to a BAU scenario. However, reducing emissions is projected to provide only a minor economic benefit in Puerto Rico and South Florida, where sea-surface temperatures are already close to bleaching thresholds and coral cover is projected to drop well below 5% cover under both scenarios by 2050, and below 1% cover under both scenarios by 2100.

  8. Quantifying and valuing potential climate change impacts on coral reefs in the United States: comparison of two scenarios.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diana R Lane

    Full Text Available The biological and economic values of coral reefs are highly vulnerable to increasing atmospheric and ocean carbon dioxide concentrations. We applied the COMBO simulation model (COral Mortality and Bleaching Output to three major U.S. locations for shallow water reefs: South Florida, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. We compared estimates of future coral cover from 2000 to 2100 for a "business as usual" (BAU greenhouse gas (GHG emissions scenario with a GHG mitigation policy scenario involving full international participation in reducing GHG emissions. We also calculated the economic value of changes in coral cover using a benefit transfer approach based on published studies of consumers' recreational values for snorkeling and diving on coral reefs as well as existence values for coral reefs. Our results suggest that a reduced emissions scenario would provide a large benefit to shallow water reefs in Hawaii by delaying or avoiding potential future bleaching events. For Hawaii, reducing emissions is projected to result in an estimated "avoided loss" from 2000 to 2100 of approximately $10.6 billion in recreational use values compared to a BAU scenario. However, reducing emissions is projected to provide only a minor economic benefit in Puerto Rico and South Florida, where sea-surface temperatures are already close to bleaching thresholds and coral cover is projected to drop well below 5% cover under both scenarios by 2050, and below 1% cover under both scenarios by 2100.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  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. Recurrent partial mortality events in winter shape the dynamics of the zooxanthellate coral Oculina patagonica at high latitude in the Mediterranean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Serrano, Eduard; Ribes, Marta; Coma, Rafel

    2017-03-01

    Global warming has many biological effects on corals and plays a central role in the regression of tropical coral reefs; therefore, there is an urgent need to understand how some coral species have adapted to environmental conditions at higher latitudes. We examined the effects of temperature and light on the growth of the zooxanthellate coral Oculina patagonica (Scleractinia, Oculinidae) at the northern limit of its distribution in the eastern Iberian Peninsula (western Mediterranean) by transplanting colonies onto plates and excluding them from space competition over a 4-yr period. Each year, most of the colonies ( 70%) exhibited denuded skeletons with isolated polyps persisting on approximately half of the coral surface area. These recurrent episodes of partial coral mortality occurred in winter, and their severity appeared to be related to colony exposure to cold but not to light. Although O. patagonica exhibited high resistance to stress, coral linear extension did not resume until the coenosarc regenerated. The resumption of linear extension was related to the dissociation of the polyps from the coenosarc and the outstanding regenerative capacity of this species (10.3 mm2 d-1). These biological characteristics allow the species to survive at high latitudes. However, the recurrent and severe pattern of denuded skeletons greatly affects the dynamics of the species and may constrain population growth at high latitudes in the Mediterranean.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-03-01

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Does use of tropical beaches by tourists and island residents result in damage to fringing coral reefs? A case study in Moorea French Polynesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juhasz, Allison; Ho, Ellen; Bender, Erika; Fong, Peggy

    2010-12-01

    Although coral reefs worldwide are subject to increasing global threats, humans also impact coral reefs directly through localized activities such as snorkeling, kayaking and fishing. We investigated five sites on the northern shore of Moorea, French Polynesia, and quantified the number of visitors on the beach and in shallow water. In field surveys, we measured total coral cover and colony sizes of two common genera, Porites and Acropora, a massive and branching morphology, respectively. One site, which hosted over an order of magnitude more people than the other four, had significantly less total coral cover and supported very little branching Acropora. In addition, size frequency distributions of both the branching and massive genera were skewed toward smaller colony sizes at the high use site. Our results demonstrated that the use of tropical beaches may result in less coral cover, with branching colonies rare and small.

  16. 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

  17. High Resolution Imagery of Arorae Island Coral Reef Systems Prior to and During Suspected Bleaching Events

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset is a collection of imagery of Arorae Island coral reef systems. They are pairs of imagery where one image was acquired during a suspected bleaching...

  18. High Resolution Imagery of Baker Island Coral Reef Systems Prior to and During Suspected Bleaching Events

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset is a collection of imagery of Baker Island coral reef systems. They are pairs of imagery where one image was acquired during a suspected bleaching...

  19. High Resolution Imagery of Buck Island Coral Reef Systems Prior to and During Suspected Bleaching Events

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset is a collection of imagery of Buck Island coral reef systems. They are pairs of imagery where one image was acquired during a suspected bleaching event....

  20. High Resolution Imagery of Keppel Island Coral Reef Systems Prior to and During Suspected Bleaching Events

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset is a collection of imagery of Keppel Island coral reef systems. They are pairs of imagery where one image was acquired during a suspected bleaching...

  1. 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...

  2. 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.

  3. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

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

  4. [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

  5. Baseline coral disease surveys within three marine parks in Sabah, Borneo

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer Miller

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Two of the most significant threats to coral reefs worldwide are bleaching and disease. However, there has been a scarcity of research on coral disease in South-East Asia, despite the high biodiversity and the strong dependence of local communities on the reefs in the region. This study provides baseline data on coral disease frequencies within three national parks in Sabah, Borneo, which exhibit different levels of human impacts and management histories. High mean coral cover (55% and variable disease frequency (mean 0.25 diseased colonies m−2 were found across the three sites. Highest disease frequency (0.44 diseased colonies per m2 was seen at the site closest to coastal population centres. Bleaching and pigmentation responses were actually higher at Sipadan, the more remote, offshore site, whereas none of the other coral diseases detected in the other two parks were detected in Sipadan. Results of this study offer a baseline dataset of disease in these parks and indicate the need for continued monitoring, and suggest that coral colonies in parks under higher anthropogenic stressors and with lower coral cover may be more susceptible to contracting disease.

  6. 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

    2016-10-03

    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.

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

    OpenAIRE

    G. Dishon; Fisch, J; Horn, I.; K Kaczmarek; Bijma, J.; Gruber, D.F.; O. Nir; Y. Popovich; D. Tchernov

    2015-01-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    G. Dishon; Fisch, J; Horn, I.; K Kaczmarek; Bijma, J.; Gruber, D.F.; O. Nir; Y. Popovich; D. Tchernov

    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...

  9. Coral choreography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    Viewers clicking onto the Waikiki Aquarium's “Coral Research Cam” any time during daylight hours in Hawaii can catch the latest action of three species of living corals (Acropora sp., Acropora elseyi,and Montipora digitata) and the yellow tang and blue tang fish swimming amongst them in an outdoor aquarium.Waikiki Aquarium Director Bruce Carlson says the camera is part of a new exhibit, “Corals Are Alive!,” which encourages people to view living corals close-up at the aquarium or via the Internet, in order to gain a better appreciation of the corals. “Hopefully through education and awareness, people will be more interested and willing to help with conservation efforts to preserve coral reefs,” says Carlson.

  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 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. 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 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. High-frequency climatic oscillations recorded in a Holocene coral reef at Leizhou Peninsula, South China Sea

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    余克服; 刘东生; 沈承德; 赵建新; 陈特固; 钟晋梁; 赵焕庭; 宋朝景

    2002-01-01

    A detailed study of the Goniopora reef profile at Dengloujiao, Xuwen County, Leizhou Peninsula, the northern coast of the South China Sea suggests that a series of high-frequency, large-amplitude and abrupt cold events occurred during the Holocene Hypsithermal, an unusual phenomenon termed "Leizhou Events" in this paper. This period (corresponding to 14C age of 6.2-6.7 kaBP or calendar age of 6.7-7.2 kaBP), when the climatic conditions were ideal for coral reefs to develop, can be divided into at least nine stages. Each stage (or called a "climate optimum"), lasting about 20 to 50 a, was terminated by an abrupt cold nap and (or) a sea-level lowering event in winter, leading to widespread emergence and death of the Goniopora corals, and growth discontinuities on the coral surface. Such a cyclic process resulted in the creation of a >4m thick Goniopora reef flat. During this period, the crust subsided periodically but the sea level was rising.The reef profile provides valuable archives for the study of decadal-scale mid-Holocene climatic oscillations in the tropical area of South China. Our results provide new evidence for high-frequency climate instability in the Holocene Hypsithermal, and challenge the traditional understanding of Holocene climate.

  15. High population density enhances recruitment and survival of a harvested coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wormald, Clare L; Steele, Mark A; Forrester, Graham E

    2013-03-01

    A negative relationship between population growth and population density (direct density dependence) is necessary for population regulation and is assumed in most models of harvested populations. Experimental tests for density dependence are lacking for large-bodied, harvested fish because of the difficulty of manipulating population density over large areas. We studied a harvested coral reef fish, Lutjanus apodus (schoolmaster snapper), using eight large, isolated natural reefs (0.4-1.6 ha) in the Bahamas as replicates. An initial observational test for density dependence was followed by a manipulation of population density. The manipulation weakened an association between density and shelter-providing habitat features and revealed a positive effect of population density on recruitment and survival (inverse density dependence), but no effect of density on somatic growth. The snappers on an individual reef were organized into a few shoals, and we hypothesize that large shoals on high-density reefs were less vulnerable to large piscivores (groupers and barracudas) than the small shoals on low-density reefs. Reductions in predation risk for individuals in large social groups are well documented, but because snapper shoals occupied reefs the size of small marine reserves, these ecological interactions may influence the outcome of management actions.

  16. Coral reefs in crisis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichsen, D

    1997-01-01

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

  17. Quaternary onset and evolution of Kimberley coral reefs (Northwest Australia) revealed by high-resolution seismic imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bufarale, Giada; Collins, Lindsay B.; O'Leary, Michael J.; Stevens, Alexandra; Kordi, Moataz; Solihuddin, Tubagus

    2016-07-01

    The inner shelf Kimberley Bioregion of Northwest Australia is characterised by a macrotidal setting where prolific coral reefs growth as developed around a complex drowned landscape and is considered a biodiversity "hotspot". High-resolution shallow seismic studies were conducted across various reef settings in the Kimberley (Buccaneer Archipelago, north of Dampier Peninsula, latitude: between 16°40‧S and 16°00‧S) to evaluate stratigraphic evolution, interaction with different substrates, morphological patterns and distribution. Reef sites were chosen to assess most of the reef types present, particularly high intertidal planar reefs and fringing reefs. Reef internal acoustic reflectors were identified according to their shape, stratigraphic position and characteristics. Two main seismic horizons were identified marking the boundaries between Holocene reef (Marine Isotope Stage 1, MIS 1, last 12 ky), commonly 10-20 m thick, and MIS 5 (Last Interglacial, LIG, ~120 ky, up to 12 m thick) and Proterozoic rock foundation over which Quaternary reef growth occurred. Within the Holocene Reef unit, at least three minor internal reflectors, generally discontinuous, subparallel to the reef flat were recognised and interpreted as either growth hiatuses or a change of the coral framework or sediment matrix. The LIG reefs represent a new northernmost occurrence along the Western Australian coast. The research presented here achieved the first regional geophysical study of the Kimberley reefs. Subbottom profiles demonstrated that the surveyed reefs are characterised by a multi-stage reef buildup, indicating that coral growth occurred in the Kimberley during previous sea level highstands. The data show also that antecedent substrate and regional subsidence have contributed, too, in determining the amount of accommodation available for reef growth and controlling the morphology of the successive reef building stages. Moreover, the study showed that in spite of macrotidal

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  19. Surface water processes in the Indonesian Throughflow as documented by a high-resolution coral (Delta)14C record

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fallon, S J; Guilderson, T P

    2008-04-23

    To explore the seasonal to decadal variability in surface water masses that contribute to the Indonesian Throughflow we have generated a 115-year bi-monthly 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{per_thousand}). After 1954 the radiocarbon record increases rapidly, in response to the increased atmospheric {sup 14}C content caused by nuclear weapons testing. From 1957 to 1986 the record displays clear seasonal variability from 15 to 60{per_thousand} 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 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 {sup 14}C peak in 1955 due to bomb {sup 14}C water advected into this region in the form of CaCO{sub 3} particles (this implies that the particles were advected intact and then become entrapped in the coral skeleton--is this what we really mean? Wouldn't even fine particles settle out over the inferred transit time from Bikini to MAK?) or water particles with dissolved labeled CO{sub 2} produced during fallout from the Castle tests in 1954.

  20. Distance decay among coral assemblages during a cycle of disturbance and recovery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Done, Terence; Gilmour, James; Fisher, Rebecca

    2015-09-01

    The characterization of distance decay in similarity among plant or animal communities both extends ecosystem description and provides insights into formative ecological events and processes. Here, we examine distance decay among coral communities in a common habitat on northwestern Australian reefs, seeking to better understand the roles of disturbance and coral life history strategies in the changing reefscape. In established communities in 1997, when coral cover and generic richness were uniformly high, there was high similarity (~81 %) and negligible distance decay, both within sets of 15 contiguous 50-m transects and among 250-m sites separated by 500 km. Following a 75 % reduction in coral cover and a comparable loss of generic richness to mass bleaching in 1998, similarity declined to ~67 % and there was strong distance decay at generic richness had been restored and similarity had returned to ~80 %, but weak distance decay had persisted in the community. Among assemblages with contrasting life histories, the disturbance increased distance decay most in the brooding corals, and it remained strong until 2010. In contrast, broadcast spawning corals and the more resistant regenerating corals had largely reverted to their pre-disturbance state of high mean similarity and weak distance decay by 2010. These differences among life history groups reflect the greater vagility of the broadcast spawning corals, the resistance of the regenerator assemblages to the disturbance and their recovery from uniformly distributed remnants, and the susceptibility of the brooding species combined with their limited capacity to disperse beyond the local site. Beyond a spatial extent of 25 km, distance decay was absent in all years and for all coral groups, indicating the qualitatively different source-sink dynamics when reefs are separated by 10s of km of open ocean.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1993-11-01

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

  2. Using coral disease prevalence to assess the effects of concentrating tourism activities on offshore reefs in a tropical marine park.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamb, Joleah B; Willis, Bette L

    2011-10-01

    Concentrating tourism activities can be an effective way to closely manage high-use parks and minimize the extent of the effects of visitors on plants and animals, although considerable investment in permanent tourism facilities may be required. On coral reefs, a variety of human-related disturbances have been associated with elevated levels of coral disease, but the effects of reef-based tourist facilities (e.g., permanent offshore visitor platforms) on coral health have not been assessed. In partnership with reef managers and the tourism industry, we tested the effectiveness of concentrating tourism activities as a strategy for managing tourism on coral reefs. We compared prevalence of brown band disease, white syndromes, black band disease, skeletal eroding band, and growth anomalies among reefs with and without permanent tourism platforms within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Coral diseases were 15 times more prevalent at reefs with offshore tourism platforms than at nearby reefs without platforms. The maximum prevalence and maximum number of cases of each disease type were recorded at reefs with permanently moored tourism platforms. Diseases affected 10 coral genera from 7 families at reefs with platforms and 4 coral genera from 3 families at reefs without platforms. The greatest number of disease cases occurred within the spatially dominant acroporid corals, which exhibited 18-fold greater disease prevalence at reefs with platforms than at reefs without platforms. Neither the percent cover of acroporids nor overall coral cover differed significantly between reefs with and without platforms, which suggests that neither factor was responsible for the elevated levels of disease. Identifying how tourism activities and platforms facilitate coral disease in marine parks will help ensure ongoing conservation of coral assemblages and tourism.

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YU KeFu

    2012-01-01

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

  4. 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

  5. An updated assessment of Symbiodinium spp. that associate with common scleractinian corals from Moorea (French Polynesia) reveals high diversity among background symbionts and a novel finding of clade B.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rouzé, Héloïse; Lecellier, Gaël J; Saulnier, Denis; Planes, Serge; Gueguen, Yannick; Wirshing, Herman H; Berteaux-Lecellier, Véronique

    2017-01-01

    The adaptative bleaching hypothesis (ABH) states that, depending on the symbiotic flexibility of coral hosts (i.e., the ability of corals to "switch" or "shuffle" their algal symbionts), coral bleaching can lead to a change in the composition of their associated Symbiodinium community and, thus, contribute to the coral's overall survival. In order to determine the flexibility of corals, molecular tools are required to provide accurate species delineations and to detect low levels of coral-associated Symbiodinium. Here, we used highly sensitive quantitative (real-time) PCR (qPCR) technology to analyse five common coral species from Moorea (French Polynesia), previously screened using only traditional molecular methods, to assess the presence of low-abundance (background) Symbiodinium spp. Similar to other studies, each coral species exhibited a strong specificity to a particular clade, irrespective of the environment. In addition, however, each of the five species harboured at least one additional Symbiodinium clade, among clades A-D, at background levels. Unexpectedly, and for the first time in French Polynesia, clade B was detected as a coral symbiont. These results increase the number of known coral-Symbiodinium associations from corals found in French Polynesia, and likely indicate an underestimation of the ability of the corals in this region to associate with and/or "shuffle" different Symbiodinium clades. Altogether our data suggest that corals from French Polynesia may favor a trade-off between optimizing symbioses with a specific Symbiodinium clade(s), maintaining associations with particular background clades that may play a role in the ability of corals to respond to environmental change.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. The Maritime Continent and Coral Triangle: How to make informed measurements in the year of the MC to improve coral protection?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goodkin, N.; Tanzil, J.; Murty, S. A.; Ramos, R.; Pullen, J. D.

    2016-12-01

    The Maritime Continent (MC) is a region of highly complex oceanography, encompassing a majority of the Coral Triangle, the most important region for coral biodiversity and cover. Intricate coastal processes including water body mixing, resulting from reversing monsoon winds and internal waves, expose corals to a wide variety of physical conditions. However, the pressures of climate change, overfishing, ocean acidification, and coastal development, to name a few, are significant in this region and threaten to challenge reefs over the next several decades. In order to predict and study how to facilitate reef recovery in the MC region, it is crucial to understand the environmental parameters for coral success. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of oceanographic processes on the maritime continent that drive seasonal variability in the waters of the MC, including changes to sea surface temperature, salinity, pH, turbidity, productivity and nutrients. Each of these parameters is known to have impacts on calcification rates and thus coral reef formation. Environmental conditions and currents can combine to facilitate larval dispersion or to exacerbate coral disease and predation, including crown of thorns outbreaks. Internal waves may protect against coral bleaching by lowering temperatures with the delivery of deeper water. Drawing on previously published and unpublished results, we will evaluate the parameters that may be impacting reef growth rates, biodiversity and resilience in a changing world in an effort to help plan for key measurements in the year of the MC.

  9. Coral recruitment and recovery after the 2004 Tsunami around the Phi Phi Islands (Krabi Province) and Phuket, Andaman Sea, Thailand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawall, Y.; Phongsuwan, N.; Richter, C.

    2010-12-01

    The 2004 tsunami left a discontinuous pattern of destruction in the reefs along Andaman Sea coast of Thailand. Here, a comparative assessment of coral recruitment was carried out to assess differences in recovery between damaged and undamaged sites in near-shore fringing reefs 1 and 3 years after the tsunami. Settlement plates showed high frequencies of coral spat after 4 months (coral rubble is a key determinant of recruitment success. Low regeneration success of some species e.g. branching acroporids and rebounding tourism industry at sites like Patong and partly around the Phi Phi Islands (dense carpets of filamentous algae) led to the assumption of selectivity and eventually to an alternation of the coral community even though live coral cover might be recovered soon.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. High-resolution methane records covering the Holocene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryant, S.; Mitchell, L.; Brook, E.; Sowers, T.

    2012-04-01

    In order to better understand CH4 variations during the Holocene, we have developed an ultra-high resolution (20-30 year) CH4 record from the WAIS Divide core (79.467°S, 112.085°W). Preliminary results confirm previous Antarctic measurements with early Holocene CH4 values of 690ppb, dropping gradually to mid Holocene values of 565ppb and then climbing to early preanthropogenic values of ~700ppb. The most striking feature of this ultra-high resolution record is the 8.2ka event that is well established in our record. At WAIS, CH4 values drop by 70ppb over ~50 yrs at the start of the 8.2 ka event, before climbing gradually over the ensuing 60 years culminating in a rapid increase over the last 30 years of the record back to pre 8.2ka values (635 ppb). Our new record follows a similar record from the GISP II ice core in magnitude suggesting the interpolar CH4 gradient remained relatively constant throughout the event. This in turn suggests that the 8.2ka event was most likely a global CH4 event impacting tropical emissions. Further insight into CH4 systematics during the Holocene was obtained using a revised version of the BOSCAGE 8-box atmospheric CH4 model. The model is broken into six 30o latitude bins and two stratospheric boxes for the N and S hemispheres. Mixing between the boxes, the latitudinal distribution of sources and sinks and the characteristic isotope values were fixed and maintained throughout the simulations based on present day inversion studies.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blakeway, David; Byers, Michael; Stoddart, James; Rossendell, Jason

    2013-01-01

    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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. A cross-ocean comparison of responses to settlement cues in reef-building corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah W. Davies

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Caribbean coral reefs have deteriorated substantially over the past 30 years, which is broadly attributable to the effects of global climate change. In the same time, Indo-Pacific reefs maintain higher coral cover and typically recover rapidly after disturbances. This difference in reef resilience is largely due to much higher coral recruitment rates in the Pacific. We hypothesized that the lack of Caribbean recruitment might be explained by diminishing quality of settlement cues and/or impaired sensitivity of Caribbean coral larvae to those cues, relative to the Pacific. To evaluate this hypothesis, we assembled a collection of bulk samples of reef encrusting communities, mostly consisting of crustose coralline algae (CCA, from various reefs around the world and tested them as settlement cues for several coral species originating from different ocean provinces. Cue samples were meta-barcoded to evaluate their taxonomic diversity. We observed no systematic differences either in cue potency or in strength of larval responses depending on the ocean province, and no preference of coral larvae towards cues from the same ocean. Instead, we detected significant differences in cue preferences among coral species, even for corals originating from the same reef. We conclude that the region-wide disruption of the settlement process is unlikely to be the major cause of Caribbean reef loss. However, due to their high sensitivity to the effects of climate change, shifts in the composition of CCA-associated communities, combined with pronounced differences in cue preferences among coral species, could substantially influence future coral community structure.

  17. An assemblage of mollusks associated with the high latitude scleractinian coral Alveopora japonica (Eguchi 1968) in Jeju Island, off the south coast of Korea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noseworthy, Ronald G.; Hong, Hyun-Ki; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Lee, Hee-Jung; Jeung, Hee-Do; Ju, Se-Jong; Kim, Jong-Bin; Jung, Sukgeun; Choi, Kwang-Sik

    2016-03-01

    Corals reefs and communities support a wide range of flora and fauna. The complete richness and abundance of faunal communities in either coral reefs or communities is not fully understood. This is especially true for high-latitude coral communities. In this work, we carried out an analysis of an Alveopora japonica associated mollusk assemblage, in Jeju Island, Korea. A. japonica is one of the major coral species present in high abundance (88-155 colonies m-2), with a high recruitment rate (7.8 juvenile corals m-2 yr-1) in Jeju Island, and may serve as a habitat for other benthic organisms. In 2012, a total number of 579 A. japonica colonies with sizes ranging between 15.1-346.7 cm2 in the surface area were collected from a 1m× 10m quadrat installed at a depth of 10 m at Keumneung, on the northwest coast of Jeju Island. Numerous benthic invertebrates were found to be associated with A. japonica colonies. Twenty-seven bivalves and gastropods were identified, including a boring mytilid, Lithophaga curta, and an arcid, Barbatia stearnsi. A zonalgeographical examination of the distribution ranges of these mollusks revealed a majority of warmer water species. Our observations also showed that A. japonica may be providing a habitat to grazing gastropod, Turbo cornutus, and encrusting Spondylidae and Chamidae bivalves. A. japonica forms a coral carpet with a distinct assemblage of bivalves. It is thought that the presence of these mollusks species in the coral indicates its use as a nursery for juvenile species, a ready food supply of organic detritus, and a refuge from predators.

  18. Assessment of Automated Snow Cover Detection at High Solar Zenith Angles with PROBA-V

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    Changes in the snow cover extent are both a cause and a consequence of climate change. Optical remote sensing with heliosynchronous satellites currently provides snow cover data at high spatial resolution with daily revisiting time. However, high latitude image acquisition is limited because reflective sensors of many satellites are switched off at high solar zenith angles (SZA) due to lower signal quality. In this study, the relevance and reliability of high SZA acquisition are objectively q...

  19. An updated assessment of Symbiodinium spp. that associate with common scleractinian corals from Moorea (French Polynesia) reveals high diversity among background symbionts and a novel finding of clade B

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lecellier, Gaël J.; Saulnier, Denis; Planes, Serge; Gueguen, Yannick; Wirshing, Herman H.; Berteaux-Lecellier, Véronique

    2017-01-01

    The adaptative bleaching hypothesis (ABH) states that, depending on the symbiotic flexibility of coral hosts (i.e., the ability of corals to “switch” or “shuffle” their algal symbionts), coral bleaching can lead to a change in the composition of their associated Symbiodinium community and, thus, contribute to the coral’s overall survival. In order to determine the flexibility of corals, molecular tools are required to provide accurate species delineations and to detect low levels of coral-associated Symbiodinium. Here, we used highly sensitive quantitative (real-time) PCR (qPCR) technology to analyse five common coral species from Moorea (French Polynesia), previously screened using only traditional molecular methods, to assess the presence of low-abundance (background) Symbiodinium spp. Similar to other studies, each coral species exhibited a strong specificity to a particular clade, irrespective of the environment. In addition, however, each of the five species harboured at least one additional Symbiodinium clade, among clades A–D, at background levels. Unexpectedly, and for the first time in French Polynesia, clade B was detected as a coral symbiont. These results increase the number of known coral-Symbiodinium associations from corals found in French Polynesia, and likely indicate an underestimation of the ability of the corals in this region to associate with and/or “shuffle” different Symbiodinium clades. Altogether our data suggest that corals from French Polynesia may favor a trade-off between optimizing symbioses with a specific Symbiodinium clade(s), maintaining associations with particular background clades that may play a role in the ability of corals to respond to environmental change. PMID:28168100

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-01

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

  1. Spatial and temporal patterns of eastern Australia subtropical coral communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven J Dalton

    Full Text Available Despite increases in the frequency and intensity of disturbances on coral reefs over the past few decades, the response of subtropical coral assemblages to climate change is poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap on Australian reefs and provide a baseline for future comparisons, we quantified spatial (10-100's of kilometres and temporal (decadal patterns of benthic assemblages across a latitudinal gradient along the east Australian coastline (23.5° S to 31.5° S. Benthic community composition was quantified at six locations from the southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland (Heron Reef, 23.5° S, 152° E to northern New South Wales (31° S, 153.1° E and at Lord Howe Island (31.5° S, 159.1° E. Our results indicate significant latitudinal differences in benthic assemblages, while community composition at some sites was more similar to those hundreds of kilometres away than to that of neighbouring reefs. A general trend was observed with decreasing cover of Acroporidae with increasing latitude, corresponding with an increasing cover of Pocilloporidae and Dendrophylliidae. Heron Reef comprised a high proportion of Acropora corals (43% total coral cover and coralline algae (44%. In contrast, high-latitude reefs were dominated by mixed coral assemblages (0-52% and high macroalgal cover (16-27%. Decadal comparisons of high-latitude reefs showed regional stability of benthic assemblages (9 out of 11 assemblages remained stable at > 75% similarity, during a period of warming oceans (0.15-0.24°C per decade. Such temporal stability suggests that eastern Australian subtropical communities may be more resistant than tropical reef communities that have experienced assembly shifts caused by perturbations associated with recent global climate change. Despite the clear differences in the structure of coral assemblages evident in our spatial surveys, we suggest that the temporal stability of high-latitude reefs may provide a limited refuge for

  2. Janzen-Connell effects in a broadcast-spawning Caribbean coral: distance-dependent survival of larvae and settlers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marhaver, K L; Vermeij, M J A; Rohwer, F; Sandin, S A

    2013-01-01

    The Janzen-Connell hypothesis states that host-specific biotic enemies (pathogens and predators) promote the coexistence of tree species in tropical forests by causing distance- or density-dependent mortality of seeds and seedlings. Although coral reefs are the aquatic analogues of tropical forests, the Janzen-Connell model has never been proposed as an explanation for high diversity in these ecosystems. We tested the central predictions of the Janzen-Connell model in a coral reef, using swimming larvae and settled polyps of the common Caribbean coral Montastraea faveolata. In a field experiment to test for distance- or density-dependent mortality, coral settler mortality was higher and more strongly density dependent in locations down-current from adult corals. Survival did not increase monotoilically with distance, however, revealing the influence of fluid dynamics around adult corals in structuring spatial patterns of mortality. Complementary microbial profiles around adult coral heads revealed that one potential cause of settler mortality, marine microbial communities, are structured at the same spatial scale. In a field experiment to test whether factors causing juvenile mortality are host specific, settler mortality was 2.3-3.0 times higher near conspecific adults vs. near adult corals of other genera or in open reef areas. In four laboratory experiments to test for distance-dependent, host-specific mortality, swimming coral larvae were exposed to water collected near conspecific adult corals, near other coral genera, and in open areas of the reef. Microbial abundance in these water samples was manipulated with filters and antibiotics to test whether the cause of mortality was biotic (i.e., microbial). Juvenile survivorship was lowest in unfiltered water collected near conspecifics, and survivorship increased when this water was filter sterilized, collected farther away, or collected near other adult coral genera. Together these results demonstrate for the

  3. High adenylyl cyclase activity and in vivo cAMP fluctuations in corals suggest central physiological role.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barott, K L; Helman, Y; Haramaty, L; Barron, M E; Hess, K C; Buck, J; Levin, L R; Tresguerres, M

    2013-01-01

    Corals are an ecologically and evolutionarily significant group, providing the framework for coral reef biodiversity while representing one of the most basal of metazoan phyla. However, little is known about fundamental signaling pathways in corals. Here we investigate the dynamics of cAMP, a conserved signaling molecule that can regulate virtually every physiological process. Bioinformatics revealed corals have both transmembrane and soluble adenylyl cyclases (AC). Endogenous cAMP levels in live corals followed a potential diel cycle, as they were higher during the day compared to the middle of the night. Coral homogenates exhibited some of the highest cAMP production rates ever to be recorded in any organism; this activity was inhibited by calcium ions and stimulated by bicarbonate. In contrast, zooxanthellae or mucus had >1000-fold lower AC activity. These results suggest that cAMP is an important regulator of coral physiology, especially in response to light, acid/base disturbances and inorganic carbon levels.

  4. Small-scale mapping of indeterminate arborescent acroporid coral ( Acropora cervicornis) patches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, B. K.; Larson, E. A.; Moulding, A. L.; Gilliam, D. S.

    2012-09-01

    Western Atlantic populations of the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis have drastically declined over the past few decades. Hence, interest in its ecology and spatial extent has increased. Acroporid corals with indeterminate arborescent growth like A. cervicornis primarily reproduce asexually by fragmentation, which can lead to extensive monotypic patches. Since fragmentation is a major component in indeterminate acroporid reproduction, these patches may expand or move over time. Periodic perimeter mapping facilitates comparison of patch areas to determine movement or expansion. A repeatable, low-cost method using a differential GPS carried by a snorkeler was employed to map the perimeter of A. cervicornis patches in southeast Florida. Perimeters were mapped over a 3-year period. Patch boundaries were dynamic, expanding in one or more directions. Patch areas increased by up to 7.5 times their original size and moved up to 51 m. Results were corroborated by spatial cluster analyses of in situ live coral cover measurements. Getis-Ord Gi* statistic and Anselin Local Moran's I spatial cluster analyses of live coral cover within an array of in situ monitoring plots indicated that significant high cover clusters moved in the direction of mapped patch perimeter expansion. Expansion was coupled by more than 50 % decreases in total live cover. Information gained herein shows that A. cervicornis patches are spatially and temporally dynamic, having implications to long-term permanent transect monitoring studies and framework development. Results may be applicable to other shallow water indeterminate arborescent acroporid coral species.

  5. 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.

  6. Crowning corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.

    and oil transport, thermal pollution and freshwater inflow are the major threats to corals growing along the urban and industrialised centres. Therefore, a concerted effort from academicians, governmental and non-governmental bodies to educate the public...

  7. 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.

  8. Coral recruitment and potential recovery of eutrophied and blast fishing impacted reefs in Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawall, Yvonne; Jompa, Jamaluddin; Litaay, Magdalena; Maddusila, Andi; Richter, Claudio

    2013-09-15

    Coral recruitment was assessed in highly diverse and economically important Spermonde Archipelago, a reef system subjected to land-based sources of siltation/pollution and destructive fishing, over a period of 2 years. Recruitment on settlement tiles reached up to 705 spat m(-2) yr(-1) and was strongest in the dry season (July-October), except off-shore, where larvae settled earlier. Pocilloporidae dominated near-shore, while a more diverse community of Acroporidae, Poritidae and others settled in the less polluted mid-shelf and off-shore reefs. Non-coral fouling community appeared to hardly influence initial coral settlement on the tiles, although, this does not necessarily infer low coral post-settlement mortality, which may be enhanced at the near- and off-shore reefs as indicated by increased abundances of potential space competitors on natural substrate. Blast fishing showed no local reduction in coral recruitment and live hard coral cover increased in oligotrophic reefs, indicating potential for coral recovery, if managed effectively. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. The next step in shallow coral reef monitoring: combining remote sensing and in situ approaches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scopélitis, Julie; Andréfouët, Serge; Phinn, Stuart; Arroyo, Lara; Dalleau, Mayeul; Cros, Annick; Chabanet, Pascale

    2010-11-01

    Most current coral reef management is supported by mapping and monitoring limited in record length and spatial extent. These deficiencies were addressed in a multidisciplinary study of cyclone impacts on Aboré Reef, New-Caledonia. Local knowledge, high thematic-resolution maps, and time-series satellite imagery complemented classical in situ monitoring methods. Field survey stations were selected from examination of pre- and post-cyclone images and their post-cyclone coral communities documented in terms of substrata, coral morphologies, live coral cover, and taxonomy. Time-series maps of hierarchically defined coral communities created at spatial scales documenting the variability among communities (29-45 classes) and suggesting the processes that affected them. The increased spatial coverage and repeatability of this approach significantly improved the recognition and interpretation of coral communities' spatio-temporal variability. It identified precise locations of impacted areas and those exhibiting coral recovery and resilience. The approach provides a comprehensive suite of information on which to base reef-scale conservation actions.

  10. 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.

  11. Larvae of the coral eating crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci in a warmer-high CO2 ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kamya, Pamela Z; Dworjanyn, Symon A; Hardy, Natasha; Mos, Benjamin; Uthicke, Sven; Byrne, Maria

    2014-11-01

    Outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), Acanthaster planci, contribute to major declines of coral reef ecosystems throughout the Indo-Pacific. As the oceans warm and decrease in pH due to increased anthropogenic CO2 production, coral reefs are also susceptible to bleaching, disease and reduced calcification. The impacts of ocean acidification and warming may be exacerbated by COTS predation, but it is not known how this major predator will fare in a changing ocean. Because larval success is a key driver of population outbreaks, we investigated the sensitivities of larval A. planci to increased temperature (2-4 °C above ambient) and acidification (0.3-0.5 pH units below ambient) in flow-through cross-factorial experiments (3 temperature × 3 pH/pCO2 levels). There was no effect of increased temperature or acidification on fertilization or very early development. Larvae reared in the optimal temperature (28 °C) were the largest across all pH treatments. Development to advanced larva was negatively affected by the high temperature treatment (30 °C) and by both experimental pH levels (pH 7.6, 7.8). Thus, planktonic life stages of A. planci may be negatively impacted by near-future global change. Increased temperature and reduced pH had an additive negative effect on reducing larval size. The 30 °C treatment exceeded larval tolerance regardless of pH. As 30 °C sea surface temperatures may become the norm in low latitude tropical regions, poleward migration of A. planci may be expected as they follow optimal isotherms. In the absence of acclimation or adaptation, declines in low latitude populations may occur. Poleward migration will be facilitated by strong western boundary currents, with possible negative flow-on effects on high latitude coral reefs. The contrasting responses of the larvae of A. planci and those of its coral prey to ocean acidification and warming are considered in context with potential future change in tropical reef ecosystems.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Modelling high arctic percent vegetation cover using field digital images and high resolution satellite data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Nanfeng; Treitz, Paul

    2016-10-01

    In this study, digital images collected at a study site in the Canadian High Arctic were processed and classified to examine the spatial-temporal patterns of percent vegetation cover (PVC). To obtain the PVC of different plant functional groups (i.e., forbs, graminoids/sedges and mosses), field near infrared-green-blue (NGB) digital images were classified using an object-based image analysis (OBIA) approach. The PVC analyses comparing different vegetation types confirmed: (i) the polar semi-desert exhibited the lowest PVC with a large proportion of bare soil/rock cover; (ii) the mesic tundra cover consisted of approximately 60% mosses; and (iii) the wet sedge consisted almost exclusively of graminoids and sedges. As expected, the PVC and green normalized difference vegetation index (GNDVI; (RNIR - RGreen)/(RNIR + RGreen)), derived from field NGB digital images, increased during the summer growing season for each vegetation type: i.e., ∼5% (0.01) for polar semi-desert; ∼10% (0.04) for mesic tundra; and ∼12% (0.03) for wet sedge respectively. PVC derived from field images was found to be strongly correlated with WorldView-2 derived normalized difference spectral indices (NDSI; (Rx - Ry)/(Rx + Ry)), where Rx is the reflectance of the red edge (724.1 nm) or near infrared (832.9 nm and 949.3 nm) bands; Ry is the reflectance of the yellow (607.7 nm) or red (658.8 nm) bands with R2's ranging from 0.74 to 0.81. NDSIs that incorporated the yellow band (607.7 nm) performed slightly better than the NDSIs without, indicating that this band may be more useful for investigating Arctic vegetation that often includes large proportions of senescent vegetation throughout the growing season.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Townsend, Joseph E.; Courtney, Travis A.; Aichelman, Hannah E.; Davies, Sarah W.; Lima, Fernando P.; Castillo, Karl D.

    2016-01-01

    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 utilizing

  16. How does the proliferation of the coral-killing sponge Terpios hoshinota affect benthic community structure on coral reefs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elliott, Jennifer; Patterson, Mark; Summers, Natalie; Miternique, Céline; Montocchio, Emma; Vitry, Eugene

    2016-09-01

    Terpios hoshinota is an encrusting sponge and a fierce space competitor. It kills stony corals by overgrowing them and can impact reefs on the square kilometer scale. We investigated an outbreak of T. hoshinota in 2014 at the island of Mauritius to determine its impacts on coral community structure. Surveys were conducted at the putative outbreak center, an adjacent area, and around the island to determine the extent of spread of the sponge and which organisms it impacted. In addition, quadrats were monitored for 5 months (July-December) to measure the spreading rates of T. hoshinota and Acropora austera in areas both with and without T. hoshinota. The photosynthetic capabilities of T. hoshinota and A. austera were also measured. Terpios hoshinota was well established, covering 13% of an estimated 416 m2 of available hard coral substrate at the putative outbreak center, and 10% of an estimated 588 m2 of available hard coral substrate at the adjacent area. The sponge was observed at only one other site around Mauritius. Terpios hoshinota and A. austera increased their planar areas by 26.9 and 13.9%, respectively, over five months. No new colonies of T. hoshinota were recorded in adjacent sponge-free control areas, suggesting that sponge recruitment is very low during austral winter and spring. The sponge was observed to overgrow five stony corals; however, it showed a preference for branching corals, especially A. austera. This is the first time that a statistically significant coral substrate preference by T. hoshinota has been reported. Terpios hoshinota also had a significantly higher photosynthetic capacity than A. austera at irradiance >500 μmol photons m-2 s-1, a possible explanation for its high spreading rate. We discuss the long-term implications of the proliferation of T. hoshinota on community structure and dynamics of our study site.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-02-01

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. ReefTemp: An interactive monitoring system for coral bleaching using high-resolution SST and improved stress predictors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maynard, Jeffrey A.; Turner, Peter J.; Anthony, Kenneth R. N.; Baird, Andrew H.; Berkelmans, Ray; Eakin, C. Mark; Johnson, Johanna; Marshall, Paul A.; Packer, Gareck R.; Rea, Anthony; Willis, Bette L.

    2008-03-01

    Anomalously high sea surface temperatures (SST) have led to repeated mass coral bleaching events on a global scale. Existing satellite-based systems used to monitor conditions conducive to bleaching are based on low-resolution (0.5°, ~50 km) SST data. While these systems have served the research and management community well, they have inherent weaknesses that limit their capacity to predict stress on coral reefs at local scales, over which bleaching severity is known to vary dramatically. Here we discuss the development and testing of ReefTemp, a new operational remote sensing application for the Great Barrier Reef that assesses bleaching risk daily using: high-resolution (2 km) SST, regionally validated thermal stress indices, and color-graded legends directly related to past observations of bleaching severity. Given projections of sea temperature rise, ReefTemp is timely as it can accurately predict bleaching severity at a local scale and therefore help to give focus to future research and monitoring efforts.

  20. 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

  1. C-CAP Oahu 2005 era High Resolution Land Cover Metadata

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set consists of land cover derived from high resolution imagery according to the Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) protocol. This data set utilized...

  2. 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....

  3. 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...

  4. 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.

  5. Determining coniferous forest cover and forest fragmentation with NOAA-9 advanced very high resolution radiometer data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ripple, William J.

    1995-01-01

    NOAA-9 satellite data from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) were used in conjunction with Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) data to determine the proportion of closed canopy conifer forest cover in the Cascade Range of Oregon. A closed canopy conifer map, as determined from the MSS, was registered with AVHRR pixels. Regression was used to relate closed canopy conifer forest cover to AVHRR spectral data. A two-variable (band) regression model accounted for more variance in conifer cover than the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The spectral signatures of various conifer successional stages were also examined. A map of Oregon was produced showing the proportion of closed canopy conifer cover for each AVHRR pixel. The AVHRR was responsive to both the percentage of closed canopy conifer cover and the successional stage in these temperate coniferous forests in this experiment.

  6. Benthic composition of a healthy subtropical reef: baseline species-level cover, with an emphasis on algae, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter S Vroom

    Full Text Available The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI are considered to be among the most pristine coral reef ecosystems remaining on the planet. These reefs naturally contain a high percent cover of algal functional groups with relatively low coral abundance and exhibit thriving fish communities dominated by top predators. Despite their highly protected status, these reefs are at risk from both direct and indirect anthropogenic sources. This study provides the first comprehensive data on percent coverage of algae, coral, and non-coral invertebrates at the species level, and investigates spatial diversity patterns across the archipelago to document benthic communities before further environmental changes occur in response to global warming and ocean acidification. Monitoring studies show that non-calcified macroalgae cover a greater percentage of substrate than corals on many high latitude reef sites. Forereef habitats in atoll systems often contain high abundances of the green macroalga Microdictyon setchellianum and the brown macroalga Lobophora variegata, yet these organisms were uncommon in forereefs of non-atoll systems. Species of the brown macroalgal genera Padina, Sargassum, and Stypopodium and the red macroalgal genus Laurencia became increasingly common in the two northernmost atolls of the island chain but were uncommon components of more southerly islands. Conversely, the scleractinian coral Porites lobata was common on forereefs at southern islands but less common at northern islands. Currently accepted paradigms of what constitutes a "healthy" reef may not apply to the subtropical NWHI, and metrics used to gauge reef health (e.g., high coral cover need to be reevaluated.

  7. 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.

  8. Application of coral reef sand in construction works of high seas islets%珊瑚礁砂在远海岛礁工程中的应用

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张绍栋; 贾宾

    2015-01-01

    珊瑚礁砂在国内外作为工程材料的研究还较少。文章通过珊瑚礁砂在远海岛礁工程中的综合利用,总结了应用效果,进行了经济、环保及社会效益分析,对岛礁工程建设具有重要的借鉴与指导意义。%Since the study of coral reef sand as a construction material is rare, by means of the study of the integrated utiliza-tion of coral reef sand in some high seas construction project, we summarized the various application of coral reef sand in engi-neering, and carried the analysis on the economic, environmental and social benefits as well. It has important reference and guidance significance for islet construction.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B; Toth, Lauren T

    2016-08-01

    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 resources

  15. Reefs of tomorrow: eutrophication reduces coral biodiversity in an urbanized seascape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duprey, Nicolas N; Yasuhara, Moriaki; Baker, David M

    2016-11-01

    Although the impacts of nutrient pollution on coral reefs are well known, surprisingly, no statistical relationships have ever been established between water quality parameters, coral biodiversity and coral cover. Hong Kong provides a unique opportunity to assess this relationship. Here, coastal waters have been monitored monthly since 1986, at 76 stations, providing a highly spatially resolved water quality dataset including 68 903 data points. Moreover, a robust coral species richness (S) dataset is available from more than 100 surveyed locations, composed of 3453 individual colonies' observations, as well as a coral cover (CC) dataset including 85 sites. This wealth of data provides a unique opportunity to test the hypothesis that water quality, and in particular nutrients, drives coral biodiversity. The influence of water quality on S and CC was analyzed using GIS and multiple regression modeling. Eutrophication (as chlorophyll-a concentration; CHLA) was negatively correlated with S and CC, whereas physicochemical parameters (DO and salinity) had no significant effect. The modeling further illustrated that particulate suspended matter, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) had a negative effect on S and on CC; however, the effect of nutrients was 1.5-fold to twofold greater. The highest S and CC occurred where CHLA  15 μg L(-1) , DIN > 9 μm and DIP > 0.33 μm. This study demonstrates the importance of nutrients over other water quality parameters in coral biodiversity loss and highlights the key role of eutrophication in shaping coastal coral reef ecosystems. This work also provides ecological thresholds that may be useful for water quality guidelines and nutrient mitigation policies. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. Thermal tolerances of reef corals in the Gulf: a review of the potential for increasing coral survival and adaptation to climate change through assisted translocation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coles, Steve L; Riegl, Bernhard M

    2013-07-30

    Corals in the Gulf withstand summer temperatures up to 10 °C higher than corals elsewhere and have recovered from extreme temperature events in 10 years or less. This heat-tolerance of Gulf corals has positive implications for the world's coral populations to adapt to increasing water temperatures. However, survival of Gulf corals has been severely tested by 35-37 °C temperatures five times in the last 15 years, each time causing extensive coral bleaching and mortality. Anticipated future temperature increases may therefore challenge survival of already highly stressed Gulf corals. Previously proposed translocation of Gulf corals to introduce temperature-adapted corals outside of the Gulf is assessed and determined to be problematical, and to be considered a tool of last resort. Coral culture and transplantation within the Gulf is feasible for helping maintain coral species populations and preserving genomes and adaptive capacities of Gulf corals that are endangered by future thermal stress events.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Corals from Space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patzert, William C.

    1999-01-01

    The goal of this research is to monitor the health and vigor of coral reef ecosystems, and their sensitivity to natural and anthropogenic climate changes. To achieve these lofty goals, this research is investigating the feasibility of using spaceborne high-resolution spectrometers (on the US Landsat, French Systeme Probatoire pour l'Observation de la Terre [SPOT] and/or the Indian Resources Satellite [IRS 1C & 1D] spacecraft) to first map the aerial extent of coral reef systems, and second separate the amount of particular corals. If this is successful, we could potentially provide a quantum leap in our understanding of coral reef systems, as well as provide much needed baseline data to measure future changes in global coral reef ecosystems. In collaboration with Tomas Tomascik, Yann Morel, and other colleagues, a series of experiments were planned to coordinate in situ coral observations, high-resolution spaceborne imagery (from Landsat, SPOT, and, possibly, IRS IC spacecraft), and NASA Space Shuttle photographs and digital images. Our eventual goal is to develop "coral health algorithms" that can be used to assess time series of imagery collected from satellite sensors (Landsat since 1972, SPOT since 1986) in concert with in situ observations. The bad news from last year was that from 1997 to mid- 1998, the extreme cloudiness over southeast Asia due to prolonged smoke from El Nino-related fires and the economic chaos in this region frustrated both our space and reef-based data collection activities. When this volatile situation stabilizes, we will restart these activities. The good news was that in collaboration with Al Strong at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) we had an exciting year operationally using the NOAA's Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer sensor derived sea surface temperature products to warn of coral "bleaching" at many locations throughout the tropics. Data from NOAA's satellites showed that during the El Nino of

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  1. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Friedrich W.; Vogel, Nikolas; Diele, Karen; Kunzmann, Andreas; Uthicke, Sven; Wild, Christian

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Friedrich W; Vogel, Nikolas; Diele, Karen; Kunzmann, Andreas; Uthicke, Sven; Wild, Christian

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-05-01

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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS)-U-Series Ages of Corals from the South China Sea and Holocene High Sea Level

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    彭子成; 何学贤; 罗晓忠; 贺剑峰; 刘桂建; 聂宝符

    2003-01-01

    Coral samples collected from the waters off the Leizhou Peninsula, the Hainan Island and the Yongxing Island of the Xisha Islands were analyzed by thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) and multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS)for their U-Th systematics. Their uranium contents are mostly lower than 3μg/g, and the δ 234U (T) values are within the range of 150 + 5. X-ray diffraction analysis showed that the corals are all composed of aragonite. This demonstrates that the corals determined have maintained a close system for 7000 years and their skeletons bear much information about the primitive tropical marine environment. The highly precise age sequence of the corals determined has revealed that there occurred three phases of high sea level in the South China Sea waters, which are dated at 6799 -6307 a B.P. , 4472 -4285 a B.P. and 1279 - 1012 a B. P. , respectively. The three phases lasted 492 a, 187 a and 267 a, respectively. These three phases of high sea level are corresponding to the warm environments that had appeared in China during the Megathermal Period and the Medieval Warm Period in the past ten thousand years.

  10. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian K Walker

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

  12. Phase shift from a coral to a corallimorph-dominated reef associated with a shipwreck on Palmyra atoll.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Work, Thierry M; Aeby, Greta S; Maragos, James E

    2008-08-20

    Coral reefs can undergo relatively rapid changes in the dominant biota, a phenomenon referred to as phase shift. Various reasons have been proposed to explain this phenomenon including increased human disturbance, pollution, or changes in coral reef biota that serve a major ecological function such as depletion of grazers. However, pinpointing the actual factors potentially responsible can be problematic. Here we show a phase shift from coral to the corallimorpharian Rhodactis howesii associated with a long line vessel that wrecked in 1991 on an isolated atoll (Palmyra) in the central Pacific Ocean. We documented high densities of R. howesii near the ship that progressively decreased with distance from the ship whereas R. howesii were rare to absent in other parts of the atoll. We also confirmed high densities of R. howesii around several buoys recently installed on the atoll in 2001. This is the first time that a phase shift on a coral reef has been unambiguously associated with man-made structures. This association was made, in part, because of the remoteness of Palmyra and its recent history of minimal human habitation or impact. Phase shifts can have long-term negative ramification for coral reefs, and eradication of organisms responsible for phase shifts in marine ecosystems can be difficult, particularly if such organisms cover a large area. The extensive R. howesii invasion and subsequent loss of coral reef habitat at Palmyra also highlights the importance of rapid removal of shipwrecks on corals reefs to mitigate the potential of reef overgrowth by invasives.

  13. 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.

  14. Coral community responses to declining water quality: Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, Angus; Schroeder, Thomas; Brando, Vittorio E.; Schaffelke, Britta

    2014-12-01

    A five-year period (2002-2006) of below-median rainfall followed by a six-year period (2007-2012) of above-median rainfall and seasonal flooding allowed a natural experiment into the effects of runoff on the water quality and subsequent coral community responses in the Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef (Australia). Satellite-derived water quality estimates of total suspended solids (TSS) and chlorophyll- a (Chl) concentration showed marked seasonal variability that was exaggerated during years with high river discharge. During above-median rainfall years, Chl was aseasonally high for a period of 3 months during the wet season (February-April), while TSS was elevated for four months, extending into the dry season (March-June). Coinciding with these extremes in water quality was a reduction in the abundance and shift in the community composition, of juvenile corals. The incidence of coral disease was at a maximum during the transition from years of below-median to years of above-median river discharge. In contrast to juvenile corals, the cover of larger corals remained stable, although the composition of communities varied along environmental gradients. In combination, these results suggest opportunistic recruitment of corals during periods of relatively low environmental stress with selection for more tolerant species occurring during periods of environmental extremes.

  15. An Automated Approach for Mapping Persistent Ice and Snow Cover over High Latitude Regions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David J. Selkowitz

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available 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

  16. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tebben, Jan; Guest, James R; Sin, Tsai M; Steinberg, Peter D; Harder, Tilmann

    2014-01-01

    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. 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.

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  20. Coral reef recovery in the Galápagos Islands: the northernmost islands (Darwin and Wenman)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, Peter W.; Riegl, Bernhard; Purkis, Samuel; Kerr, Jeremy M.; Smith, Tyler B.

    2015-06-01

    The remote northernmost Galápagos Islands, Darwin and Wenman, exhibited well-developed coral communities in 1975, which were severely degraded during the 1982-1983 El Niño warming event. Mapping of the coral reef at Darwin, herein Wellington Reef, shows it presently to be the largest known structural reef in the Galápagos. It consists of numerous 1- to 3-m-high Porites framework towers or stacks and overlies a carbonate (coral/calcareous sediments) basement. Pre-disturbance Wellington Reef was constructed chiefly by Porites lobata and Pocillopora elegans, and Wenman coral cover was dominated by Pavona clavus and Porites lobata. Subsequent surveys in 2012 have demonstrated robust recovery in spite of ENSO thermal shock events, involving both high and low stressful temperatures that have caused tissue bleaching and mortality. No losses of coral species have been observed. Radiocarbon dating of 1- to 3-m-high poritid framework stacks, from their peaks to bases, revealed modern ages of up to 690 yr. Incremental stack growth rates ranged from 0.15-0.39 to 1.04-2.40 cm yr-1. The former are equivalent to framework accretion rates of 1.5-3.9 m Kyr-1, the latter to coral skeletal growth rates of 1.0-2.4 cm yr-1. Coral recovery in the central and southern Galápagos has been nonexistent to low compared with the northern islands, due chiefly to much higher population densities and destructive grazing pressure of the echinoid Eucidaris galapagensis. Thus, coral reef resistance to ENSO perturbations and recovery potential in the Galápagos are influenced by echinoid bioerosion that varies significantly among islands.

  1. Thorium-230 ages of corals and duration of the last interglacial sea-level high stand on Aohu, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szabo, B. J.; Ludwig, K. R.; Muhs, D.R.; Simmons, K.R.

    1994-01-01

    Thorium-230 ages of emergent marine deposits on Oahu, Hawaii, have a uniform distribution of ages from ~114,000 to ~131,000 years, indicating a duration for the last interglacial sea-level high stand of ~17,000 years, in contrast to a duration of ~8000 years inferred from the orbitally tuned marine oxygen isotope record. Sea level on Oahu rose to ??? 1 to 2 meters higher than present by 131,000 years ago or ~6000 years earlier than inferred from the marine record. Although the latter record suggests a shift back to glacial conditions beginning at ~119,000 years ago, the Oahu coral ages indicate a near present sea level until ~114,000 years ago.

  2. Object-Based Forest Cover Monitoring Using GAOFEN-2 High Resolution Satellite Images

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, S. M.; Li, Z. Y.; Chen, E. X.; Liu, Q. W.

    2016-10-01

    Forest cover monitoring is an important part of forest management in local or regional area. The structure and tones of forest can be identified in high spatial remote sensing images. When forests cover change, the spectral characteristics of forests is also changed. In this paper a method on object-based forest cover monitoring with data transformation from time series of high resolution images is put forward. First the NDVI difference image and the composite of PC3,PC4, PC5 of the stacked 8 layers of time series of high resolution satellites are segmented into homogeneous objects. With development of the object-based ruleset classification system, the spatial extent of deforestation and afforestation can be identified over time across the landscape. Finally the change accuracy is achieved with reference data.

  3. 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.

  4. Historical Snow Cover Variability Data Reconstructed from AVHRR and MODIS over High Asia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, H.; Aizen, E.; Aizen, V. B.

    2010-12-01

    Seasonal snow cover (SSC) contributes up to 60% of river runoff in Central Asia (CA) river basins. Decrease in SSC area is one of the major consequences of CA low lands desertification. The dynamics of seasonal snow that covered huge territory of CA has strong teleconnection with global and regional atmospheric processes. Accurate, high resolution SSC data over CA, from Mongolia (113°E) to Caspian Sea (51°E) and from Western Siberia (56°N) to Tibetan Plateau (32°N) for the last 25 years reconstructed from AVHRR and MODIS data may have very large scope of applications in developing different scale hydrological models and climate study. In our research we present a 24 years (1986-2009) SSC area product computed from AVHRR and MODIS that demonstrate the variability of SSC areas over CA. Daily and 8-day cloud free snow cover product in 500m spatial resolution have been generated from existing MODIS snow cover products since March 2000. Level 1 AVHRR swath data has been used to generate snow cover with 1km spatial resolution since 1986. The georeferencing accuracy of snow cover product derived from AVHRR is better than 1/3 of one pixel, which is achieved by using the new GCP image correction method and automated image matching technique. A new aggregated rating snow detection scheme has been designed to work over CA for each AVHRR image. It makes use of the spectral properties of AVHRR, as well as the surface skin temperature from the NCEP reanalysis dataset. Maximum snow cover composite strategy has been used to generate the 8-day composite product. Validation against MODIS snow cover product suggests the performance of AVHRR 8-day composite snow cover product is similar to MODIS 8-day snow cover. This product is a valuable asset for our further climate and hydrological simulations in CA. Using newly developed product the following information has been calculated: SSC area, SSC days and SSC index, maximum SSC area and day of maximum SSC areas, snow cover onset

  5. Threatened corals provide underexplored microbial habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shinichi Sunagawa

    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

  6. Assessment of Automated Snow Cover Detection at High Solar Zenith Angles with PROBA-V

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florent Hawotte

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Changes in the snow cover extent are both a cause and a consequence of climate change. Optical remote sensing with heliosynchronous satellites currently provides snow cover data at high spatial resolution with daily revisiting time. However, high latitude image acquisition is limited because reflective sensors of many satellites are switched off at high solar zenith angles (SZA due to lower signal quality. In this study, the relevance and reliability of high SZA acquisition are objectively quantified in the purpose of high latitude snow cover detection, thanks to the PROBA-V (Project for On-Board Autonomy-Vegetation satellite. A snow cover extent classification based on Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI has been performed for the northern hemisphere on latitudes between 55°N and 75°N during the 2015–2016 winter season. A stratified probabilistic sampling was used to estimate the classification accuracy. The latter has been evaluated among eight SZA intervals to determine the maximum usable angle. The global overall snow classification accuracy with PROBA-V, 82% ± 4%, was significantly larger than the MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer snow cover extent product (75% ± 4%. User and producer accuracy of snow are above standards and overall accuracy is stable until 88.5° SZA. These results demonstrate that optical remote sensing data can still be used with large SZA. Considering the relevance of snow cover mapping for ecology and climatology, the data acquisition at high solar zenith angles should be continued by PROBA-V.

  7. 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

  8. Microbial diseases of corals and global warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Ben-Haim, Yael

    2002-06-01

    Coral bleaching and other diseases of corals have increased dramatically during the last few decades. As outbreaks of these diseases are highly correlated with increased sea-water temperature, one of the consequences of global warming will probably be mass destruction of coral reefs. The causative agent(s) of a few of these diseases have been reported: bleaching of Oculina patagonica by Vibrio shiloi; black band disease by a microbial consortium; sea-fan disease (aspergillosis) by Aspergillus sydowii; and coral white plague possibly by Sphingomonas sp. In addition, we have recently discovered that Vibrio coralyticus is the aetiological agent for bleaching the coral Pocillopora damicornis in the Red Sea. In the case of coral bleaching by V. shiloi, the major effect of increasing temperature is the expression of virulence genes by the pathogen. At high summer sea-water temperatures, V. shiloi produces an adhesin that allows it to adhere to a beta-galactoside-containing receptor in the coral mucus, penetrate into the coral epidermis, multiply intracellularly, differentiate into a viable-but-not-culturable (VBNC) state and produce toxins that inhibit photosynthesis and lyse the symbiotic zooxanthellae. In black band disease, sulphide is produced at the coral-microbial biofilm interface, which is probably responsible for tissue death. Reports of newly emerging coral diseases and the lack of epidemiological and biochemical information on the known diseases indicate that this will become a fertile area of research in the interface between microbial ecology and infectious disease.

  9. 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

  10. Vermetid gastropods reduce foraging by herbivorous fishes on algae on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tootell, Jesse S.; Steele, Mark A.

    2014-12-01

    Vermetid gastropods have the potential to reduce foraging by herbivorous fishes on algae on coral reefs because they produce mucous nets that cover the surfaces of coral skeletons, potentially inhibiting foraging by fishes. We assessed this possibility using both observational and experimental approaches in Moorea, French Polynesia. Foraging rates of herbivorous fishes (total number of bites by all species per minute) were recorded in plots that varied naturally in the cover of vermetid mucous nets. This study, done at six sites, revealed that foraging on algal turf declined with increasing cover of vermetid mucous nets, ranging from ~2 to 22 bites m-2 min-1 at 0 % coverage to 0-5 bites m-2 min-1 at 100 % coverage. The magnitude of this effect of vermetid nets varied among microhabitats (high, mid, and low bommies) and sites, presumably due to variation in the intensity of herbivory. Experimental removal of vermetid mucous nets from plots more than doubled the foraging intensity on turf algae relative to when vermetid nets were present at high (≥70 %) cover. Our results indicate that algal turf on coral reefs may benefit from associational refuge from grazing provided by vermetid gastropods, which might in turn harm corals via increased competition with algal turf.

  11. 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

    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.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 12 September 2017; doi:10.1038/ismej.2017.142.

  12. 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.

  13. Poorly cemented coral reefs of the eastern tropical Pacific: possible insights into reef development in a high-CO2 world.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manzello, Derek P; Kleypas, Joan A; Budd, David A; Eakin, C Mark; Glynn, Peter W; Langdon, Chris

    2008-07-29

    Ocean acidification describes the progressive, global reduction in seawater pH that is currently underway because of the accelerating oceanic uptake of atmospheric CO(2). Acidification is expected to reduce coral reef calcification and increase reef dissolution. Inorganic cementation in reefs describes the precipitation of CaCO(3) that acts to bind framework components and occlude porosity. Little is known about the effects of ocean acidification on reef cementation and whether changes in cementation rates will affect reef resistance to erosion. Coral reefs of the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP) are poorly developed and subject to rapid bioerosion. Upwelling processes mix cool, subthermocline waters with elevated pCO(2) (the partial pressure of CO(2)) and nutrients into the surface layers throughout the ETP. Concerns about ocean acidification have led to the suggestion that this region of naturally low pH waters may serve as a model of coral reef development in a high-CO(2) world. We analyzed seawater chemistry and reef framework samples from multiple reef sites in the ETP and found that a low carbonate saturation state (Omega) and trace abundances of cement are characteristic of these reefs. These low cement abundances may be a factor in the high bioerosion rates previously reported for ETP reefs, although elevated nutrients in upwelled waters may also be limiting cementation and/or stimulating bioerosion. ETP reefs represent a real-world example of coral reef growth in low-Omega waters that provide insights into how the biological-geological interface of coral reef ecosystems will change in a high-CO(2) world.

  14. The diversity of coral associated bacteria and the environmental factors affect their community variation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yan-Ying; Ling, Juan; Yang, Qing-Song; Wang, You-Shao; Sun, Cui-Ci; Sun, Hong-Yan; Feng, Jing-Bin; Jiang, Yu-Feng; Zhang, Yuan-Zhou; Wu, Mei-Lin; Dong, Jun-De

    2015-10-01

    Coral associated bacterial community potentially has functions relating to coral health, nutrition and disease. Culture-free, 16S rRNA based techniques were used to compare the bacterial community of coral tissue, mucus and seawater around coral, and to investigate the relationship between the coral-associated bacterial communities and environmental variables. The diversity of coral associated bacterial communities was very high, and their composition different from seawater. Coral tissue and mucus had a coral associated bacterial community with higher abundances of Gammaproteobacteria. However, bacterial community in seawater had a higher abundance of Cyanobacteria. Different populations were also found in mucus and tissue from the same coral fragment, and the abundant bacterial species associated with coral tissue was very different from those found in coral mucus. The microbial diversity and OTUs of coral tissue were much higher than those of coral mucus. Bacterial communities of corals from more human activities site have higher diversity and evenness; and the structure of bacterial communities were significantly different from the corals collected from other sites. The composition of bacterial communities associated with same coral species varied with season's changes, geographic differences, and coastal pollution. Unique bacterial groups found in the coral samples from more human activities location were significant positively correlated to chemical oxygen demand. These coral specific bacteria lead to coral disease or adjust to form new function structure for the adaption of different surrounding needs further research.

  15. Ghost reefs: Nautical charts document large spatial scale of coral reef loss over 240 years

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClenachan, Loren; O’Connor, Grace; Neal, Benjamin P.; Pandolfi, John M.; Jackson, Jeremy B. C.

    2017-01-01

    Massive declines in population abundances of marine animals have been documented over century-long time scales. However, analogous loss of spatial extent of habitat-forming organisms is less well known because georeferenced data are rare over long time scales, particularly in subtidal, tropical marine regions. We use high-resolution historical nautical charts to quantify changes to benthic structure over 240 years in the Florida Keys, finding an overall loss of 52% (SE, 6.4%) of the area of the seafloor occupied by corals. We find a strong spatial dimension to this decline; the spatial extent of coral in Florida Bay and nearshore declined by 87.5% (SE, 7.2%) and 68.8% (SE, 7.5%), respectively, whereas that of offshore areas of coral remained largely intact. These estimates add to finer-scale loss in live coral cover exceeding 90% in some locations in recent decades. The near-complete elimination of the spatial coverage of nearshore coral represents an underappreciated spatial component of the shifting baseline syndrome, with important lessons for other species and ecosystems. That is, modern surveys are typically designed to assess change only within the species’ known, extant range. For species ranging from corals to sea turtles, this approach may overlook spatial loss over longer time frames, resulting in both overly optimistic views of their current conservation status and underestimates of their restoration potential. PMID:28913420

  16. Controls on coral-ground development along the northern Mesoamerican Reef tract.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rosa E Rodríguez-Martínez

    Full Text Available Coral-grounds are reef communities that colonize rocky substratum but do not form framework or three-dimensional reef structures. To investigate why, we used video transects and underwater photography to determine the composition, structure and status of a coral-ground community located on the edge of a rocky terrace in front of a tourist park, Xcaret, in the northern Mesoamerican Reef tract, Mexico. The community has a relatively low coral, gorgonian and sponge cover (40%. We recorded 23 species of Scleractinia, 14 species of Gorgonacea and 30 species of Porifera. The coral community is diverse but lacks large coral colonies, being dominated instead by small, sediment-tolerant, and brooding species. In these small colonies, the abundance of potentially lethal interactions and partial mortality is high but decreases when colonies are larger than 40 cm. Such characteristics are consistent with an environment control whereby storm waves periodically remove larger colonies and elevate sediment flux. The community only survives these storm conditions due to its slope-break location, which ensures lack of burial and continued local recruitment. A comparison with similar coral-ground communities in adjacent areas suggests that the narrow width of the rock terrace hinders sediment stabilization, thereby ensuring that communities cannot escape bottom effects and develop into three-dimensional reef structures on geological time scales.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  19. Highly resolved diurnal trends in natural variability of coral reef carbon budgets, Palau, Western Pacific, using a new automated continuous flow system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teneva, L. T.; Dunbar, R. B.; Mucciarone, D. A.; Fleischfresser, J. D.

    2011-12-01

    There is growing evidence that ocean acidification (OA) will have significantly detrimental impacts on coral reef calcification and community composition. However, the rates of coral reef response to ocean pH changes and the implications of for ecosystem resilience remain largely unknown. Our ability to make more accurate predictions of OA impacts on coral reefs hinges on an improved capacity for temporal and spatial measurements of coral reef carbon budgets. Here we report on in situ results from a 6 day deployment during April 2011 over a Palauan coral reef. Our experimental approach uses a custom-made automated continuous flow system capable of resolving pH, temperature, and salinity on a 10-second timescale, and Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIC) on a 5-minute timescale. In addition, discrete water samples were collected for alkalinity measurements every 3-4 hours in order to capture the essential carbonate variables. We observe higher diurnal amplitude in the DIC and alkalinity signal that is commensurate with greater diurnal tidal range. The highest diurnal alkalinity signal of 100 umol/kg was observed on the first day of the experiment and it progressively decreased throughout the week to 50 umol/kg. A similar trend occurred with DIC, with highest diurnal DIC of 250 umol/kg, decreasing to 100 umol/kg at the end of deployment. Maxima in DIC and alkalinity occurred around 10-11am, and minima occurred near dusk. The diurnal signal in pH ranged 8.0-8.1, with semidiurnal maxima at 2-3am and again~12 hours later. Conversely, minima occurred in mid-morning and again at ~10pm. Our results clearly demonstrate that coral community calcification and photosynthesis affect the surrounding waters' carbon chemistry. In this setting, however, the hydrodynamics - in particular, strong tidal influence -are likely the most significant factor determining the carbon chemistry conditions within the reef community. Highly-resolved natural variability in coral reef metabolism from

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-12

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

  1. The role of microorganisms in coral bleaching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenberg, Eugene; Kushmaro, Ariel; Kramarsky-Winter, Esti; Banin, Ehud; Yossi, Loya

    2009-02-01

    Coral bleaching is the disruption of the symbiosis between the coral host and its endosymbiotic algae. The prevalence and severity of the disease have been correlated with high seawater temperature. During the last decade, the major hypothesis to explain coral bleaching is that high water temperatures cause irreversible damage to the symbiotic algae resulting in loss of pigment and/or algae from the holobiont. Here, we discuss the evidence for an alternative but not mutually exclusive concept, the microbial hypothesis of coral bleaching.

  2. Diseases of corals with particular reference to Indian reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Raghukumar, C.

    valderianum, a cyanobacterium causes the PLS Histological observations showed that the tissue was destroyed in PLS The coral bleaching is the only abiotic disease known in the corals Bleaching is triggered by anomalous high water temperature during summer...

  3. 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

  4. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2009-01-01 to 2009-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075257)

    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. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1998-01-01 to 1998-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075246)

    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...

  6. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2011-01-01 to 2011-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075259)

    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...

  7. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1988-01-01 to 1988-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0072302)

    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...

  8. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2001-01-01 to 2001-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075249)

    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...

  9. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2006-01-01 to 2006-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075254)

    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...

  10. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2005-01-01 to 2005-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075253)

    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...

  11. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2003-01-01 to 2003-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075251)

    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...

  12. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1990-01-01 to 1990-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075238)

    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...

  13. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1994-01-01 to 1994-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075242)

    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...

  14. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1992-01-01 to 1992-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075240)

    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...

  15. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1993-01-01 to 1993-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075241)

    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...

  16. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1991-01-01 to 1991-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075239)

    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...

  17. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2002-01-01 to 2002-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075250)

    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...

  18. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1989-01-01 to 1989-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0074924)

    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...

  19. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1996-01-01 to 1996-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075244)

    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...

  20. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2000-01-01 to 2000-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075248)

    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...

  1. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2004-01-01 to 2004-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075252)

    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...

  2. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1995-01-01 to 1995-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075243)

    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...

  3. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1997-01-01 to 1997-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075245)

    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 Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 1999-01-01 to 1999-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075247)

    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. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2010-01-01 to 2010-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075258)

    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...

  6. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2008-01-01 to 2008-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075256)

    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...

  7. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2007-01-01 to 2007-12-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0075255)

    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...

  8. NOAA Coral Reef Watch Monthly 25 km Ocean Acidification Product Suite from 2012-01-01 to 2012-01-31 covering the Greater Caribbean Region (NCEI Accession 0089061)

    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...

  9. Vertically aligned N-doped coral-like carbon fiber arrays as efficient air electrodes for high-performance nonaqueous Li-O2 batteries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shui, Jianglan; Du, Feng; Xue, Chenming; Li, Quan; Dai, Liming

    2014-03-25

    High energy efficiency and long cycleability are two important performance measures for Li-air batteries. Using a rationally designed oxygen electrode based on a vertically aligned nitrogen-doped coral-like carbon nanofiber (VA-NCCF) array supported by stainless steel cloth, we have developed a nonaqueous Li-O2 battery with an energy efficiency as high as 90% and a narrow voltage gap of 0.3 V between discharge/charge plateaus. Excellent reversibility and cycleability were also demonstrated for the newly developed oxygen electrode. The observed outstanding performance can be attributed to its unique vertically aligned, coral-like N-doped carbon microstructure with a high catalytic activity and an optimized oxygen/electron transportation capability, coupled with the microporous stainless steel substrate. These results demonstrate that highly efficient and reversible Li-O2 batteries are feasible by using a rationally designed carbon-based oxygen electrode.

  10. Very High Resolution Mapping of Tree Cover Using Scalable Deep Learning Architectures

    Science.gov (United States)

    ganguly, sangram; basu, saikat; nemani, ramakrishna; mukhopadhyay, supratik; michaelis, andrew; votava, petr; saatchi, sassan

    2016-04-01

    Several studies to date have provided an extensive knowledge base for estimating forest aboveground biomass (AGB) and recent advances in space-based modeling of the 3-D canopy structure, combined with canopy reflectance measured by passive optical sensors and radar backscatter, are providing improved satellite-derived AGB density mapping for large scale carbon monitoring applications. A key limitation in forest AGB estimation from remote sensing, however, is the large uncertainty in forest cover estimates from the coarse-to-medium resolution satellite-derived land cover maps (present resolution is limited to 30-m of the USGS NLCD Program). As part of our NASA Carbon Monitoring System Phase II activities, we have demonstrated that uncertainties in forest cover estimates at the Landsat scale result in high uncertainties in AGB estimation, predominantly in heterogeneous forest and urban landscapes. We have successfully tested an approach using scalable deep learning architectures (Feature-enhanced Deep Belief Networks and Semantic Segmentation using Convolutional Neural Networks) and High-Performance Computing with NAIP air-borne imagery data for mapping tree cover at 1-m over California and Maryland. Our first high resolution satellite training label dataset from the NAIP data can be found here at http://csc.lsu.edu/~saikat/deepsat/ . In a comparison with high resolution LiDAR data available over selected regions in the two states, we found our results to be promising both in terms of accuracy as well as our ability to scale nationally. In this project, we propose to estimate very high resolution forest cover for the continental US at spatial resolution of 1-m in support of reducing uncertainties in the AGB estimation. The proposed work will substantially contribute to filling the gaps in ongoing carbon monitoring research and help quantifying the errors and uncertainties in related carbon products.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Inge M. J. van den Beld

    2017-05-01

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

  13. In vitro regulation of CaCO(3) crystal growth by the highly acidic proteins of calcitic sclerites in soft coral, Sinularia Polydactyla.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rahman, M Azizur; Oomori, Tamotsu

    2009-01-01

    Acidic proteins are generally thought to control mineral formation and growth in biocalcification. Analysis of proteinaceous components in the soluble and insoluble matrix fractions of sclerites in Sinularia polydactyla indicates that aspartic acid composes about 60% of the insoluble and 29% of the soluble matrix fractions. We previously analyzed aspartic acids in the matrix fractions (insoluble = 17 mol%; soluble = 38 mol%) of sclerites from a different type of soft coral, Lobophytum crassum, which showed comparatively lower aspartic acid-rich proteins than S. polydactyla. Thus, characterization of highly acidic proteins in the organic matrix of present species is an important first step toward linking function to individual proteins in soft coral. Here, we show that aspartic-acid rich proteins can control the CaCO(3) polymorph in vitro. The CaCO(3) precipitates in vitro in the presence of aspartic acid-rich proteins and 50 mM Mg(2+) was verified by Raman microprobe analysis. The matrix proteins of sclerites demonstrated that the aspartic-acid rich domain is crucial for the calcite precipitation in soft corals. The crystalline form of CaCO(3) in the presence of aspartic acid-rich proteins in vitro was identified by X-ray diffraction and, revealed calcitic polymorphisms with a strong (104) reflection. The structure of soft coral organic matrices containing aspartate-rich proteins and polysaccharides was assessed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. These results strongly suggest that the aspartic acid-rich proteins within the organic matrix of soft corals play a key role in biomineralization regulation.

  14. The influence of land cover roughness on the results of high resolution tsunami inundation modeling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. Kaiser

    2011-09-01

    Full Text Available In this paper a local case study is presented in which detailed inundation simulations have been performed to support damage analysis and risk assessment related to the 2004 tsunami in Phang Nga and Phuket, Thailand. Besides tsunami sources, bathymetry and topography, bottom roughness induced by vegetation and built environment is considered to influence inundation characteristics, such as water depths or flow velocities and therefore attracts major attention in this work. Plenty of information available on the 2004 tsunami event, high-resolution satellite imagery and extensive field measurements to derive land cover information and forest stand parameters facilitated the generation of topographic datasets, land cover maps and site-specific Manning values for the most prominent land cover classes in the study areas. The numerical models ComMIT and Mike 21 FM were used to hindcast the observed tsunami inundation and to draw conclusions on the influence of land cover on inundation patterns. Results show a strong influence of dense vegetation on flow velocities, which were reduced by up to 50% by mangroves, while the inundation extent is influenced only to a lesser extent. In urban areas, the disregard of buildings in the model led to a significant overestimation of the inundation extent. Hence different approaches to consider buildings were used and analyzed in the model. The case study highlights the importance and quantifies the effects of considering land cover roughness in inundation simulations used for local risk assessment.

  15. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, M. S.; Trapon, M.; Berumen, M. L.; Chong-Seng, K.

    2011-03-01

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. Coping with commitment: Projecting future thermal stress on coral reefs worldwide and the potential importance of the Central Equatorial Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donner, S. D.

    2009-05-01

    Sea surface temperatures of only 1-2°C greater than the usual summer maximum can cause mass coral bleaching, a paling of the reef-building animals caused by a breakdown of the symbiosis with the colourful dinoflagellates Symbiodinium. A range of recent studies have concluded that anthropogenic climate change may rapidly increase the frequency of mass coral bleaching events, leading to declines in coral cover, shifts in the composition of corals and other reef-dwelling organisms, and stress on the human populations that depend on coral reef ecosystems for food, income and shoreline protection. Recent analysis with AVHRR observed sea surface temperatures and the results of two global climate models (GFDL CM2.0 and CM2.1) shows physical warming commitment from current accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will cause over half of the world's coral reefs to experience harmfully frequent (p > 0.2 year-1) severe thermal stress events (DHM > 2°C/month) by 2080. An additional "societal" warming commitment, caused by the time required to shift from a "business-as-usual" emissions trajectory to a 550 ppm CO2 stabilization trajectory, may cause over 80 percent of the world's coral reefs to experience harmfully frequent events by 2030. Thermal adaptation or acclimation of 1.5°C - whether accomplished via biological mechanisms, coral community shifts and/or management interventions - would postpone the forecast by 50-80 years, possibly providing time for the world to shift from the business-as-usual emissions trajectory to a stabilization trajectory which could protect the majority of reefs from harmfully frequent thermal stress events. Sensitivity analysis using historical sea surface temperatures, bleaching reports and coral cover observations indicates that coral reefs in regions which experience high year-to-year SST variability, in particular the atolls of the central equatorial Pacific, may possess higher thermal stress thresholds and greater resistance to

  19. The role of sexual and asexual reproduction in structuring high latitude populations of the reef coral Pocillopora damicornis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, K J; Ayre, D J

    2004-06-01

    The genotypic composition of populations of the asexually viviparous coral Pocillopora damicornis varies in a manner that challenges classical models of the roles of sexual and asexual reproduction. On the geographically isolated Hawaiian reefs and high latitude reefs in Western Australia, P. damicornis populations are highly clonal although it has been argued that sexual reproduction via broadcast spawning generates widely dispersed colonists. In contrast, on eastern Australia's tropical Great Barrier Reef populations show little evidence of clonality. Here, we compare the genotypic diversity of adult and juvenile colonies of P. damicornis at seven sites on eastern Australia's high latitude Lord Howe Island reefs to determine if levels of clonality vary with habitat heterogeneity and age of colonies (as predicted by theory) or alternatively if clonality is again always high as for other isolated reef systems. We found 55-100% of the genotypic diversity expected for random mating at all seven sites and little evidence of asexual recruitment irrespective of habitat heterogeneity (sheltered versus wave exposed) or colony age. We found reduced levels of genetic diversity compared with tropical reefs (2.75 versus 4 alleles/locus), which supports earlier findings that Lord Howe Island is an isolated reef system. Furthermore, heterozygote deficits coupled with significant genetic subdivision among sites (FST=0.102+/-0.03) is typical of populations that have limited larval connections and are inbred. We conclude that the genetic structure of P. damicornis at Lord Howe Island reflects populations that are maintained through localised recruitment of sexually produced larvae.

  20. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A.J. Graham

    2011-08-01

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

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

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    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

      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...

  3. Abundance and composition of juvenile corals reveals divergent trajectories for coral assemblages across the United Arab Emirates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, Morgan S; Baird, Andrew H; Bauman, Andrew G; Burt, John A

    2017-01-30

    Marked shifts in the composition of coral assemblages are occurring at many locations, but it is unknown whether these are permanent shifts reinforced by patterns of population replenishment. This study examined the composition of juvenile coral assemblages across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Densities of juvenile corals varied significantly among locations, but were highest where coral cover was highest. Juvenile coral assemblages within the Persian Gulf were dominated by Porites, while no Acropora were recorded. We expect therefore, continued declines in Acropora abundance, while observed dominance of Porites is likely to persist. In the Oman Sea, Pocillopora was the dominant juvenile coral, with Acropora and Stylophora also recorded. This study shows that taxonomic differences in replenishment are reinforcing temporal shifts in coral composition within the southern Persian Gulf, but not in the Oman Sea. Differences in environmental conditions and disturbance regimes likely explain the divergent responses between regions. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. 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

  5. Field manual for investigating coral disease outbreaks

    OpenAIRE

    Woodley, C. M.; Bruckner, A. W.; McLenon, A.L.; Higgins, J.L.; Galloway, S.B.; Nicholson, J.H.

    2008-01-01

    Coral reefs throughout their circumtropical range are declining at an accelerating rate. Recent predictions indicate that 20% of the world’s reefs have been degraded, another 24% are under imminent risk of collapse, and if current estimates hold, by 2030, 26% of the world’s reefs will be lost (Wilkinson 2004). Recent changes to these ecosystems have included losses of apex predators, reductions of important herbivorous fishes and invertebrates, and precipitous declines in living coral cover, ...

  6. Inter-annual Variations and Decadal Trends in Surface Equatorial Pacific Phosphate Concentrations: Coral Records from the Line Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sinclair, D. J.; Sherrell, R. M.; LaVigne, M.; Tudhope, A. W.; Cobb, K.

    2011-12-01

    Coralline P/Ca is a newly-calibrated proxy for oceanic phosphate concentration (LaVigne et al. 2010, Anagnostuou et al. 2011). This proxy is an important tool for reconstructing tropical ocean nutrient dynamics, especially in remote regions, such as the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which are poorly covered by instrumental records. Here we present P/Ca records in 4 Porites corals from the Line Islands in the central Equatorial Pacific spanning the last ~ 30 years. The coral from Jarvis Island (0°22'S) has a significantly higher P/Ca concentration than two independent coral records from Christmas Island (1°53'N), and a coral from Fanning Island (3°51'N). This is consistent with the strong meridional gradient in surface phosphate in the central equatorial Pacific. All corals record a long-term 2-fold decrease in phosphate concentration from the mid 1970s to the mid 1990s, in agreement with observed slowing of the Pacific Meridional Overturning Circulation (McPhadden and Zhang 2002). On inter-annual time scales, the corals all capture strong El Niño events as a decrease in surface phosphate consistent with deepening of the eastern Pacific thermocline. The magnitude of this suppression is significantly larger in the Jarvis Island coral, again consistent with its location in the high phosphate tongue in the equatorial Pacific. The Jarvis Island coral record shows hints of a decadal oscillation in P which so far does not appear to be captured by the Christmas Island coral. Further analyses are underway to extend these records and to study P dynamics in other Line Island corals. Our preliminary results suggest that Porites corals are recording P variations in the central Pacific which accord with known oceanographic changes. This study demonstrates the potential for reconstructing nutrient dynamics at annual to multidecadal resolutions. Citations LaVigne M., Matthews K. A., Grottoli A. G., Cobb K. M., Anagnostou E., Cabioch G., and Sherrell R. M. (2010) Coral skeleton P

  7. 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.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Pendleton, Linwood; Comte, Adrien; Langdon, Chris; Ekstrom, Julia A.; Sarah R Cooley; 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.

    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 ...

  9. More coral, more fish? Contrasting snapshots from a remote Pacific atoll.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beldade, Ricardo; Mills, Suzanne C; Claudet, Joachim; Côté, Isabelle M

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs are in decline across the globe as a result of overexploitation, pollution, disease and, more recently, climate change. The impacts of changes in coral cover on associated fish communities can be difficult to predict because of the uneven dependence of reef fish species on corals for food, shelter or the three-dimensional structure they provide. We compared live coral cover, reef fish community metrics, and their associations in two surveys of the lagoon of the remote atoll of Mataiva (French Polynesia) carried out 31 years apart. In contrast to the general pattern of decreasing coral cover reported for many parts of the Indo-Pacific region, live coral cover increased 6-7 fold at Mataiva between 1981 and 2012, and fish density nearly doubled. The stable overall reef fish species richness belied a significant shift in community structure. There was little overlap in community composition across years, and fish assemblages in 2012 were more homogeneous in composition than they were in 1981. Changes in species abundance were not clearly related to species-specific reliance on corals. The strong positive relationships between live coral cover and fish diversity and abundance noted in 1981, when coral cover rarely exceeded 10%, were no longer present in 2012, when coral cover rarely fell below this value. The most parsimonious explanation for these contrasting relationships is that, over the combined range of coral cover observed in the 1981 and 2012 snapshots, there is a rapidly asymptotic relationship between coral and fish. Our results, and other data from the south and west Pacific, suggest that fish diversity and abundance might accumulate rapidly up to a threshold of approximately 10% live coral cover. Such a relationship would have implications for our expectations of resistance and recovery of reef fish communities facing an increasingly severe regime of coral reef disturbances.

  10. More coral, more fish? Contrasting snapshots from a remote Pacific atoll

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ricardo Beldade

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are in decline across the globe as a result of overexploitation, pollution, disease and, more recently, climate change. The impacts of changes in coral cover on associated fish communities can be difficult to predict because of the uneven dependence of reef fish species on corals for food, shelter or the three-dimensional structure they provide. We compared live coral cover, reef fish community metrics, and their associations in two surveys of the lagoon of the remote atoll of Mataiva (French Polynesia carried out 31 years apart. In contrast to the general pattern of decreasing coral cover reported for many parts of the Indo-Pacific region, live coral cover increased 6–7 fold at Mataiva between 1981 and 2012, and fish density nearly doubled. The stable overall reef fish species richness belied a significant shift in community structure. There was little overlap in community composition across years, and fish assemblages in 2012 were more homogeneous in composition than they were in 1981. Changes in species abundance were not clearly related to species-specific reliance on corals. The strong positive relationships between live coral cover and fish diversity and abundance noted in 1981, when coral cover rarely exceeded 10%, were no longer present in 2012, when coral cover rarely fell below this value. The most parsimonious explanation for these contrasting relationships is that, over the combined range of coral cover observed in the 1981 and 2012 snapshots, there is a rapidly asymptotic relationship between coral and fish. Our results, and other data from the south and west Pacific, suggest that fish diversity and abundance might accumulate rapidly up to a threshold of approximately 10% live coral cover. Such a relationship would have implications for our expectations of resistance and recovery of reef fish communities facing an increasingly severe regime of coral reef disturbances.

  11. Microsatellite variation reveals high levels of genetic variability and population structure in the gorgonian coral Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae across the Bahamas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutierrez-Rodriguez, Carla; Lasker, Howard R

    2004-08-01

    The primary mechanism of gene flow in marine sessile invertebrates is larval dispersal. In Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae, a commercially important Caribbean gorgonian coral, a proportion of the larvae drop to the substratum within close proximity to the maternal colony, and most matings occur between individuals in close proximity to each other. Such limited dispersal of reproductive propagules suggests that gene flow is limited in this gorgonian. In this study, we characterized the population genetic structure of P. elisabethae across the Bahamas using six microsatellite loci. P. elisabethae was collected from 18 sites across the Bahamas. Significant deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium due to deficits of heterozygotes within populations were detected for all 18 populations in at least one of the six screened loci. Levels of genetic structure among populations of P. elisabethae were high and significant. A distance analysis placed populations within three groups, one formed by populations located within Exuma Sound, a semi-isolated basin, another consisting of populations located outside the basin and a third group comprising two populations from San Salvador Island. The patterns of genetic variation found in this study are concordant with the life-history traits of the species and in part with the geography of the Bahamas. Conservation and management plans developed for P. elisabethae should considered the high degree of genetic structure observed among populations of the species, as well as the high genetic diversity found in the San Salvador and the Exuma Sound populations. Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

  12. Coral contact dermatitis

    OpenAIRE

    Jefferson, Julie; Thompson, Curtis; Hinshaw, Molly; Rich, Phoebe

    2015-01-01

    Corals can elicit both toxic and allergic reactions upon contact with the skin. Clinical presentations vary depending on whether the reaction is acute, delayed, or chronic. Literature concerning cutaneous reactions to corals and other Cnidarians is scarce. Herein we report a case of delayed contact hypersensitivity reaction to coral and review the clinical and histopathological features of coral contact dermatitis.

  13. Coral contact dermatitis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jefferson, Julie; Thompson, Curtis; Hinshaw, Molly; Rich, Phoebe

    2015-04-16

    Corals can elicit both toxic and allergic reactions upon contact with the skin. Clinical presentations vary depending on whether the reaction is acute, delayed, or chronic. Literature concerning cutaneous reactions to corals and other Cnidarians is scarce. Herein we report a case of delayed contact hypersensitivity reaction to coral and review the clinical and histopathological features of coral contact dermatitis.

  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. White Band Disease transmission in the threatened coral, Acropora cervicornis

    OpenAIRE

    Gignoux-Wolfsohn, S. A.; Marks, Christopher J.; Steven V Vollmer

    2012-01-01

    The global rise in coral diseases has severely impacted coral reef ecosystems, yet often little is known about these diseases, including how they are transmitted. White Band Disease (WBD), for example, has caused unparalleled declines in live Acropora cover, spreading rapidly throughout the Caribbean by unknown means. Here we test four putative modes of WBD transmission to the staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis: two animal vectors (Coralliophila abbreviata and C. caribaea) and waterborne tra...

  16. Twenty-five years of change in scleractinian coral communities of Daya Bay (northern South China Sea)and its response to the 2008 AD extreme cold climate event

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    CHEN TianRan; YU KeFu; SHI Qi; LI Shu; Gilbert J. Price; WANG Rong; ZHAO MeiXia; CHEN TeGu; ZHAO JianXin

    2009-01-01

    Coral reefs worldwide are becoming increasingly and detrimentally impacted upon by a variety of factors including significant climate changes, such as global warming and increased EI Nino-Southern Oscillation activity. Generally, the persistence of coral reefs, especially at low-latitudes, is governed, in part, by sea surface temperatures not exceeding the critical limit (~30℃) at which mass mortality can occur. Thus, it is thought that corals living at high-latitudes (i.e., currently cooler sea surface temperatures) will likely respond more favourably to hypothesized future temperature increases than corals living at low-latitudes (i.e., currently warmer sea surface temperatures). Consequently, high-latitude coral communities may have the potential to act as regions of refugia for many coral species in the face of potential future global warming. The Daya Bay (22°31′-22°0′N), northern South China Sea, contains several high-latitude non-reefal coral communities and represents one of the most northerly distributions of scleractinian corals within the region. Significantly, Daya Bay has experienced dramatic warming in both air and sea surface temperatures throughout the past 50 years. In this paper, we analyze 25 years of change in the Daya Bay coral communities, based both on historic surveys and our latest 2006-2008 regional ecological surveys. Our results suggest that, contrary to predictions, there have been significant declines in coral cover within the Daya Bay during the past 25 years (i.e., 76.6%coral cover in 1983/1984 to only 15.3% coral cover by 2008). Such changes also reflect a significant shift in the most abundant coral species, from Acropora pruinosa to Favites abdita. Most of the modern coral communities became established between 15 and 30 years ago, corresponding to a period of increased winter sea surface temperature. However, very few colonies have become established within the last 15 years, despite a more intense period of warming. By

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Operational High Resolution Land Cover Map Production at the Country Scale Using Satellite Image Time Series

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jordi Inglada

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available A detailed and accurate knowledge of land cover is crucial for many scientific and operational applications, and as such, it has been identified as an Essential Climate Variable. This accurate knowledge needs frequent updates. This paper presents a methodology for the fully automatic production of land cover maps at country scale using high resolution optical image time series which is based on supervised classification and uses existing databases as reference data for training and validation. The originality of the approach resides in the use of all available image data, a simple pre-processing step leading to a homogeneous set of acquisition dates over the whole area and the use of a supervised classifier which is robust to errors in the reference data. The produced maps have a kappa coefficient of 0.86 with 17 land cover classes. The processing is efficient, allowing a fast delivery of the maps after the acquisition of the image data, does not need expensive field surveys for model calibration and validation, nor human operators for decision making, and uses open and freely available imagery. The land cover maps are provided with a confidence map which gives information at the pixel level about the expected quality of the result.

  20. Thermodynamically consistent description of the hydrodynamics of free surfaces covered by insoluble surfactants of high concentration

    OpenAIRE

    Thiele, Uwe; Archer, Andrew J.; Plapp, Mathis

    2012-01-01

    In this paper we propose several models that describe the dynamics of liquid films which are covered by a high concentration layer of insoluble surfactant. First, we briefly review the 'classical' hydrodynamic form of the coupled evolution equations for the film height and surfactant concentration that are well established for small concentrations. Then we re-formulate the basic model as a gradient dynamics based on an underlying free energy functional that accounts for wettability and capill...

  1. Breakage and propagation of the stony coral Acropora cervicornis

    OpenAIRE

    Tunnicliffe, Verena

    1981-01-01

    Populations of the staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, often form dense monotypic stands on shallow Caribbean reefs. This coral species has a fragile structure that results in large numbers of broken branches and toppled colonies, especially in high wave activity. Although more than 80% of the corals in the studied population were broken from their bases, most had become reanchored to regrow rapidly. There is little evidence of sexual reproduction, and it appears that this coral has come to...

  2. 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 expecte

  3. Scleratinian percent cover for Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, from 1999-2009 (NODC Accession 0123059)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset contains records of scleractinian coral cover compiled from multiple sources. These are: CREMP, SCREAM, and CCFHR. CREMP: Coral Reef Evaluation and...

  4. Estructura comunitaria de corales zooxantelados (Anthozoa: Scleractinia en el arrecife coralino de Carrizales, Pacífico Mexicano Community structure of zooxanthellate corals (Anthozoa: Scleractinia in Carrizales coral reef, Pacific coast, Mexico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Héctor Reyes-Bonilla

    2013-06-01

    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 coast- line: 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 (Δ*=45.87±3.16, showed that currently this is the most important coral reef of Colima coastline. Currently, this region does not show any disturbance effects, but the increasing economic development of Manzanillo, as one of the main commercial ports of Mexico, its proximity to the reef, and the burgeoning number of tourists, may have some ecosystem impacts, for which management and conservation plans for Colima coastline are highly recommended.

  5. 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

  6. Integrated approach using multi-platform sensors for enhanced high-resolution daily ice cover product

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonev, George; Gladkova, Irina; Grossberg, Michael; Romanov, Peter; Helfrich, Sean

    2016-09-01

    The ultimate objective of this work is to improve characterization of the ice cover distribution in the polar areas, to improve sea ice mapping and to develop a new automated real-time high spatial resolution multi-sensor ice extent and ice edge product for use in operational applications. Despite a large number of currently available automated satellite-based sea ice extent datasets, analysts at the National Ice Center tend to rely on original satellite imagery (provided by satellite optical, passive microwave and active microwave sensors) mainly because the automated products derived from satellite optical data have gaps in the area coverage due to clouds and darkness, passive microwave products have poor spatial resolution, automated ice identifications based on radar data are not quite reliable due to a considerable difficulty in discriminating between the ice cover and rough ice-free ocean surface due to winds. We have developed a multisensor algorithm that first extracts maximum information on the sea ice cover from imaging instruments VIIRS and MODIS, including regions covered by thin, semitransparent clouds, then supplements the output by the microwave measurements and finally aggregates the results into a cloud gap free daily product. This ability to identify ice cover underneath thin clouds, which is usually masked out by traditional cloud detection algorithms, allows for expansion of the effective coverage of the sea ice maps and thus more accurate and detailed delineation of the ice edge. We have also developed a web-based monitoring system that allows comparison of our daily ice extent product with the several other independent operational daily products.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. The Connection Between Reddening, Gas Covering Fraction, and the Escape of Ionizing Radiation at High Redshift

    CERN Document Server

    Reddy, Naveen A; Pettini, Max; Bogosavljevic, Milan; Shapley, Alice

    2016-01-01

    We use a large sample of galaxies at z~3 to establish a relationship between reddening, neutral gas covering fraction (fcov(HI)), and the escape of ionizing photons at high redshift. Our sample includes 933 galaxies at z~3, 121 of which have very deep spectroscopic observations (>7 hrs) in the rest-UV (lambda=850-1300 A) with Keck/LRIS. Based on the high covering fraction of outflowing optically-thick HI indicated by the composite spectra of these galaxies, we conclude that photoelectric absorption, rather than dust attenuation, dominates the depletion of ionizing photons. By modeling the composite spectra as the combination of an unattenuated stellar spectrum including nebular continuum emission with one that is absorbed by HI and reddened by a line-of-sight extinction, we derive an empirical relationship between E(B-V) and fcov(HI). Galaxies with redder UV continua have larger covering fractions of HI characterized by higher line-of-sight extinctions. Our results are consistent with the escape of Lya throug...

  10. 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

  11. High levels of inorganic nutrients affect fertilization kinetics, early development and settlement of the scleractinian coral Platygyra acuta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lam, E. K. Y.; Chui, A. P. Y.; Kwok, C. K.; Ip, A. H. P.; Chan, S. W.; Leung, H. N.; Yeung, L. C.; Ang, P. O.

    2015-09-01

    Dose-response experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of ammonia nitrogen (NH3/NH4 +) and orthophosphate (PO4 3-) on four stages of larval development in Platygyra acuta, including fertilization, embryonic development and the survival, motility, and settlement of planula larvae. Fertilization success was reduced significantly under 200 μM NH3/NH4 + or PO4 3-. These high doses of NH3/NH4 + and PO4 - affected egg viability (or sperm viability and polyspermic block simultaneously) and polyspermic block, respectively. These results provide the first evidence to indicate the mechanisms of how inorganic nutrients might affect coral fertilization processes. For embryonic development, NH3/NH4 + at 25-200 μM caused delay in cell division after 2-h exposure and NH3/NH4 + at 100-200 μM resulted in larval death after 72 h. However, no significant differences were observed in the mobility and survivorship of either planula or competent larvae under different levels of NH3/NH4 + or PO4 3-. There was a significant (~30 %) drop in the settlement of competent larvae under the combined effect of 100 μM NH3/NH4 + and PO4 3-. The effects of elevated nutrients appeared to become more significant only on gametes or larvae undergoing active cellular activities at fertilization, early development, and settlement.

  12. Distributed modeling of snow cover mass and energy balance in the Rheraya watershed (High Atlas, Morocco)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchane, Ahmed; Gascoin, Simon; Jarlan, Lionel; Hanich, Lahoucine

    2016-04-01

    The mountains of the High Moroccan Atlas represent an important source of water for the neighboring arid plains. Despite the importance of snow in the regional water balance, few studies were devoted to the modeling of the snow cover at the watershed scale. This type of modeling is necessary to characterize the contribution of snowmelt to water balance and understanding its sensitivity to natural and human-induced climate fluctuations. In this study, we applied a spatially-distributed model of the snowpack evolution (SnowModel, Liston & Elder 2006) on the Rheraya watershed (225 km²) in the High Atlas in order to simulate the mass and energy balance of the snow cover and the evolution of snow depth over a full season (2008-2009). The model was forced by 6 meteorological stations. The model was evaluated locally at the Oukaimeden meteorological station (3230 m asl) where snow depth is recorded continuously. To evaluate the model at the watershed scale we used the daily MODIS snow cover products and a series of 15 cloud-free optical images acquired by the FORMOSAT-2 satellite at 8-m resolution from February to June 2009. The results showed that the model is able to simulate the snow depth in the Oukaimeden station for the 2008-2009 season, and also to simulate the spatial and temporal variation of of the snow cover area in the watershed Rheraya. Based on the model output we examine the importance of the snow sublimation on the water balance at the watershed scale.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-05-01

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

  14. 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

  15. Differential response of coral communities to Caulerpa spp. bloom in the reefs of Indian Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manikandan, B; Ravindran, J

    2017-02-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are disturbed in tandem by climatic and anthropogenic stressors. A number of factors act synergistically to reduce the live coral cover and threaten the existence of reefs. Continuous monitoring of the coral communities during 2012-2014 captured an unprecedented growth of macroalgae as a bloom at Gulf of Mannar (GoM) and Palk Bay (PB) which are protected and unprotected reefs, respectively. The two reefs varying in their protection level enabled to conduct an assessment on the response of coral communities and their recovery potential during and after the macroalgal bloom. Surveys in 2012 revealed a live coral cover of 36.8 and 14.6% in GoM and PB, respectively. Live coral cover was lost at an annual rate of 4% in PB due to the Caulerpa racemosa blooms that occurred in 2013 and 2014. In GoM, the loss of live coral cover was estimated to be 16.5% due to C. taxifolia bloom in 2013. Tissue regeneration by the foliose and branching coral morphotypes aided the recovery of live coral cover in GoM, whereas the chances for the recovery of live coral cover in PB reef were low, primarily due to frequent algal blooms, and the existing live coral cover was mainly due to the abundance of slow-growing massive corals. In combination, results of this study suggested that the recovery of a coral reef after a macroalgal bloom largely depends on coral species composition and the frequency of stress events. A further study linking macroalgal bloom to its specific cause is essential for the successful intervention and management.

  16. 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

  17. Boring sponges, an increasing threat for coral reefs affected by bleaching events

    OpenAIRE

    Carballo, José L; Bautista, Eric; Nava, Héctor; Cruz-Barraza, José A; Chávez, Jesus A

    2013-01-01

    Coral bleaching is a stress response of corals induced by a variety of factors, but these events have become more frequent and intense in response to recent climate-change-related temperature anomalies. We tested the hypothesis that coral reefs affected by bleaching events are currently heavily infested by boring sponges, which are playing a significant role in the destruction of their physical structure. Seventeen reefs that cover the entire distributional range of corals along the Mexican P...

  18. 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.

  19. Persistence of coral assemblages at East and West Flower Garden Banks, Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnston, Michelle A.; Embesi, John A.; Eckert, Ryan J.; Nuttall, Marissa F.; Hickerson, Emma L.; Schmahl, George P.

    2016-09-01

    Since 1989 a federally supported long-term coral reef monitoring program has focused on two study sites atop East and West Flower Garden Banks in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. We examined 25 yr of benthic cover data to provide a multi-decadal baseline and trend analysis of the community structure for this coral reef system. Despite global coral reef decline in recent decades, mean coral cover at East and West Flower Garden Banks was above 50% for the combined 25 yr of continuous monitoring, and represented a stable coral community. However, mean macroalgal cover increased significantly between 1998 and 1999, rising from approximately 3 to 20%, and reaching a maximum above 30% in 2012. In contrast to many other shallow water reefs in the Caribbean region, increases in mean macroalgal cover have not been concomitant with coral cover decline at the Flower Garden Banks.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. High-resolution hyperspectral imaging of diagenesis and clays in fossil coral reef material: a nondestructive tool for improving environmental and climate reconstructions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murphy, R. J.; Webster, J. M.; Nothdurft, L.; Dechnik, B.; McGregor, H. V.; Patterson, M. A.; Sanborn, K. L.; Webb, G. E.; Kearney, L. I.; Rintoul, L.; Erler, D. V.

    2017-08-01

    Hyperspectral imagery (1000-2500 nm) was used to quantitatively map carbonate and clay minerals in fossil reef cores that are relevant to accurately reconstructing past environmental and climatic conditions. Techniques were developed using hyperspectral imagery of fossil reef corals and cores acquired from three different geological settings, and were validated against independent measures of calcite to aragonite ratios. Aragonite, calcite, and dolomite were distinguished using a combination of the wavelength position and asymmetry of the primary carbonate absorption between 2300 and 2350 nm. Areas of core containing small amounts of calcite (>2-5%) were distinguished from aragonite in imagery of two cores, enabling quantitative maps of these minerals to be constructed. Dolomite was found to be the dominant mineral in another core. Trace amounts of the aluminium-rich clay mineral kaolinite were detected, quantified, and mapped in one core using its diagnostic absorption feature near 2200 nm. The amounts of clay detected from hyperspectral imagery were below the limits of detection by standard X-ray diffraction techniques but its presence was confirmed by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. Hyperspectral imagery acquired at high spatial resolution simplifies vetting procedures for secondary carbonate minerals in coral reef cores, significantly reduces sampling time and costs, and is a powerful nondestructive tool to identify well-preserved coral aragonite in cores for uses in paleoclimate, paleoenvironment and paleoecosystem reconstruction.

  3. Trends in annual minimum exposed snow and ice cover in High Mountain Asia from MODIS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rittger, Karl; Brodzik, Mary J.; Painter, Thomas H.; Racoviteanu, Adina; Armstrong, Richard; Dozier, Jeff

    2016-04-01

    Though a relatively short record on climatological scales, data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) from 2000-2014 can be used to evaluate changes in the cryosphere and provide a robust baseline for future observations from space. We use the MODIS Snow Covered Area and Grain size (MODSCAG) algorithm, based on spectral mixture analysis, to estimate daily fractional snow and ice cover and the MODICE Persistent Ice (MODICE) algorithm to estimate the annual minimum snow and ice fraction (fSCA) for each year from 2000 to 2014 in High Mountain Asia. We have found that MODSCAG performs better than other algorithms, such as the Normalized Difference Index (NDSI), at detecting snow. We use MODICE because it minimizes false positives (compared to maximum extents), for example, when bright soils or clouds are incorrectly classified as snow, a common problem with optical satellite snow mapping. We analyze changes in area using the annual MODICE maps of minimum snow and ice cover for over 15,000 individual glaciers as defined by the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) Version 5, focusing on the Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Upper Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra River basins. For each glacier with an area of at least 1 km2 as defined by RGI, we sum the total minimum snow and ice covered area for each year from 2000 to 2014 and estimate the trends in area loss or gain. We find the largest loss in annual minimum snow and ice extent for 2000-2014 in the Brahmaputra and Ganges with 57% and 40%, respectively, of analyzed glaciers with significant losses (p-valueELA) for each year from 2000-2014. We test this new algorithm in the Upper Indus basin and produce annual estimates of ELA. For the Upper Indus basin we are deriving annual ELAs that range from 5350 m to 5450 m which is slightly higher than published values of 5200 m for this region.

  4. Corals form characteristic associations with symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lema, Kimberley A; Willis, Bette L; Bourne, David G

    2012-05-01

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. A high resolution paleo-record of export production using deep-sea coral stable isotope values from a unique HNLC zone on the California Margin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wright, Z.

    2015-12-01

    The Sur Ridge, located ~30 km off the Big Sur coast of central California, represents a unique system within the highly productive California Current ecosystem. Its unique high nutrient, but low chlorophyll characteristics are not fully understood. Time series of bulk stable carbon (δ13C) and stable nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes can help us better understand past changes in nutrient dynamics and phytoplankton community baselines for this region in order to better predict future changes. Deep-sea proteinaceous corals are particularly powerful paleoarchives of past ocean conditions. These organisms serve as "living sediment traps," incorporating the stable isotope values of exported particulate organic material (POM) from the surface into their growth layers. The longevity of bamboo corals (Isidella, up to 400 years) makes them excellent resources for creating high resolution, centennial time series of δ13C and δ15N dynamics. Bamboo corals used in this study were harvested during summer of 2014 from 1220 to 1300 m depths. Two corals were milled in sub-millimeter intervals to generate a 200 year time series at approximately three year temporal resolution. Over the past 200 years, deep-sea coral δ13C values ranged from -15.7 to -19.0‰ and δ15N values ranged from 14.4 to 15.9‰, consistent with earlier data from the CA margin. The δ13C records were characterized by long periods of remarkable stability, contrasted with several large shifts (~1900 and ~1960) in δ13C of approximately 1‰. We hypothesize that these shifts likely reflect changes in plankton composition or production associated with regional climate shifts. The δ15N data were more dynamic, including several large shifts (1940 - 1960), as well as periods of apparent decadal scale oscillation (1825 - 1925 and 1965 - present). These shifts may reflect changes in the source or utilization of nitrogen at the base of the food web. Together, these data give us a first look at baseline stability of

  7. Scleractinian settlement patterns to natural cleared reef substrata and artificial settlement panels on an Indonesian coral reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salinas-de-León, Pelayo; Costales-Carrera, Alba; Zeljkovic, Stephen; Smith, David J.; Bell, James J.

    2011-05-01

    Recruitment is a key factor driving the population dynamics of scleractinian corals, but despite its importance, we still have a poor understanding of recruitment processes in the Coral triangle region, which contains the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world. This study aimed to compare settlement rates to artificial settlement panels with cleared areas of natural reef in order to assess whether panels are a suitable indicator of natural coral settlement rates. We recorded coral settlement rates to panels made of two different materials (concrete and terracotta), attached to the reef at two different orientations (vertical and horizontal), and compared these settlement rates to those on cleared areas of natural reef positioned on vertical reef walls, over a 12 month period. We examined settlement rates at four sites in the Wakatobi National Marine Park, south-east Sulawesi, Indonesia; two reefs were light-limited, highly sedimented sites with low coral cover (terracotta panels yield similar settlement rates, and orientation makes no difference to settlement rates when panels are directly attached to the reef. Our results demonstrate that artificial substrata provide comparable settlement rate data to natural substrata and therefore are suitable for monitoring coral settlement rates in the future.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goulet, Tamar L.; Shirur, Kartick P.; Ramsby, Blake D.; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto

    2017-01-01

    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 symbiont, host

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Berkelmans, Ray; Peplow, Lesa M; Jones, Alison M

    2015-01-01

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

  12. 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

  13. Thresholds and the resilience of Caribbean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-11-01

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

  14. High biomass and production but low energy transfer efficiency of Caribbean parrotfish: implications for trophic models of coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Rooij, J.M.; Videler, J.J.; Bruggemann, J.

    1998-01-01

    Quantitative data are presented to assess the trophic role of scarids on the fringing coral reef of Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles): with particular emphasis on the stoplight parrotfish Sparisoma viride. Average herbivore biomass on the reef was 690 kg ha(-1), 22% of which was accounted for by S.

  15. High biomass and production but low energy transfer efficiency of Caribbean parrotfish : implications for trophic models of coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Rooij, J.M.; Bruggemann, J.H; Videler, J.J

    1998-01-01

    Quantitative data are presented to assess the trophic role of scarids on the fringing coral reef of Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles): with particular emphasis on the stoplight parrotfish Sparisoma viride. Average herbivore biomass on the reef was 690 kg ha(-1), 22% of which was accounted for by S.

  16. How do corals make rocks?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falkowski, P. G.; Mass, T.; Drake, J.; Schaller, M. F.; Rosenthal, Y.; Schofield, O.; Sherrell, R. M.

    2014-12-01

    We have developed a three pronged approach to understanding how corals precipitate aragonite crystals and contain proxy biogeochemical information. Using proteomic and genomic approaches, we have identified 35 proteins in coral skeletons. Among these are a series of coral acidic proteins (CARPs). Based on their gene sequences, we cloned a subset of these proteins and purified them. Each of the proteins precipitate aragonite in vitro in unamended seawater. Antibodies raised against these proteins react with individual crystals of the native coral, clearly revealing that they are part of a biomineral structure. Based on the primary structure of the proteins we have developed a model of the precipitation reaction that focuses on a Lewis acid displacement of protons from bicarbonate anions by calcium ligated to the carboxyl groups on the CARPs. The reactions are highly acidic and are not manifestly influenced by pH above ca. 6. These results suggest that corals will maintain the ability to calcify in the coming centuries, despite acidification of the oceans.

  17. 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.

  18. Corals concentrate dissolved inorganic carbon to facilitate calcification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allison, Nicola; Cohen, Itay; Finch, Adrian A; Erez, Jonathan; Tudhope, Alexander W

    2014-01-01

    The sources of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) used to produce scleractinian coral skeletons are not understood. Yet this knowledge is essential for understanding coral biomineralization and assessing the potential impacts of ocean acidification on coral reefs. Here we use skeletal boron geochemistry to reconstruct the DIC chemistry of the fluid used for coral calcification. We show that corals concentrate DIC at the calcification site substantially above seawater values and that bicarbonate contributes a significant amount of the DIC pool used to build the skeleton. Corals actively increase the pH of the calcification fluid, decreasing the proportion of DIC present as CO2 and creating a diffusion gradient favouring the transport of molecular CO2 from the overlying coral tissue into the calcification site. Coupling the increases in calcification fluid pH and [DIC] yields high calcification fluid [CO3(2-)] and induces high aragonite saturation states, favourable to the precipitation of the skeleton.

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. High-resolution wave forecasting system for the seasonally ice-covered Baltic Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tuomi, Laura; Lehtiranta, Jonni

    2016-04-01

    When forecasting surface waves in seasonally ice-covered seas, the inclusion of ice conditions in the modelling is important. The ice cover affects the propagation and also changes the fetch over which the waves grow. In wave models the ice conditions are often still given as a boundary condition and handled by excluding areas where the ice concentration exceeds a certain threshold value. The ice data used are typically based on satellite analysis or expert analysis of local Ice Services who combine data from different sources. This type of data is sufficiently accurate to evaluate the near-real time ice concentrations, but when making forecasts it is also important to account for the possible changes in ice conditions. For example in a case of a high wind situation, there can be rapid changes in the ice field, when the wind and waves may push the ice towards shores and cause fragmentation of ice field. To enhance handling of ice conditions in the Baltic Sea wave forecasts, utilisation of ice model data was studied. Ice concentration, thickness produced by FMI's operational ice model HELMI were used to provide ice data to wave model as follows: Wave model grid points where the ice concentration was more than or equal to 70% and the ice thickness more than1 cm, were excluded from calculations. Ice concentrations smaller than that were taken into account as additional grid obstructions by decreasing the wave energy passed from one grid cell to another. A challenge in evaluating wave forecast accuracy in partly ice covered areas it that there's typically no wave buoy data available, since the buoys have to be recovered well before the sea area freezes. To evaluate the accuracy of wave forecast in partially ice covered areas, significant wave heights from altimeter's ERS2, Envisat, Jason-1 and Jason-2 were extracted from Ifremer database. Results showed that the more frequent update of the ice data was found to improve the wave forecast especially during high wind

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-15

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

  3. 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...

  4. Global Distribution of Water Vapor and Cloud Cover--Sites for High Performance THz Applications

    CERN Document Server

    Suen, Jonathan Y; Lubin, Philip M

    2014-01-01

    Absorption of terahertz radiation by atmospheric water vapor is a serious impediment for radio astronomy and for long-distance communications. Transmission in the THz regime is dependent almost exclusively on atmospheric precipitable water vapor (PWV). Though much of the Earth has PWV that is too high for good transmission above 200 GHz, there are a number of dry sites with very low attenuation. We performed a global analysis of PWV with high-resolution measurements from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) on two NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites over the year of 2011. We determined PWV and cloud cover distributions and then developed a model to find transmission and atmospheric radiance as well as necessary integration times in the various windows. We produced global maps over the common THz windows for astronomical and satellite communications scenarios. Notably, we show that up through 1 THz, systems could be built in excellent sites of Chile, Greenland and the Tibetan Plateau, ...

  5. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yasmin Abou Rajab

    Full Text Available 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. Key functional role of the optical properties of coral skeletons in coral ecology and evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Enríquez, Susana; Méndez, Eugenio R; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto

    2017-04-26

    Multiple scattering of light on coral skeleton enhances light absorption efficiency of coral symbionts and plays a key role in the regulation of their internal diffuse light field. To understand the dependence of this enhancement on skeleton meso- and macrostructure, we analysed the scattering abilities of naked coral skeletons for 74 Indo-Pacific species. Sensitive morphotypes to thermal and light stress, flat-extraplanate and branching corals, showed the most efficient structures, while massive-robust species were less efficient. The lowest light-enhancing scattering abilities were found for the most primitive colonial growth form: phaceloid. Accordingly, the development of highly efficient light-collecting structures versus the selection of less efficient but more robust holobionts to cope with light stress may constitute a trade-off in the evolution of modern symbiotic scleractinian corals, characterizing two successful adaptive solutions. The coincidence of the most important structural modifications with epitheca decline supports the importance of the enhancement of light transmission across coral skeleton in modern scleractinian diversification, and the central role of these symbioses in the design and optimization of coral skeleton. Furthermore, the same ability that lies at the heart of the success of symbiotic corals as coral-reef-builders can also explain the 'Achilles's heel' of these symbioses in a warming ocean. © 2017 The Author(s).

  8. Coral reproduction in Western Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James Gilmour

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available 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

  9. Euphyllia paradivisa, a successful mesophotic coral in the northern Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eyal, Gal; Eyal-Shaham, Lee; Cohen, Itay; Tamir, Raz; Ben-Zvi, Or; Sinniger, Frederic; Loya, Yossi

    2016-03-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) host a thriving community of biota that has remained virtually unexplored. Here we report for the first time on a large population of the endangered coral species Euphyllia paradivisa from the MCEs of the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba (GOE/A), Red Sea. The mesophotic zone in some parts of the study site harbors a specialized coral community predominantly comprising E. paradivisa (73 % of the total coral cover), distributed from 36 to 72 m depth. Here we sought to elucidate the strict distribution but high abundance of E. paradivisa in the MCEs at the GOE/A. We present 4 yr of observations and experiments that provide insight into the physiological plasticity of E. paradivisa: its low mortality rates at high light intensities, high competitive abilities, successful symbiont adaptation to the shallow-water environment, and tolerance to bleaching conditions or survival during prolonged bleaching. Despite its ability to survive under high irradiance in shallow water, E. paradivisa is not found in the shallow reef of the GOE/A. We suggest several factors that may explain the high abundance and exclusivity of E. paradivisa in the MCE: its heterotrophic capabilities; its high competition abilities; the possibility of it finding a deep-reef refuge there from fish predation; and its concomitant adaptation to this environment.

  10. Linear extension rates and gross carbonate production of Acropora cervicornis at Coral Gardens, Belize.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peeling, E.; Greer, L.; Lescinsky, H.; Humston, R.; Wirth, K. R.; Baums, I. B.; Curran, A.

    2014-12-01

    Branching Acropora coral species have fast growth and carbonate production rates, and thus have functioned as important reef-building species throughout the Pleistocene and Holocene. Recently, net carbonate production (kg CaCO3 m-2 year-1) has been recognized as an important measure of reef health, especially when monitoring endangered species, such as Acropora cervicornis. This study examines carbonate production in a thriving population of A. cervicornis at the Coral Gardens reef in Belize. Photographic surveys were conducted along five transects of A. cervicornis-dominated reefs from 2011-2014. Matching photographs from 2013 and 2014 were scaled to 1 m2 and compared to calculate 84 individual A. cervicornis linear extension rates across the reef. Linear extension rates averaged 12.4 cm/yr and were as high as 17 cm/yr in some areas of the reef. Carbonate production was calculated two ways. The first followed the standard procedure of multiplying percent live coral cover, by the linear extension rate and skeletal density. The second used the number of live coral tips per square meter in place of percent live coral multiplied by the average cross-sectional area of the branches. The standard method yielded a carbonate production rate of 113 kg CaCO3 m-2 year-1 for the reef, and the tip method yielded a rate of 6 kg m-2 year-1. We suggest that the tip method is a more accurate measure of production, because A. cervicornis grows primarily from the live tips, with only limited radial growth and resheeting over dead skeleton. While this method omits the contributions of radial growth and resheeting, and is therefore somewhat of an underestimate, our future work will quantify these aspects of growth in a more complete carbonate budget. Still, our estimate suggests a carbonate production rate per unit area of A. cervicornis that is on par with other Caribbean coral species, rather than two orders of magnitude higher as reported by Perry et al (2013). Although gross coral

  11. High-T{sub c} superconducting rectangular microstrip patch covered with a dielectric layer

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bedra, Sami, E-mail: s_bedra@yahoo.fr [Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Khenchela, 40004 Khenchela (Algeria); Fortaki, Tarek [Electronics Department, University of Batna, 05000 Batna (Algeria)

    2016-05-15

    Highlights: • We model a microstrip antenna with a dielectric cover and superconductor patch. • The extended full-wave analysis is used to solve for the antenna characteristics • The accuracy of the method is checked by comparing our results with published data • The superconducting patch affects the resonant characteristics of the antenna • Patch on substrate–superstrate configuration is more advantageous than the one on single layer. - Abstract: This paper presents a full-wave method to calculate the resonant characteristics of rectangular microstrip antenna with and without dielectric cover, to explain the difference of performance with temperature between superconducting and normal conducting antenna. Especially the characteristics of high temperature superconducting (HTS) antenna were almost ideal around the critical temperature (T{sub c}). The dyadic Green's functions of the considered structure are efficiently determined in the vector Fourier transform domain. The effect of the superconductivity of the patch is taken into account using the concept of the complex resistive boundary condition. The computed results are found to be in good agreement with results obtained using other methods. Also, the effects of the superstrate on the resonant frequency and bandwidth of rectangular microstrip patch in a substrate–superstrate configuration are investigated. This type of configuration can be used for wider bandwidth by proper selection of superstrate thickness and its dielectric constants.

  12. High Spatial Resolution nanoSIMS Analysis to Calibrate Environmental Proxies in Coral Grown During Short Culture Experiments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gagnon, A. C.; Adkins, J. F.; Erez, J.; Eiler, J. M.; Guan, Y.

    2009-12-01

    An important application of SIMS is the measurement of chemical and isotopic proxies for environmental conditions in coral and other biogenic carbonates. Using organisms cultured under controlled conditions, laboratory calibrations of these proxies have the potential to (1) ensure accurate reconstructions of past climate; (2) separate environmental signals from biological variability; (3) resolve the influence of environmental parameters which co-vary in much of the modern ocean but likely diverged in the past, (i.e. T and [CO32-]). However, culture experiments typically require a large investment of time and energy -- this is especially true of slow growing coral. To overcome this limitation we use the nanoSIMS, a new instrument capable of accurate compositional and isotopic analysis with sub-micron spatial resolution, as a tool to identify and analyze the several-to-10s of micron region of skeletal growth resulting from a short (6-day) culture experiment in adult reef-building coral. In this method seawater culture media is enriched in the naturally low abundance stable isotopes 43Ca, 87Sr and 136Ba to uniquely label material grown during the experiment. At the start of the experiment a short incubation with Calcein, a CaCO3 binding fluorescent probe, marks the margin of new growth guiding subsequent microanalysis. NanoSIMS images of skeletal 43Ca/42Ca clearly show a 43Ca enriched region corresponding to new growth during the culture experiment. This region is distinguished from un-spiked initial material along a sharp and continuous boundary. These results demonstrate we can localize and analyze cultured skeletal material in adult coral from a short growth experiment, enabling higher-throughput culture experiments with applications to paleoclimatology, biomineralization, and ecology. As an initial application we quantify the sensitivity of Sr/Ca, a proxy for temperature, to another important environmental parameter, [CO32-]. Five branches of Stylophora sp. coral

  13. Coral reef encruster communities and carbonate production in cryptic and exposed coral reef habitats along a gradient of terrestrial disturbance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallela, J.

    2007-12-01

    Encrusting calcareous organisms such as bryozoans, crustose coralline algae (CCA), foraminiferans, and serpulid worms are integral components of tropical framework-building reefs. They can