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Sample records for reef community structure

  1. Fishing degrades size structure of coral reef fish communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, James P W; Williams, Ivor D; Edwards, Andrew M; McPherson, Jana; Yeager, Lauren; Vigliola, Laurent; Brainard, Russell E; Baum, Julia K

    2017-03-01

    Fishing pressure on coral reef ecosystems has been frequently linked to reductions of large fishes and reef fish biomass. Associated impacts on overall community structure are, however, less clear. In size-structured aquatic ecosystems, fishing impacts are commonly quantified using size spectra, which describe the distribution of individual body sizes within a community. We examined the size spectra and biomass of coral reef fish communities at 38 US-affiliated Pacific islands that ranged in human presence from near pristine to human population centers. Size spectra 'steepened' steadily with increasing human population and proximity to market due to a reduction in the relative biomass of large fishes and an increase in the dominance of small fishes. Reef fish biomass was substantially lower on inhabited islands than uninhabited ones, even at inhabited islands with the lowest levels of human presence. We found that on populated islands size spectra exponents decreased (analogous to size spectra steepening) linearly with declining biomass, whereas on uninhabited islands there was no relationship. Size spectra were steeper in regions of low sea surface temperature but were insensitive to variation in other environmental and geomorphic covariates. In contrast, reef fish biomass was highly sensitive to oceanographic conditions, being influenced by both oceanic productivity and sea surface temperature. Our results suggest that community size structure may be a more robust indicator than fish biomass to increasing human presence and that size spectra are reliable indicators of exploitation impacts across regions of different fish community compositions, environmental drivers, and fisheries types. Size-based approaches that link directly to functional properties of fish communities, and are relatively insensitive to abiotic variation across biogeographic regions, offer great potential for developing our understanding of fishing impacts in coral reef ecosystems. © 2016

  2. Community Structure Of Reef Fish In Eastern Luwu Water Territory

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    Henny Tribuana Cinnawara

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract One bio-indicators the condition of coral reefs is a presence of reef fish. The purpose of research is to determine species composition abundance distribution and structure of reef fish communities in these waters. Data collection was conducted in April at six locations in the north and the south eastern Luwu. Mechanical Underwater Visual Cencus UVC and transect method Line intercept Transec LIT with SCUBA equipment used for research data collection. Total reef fish species collected as many as 366 species belonging to 31 families consisting of 150 species of fish target fish consumption 10 species of indicator fish indicator species 206 types of major fissh. The most dominant indicator type of fish is Chaetodon octofasciatus while the major dominant family Pomacentridae Labridae and Apogonidae. Diversity index values ranged from 2.145 to 3.408. Dominance index C is in the range of 0.056 to 0.298. The result is expected to be a reference literature as basic data for the management of reef fish especially in the waters of eastern Luwu.

  3. Invasive lionfish had no measurable effect on prey fish community structure across the Belizean Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hackerott, Serena; Valdivia, Abel; Cox, Courtney E; Silbiger, Nyssa J; Bruno, John F

    2017-01-01

    Invasive lionfish are assumed to significantly affect Caribbean reef fish communities. However, evidence of lionfish effects on native reef fishes is based on uncontrolled observational studies or small-scale, unrepresentative experiments, with findings ranging from no effect to large effects on prey density and richness. Moreover, whether lionfish affect populations and communities of native reef fishes at larger, management-relevant scales is unknown. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of lionfish on coral reef prey fish communities in a natural complex reef system. We quantified lionfish and the density, richness, and composition of native prey fishes (0-10 cm total length) at sixteen reefs along ∼250 km of the Belize Barrier Reef from 2009 to 2013. Lionfish invaded our study sites during this four-year longitudinal study, thus our sampling included fish community structure before and after our sites were invaded, i.e., we employed a modified BACI design. We found no evidence that lionfish measurably affected the density, richness, or composition of prey fishes. It is possible that higher lionfish densities are necessary to detect an effect of lionfish on prey populations at this relatively large spatial scale. Alternatively, negative effects of lionfish on prey could be small, essentially undetectable, and ecologically insignificant at our study sites. Other factors that influence the dynamics of reef fish populations including reef complexity, resource availability, recruitment, predation, and fishing could swamp any effects of lionfish on prey populations.

  4. Invasive lionfish had no measurable effect on prey fish community structure across the Belizean Barrier Reef

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Serena Hackerott

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Invasive lionfish are assumed to significantly affect Caribbean reef fish communities. However, evidence of lionfish effects on native reef fishes is based on uncontrolled observational studies or small-scale, unrepresentative experiments, with findings ranging from no effect to large effects on prey density and richness. Moreover, whether lionfish affect populations and communities of native reef fishes at larger, management-relevant scales is unknown. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of lionfish on coral reef prey fish communities in a natural complex reef system. We quantified lionfish and the density, richness, and composition of native prey fishes (0–10 cm total length at sixteen reefs along ∼250 km of the Belize Barrier Reef from 2009 to 2013. Lionfish invaded our study sites during this four-year longitudinal study, thus our sampling included fish community structure before and after our sites were invaded, i.e., we employed a modified BACI design. We found no evidence that lionfish measurably affected the density, richness, or composition of prey fishes. It is possible that higher lionfish densities are necessary to detect an effect of lionfish on prey populations at this relatively large spatial scale. Alternatively, negative effects of lionfish on prey could be small, essentially undetectable, and ecologically insignificant at our study sites. Other factors that influence the dynamics of reef fish populations including reef complexity, resource availability, recruitment, predation, and fishing could swamp any effects of lionfish on prey populations.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicole L Crane

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-01

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

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

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    Bobbie Renfro

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

  9. Species Richness and Community Structure on a High Latitude Reef: Implications for Conservation and Management

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    Wayne Houston

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available In spite of the wealth of research on the Great Barrier Reef, few detailed biodiversity assessments of its inshore coral communities have been conducted. Effective conservation and management of marine ecosystems begins with fine-scale biophysical assessments focused on diversity and the architectural species that build the structural framework of the reef. In this study, we investigate key coral diversity and environmental attributes of an inshore reef system surrounding the Keppel Bay Islands near Rockhampton in Central Queensland, Australia, and assess their implications for conservation and management. The Keppels has much higher coral diversity than previously found. The average species richness for the 19 study sites was ~40 with representatives from 68% of the ~244 species previously described for the southern Great Barrier Reef. Using scleractinian coral species richness, taxonomic distinctiveness and coral cover as the main criteria, we found that five out of 19 sites had particularly high conservation value. A further site was also considered to be of relatively high value. Corals at this site were taxonomically distinct from the others (representatives of two families were found here but not at other sites and a wide range of functionally diverse taxa were present. This site was associated with more stressful conditions such as high temperatures and turbidity. Highly diverse coral communities or biodiversity ‘hotspots’ and taxonomically distinct reefs may act as insurance policies for climatic disturbance, much like Noah’s Arks for reefs. While improving water quality and limiting anthropogenic impacts are clearly important management initiatives to improve the long-term outlook for inshore reefs, identifying, mapping and protecting these coastal ‘refugia’ may be the key for ensuring their regeneration against catastrophic climatic disturbance in the meantime.

  10. Effects of marine reserves versus nursery habitat availability on structure of reef fish communities.

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    Nagelkerken, Ivan; Grol, Monique G G; Mumby, Peter J

    2012-01-01

    No-take marine fishery reserves sustain commercial stocks by acting as buffers against overexploitation and enhancing fishery catches in adjacent areas through spillover. Likewise, nursery habitats such as mangroves enhance populations of some species in adjacent habitats. However, there is lack of understanding of the magnitude of stock enhancement and the effects on community structure when both protection from fishing and access to nurseries concurrently act as drivers of fish population dynamics. In this study we test the separate as well as interactive effects of marine reserves and nursery habitat proximity on structure and abundance of coral reef fish communities. Reserves had no effect on fish community composition, while proximity to nursery habitat only had a significant effect on community structure of species that use mangroves or seagrass beds as nurseries. In terms of reef fish biomass, proximity to nursery habitat by far outweighed (biomass 249% higher than that in areas with no nursery access) the effects of protection from fishing in reserves (biomass 21% lower than non-reserve areas) for small nursery fish (≤ 25 cm total length). For large-bodied individuals of nursery species (>25 cm total length), an additive effect was present for these two factors, although fish benefited more from fishing protection (203% higher biomass) than from proximity to nurseries (139% higher). The magnitude of elevated biomass for small fish on coral reefs due to proximity to nurseries was such that nursery habitats seem able to overrule the usually positive effects on fish biomass by reef reserves. As a result, conservation of nursery habitats gains importance and more consideration should be given to the ecological processes that occur along nursery-reef boundaries that connect neighboring ecosystems.

  11. Effects of marine reserves versus nursery habitat availability on structure of reef fish communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ivan Nagelkerken

    Full Text Available No-take marine fishery reserves sustain commercial stocks by acting as buffers against overexploitation and enhancing fishery catches in adjacent areas through spillover. Likewise, nursery habitats such as mangroves enhance populations of some species in adjacent habitats. However, there is lack of understanding of the magnitude of stock enhancement and the effects on community structure when both protection from fishing and access to nurseries concurrently act as drivers of fish population dynamics. In this study we test the separate as well as interactive effects of marine reserves and nursery habitat proximity on structure and abundance of coral reef fish communities. Reserves had no effect on fish community composition, while proximity to nursery habitat only had a significant effect on community structure of species that use mangroves or seagrass beds as nurseries. In terms of reef fish biomass, proximity to nursery habitat by far outweighed (biomass 249% higher than that in areas with no nursery access the effects of protection from fishing in reserves (biomass 21% lower than non-reserve areas for small nursery fish (≤ 25 cm total length. For large-bodied individuals of nursery species (>25 cm total length, an additive effect was present for these two factors, although fish benefited more from fishing protection (203% higher biomass than from proximity to nurseries (139% higher. The magnitude of elevated biomass for small fish on coral reefs due to proximity to nurseries was such that nursery habitats seem able to overrule the usually positive effects on fish biomass by reef reserves. As a result, conservation of nursery habitats gains importance and more consideration should be given to the ecological processes that occur along nursery-reef boundaries that connect neighboring ecosystems.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James

    2017-04-20

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

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

    2010-03-01

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

  15. Reef community structure, Sand Island, Oahu HI, (NODC Accession 0000177)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These reports provide the results of nine years (1990-98) of an annual quantitative monitoring of shallow marine communities inshore of the Sand Island Ocean...

  16. Structure of Caribbean coral reef communities across a large gradient of fish biomass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newman, Marah J H; Paredes, Gustavo A; Sala, Enric; Jackson, Jeremy B C

    2006-11-01

    The collapse of Caribbean coral reefs has been attributed in part to historic overfishing, but whether fish assemblages can recover and how such recovery might affect the benthic reef community has not been tested across appropriate scales. We surveyed the biomass of reef communities across a range in fish abundance from 14 to 593 g m(-2), a gradient exceeding that of any previously reported for coral reefs. Increased fish biomass was correlated with an increased proportion of apex predators, which were abundant only inside large marine reserves. Increased herbivorous fish biomass was correlated with a decrease in fleshy algal biomass but corals have not yet recovered.

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

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

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    Joseph R Pawlik

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

  19. 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

  20. Human activities as a driver of spatial variation in the trophic structure of fish communities on Pacific coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruppert, Jonathan L W; Vigliola, Laurent; Kulbicki, Michel; Labrosse, Pierre; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Meekan, Mark G

    2018-01-01

    Anthropogenic activities such as land-use change, pollution and fishing impact the trophic structure of coral reef fishes, which can influence ecosystem health and function. Although these impacts may be ubiquitous, they are not consistent across the tropical Pacific Ocean. Using an extensive database of fish biomass sampled using underwater visual transects on coral reefs, we modelled the impact of human activities on food webs at Pacific-wide and regional (1,000s-10,000s km) scales. We found significantly lower biomass of sharks and carnivores, where there were higher densities of human populations (hereafter referred to as human activity); however, these patterns were not spatially consistent as there were significant differences in the trophic structures of fishes among biogeographic regions. Additionally, we found significant changes in the benthic structure of reef environments, notably a decline in coral cover where there was more human activity. Direct human impacts were the strongest in the upper part of the food web, where we found that in a majority of the Pacific, the biomass of reef sharks and carnivores were significantly and negatively associated with human activity. Finally, although human-induced stressors varied in strength and significance throughout the coral reef food web across the Pacific, socioeconomic variables explained more variation in reef fish trophic structure than habitat variables in a majority of the biogeographic regions. Notably, economic development (measured as GDP per capita) did not guarantee healthy reef ecosystems (high coral cover and greater fish biomass). Our results indicate that human activities are significantly shaping patterns of trophic structure of reef fishes in a spatially nonuniform manner across the Pacific Ocean, by altering processes that organize communities in both "top-down" (fishing of predators) and "bottom-up" (degradation of benthic communities) contexts. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. Struktur Komunitas Ikan Karang di Perairan Kendari (Community Structure of Coral Reef Fishes at Kendari Waters

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Muhammad Adrim

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Keberadaan ikan karang merupakan salah satu bioindikator terhadap kondisi terumbu karang yang baik. Penelitian ikan karang di perairan Kendari bertujuan untuk mengetahui komposisi jenis, kelimpahan, sebaran, dan struktur komunitas ikan karang di perairan tersebut. Pengumpulan data dilakukan bulan Juli 2011 pada lima lokasi di bagian utara dan selatan Kendari. Data dihimpun dengan menggunakan teknik Underwater Visual Census (UVC dan metode transek (Line Intersept Transect, LIT dengan peralatan SCUBA. Total jenis ikan karang terkumpul sebanyak 111 jenis yang mewakili 24 famili, terdiri dari 31 jenis ikan target (ikan konsumsi, 17 jenis ikan indikator (indicator species, dan kelompok major 63 jenis. Kelornpok ikan pangan (target yang dominan; Caesio cuning, Siganus vulpinus dan Ctenochaetus striatus. Jenis yang paling dominan dari ikan indikator adalah Chaetodon octofasciatus. Sedangkan kelompok lainnya (major yang dominan adalah Pomacentrus smithii, Chrysiptera rollandi, Chrysiptera springeri, dan Pomacentrus alexanderae. Nilai Indeks keanekaragaman berkisar 1,36– 3,23. Indeks dominasi Margalef (d berkisar 4,74–8,66. Indeks kemerataan Pielou (J’=H’/logeS diperololeh pada kisaran 0,38–0,81 . Hasil analisis kluster pada matrik kesamaan Bray-Curtis 37 % diperoleh dendrograrn yang menunjukkan dua pengelompokan stasiun. Berdasarkan ordinasi sampel dengan MDS diperoleh dari kesamaan (stress= 0 dengan jelas menunjukkan dua komunitas yang berbeda. Hasil penelitian ini diharapkan dapat menjadi masukan sebagai data dasar untuk pengelolaan daerah pesisir bagi pemerintahan daerah (PEMDA. Kata kunci: ikan karang, struktur komunitas, indeks ekologi, perairan Kendari. Coral reef Fishes is one of bio-indicators for good condition coral reef ecosystem. A study on coral reef fishes in the Kendari waters was aimed to find out species composition, abundance, distribution and community structure of coral reef fishes in that area. The study was conducted in

  2. [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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-06-01

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

  4. Chemical defenses and resource trade-offs structure sponge communities on Caribbean coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Loh, Tse-Lynn; Pawlik, Joseph R.

    2014-01-01

    Chemical defenses are known to protect some species from consumers, but it is often difficult to detect this advantage at the community or ecosystem levels because of the complexity of abiotic and biotic factors that influence species abundances. We surveyed the community of sponges and sponge predators (angelfishes and parrotfishes) on coral reefs across the Caribbean ranging from heavily overfished sites to protected marine reserves. High predator abundance correlated with high abundance of...

  5. Chemical defenses and resource trade-offs structure sponge communities on Caribbean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loh, Tse-Lynn; Pawlik, Joseph R

    2014-03-18

    Ecological studies have rarely been performed at the community level across a large biogeographic region. Sponges are now the primary habitat-forming organisms on Caribbean coral reefs. Recent species-level investigations have demonstrated that predatory fishes (angelfishes and some parrotfishes) differentially graze sponges that lack chemical defenses, while co-occurring, palatable species heal, grow, reproduce, or recruit at faster rates than defended species. Our prediction, based on resource allocation theory, was that predator removal would result in a greater proportion of palatable species in the sponge community on overfished reefs. We tested this prediction by performing surveys of sponge and fish community composition on reefs having different levels of fishing intensity across the Caribbean. A total of 109 sponge species was recorded from 69 sites, with the 10 most common species comprising 51.0% of sponge cover (3.6-7.7% per species). Nonmetric multidimensional scaling indicated that the species composition of sponge communities depended more on the abundance of sponge-eating fishes than geographic location. Across all sites, multiple-regression analyses revealed that spongivore abundance explained 32.8% of the variation in the proportion of palatable sponges, but when data were limited to geographically adjacent locations with strongly contrasting levels of fishing pressure (Cayman Islands and Jamaica; Curaçao, Bonaire, and Martinique), the adjusted R(2) values were much higher (76.5% and 94.6%, respectively). Overfishing of Caribbean coral reefs, particularly by fish trapping, removes sponge predators and is likely to result in greater competition for space between faster-growing palatable sponges and endangered reef-building corals.

  6. Community structure and coral status across reef fishing intensity gradients in Palk Bay reef, southeast coast of India.

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Manikandan, B.; Ravindran, J.; Shrinivaasu, S.; Marimuthu, N.; Paramasivam, K.

    to the reefs (McClanahan et al. 2006). However, majority of the MPAs lack effective enforcement of laws leading to reef damage and over exploitation (Mora et al. 2006). Climate change and Ocean acidification are chronic processes that exert their effects at a... availability for macroalgal attachment and nutrient enrichment will enhance the algal population in the coral ecosystems (McManus and Polsenberg 2004). Algal domination in a coral ecosystem has severe ecological implications including coral bleaching (Hughes...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. Latitudinal environmental gradients and diel variability influence abundance and community structure of Chaetognatha in Red Sea coral reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Al-aidaroos, Ali M.

    2016-08-15

    The Red Sea has been recognized as a unique region to study the effects of ecohydrographic gradients at a basin-wide scale. Its gradient of temperature and salinity relates to the Indian Ocean monsoon and associated wind-driven transport of fertile and plankton-rich water in winter from the Gulf of Aden into the Red Sea. Subsequent evaporation and thermohaline circulation increase the salinity and decrease water temperatures toward the North. Compared with other ocean systems, however, relatively little is known about the zooplankton biodiversity of the Red Sea and how this relates to Red Sea latitudinal gradients. Among the most abundant zooplankton taxa are Chaetognatha, which play an important role as secondary consumers in most marine food webs. Since Chaetognatha are sensitive to changes in temperature and salinity, we surmised latitudinal changes in their biodiversity, community structure and diel variability along the coast of Saudi Arabia. Samples were collected at nine coral reefs spanning approximately 1500km, from the Gulf of Aqaba in the northern Red Sea to the Farasan Archipelago in the southern Red Sea. Thirteen Chaetognatha species belonging to two families (Sagittidae and Krohnittidae) were identified. Latitudinal environmental changes and availability of prey (i.e. Copepoda, Crustacea) altered Chaetognatha density and distribution. The cosmopolitan epiplanktonic Flaccisagitta enflata (38.1%) dominated the Chaetognatha community, and its abundance gradually decreased from South to North. Notable were two mesopelagic species (Decipisagitta decipiens and Caecosagitta macrocephala) in the near-reef surface mixed layers at some sites. This was related to wind-induced upwelling of deep water into the coral reefs providing evidence of trophic oceanic subsidies. Most Sagittidae occurred in higher abundances at night, whereas Krohnittidae were more present during the day. Chaetognatha with developing (stage II) or mature ovaries (stage III) were more active

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  11. [Community structure of sponges (Porifera) in three reefs at Morrocoy National Park, Venezuela and its correspondence with some environmental variables].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Romero, Marco A; Villamizar, Estrella; Malaver, Nora

    2013-09-01

    Sponges have an important ecological role in coral reef ecosystems. However, when compared to other benthic Phyla, it has been little researched. This research was focused in the variability of the community structure of sponges in three locations at Morrocoy National Park (Cayo Sombrero, Playa Mero and Punta Brava) exposed to different environmental conditions (transparency and currents intensity) and affected in different degree of severity by a mass mortality event in 1996. A total of 15 transects (10 m long and 1 m wide) were evaluated in three strata (between 3 and 15 m depth) in each site, where all the individuals were counted by species. Relative abundance by species, diversity and evenness were calculated. Locations showed differences respect turbidity, wave and current intensity. 27 species were found in Morrocoy; Cayo Sombrero (23), Playa Mero (18) and Punta Brava (15). Agelas sceptrum, Amphimedon erina and Niphates erecta were the most common in first location; Niphates erecta and Dysidea etheria in Playa Mero and Dysidea etheria, Niphates erecta and Amphimedon erina in Punta Brava. The species composition showed statistical differences between all three locations; Cayo Sombrero resulted the most diverse and even, followed by Playa Mero and Punta Brava. According to Sorensen Similarity Index results, Cayo Sombrero and Playa Mero were more similar, while Punta Brava resulted the most different. The variability in environmental conditions and the differential mass mortality effects of 1996 in all three reefs, were probably the main causes of the differences between their sponge communities. Nevertheless, we cannot conclude about the weight of these factors.

  12. Spatio-Temporal Patterns in the Coral Reef Communities of the Spermonde Archipelago, 2012–2014, II: Fish Assemblages Display Structured Variation Related to Benthic Condition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeremiah G. Plass-Johnson

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available The Spermonde Archipelago is a complex of ~70 mostly populated islands off Southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia, in the center of the Coral Triangle. The reefs in this area are exposed to a high level of anthropogenic disturbances. Previous studies have shown that variation in the benthos is strongly linked to water quality and distance from the mainland. However, little is known about the fish assemblages of the region and if their community structure also follows a relationship with benthic structure and distance from shore. In this study, we used eight islands of the archipelago, varying in distance from 1 to 55 km relative to the mainland, and 3 years of surveys, to describe benthic and fish assemblages and to examine the spatial and temporal influence of benthic composition on the structure of the fish assemblages. Cluster analysis indicated that distinct groups of fish were associated with distance, while few species were present across the entire range of sites. Relating fish communities to benthic composition using a multivariate generalized linear model confirmed that fish groups relate to structural complexity (rugosity or differing benthic groups; either algae, reef builders (coral and crustose coralline algae or invertebrates and rubble. From these relationships we can identify sets of fish species that may be lost given continued degradation of the Spermonde reefs. Lastly, the incorporation of water quality, benthic and fish indices indicates that local coral reefs responded positively after an acute disturbance in 2013 with increases in reef builders and fish diversity over relatively short (1 year time frames. This study contributes an important, missing component (fish community structure to the growing literature on the Spermonde Archipelago, a system that features environmental pressures common in the greater Southeast Asian region.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-06-01

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

  14. Community structure and palaeoecological implications of calcareous encrusters on artificial substrates across a Mexican Caribbean reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hepburn, L. J.; Blanchon, P.; Murphy, G.; Cousins, L.; Perry, C. T.

    2015-03-01

    Calcareous encrusters stabilize and bind reef framework and contribute significantly to reef function and biodiversity. Their calcareous skeletons have good preservation potential which, together with well-constrained habitat preferences, makes them useful indicators of past environmental conditions. However, our knowledge of environmental tolerances and spatial distribution trends of encrusters remains limited. Here, we determine the distributional trends and environmental tolerances of calcareous encrusters and delineate the relevance of particular species/genera for palaeoecological reconstructions. Artificial microhabitats were created to mimic exposed, partially cryptic, and cryptic habitats in various orientations for periods of 1 and 2 yr. Calcareous encruster coverage was high, especially in cryptic habitats (95 %), and clear successional trends were observed over time. Total encruster carbonate production was intermediate (range 72.8-476.3 g m-2 yr-1). Encruster species and growth morphology exhibited a defined zonation in response to reef sub-environment, microhabitat, and environmental factors such as light and wave exposure. Linear regression identified three coralline algae genera, as well as Homotrema rubrum, Planorbulina spp., and cemented bivalves as those most likely to occur in particular habitats. Therefore, the presence of these species may be used with greater confidence in distinguishing palaeomicroenvironments.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-30

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

  16. 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

  17. Influence of landscape structure on reef fish assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grober-Dunsmore, R.; Frazer, T.K.; Beets, J.P.; Lindberg, W.J.; Zwick, P.; Funicelli, N.A.

    2008-01-01

    Management of tropical marine environments calls for interdisciplinary studies and innovative methodologies that consider processes occurring over broad spatial scales. We investigated relationships between landscape structure and reef fish assemblage structure in the US Virgin Islands. Measures of landscape structure were transformed into a reduced set of composite indices using principal component analyses (PCA) to synthesize data on the spatial patterning of the landscape structure of the study reefs. However, composite indices (e.g., habitat diversity) were not particularly informative for predicting reef fish assemblage structure. Rather, relationships were interpreted more easily when functional groups of fishes were related to individual habitat features. In particular, multiple reef fish parameters were strongly associated with reef context. Fishes responded to benthic habitat structure at multiple spatial scales, with various groups of fishes each correlated to a unique suite of variables. Accordingly, future experiments should be designed to test functional relationships based on the ecology of the organisms of interest. Our study demonstrates that landscape-scale habitat features influence reef fish communities, illustrating promise in applying a landscape ecology approach to better understand factors that structure coral reef ecosystems. Furthermore, our findings may prove useful in design of spatially-based conservation approaches such as marine protected areas (MPAs), because landscape-scale metrics may serve as proxies for areas with high species diversity and abundance within the coral reef landscape. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  18. Seasonal sediment dynamics shape temperate bedrock reef communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Figurski, Jared D.; Freiwald, Jan; Lonhart, Steve I.; Storlazzi, Curt

    2016-01-01

    Mobilized seafloor sediment can impact benthic reef communities through burial, scour, and turbidity. These processes are ubiquitous in coastal oceans and, through their influence on the survival, fitness, and interactions of species, can alter the structure and function of benthic communities. In northern Monterey Bay, California, USA, as much as 30% of the seafloor is buried or exposed seasonally, making this an ideal location to test how subtidal temperate rocky reef communities vary in the presence and absence of chronic sediment-based disturbances. Designated dynamic plots were naturally inundated by sediment in summer (50 to 100% cover) and swept clean in winter, whereas designated stable plots remained free of sediment during our study. Multivariate analyses indicated significant differences in the structure of sessile and mobile communities between dynamic and stable reef habitats. For sessile species, community structure in disturbed plots was less variable in space and time than in stable plots due to the maintenance of an early successional state. In contrast, community structure of mobile species varied more in disturbed plots than in stable plots, reflecting how mobile species distribute in response to sediment dynamics. Some species were found only in these disturbed areas, suggesting that the spatial mosaic of disturbance could increase regional diversity. We discuss how the relative ability of species to tolerate disturbance at different life history stages and their ability to colonize habitat translate into community-level differences among habitats, and how this response varies between mobile and sessile communities.

  19. Restoration of a temperate reef: Effects on the fish community

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Støttrup, Josianne; Stenberg, Claus; Dahl, Karsten

    2014-01-01

    Trindel in Kattegat, Denmark, has now been re-established with the aim of restoring the reef’s historical structure and function. The effects of the restoration on the local fish community are reported here. Fishing surveys using gillnets and fyke nets were conducted before the restoration (2007) and four...... years after the restoration of the reef (2012). Species of the family Labridae, which have a high affinity for rocky reefs, dominated both before and after the restoration. Commercially important species such as cod Gadus morhua, and saithe Pollachius virens, occurred infrequently in the catches in 2007....... The findings highlight the importance of reef habitats for fish communities and the need for their protection...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  1. Cryptic Coral Reef Diversity Across the Pacific Assessed using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures and Multi-omic Methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ransome, E. J.; Timmers, M.; Hartmann, A.; Collins, A.; Meyer, C.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs harbor diverse and distinct eukaryotic, bacterial and viral communities, which are critically important for their success. The lack of standardized measures for comprehensively assessing reef diversity has been a major obstacle in understanding the complexity of eukaryotic and microbial associations, and the processes that drive ecosystem shifts on reefs. ARMS, which mimic the structural complexity of the reef using artificial settlement plates, were used to systematically measure reef biodiversity across the Indo-Pacific. This device allows for standardized sampling of reef microbes to metazoans, providing the opportunity to investigate the fundamental links between these groups at an ecosystem level. We integrate the use of traditional ecology methods with metagenomics and metabolomics (metabolic predictors) to quantify the taxonomic composition of one of the planet's most diverse ecosystems and to assess the fundamental links between these cryptic communities and ecosystem function along geographical and anthropogenic stress gradients.

  2. Coral Reef Community Composition in the Context of Disturbance History on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Chong-Seng, Karen M.; Huchery, Cindy; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; Nash, Kirsty L.

    2014-01-01

    Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed) and reef zone (slope, crest and flat) into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral communities to persist into

  3. Carbonate Production by Benthic Communities on Shallow Coralgal Reefs of Abrolhos Bank, Brazil.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vanessa Moura Dos Reis

    Full Text Available The abundance of reef builders, non-builders and the calcium carbonate produced by communities established in Calcification Accretion Units (CAUs were determined in three Abrolhos Bank shallow reefs during the period from 2012 to 2014. In addition, the seawater temperature, the irradiance, and the amount and composition of the sediments were determined. The inner and outer reef arcs were compared. CAUs located on the inner reef shelf were under the influence of terrigenous sediments. On the outer reefs, the sediments were composed primarily of marine biogenic carbonates. The mean carbonate production in shallow reefs of Abrolhos was 579 ± 98 g m-2 y-1. The builder community was dominated by crustose coralline algae, while the non-builder community was dominated by turf. A marine heat wave was detected during the summer of 2013-2014, and the number of consecutive days with a temperature above or below the summer mean was positively correlated with the turf cover increase. The mean carbonate production of the shallow reefs of Abrolhos Bank was greater than the estimated carbonate production measured for artificial structures on several other shallow reefs of the world. The calcimass was higher than the non-calcareous mass, suggesting that the Abrolhos reefs are still in a positive carbonate production balance. Given that marine heat waves produce an increase of turf cover on the shallow reefs of the Abrolhos, a decrease in the cover represented by reef builders and shifting carbonate production are expected in the near future.

  4. Carbonate Production by Benthic Communities on Shallow Coralgal Reefs of Abrolhos Bank, Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reis, Vanessa Moura Dos; Karez, Cláudia Santiago; Mariath, Rodrigo; de Moraes, Fernando Coreixas; de Carvalho, Rodrigo Tomazetto; Brasileiro, Poliana Silva; Bahia, Ricardo da Gama; Lotufo, Tito Monteiro da Cruz; Ramalho, Laís Vieira; de Moura, Rodrigo Leão; Francini-Filho, Ronaldo Bastos; Pereira-Filho, Guilherme Henrique; Thompson, Fabiano Lopes; Bastos, Alex Cardoso; Salgado, Leonardo Tavares; Amado-Filho, Gilberto Menezes

    2016-01-01

    The abundance of reef builders, non-builders and the calcium carbonate produced by communities established in Calcification Accretion Units (CAUs) were determined in three Abrolhos Bank shallow reefs during the period from 2012 to 2014. In addition, the seawater temperature, the irradiance, and the amount and composition of the sediments were determined. The inner and outer reef arcs were compared. CAUs located on the inner reef shelf were under the influence of terrigenous sediments. On the outer reefs, the sediments were composed primarily of marine biogenic carbonates. The mean carbonate production in shallow reefs of Abrolhos was 579 ± 98 g m-2 y-1. The builder community was dominated by crustose coralline algae, while the non-builder community was dominated by turf. A marine heat wave was detected during the summer of 2013-2014, and the number of consecutive days with a temperature above or below the summer mean was positively correlated with the turf cover increase. The mean carbonate production of the shallow reefs of Abrolhos Bank was greater than the estimated carbonate production measured for artificial structures on several other shallow reefs of the world. The calcimass was higher than the non-calcareous mass, suggesting that the Abrolhos reefs are still in a positive carbonate production balance. Given that marine heat waves produce an increase of turf cover on the shallow reefs of the Abrolhos, a decrease in the cover represented by reef builders and shifting carbonate production are expected in the near future.

  5. 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.

  6. Effects of seawater acidification on a coral reef meiofauna community

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sarmento, V. C.; Souza, T. P.; Esteves, A. M.; Santos, P. J. P.

    2015-09-01

    Despite the increasing risk that ocean acidification will modify benthic communities, great uncertainty remains about how this impact will affect the lower trophic levels, such as members of the meiofauna. A mesocosm experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of water acidification on a phytal meiofauna community from a coral reef. Community samples collected from the coral reef subtidal zone (Recife de Fora Municipal Marine Park, Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil), using artificial substrate units, were exposed to a control pH (ambient seawater) and to three levels of seawater acidification (pH reductions of 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 units below ambient) and collected after 15 and 30 d. After 30 d of exposure, major changes in the structure of the meiofauna community were observed in response to reduced pH. The major meiofauna groups showed divergent responses to acidification. Harpacticoida and Polychaeta densities did not show significant differences due to pH. Nematoda, Ostracoda, Turbellaria, and Tardigrada exhibited their highest densities in low-pH treatments (especially at the pH reduction of 0.6 units, pH 7.5), while harpacticoid nauplii were strongly negatively affected by low pH. This community-based mesocosm study supports previous suggestions that ocean acidification induces important changes in the structure of marine benthic communities. Considering the importance of meiofauna in the food web of coral reef ecosystems, the results presented here demonstrate that the trophic functioning of coral reefs is seriously threatened by ocean acidification.

  7. Hierarchical drivers of reef-fish metacommunity structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacNeil, M Aaron; Graham, Nicholas A J; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Kulbicki, Michel; Galzin, René; Harmelin-Vivien, Mireille; Rushton, Steven P

    2009-01-01

    Coral reefs are highly complex ecological systems, where multiple processes interact across scales in space and time to create assemblages of exceptionally high biodiversity. Despite the increasing frequency of hierarchically structured sampling programs used in coral-reef science, little progress has been made in quantifying the relative importance of processes operating across multiple scales. The vast majority of reef studies are conducted, or at least analyzed, at a single spatial scale, ignoring the implicitly hierarchical structure of the overall system in favor of small-scale experiments or large-scale observations. Here we demonstrate how alpha (mean local number of species), beta diversity (degree of species dissimilarity among local sites), and gamma diversity (overall species richness) vary with spatial scale, and using a hierarchical, information-theoretic approach, we evaluate the relative importance of site-, reef-, and atoll-level processes driving the fish metacommunity structure among 10 atolls in French Polynesia. Process-based models, representing well-established hypotheses about drivers of reef-fish community structure, were assembled into a candidate set of 12 hierarchical linear models. Variation in fish abundance, biomass, and species richness were unevenly distributed among transect, reef, and atoll levels, establishing the relative contribution of variation at these spatial scales to the structure of the metacommunity. Reef-fish biomass, species richness, and the abundance of most functional-groups corresponded primarily with transect-level habitat diversity and atoll-lagoon size, whereas detritivore and grazer abundances were largely correlated with potential covariates of larval dispersal. Our findings show that (1) within-transect and among-atoll factors primarily drive the relationship between alpha and gamma diversity in this reef-fish metacommunity; (2) habitat is the primary correlate with reef-fish metacommunity structure at

  8. Project O.R.B (Operation Reef Ball): Creating Artificial Reefs, Educating the Community

    Science.gov (United States)

    Phipps, A.

    2012-04-01

    of this artificial reef. Over 3,000 students have been reached through the educational outreach endeavors of Project O.R.B. This successful STEM project models the benefits of partnerships with universities, local K-12 public schools and community conservation organizations and provides students with authentic learning experiences. Students are able to have a positive impact on their local coral reef environment, their peers and their community through this comprehensive service-learning project.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

  10. Sand-mediated divergence between shallow reef communities on ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Sand-mediated divergence between shallow reef communities on horizontal and vertical substrata in the western Indian Ocean. SN Porter, GM Branch, KJ Sink. Abstract. Distinctions are rarely made between vertical and horizontal surfaces when assessing reef community composition, yet physical differences are expected ...

  11. A comparison of visual and collection-based methods for assessing community structure of coral reef fishes in the tropical Eastern Pacific

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Alzate, Adriana; Zapata, Fernando A.; Giraldo, Alan

    Gorgona Island, the major insular area in the Colombian Pacific Ocean, is characterized by a remarkably high biological and ecosystem diversity for this area of the world. Coral reefs are well developed and their fish communities have been described using conventional visual surveys. These methods,

  12. Oyster Reef Communities in the Chesapeake Bay: A Brief Primer. VORTEX: Virginia's Oyster Reef Teaching EXperience.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harding, Juliana M.; Mann, Roger; Clark, Vicki P.

    This document introduces Virginia's Oyster Reef Teaching EXperience (VORTEX), which is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the importance of oyster reef communities in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The VORTEX program uses field and laboratory experience supported by multimedia instruction. This document presents an overview on the biology of…

  13. Spatial variation in coral reef fish and benthic communities in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha T.

    2017-06-06

    Local-scale ecological information is critical as a sound basis for spatial management and conservation and as support for ongoing research in relatively unstudied areas. We conducted visual surveys of fish and benthic communities on nine reefs (3–24 km from shore) in the Thuwal area of the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Fish biomass increased with increasing distance from shore, but was generally low compared to reefs experiencing minimal human influence around the world. All reefs had a herbivore-dominated trophic structure and few top predators, such as sharks, jacks, or large groupers. Coral cover was considerably lower on inshore reefs, likely due to a 2010 bleaching event. Community analyses showed inshore reefs to be characterized by turf algae, slower-growing corals, lower herbivore diversity, and highly abundant turf-farming damselfishes. Offshore reefs had more planktivorous fishes, a more diverse herbivore assemblage, and faster-growing corals. All reefs appear to be impacted by overfishing, and inshore reefs seem more vulnerable to thermal bleaching. The study provides a description of the spatial variation in biomass and community structure in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea and provides a basis for spatial prioritization and subsequent marine protected area design in Thuwal.

  14. Spatial variation in coral reef fish and benthic communities in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khalil, Maha T; Bouwmeester, Jessica; Berumen, Michael L

    2017-01-01

    Local-scale ecological information is critical as a sound basis for spatial management and conservation and as support for ongoing research in relatively unstudied areas. We conducted visual surveys of fish and benthic communities on nine reefs (3-24 km from shore) in the Thuwal area of the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Fish biomass increased with increasing distance from shore, but was generally low compared to reefs experiencing minimal human influence around the world. All reefs had a herbivore-dominated trophic structure and few top predators, such as sharks, jacks, or large groupers. Coral cover was considerably lower on inshore reefs, likely due to a 2010 bleaching event. Community analyses showed inshore reefs to be characterized by turf algae, slower-growing corals, lower herbivore diversity, and highly abundant turf-farming damselfishes. Offshore reefs had more planktivorous fishes, a more diverse herbivore assemblage, and faster-growing corals . All reefs appear to be impacted by overfishing, and inshore reefs seem more vulnerable to thermal bleaching. The study provides a description of the spatial variation in biomass and community structure in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea and provides a basis for spatial prioritization and subsequent marine protected area design in Thuwal.

  15. Spatial variation in coral reef fish and benthic communities in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maha T. Khalil

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Local-scale ecological information is critical as a sound basis for spatial management and conservation and as support for ongoing research in relatively unstudied areas. We conducted visual surveys of fish and benthic communities on nine reefs (3–24 km from shore in the Thuwal area of the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Fish biomass increased with increasing distance from shore, but was generally low compared to reefs experiencing minimal human influence around the world. All reefs had a herbivore-dominated trophic structure and few top predators, such as sharks, jacks, or large groupers. Coral cover was considerably lower on inshore reefs, likely due to a 2010 bleaching event. Community analyses showed inshore reefs to be characterized by turf algae, slower-growing corals, lower herbivore diversity, and highly abundant turf-farming damselfishes. Offshore reefs had more planktivorous fishes, a more diverse herbivore assemblage, and faster-growing corals. All reefs appear to be impacted by overfishing, and inshore reefs seem more vulnerable to thermal bleaching. The study provides a description of the spatial variation in biomass and community structure in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea and provides a basis for spatial prioritization and subsequent marine protected area design in Thuwal.

  16. Spatial variation in coral reef fish and benthic communities in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha T.; Bouwmeester, Jessica; Berumen, Michael L.

    2017-01-01

    Local-scale ecological information is critical as a sound basis for spatial management and conservation and as support for ongoing research in relatively unstudied areas. We conducted visual surveys of fish and benthic communities on nine reefs (3–24 km from shore) in the Thuwal area of the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Fish biomass increased with increasing distance from shore, but was generally low compared to reefs experiencing minimal human influence around the world. All reefs had a herbivore-dominated trophic structure and few top predators, such as sharks, jacks, or large groupers. Coral cover was considerably lower on inshore reefs, likely due to a 2010 bleaching event. Community analyses showed inshore reefs to be characterized by turf algae, slower-growing corals, lower herbivore diversity, and highly abundant turf-farming damselfishes. Offshore reefs had more planktivorous fishes, a more diverse herbivore assemblage, and faster-growing corals. All reefs appear to be impacted by overfishing, and inshore reefs seem more vulnerable to thermal bleaching. The study provides a description of the spatial variation in biomass and community structure in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea and provides a basis for spatial prioritization and subsequent marine protected area design in Thuwal.

  17. Shifting communities after­­ typhoon damage on an upper mesophotic reef in Okinawa, Japan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kristine N. White

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Very few studies have been conducted on the long-term effects of typhoon damage on mesophotic coral reefs. This study investigates the long-term community dynamics of damage from Typhoon 17 (Jelawat in 2012 on the coral community of the upper mesophotic Ryugu Reef in Okinawa, Japan. A shift from foliose to bushy coral morphologies between December 2012 and August 2015 was documented, especially on the area of the reef that was previously recorded to be poor in scleractinian genera diversity and dominated by foliose corals. Comparatively, an area with higher diversity of scleractinian coral genera was observed to be less affected by typhoon damage with more stable community structure due to less change in dominant coral morphologies. Despite some changes in the composition of dominant genera, the generally high coverage of the mesophotic coral community is facilitating the recovery of Ryugu Reef after typhoon damage.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-09-01

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

  1. Reef fish communities in the central Red Sea show evidence of asymmetrical fishing pressure

    KAUST Repository

    Kattan, Alexander; Coker, Darren James; Berumen, Michael L.

    2017-01-01

    In order to assess human impacts and develop rational restoration goals for corals reefs, baseline estimates of fish communities are required. In Saudi Arabian waters of the Red Sea, widespread unregulated fishing is thought to have been ongoing for decades, but there is little direct evidence of the impact on reef communities. To contextualize this human influence, reef-associated fish assemblages on offshore reefs in Saudi Arabia and Sudan in the central Red Sea were investigated. These reefs have comparable benthic environments, experience similar oceanographic influences, and are separated by less than 300 km, offering an ideal comparison for identifying potential anthropogenic impacts such as fishing pressure. This is the first study to assess reef fish biomass in both these regions, providing important baselines estimates. We found that biomass of top predators on offshore Sudanese reefs was on average almost three times that measured on comparable reefs in Saudi Arabia. Biomass values from some of the most remote reefs surveyed in Sudan’s far southern region even approach those previously reported in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, northern Line Islands, Pitcairn Islands, and other isolated Pacific islands and atolls. The findings suggest that fishing pressure has significantly altered the fish community structure of Saudi Arabian Red Sea reefs, most conspicuously in the form of top predator removal. The results point towards the urgent need for enhanced regulation and enforcement of fishing practices in Saudi Arabia, while making a strong case for protection in the form of no-take marine protected areas to maintain preservation of the relatively intact southern Sudanese Red Sea.

  2. Reef fish communities in the central Red Sea show evidence of asymmetrical fishing pressure

    KAUST Repository

    Kattan, Alexander

    2017-03-09

    In order to assess human impacts and develop rational restoration goals for corals reefs, baseline estimates of fish communities are required. In Saudi Arabian waters of the Red Sea, widespread unregulated fishing is thought to have been ongoing for decades, but there is little direct evidence of the impact on reef communities. To contextualize this human influence, reef-associated fish assemblages on offshore reefs in Saudi Arabia and Sudan in the central Red Sea were investigated. These reefs have comparable benthic environments, experience similar oceanographic influences, and are separated by less than 300 km, offering an ideal comparison for identifying potential anthropogenic impacts such as fishing pressure. This is the first study to assess reef fish biomass in both these regions, providing important baselines estimates. We found that biomass of top predators on offshore Sudanese reefs was on average almost three times that measured on comparable reefs in Saudi Arabia. Biomass values from some of the most remote reefs surveyed in Sudan’s far southern region even approach those previously reported in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, northern Line Islands, Pitcairn Islands, and other isolated Pacific islands and atolls. The findings suggest that fishing pressure has significantly altered the fish community structure of Saudi Arabian Red Sea reefs, most conspicuously in the form of top predator removal. The results point towards the urgent need for enhanced regulation and enforcement of fishing practices in Saudi Arabia, while making a strong case for protection in the form of no-take marine protected areas to maintain preservation of the relatively intact southern Sudanese Red Sea.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sangil, Carlos; Guzman, Hector M

    2016-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-10-06

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

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

  6. 27 years of benthic and coral community dynamics on turbid, highly urbanised reefs off Singapore.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-08

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Noble, Mae M.

    2013-01-14

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mae M Noble

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

  9. Oysters and Oyster Reef Communities in Florida.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knight, Jean; Bly, Joe

    1989-01-01

    The habitat, life history, feeding, classification, anatomy and pearl production of the American oyster (Crassostrea virginica) are presented. A list of other oyster reef inhabitants and predators is provided. Harvest and habitat loss are discussed. (CW)

  10. A matter of scale: damage from Hurricane Hugo (1989) to U.S. Virgin Islands reefs at the colony, community and whole reef level

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    1993-01-01

    Studies at Buck Island Reef National Monument (St. Croix) and Virgin Islands National Park (St. John) by scientists in the U.S. National Park Service Coral Reef Assessment Program re- vealed the effects of Humcane Hugo on individual coral species, community parameters, and overall reef structure. Effects of the storm varied with depth, coral species, location relative to the storm path, character of the pre-storm communities, and ecological history. Live coral cover, initially less than 30% at all sites, dropped by 40 to 73%. Cover by the dominant species Montastrea annularis de- clined about 35% on the St. John reefs. At Buck Island, Acropora palmata cover, already reduced from 85% to 5% by white band disease and storms, fell to 0.8% after Hugo. Some areas on the south side of Buck Island were reduced to rubble pave- ment while other areas escaped serious damage. Data from cores at Buck Island reveal the influence of wave energy and storm frequency on overall reef character. Patchiness and variation in the responses of different species, zones, and entire reefs to the storm suggest that assessment of long-term trends in reef structure and composition requires analysis of changes at permanent study sites distributed over large areas.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hochberg, E. J.

    2016-02-01

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

  12. Marine protected areas increase resilience among coral reef communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mellin, Camille; Aaron MacNeil, M; Cheal, Alistair J; Emslie, Michael J; Julian Caley, M

    2016-06-01

    With marine biodiversity declining globally at accelerating rates, maximising the effectiveness of conservation has become a key goal for local, national and international regulators. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been widely advocated for conserving and managing marine biodiversity yet, despite extensive research, their benefits for conserving non-target species and wider ecosystem functions remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that MPAs can increase the resilience of coral reef communities to natural disturbances, including coral bleaching, coral diseases, Acanthaster planci outbreaks and storms. Using a 20-year time series from Australia's Great Barrier Reef, we show that within MPAs, (1) reef community composition was 21-38% more stable; (2) the magnitude of disturbance impacts was 30% lower and (3) subsequent recovery was 20% faster that in adjacent unprotected habitats. Our results demonstrate that MPAs can increase the resilience of marine communities to natural disturbance possibly through herbivory, trophic cascades and portfolio effects. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  14. Biodiversity and food web indicators of community recovery in intertidal shellfish reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Christianen, M.J.A.; Heide, van der T.; Holthuijsen, S.J.; Reijden, van der K.J.; Borst, A.C.W.; Olff, H.

    2017-01-01

    In conservation strategies of marine ecosystems, priority is given to habitat-structuring foundation species (e.g. seagrasses, mangroves and reef-building corals, shellfish) with the implicit goal to protect or restore associated communities and their interactions. However, the number and accuracy

  15. Biodiversity and food web indicators of community recovery in intertidal shellfish reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Christianen, M.J.A.; van der Heide, T.; Holthuijsen, S.J.; van der Reijden, K.J.; Borst, A.C.W.; Olff, H.

    In conservation strategies of marine ecosystems, priority is given to habitat-structuring foundation species (e.g. seagrasses, mangroves and reef-building corals, shellfish) with the implicit goal to protect or restore associated communities and their interactions. However, the number and accuracy

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edwin A. Hernández-Delgado

    2014-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-10-01

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

  18. Re-evaluating the health of coral reef communities: baselines and evidence for human impacts across the central Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Jennifer E; Brainard, Rusty; Carter, Amanda; Grillo, Saray; Edwards, Clinton; Harris, Jill; Lewis, Levi; Obura, David; Rohwer, Forest; Sala, Enric; Vroom, Peter S; Sandin, Stuart

    2016-01-13

    Numerous studies have documented declines in the abundance of reef-building corals over the last several decades and in some but not all cases, phase shifts to dominance by macroalgae have occurred. These assessments, however, often ignore the remainder of the benthos and thus provide limited information on the present-day structure and function of coral reef communities. Here, using an unprecedentedly large dataset collected within the last 10 years across 56 islands spanning five archipelagos in the central Pacific, we examine how benthic reef communities differ in the presence and absence of human populations. Using islands as replicates, we examine whether benthic community structure is associated with human habitation within and among archipelagos and across latitude. While there was no evidence for coral to macroalgal phase shifts across our dataset we did find that the majority of reefs on inhabited islands were dominated by fleshy non-reef-building organisms (turf algae, fleshy macroalgae and non-calcifying invertebrates). By contrast, benthic communities from uninhabited islands were more variable but in general supported more calcifiers and active reef builders (stony corals and crustose coralline algae). Our results suggest that cumulative human impacts across the central Pacific may be causing a reduction in the abundance of reef builders resulting in island scale phase shifts to dominance by fleshy organisms. © 2016 The Author(s).

  19. Biomimetric sentinel reef structures for optical sensing and communications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fries, David; Hutcheson, Tim; Josef, Noam; Millie, David; Tate, Connor

    2017-05-01

    Traditional artificial reef structures are designed with uniform cellular architectures and topologies and do not mimic natural reef forms. Strings and ropes are a proven, common fisheries and mariculture construction element throughout the world and using them as artificial reef scaffolding can enable a diversity of ocean sensing, communications systems including the goal of sentinel reefs. The architecture and packaging of electronics is key to enabling such structures and systems. The distributed sensor reef concept leads toward a demonstrable science-engineering-informed framework for 3D smart habitat designs critical to stock fish development and coastal monitoring and protection. These `nature-inspired' reef infrastructures, can enable novel instrumented `reef observatories' capable of collecting real-time ecosystem data. Embedding lighting and electronic elements into artificial reef systems are the first systems conceptualized. This approach of bringing spatial light to the underwater world for optical sensing, communication and even a new breed of underwater robotic vehicle is an interdisciplinary research activity which integrates principles of electronic packaging, and ocean technology with art/design.

  20. Ocean acidification alters early successional coral reef communities and their rates of community metabolism.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sam H C Noonan

    Full Text Available Ocean acidification is expected to alter community composition on coral reefs, but its effects on reef community metabolism are poorly understood. Here we document how early successional benthic coral reef communities change in situ along gradients of carbon dioxide (CO2, and the consequences of these changes on rates of community photosynthesis, respiration, and light and dark calcification. Ninety standardised benthic communities were grown on PVC tiles deployed at two shallow-water volcanic CO2 seeps and two adjacent control sites in Papua New Guinea. Along the CO2 gradient, both the upward facing phototrophic and the downward facing cryptic communities changed in their composition. Under ambient CO2, both communities were dominated by calcifying algae, but with increasing CO2 they were gradually replaced by non-calcifying algae (predominantly green filamentous algae, cyanobacteria and macroalgae, which increased from ~30% to ~80% cover. Responses were weaker in the invertebrate communities, however ascidians and tube-forming polychaetes declined with increasing CO2. Differences in the carbonate chemistry explained a far greater amount of change in communities than differences between the two reefs and successional changes from five to 13 months, suggesting community successions are established early and are under strong chemical control. As pH declined from 8.0 to 7.8, rates of gross photosynthesis and dark respiration of the 13-month old reef communities (upper and cryptic surfaces combined significantly increased by 10% and 20%, respectively, in response to altered community composition. As a consequence, net production remained constant. Light and dark calcification rates both gradually declined by 20%, and low or negative daily net calcification rates were observed at an aragonite saturation state of <2.3. The study demonstrates that ocean acidification as predicted for the end of this century will strongly alter reef communities, and

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  2. Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across the U.S. Pacific from 2008 to 2012

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — To support a long-term program for sustainable management and conservation of coral reef ecosystems, from 2008, Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) have...

  3. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across the Pacific Remote Island Areas from 2011 to 2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates in the Hawaiian and Mariana...

  4. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across the Marianas Archipelago from 2011 to 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates in the Hawaiian and Mariana...

  5. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across the Hawaiian Archipelago from 2010 to 2016

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates in the Hawaiian and Mariana...

  6. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across American Samoa from 2012 to 2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates in the Hawaiian and Mariana...

  7. Population Structure of Montastraea cavernosa on Shallow versus Mesophotic Reefs in Bermuda

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goodbody-Gringley, Gretchen; Marchini, Chiara; Chequer, Alex D.; Goffredo, Stefano

    2015-01-01

    Mesophotic coral reef ecosystems remain largely unexplored with only limited information available on taxonomic composition, abundance and distribution. Yet, mesophotic reefs may serve as potential refugia for shallow-water species and thus understanding biodiversity, ecology and connectivity of deep reef communities is integral for resource management and conservation. The Caribbean coral, Montastraea cavernosa, is considered a depth generalist and is commonly found at mesophotic depths. We surveyed abundance and size-frequency of M. cavernosa populations at six shallow (10m) and six upper mesophotic (45m) sites in Bermuda and found population structure was depth dependent. The mean surface area of colonies at mesophotic sites was significantly smaller than at shallow sites, suggesting that growth rates and maximum colony surface area are limited on mesophotic reefs. Colony density was significantly higher at mesophotic sites, however, resulting in equal contributions to overall percent cover. Size-frequency distributions between shallow and mesophotic sites were also significantly different with populations at mesophotic reefs skewed towards smaller individuals. Overall, the results of this study provide valuable baseline data on population structure, which indicate that the mesophotic reefs of Bermuda support an established population of M. cavernosa. PMID:26544963

  8. Assessing cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) deployed at coral reef sites in Batangas, Philippines from 2012-03-12 to 2015-05-31 (NCEI Accession 0162829)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used by the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP) to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity across the...

  9. Effects of an artificial oyster shell reef on macrobenthic communities in Rongcheng Bay, East China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Qinzeng; Zhang, Libin; Zhang, Tao; Zhou, Yi; Xia, Sudong; Liu, Hui; Yang, Hongsheng

    2014-01-01

    An artificial oyster shell reef was deployed in Rongcheng Bay, East China. However, the effects of this reef on the surrounding macrobenthic communities were unknown. We compared sedimentary factors, macrobenthic biomass, abundance, and community composition and ecological indicators between the reef and non-reef areas over a one year period. The mean values for chlorophyll a (Chl a), total organic matter (TOM), total organic carbon (TOC), and total nitrogen (TN) content in surface sediments in the reef area were slightly higher than those in the non-reef area. The Chl a levels differed significantly between the two areas, but the TOM, TOC, and TN were not significantly different. The abundance of crustaceans was significantly different between the two areas, but the abundance and biomass of polychaetes, echinoderms, mollusk did not differ significantly. The permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) revealed that the macrobenthic community differed significantly through time and analysis of similarity multivariate analyses (ANOSIM) revealed that the macrobenthic community differed significantly in some months. The ecological indicators revealed that the environmental quality of the reef area was slightly better than that of the non-reef area. Overall, our results suggest that the artificial oyster shell reef may change the macrobenthic community and the quality of the environment. Despite the lack of an effect in the short term, long-term monitoring is still needed to evaluate the effects of artificial oyster shell reefs on macrobenthic communities.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael J Emslie

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-05-05

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janina Seemann

    2018-03-01

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

  13. Influence of an oyster reef on development of the microbial heterotrophic community of an estuarine biofilm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nocker, Andreas; Lepo, Joe E; Snyder, Richard A

    2004-11-01

    We characterized microbial biofilm communities developed over two very closely located but distinct benthic habitats in the Pensacola Bay estuary using two complementary cultivation-independent molecular techniques. Biofilms were grown for 7 days on glass slides held in racks 10 to 15 cm over an oyster reef and an adjacent muddy sand bottom. Total biomass and optical densities of dried biofilms showed dramatic differences for oyster reef versus non-oyster reef biofilms. This study assessed whether the observed spatial variation was reflected in the heterotrophic prokaryotic species composition. Genomic biofilm DNA from both locations was isolated and served as a template to amplify 16S rRNA genes with universal eubacterial primers. Fluorescently labeled PCR products were analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism, creating a genetic fingerprint of the composition of the microbial communities. Unlabeled PCR products were cloned in order to construct a clone library of 16S rRNA genes. Amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis was used to screen and define ribotypes. Partial sequences from unique ribotypes were compared with existing database entries to identify species and to construct phylogenetic trees representative of community structures. A pronounced difference in species richness and evenness was observed at the two sites. The biofilm community structure from the oyster reef setting had greater evenness and species richness than the one from the muddy sand bottom. The vast majority of the bacteria in the oyster reef biofilm were related to members of the gamma- and delta-subdivisions of Proteobacteria, the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium -Bacteroides cluster, and the phyla Planctomyces and Holophaga-Acidobacterium. The same groups were also present in the biofilm harvested at the muddy sand bottom, with the difference that nearly half of the community consisted of representatives of the Planctomyces phylum. Total species richness was estimated

  14. Consistent nutrient storage and supply mediated by diverse fish communities in coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allgeier, Jacob E; Layman, Craig A; Mumby, Peter J; Rosemond, Amy D

    2014-08-01

    Corals thrive in low nutrient environments and the conservation of these globally imperiled ecosystems is largely dependent on mitigating the effects of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. However, to better understand the implications of anthropogenic nutrients requires a heightened understanding of baseline nutrient dynamics within these ecosystems. Here, we provide a novel perspective on coral reef nutrient dynamics by examining the role of fish communities in the supply and storage of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). We quantified fish-mediated nutrient storage and supply for 144 species and modeled these data onto 172 fish communities (71 729 individual fish), in four types of coral reefs, as well as seagrass and mangrove ecosystems, throughout the Northern Antilles. Fish communities supplied and stored large quantities of nutrients, with rates varying among ecosystem types. The size structure and diversity of the fish communities best predicted N and P supply and storage and N : P supply, suggesting that alterations to fish communities (e.g., overfishing) will have important implications for nutrient dynamics in these systems. The stoichiometric ratio (N : P) for storage in fish mass (~8 : 1) and supply (~20 : 1) was notably consistent across the four coral reef types (but not seagrass or mangrove ecosystems). Published nutrient enrichment studies on corals show that deviations from this N : P supply ratio may be associated with poor coral fitness, providing qualitative support for the hypothesis that corals and their symbionts may be adapted to specific ratios of nutrient supply. Consumer nutrient stoichiometry provides a baseline from which to better understand nutrient dynamics in coral reef and other coastal ecosystems, information that is greatly needed if we are to implement more effective measures to ensure the future health of the world's oceans. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. Homogeneity of coral reef communities across 8 degrees of latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roberts, May B.; Jones, Geoffrey P.; McCormick, Mark I.; Munday, Philip L.; Neale, Stephen; Thorrold, Simon; Robitzch, Vanessa S.N.; Berumen, Michael L.

    2015-01-01

    Coral reef communities between 26.8°N and 18.6°N latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea were surveyed to provide baseline data and an assessment of fine-scale biogeography of communities in this region. Forty reefs along 1100 km of coastline were surveyed using depth-stratified visual transects of fish and benthic communities. Fish abundance and benthic cover data were analyzed using multivariate approaches to investigate whether coral reef communities differed with latitude. A total of 215 fish species and 90 benthic categories were recorded on the surveys. There were no significant differences among locations in fish abundance, species richness, or among several diversity indices. Despite known environmental gradients within the Red Sea, the communities remained surprisingly similar. The communities do, however, exhibit subtle changes across this span of reefs that likely reflect the constrained distributions of several species of reef fish and benthic fauna.

  16. Homogeneity of coral reef communities across 8 degrees of latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberts, May B; Jones, Geoffrey P; McCormick, Mark I; Munday, Philip L; Neale, Stephen; Thorrold, Simon; Robitzch, Vanessa S N; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-04-30

    Coral reef communities between 26.8 °N and 18.6 °N latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea were surveyed to provide baseline data and an assessment of fine-scale biogeography of communities in this region. Forty reefs along 1100 km of coastline were surveyed using depth-stratified visual transects of fish and benthic communities. Fish abundance and benthic cover data were analyzed using multivariate approaches to investigate whether coral reef communities differed with latitude. A total of 215 fish species and 90 benthic categories were recorded on the surveys. There were no significant differences among locations in fish abundance, species richness, or among several diversity indices. Despite known environmental gradients within the Red Sea, the communities remained surprisingly similar. The communities do, however, exhibit subtle changes across this span of reefs that likely reflect the constrained distributions of several species of reef fish and benthic fauna. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Homogeneity of coral reef communities across 8 degrees of latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roberts, May B.

    2015-11-20

    Coral reef communities between 26.8°N and 18.6°N latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea were surveyed to provide baseline data and an assessment of fine-scale biogeography of communities in this region. Forty reefs along 1100 km of coastline were surveyed using depth-stratified visual transects of fish and benthic communities. Fish abundance and benthic cover data were analyzed using multivariate approaches to investigate whether coral reef communities differed with latitude. A total of 215 fish species and 90 benthic categories were recorded on the surveys. There were no significant differences among locations in fish abundance, species richness, or among several diversity indices. Despite known environmental gradients within the Red Sea, the communities remained surprisingly similar. The communities do, however, exhibit subtle changes across this span of reefs that likely reflect the constrained distributions of several species of reef fish and benthic fauna.

  18. Archaeal and Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus of Caribbean Corals Differ in Their Degree of Host Specificity and Community Turnover Over Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frade, Pedro R; Roll, Katharina; Bergauer, Kristin; Herndl, Gerhard J

    2016-01-01

    Comparative studies on the distribution of archaeal versus bacterial communities associated with the surface mucus layer of corals have rarely taken place. It has therefore remained enigmatic whether mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities exhibit a similar specificity towards coral hosts and whether they vary in the same fashion over spatial gradients and between reef locations. We used microbial community profiling (terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism, T-RFLP) and clone library sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to compare the diversity and community structure of dominant archaeal and bacterial communities associating with the mucus of three common reef-building coral species (Porites astreoides, Siderastrea siderea and Orbicella annularis) over different spatial scales on a Caribbean fringing reef. Sampling locations included three reef sites, three reef patches within each site and two depths. Reference sediment samples and ambient water were also taken for each of the 18 sampling locations resulting in a total of 239 samples. While only 41% of the bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) characterized by T-RFLP were shared between mucus and the ambient water or sediment, for archaeal OTUs this percentage was 2-fold higher (78%). About half of the mucus-associated OTUs (44% and 58% of bacterial and archaeal OTUs, respectively) were shared between the three coral species. Our multivariate statistical analysis (ANOSIM, PERMANOVA and CCA) showed that while the bacterial community composition was determined by habitat (mucus, sediment or seawater), host coral species, location and spatial distance, the archaeal community composition was solely determined by the habitat. This study highlights that mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities differ in their degree of community turnover over reefs and in their host-specificity.

  19. Archaeal and Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus of Caribbean Corals Differ in Their Degree of Host Specificity and Community Turnover Over Reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pedro R Frade

    Full Text Available Comparative studies on the distribution of archaeal versus bacterial communities associated with the surface mucus layer of corals have rarely taken place. It has therefore remained enigmatic whether mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities exhibit a similar specificity towards coral hosts and whether they vary in the same fashion over spatial gradients and between reef locations. We used microbial community profiling (terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism, T-RFLP and clone library sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to compare the diversity and community structure of dominant archaeal and bacterial communities associating with the mucus of three common reef-building coral species (Porites astreoides, Siderastrea siderea and Orbicella annularis over different spatial scales on a Caribbean fringing reef. Sampling locations included three reef sites, three reef patches within each site and two depths. Reference sediment samples and ambient water were also taken for each of the 18 sampling locations resulting in a total of 239 samples. While only 41% of the bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs characterized by T-RFLP were shared between mucus and the ambient water or sediment, for archaeal OTUs this percentage was 2-fold higher (78%. About half of the mucus-associated OTUs (44% and 58% of bacterial and archaeal OTUs, respectively were shared between the three coral species. Our multivariate statistical analysis (ANOSIM, PERMANOVA and CCA showed that while the bacterial community composition was determined by habitat (mucus, sediment or seawater, host coral species, location and spatial distance, the archaeal community composition was solely determined by the habitat. This study highlights that mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities differ in their degree of community turnover over reefs and in their host-specificity.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-10-01

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

  1. The ecology of intertidal oyster reefs of the South Atlantic Coast: A community profile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bahr, Leonard M.; Lanier, William P.

    1981-01-01

    The functional role of the intertidal oyster reef community in the southeastern Atlantic coastal zone is described. This description is based on a compilation of published data, as well as some unpublished information presented as hypotheses. The profile is organized in a hierarchical manner, such that relevant details of reef oyster biology (autecology) are presented, followed by a description of the reef community level of organization. Then the reef community is described as a subsystem of the coastal marsh-ecosystem (synecoloqy). This information is also synthesized in a series of nested conceptual models of oyster reefs at the regional level, the drainage basin level, and the individual reef level. The final chapter includes a summary overview and a section on management implications and guidelines. Intertidal oyster reefs are relatively persistent features of the salt marsh estuarine ecosystem in the southeastern Atlantic coastal zone. The average areal extent of the oyster reef subsystem in this larger ecosystem is relatively small (about 0.05%). This proportion does not reflect, however, the functional importance of the reef subsystem in stablizing the marsh, providing food for estuarine consumers, mineralizing organic matter, and providing firm substrates in this otherwise soft environment.

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  3. 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.

  4. Unraveling the structure and composition of Varadero Reef, an improbable and imperiled coral reef in the Colombian Caribbean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valeria Pizarro

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are commonly associated with oligotrophic, well-illuminated waters. In 2013, a healthy coral reef was discovered in one of the least expected places within the Colombian Caribbean: at the entrance of Cartagena Bay, a highly-polluted system that receives industrial and sewage waste, as well as high sediment and freshwater loads from an outlet of the Magdalena River (the longest and most populated river basin in Colombia. Here we provide the first characterization of Varadero Reef’s geomorphology and biological diversity. We also compare these characteristics with those of a nearby reference reef, Barú Reef, located in an area much less influenced by the described polluted system. Below the murky waters, we found high coral cover of 45.1% (±3.9; up to 80% in some sectors, high species diversity, including 42 species of scleractinian coral, 38 of sponge, three of lobster, and eight of sea urchin; a fish community composed of 61 species belonging to 24 families, and the typical zonation of a Caribbean fringing reef. All attributes found correspond to a reef that, according to current standards should be considered in “good condition”. Current plans to dredge part of Varadero threaten the survival of this reef. There is, therefore, an urgent need to describe the location and characteristics of Varadero as a first step towards gaining acknowledgement of its existence and garnering inherent legal and environmental protections.

  5. Structurally complex habitats provided by Acropora palmata influence ecosystem processes on a reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lemoine, N. P.; Valentine, J. F.

    2012-09-01

    The disappearance of Acropora palmata from reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) represents a significant loss in the amount of structurally complex habitat available for reef-associated species. The consequences of such a widespread loss of complex structure on ecosystem processes are still unclear. We sought to determine whether the disappearance of complex structure has adversely affected grazing and invertebrate predation rates on a shallow reef in the FKNMS. Surprisingly, we found grazing rates and invertebrate predation rates were lower in the structurally complex A. palmata branches than on the topographically simple degraded reefs. We attribute these results to high densities of aggressively territorial damselfish, Stegastes planifrons, living within A. palmata. Our study suggests the presence of agonistic damselfish can cause the realized spatial patterns of ecosystem processes to deviate from the expected patterns. Reef ecologists must therefore carefully consider the assemblage of associate fish communities when assessing how the mortality of A. palmata has affected coral reef ecosystem processes.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  7. Coral reef community, Mokapu Ocean Outfall, Oahu, HI 1998, (NODC Accession 0000173)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This report provides the results of the first quantitative survey of the coral reef communities in the vicinity of the Mokapu Ocean Outfall in Kailua Bay, Oahu,...

  8. Mesopredator trophodynamics on thermally stressed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

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

  9. Structural and compositional characterization of the adhesive produced by reef building oysters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alberts, Erik M; Taylor, Stephen D; Edwards, Stephanie L; Sherman, Debra M; Huang, Chia-Ping; Kenny, Paul; Wilker, Jonathan J

    2015-04-29

    Oysters have an impressive ability to overcome difficulties of life within the stressful intertidal zone. These shellfish produce an adhesive for attaching to each other and building protective reef communities. With their reefs often exceeding kilometers in length, oysters play a major role in balancing the health of coastal marine ecosystems. Few details are available to describe oyster adhesive composition or structure. Here several characterization methods were applied to describe the nature of this material. Microscopy studies indicated that the glue is comprised of organic fiber-like and sheet-like structures surrounded by an inorganic matrix. Phospholipids, cross-linking chemistry, and conjugated organics were found to differentiate this adhesive from the shell. Symbiosis in material synthesis could also be present, with oysters incorporating bacterial polysaccharides into their adhesive. Oyster glue shows that an organic-inorganic composite material can provide adhesion, a property especially important when constructing a marine ecosystem.

  10. Effect of Recreational Fish Feeding on Reef Fish Community ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ... that the reaction to bread at feeding sites was quicker than at control sites, which indicates that some species learn to feed on this novel source of food. Keywords:human-animal interactions, reef fish, recreational fish feeding, tourism impacts, MPAs, coral reefs, Kenya West Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science Vol.

  11. The impacts of tourism on coral reef conservation awareness and support in coastal communities in Belize

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diedrich, A.

    2007-12-01

    Marine recreational tourism is one of a number of threats to the Belize Barrier Reef but, conversely, represents both a motivation and source of resources for its conservation. The growth of tourism in Belize has resulted in the fact that many coastal communities are in varying stages of a socio-economic shift from dependence on fishing to dependence on tourism. In a nation becoming increasingly dependent on the health of its coral reef ecosystems for economic prosperity, a shift from extractive uses to their preservation is both necessary and logical. Through examining local perception data in five coastal communities in Belize, each attracting different levels of coral reef related tourism, this analysis is intended to explore the relationship between tourism development and local coral reef conservation awareness and support. The results of the analysis show a positive correlation between tourism development and coral reef conservation awareness and support in the study communities. The results also show a positive correlation between tourism development and local perceptions of quality of life, a trend that is most likely the source of the observed relationship between tourism and conservation. The study concludes that, because the observed relationship may be dependent on continued benefits from tourism as opposed to a perceived crisis in coral reef health, Belize must pay close attention to tourism impacts in the future. Failure to do this could result in a destructive feedback loop that would contribute to the degradation of the reef and, ultimately, Belize’s diminished competitiveness in the ecotourism market.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  13. Bacterial communities associated with three Brazilian endemic reef corals (Mussismilia spp.) in a coastal reef of the Abrolhos shelf

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Castro, Alinne Pereira; Araújo, Samuel Dias; Reis, Alessandra M. M.; Pompeu, Maira; Hatay, Mark; de Moura, Rodrigo Leão; Francini-Filho, Ronaldo B.; Thompson, Fabiano L.; Krüger, Ricardo H.

    2013-11-01

    The diversity of bacterial communities associated with three Brazilian endemic reef corals from genus Mussismilia (M. hispida, M. braziliensis, and M. harttii) at a single site was assessed using 16S rRNA clone libraries. The study site, Pedra do Leste, is a coastal reef within the largest and richest South Atlantic coralline reef complex (Abrolhos Bank) and is subject to high fishing pressure, high sedimentation loads, and other land-based stressors. The three coral species are Neogene relicts with unique biological and morphological traits that enable them to survive relatively high sedimentation levels. Our results show that sequences affiliated with γ-Proteobacteria predominated, accounting for more than 60% of the examined sequences. Indeed, the most frequent species were related to Alteromonas, Marinomonas, Neptuniibacter, and Vibrio, which are copiotrophic microorganisms common in environments highly affected by anthropogenic stress. Principal component analysis revealed that bacterial communities of M. braziliensis and M. hispida were more similar to each other than to M. harttii-associated bacteria. Such pattern is likely related to distinct morphological properties of M. harttii, such as the existence of phaceloid colonies, in which polyps are not connected by soft tissue. This is the first investigation assessing the bacterial communities of the three Brazilian endemic Mussismilia species at the same location.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gareth J. Williams

    2013-05-01

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

  15. Community Composition and Transcriptional Activity of Ammonia-Oxidizing Prokaryotes of Seagrass Thalassia hemprichii in Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juan Ling

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Seagrasses in coral reef ecosystems play important ecological roles by enhancing coral reef resilience under ocean acidification. However, seagrass primary productivity is typically constrained by limited nitrogen availability. Ammonia oxidation is an important process conducted by ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA and bacteria (AOB, yet little information is available concerning the community structure and potential activity of seagrass AOA and AOB. Therefore, this study investigated the variations in the abundance, diversity and transcriptional activity of AOA and AOB at the DNA and transcript level from four sample types: the leaf, root, rhizosphere sediment and bulk sediment of seagrass Thalassia hemprichii in three coral reef ecosystems. DNA and complementary DNA (cDNA were used to prepare clone libraries and DNA and cDNA quantitative PCR (qPCR assays, targeting the ammonia monooxygenase-subunit (amoA genes as biomarkers. Our results indicated that the closest relatives of the obtained archaeal and bacterial amoA gene sequences recovered from DNA and cDNA libraries mainly originated from the marine environment. Moreover, all the obtained AOB sequences belong to the Nitrosomonadales cluster. Nearly all the AOA communities exhibited higher diversity than the AOB communities at the DNA level, but the qPCR data demonstrated that the abundances of AOB communities were higher than that of AOA communities based on both DNA and RNA transcripts. Collectively, most of the samples shared greater community composition similarity with samples from the same location rather than sample type. Furthermore, the abundance of archaeal amoA gene in rhizosphere sediments showed significant relationships with the ammonium concentration of sediments and the nitrogen content of plant tissue (leaf and root at the DNA level (P < 0.05. Conversely, no such relationships were found for the AOB communities. This work provides new insight into the nitrogen cycle

  16. Diffusive boundary layers and photosynthesis of the epilithic algal community of coral reefs

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Larkum, Anthony W.D.; Koch, Eva-Maria W.; Kühl, Michael

    2003-01-01

    The effects of mass transfer resistance due to the presence of a diffusive boundary layer on the photosynthesis of the epilithic algal community (EAC) of a coral reef were studied. Photosynthesis and respiration of the EAC of dead coral surfaces were investigated for samples from two locations......: the Gulf of Aqaba, Eilat (Israel), and One Tree Reef on the Great Barrier Reef (Australia). Microsensors were used to measure O2 and pH at the EAC surface and above. Oxygen profiles in the light and dark indicated a diffusive boundary layer (DBL) thickness of 180–590 µm under moderate flow (~0.08 m s-1...

  17. Variability in the phytoplankton community of Kavaratti reef ecosystem (northern Indian Ocean) during peak and waning periods of El Niño 2016.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karati, Kusum Komal; Vineetha, G; Madhu, N V; Anil, P; Dayana, M; Shihab, B K; Muhsin, A I; Riyas, C; Raveendran, T V

    2017-11-29

    El Niño, an interannual climate event characterized by elevated oceanic temperature, is a prime threat for coral reef ecosystems worldwide, owing to their thermal threshold sensitivity. Phytoplankton plays a crucial role in the sustenance of reef trophodynamics. The cell size of the phytoplankton forms the "master morphological trait" with implications for growth, resource acquisition, and adaptability to nutrients. In the context of a strong El Niño prediction for 2015-2016, the present study was undertaken to evaluate the variations in the size-structured phytoplankton of Kavaratti reef waters, a major coral atoll along the southeast coast of India. The present study witnessed a remarkable change in the physicochemical environment of the reef water and massive coral bleaching with the progression of El Niño 2015-2016 from its peak to waning phase. The fluctuations observed in sea surface temperature, pH, and nutrient concentration of the reef water with the El Niño progression resulted in a remarkable shift in phytoplankton size structure, abundance, and community composition of the reef waters. Though low nutrient concentration of the waning phase resulted in lower phytoplankton biomass and abundance, the diazotroph Trichodesmium erythraeum predominated the reef waters, owing to its capability of the atmospheric nitrogen fixation and dissolved organic phosphate utilization.

  18. Biscayne National Park study on reef fish community changes over time

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Reef fish assemblage structure was assessed in 20062007 (recent period) in Biscayne National Park, Florida, USA , and compared with data collected from 1977 to 1981...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-06-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wes Toller

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bernhard Riegl

    2017-10-01

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

  5. Coral-bacterial communities before and after a coral mass spawning event on Ningaloo Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janja Ceh

    Full Text Available Bacteria associated with three coral species, Acropora tenuis, Pocillopora damicornis and Tubastrea faulkneri, were assessed before and after coral mass spawning on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Two colonies of each species were sampled before and after the mass spawning event and two additional samples were collected for P. damicornis after planulation. A variable 470 bp region of the 16 S rRNA gene was selected for pyrosequencing to provide an understanding of potential variations in coral-associated bacterial diversity and community structure. Bacterial diversity increased for all coral species after spawning as assessed by Chao1 diversity indicators. Minimal changes in community structure were observed at the class level and data at the taxonomical level of genus incorporated into a PCA analysis indicated that despite bacterial diversity increasing after spawning, coral-associated community structure did not shift greatly with samples grouped according to species. However, interesting changes could be detected from the dataset; for example, α-Proteobacteria increased in relative abundance after coral spawning and particularly the Roseobacter clade was found to be prominent in all coral species, indicating that this group may be important in coral reproduction.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. Clones or clans: the genetic structure of a deep-sea sponge, Aphrocallistes vastus, in unique sponge reefs of British Columbia, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Rachel R; Davis, Corey S; Leys, Sally P

    2017-02-01

    Understanding patterns of reproduction, dispersal and recruitment in deep-sea communities is increasingly important with the need to manage resource extraction and conserve species diversity. Glass sponges are usually found in deep water (>1000 m) worldwide but form kilometre-long reefs on the continental shelf of British Columbia and Alaska that are under threat from trawling and resource exploration. Due to their deep-water habitat, larvae have not yet been found and the level of genetic connectivity between reefs and nonreef communities is unknown. The genetic structure of Aphrocallistes vastus, the primary reef-building species in the Strait of Georgia (SoG) British Columbia, was studied using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Pairwise comparisons of multilocus genotypes were used to assess whether sexual reproduction is common. Structure was examined 1) between individuals in reefs, 2) between reefs and 3) between sites in and outside the SoG. Sixty-seven SNPs were genotyped in 91 samples from areas in and around the SoG, including four sponge reefs and nearby nonreef sites. The results show that sponge reefs are formed through sexual reproduction. Within a reef and across the SoG basin, the genetic distance between individuals does not vary with geographic distance (r = -0.005 to 0.014), but populations within the SoG basin are genetically distinct from populations in Barkley Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Population structure was seen across all sample sites (global F ST  = 0.248), especially between SoG and non-SoG locations (average pairwise F ST  = 0.251). Our results suggest that genetic mixing occurs across sponge reefs via larvae that disperse widely. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

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

  9. Biogeographic Patterns of Reef Fish Communities in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roberts, May B.

    2014-12-01

    As a region renowned for high biodiversity, endemism and extreme temperature and salinity levels, the Red Sea is of high ecological interest. Despite this, there is relatively little literature on basic broad scale characteristics of the biodiversity or overall reef fish communities and how they change across latitude. We conducted visual transects recording the abundance of over 200 species of fish from 45 reefs spanning over 1000 km of Saudi Arabian coastline and used hierarchical cluster analysis to find that for combined depths from 0m-10m across this geographical range, the reef fish communities are relatively similar. However we find some interesting patterns both at the community level across depth and latitude as well as in endemic community distributions. We find that the communities, much like the environmental factors, shift gradually along latitude but do not show distinct clusters within the range we surveyed (from Al-Wajh in the north to the Farasan Banks in the south). Numbers of endemic species tend to be higher in the Thuwal region and further south. This type of baseline data on reef fish distribution and possible factors that may influence their ranges in the Red Sea are critical for future scientific studies as well as effective monitoring and in the face of the persistent anthropogenic influences such as coastal development, overfishing and climate change.

  10. Testing the effect of habitat structure and complexity on nekton assemblages using experimental oyster reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Humphries, Austin T.; LaPeyre, Megan K.; Kimball, Matthew E.; Rozas, Lawrence P.

    2011-01-01

    Structurally complex habitats are often associated with more diverse and abundant species assemblages in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Biogenic reefs formed by the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) are complex in nature and are recognized for their potential habitat value in estuarine systems along the US Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Few studies, however, have examined the response of nekton to structural complexity within oyster reefs. We used a quantitative sampling technique to examine how the presence and complexity of experimental oyster reefs influence the abundance, biomass, and distribution of nekton by sampling reefs 4 months and 16 months post-construction. Experimental oyster reefs were colonized immediately by resident fishes and decapod crustaceans, and reefs supported a distinct nekton assemblage compared to mud-bottom habitat. Neither increased reef complexity, nor age of the experimental reef resulted in further changes in nekton assemblages or increases in nekton abundance or diversity. The presence of oyster reefs per se was the most important factor determining nekton usage.

  11. Coral Community Structure and Recruitment in Seagrass Meadows

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kathryn E. Lohr

    2017-11-01

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

  12. Reef fish community in presence of the lionfish (Pterois volitans in Santa Marta, Colombian Caribbean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rocío García-Urueña

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Objective. Fish species community structure and benthic organisms coverage were studied in five localities in Santa Marta where the lionfish is present. Materials and methods. Abundance of fish species, including lion fish, was established using 30 m random visual censuses and video transects; trophic guilds were established according to available references. On the other hand benthic coverage was evaluated using the software Coral Point Count (CPCe 4.0. Results. Families with higher species numbers were Serranidae, Labridae, and Pomacentridae. Lionfish abundances were low (2.6±2.1 ind/120 m2, but in any case Pterois volitans was observed as the eleventh more abundant species, surpassing species of commercial value such as Cephalopholis cruentata. Species that were found in larger numbers (>100, Thalassoma bifasciatum, Haemulon aurolineatum, Canthigaster rostrata, Abudefduf saxatilis, Chromis cyanea, and Stegastes partitus were mainly invertebrate eaters, planctivores, and territorial herbivores. Coral coverage showed higher coral percentages in Chengue (69.9% and Cinto (27.4%, larger sponge percentages in Morro (32.7%; Isla Aguja and Remanso showed the larger figures for abiotic substrate (41.6 and 37%, respectively; corals, sponges, and gorgonians were the components best explaining fish community, but not for the lion fish, which inhabit all studied reef formations. Conclusions. Lion fish is ranked between the 20 more abundant species, with none commercially important species larger, hence no species may qualify as a natural control. Lion fish has as well become a relatively abundant species in Santa Marta reefs, independent of benthic coverage.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jie Li

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

  14. Fringing reefs exposed to different levels of eutrophication and sedimentation can support similar benthic communities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rouzé, H.; Lecellier, G.; Langlade, M.J.; Planes, S.; Berteaux-Lecellier, V.

    2015-01-01

    Highlights: • We assess anthropogenic pressures on coral reef health. • We present a spatio-temporal survey of environmental parameters as bio-indicators. • Poor water quality (e.g. high turbidity and high sediments) was not correlated with lower coral cover. • Phytoplankton community size-composition and habitat stability were important predictors of coral reef health. - Abstract: Benthic communities are sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances which can result in changes in species assemblages. A spatio-temporal survey of environmental parameters was conducted over an 18-month period on four different fringing reefs of Moorea, French Polynesia, with unusual vs. frequent human pressures. This survey included assessment of biological, chemical, and physical parameters. First, the results showed a surprising lack of a seasonal trend, which was likely obscured by short-term variability in lagoons. More frequent sampling periods would likely improve the evaluation of a seasonal effect on biological and ecological processes. Second, the three reef habitats studied that were dominated by corals were highly stable, despite displaying antagonistic environmental conditions through eutrophication and sedimentation gradients, whereas the reef dominated by macroalgae was relatively unstable. Altogether, our data challenge the paradigm of labelling environmental parameters such as turbidity, sedimentation, and nutrient-richness as stress indicators

  15. A Synthesis and Comparison of Approaches for Quantifying Coral Reef Structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duvall, M. S.; Hench, J. L.

    2016-02-01

    The complex physical structures of coral reefs provide substrate for benthic organisms, surface area for material fluxes, and have been used as a predictor of reef-fish biomass and biodiversity. Coral reef topography has a first order effect on reef hydrodynamics by imposing drag forces and increasing momentum and scalar dispersion. Despite its importance, quantifying reef topography remains a challenge, as it is patchy and discontinuous while also varying over orders of magnitude in spatial scale. Previous studies have quantified reef structure using a range of 1D and 2D metrics that estimate vertical roughness, which is the departure from a flat geometric profile or surface. However, there is no general mathematical or conceptual framework by which to apply or compare these roughness metrics. While the specific calculations of different metrics vary, we propose that they can be classified into four categories based on: 1) vertical relief relative to a reference height; 2) gradients in vertical relief; 3) surface contour distance; or 4) variations in roughness with scale. We apply metrics from these four classes to idealized reef topography as well as natural reef topography data from Moorea, French Polynesia. Through the use of idealized profiles, we demonstrate the potential for reefs with different morphologies to possess the same value for some scale-dependent metrics (i.e. classes 1-3). Due to the superposition of variable-scale roughness elements in reef topography, we find that multi-scale metrics (i.e. class 4) can better characterize structural complexity by capturing surface roughness across a range of spatial scales. In particular, we provide evidence of the ability of 1D continuous wavelet transforms to detect changes in dominant roughness scales on idealized topography as well as within real reef systems.

  16. Digital reef rugosity estimates coral reef habitat complexity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dustan, Phillip; Doherty, Orla; Pardede, Shinta

    2013-01-01

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

  17. Environmental controls on daytime net community calcification on a Red Sea reef flat

    KAUST Repository

    Bernstein, W. N.

    2016-01-23

    Coral growth and carbonate accumulation form the foundation of the coral reef ecosystem. Changes in environmental conditions due to coastal development, climate change, and ocean acidification may pose a threat to net carbonate production in the near future. Controlled laboratory studies demonstrate that calcification by corals and coralline algae is sensitive to changes in aragonite saturation state (Ωa), as well as temperature, light, and nutrition. Studies also show that the dissolution rate of carbonate substrates is impacted by changes in carbonate chemistry. The sensitivity of coral reefs to these parameters must be confirmed and quantified in the natural environment in order to predict how coral reefs will respond to local and global changes, particularly ocean acidification. We estimated the daytime hourly net community metabolic rates, both net community calcification (NCC) and net community productivity (NCP), at Sheltered Reef, an offshore platform reef in the central Red Sea. Average NCC was 8 ± 3 mmol m−2 h−1 in December 2010 and 11 ± 1 mmol m−2 h−1 in May 2011, and NCP was 21 ± 7 mmol m−2 h−1 in December 2010 and 44 ± 4 mmol m−2 h−1 in May 2011. We also monitored a suite of physical and chemical properties to help relate the rates at Sheltered Reef to published rates from other sites. While previous research shows that short-term field studies investigating the NCC–Ωa relationship have differing results due to confounding factors, it is important to continue estimating NCC in different places, seasons, and years, in order to monitor changes in NCC versus Ω in space and time, and to ultimately resolve a broader understanding of this relationship.

  18. Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across the U.S. Pacific from 2008-02-06 to 2012-05-18 (NCEI Accession 0162469)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — To support a long-term program for sustainable management and conservation of coral reef ecosystems, from 2008, Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) have...

  19. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across Wake Island from 2011-03-23 to 2014-03-19 (NCEI Accession 0162467)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates in the Hawaiian and Mariana...

  20. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across the Hawaiian Archipelago from 2013-08-03 to 2016-09-24 (NCEI Accession 0162465)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates in the Hawaiian and Mariana...

  1. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across the Hawaiian Archipelago from 2008-10-07 to 2013-09-13 (NCEI Accession 0162470)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates in the Hawaiian and Mariana...

  2. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across American Samoa from 2012-04-03 to 2015-03-26 (NCEI Accession 0162468)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates in the Hawaiian and Mariana...

  3. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across the Marianas Archipelago from 2011-04-07 to 2014-05-04 (NCEI Accession 0162461)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates in the Hawaiian and Mariana...

  4. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessing and Monitoring Cryptic Reef Diversity of Colonizing Marine Invertebrates using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) Deployed at Coral Reef Sites across the Pacific Remote Island Areas from 2012-05-03 to 2015-04-28 (NCEI Accession 0162464)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) are used to assess and monitor cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates in the Hawaiian and Mariana...

  5. Review of the reef effects of offshore wind farm structures and potential for enhancement and mitigation.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2008-01-09

    The purpose of this report is to review the likely reef effects of offshore wind farm (OWF) structures focussing on two aspects of their physical presence: firstly, the likely reef effects on fish, shellfish and other marine biota and secondly, the potential to enhance the reef effect for commercially significant species.Turbine towers and their associated scour protection constitute surfaces readily colonised by a typical and broadly predictable assemblage of organisms, reflecting zonation patterns observed in adjacent intertidal and sub-tidal rocky shore communities. The physical impact and biological impact of OWFs will be proportional to the level (area/extent) of scour protection utilised and this will need to be assessed on a site specific basis. At sites where it is unnecessary or unworkable to exclude all fishing gears, some commercial species will probably benefit from the presence of turbine structures and their associated reefs as a result of the provision of enhanced habitat opportunities. Exploration of the potential for mussel culture appears to be one of the most straightforward economic opportunities which could be progressed within existing OWFs - although, development of appropriate technology for culture in water depths at OWFs will require some further investigation. The opportunities presented by seaweed culture in the UK have yet to be recognised and an appropriate strategic direction provided for the sector. At the present time there appears to be very little potential for fin fish culture within OWFs, as shallow water depths and current conditions are not ideal for cage culture of salmon or cod, and current market conditions and labour costs mean that culture of sea bass in UK waters could not compete favourably with Mediterranean mariculture. Evidence from a variety of sources indicates that one enhancement effect which requires further investigation, as it is potentially a valuable opportunity for restoration and management of commercially

  6. The relative importance of regional, local, and evolutionary factors structuring cryptobenthic coral-reef assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahmadia, Gabby N.; Tornabene, Luke; Smith, David J.; Pezold, Frank L.

    2018-03-01

    Factors shaping coral-reef fish species assemblages can operate over a wide range of spatial scales (local versus regional) and across both proximate and evolutionary time. Niche theory and neutral theory provide frameworks for testing assumptions and generating insights about the importance of local versus regional processes. Niche theory postulates that species assemblages are an outcome of evolutionary processes at regional scales followed by local-scale interactions, whereas neutral theory presumes that species assemblages are formed by largely random processes drawing from regional species pools. Indo-Pacific cryptobenthic coral-reef fishes are highly evolved, ecologically diverse, temporally responsive, and situated on a natural longitudinal diversity gradient, making them an ideal group for testing predictions from niche and neutral theories and effects of regional and local processes on species assemblages. Using a combination of ecological metrics (fish density, diversity, assemblage composition) and evolutionary analyses (testing for phylogenetic niche conservatism), we demonstrate that the structure of cryptobenthic fish assemblages can be explained by a mixture of regional factors, such as the size of regional species pools and broad-scale barriers to gene flow/drivers of speciation, coupled with local-scale factors, such as the relative abundance of specific microhabitat types. Furthermore, species of cryptobenthic fishes have distinct microhabitat associations that drive significant differences in assemblage community structure between microhabitat types, and these distinct microhabitat associations are phylogenetically conserved over evolutionary timescales. The implied differential fitness of cryptobenthic fishes across varied microhabitats and the conserved nature of their ecology are consistent with predictions from niche theory. Neutral theory predictions may still hold true for early life-history stages, where stochastic factors may be more

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  8. Possible recovery of Acropora palmata (Scleractinia:Acroporidae within the Veracruz Reef System, Gulf of Mexico: a survey of 24 reefs to assess the benthic communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth A. Larson

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Recent evidence shows that Acropora palmata within the Veracruz Reef System, located in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, may be recovering after the die off from the flooding of the Jamapa River and a dramatic cold water event in the 1970s. Since this decline, few surveys have documented the status of A. palmata. The 28 named reefs in the system are divided into 13 northern and 15 southern groups by the River. Between 2007 and 2013, we surveyed 24 reefs to assess the benthic communities. Seven of the 11 reefs surveyed in the northern group and all in the southern group had A. palmata. Colonies were typically found on the windward side of the reefs in shallow waters along the reef edges or crest. We also recorded colony diameter and condition along belt transects at two reefs in the north (Anegada de Adentro and Verde and two in the south (Periferico and Sargazo, between 2011 and 2013. In addition, eight permanent transects were surveyed at Rizo (south. A total of 1 804 colonies were assessed; densities ranged from 0.02 to 0.28 colonies/m² (mean (±SD, colony diameter of 58 ± 73cm, and 89 ± 18% live tissue per colony. Total prevalence of predation by damselfish was 5%, by snails 2%, and <1% by fireworms, disease prevalence was <3%. Size frequency distributions indicated that all of the sites had a moderate to high spawning potential, 15-68% of the colonies at each site were mature, measuring over 1 600cm². The presence of these healthy and potentially reproductive colonies is important for species recovery, particularly because much of the greater Caribbean still shows little to no signs of recovery. Conservation and management efforts of these reefs are vital.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandl, Simon J; Bellwood, David R

    2014-05-01

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

  10. The influence of micro-topography and external bioerosion on coral-reef-building organisms: recruitment, community composition and carbonate production over time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallela, Jennie

    2018-03-01

    The continued health and function of tropical coral reefs is highly dependent on the ability of reef-building organisms to build large, complex, three-dimensional structures that continue to accrete and evolve over time. The recent deterioration of reef health globally, including loss of coral cover, has resulted in significant declines in architectural complexity at a large, reef-scape scale. Interestingly, the fine-scale role of micro-structure in initiating and facilitating future reef development and calcium carbonate production has largely been overlooked. In this study, experimental substrates with and without micro-ridges were deployed in the lagoon at One Tree Island for 34 months. This study assessed how the presence or absence of micro-ridges promoted recruitment by key reef-building sclerobionts (corals and encrusters) and their subsequent development at micro (mm) and macro (cm) scales. Experimental plates were examined after 11 and 34 months to assess whether long-term successional and calcification processes on different micro-topographies led to convergent or divergent communities over time. Sclerobionts were most prevalent in micro-grooves when they were available. Interestingly, in shallow lagoon reef sites characterised by shoals of small parrotfish and low urchin abundance, flat substrates were also successfully recruited to. Mean rates of carbonate production were 374 ± 154 (SD) g CaCO3 m-2 yr-1 within the lagoon. Substrates with micro-ridges were characterised by significantly greater rates of carbonate production than smooth substrates. The orientation of the substrate and period of immersion also significantly impacted rates of carbonate production, with CaCO3 on cryptic tiles increasing by 28% between 11 and 34 months. In contrast, rates on exposed tiles declined by 35% over the same time. In conclusion, even at sites characterised by small-sized parrotfish and low urchin density, micro-topography is an important settlement niche clearly

  11. Mesophotic bioerosion: Variability and structural impact on U.S. Virgin Island deep reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weinstein, David K.; Smith, Tyler B.; Klaus, James S.

    2014-10-01

    Mesophotic reef corals, found 30-150 m below sea level, build complex structures that provide habitats for diverse ecosystems. Whereas bioerosion is known to impact the development and persistence of shallow reef structures, little is known regarding the extent of mesophotic bioerosion or how it might affect deeper reef geomorphology and carbonate accretion. Originally pristine experimental coral substrates and collected coral rubble were both used to investigate the variation and significance of mesophotic coral reef bioerosion south of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Bioerosion rates were calculated from experimental coral substrates exposed as framework for 1 and 2 years at four structurally distinct mesophotic coral reef habitats (between 30 and 45 m) as well as at a mid-shelf patch reef (21 m) and a shallow fringing patch reef (9 m). The long-term effects of macroboring were assessed by examining coral rubble collected at all sites. Overall, differences in bioerosional processes were found between shallow and mesophotic reefs. Increases in bioerosion on experimental substrates (amount of weight lost) were related to both decreasing seawater depth and increasing biomass of bioeroding parrotfish. Significant differences in coral skeleton bioerosion rates were also found between the transitional mesophotic reef zone (30-35 m) and the upper mesophotic reef zone (35-50 m) after 2 years of exposure, ranging from - 19.6 to 3.7 g/year. Total coral rubble macroboring was greater at most deep sites compared to shallower sites. Bioerosional grazing was found to dominate initial substrate modification in reefs 30.7 m and shallower, but sponges are believed to act as the main time-averaged long-term substrate bioeroders in reefs between 35 and 50 m. Although initial substrate bioerosion rates of a uniform substrate were relatively homogeneous in the 35-50 m depth zone, comparison of site composition suggests that mesophotic bioerosion will vary depending on the amount

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2010-01-01

    The current state of health of the coral reefs in the northern Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea), notably the Eilat reefs, is under debate regarding both their exact condition and the causes of degradation. A dearth of earlier data and unequivocal reliable indices are the major problems hinder a clear understanding of the reef state. Our research objective was to examine coral-algal dynamics as a potential cause and an indication of reef degradation. The community structure of stony corals and algae along the northern Gulf of Aqaba reveal non-seasonal turf algae dominancy in the shallow Eilat reefs (up to 72%), while the proximate Aqaba reefs present negligible turf cover (<6%). We believe that turf dominancy can indicate degradation in these reefs, based on the reduction in essential reef components followed by proliferation of perennial turf algae. Our findings provide further evidence for the severe state of the Eilat coral reefs.

  13. Population Structure of Acanthaster Planci on the Reef Flat at the Southern Part of Bunaken Island

    OpenAIRE

    Napitupulu, Patritia; Tioho, Hanny; Windarto, Agung

    2013-01-01

    The information on population structure of Acanthaster planci in Bunaken National Park (BNP) is urgent to be presented in order to be considered in decision making especially on coral reef management in BNP. The objectives of this study was to examine the population structure of A. planci, represented by the diameter and weight, number of arms, while the density, distribution and types of coral predation by reef animals in the Southern part of Bunaken Island also observed. Data were collect...

  14. Biodiversity and food web indicators of community recovery in intertidal shellfish reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Christianen, M.J.A.; van der Heide, T.; Holthuijsen, S.J.; van der Reijden, K.J.; Borst, A.C.W.; Olff, H.

    2017-01-01

    In conservation strategies of marine ecosystems, priority is given to habitat-structuring foundation species (e.g.seagrasses, mangroves and reef-building corals, shellfish) with the implicit goal to protect or restore associatedcommunities and their interactions. However, the number and accuracy of

  15. Possible effects of water pollution on the community structure of Red Sea corals

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Loya, Y

    1975-02-28

    The community structure and species diversity of hermatypic corals was studied during 1969 to 1973, in 2 reef flats in the northern Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea: the reef flat of the mature reserve at Eilat, which is chronically polluted by oil and minerals, and a control reef, located 5 km further S, which is free of oil pollution. In 1969, the nature reserve and the control reef had similar coral community structure. In Sept. 1970, both reefs suffered approximately 90 percent mortality of corals, as a result of an unexpected and extremely low tide. In 1973 the control reef was blooming with a highly diverse coral community, while almost no signs of coral recolonization have been observed at the nature reserve, and it is significantly lower in diversity. Phosphate eutrophication and chronic oil pollution are probably the major man-made disturbances that interfere with coral colonization of the reef flat at the nature reserve. Although no direct evidence is provided that oil damages hermatypic corals, the data strongly suggest that chronic oil spills prevent normal settlement and development of coral larvae. Chronic oil pollution results in either one or a combination of the following: damage to the reproductive system of corals, decreased viability of coral larvae, or changes in some physical properties of the reef flat which interfere with normal settlement of coral larvae.

  16. Daily variation in net primary production and net calcification in coral reef communities exposed to elevated pCO2

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Comeau

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available The threat represented by ocean acidification (OA for coral reefs has received considerable attention because of the sensitivity of calcifiers to changing seawater carbonate chemistry. However, most studies have focused on the organismic response of calcification to OA, and only a few have addressed community-level effects, or investigated parameters other than calcification, such as photosynthesis. Light (photosynthetically active radiation, PAR is a driver of biological processes on coral reefs, and the possibility that these processes might be perturbed by OA has important implications for community function. Here we investigate how CO2 enrichment affects the relationships between PAR and community net O2 production (Pnet, and between PAR and community net calcification (Gnet, using experiments on three coral communities constructed to match (i the back reef of Mo'orea, French Polynesia, (ii the fore reef of Mo'orea, and (iii the back reef of O'ahu, Hawaii. The results were used to test the hypothesis that OA affects the relationship between Pnet and Gnet. For the three communities tested, pCO2 did not affect the Pnet–PAR relationship, but it affected the intercept of the hyperbolic tangent curve fitting the Gnet–PAR relationship for both reef communities in Mo'orea (but not in O'ahu. For the three communities, the slopes of the linear relationships between Pnet and Gnet were not affected by OA, although the intercepts were depressed by the inhibitory effect of high pCO2 on Gnet. Our result indicates that OA can modify the balance between net calcification and net photosynthesis of reef communities by depressing community calcification, but without affecting community photosynthesis.

  17. Coral identity underpins architectural complexity on Caribbean reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-09-01

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

  18. Biodiversity and spatial patterns of benthic habitat and associated demersal fish communities at two tropical submerged reef ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdul Wahab, Muhammad Azmi; Radford, Ben; Cappo, Mike; Colquhoun, Jamie; Stowar, Marcus; Depczynski, Martial; Miller, Karen; Heyward, Andrew

    2018-06-01

    Submerged reef ecosystems can be very diverse and may serve as important refugia for shallow-water conspecifics. This study quantified the benthic and fish communities of two proximate, predominantly mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs), Glomar Shoal and Rankin Bank, which are geographically isolated from other similar features in the region. Glomar Shoal is identified as a key ecological feature (KEF) in the North West Marine Region of Australia. Multibeam surveys were performed to characterise the seafloor and to derive secondary environmental variables, used to explain patterns in benthic and fish communities. Towed video surveys quantified benthic cover, and stereo baited remote underwater stations were used to survey fish abundance and diversity. Surveys were completed in depths of 20-115 m. The two MCEs exhibited distinct communities; Rankin Bank consistently had higher cover (up to 30×) of benthic taxa across depths, and fish communities that were twice as abundant and 1.5× more diverse than Glomar Shoal. The location of the MCEs, depth and rugosity were most influential in structuring benthic communities. Phototrophic taxa, specifically macroalgae and hard corals, had up to 22 × higher cover at Rankin Bank than at Glomar Shoal and were dominant to 80 m (compared to 60 m at Glomar Shoal), presumably due to greater light penetration (lower turbidity) and lower sand cover at greater depths. The 20% coral cover at Rankin Bank was comparable to that reported for shallow reefs. The cover of sand, hard corals and sponges influenced fish communities, with higher abundance and diversity of fish associated with shallow hard coral habitats. This study demonstrated that the two MCEs were unique within the local context, and when coupled with their geographical isolation and biodiversity, presents compelling support for the additional recognition of Rankin Bank as a KEF.

  19. Using otolith microchemistry and shape to assess the habitat value of oil structures for reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fowler, Ashley M; Macreadie, Peter I; Bishop, David P; Booth, David J

    2015-05-01

    Over 7500 oil and gas structures (e.g. oil platforms) are installed in offshore waters worldwide and many will require decommissioning within the next two decades. The decision to remove such structures or turn them into reefs (i.e. 'rigs-to-reefs') hinges on the habitat value they provide, yet this can rarely be determined because the residency of mobile species is difficult to establish. Here, we test a novel solution to this problem for reef fishes; the use of otolith (earstone) properties to identify oil structures of residence. We compare the otolith microchemistry and otolith shape of a site-attached coral reef fish (Pseudanthias rubrizonatus) among four oil structures (depth 82-135 m, separated by 9.7-84.2 km) on Australia's North West Shelf to determine if populations developed distinct otolith properties during their residency. Microchemical signatures obtained from the otolith edge using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) differed among oil structures, driven by elements Sr, Ba and Mn, and to a lesser extent Mg and Fe. A combination of microchemical data from the otolith edge and elliptical Fourier (shape) descriptors allowed allocation of individuals to their 'home' structure with moderate accuracy (overall allocation accuracy: 63.3%, range: 45.5-78.1%), despite lower allocation accuracies for each otolith property in isolation (microchemistry: 47.5%, otolith shape: 45%). Site-specific microchemical signatures were also stable enough through time to distinguish populations during 3 separate time periods, suggesting that residence histories could be recreated by targeting previous growth zones in the otolith. Our results indicate that reef fish can develop unique otolith properties during their residency on oil structures which may be useful for assessing the habitat value of individual structures. The approach outlined here may also be useful for determining the residency of reef fish on artificial reefs, which would

  20. Assessing and monitoring cryptic reef diversity of colonizing marine invertebrates across the U.S.-affiliated islands and atolls in the Pacific since 2008 using the Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) method

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — To support a long-term program for sustainable management and conservation of coral reef ecosystems, from 2008, Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) have...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  2. Trophic structure of cold-water coral communities revealed from the analysis of tissue isotopes and fatty acid composition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Oevelen, D.; Duineveld, G.; Lavaleye, M.S.S.; Kutti, T.; Soetaert, K.

    2018-01-01

    The trophic structure of cold-water coral reef communities at two contrasting locations, the 800-m deep Belgica Mounds (Irish margin) and the 300-m deep Træna reefs (Norwegian Shelf), was investigated using stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) and fatty-acid composition analysis. A broad range of

  3. Changes in coral reef communities among the Florida Keys, 1996-2003

    Science.gov (United States)

    Somerfield, P. J.; Jaap, W. C.; Clarke, K. R.; Callahan, M.; Hackett, K.; Porter, J.; Lybolt, M.; Tsokos, C.; Yanev, G.

    2008-12-01

    Hard coral (Scleractinia and Milleporina) cover data were examined from 37 sites surveyed annually from 1996 to 2003 in the Florida reef tract, USA. Analyses of species numbers and total cover showed that site-to-site differences were generally very much greater than differences among times within sites. There were no significant differences among different geographical areas within the reef tract (Upper, Middle and Lower Keys). Large-scale changes documented included a reduction in species numbers and total cover on both deep and shallow offshore reefs between 1997 and 1999 followed by no recovery in cover, and only scant evidence of any recovery in species numbers by 2003. These changes coincided with bleaching events in 1997 and 1998, and the passage of Hurricane Georges through the Lower Keys in 1998. The lack of recovery among offshore reefs suggests that they were no longer resilient. Multivariate analyses revealed that some sites showed relatively little temporal variation in community composition, essentially random in direction, while others showed relatively large year-on-year changes. There was little evidence of any major region-wide changes affecting assemblage composition, or of any events that had impacted all of the sampling sites in any single year. Instead, different sites exhibited differing patterns of temporal variation, with certain sites displaying greater variation than others. Changes in community composition at some sites are interpreted in the light of knowledge of events at those sites and the relative sensitivities of species to various stressors, such as changes in cover of Acropora palmata and Millepora complanata at Sand Key following the bleaching events and hurricane in 1998, and declines in Montastraea annularis at Smith Shoal following a harmful algal bloom in 2002. For most sites, however, it is impossible to determine the causes of observed variation.

  4. Patterns in subtidal seaweed communities on coral-dominated reefs ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Ordination (canonical correspondence analysis) and classification (Twinspan) of the data showed clear differences in the floristic composition (either as species biomass or presence/absence) with depth, mainly between shallow subtidal communities (0.5–1.0m depth) and those at intermediate depths (5.5–15.0m), followed ...

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    STORAGESEVER

    2008-06-03

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

  6. Metatranscriptome Sequencing of a Reef-building Coral Elucidates Holobiont Community Gene Functions in Health and Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Timberlake, S.; Helbig, T.; Fernando, S.; Penn, K.; Alm, E.; Thompson, F.; Thompson, J. R.

    2012-12-01

    The coral reefs of the Abrolhos Bank of Brazil play a vital ecological role in the health of the Southern Atlantic Ocean, but accelerating rates of disease, particularly white plague, threaten this ecosystem. Thus, an understanding of white plague disease and diagnostic tests for it are urgently needed. The coral animal is associated with a distinct microbiome, a diverse assemblage of eukaryotes, bacteria, and viruses. That these microbes have a great influence on the health of the coral has been long known, however, most of their functions are still mysterious. While recent studies have contrasted healthy and white-plague-associated communities, the causative agents and mechanisms of the disease remain unknown. We collected fragments of healthy and diseased corals, as well as post-disease skeleton, from 12 colonies of the genus Mussismilia, the major component of the reef structure in the Abrolhos bank, and increasingly, a victim of white-plague disease. Fragments were flash-frozen in situ, and prepped for culture-free high throughput sequencing of gene transcripts with the Illumina II-G. While the membership of the microbial communities associated with coral has been previously described, the a coral holobiont community's gene function has, to date, never been assayed by this powerful approach. We designed a bioinformatics pipeline to analyze the short-read data from this complex sample: identifying the functions of genes expressed in the holobiont, and describing the active community's taxonomic composition. We show that gene functions expressed by the coral's bacterial assemblage are distinct from those of the underlying skeleton, and we highlight differences in the disease samples. We find that gene markers for the dissimilatory sulfate reduction pathway more abundant in the disease state, and we further quantify this difference with qPCR. Finally, we report the abundant expression of highly repetitive transcripts in the diseased coral samples, and highlight

  7. The effects of coastal development on sponge abundance, diversity, and community composition on Jamaican coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stubler, Amber D; Duckworth, Alan R; Peterson, Bradley J

    2015-07-15

    Over the past decade, development along the northern coast of Jamaica has accelerated, resulting in elevated levels of sedimentation on adjacent reefs. To understand the effects of this development on sponge community dynamics, we conducted surveys at three locations with varying degrees of adjacent coastal development to quantify species richness, abundance and diversity at two depths (8-10 m and 15-18 m). Sediment accumulation rate, total suspended solids and other water quality parameters were also quantified. The sponge community at the location with the least coastal development and anthropogenic influence was often significantly different from the other two locations, and exhibited higher sponge abundance, richness, and diversity. Sponge community composition and size distribution were statistically different among locations. This study provides correlative evidence that coastal development affects aspects of sponge community ecology, although the precise mechanisms are still unclear. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Global microbialization of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-25

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

  9. Alkalinity to calcium flux ratios for corals and coral reef communities: variances between isolated and community conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liana J.A. Murillo

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Calcification in reef corals and coral reefs is widely measured using the alkalinity depletion method which is based on the fact that two protons are produced for every mole of CaCO3 precipitated. This assumption was tested by measuring the total alkalinity (TA flux and Ca2+ flux of isolated components (corals, alga, sediment and plankton in reference to that of a mixed-community. Experiments were conducted in a flume under natural conditions of sunlight, nutrients, plankton and organic matter. A realistic hydrodynamic regime was provided. Groups of corals were run separately and in conjunction with the other reef components in a mixed-community. The TA flux to Ca2+ flux ratio (ΔTA: ΔCa2+ was consistently higher in the coral-only run (2.06 ± 0.19 than in the mixed-community run (1.60 ± 0.14, p-value = 0.011. The pH was higher and more stable in the mixed-community run (7.94 ± 0.03 vs. 7.52 ± 0.07, p-value = 3 × 10−5. Aragonite saturation state (Ωarag was also higher in the mixed-community run (2.51 ± 0.2 vs. 1.12 ± 0.14, p-value = 2 × 10−6. The sediment-only run revealed that sediment is the source of TA that can account for the lower ΔTA: ΔCa2+ ratio in the mixed-community run. The macroalgae-only run showed that algae were responsible for the increased pH in the mixed-community run. Corals growing in a mixed-community will experience an environment that is more favorable to calcification (higher daytime pH due to algae photosynthesis, additional TA and inorganic carbon from sediments, higher Ωarag. A paradox is that the alkalinity depletion method will yield a lower net calcification for a mixed-community versus a coral-only community due to TA recycling, even though the corals may be calcifying at a higher rate due to a more optimal environment.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  11. Assessing Caribbean Shallow and Mesophotic Reef Fish Communities Using Baited-Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) and Diver-Operated Video (DOV) Survey Techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macaya-Solis, Consuelo; Exton, Dan A.; Gress, Erika; Wright, Georgina; Rogers, Alex D.

    2016-01-01

    Fish surveys form the backbone of reef monitoring and management initiatives throughout the tropics, and understanding patterns in biases between techniques is crucial if outputs are to address key objectives optimally. Often biases are not consistent across natural environmental gradients such as depth, leading to uncertainty in interpretation of results. Recently there has been much interest in mesophotic reefs (reefs from 30–150 m depth) as refuge habitats from fishing pressure, leading to many comparisons of reef fish communities over depth gradients. Here we compare fish communities using stereo-video footage recorded via baited remote underwater video (BRUV) and diver-operated video (DOV) systems on shallow and mesophotic reefs in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean. We show inconsistent responses across families, species and trophic groups between methods across the depth gradient. Fish species and family richness were higher using BRUV at both depth ranges, suggesting that BRUV is more appropriate for recording all components of the fish community. Fish length distributions were not different between methods on shallow reefs, yet BRUV recorded more small fish on mesophotic reefs. However, DOV consistently recorded greater relative fish community biomass of herbivores, suggesting that studies focusing on herbivores should consider using DOV. Our results highlight the importance of considering what component of reef fish community researchers and managers are most interested in surveying when deciding which survey technique to use across natural gradients such as depth. PMID:27959907

  12. Trait-based diet selection: prey behaviour and morphology predict vulnerability to predation in reef fish communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, Stephanie J; Côté, Isabelle M

    2014-11-01

    Understanding how predators select their prey can provide important insights into community structure and dynamics. However, the suite of prey species available to a predator is often spatially and temporally variable. As a result, species-specific selectivity data are of limited use for predicting novel predator-prey interactions because they are assemblage specific. We present a method for predicting diet selection that is applicable across prey assemblages, based on identifying general morphological and behavioural traits of prey that confer vulnerability to predation independent of species identity. We apply this trait-based approach to examining prey selection by Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles), invasive predators that prey upon species-rich reef fish communities and are rapidly spreading across the western Atlantic. We first generate hypotheses about morphological and behavioural traits recurring across fish species that could facilitate or deter predation by lionfish. Constructing generalized linear mixed-effects models that account for relatedness among prey taxa, we test whether these traits predict patterns of diet selection by lionfish within two independent data sets collected at different spatial scales: (i) in situ visual observations of prey consumption and availability for individual lionfish and (ii) comparisons of prey abundance in lionfish stomach contents to availability on invaded reefs at large. Both analyses reveal that a number of traits predicted to affect vulnerability to predation, including body size, body shape, position in the water column and aggregation behaviour, are important determinants of diet selection by lionfish. Small, shallow-bodied, solitary fishes found resting on or just above reefs are the most vulnerable. Fishes that exhibit parasite cleaning behaviour experience a significantly lower risk of predation than non-cleaning fishes, and fishes that are nocturnally active are at significantly

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-07-01

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

  14. Artificial Reefs

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — An artificial reef is a human-made underwater structure, typically built to promote marine life in areas with a generally featureless bottom, control erosion, block...

  15. Community metabolism and air-sea CO[sub 2] fluxes in a coral reef ecosystem (Moorea, French Polynesia)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gattuso, J P; Pichon, M; Delesalle, B; Frankignoulle, M [Observatory of European Oceanology (Monaco)

    1993-06-01

    Community metabolism (primary production, respiration and calcification) and air-sea CO[sub 2] fluxes of the 'Tiahura barrier reef' (Moorea, French Polynesia) were investigated in November and December 1991. Gross production and respiration were respectively 640.2 to 753 and 590.4 to 641.5 mmol (O[sub 2] or CO[sub 2]) m[sup 2] d[sup -1] (7.7 to 9.0 and 7.1 to 7.7 g C m)[sup 2] d[sup -1] and the reef displayed a slightly negative excess (net) production. The contribution of planktonic primary production to reef metabolism was negligible (0.15% of total gross production). Net calcification was positive both during the day and at night; its daily value was 243 mmol CaCO[sub 3] m[sup 2] d[sup -1] (24.3 g CaCO)[sub 3] m[sup -2] d[sup -1]. Reef metabolism decreased seawater total CO[sub 2] by 433.3 mmol m[sup 2] d[sup -1]. The air-sea CO[sub 2] fluxes were close to zero in the ocean but displayed a strong daily pattern at the reef front and the back reef. Fluxes were positive (CO[sub 2] evasion) at night, decreased as irradiance increased and were negative during the day (CO[sub 2] invasion). Integration of the fluxes measured during a 24 h experiment at the back reef showed that the reef was a source of CO[sub 2] to the atmosphere (1.5 mmol m[sup 2] d[sup -1]).

  16. Environmental gradients structure gorgonian assemblages on coral reefs in SE Sulawesi, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowley, Sonia J.

    2018-06-01

    Indonesian coral reefs are the epicenter of marine biodiversity, yet are under rapid anthropogenically induced decline. Therefore, ecological monitoring of high diversity taxa is paramount to facilitate effective management and conservation. This study presents an initial report from a comprehensive survey of shallow-water (0-15 m) gorgonian assemblage composition and structure across sites with varying habitat quality within the Wakatobi Marine National Park (WMNP), SE Sulawesi, Indonesia. Current estimates of over 90 morphospecies from 38 genera and 12 families within the calcaxonian, holaxonian and scleraxonian groups are reported. This extensive survey confirms high local gorgonian abundance, diversity and species richness in the absence of anthropogenic influence and increasing with depth. Notably, morphological variants of the zooxanthellate species Isis hippuris Linnaeus, 1758, and Briareum Blainville, 1830, drive site and habitat assemblage differences across environmental gradients. Azooxanthellate taxa, particularly within the Plexauridae, drive species richness and diversity with depth. Of the 14 predictor variables measured, benthic characteristics, water flow and natural light explained just 30% of gorgonian assemblage structure. Furthermore, zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate taxa partitioned distinct gorgonian communities into two trophic groups—autotrophs and heterotrophs, respectively—with contrasting diversity and abundance patterns within and between study sites. This study strongly supports the WMNP as an area of high regional gorgonian abundance and diversity. Varying ecological patterns across environmental clines can provide the foundation for future research and conservation management strategies in some of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world.

  17. Presence of microplastics in the tube structure of the reef-building ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The prevalence of microplastics in the marine environment has resulted in a need to understand their association with various fauna. The aim of this study was to assess whether microplastic particles are present in the tube structure of the indigenous reef-building polychaete Gunnarea gaimardi, which occurs along the ...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Norbert Englebert

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

  2. Genetic structure and signatures of selection in grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Momigliano, P; Harcourt, R; Robbins, W D; Jaiteh, V; Mahardika, G N; Sembiring, A; Stow, A

    2017-09-01

    With overfishing reducing the abundance of marine predators in multiple marine ecosystems, knowledge of genetic structure and local adaptation may provide valuable information to assist sustainable management. Despite recent technological advances, most studies on sharks have used small sets of neutral markers to describe their genetic structure. We used 5517 nuclear single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) gene to characterize patterns of genetic structure and detect signatures of selection in grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). Using samples from Australia, Indonesia and oceanic reefs in the Indian Ocean, we established that large oceanic distances represent barriers to gene flow, whereas genetic differentiation on continental shelves follows an isolation by distance model. In Australia and Indonesia differentiation at nuclear SNPs was weak, with coral reefs acting as stepping stones maintaining connectivity across large distances. Differentiation of mtDNA was stronger, and more pronounced in females, suggesting sex-biased dispersal. Four independent tests identified a set of loci putatively under selection, indicating that grey reef sharks in eastern Australia are likely under different selective pressures to those in western Australia and Indonesia. Genetic distances averaged across all loci were uncorrelated with genetic distances calculated from outlier loci, supporting the conclusion that different processes underpin genetic divergence in these two data sets. This pattern of heterogeneous genomic differentiation, suggestive of local adaptation, has implications for the conservation of grey reef sharks; furthermore, it highlights that marine species showing little genetic differentiation at neutral loci may exhibit patterns of cryptic genetic structure driven by local selection.

  3. Fishing top predators indirectly affects condition and reproduction in a reef-fish community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walsh, S M; Hamilton, S L; Ruttenberg, B I; Donovan, M K; Sandin, S A

    2012-03-01

    To examine the indirect effects of fishing on energy allocation in non-target prey species, condition and reproductive potential were measured for five representative species (two-spot red snapper Lutjanus bohar, arc-eye hawkfish Paracirrhites arcatus, blackbar devil Plectroglyphidodon dickii, bicolour chromis Chromis margaritifer and whitecheek surgeonfish Acanthurus nigricans) from three reef-fish communities with different levels of fishing and predator abundance in the northern Line Islands, central Pacific Ocean. Predator abundance differed by five to seven-fold among islands, and despite no clear differences in prey abundance, differences in prey condition and reproductive potential among islands were found. Body condition (mean body mass adjusted for length) was consistently lower at sites with higher predator abundance for three of the four prey species. Mean liver mass (adjusted for total body mass), an indicator of energy reserves, was also lower at sites with higher predator abundance for three of the prey species and the predator. Trends in reproductive potential were less clear. Mean gonad mass (adjusted for total body mass) was high where predator abundance was high for only one of the three species in which it was measured. Evidence of consistently low prey body condition and energy reserves in a diverse suite of species at reefs with high predator abundance suggests that fishing may indirectly affect non-target prey-fish populations through changes in predation and predation risk. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Fish Biology © 2012 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  5. Long-term Shifts in Coral Communities On Shallow to Deep Reef Slopes of Curaçao and Bonaire: Are There Any Winners?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Bakker, D.M.; Meesters, E.H.; Bak, R.P.M.; Nieuwland, G.; van Duyl, F.C.

    2016-01-01

    Tropical coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse and economically important ecosystems on earth. Nevertheless, we found dramatic changes in coral communities on the reef slopes of Curaçao and Bonaire since 1973. Cover and abundance declined for virtually all coral species. The data show

  6. Functional role of fouling community on an artificial reef at the northern coast of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Werther Krohling

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available The northern coast of Rio de Janeiro State lacks natural consolidate substrates, making it a proper environment to the development of researches using artificial structures. After studies about the type of substrate, concrete seems to be the most appropriate for studying fouling community development. This research was carried out to investigate the functional role of biofouling in the development of the ichthyic community in the north of Rio de Janeiro State. Percentage data of the epibenthic organisms' coverage and samples of the fish community with gillnet and visual census showed that biofouling in artificial reefs might have more than one functional role, acting as a facilitator in the recruitment of fish species and as a link in the trophic marine chain. Through the increase of localized structural complexity provided by the reef itself and by the fouling organisms which act as "engineering species", additional protection options are offered to the ichthyic community, especially recruits. Also, the epibiont biomass represents an important link in the food web, acting either as a direct source or in the transference of energy to higher trophic levels. Through the relationship between the ichthyic and fouling communities we concluded that the functional role of the latter in artificial reef habitats could be characterized mainly as shelter and feeding grounds for few fish species.O litoral norte do Estado do Rio de Janeiro possui uma escassez de substrato consolidado natural tornando o ambiente propício para o desenvolvimento de pesquisas com estruturas artificiais. Após estudos conclusivos sobre o tipo de substrato, o concreto parece ser o mais apropriado para o desenvolvimento da comunidade incrustante. Novas pesquisas foram realizadas para investigar o papel funcional da bioincrustação no desenvolvimento da comunidade íctica no norte do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. Dados de porcentagem de cobertura dos organismos epibênticos e

  7. Distribution and structure of the southernmost Caribbean coral reefs: golfo de Urabá, Colombia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. M. Díaz

    2000-09-01

    Full Text Available The Gulf of Urabá represents the southernmost portion of the Caribbean Sea. Due to the large amounts of sediment and freshwater discharged by the Atrato river and several minor streams, water conditions in the area are far from being optimal for coral settlement and growth. However, fringing and patch reefs are developed along the rocky shores of the northwest margin of the Gulf. Based on field observations performed at 44 sites (12 of them assessed quantitatively, interpretation of air photography of the area and depth profiles, the distribution, structure and zonation of the reefs are described. Classification analysis of the 12 sample sites yielded four coral assemblages: Diploria strigosa, crustose algae, Siderastrea siderea, Agaricia spp., and mixed massive corals. Other two assemblages, dominated respectively by Millepora complanata and thickets of Acropora palmata were noticed during reconnaissance dives. The distribution of these zones within the reef seems likely to be mainly controlled by wave exposure, bottom topography, sedimentation, and light penetration. Reef development, coral diversity and live coral cover increase along the coast in a SE-NW direction, with an evident maximum near to the cove of Sapzurro, suggesting an overall improvement of conditions for coral growth and settlement in that direction. A total of 33 species of hard corals were recorded during the survey. It is apparent that the live coral cover, particularly of foliose and branching species, has notably declined recently.

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  12. Octocoral Species Assembly and Coexistence in Caribbean Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Velásquez, Johanna; Sánchez, Juan A

    2015-01-01

    What are the determinant factors of community assemblies in the most diverse ecosystem in the ocean? Coral reefs can be divided in continental (i.e., reefs that develop on the continental shelf, including siliciclastic reefs) and oceanic (i.e., far off the continental shelf, usually on volcanic substratum); whether or not these habitat differences impose community-wide ecological divergence or species exclusion/coexistence with evolutionary consequences, is unknown. Studying Caribbean octocorals as model system, we determined the phylogenetic community structure in a coral reef community, making emphasis on species coexistence evidenced on trait evolution and environmental feedbacks. Forty-nine species represented in five families constituted the species pool from which a phylogenetic tree was reconstructed using mtDNA. We included data from 11 localities in the Western Caribbean (Colombia) including most reef types. To test diversity-environment and phenotype-environment relationships, phylogenetic community structure and trait evolution we carried out comparative analyses implementing ecological and evolutionary approaches. Phylogenetic inferences suggest clustering of oceanic reefs (e.g., atolls) contrasting with phylogenetic overdispersion of continental reefs (e.g., reefs banks). Additionally, atolls and barrier reefs had the highest species diversity (Shannon index) whereas phylogenetic diversity was higher in reef banks. The discriminant component analysis supported this differentiation between oceanic and continental reefs, where continental octocoral species tend to have greater calyx apertures, thicker branches, prominent calyces and azooxanthellate species. This analysis also indicated a clear separation between the slope and the remaining habitats, caused by the presence or absence of Symbiodinium. K statistic analysis showed that this trait is conserved as well as the branch shape. There was strong octocoral community structure with opposite diversity

  13. Octocoral Species Assembly and Coexistence in Caribbean Coral Reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Johanna Velásquez

    Full Text Available What are the determinant factors of community assemblies in the most diverse ecosystem in the ocean? Coral reefs can be divided in continental (i.e., reefs that develop on the continental shelf, including siliciclastic reefs and oceanic (i.e., far off the continental shelf, usually on volcanic substratum; whether or not these habitat differences impose community-wide ecological divergence or species exclusion/coexistence with evolutionary consequences, is unknown.Studying Caribbean octocorals as model system, we determined the phylogenetic community structure in a coral reef community, making emphasis on species coexistence evidenced on trait evolution and environmental feedbacks. Forty-nine species represented in five families constituted the species pool from which a phylogenetic tree was reconstructed using mtDNA. We included data from 11 localities in the Western Caribbean (Colombia including most reef types. To test diversity-environment and phenotype-environment relationships, phylogenetic community structure and trait evolution we carried out comparative analyses implementing ecological and evolutionary approaches.Phylogenetic inferences suggest clustering of oceanic reefs (e.g., atolls contrasting with phylogenetic overdispersion of continental reefs (e.g., reefs banks. Additionally, atolls and barrier reefs had the highest species diversity (Shannon index whereas phylogenetic diversity was higher in reef banks. The discriminant component analysis supported this differentiation between oceanic and continental reefs, where continental octocoral species tend to have greater calyx apertures, thicker branches, prominent calyces and azooxanthellate species. This analysis also indicated a clear separation between the slope and the remaining habitats, caused by the presence or absence of Symbiodinium. K statistic analysis showed that this trait is conserved as well as the branch shape.There was strong octocoral community structure with opposite

  14. Reef sharks: recent advances in ecological understanding to inform conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osgood, G J; Baum, J K

    2015-12-01

    Sharks are increasingly being recognized as important members of coral-reef communities, but their overall conservation status remains uncertain. Nine of the 29 reef-shark species are designated as data deficient in the IUCN Red List, and three-fourths of reef sharks had unknown population trends at the time of their assessment. Fortunately, reef-shark research is on the rise. This new body of research demonstrates reef sharks' high site restriction, fidelity and residency on coral reefs, their broad trophic roles connecting reef communities and their high population genetic structure, all information that should be useful for their management and conservation. Importantly, recent studies on the abundance and population trends of the three classic carcharhinid reef sharks (grey reef shark Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, blacktip reef shark Carcharhinus melanopterus and whitetip reef shark Triaenodon obesus) may contribute to reassessments identifying them as more vulnerable than currently realized. Because over half of the research effort has focused on only these three reef sharks and the nurse shark Ginglymostoma cirratum in only a few locales, there remain large taxonomic and geographic gaps in reef-shark knowledge. As such, a large portion of reef-shark biodiversity remains uncharacterized despite needs for targeted research identified in their red list assessments. A research agenda for the future should integrate abundance, life history, trophic ecology, genetics, habitat use and movement studies, and expand the breadth of such research to understudied species and localities, in order to better understand the conservation requirements of these species and to motivate effective conservation solutions. © 2015 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

  15. Spatial Homogeneity of Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus Layer of the Reef-Building Coral Acropora palmata.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dustin W Kemp

    Full Text Available Coral surface mucus layer (SML microbiota are critical components of the coral holobiont and play important roles in nutrient cycling and defense against pathogens. We sequenced 16S rRNA amplicons to examine the structure of the SML microbiome within and between colonies of the threatened Caribbean reef-building coral Acropora palmata in the Florida Keys. Samples were taken from three spatially distinct colony regions--uppermost (high irradiance, underside (low irradiance, and the colony base--representing microhabitats that vary in irradiance and water flow. Phylogenetic diversity (PD values of coral SML bacteria communities were greater than surrounding seawater and lower than adjacent sediment. Bacterial diversity and community composition was consistent among the three microhabitats. Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Alphaproteobacteria, and Proteobacteria, respectively were the most abundant phyla represented in the samples. This is the first time spatial variability of the surface mucus layer of A. palmata has been studied. Homogeneity in the microbiome of A. palmata contrasts with SML heterogeneity found in other Caribbean corals. These findings suggest that, during non-stressful conditions, host regulation of SML microbiota may override diverse physiochemical influences induced by the topographical complexity of A. palmata. Documenting the spatial distribution of SML microbes is essential to understanding the functional roles these microorganisms play in coral health and adaptability to environmental perturbations.

  16. Spatial Homogeneity of Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus Layer of the Reef-Building Coral Acropora palmata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kemp, Dustin W; Rivers, Adam R; Kemp, Keri M; Lipp, Erin K; Porter, James W; Wares, John P

    2015-01-01

    Coral surface mucus layer (SML) microbiota are critical components of the coral holobiont and play important roles in nutrient cycling and defense against pathogens. We sequenced 16S rRNA amplicons to examine the structure of the SML microbiome within and between colonies of the threatened Caribbean reef-building coral Acropora palmata in the Florida Keys. Samples were taken from three spatially distinct colony regions--uppermost (high irradiance), underside (low irradiance), and the colony base--representing microhabitats that vary in irradiance and water flow. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) values of coral SML bacteria communities were greater than surrounding seawater and lower than adjacent sediment. Bacterial diversity and community composition was consistent among the three microhabitats. Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Alphaproteobacteria, and Proteobacteria, respectively were the most abundant phyla represented in the samples. This is the first time spatial variability of the surface mucus layer of A. palmata has been studied. Homogeneity in the microbiome of A. palmata contrasts with SML heterogeneity found in other Caribbean corals. These findings suggest that, during non-stressful conditions, host regulation of SML microbiota may override diverse physiochemical influences induced by the topographical complexity of A. palmata. Documenting the spatial distribution of SML microbes is essential to understanding the functional roles these microorganisms play in coral health and adaptability to environmental perturbations.

  17. Monitoring of coral reef ecosystems on the Island of Hawaii from 22 May 1999 to 25 May 1999 through the Quantitative Underwater Ecological Surveying Techniques (QUEST) project (NODC Accession 0000264)

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  18. Population structure, spatial distribution and life-history traits of blacktip reef sharks Carcharhinus melanopterus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mourier, J; Mills, S C; Planes, S

    2013-03-01

    During a survey of the population of blacktip reef shark Carcharhinus melanopterus in Moorea (French Polynesia) between 2007 and 2011, population structural characteristics were estimated from 268 individuals. Total length (LT ) ranged from 48 to 139 cm and 48 to 157 cm for males and females, respectively, demonstrating that the average LT of females was larger than that of males. The C. melanopterus population at Moorea showed an apparent spatial sexual segregation with females preferentially frequenting lagoons and males the fore-reefs. Mean growth rate was c. 6 cm year(-1) . Males reached sexual maturity at 111 cm LT . This study reports on the population characteristics of this widespread carcharhinid shark species and makes comparisons with other locations, confirming high geographic variability in the population structure of the species. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Fish Biology © 2013 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew H Long

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

  1. Connectivity and genetic structure of the queen conch on the Mesoamerican Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Machkour-M'Rabet, Salima; Cruz-Medina, Jorge; García-De León, Francisco J.; De Jesús-Navarrete, Alberto; Hénaut, Yann

    2017-06-01

    The queen conch ( Strombus gigas) is a commercially important marine invertebrate that is widely distributed throughout the western Atlantic, from Bermuda to Brazil. Intense exploitation has resulted in a decrease in population numbers of this species, which is listed as protected from commercial exploitation under IUCN and CITES. Previous studies on population genetics have demonstrated contrasting results in terms of the population structure of S. gigas. This research analyzed the genetic connectivity of the queen conch over a wide area of the Mesoamerican Reef System to determine whether S. gigas presents one panmictic population or a more complex structure. Furthermore, we evaluated the risk of local extinction by establishing the genetic diversity of the studied populations. High resolution was obtained for the five ISSR markers used for a total of 190 individuals, from seven localities along the Mesoamerican Reef. Our results reject the panmictic structure hypothesis for the queen conch in the study area and demonstrate genetic patchiness, indicating general homogeneity among localities that present an isolation-by-distance pattern. However, some genetic temporal variation was confirmed for the Cozumel locality. Furthermore, our results reveal self-recruitment for the Alacranes Reef aggregation and suggest sufficient connectivity with localities on the Caribbean coast to maintain high genetic diversity. With regard to genetic diversity, the results demonstrate that the queen conch is not genetically threatened in the study area. This is probably due to high annual recruitment within Caribbean queen conch aggregations, and suggests that S. gigas is a highly resilient organism. We advocate that the appropriate management of S. gigas (fishing quota and/or closed season) must be followed to attain a rapid recovery of queen conch populations. This study represents a fundamental step in the understanding of the dynamic population structure of S. gigas in the

  2. The Impact of Marine Protected Areas on Reef-Wide Population Structure and Fishing-Induced Phenotypes in Coral-Reef Fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fidler, Robert Young, III

    using size-specific fish counts, allowing for spatiotemporal comparisons of abundance and demographic structure of fish populations across protected and fished areas. Results of the meta-analysis revealed that: (1) although fish density was higher inside MPAs than in fished reefs at each sampling period, reef-wide density often increased or remained stable over time; and (2) increases in large-bodied fish were evident reef-wide between survey periods, indicating that positive demographic shifts occurred simultaneously in both MPAs and adjacent areas. Increases in large-bodied fish were observed across a range of taxa, but were most prominent in families directly targeted by fishermen. These results suggest that over relatively few years of protection, Philippine MPAs promoted beneficial shifts in population structure throughout entire reef systems, rather than simply maintaining stable populations within their borders. Relationships between MPA age and shifts in fish density or demographic structure were rare, but may have been precluded by the relatively short period between replicate surveys. Although increases in fish density inside MPAs were occasionally associated with MPA size, there were no significant relationships between the size of MPAs and reef-wide increases in fish density. The reef-wide framework of MPA assessment used in this study has the advantage of treating MPAs and fished reefs as an integrated system, thus revealing trends that would be indistinguishable in traditional spatial comparisons between MPAs and fished reefs. The impact of MPAs on fishing-induced life-history traits was assessed by comparing growth and maturation patterns exhibited by six reef-fish species inside and outside five MPAs and adjacent, fished reefs in Zambales, Luzon, Philippines. This analysis demonstrated considerable variation in terminal body-sizes (Linf) and growth rates (K) between conspecifics in MPAs and fished reefs. Three of the four experimental species directly

  3. Relationships between primary production and irradiance in coral reef algal communities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1985-01-01

    Shallow water algal turf communities are the major primary producers on coral reefs. High rates of primary production are maintained despite extremely high light intensities and exposure to ultraviolet wavelengths. The relationships between the light intensity and primary production in these assemblages are typical of algae adapted to a high light environment [low α (initial slope), high I/sub k/ (saturating light intensity), and high I/sub c/ (compensation point light intensity)]. Seasonal variations in algal standing crop due to herbivory and daylength result in some characteristic photoadaptive changes in α I/sub k/, and I/sub c/ and changes in Pnet/sub max/ rates (maximum net photosynthetic rate achieved at light saturation) on both a chlorophyll α and an areal basis. Exposure to UV wavelength results in significantly higher respiration rates but no changes in α, Pnet/sub max/, or I/sub k/, when compared with these parameters for the same algal communities incubated at the same light intensities without UV wavelengths. The apparent lack of photoinhibition in these algae allows calculation of the daily integrated production from the P vs. I parameters. This integrated production is highest in July (3.1 +/- 0.2 g C m -2 d -1 ) and is reduced by 30% from this maximum in December (2.1 +/- 0.1 g C m -2 d -1 )

  4. Larval dispersal in three coral reef decapod species: Influence of larval duration on the metapopulation structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zavala-Hidalgo, Jorge; Allende-Arandía, Eugenia; Hermoso-Salazar, Margarita

    2018-01-01

    Most coral-associated decapod species have non-migratory adult populations and depend on their planktonic larvae for dispersal. This study examined the metapopulation structure of three decapod species with different pelagic larval duration (PLD) from twelve coral reef complexes of the Gulf of Mexico. The dispersion of larvae was analyzed through the use of a realistic numerical simulation of the Gulf of Mexico with the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model. To study the transport and dispersion of particles in near-surface waters, a particle-tracking subroutine was run using as input the currents from the model. The simulation consisted of the launch of 100 passive particles (virtual larvae) every 24 hours from each reef throughout five years, and tracked for as long as 210 days. Results indicated that species with a short PLD, Mithraculus sculptus (PLD 8‒13 days), had a weak connection among the reefs, but higher self-recruitment, especially on the narrow western shelf. The species with a longer PLD, Dromia erythropus (28‒30 days), had a stronger connection among neighboring reefs (< 300 km). Finally, the species with an even longer PLD, Stenopus hispidus (123‒210 days), had a wider potential distribution than the other species. Circulation on synoptic, seasonal and interannual scales had differential effects on the larval dispersal of each species. The metapopulation structure of M. sculptus and D. erythropus seemed to combine features of the non-equilibrium and the patchy models, whereas that of S. hispidus presumably fit to a patchy model. These findings support previous observations that indicate that species with longer PLD tend to occupy larger areas than species with short PLD, although recruitment of juveniles to the adult populations will also depend on other factors, such as the availability of suitable habitats and the ability to colonize them. PMID:29558478

  5. Cross-habitat interactions among bivalve species control community structure on intertidal flats

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Donadi, S.; van der Heide, T.; van der Zee, E.M.; Eklöf, J.S.; van de Koppel, J.; Weerman, E.J.; Piersma, T.; Olff, H.; Eriksson, B.K.

    2013-01-01

    Increasing evidence shows that spatial interactions between sedentary organisms can structure communities and promote landscape complexity in many ecosystems. Here we tested the hypothesis that reef-forming mussels (Mytilus edulis L.), a dominant intertidal ecosystem engineer in the Wadden Sea,

  6. Cross-habitat interactions among bivalve species control community structure on intertidal flats

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Donadi, Serena; van der Heide, Tjisse; van der Zee, Els M.; Eklöf, Johan S.; van de Koppel, Johan; Weerman, Ellen J.; Piersma, Theunis; Olff, Han; Eriksson, Britas Klemens

    Increasing evidence shows that spatial interactions between sedentary organisms can structure communities and promote landscape complexity in many ecosystems. Here we tested the hypothesis that reef-forming mussels (Mytilus edulis L.), a dominant intertidal ecosystem engineer in the Wadden Sea,

  7. Predicting climate-driven regime shifts versus rebound potential in coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Jennings, Simon; MacNeil, M Aaron; Mouillot, David; Wilson, Shaun K

    2015-02-05

    Climate-induced coral bleaching is among the greatest current threats to coral reefs, causing widespread loss of live coral cover. Conditions under which reefs bounce back from bleaching events or shift from coral to algal dominance are unknown, making it difficult to predict and plan for differing reef responses under climate change. Here we document and predict long-term reef responses to a major climate-induced coral bleaching event that caused unprecedented region-wide mortality of Indo-Pacific corals. Following loss of >90% live coral cover, 12 of 21 reefs recovered towards pre-disturbance live coral states, while nine reefs underwent regime shifts to fleshy macroalgae. Functional diversity of associated reef fish communities shifted substantially following bleaching, returning towards pre-disturbance structure on recovering reefs, while becoming progressively altered on regime shifting reefs. We identified threshold values for a range of factors that accurately predicted ecosystem response to the bleaching event. Recovery was favoured when reefs were structurally complex and in deeper water, when density of juvenile corals and herbivorous fishes was relatively high and when nutrient loads were low. Whether reefs were inside no-take marine reserves had no bearing on ecosystem trajectory. Although conditions governing regime shift or recovery dynamics were diverse, pre-disturbance quantification of simple factors such as structural complexity and water depth accurately predicted ecosystem trajectories. These findings foreshadow the likely divergent but predictable outcomes for reef ecosystems in response to climate change, thus guiding improved management and adaptation.

  8. Bacterial communities associated with Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS) on three western Indian Ocean (WIO) coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Séré, Mathieu G; Tortosa, Pablo; Chabanet, Pascale; Turquet, Jean; Quod, Jean-Pascal; Schleyer, Michael H

    2013-01-01

    The scleractinian coral Porites lutea, an important reef-building coral on western Indian Ocean reefs (WIO), is affected by a newly-reported white syndrome (WS) the Porites white patch syndrome (PWPS). Histopathology and culture-independent molecular techniques were used to characterise the microbial communities associated with this emerging disease. Microscopy showed extensive tissue fragmentation generally associated with ovoid basophilic bodies resembling bacterial aggregates. Results of 16S rRNA sequence analysis revealed a high variability between bacterial communities associated with PWPS-infected and healthy tissues in P. lutea, a pattern previously reported in other coral diseases such as black band disease (BBD), white band disease (WBD) and white plague diseases (WPD). Furthermore, substantial variations in bacterial communities were observed at the different sampling locations, suggesting that there is no strong bacterial association in Porites lutea on WIO reefs. Several sequences affiliated with potential pathogens belonging to the Vibrionaceae and Rhodobacteraceae were identified, mainly in PWPS-infected coral tissues. Among them, only two ribotypes affiliated to Shimia marina (NR043300.1) and Vibrio hepatarius (NR025575.1) were consistently found in diseased tissues from the three geographically distant sampling localities. The role of these bacterial species in PWPS needs to be tested experimentally.

  9. Mapping coral reefs using consumer-grade drones and structure from motion photogrammetry techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casella, Elisa; Collin, Antoine; Harris, Daniel; Ferse, Sebastian; Bejarano, Sonia; Parravicini, Valeriano; Hench, James L.; Rovere, Alessio

    2017-03-01

    We propose a novel technique to measure the small-scale three-dimensional features of a shallow-water coral reef using a small drone equipped with a consumer-grade camera, a handheld GPS and structure from motion (SfM) algorithms. We used a GoPro HERO4 with a modified lens mounted on a DJI Phantom 2 drone (maximum total take-off weight <2 kg) to perform a 10 min flight and collect 306 aerial images with an overlap equal or greater than 90%. We mapped an area of 8380 m2, obtaining as output an ortho-rectified aerial photomosaic and a bathymetric digital elevation model (DEM) with a resolution of 0.78 and 1.56 cm pixel-1, respectively. Through comparison with airborne LiDAR data for the same area, we verified that the location of the ortho-rectified aerial photomosaic is accurate within 1.4 m. The bathymetric difference between our DEM and the LiDAR dataset is -0.016 ± 0.45 m (1σ). Our results show that it is possible, in conditions of calm waters, low winds and minimal sun glint, to deploy consumer-grade drones as a relatively low-cost and rapid survey technique to produce multispectral and bathymetric data on shallow-water coral reefs. We discuss the utility of such data to monitor temporal changes in topographic complexity of reefs and associated biological processes.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-01

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

  11. Genetic assessment of connectivity in the common reef sponge, Callyspongia vaginalis (Demospongiae: Haplosclerida) reveals high population structure along the Florida reef tract

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debiasse, M. B.; Richards, V. P.; Shivji, M. S.

    2010-03-01

    The genetic population structure of the common branching vase sponge, Callyspongia vaginalis, was determined along the entire length (465 km) of the Florida reef system from Palm Beach to the Dry Tortugas based on sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene. Populations of C. vaginalis were highly structured (overall ΦST = 0.33), in some cases over distances as small as tens of kilometers. However, nonsignificant pairwise ΦST values were also found between a few relatively distant sampling sites suggesting that some long distance larval dispersal may occur via ocean currents or transport in sponge fragments along continuous, shallow coastlines. Indeed, sufficient gene flow appears to occur along the Florida reef tract to obscure a signal of isolation by distance, but not to homogenize COI haplotype frequencies. The strong genetic differentiation among most of the sampling locations suggests that recruitment in this species is largely local source-driven, pointing to the importance of further elucidating general connectivity patterns along the Florida reef tract to guide the spatial scale of management efforts.

  12. Can partnerships and community-based conservation reverse the decline of coral reef social-ecological systems?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James Barclay Frey

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available The marine aquarium trade has played an important role in shaping the ecological state of coral reefs in Indonesia and much of the Asia-Pacific. The use of cyanide by ornamental fishers in Buleleng District, Bali, in the 1980s and 1990s has resulted in a precipitous decline in the ecological health of reefs. Cyanide-free harvesting techniques were introduced after 2000, along with reef restoration measures. This paper examines social and ecological processes in the fishing village of Les, Bali, in ending the use of cyanide and the resulting ecological restoration. An emphasis on conservation-development (with livelihood objectives was important in securing interest and cooperation across stakeholder groups. Adaptive approaches to governance and knowledge co-production were also important. The strategy used at Les is now being exported to other communities across Indonesia, and provides a promising example of a marine resources-based conservation-development initiative that may be implemented at other, similar communities.

  13. Impact of redox-stratification on the diversity and distribution of bacterial communities in sandy reef sediments in a microcosm

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    GAO Zheng; WANG Xin; Angelos K. HANNIDES; Francis J. SANSONE; WANG Guangyi

    2011-01-01

    Relationships between microbial communities and geochemical environments are important in marine microbial ecology and biogeochemistry.Although biogeochemical redox stratification has been well documented in marine sediments,its impact on microbial communities remains largely unknown.In this study,we applied denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and clone library construction to investigate the diversity and stratification of bacterial communities in redox-stratified sandy reef sediments in a microcosm.A total of 88 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTU) were identified from 16S rRNA clone libraries constructed from sandy reef sediments in a laboratory microcosm.They were members of nine phyla and three candidate divisions,including Proteobacteria (Alpha-,Beta-,Gamma-,Delta-,and Epsilonproteobacteria),Actinobacteria,Acidobacteria,Bacteroidetes,Chloroflexi,Cyanobacteria,Firmicutes,Verrucomicrobia,Spirochaetes,and the candidate divisions WS3,SO31 and AO19.The vast majority of these phylotypes are related to clone sequences from other marine sediments,but OTUs of Epsilonproteobacteria and WS3 are reported for the first time from permeable marine sediments.Several other OTUs are potential new bacterial phylotypes because of their low similarity with reference sequences.Results from the 16S rRNA,gene clone sequence analyses suggested that bacterial communities exhibit clear stratification across large redox gradients in these sediments,with the highest diversity found in the anoxic layer (15-25 mm) and the least diversity in the suboxic layer (3-5 mm).Analysis of the nosZ,and amoA gene libraries also indicated the stratification of denitrifiers and nitrifiers,with their highest diversity being in the anoxic and oxic sediment layers,respectively.These results indicated that redox-stratification can affect the distribution of bacterial communities in sandy reef sediments.

  14. Benthic meiofaunal community response to the cascading effects of herbivory within an algal halo system of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ollivier, Quinn R; Hammill, Edward; Booth, David J; Madin, Elizabeth M P; Hinchliffe, Charles; Harborne, Alastair R; Lovelock, Catherine E; Macreadie, Peter I; Atwood, Trisha B

    2018-01-01

    Benthic fauna play a crucial role in organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling at the sediment-water boundary in aquatic ecosystems. In terrestrial systems, grazing herbivores have been shown to influence below-ground communities through alterations to plant distribution and composition, however whether similar cascading effects occur in aquatic systems is unknown. Here, we assess the relationship between benthic invertebrates and above-ground fish grazing across the 'grazing halos' of Heron Island lagoon, Australia. Grazing halos, which occur around patch reefs globally, are caused by removal of seagrass or benthic macroalgae by herbivorous fish that results in distinct bands of unvegetated sediments surrounding patch reefs. We found that benthic algal canopy height significantly increased with distance from patch reef, and that algal canopy height was positively correlated with the abundances of only one invertebrate taxon (Nematoda). Both sediment carbon to nitrogen ratios (C:N) and mean sediment particle size (μm) demonstrated a positive correlation with Nematoda and Arthropoda (predominantly copepod) abundances, respectively. These positive correlations indicate that environmental conditions are a major contributor to benthic invertebrate community distribution, acting on benthic communities in conjunction with the cascading effects of above-ground algal grazing. These results suggest that benthic communities, and the ecosystem functions they perform in this system, may be less responsive to changes in above-ground herbivorous processes than those previously studied in terrestrial systems. Understanding how above-ground organisms, and processes, affect their benthic invertebrate counterparts can shed light on how changes in aquatic communities may affect ecosystem function in previously unknown ways.

  15. Spatial Patterns in Herbivory on a Coral Reef Are Influenced by Structural Complexity but Not by Algal Traits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vergés, Adriana; Vanderklift, Mathew A.; Doropoulos, Christopher; Hyndes, Glenn A.

    2011-01-01

    Background Patterns of herbivory can alter the spatial structure of ecosystems, with important consequences for ecosystem functions and biodiversity. While the factors that drive spatial patterns in herbivory in terrestrial systems are well established, comparatively less is known about what influences the distribution of herbivory in coral reefs. Methodology and Principal Findings We quantified spatial patterns of macroalgal consumption in a cross-section of Ningaloo Reef (Western Australia). We used a combination of descriptive and experimental approaches to assess the influence of multiple macroalgal traits and structural complexity in establishing the observed spatial patterns in macroalgal herbivory, and to identify potential feedback mechanisms between herbivory and macroalgal nutritional quality. Spatial patterns in macroalgal consumption were best explained by differences in structural complexity among habitats. The biomass of herbivorous fish, and rates of herbivory were always greater in the structurally-complex coral-dominated outer reef and reef flat habitats, which were also characterised by high biomass of herbivorous fish, low cover and biomass of macroalgae and the presence of unpalatable algae species. Macroalgal consumption decreased to undetectable levels within 75 m of structurally-complex reef habitat, and algae were most abundant in the structurally-simple lagoon habitats, which were also characterised by the presence of the most palatable algae species. In contrast to terrestrial ecosystems, herbivory patterns were not influenced by the distribution, productivity or nutritional quality of resources (macroalgae), and we found no evidence of a positive feedback between macroalgal consumption and the nitrogen content of algae. Significance This study highlights the importance of seascape-scale patterns in structural complexity in determining spatial patterns of macroalgal consumption by fish. Given the importance of herbivory in maintaining the

  16. Spatial patterns in herbivory on a coral reef are influenced by structural complexity but not by algal traits.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adriana Vergés

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Patterns of herbivory can alter the spatial structure of ecosystems, with important consequences for ecosystem functions and biodiversity. While the factors that drive spatial patterns in herbivory in terrestrial systems are well established, comparatively less is known about what influences the distribution of herbivory in coral reefs.We quantified spatial patterns of macroalgal consumption in a cross-section of Ningaloo Reef (Western Australia. We used a combination of descriptive and experimental approaches to assess the influence of multiple macroalgal traits and structural complexity in establishing the observed spatial patterns in macroalgal herbivory, and to identify potential feedback mechanisms between herbivory and macroalgal nutritional quality. Spatial patterns in macroalgal consumption were best explained by differences in structural complexity among habitats. The biomass of herbivorous fish, and rates of herbivory were always greater in the structurally-complex coral-dominated outer reef and reef flat habitats, which were also characterised by high biomass of herbivorous fish, low cover and biomass of macroalgae and the presence of unpalatable algae species. Macroalgal consumption decreased to undetectable levels within 75 m of structurally-complex reef habitat, and algae were most abundant in the structurally-simple lagoon habitats, which were also characterised by the presence of the most palatable algae species. In contrast to terrestrial ecosystems, herbivory patterns were not influenced by the distribution, productivity or nutritional quality of resources (macroalgae, and we found no evidence of a positive feedback between macroalgal consumption and the nitrogen content of algae.This study highlights the importance of seascape-scale patterns in structural complexity in determining spatial patterns of macroalgal consumption by fish. Given the importance of herbivory in maintaining the ability of coral reefs to reorganise and

  17. Characterisation of the gill mucosal bacterial communities of four butterflyfish species: a reservoir of bacterial diversity in coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reverter, Miriam; Sasal, Pierre; Tapissier-Bontemps, N; Lecchini, D; Suzuki, M

    2017-06-01

    While recent studies have suggested that fish mucus microbiota play an important role in homeostasis and prevention of infections, very few studies have investigated the bacterial communities of gill mucus. We characterised the gill mucus bacterial communities of four butterflyfish species and although the bacterial diversity of gill mucus varied significantly between species, Shannon diversities were high (H = 3.7-5.7) in all species. Microbiota composition differed between butterflyfishes, with Chaetodon lunulatus and C. ornatissimus having the most similar bacterial communities, which differed significantly from C. vagabundus and C. reticulatus. The core bacterial community of all species consisted of mainly Proteobacteria followed by Actinobacteria and Firmicutes. Chaetodonlunulatus and C. ornatissimus bacterial communities were mostly dominated by Gammaproteobacteria with Vibrio as the most abundant genus. Chaetodonvagabundus and C. reticulatus presented similar abundances of Gammaproteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria, which were well represented by Acinetobacter and Paracoccus, respectively. In conclusion, our results indicate that different fish species present specific bacterial assemblages. Finally, as mucus layers are nutrient hotspots for heterotrophic bacteria living in oligotrophic environments, such as coral reef waters, the high bacterial diversity found in butterflyfish gill mucus might indicate external fish mucus surfaces act as a reservoir of coral reef bacterial diversity. © FEMS 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  18. Structure of a toothed cetacean community around a tropical island ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ... cetacean community around a tropical island (Mayotte, Mozambique Channel) ... Patterns of spatial distribution underscore the existence of three main ... The outer slope of the barrier reef appears to be of primary importance in terms of ...

  19. The potential roles of bacterial communities in coral defence: A case study at Talang-talang reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuek, Felicity W. I.; Lim, Li-Fang; Ngu, Lin-Hui; Mujahid, Aazani; Lim, Po-Teen; Leaw, Chui-Pin; Müller, Moritz

    2015-06-01

    Complex microbial communities are known to exert significant influence over coral reef ecosystems. The Talang- Satang National Park is situated off the coast of Sematan and is one of the most diverse ecosystems found off-Sarawak. Interestingly, the Talang-talang reef thrives at above-average temperatures of 28- 30°C throughout the year. Through isolation and identification (16S rRNA) of native microbes from the coral, the surface mucus layer (SML), as well as the surrounding sediment and waters, we were able to determine the species composition and abundance of the culturable bacteria in the coral reef ecosystem. Isolates found attached to the coral are related mostly to Vibrio spp., presumably attached to the mucus from the water column and surrounding sediment. Pathogenic Vibrio spp. and Bacillus spp. were dominant amongst the isolates from the water column and sediment, while known coral pathogens responsible for coral bleaching, Vibrio coralliilyticus and Vibrio shiloi, were isolated from the coral SML and sediment samples respectively. Coral SML isolates were found to be closely related to known nitrogen fixers and antibiotic producers with tolerance towards elevated temperatures and heavy metal contamination, offering a possible explanation why the local corals are able to thrive in higher than usual temperatures. This specialized microbiota may be important for protecting the corals from pathogens by occupying entry niches and/or through the production of secondary metabolites such as antibiotics. The communities from the coral SML were tested against each other at 28, 30 and 32°C, and were also assessed for the presence of type I modular polyketides synthase (PKS) and non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) genes which are both involved in the production of antibiotic compounds. The bacterial community from the SML exhibited antimicrobial properties under normal temperatures while pathogenic strains appeared toxic at elevated temperatures and our results

  20. Artificial reefs and reef restoration in the Laurentian Great Lakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLean, Matthew W.; Roseman, Edward; Pritt, Jeremy J.; Kennedy, Gregory W.; Manny, Bruce A.

    2015-01-01

    We reviewed the published literature to provide an inventory of Laurentian Great Lakes artificial reef projects and their purposes. We also sought to characterize physical and biological monitoring for artificial reef projects in the Great Lakes and determine the success of artificial reefs in meeting project objectives. We found records of 6 artificial reefs in Lake Erie, 8 in Lake Michigan, 3 in Lakes Huron and Ontario, and 2 in Lake Superior. We found 9 reefs in Great Lakes connecting channels and 6 reefs in Great Lakes tributaries. Objectives of artificial reef creation have included reducing impacts of currents and waves, providing safe harbors, improving sport-fishing opportunities, and enhancing/restoring fish spawning habitats. Most reefs in the lakes themselves were incidental (not created purposely for fish habitat) or built to improve local sport fishing, whereas reefs in tributaries and connecting channels were more frequently built to benefit fish spawning. Levels of assessment of reef performance varied; but long-term monitoring was uncommon as was assessment of physical attributes. Artificial reefs were often successful at attracting recreational species and spawning fish; however, population-level benefits of artificial reefs are unclear. Stressors such as sedimentation and bio-fouling can limit the effectiveness of artificial reefs as spawning enhancement tools. Our investigation underscores the need to develop standard protocols for monitoring the biological and physical attributes of artificial structures. Further, long-term monitoring is needed to assess the benefits of artificial reefs to fish populations and inform future artificial reef projects.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-07-21

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

  2. Please mind the gap – Visual census and cryptic biodiversity assessment at central Red Sea coral reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Pearman, John K.

    2016-04-26

    Coral reefs harbor the most diverse assemblages in the ocean, however, a large proportion of the diversity is cryptic and, therefore, undetected by standard visual census techniques. Cryptic and exposed communities differ considerably in species composition and ecological function. This study compares three different coral reef assessment protocols: i) visual benthic reef surveys: ii) visual census of Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) plates; and iii) metabarcoding techniques of the ARMS (including sessile, 106–500 μm and 500–2000 μm size fractions), that target the cryptic and exposed communities of three reefs in the central Red Sea. Visual census showed a dominance of Cnidaria (Anthozoa) and Rhodophyta on the reef substrate, while Porifera, Bryozoa and Rhodophyta were the most abundant groups on the ARMS plates. Metabarcoding, targeting the 18S rRNA gene, significantly increased estimates of the species diversity (p < 0.001); revealing that Annelida were generally the dominant phyla (in terms of reads) of all fractions and reefs. Furthermore, metabarcoding detected microbial eukaryotic groups such as Syndiniophyceae, Mamiellophyceae and Bacillariophyceae as relevant components of the sessile fraction. ANOSIM analysis showed that the three reef sites showed no differences based on the visual census data. Metabarcoding showed a higher sensitivity for identifying differences between reef communities at smaller geographic scales than standard visual census techniques as significant differences in the assemblages were observed amongst the reefs. Comparison of the techniques showed no similar patterns for the visual techniques while the metabarcoding of the ARMS showed similar patterns amongst fractions. Establishing ARMS as a standard tool in reef monitoring will not only advance our understanding of local processes and ecological community response to environmental changes, as different faunal components will provide complementary information but

  3. Please mind the gap – Visual census and cryptic biodiversity assessment at central Red Sea coral reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Pearman, John K.; Anlauf, Holger; Irigoien, Xabier; Carvalho, Susana

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs harbor the most diverse assemblages in the ocean, however, a large proportion of the diversity is cryptic and, therefore, undetected by standard visual census techniques. Cryptic and exposed communities differ considerably in species composition and ecological function. This study compares three different coral reef assessment protocols: i) visual benthic reef surveys: ii) visual census of Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) plates; and iii) metabarcoding techniques of the ARMS (including sessile, 106–500 μm and 500–2000 μm size fractions), that target the cryptic and exposed communities of three reefs in the central Red Sea. Visual census showed a dominance of Cnidaria (Anthozoa) and Rhodophyta on the reef substrate, while Porifera, Bryozoa and Rhodophyta were the most abundant groups on the ARMS plates. Metabarcoding, targeting the 18S rRNA gene, significantly increased estimates of the species diversity (p < 0.001); revealing that Annelida were generally the dominant phyla (in terms of reads) of all fractions and reefs. Furthermore, metabarcoding detected microbial eukaryotic groups such as Syndiniophyceae, Mamiellophyceae and Bacillariophyceae as relevant components of the sessile fraction. ANOSIM analysis showed that the three reef sites showed no differences based on the visual census data. Metabarcoding showed a higher sensitivity for identifying differences between reef communities at smaller geographic scales than standard visual census techniques as significant differences in the assemblages were observed amongst the reefs. Comparison of the techniques showed no similar patterns for the visual techniques while the metabarcoding of the ARMS showed similar patterns amongst fractions. Establishing ARMS as a standard tool in reef monitoring will not only advance our understanding of local processes and ecological community response to environmental changes, as different faunal components will provide complementary information but

  4. Abundance, distribution and size structure of Diadema antillarum (Echinodermata: Diadematidae in South Eastern Cuban coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F Martín Blanco

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available The 1983-1984 mass mortality event of Diadema antillarum affected more than 93% of the total Caribbean population. Although there are no records about the status of Diadema populations before and after die-off on Cuban reefs, anecdotal information suggests that populations were struck. We analyzed spatial variation in the abundance and size structure of D. antillarum in 22 reefs sites in Jardines de la Reina, from June 2004 to September 2005. Counts of Diadema were performed in five 30x2m transects at each sampling site and sampling time, and test diameters were measured in September 2005 at the same fore reefs. Abundances were higher at reef crests (mean densities 0.08-2.18 ind./m², while reef slope populations reached a maximum site level of 0.13 ind./m² at only one site and showed values up to three orders of magnitude lower than those from reef crests. Highest abundance occurred at the west margin of major channels between keys where larval recruitment seems to be favored by local oceanographic features and facilitated by the abundance of Echinometra lucunter. The size frequency distribution of D. antillarum indicates that recruitment began to be noticeable three years before September 2005, suggesting these populations were depleted in the past and they are recovering now. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (2: 663-676. Epub 2010 June 02.La mortalidad de Diadema antillarum en 1983-1984 afectó más del 93% de la población del Caribe. Aunque no existen datos publicados sobre el estado de sus poblaciones en arrecifes cubanos antes y después de la mortalidad, se conoce anecdóticamente que fueron afectadas. En el presente trabajo se analizan las variaciones espaciales de la abundancia y estructura de tallas de D. antillarum en 22 arrecifes frontales en Jardines de la Reina, para lo cual se realizaron cinco recorridos de 30x2m en cada sitio entre Junio de 2004 y Septiembre de 2005. Las densidades de Diadema fueron mayores en las crestas arrecifales (0

  5. Potential impact of a seawater flue gas desulfurisation (SWFGD) effluent on coral reef communities

    OpenAIRE

    Bakke, T.

    1999-01-01

    A basis of available literature information there is little reason to expect that effluent from an SWFGD planned at Yanby, Saudi Arabia, will cause any damage to local coral reef formations, the nearest being about 3.5 km away. The corals may over time accumulate nicel and vanadium from the effluent, but the predicted moderate metal levels in the outfall, and the mixing of the outfall water with seawater before the reef is reached, suggest that such accumulation will be modest. Comparison of ...

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

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Manikandan, B.; Ravindran, J.

    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...

  7. Effects of the 1986 Bahia Las Minas oil spill on reef flat communities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cubit, J.D.; Connor, J.L.

    1993-01-01

    On April 27, 1986, about 75,000 to 100,000 barrels of medium-weight crude oil spilled into the Caribbean Sea from a refinery in Bahia Las Minas, Panama. After weathering for 13 days in warm, sunny conditions, the oil reached the intertidal reef flat and biological reserve at Punta Galeta, which had been under study since the early 1970's. The prespill data base consisted of detailed, time-series monitoring of sessile biota on the reef flat in relation to changes in sea and weather conditions. To assess the effects of the oil, this monitoring was expanded to other sites and continued after the oil spill. Within the resolution of our measurements, most detectable mortality of the sessile biota occurred in specific zones of the reef flats where factors such as winds, waves, water levels, and topography caused the oil to accumulate. Where the oil floated over the reef flats without prolonged accumulation, little mortality was recorded. The sessile biota regenerated from fragments surviving in place or washing in from nearby habitats, and the regeneration times ranged from less than one year to more than five years. For the sessile biota, there appeared to be no recolonization via planktonic larvae or spores. The fastest regeneration times were for species that propagated from fragments that survived in place; the slowest were for species that suffered nearly 100 percent mortality and recolonized from fragments washing in from subtidal habitats. Because regeneration of sessile species on tropical reef flats depends on regrowth from local survivors, control and cleanup of oil spills in these environments should be designed to maximize the survival of resident populations

  8. Local Biomass Baselines and the Recovery Potential for Hawaiian Coral Reef Fish Communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kelvin D. Gorospe

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Understanding the influence of multiple ecosystem drivers, both natural and anthropogenic, and how they vary across space is critical to the spatial management of coral reef fisheries. In Hawaii, as elsewhere, there is uncertainty with regards to how areas should be selected for protection, and management efforts prioritized. One strategy is to prioritize efforts based on an area's biomass baseline, or natural capacity to support reef fish populations. Another strategy is to prioritize areas based on their recovery potential, or in other words, the potential increase in fish biomass from present-day state, should management be effective at restoring assemblages to something more like their baseline state. We used data from 717 fisheries-independent reef fish monitoring surveys from 2012 to 2015 around the main Hawaiian Islands as well as site-level data on benthic habitat, oceanographic conditions, and human population density, to develop a hierarchical, linear Bayesian model that explains spatial variation in: (1 herbivorous and (2 total reef fish biomass. We found that while human population density negatively affected fish assemblages at all surveyed areas, there was considerable variation in the natural capacity of different areas to support reef fish biomass. For example, some areas were predicted to have the capacity to support ten times as much herbivorous fish biomass as other areas. Overall, the model found human population density to have negatively impacted fish biomass throughout Hawaii, however the magnitude and uncertainty of these impacts varied locally. Results provide part of the basis for marine spatial planning and/or MPA-network design within Hawaii.

  9. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral reef benthic communities in Puerto Rico from 2014-05-19 to 2014-12-03 (NCEI Accession 0151729)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Benthic data collection for the National Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Program (NCRMP) consists of two survey types: the Line Point-Intercept (LPI) method and the...

  10. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program - Assessment of coral reef fish communities in Puerto Rico from 2014-05-19 to 2014-12-03 (NCEI Accession 0131260)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan (NCRMP) is a framework for conducting sustained observations of biological, climate, and socioeconomic indicators at 10...

  11. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of fish communities in the Florida Reef Tract from 2014-05-01 to 2014-10-01 (NCEI Accession 0156445)

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  12. Conventional and technical diving surveys reveal elevated biomass and differing fish community composition from shallow and upper mesophotic zones of a remote United States coral reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roldan C Muñoz

    Full Text Available The world's coral reefs appear to be in a global decline, yet most previous research on coral reefs has taken place at depths shallower than 30 m. Mesophotic coral ecosystem (depths deeper than ~30 m studies have revealed extensive, productive habitats and rich communities. Despite recent advances, mesophotic coral ecosystems remain understudied due to challenges with sampling at deeper depths. The few previous studies of mesophotic coral ecosystems have shown variation across locations in depth-specific species composition and assemblage shifts, potentially a response to differences in habitat or light availability/water clarity. This study utilized scuba to examine fish and benthic communities from shallow and upper mesophotic (to 45 m zones of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS, 28°0'N; 93°50'W from 2010-2012. Dominant planktivores were ubiquitous in shallow and upper mesophotic habitats, and comparisons with previous shallow research suggest this community distribution has persisted for over 30 years. Planktivores were abundant in shallow low-relief habitats on the periphery of the coral reef, and some of these sites that contained habitat transitioning from high to low relief supported high biomass of benthic predators. These peripheral sites at FGBNMS may be important for the trophic transfer of oceanic energy to the benthic coral reef. Distinct differences between upper mesophotic and shallow communities were also observed. These included greater overall fish (as well as apex predator biomass in the upper mesophotic, differences in apex predator community composition between depth zones, and greater percent cover of algae, rubble, sand, and sponges in the upper mesophotic. Greater fish biomass in the upper mesophotic and similar fish community composition between depth zones provide preliminary support that upper mesophotic habitats at FGBNMS have the capacity to serve as refugia for the shallow-water reefs. Diving

  13. Conventional and technical diving surveys reveal elevated biomass and differing fish community composition from shallow and upper mesophotic zones of a remote United States coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muñoz, Roldan C; Buckel, Christine A; Whitfield, Paula E; Viehman, Shay; Clark, Randy; Taylor, J Christopher; Degan, Brian P; Hickerson, Emma L

    2017-01-01

    The world's coral reefs appear to be in a global decline, yet most previous research on coral reefs has taken place at depths shallower than 30 m. Mesophotic coral ecosystem (depths deeper than ~30 m) studies have revealed extensive, productive habitats and rich communities. Despite recent advances, mesophotic coral ecosystems remain understudied due to challenges with sampling at deeper depths. The few previous studies of mesophotic coral ecosystems have shown variation across locations in depth-specific species composition and assemblage shifts, potentially a response to differences in habitat or light availability/water clarity. This study utilized scuba to examine fish and benthic communities from shallow and upper mesophotic (to 45 m) zones of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS, 28°0'N; 93°50'W) from 2010-2012. Dominant planktivores were ubiquitous in shallow and upper mesophotic habitats, and comparisons with previous shallow research suggest this community distribution has persisted for over 30 years. Planktivores were abundant in shallow low-relief habitats on the periphery of the coral reef, and some of these sites that contained habitat transitioning from high to low relief supported high biomass of benthic predators. These peripheral sites at FGBNMS may be important for the trophic transfer of oceanic energy to the benthic coral reef. Distinct differences between upper mesophotic and shallow communities were also observed. These included greater overall fish (as well as apex predator) biomass in the upper mesophotic, differences in apex predator community composition between depth zones, and greater percent cover of algae, rubble, sand, and sponges in the upper mesophotic. Greater fish biomass in the upper mesophotic and similar fish community composition between depth zones provide preliminary support that upper mesophotic habitats at FGBNMS have the capacity to serve as refugia for the shallow-water reefs. Diving surveys of the

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  15. Community structure and coral health status across the depth gradients of Grande Island, Central west coast of India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Manikandan, B.; Ravindran, J.; Mohan, H.; Periasamy, R.; ManiMurali, R.; Ingole, B.S.

    The Grande Island, located at the central west coast of India is one of the less studied coral reef systems in India. In this study, we provide a comprehensive description of the coral community structure and health status of corals across...

  16. Reef fish community in presence of the lionfish (Pterois volitans) in Santa Marta, Colombian Caribbean

    OpenAIRE

    García-Urueña, Rocío; Acero P, Arturo; Coronado-Carrascal, Víctor

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Objective. Fish species community structure and benthic organisms coverage were studied in five localities in Santa Marta where the lionfish is present. Materials and methods. Abundance of fish species, including lion fish, was established using 30 m random visual censuses and video transects; trophic guilds were established according to available references. On the other hand benthic coverage was evaluated using the software Coral Point Count (CPCe) 4.0. Results. Families with highe...

  17. Three dimensional marine seismic survey has no measurable effect on species richness or abundance of a coral reef associated fish community

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Miller, Ian; Cripps, Edward

    2013-01-01

    Highlights: • A marine seismic survey was conducted at Scott Reef, North Western Australia. • Effects of the survey on demersal fish were gauged using underwater visual census. • There was no detectable impact of the seismic survey on species abundance. • There was no detectable impact of the seismic survey on species richness. -- Abstract: Underwater visual census was used to determine the effect of a three dimensional seismic survey on the shallow water coral reef slope associated fish community at Scott Reef. A census of the fish community was conducted on six locations at Scott Reef both before and after the survey. The census included small site attached demersal species belonging to the family Pomacentridae and larger roving demersal species belonging to the non-Pomacentridae families. These data were combined with a decade of historical data to assess the impact of the seismic survey. Taking into account spatial, temporal, spatio-temporal and observer variability, modelling showed no significant effect of the seismic survey on the overall abundance or species richness of Pomacentridae or non-Pomacentridae. The six most abundant species were also analysed individually. In all cases no detectable effect of the seismic survey was found on the abundance of these fish species at Scott Reef

  18. Monitoring of coastal coral reefs near Dahab (Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea) indicates local eutrophication as potential cause for change in benthic communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Naumann, Malik S; Bednarz, Vanessa N; Ferse, Sebastian C A; Niggl, Wolfgang; Wild, Christian

    2015-02-01

    Coral reef ecosystems fringing the coastline of Dahab (South Sinai, Egypt) have experienced increasing anthropogenic disturbance as an emergent international tourism destination. Previous reports covering tourism-related impacts on coastal environments, particularly mechanical damage and destructive fishing, have highlighted the vital necessity for regular ecosystem monitoring of coral reefs near Dahab. However, a continuous scientific monitoring programme of permanent survey sites has not been established to date. Thus, this study conducted in situ monitoring surveys to investigate spatio-temporal variability of benthic reef communities and selected reef-associated herbivores along with reef health indicator organisms by revisiting three of the locally most frequented dive sites during expeditions in March 2010, September 2011 and February 2013. In addition, inorganic nutrient concentrations in reef-surrounding waters were determined to evaluate bottom-up effects of key environmental parameters on benthic reef community shifts in relation to grazer-induced top-down control. Findings revealed that from 2010 to 2013, live hard coral cover declined significantly by 12 % at the current-sheltered site Three Pools (TP), while showing negative trends for the Blue Hole (BH) and Lighthouse (LH) sites. Hard coral cover decline was significantly and highly correlated to a substantial increase in turf algae cover (up to 57 % at TP) at all sites, replacing hard corals as dominant benthic space occupiers in 2013. These changes were correlated to ambient phosphate and ammonium concentrations that exhibited highest values (0.64 ± 0.07 μmol PO4 (3-) l(-1), 1.05 ± 0.07 μmol NH4 (+) l(-1)) at the degraded site TP. While macroalgae appeared to respond to both bottom-up and top-down factors, change in turf algae was consistent with expected indications for bottom-up control. Temporal variability measured in herbivorous reef fish stocks reflected seasonal impacts by

  19. Reef-fish larval dispersal patterns validate no-take marine reserve network connectivity that links human communities

    KAUST Repository

    Abesamis, Rene A.; Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo; Berumen, Michael L.; Bode, Michael; Jadloc, Claro Renato L.; Solera, Leilani A.; Villanoy, Cesar L.; Bernardo, Lawrence Patrick C.; Alcala, Angel C.; Russ, Garry R.

    2017-01-01

    Networks of no-take marine reserves (NTMRs) are a widely advocated strategy for managing coral reefs. However, uncertainty about the strength of population connectivity between individual reefs and NTMRs through larval dispersal remains a major

  20. Genetic structure in the coral, Montastraea cavernosa: assessing genetic differentiation among and within Mesophotic reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel A Brazeau

    Full Text Available Mesophotic coral reefs (30-150 m have recently received increased attention as a potential source of larvae (e.g., the refugia hypothesis to repopulate a select subset of the shallow water (<30 m coral fauna. To test the refugia hypothesis we used highly polymorphic Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP markers as a means to assess small-scale genetic heterogeneity between geographic locations and across depth clines in the Caribbean coral, Montastraea cavernosa. Zooxanthellae-free DNA extracts of coral samples (N = 105 were analyzed from four depths, shallow (3-10 m, medium (15-25 m, deep (30-50 m and very deep (60-90 m from Little Cayman Island (LCI, Lee Stocking Island (LSI, Bahamas and San Salvador (SS, Bahamas which range in distance from 170 to 1,600 km apart. Using AMOVA analysis there were significant differences in ΦST values in pair wise comparisons between LCI and LSI. Among depths at LCI, there was significant genetic differentiation between shallow and medium versus deep and very deep depths in contrast there were no significant differences in ΦST values among depths at LSI. The assignment program AFLPOP, however, correctly assigned 95.7% of the LCI and LSI samples to the depths from which they were collected, differentiating among populations as little as 10 to 20 m in depth from one another. Discriminant function analysis of the data showed significant differentiation among samples when categorized by collection site as well as collection depth. FST outlier analyses identified 2 loci under positive selection and 3 under balancing selection at LCI. At LSI 2 loci were identified, both showing balancing selection. This data shows that adult populations of M. cavernosa separated by depths of tens of meters exhibits significant genetic structure, indicative of low population connectivity among and within sites and are not supplying successful recruits to adjacent coral reefs less than 30 m in depth.

  1. A multi-decade time series of kelp forest community structure at San Nicolas Island, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kenner, Michael C.; Estes, James A.; Tinker, M. Tim; Bodkin, James L.; Cowen, Robert K.; Harrold, Christopher; Novak, Mark; Rassweiler, Andrew; Reed, Daniel C.

    2013-01-01

    San Nicolas Island is surrounded by broad areas of shallow subtidal habitat, characterized by dynamic kelp forest communities that undergo dramatic and abrupt shifts in community composition. Although these reefs are fished, the physical isolation of the island means that they receive less impact from human activities than most reefs in Southern California, making San Nicolas an ideal place to evaluate alternative theories about the dynamics of these communities. Here we present monitoring data from seven sampling stations surrounding the island, including data on fish, invertebrate, and algal abundance. These data are unusual among subtidal monitoring data sets in that they combine relatively frequent sampling (twice per year) with an exceptionally long time series (since 1980). Other outstanding qualities of the data set are the high taxonomic resolution captured and the monitoring of permanent quadrats and swaths where the history of the community structure at specific locations has been recorded through time. Finally, the data span a period that includes two of the strongest ENSO events on record, a major shift in the Pacific decadal oscillation, and the reintroduction of sea otters to the island in 1987 after at least 150 years of absence. These events provide opportunities to evaluate the effects of bottom-up forcing, top-down control, and physical disturbance on shallow rocky reef communities.

  2. Exploring the nature of ecological specialization in a coral reef fish community: morphology, diet and foraging microhabitat use.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandl, Simon J; Robbins, William D; Bellwood, David R

    2015-09-22

    Patterns of ecological specialization offer invaluable information about ecosystems. Yet, specialization is rarely quantified across several ecological niche axes and variables beyond the link between morphological and dietary specialization have received little attention. Here, we provide a quantitative evaluation of ecological specialization in a coral reef fish assemblage (f. Acanthuridae) along one fundamental and two realized niche axes. Specifically, we examined ecological specialization in 10 surgeonfish species with regards to morphology and two realized niche axes associated with diet and foraging microhabitat utilization using a recently developed multidimensional framework. We then investigated the potential relationships between morphological and behavioural specialization. These relationships differed markedly from the traditional ecomorphological paradigm. While morphological specialization showed no relationship with dietary specialization, it exhibited a strong relationship with foraging microhabitat specialization. However, this relationship was inverted: species with specialized morphologies were microhabitat generalists, whereas generalized morphotypes were microhabitat specialists. Interestingly, this mirrors relationships found in plant-pollinator communities and may also be applicable to other ecosystems, highlighting the potential importance of including niche axes beyond dietary specialization into ecomorphological frameworks. On coral reefs, it appears that morphotypes commonly perceived as most generalized may, in fact, be specialized in exploiting flat and easily accessible microhabitats. © 2015 The Author(s).

  3. Prey Density Threshold and Tidal Influence on Reef Manta Ray Foraging at an Aggregation Site on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Asia O Armstrong

    Full Text Available Large tropical and sub-tropical marine animals must meet their energetic requirements in a largely oligotrophic environment. Many planktivorous elasmobranchs, whose thermal ecologies prevent foraging in nutrient-rich polar waters, aggregate seasonally at predictable locations throughout tropical oceans where they are observed feeding. Here we investigate the foraging and oceanographic environment around Lady Elliot Island, a known aggregation site for reef manta rays Manta alfredi in the southern Great Barrier Reef. The foraging behaviour of reef manta rays was analysed in relation to zooplankton populations and local oceanography, and compared to long-term sighting records of reef manta rays from the dive operator on the island. Reef manta rays fed at Lady Elliot Island when zooplankton biomass and abundance were significantly higher than other times. The critical prey density threshold that triggered feeding was 11.2 mg m-3 while zooplankton size had no significant effect on feeding. The community composition and size structure of the zooplankton was similar when reef manta rays were feeding or not, with only the density of zooplankton changing. Higher zooplankton biomass was observed prior to low tide, and long-term (~5 years sighting data confirmed that more reef manta rays are also observed feeding during this tidal phase than other times. This is the first study to examine prey availability at an aggregation site for reef manta rays and it indicates that they feed in locations and at times of higher zooplankton biomass.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karen M Chong-Seng

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

  5. Phosphorus as a Limiting Nutrient in Zooplankton Communities Above a Reef Dominated by the Invasive Quagga Mussel

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, J.; Cuhel, R. L.; Aguilar, C.

    2008-12-01

    Comprehensive water column data were retrieved from three sites in open waters of Lake Michigan during the summer of 2008. At two, the invasive quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) functioned as a phosphorus sink. One of these sites, Sheboygan Reef (SR04), exhibited a lower average soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) value throughout its water column. The large size fraction of the phytoplankton community at this site contained proportionally less of the total seston phosphorus than at other comparable sites. Instead of this simply being a reflection of less large phytoplankton, phosphorus enrichment experiments conducted along with other lines of evidence indicate it may, in fact, reflect less phosphorus per unit of weight in the large phytoplankton community. In these experiments, larger phytoplankton were observed to be less efficient at assimilating phosphate after low-level additions (0.1 μM) were made to simulate the amount of phosphorus added during for example a rainstorm. The relatively inefficient uptake of short-term injections of phosphate observed in the large phytoplankton class is more influential on the overall uptake of phosphorus at a site like SR04 which ordinarily has low levels of available phosphorus (quagga mussel community at this site (>10,000 m-2) dominated the phosphorus inventory (mmol P/m2). Furthermore, C:N:P ratios indicate that zooplankton at all three sites may be suffering from a phosphorus deficit. A dominant presence of quagga mussels at Sheboygan Reef was correlated with decreased SRP levels and relatively low levels of phosphorus at the producer and consumer levels in the water column.

  6. Finding Community Structures In Social Activity Data

    KAUST Repository

    Peng, Chengbin

    2015-01-01

    Social activity data sets are increasing in number and volume. Finding community structure in such data is valuable in many applications. For example, understand- ing the community structure of social networks may reduce the spread of epidemics

  7. 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.

  8. High Latitude Reefs: A Potential Refuge for Reef Builders

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amat, A.; Bates, N.

    2003-04-01

    Coral reefs globally show variable signs of deterioration or community structure changes due to a host of anthropogenic and natural factors. In these global scenarios, rates of calcification by reef builders such as Scleractinian corals are predicted to significantly decline in the future due to the increase in atmospheric CO_2. When considering the response of reefs to the present climate change, temperature effects should also be taken into account. Here, we investigate the simultaneous impact of temperature and CO_2 on the high-latitude Bermuda coral reef system (32^oN, 64^oE)through a series of in vitro experiments at different CO_2 levels and seasonally different summer (27^oC) and winter (20^oC) temperature conditions. Four species of Scleractinian corals (Porites astreoides, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Madracis mirabilis and decactis) were acclimated for three months at: 20^oC and 27^oC (both with CO_2 levels at 400 ppm (control) and 700 ppm). Growth was assessed by buoyant weight techniques during the acclimation period. Photosynthesis, respiration and calcification were measured at the end of this period using respirometric chambers. A reproduction experiment was also undertaken under 27^oC. Photosynthesis mainly remains constant or increases under high CO_2 conditions. The results of the integrated calcification measurements confirm the hypothesis that an increase in CO_2 induces a decrease in calcification. However an increase in photosynthesis can be observed when CO_2 is unfavorable for calcification suggesting that a biological control of calcification through photosynthesis could prevent a drop in the calcification potential. Buoyant weight results indicate that the CO_2 impact could be less detrimental under lower temperature. This result will be compared with the instantaneous calcification measurements in the chambers and some in situ coral growth assessments in winter and summer conditions. The consequences for the response of marginal reefs

  9. Leveraging disjoint communities for detecting overlapping community structure

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chakraborty, Tanmoy

    2015-01-01

    Network communities represent mesoscopic structure for understanding the organization of real-world networks, where nodes often belong to multiple communities and form overlapping community structure in the network. Due to non-triviality in finding the exact boundary of such overlapping communities, this problem has become challenging, and therefore huge effort has been devoted to detect overlapping communities from the network.In this paper, we present PVOC (Permanence based Vertex-replication algorithm for Overlapping Community detection), a two-stage framework to detect overlapping community structure. We build on a novel observation that non-overlapping community structure detected by a standard disjoint community detection algorithm from a network has high resemblance with its actual overlapping community structure, except the overlapping part. Based on this observation, we posit that there is perhaps no need of building yet another overlapping community finding algorithm; but one can efficiently manipulate the output of any existing disjoint community finding algorithm to obtain the required overlapping structure. We propose a new post-processing technique that by combining with any existing disjoint community detection algorithm, can suitably process each vertex using a new vertex-based metric, called permanence, and thereby finds out overlapping candidates with their community memberships. Experimental results on both synthetic and large real-world networks show that PVOC significantly outperforms six state-of-the-art overlapping community detection algorithms in terms of high similarity of the output with the ground-truth structure. Thus our framework not only finds meaningful overlapping communities from the network, but also allows us to put an end to the constant effort of building yet another overlapping community detection algorithm. (paper)

  10. Fish Biodiversity Patterns in Reef Communities of the Southeastern Coast of Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ralf Riedel

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Marine Protected Areas are increasingly becoming a tool of choice for conservation and management of marine resources and ecosystems. Data on biodiversity are necessary to assist in establishing protected areas for conservation objectives to be met. Toward that effect, we investigated reef biodiversity patterns in three large-scale coastal regions of Brazil. The study areas comprised of an upwelling region, an adjacent high impacted region, and a more distant marine park. We surveyed four reef sites in each study region. Fish species and abundance, substrate relief, and water temperature were recorded during the surveys. Biodiversity was estimated using Simpson’s and Shannon’s indices on species richness and abundance. Fish diversity was highest at the upwelling area. No difference in diversity was observed between the high impacted region and the marine park. No substrate relief patterns were found. Temperature readings showed higher frequency of low temperature episodic events at the upwelling region. Our results favor the upwelling region for establishment of a Marine Protected Area. Moreover, the similar diversity between the high impacted region and the marine park showed evidence of spillover effects from the upwelling into the high impacted region, further demonstrating the importance of the upwelling region for conservation.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan L W Ruppert

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

  12. Regional variation in the structure and function of parrotfishes on Arabian reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Hoey, Andrew

    2015-11-20

    Parrotfishes (f. Labridae) are a unique and ubiquitous group of herbivorous reef fishes. We compared the distribution and ecosystem function (grazing and erosion) of parrotfishes across 75 reefs in Arabia. Our results revealed marked regional differences in the abundance, and taxonomic and functional composition of parrotfishes between the Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and Arabian Gulf. High densities and diversity of parrotfishes, and high rates of grazing (210% year) and erosion (1.57 kg m year) characterised Red Sea reefs. Despite Arabian Sea and Red Sea reefs having broadly comparable abundances of parrotfishes, estimates of grazing (150% year) and erosion (0.43 kg m year) were markedly lower in the Arabian Sea. Parrotfishes were extremely rare within the southern Arabian Gulf, and as such rates of grazing and erosion were negligible. This regional variation in abundance and functional composition of parrotfishes appears to be related to local environmental conditions.

  13. The effect of structural complexity, prey density, and "predator-free space" on prey survivorship at created oyster reef mesocosms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Humphries, Austin T.; La Peyre, Megan K.; Decossas, Gary A.

    2011-01-01

    Interactions between predators and their prey are influenced by the habitat they occupy. Using created oyster (Crassostrea virginica) reef mesocosms, we conducted a series of laboratory experiments that created structure and manipulated complexity as well as prey density and “predator-free space” to examine the relationship between structural complexity and prey survivorship. Specifically, volume and spatial arrangement of oysters as well as prey density were manipulated, and the survivorship of prey (grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio) in the presence of a predator (wild red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus) was quantified. We found that the presence of structure increased prey survivorship, and that increasing complexity of this structure further increased survivorship, but only to a point. This agrees with the theory that structural complexity may influence predator-prey dynamics, but that a threshold exists with diminishing returns. These results held true even when prey density was scaled to structural complexity, or the amount of “predator-free space” was manipulated within our created reef mesocosms. The presence of structure and its complexity (oyster shell volume) were more important in facilitating prey survivorship than perceived refugia or density-dependent prey effects. A more accurate indicator of refugia might require “predator-free space” measures that also account for the available area within the structure itself (i.e., volume) and not just on the surface of a structure. Creating experiments that better mimic natural conditions and test a wider range of “predator-free space” are suggested to better understand the role of structural complexity in oyster reefs and other complex habitats.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pascal Dumas

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Feary, David A.

    2013-07-01

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

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2013-01-01

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

  18. Structural and Psycho-Social Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Barrier Reef Region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Louisa S; Hicks, Christina C; Adger, W Neil; Barnett, Jon; Perry, Allison L; Fidelman, Pedro; Tobin, Renae

    2016-01-01

    Adaptation, as a strategy to respond to climate change, has limits: there are conditions under which adaptation strategies fail to alleviate impacts from climate change. Research has primarily focused on identifying absolute bio-physical limits. This paper contributes empirical insight to an emerging literature on the social limits to adaptation. Such limits arise from the ways in which societies perceive, experience and respond to climate change. Using qualitative data from multi-stakeholder workshops and key-informant interviews with representatives of the fisheries and tourism sectors of the Great Barrier Reef region, we identify psycho-social and structural limits associated with key adaptation strategies, and examine how these are perceived as more or less absolute across levels of organisation. We find that actors experience social limits to adaptation when: i) the effort of pursuing a strategy exceeds the benefits of desired adaptation outcomes; ii) the particular strategy does not address the actual source of vulnerability, and; iii) the benefits derived from adaptation are undermined by external factors. We also find that social limits are not necessarily more absolute at higher levels of organisation: respondents perceived considerable opportunities to address some psycho-social limits at the national-international interface, while they considered some social limits at the local and regional levels to be effectively absolute.

  19. Seasonal variability of rocky reef fish assemblages: Detecting functional and structural changes due to fishing effects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henriques, Sofia; Pais, Miguel Pessanha; Costa, Maria José; Cabral, Henrique Nogueira

    2013-05-01

    The present study analyzed the effects of seasonal variation on the stability of fish-based metrics and their capability to detect changes in fish assemblages, which is yet poorly understood despite the general idea that guilds are more resilient to natural variability than species abundances. Three zones subject to different levels of fishing pressure inside the Arrábida Marine Protected Area (MPA) were sampled seasonally. The results showed differences between warm (summer and autumn) and cold (winter and spring) seasons, with the autumn clearly standing out. In general, the values of the metrics density of juveniles, density of invertebrate feeders and density of omnivores increased in warm seasons, which can be attributed to differences in recruitment patterns, spawning migrations and feeding activity among seasons. The density of generalist/opportunistic individuals was sensitive to the effect of fishing, with higher values at zones with the lowest level of protection, while the density of individuals with high commercial value only responded to fishing in the autumn, due to a cumulative result of both juveniles and adults abundances during this season. Overall, this study showed that seasonal variability affects structural and functional features of the fish assemblage and that might influence the detection of changes as a result of anthropogenic pressures. The choice of a specific season, during warm sea conditions after the spawning period (July-October), seems to be more adequate to assess changes on rocky-reef fish assemblages.

  20. Structural and Psycho-Social Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Barrier Reef Region.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Louisa S Evans

    Full Text Available Adaptation, as a strategy to respond to climate change, has limits: there are conditions under which adaptation strategies fail to alleviate impacts from climate change. Research has primarily focused on identifying absolute bio-physical limits. This paper contributes empirical insight to an emerging literature on the social limits to adaptation. Such limits arise from the ways in which societies perceive, experience and respond to climate change. Using qualitative data from multi-stakeholder workshops and key-informant interviews with representatives of the fisheries and tourism sectors of the Great Barrier Reef region, we identify psycho-social and structural limits associated with key adaptation strategies, and examine how these are perceived as more or less absolute across levels of organisation. We find that actors experience social limits to adaptation when: i the effort of pursuing a strategy exceeds the benefits of desired adaptation outcomes; ii the particular strategy does not address the actual source of vulnerability, and; iii the benefits derived from adaptation are undermined by external factors. We also find that social limits are not necessarily more absolute at higher levels of organisation: respondents perceived considerable opportunities to address some psycho-social limits at the national-international interface, while they considered some social limits at the local and regional levels to be effectively absolute.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-03-01

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

  2. Influence of Diadema antillarum populations (Echinodermata: Diadematidae on algal community structure in Jardines de la Reina, Cuba

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Félix Martín Blanco

    2011-09-01

    Full Text Available The 1983-1984 mass mortality of Diadema antillarum produced severe damages on Caribbean reefs contributing to substantial changes in community structure that still persist. Despite the importance of Diadema grazing in structuring coral reefs, available information on current abundances and algal-urchin interactions in Cuba is scarce. We analyzed spatial variations in Diadema abundance and its influence on algal community structure in 22 reef sites in Jardines de la Reina, in June/2004 and April/2005. Urchins were counted in five 30x2m transects per site, and algal coverage was estimated in randomly located 0.25m side quadrats (15 per site. Abundances of Diadema were higher at reef crests (0.013-1.553 ind/m², while reef slope populations showed values up to three orders of magnitude lower and were overgrown by macroalgae (up to 87%, local values. Algal community structure at reef slopes were dominated by macroalgae, especially Dictyota, Lobophora and Halimeda while the most abundant macroalgae at reef crests were Halimeda and Amphiroa. Urchin densities were negatively and positively correlated with mean coverage of macroalgae and crustose coralline algae, respectively, when analyzing data pooled across all sites, but not with data from separate habitats (specially reef crest, suggesting, along with historical fish biomass, that shallow reef community structure is being shaped by the synergistic action of other factors (e.g. fish grazing rather than the influence of Diadema alone. However, we observed clear signs of Diadema grazing at reef crests and decreased macroalgal cover according to 2001 data, what suggest that grazing intensity at this habitat increased at the same time that Diadema recruitment began to be noticeable. Furthermore, the excessive abundance of macroalgae at reef slopes and the scarcity of crustose coralline algae seems to be due by the almost complete absence of D. antillarum at mid depth reefs, where local densities of this

  3. Congruence in demersal fish, macroinvertebrate, and macroalgal community turnover on shallow temperate reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomson, Russell J; Hill, Nicole A; Leaper, Rebecca; Ellis, Nick; Pitcher, C Roland; Barrett, Neville S; Edgar, Graham J

    2014-03-01

    To support coastal planning through improved understanding of patterns of biotic and abiotic surrogacy at broad scales, we used gradient forest modeling (GFM) to analyze and predict spatial patterns of compositional turnover of demersal fishes, macroinvertebrates, and macroalgae on shallow, temperate Australian reefs. Predictive models were first developed using environmental surrogates with estimates of prediction uncertainty, and then the efficacy of the three assemblages as biosurrogates for each other was assessed. Data from underwater visual surveys of subtidal rocky reefs were collected from the southeastern coastline of continental Australia (including South Australia and Victoria) and the northern coastline of Tasmania. These data were combined with 0.01 degree-resolution gridded environmental variables to develop statistical models of compositional turnover (beta diversity) using GFM. GFM extends the machine learning, ensemble tree-based method of random forests (RF), to allow the simultaneous modeling of multiple taxa. The models were used to generate predictions of compositional turnover for each of the three assemblages within unsurveyed areas across the 6600 km of coastline in the region of interest. The most important predictor for all three assemblages was variability in sea surface temperature (measured as standard deviation from measures taken interannually). Spatial predictions of compositional turnover within unsurveyed areas across the region of interest were remarkably congruent across the three taxa. However, the greatest uncertainty in these predictions varied in location among the different assemblages. Pairwise congruency comparisons of observed and predicted turnover among the three assemblages showed that invertebrate and macroalgal biodiversity were most similar, followed by fishes and macroalgae, and lastly fishes and invertebrate biodiversity, suggesting that of the three assemblages, macroalgae would make the best biosurrogate for

  4. An evolving network model with community structure

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Li Chunguang; Maini, Philip K

    2005-01-01

    Many social and biological networks consist of communities-groups of nodes within which connections are dense, but between which connections are sparser. Recently, there has been considerable interest in designing algorithms for detecting community structures in real-world complex networks. In this paper, we propose an evolving network model which exhibits community structure. The network model is based on the inner-community preferential attachment and inter-community preferential attachment mechanisms. The degree distributions of this network model are analysed based on a mean-field method. Theoretical results and numerical simulations indicate that this network model has community structure and scale-free properties

  5. Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Mumby, P. J.; Hooten, A. J.; Steneck, R. S.; Greenfield, P.; Gomez, E.; Harvell, C. D.; Sale, P. F.; Edwards, A. J.; Caldeira, K.; Knowlton, N.; Eakin, C. M.; Iglesias-Prieto, R.; Muthiga, N.; Bradbury, R. H.; Dubi, A.; Hatziolos, M. E.

    2007-12-01

    Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to exceed 500 parts per million and global temperatures to rise by at least 2°C by 2050 to 2100, values that significantly exceed those of at least the past 420,000 years during which most extant marine organisms evolved. Under conditions expected in the 21st century, global warming and ocean acidification will compromise carbonate accretion, with corals becoming increasingly rare on reef systems. The result will be less diverse reef communities and carbonate reef structures that fail to be maintained. Climate change also exacerbates local stresses from declining water quality and overexploitation of key species, driving reefs increasingly toward the tipping point for functional collapse. This review presents future scenarios for coral reefs that predict increasingly serious consequences for reef-associated fisheries, tourism, coastal protection, and people. As the International Year of the Reef 2008 begins, scaled-up management intervention and decisive action on global emissions are required if the loss of coral-dominated ecosystems is to be avoided.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brook, John; Yates, Kimberly; Halley, Robert

    2006-01-01

    Worldwide, local-scale anthropogenic stress combined with global climate change is driving shifts in the state of reef benthic communities from coral-rich to micro- or macroalgal-dominated (Knowlton, 1992; Done, 1999). Such phase shifts in reef benthic communities may be either abrupt or gradual, and case studies from diverse ocean basins demonstrate that recovery, while uncertain (Hughes, 1994), typically involves progression through successional stages (Done, 1992). These transitions in benthic community structure involve changes in community metabolism, and accordingly, the holistic evaluation of associated biogeochemical variables is of great intrinsic value (Done, 1992). Effective reef management requires advance prediction of coral reef alteration in the face of anthropogenic stress and change in the global environment (Hatcher, 1997a). In practice, this goal requires techniques that can rapidly discern, at an early stage, sublethal effects that may cause long-term increases in mortality (brown, 1988; Grigg and Dollar, 1990). Such methods would improve our understanding of the differences in the population, community, and ecosystem structure, as well as function, between pristine and degraded reefs. This knowledge base could then support scientifically based management strategies (Done, 1992). Brown (1988) noted the general lack of rigor in the assessment of stress on coral reefs and suggested that more quantitative approaches than currently exist are needed to allow objective understanding of coral reef dynamics. Sensitive techniques for the timely appraisal of pollution effects or generalized endemic stress in coral reefs are sorely lacking (Grigg and Dollar, 1990; Wilkinsin, 1992). Moreover, monitoring methods based on population inventories, sclerochronology, or reproductive biology tend to myopic and may give inconsistent results. Ideally, an improved means of evaluating reef stress would discriminate mortality due to natural causes from morality to

  7. Commercially important species associated with horse mussel (Modiolus modiolus) biogenic reefs: A priority habitat for nature conservation and fisheries benefits

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kent, Flora E.A.; Mair, James M.; Newton, Jason; Lindenbaum, Charles; Porter, Joanne S.; Sanderson, William G.

    2017-01-01

    Horse mussel reefs (Modiolus modiolus) are biodiversity hotspots afforded protection by Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the NE Atlantic. In this study, horse mussel reefs, cobble habitats and sandy habitats were assessed using underwater visual census and drop-down video techniques in three UK regions. Megafauna were enumerated, differences in community composition and individual species abundances were analysed. Samples of conspicuous megafauna were also collected from horse mussel reefs in Orkney for stable isotope analysis. Communities of conspicuous megafauna were different between horse mussel habitats and other habitats throughout their range. Three commercially important species: whelks (Buccinum undatum), queen scallops (Aequipecten opercularis) and spider crabs (Maja brachydactyla) were significantly more abundant (by as much as 20 times) on horse mussel reefs than elsewhere. Isotopic analysis provided insights into their trophic relationship with the horse mussel reef. Protection of M. modiolus habitat can achieve biodiversity conservation objectives whilst benefiting fisheries also. - Highlights: • Communities of conspicuous megafauna were assessed on Modiolus modiolus reefs, sand and cobble habitats. • Tissue samples from reef fauna were subject to stable isotope analysis to investigate trophic structure. • Reef associated species included Aequipecten opercularis, Buccinum undatum and Maja brachydactyla. • Evidence of the commercial value of M. modiolus reefs in the UK.

  8. Effects of eutrophication, seasonality and macrofouling on the diversity of bacterial biofilms in equatorial coral reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yvonne Sawall

    Full Text Available Biofilms play an important role as a settlement cue for invertebrate larvae and significantly contribute to the nutrient turnover in aquatic ecosystems. Nevertheless, little is known about how biofilm community structure generally responds to environmental changes. This study aimed to identify patterns of bacterial dynamics in coral reef biofilms in response to associated macrofouling community structure, microhabitat (exposed vs. sheltered, seasonality, and eutrophication. Settlement tiles were deployed at four reefs along a cross-shelf eutrophication gradient and were exchanged every 4 months over 20 months. The fouling community composition on the tiles was recorded and the bacterial community structure was assessed with the community fingerprinting technique Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA. Bacterial operational taxonomic unit (OTU number was higher on exposed tiles, where the fouling community was homogenous and algae-dominated, than in sheltered habitats, which were occupied by a variety of filter feeders. Furthermore, OTU number was also highest in eutrophied near-shore reefs, while seasonal variations in community structure were most pronounced in the oligotrophic mid-shelf reef. In contrast, the macrofouling community structure did not change significantly with seasons. Changes in bacterial community patterns were mostly affected by microhabitat, seasonal and anthropogenically derived changes in nutrient availability, and to a lesser extent by changes in the macrofouling community structure. Path analysis revealed a complex interplay of various environmental and biological factors explaining the spatial and temporal variations in bacterial biofilm communities under natural conditions.

  9. Please mind the gap - Visual census and cryptic biodiversity assessment at central Red Sea coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pearman, John K; Anlauf, Holger; Irigoien, Xabier; Carvalho, Susana

    2016-07-01

    Coral reefs harbor the most diverse assemblages in the ocean, however, a large proportion of the diversity is cryptic and, therefore, undetected by standard visual census techniques. Cryptic and exposed communities differ considerably in species composition and ecological function. This study compares three different coral reef assessment protocols: i) visual benthic reef surveys: ii) visual census of Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) plates; and iii) metabarcoding techniques of the ARMS (including sessile, 106-500 μm and 500-2000 μm size fractions), that target the cryptic and exposed communities of three reefs in the central Red Sea. Visual census showed a dominance of Cnidaria (Anthozoa) and Rhodophyta on the reef substrate, while Porifera, Bryozoa and Rhodophyta were the most abundant groups on the ARMS plates. Metabarcoding, targeting the 18S rRNA gene, significantly increased estimates of the species diversity (p < 0.001); revealing that Annelida were generally the dominant phyla (in terms of reads) of all fractions and reefs. Furthermore, metabarcoding detected microbial eukaryotic groups such as Syndiniophyceae, Mamiellophyceae and Bacillariophyceae as relevant components of the sessile fraction. ANOSIM analysis showed that the three reef sites showed no differences based on the visual census data. Metabarcoding showed a higher sensitivity for identifying differences between reef communities at smaller geographic scales than standard visual census techniques as significant differences in the assemblages were observed amongst the reefs. Comparison of the techniques showed no similar patterns for the visual techniques while the metabarcoding of the ARMS showed similar patterns amongst fractions. Establishing ARMS as a standard tool in reef monitoring will not only advance our understanding of local processes and ecological community response to environmental changes, as different faunal components will provide complementary information but

  10. Fecal bacterial communities of wild-captured and stranded green turtles (Chelonia mydas) on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahasan, Md Shamim; Waltzek, Thomas B; Huerlimann, Roger; Ariel, Ellen

    2017-12-01

    Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) are endangered marine herbivores that break down food particles, primarily sea grasses, through microbial fermentation. However, the microbial community and its role in health and disease is still largely unexplored. In this study, we investigated and compared the fecal bacterial communities of eight wild-captured green turtles to four stranded turtles in the central Great Barrier Reef regions that include Bowen and Townsville. We used high-throughput sequencing analysis targeting the hypervariable V1-V3 regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. At the phylum level, Firmicutes predominated among wild-captured green turtles, followed by Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria. In contrast, Proteobacteria (Gammaproteobacteria) was the most significantly dominant phylum among all stranded turtles, followed by Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. In addition, Fusobacteria was also significantly abundant in stranded turtles. No significant differences were found between the wild-captured turtles in Bowen and Townsville. At the family level, the core bacterial community consisted of 25 families that were identified in both the wild-captured and stranded green turtles, while two unique sets of 14 families each were only found in stranded or wild-captured turtles. The predominance of Bacteroides in all groups indicates the importance of these bacteria in turtle gut health. In terms of bacterial diversity and richness, wild-captured green turtles showed a higher bacterial diversity and richness compared with stranded turtles. The marked differences in the bacterial communities between wild-captured and stranded turtles suggest the possible dysbiosis in stranded turtles in addition to potential causal agents. © FEMS 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. Oceanic forcing of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lowe, Ryan J; Falter, James L

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Assessing the effect of marine reserves on household food security in Kenyan coral reef fishing communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emily S Darling

    Full Text Available Measuring the success or failure of natural resource management is a key challenge to evaluate the impact of conservation for ecological, economic and social outcomes. Marine reserves are a popular tool for managing coastal ecosystems and resources yet surprisingly few studies have quantified the social-economic impacts of marine reserves on food security despite the critical importance of this outcome for fisheries management in developing countries. Here, I conducted semi-structured household surveys with 113 women heads-of-households to investigate the influence of two old, well-enforced, no-take marine reserves on food security in four coastal fishing communities in Kenya, East Africa. Multi-model information-theoretic inference and matching methods found that marine reserves did not influence household food security, as measured by protein consumption, diet diversity and food coping strategies. Instead, food security was strongly influenced by fishing livelihoods and household wealth: fishing families and wealthier households were more food secure than non-fishing and poorer households. These findings highlight the importance of complex social and economic landscapes of livelihoods, urbanization, power and gender dynamics that can drive the outcomes of marine conservation and management.

  13. Akumal ’s reefs: Stony coral communities along the developing Mexican Caribbean coastline

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roshan E Roy

    2004-12-01

    Full Text Available Fringing coral reefs along coastlines experiencing rapid development and human population growth have declined worldwide because of human activity and of natural causes.The "Mayan Riviera "in Quintana Roo,México,attracts large numbers of tourists in part because it still retains some of the natural diversity and it is important to obtain baseline information to monitor changes over time in the area.In this paper,the condition of the stony corals in the developing coastline of the Akumal-area fore reefs is characterized at the start of the new millennium at two depths,and along an inferred sedimentation gradient.Transect surveys were conducted in five fringing reefs starting at haphazardly chosen points.with respect to species composition,live cover,colony density,relative exposure to TAS mats and,for one species (Diploria strigosa ,Dana,1848,tissue regression rates in the presence of TAS mats.Fish population density and herbivory rates are also assessed.Data from line intercept transects (n=74show that live stony coral cover,density and relative peripheral exposure of colonies to turf algal/sediment (TASmats were inversely related to an inferred sediment stress gradient at 13m.In 2000, live stony coral cover had decreased by 40-50%at two sites studied in 1990 by Muñoz-Chagín and de la Cruz- Agüero (1993.About half of this loss apparently occurred between 1998 and 2000 during an outbreak of white plague disease that mostly affected Montastraea faveolata ,and M.annularis .At a 13 m site,where inferred sedimentation rates are relatively high,time series photography of tagged Diploria strigosa ,(n=38showed an average loss of 70 cm 2 of live tissue/coral/year to encroachment by TAS mats during the same period.Whereas densities of carnivorous fishes and herbivores (echinoids,scarids,acanthurids and Microspathodon chrysurus in 2000 were low in belt transects at 10-19 m (n=106,turf-algal gardening pomacentrids were relatively common on these reefs

  14. Decapod crustaceans associated with an artificial reef (Adriatic Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. SANTELLI

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study is to increase the knowledge on the distribution of decapod crustaceans associated with an artificial reef positioned on sandy-mud bottoms in the central Adriatic Sea. The reef is constituted of concrete modules assembled in pyramids and concrete poles. Hard and soft bottom samples were collected from 2001, just after reef construction, to 2005 (4 surveys per year. Regarding the soft seabed, three sites close to a pyramid, three inside the reef area at a distance of 10-15 m from the structures, and three 200 m outside the reef (control sites were randomly sampled during each survey. At the same time, three pyramids (vertical and horizontal walls and three poles were also investigated. After taxonomical analysis, decapod crustaceans were analysed using abundance and species richness. Sites and years were compared using a balanced, fixed effect, 2-way ANOVA and PERMANOVA. In addition, SIMPER analysis was performed to identify those species typifying each community inhabiting both the soft bottom and the artificial substrates. The results showed that the artificial reef induced an increase in both abundance and diversity of the decapods of the natural habitat. In fact, man-made substrates may offer new available space for biological colonization and allow the settlement of new species usually living on hard bottoms, thus increasing the complexity of the original benthic communities.

  15. [Fish community structure and its seasonal change in subtidal sandy beach habitat off southern Gouqi Island].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zhen-Hua; Wang, Kai; Zhao, Jing; Zhang, Shou-Yu

    2011-05-01

    To understand the characteristics of fish community structure in sandy beach habitats of island reef water areas, and to evaluate the potential capacity of these habitats in local fish stock maintenance, fishes were monthly collected with multi-mesh trammel nets in 2009 from the subtidal sandy beach habitat off southern Gouqi Island, taking the adjacent rocky reef habitat as the control. alpha and beta species diversity indices, index of relative importance (IRI), relative catch rate, and dominance curve for abundance and biomass (ABC curve) were adopted to compare the fish species composition, diversity, and community pattern between the two habitats, and multivariate statistical analyses such as non-metric multidimensional scaling (nMDS) and cluster were conducted to discuss the fish assemblage patterns. A total of 63 fish species belonging to 11 orders, 38 families, and 56 genera were collected, of which, 46 fish species were appeared in the two habitats. Due to the appearance of more warm water species in sandy bottom, the fishes in subtidal sandy beach habitat showed much higher richness, and the abundance catch rate (ACR) from May to July was higher than that in rocky reef habitat. In most rest months, the ACR in subtidal sandy beach habitat also showed the similar trend. However, the species richness and diversity in spring and summer were significantly lower in subtidal sandy beach habitat than in rocky reef habitat, because of the high species dominance and low evenness in the sandy beach habitat. Japanese tonguefish (Paraplagusia japonica) was the indicator species in the sandy beach habitat, and dominated in early spring, later summer, autumn, and winter when the fishing pressure was not strong. In sandy bottom, a unique community structure was formed and kept in dynamic, due to the nursery use of sandy beach by Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus) from May to July, the gathering of gray mullet (Mugil cephalus) in most months for feeding, and the large

  16. Epidemics in adaptive networks with community structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shaw, Leah; Tunc, Ilker

    2010-03-01

    Models for epidemic spread on static social networks do not account for changes in individuals' social interactions. Recent studies of adaptive networks have modeled avoidance behavior, as non-infected individuals try to avoid contact with infectives. Such models have not generally included realistic social structure. Here we study epidemic spread on an adaptive network with community structure. We model the effect of heterogeneous communities on infection levels and epidemic extinction. We also show how an epidemic can alter the community structure.

  17. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Toller, W.; Debrot, A.O.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Hoetjes, P.C.

    2010-01-01

    Saba Bank is a 2,200 km2 submerged carbonate platform in the northeastern Caribbean Sea off Saba Island, Netherlands Antilles. The presence of reef-like geomorphic features and significant shelf edge coral development on Saba Bank have led to the conclusion that it is an actively growing, though

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Toller, W.; Debrot, A.O.; Vermeij, M.; Hoetjes, P.C.

    2010-01-01

    Saba Bank is a 2,200 km2 submerged carbonate platform in the northeastern Caribbean Sea off Saba Island, Netherlands Antilles. The presence of reef-like geomorphic features and significant shelf edge coral development on Saba Bank have led to the conclusion that it is an actively growing, though

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-02-01

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

  2. Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program, Benthic Quadrat Surveys at Guam in 2013

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Guam community members gathered benthic cover data using a 0.25m2 quadrat with 6 intersecting points at each meter along a 25-meter transect. Members identified...

  3. Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program, Benthic Training Surveys at Guam in 2012

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Guam community members gathered benthic cover data using a 0.25m2 quadrat with 6 intersecting points at each meter along a 25-meter transect. Members identified...

  4. Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program, Macroinvertebrate Training Surveys in Guam in 2012

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Guam community members gathered macroinvertebrate within a 25-meter x 2-meter belt transect. Members identified macroinvertebrates to species (when possible),...

  5. Diseases of corals with particular reference to Indian reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Ravindran, J.; Raghukumar, C.

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

  6. A benthic survey of the rocky reefs off Pondoland, South Africa ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    30m) in the ... the capture and processing of 1 042 photographic images of the reef benthos. ... reefs and suspension-feeding communities dominating deeper reefs. ... for Researchers · for Librarians · for Authors · FAQ's · More about AJOL ...

  7. Epilithic Cyanobacterial Communities of a Marine Tropical Beach Rock (Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef): Diversity and Diazotrophy▿

    Science.gov (United States)

    Díez, Beatriz; Bauer, Karolina; Bergman, Birgitta

    2007-01-01

    The diversity and nitrogenase activity of epilithic marine microbes in a Holocene beach rock (Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia) with a proposed biological calcification “microbialite” origin were examined. Partial 16S rRNA gene sequences from the dominant mat (a coherent and layered pink-pigmented community spread over the beach rock) and biofilms (nonstratified, differently pigmented microbial communities of small shallow depressions) were retrieved using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), and a clone library was retrieved from the dominant mat. The 16S rRNA gene sequences and morphological analyses revealed heterogeneity in the cyanobacterial distribution patterns. The nonheterocystous filamentous genus Blennothrix sp., phylogenetically related to Lyngbya, dominated the mat together with unidentified nonheterocystous filaments of members of the Pseudanabaenaceae and the unicellular genus Chroococcidiopsis. The dominance and three-dimensional intertwined distribution of these organisms were confirmed by nonintrusive scanning microscopy. In contrast, the less pronounced biofilms were dominated by the heterocystous cyanobacterial genus Calothrix, two unicellular Entophysalis morphotypes, Lyngbya spp., and members of the Pseudanabaenaceae family. Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides and Alphaproteobacteria phylotypes were also retrieved from the beach rock. The microbial diversity of the dominant mat was accompanied by high nocturnal nitrogenase activities (as determined by in situ acetylene reduction assays). A new DGGE nifH gene optimization approach for cyanobacterial nitrogen fixers showed that the sequences retrieved from the dominant mat were related to nonheterocystous uncultured cyanobacterial phylotypes, only distantly related to sequences of nitrogen-fixing cultured cyanobacteria. These data stress the occurrence and importance of nonheterocystous epilithic cyanobacteria, and it is hypothesized that such epilithic cyanobacteria

  8. Blacktip reef sharks, Carcharhinus melanopterus, have high genetic structure and varying demographic histories in their Indo-Pacific range

    KAUST Repository

    Vignaud, Thomas M.

    2014-10-13

    For free-swimming marine species like sharks, only population genetics and demographic history analyses can be used to assess population health/status as baseline population numbers are usually unknown. We investigated the population genetics of blacktip reef sharks, Carcharhinus melanopterus; one of the most abundant reef-associated sharks and the apex predator of many shallow water reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Our sampling includes 4 widely separated locations in the Indo-Pacific and 11 islands in French Polynesia with different levels of coastal development. Four-teen microsatellite loci were analysed for samples from all locations and two mitochondrial DNA fragments, the control region and cytochrome b, were examined for 10 locations. For microsatellites, genetic diversity is higher for the locations in the large open systems of the Red Sea and Australia than for the fragmented habitat of the smaller islands of French Polynesia. Strong significant structure was found for distant locations with FST values as high as ∼0.3, and a smaller but still significant structure is found within French Polynesia. Both mitochondrial genes show only a few mutations across the sequences with a dominant shared haplotype in French Polynesia and New Caledonia suggesting a common lineage different to that of East Australia. Demographic history analyses indicate population expansions in the Red Sea and Australia that may coincide with sea level changes after climatic events. Expansions and flat signals are indicated for French Polynesia as well as a significant recent bottleneck for Moorea, the most human-impacted lagoon of the locations in French Polynesia.

  9. Blacktip reef sharks, Carcharhinus melanopterus, have high genetic structure and varying demographic histories in their Indo-Pacific range.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vignaud, Thomas M; Mourier, Johann; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Leblois, Raphael; Spaet, Julia; Clua, Eric; Neglia, Valentina; Planes, Serge

    2014-11-01

    For free-swimming marine species like sharks, only population genetics and demographic history analyses can be used to assess population health/status as baseline population numbers are usually unknown. We investigated the population genetics of blacktip reef sharks, Carcharhinus melanopterus; one of the most abundant reef-associated sharks and the apex predator of many shallow water reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Our sampling includes 4 widely separated locations in the Indo-Pacific and 11 islands in French Polynesia with different levels of coastal development. Four-teen microsatellite loci were analysed for samples from all locations and two mitochondrial DNA fragments, the control region and cytochrome b, were examined for 10 locations. For microsatellites, genetic diversity is higher for the locations in the large open systems of the Red Sea and Australia than for the fragmented habitat of the smaller islands of French Polynesia. Strong significant structure was found for distant locations with FST values as high as ~0.3, and a smaller but still significant structure is found within French Polynesia. Both mitochondrial genes show only a few mutations across the sequences with a dominant shared haplotype in French Polynesia and New Caledonia suggesting a common lineage different to that of East Australia. Demographic history analyses indicate population expansions in the Red Sea and Australia that may coincide with sea level changes after climatic events. Expansions and flat signals are indicated for French Polynesia as well as a significant recent bottleneck for Moorea, the most human-impacted lagoon of the locations in French Polynesia. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  10. Main features of the geological structure of upper-Frasnian barrier reefs in relation to their petroleum content

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nikonov, N.I.

    1981-01-01

    Analysis of new geological geophysical and industrial materials has made it possible to distinguish in the boundary part of the late Devonician shoal carbonate shelf barrier reefs of various ages. In confines of individual distinguished reefs there have been established deposits of oil (Western Tebuksk, Pashsor and Khar'yatinsk). There are given prospecting features of classification of buried reefs and prognoses for the finding possible oil deposits in them (Beyaksk, Sandiveis reefs).

  11. [Influence of sediments and tungsten traces on the skeletal structure of Pseudodiploria: a reef building scleractinian coral from the Veracruz Reef System National Park, Mexico].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colín-García, Norberto A; Campos, Jorge E; Tello-Musi, Jose Luis; Arias-González, Jesús E

    2016-09-01

    Coral reefs are under intense conditions of stress caused by the anthropogenic activities in coastal areas and the increase of human population. Water effluents from urban and industrial areas carry large amounts of sediments and pollutants affecting corals populations, inducing bioerosion, increasing diseases and promoting the development of algae that compete for space with corals. In the Veracruz Reef System National Park (VRSNP) coral reefs are strongly affected by human activities carried out in the area. Gallega and Galleguilla reefs are among the most affected by wastewater discharges from the industrial (petrochemical and metallurgical) and urban areas in their vicinity. To assess the potential impact of this contamination on corals in the VRSNP, a chemical composition and morphology study of 76 Pseudodiploria colonies collected in reefs Gallega, Galleguilla, Isla Verde and Isla de Enmedio, was performed. Fragments of ~10 cm2 were collected and boric acid at 0.5 % was used to remove tissue from the skeleton; once clean, the morphology of each sample was determined with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Subsequently, to test the chemical composition, an energy dispersion spectroscopy of X-ray chemical microanalysis (EDSX) was performed in the SEM. We found that corals from Gallega and Galleguilla reefs, located closer to human populations, presented high levels of tungsten and the skeleton exhibited multiple perforations. In contrast, corals from the farthest offshore reefs (Isla Verde and Isla de Enmedio) exhibited lower levels of tungsten and fewer perforations in their skeleton. These results demonstrated that anthropogenic activities in the NPVRS are affecting corals skeleton, highly damaging and promoting their bioerosion. The presence of traces of tungsten in the skeleton of corals is an evidence of the damage that waste discharges are causing to coral reefs. Discharges of large amounts of contaminants promoted the growth of harmful species that

  12. Effects of fishing on a temperate reef community in South Africa 2 ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Crinoidea, the principal food source of roman Chrysoblephus laticeps, was scarce at protected sites where this species was most abundant. Low algal abundance at protected sites was negatively correlated with grazer abundance within the fish communities encountered there, suggesting a high potential for coexistence of ...

  13. Deep down on a Caribbean reef: lower mesophotic depths harbor a specialized coral-endosymbiont community

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bongaerts, P.; Frade, P.R.; Hay, K.B.; Englebert, N.; Latijnhouwers, K.R.W.; Bak, R.P.M.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O

    2015-01-01

    The composition, ecology and environmental conditions of mesophotic coral ecosystems near the lower limits of their bathymetric distributions remain poorly understood. Here we provide the first in-depth assessment of a lower mesophotic coral community (60-100 m) in the Southern Caribbean through

  14. Deep down on a Caribbean reef: lower mesophotic depths harbor a specialized coral-endosymbiont community

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bongaerts, P.; Frade, P.R.; Hay, K.B.; Englebert, N.; Latijnhouwers, K.R.W.; Bak, R.P.M.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.

    2015-01-01

    The composition, ecology and environmental conditions of mesophotic coral ecosystems near the lower limits of their bathymetric distributions remain poorly understood. Here we provide the first in-depth assessment of a lower mesophotic coral community (60–100 m) in the Southern Caribbean through

  15. Whole gut microbiome composition of damselfish and cardinalfish before and after reef settlement

    OpenAIRE

    Parris, Darren J.; Brooker, Rohan M.; Morgan, Michael A.; Dixson, Danielle L.; Stewart, Frank J.

    2016-01-01

    The Pomacentridae (damselfish) and Apogonidae (cardinalfish) are among the most common fish families on coral reefs and in the aquarium trade. Members of both families undergo a pelagic larvae phase prior to settlement on the reef, where adults play key roles in benthic habitat structuring and trophic interactions. Fish-associated microbial communities (microbiomes) significantly influence fish health and ecology, yet little is known of how microbiomes change with life stage. We quantified th...

  16. Flat and complex temperate reefs provide similar support for fish: Evidence for a unimodal species-habitat relationship.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Avery B Paxton

    Full Text Available Structural complexity, a form of habitat heterogeneity, influences the structure and function of ecological communities, generally supporting increased species density, richness, and diversity. Recent research, however, suggests the most complex habitats may not harbor the highest density of individuals and number of species, especially in areas with elevated human influence. Understanding nuances in relationships between habitat heterogeneity and ecological communities is warranted to guide habitat-focused conservation and management efforts. We conducted fish and structural habitat surveys of thirty warm-temperate reefs on the southeastern US continental shelf to quantify how structural complexity influences fish communities. We found that intermediate complexity maximizes fish abundance on natural and artificial reefs, as well as species richness on natural reefs, challenging the current paradigm that abundance and other fish community metrics increase with increasing complexity. Naturally occurring rocky reefs of flat and complex morphologies supported equivalent abundance, biomass, species richness, and community composition of fishes. For flat and complex morphologies of rocky reefs to receive equal consideration as essential fish habitat (EFH, special attention should be given to detecting pavement type rocky reefs because their ephemeral nature makes them difficult to detect with typical seafloor mapping methods. Artificial reefs of intermediate complexity also maximized fish abundance, but human-made structures composed of low-lying concrete and metal ships differed in community types, with less complex, concrete structures supporting lower numbers of fishes classified largely as demersal species and metal ships protruding into the water column harboring higher numbers of fishes, including more pelagic species. Results of this study are essential to the process of evaluating habitat function provided by different types and shapes of

  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. Bacterial communities of two ubiquitous Great Barrier Reef corals reveals both site- and species-specificity of common bacterial associates.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E Charlotte E Kvennefors

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Coral-associated bacteria are increasingly considered to be important in coral health, and altered bacterial community structures have been linked to both coral disease and bleaching. Despite this, assessments of bacterial communities on corals rarely apply sufficient replication to adequately describe the natural variability. Replicated data such as these are crucial in determining potential roles of bacteria on coral. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE of the V3 region of the 16S ribosomal DNA was used in a highly replicated approach to analyse bacterial communities on both healthy and diseased corals. Although site-specific variations in the bacterial communities of healthy corals were present, host species-specific bacterial associates within a distinct cluster of gamma-proteobacteria could be identified, which are potentially linked to coral health. Corals affected by "White Syndrome" (WS underwent pronounced changes in their bacterial communities in comparison to healthy colonies. However, the community structure and bacterial ribotypes identified in diseased corals did not support the previously suggested theory of a bacterial pathogen as the causative agent of the syndrome. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first study to employ large numbers of replicated samples to assess the bacterial communities of healthy and diseased corals, and the first culture-independent assessment of bacterial communities on WS affected Acroporid corals on the GBR. Results indicate that a minimum of 6 replicate samples are required in order to draw inferences on species, spatial or health-related changes in community composition, as a set of clearly distinct bacterial community profiles exist in healthy corals. Coral bacterial communities may be both site and species specific. Furthermore, a cluster of gamma-proteobacterial ribotypes may represent a group of specific common coral and marine

  19. Isolation by distance and vicariance drive genetic structure of a coral reef fish in the Pacific Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Planes, S; Fauvelot, C

    2002-02-01

    We studied the genetic diversity of a coral reef fish species to investigate the origin of the differentiation. A total of 727 Acanthurus triostegus collected from 15 locations throughout the Pacific were analyzed for 20 polymorphic loci. The genetic structure showed limited internal disequilibrium within each population; 3.7% of the loci showed significant Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium, mostly associated with Adh*, and we subsequently removed this locus from further analysis of geographic pattern. The genetic structure of A. triostegus throughout the tropical Pacific Ocean revealed a strong geographic pattern. Overall, there was significant population differentiation (multilocus F(ST) = 0.199), which was geographically structured according to bootstraps of neighbor-joining analysis on Nei's unbiased genetic distances and AMOVA analysis. The genetic structure revealed five geographic groups in the Pacific Ocean: western Pacific (Guam, Philippines, Palau, and Great Barrier Reef); central Pacific (Solomons, New Caledonia, and Fiji); and three groups made up of the eastern populations, namely Hawaiian Archipelago (north), Marquesas (equatorial), and southern French Polynesia (south) that incorporates Clipperton Island located in the northeastern Pacific. In addition, heterozygosity values were found to be geographically structured with higher values grouped within Polynesian and Clipperton populations, which exhibited lower population size. Finally, the genetic differentiation (F(ST)) was significantly correlated with geographic distance when populations from the Hawaiian and Marquesas archipelagos were separated from all the other locations. These results show that patterns of differentiation vary within the same species according to the spatial scale, with one group probably issued from vicariance, whereas the other followed a pattern of isolation by distance. The geographic pattern for A. triostegus emphasizes the diversity of the evolutionary processes that lead

  20. Anticipative management for coral reef ecosystem services in the 21st century.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Alice; Harborne, Alastair R; Brown, Christopher J; Bozec, Yves-Marie; Castro, Carolina; Chollett, Iliana; Hock, Karlo; Knowland, Cheryl A; Marshell, Alyssa; Ortiz, Juan C; Razak, Tries; Roff, George; Samper-Villarreal, Jimena; Saunders, Megan I; Wolff, Nicholas H; Mumby, Peter J

    2015-02-01

    Under projections of global climate change and other stressors, significant changes in the ecology, structure and function of coral reefs are predicted. Current management strategies tend to look to the past to set goals, focusing on halting declines and restoring baseline conditions. Here, we explore a complementary approach to decision making that is based on the anticipation of future changes in ecosystem state, function and services. Reviewing the existing literature and utilizing a scenario planning approach, we explore how the structure of coral reef communities might change in the future in response to global climate change and overfishing. We incorporate uncertainties in our predictions by considering heterogeneity in reef types in relation to structural complexity and primary productivity. We examine 14 ecosystem services provided by reefs, and rate their sensitivity to a range of future scenarios and management options. Our predictions suggest that the efficacy of management is highly dependent on biophysical characteristics and reef state. Reserves are currently widely used and are predicted to remain effective for reefs with high structural complexity. However, when complexity is lost, maximizing service provision requires a broader portfolio of management approaches, including the provision of artificial complexity, coral restoration, fish aggregation devices and herbivore management. Increased use of such management tools will require capacity building and technique refinement and we therefore conclude that diversification of our management toolbox should be considered urgently to prepare for the challenges of managing reefs into the 21st century. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. Seaweed beds support more juvenile reef fish than seagrass beds in a south-western Atlantic tropical seascape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eggertsen, L.; Ferreira, C. E. L.; Fontoura, L.; Kautsky, N.; Gullström, M.; Berkström, C.

    2017-09-01

    Seascape connectivity is regarded essential for healthy reef fish communities in tropical shallow systems. A number of reef fish species use separate adult and nursery habitats, and hence contribute to nutrient and energy transfer between habitats. Seagrass beds and mangroves often constitute important nursery habitats, with high structural complexity and protection from predation. Here, we investigated if reef fish assemblages in the tropical south-western Atlantic demonstrate ontogenetic habitat connectivity and identify possible nurseries on three reef systems along the eastern Brazilian coast. Fish were surveyed in fore reef, back reef, Halodule wrightii seagrass beds and seaweed beds. Seagrass beds contained lower abundances and species richness of fish than expected, while Sargassum-dominated seaweed beds contained significantly more juveniles than all other habitats (average juvenile fish densities: 32.6 per 40 m2 in Sargassum beds, 11.2 per 40 m2 in back reef, 10.1 per 40 m2 in fore reef, and 5.04 per 40 m2 in seagrass beds), including several species that are found in the reef habitats as adults. Species that in other regions worldwide (e.g. the Caribbean) utilise seagrass beds as nursery habitats were here instead observed in Sargassum beds or back reef habitats. Coral cover was not correlated to adult fish distribution patterns; instead, type of turf was an important variable. Connectivity, and thus pathways of nutrient transfer, seems to function differently in east Brazil compared to many tropical regions. Sargassum-dominated beds might be more important as nurseries for a larger number of fish species than seagrass beds. Due to the low abundance of structurally complex seagrass beds we suggest that seaweed beds might influence adult reef fish abundances, being essential for several keystone species of reef fish in the tropical south-western Atlantic.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andréfouët, S; Wantiez, L

    2010-01-01

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

  3. Sensing coral reef connectivity pathways from space

    KAUST Repository

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

    2017-01-01

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

  4. Sensing coral reef connectivity pathways from space

    KAUST Repository

    Raitsos, Dionysios E.

    2017-08-18

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

  6. Human activities threaten coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tveitdal, Svein; Bjoerke, Aake

    2002-01-01

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

  7. Community structure informs species geographic distributions

    KAUST Repository

    Montesinos-Navarro, Alicia; Estrada, Alba; Font, Xavier; Matias, Miguel G.; Meireles, Catarina; Mendoza, Manuel; Honrado, Joao P.; Prasad, Hari D.; Vicente, Joana R.; Early, Regan

    2018-01-01

    spatial resolution. However, survival of individuals is determined by processes that happen at small spatial scales. The relative abundance of coexisting species (i.e. 'community structure') reflects assembly processes occurring at small scales

  8. Afforestation alters community structure of soil fungi.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carson, Jennifer K; Gleeson, Deirdre B; Clipson, Nicholas; Murphy, Daniel V

    2010-07-01

    Relatively little is known about the effect of afforestation on soil fungal communities. This study demonstrated that afforestation altered fungal community structure and that changes were correlated to pools of soil C. Pasture at three locations on the same soil type was afforested with Eucalyptus globulus or Pinus pinaster. The structure of fungal communities under the three land uses was measured after 13y using automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA). Afforestation significantly altered the structure of fungal communities. The effect of location on the structure of fungal communities was limited to pasture soils; although these contained the same plant species, the relative composition of each species varied between locations. Differences in the structure of fungal communities between pasture, E. globulus and P. pinaster were significantly correlated with changes in the amount of total organic C and microbial biomass-C in soil. Afforestation of patches of agricultural land may contribute to conserving soil fungi in agricultural landscapes by supporting fungal communities with different composition to agricultural soils. Copyright © 2010 The British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

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

  10. Invasive Lionfish Drive Atlantic Coral Reef Fish Declines

    OpenAIRE

    Green, Stephanie; Akins, John; Maljković, Aleksandra; Cote, Isabelle

    2012-01-01

    Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) have spread swiftly across the Western Atlantic, producing a marine predator invasion of unparalleled speed and magnitude. There is growing concern that lionfish will affect the structure and function of invaded marine ecosystems, however detrimental impacts on natural communities have yet to be measured. Here we document the response of native fish communities to predation by lionfish populations on nine coral reefs off New Providence Isl...

  11. Coral community composition and reef development at the Similan Islands, Andaman Sea, in response to strong environmental variations

    KAUST Repository

    Schmidt, GM; Phongsuwan, N; Jantzen, C; Roder, Cornelia; Khokiattiwong, S; Richter, C

    2012-01-01

    The Similan Islands, a Thai archipelago in the Andaman Sea located near the shelf break, are subjected to frequent (up to several events per hour) and abrupt changes in physico-chemical conditions, particularly during the dry season (NE monsoon, January through April) and to an intense monsoon season with strong surface wave action (May to October). The exposed west slopes of the islands feature more coral species, but lack a carbonate reef framework. By contrast, the sheltered east sides show a complex reef framework dominated by massive Porites. Our results suggest that the sudden changes in temperature, pH and nutrients (drops of up to 10°C and 0.6 U and increases of up to 9.4 µmol NOx l−1, respectively) due to pulsed upwelling events may rival the importance of surface waves and storms in shaping coral distribution and reef development.

  12. Coral community composition and reef development at the Similan Islands, Andaman Sea, in response to strong environmental variations

    KAUST Repository

    Schmidt, GM

    2012-06-07

    The Similan Islands, a Thai archipelago in the Andaman Sea located near the shelf break, are subjected to frequent (up to several events per hour) and abrupt changes in physico-chemical conditions, particularly during the dry season (NE monsoon, January through April) and to an intense monsoon season with strong surface wave action (May to October). The exposed west slopes of the islands feature more coral species, but lack a carbonate reef framework. By contrast, the sheltered east sides show a complex reef framework dominated by massive Porites. Our results suggest that the sudden changes in temperature, pH and nutrients (drops of up to 10°C and 0.6 U and increases of up to 9.4 µmol NOx l−1, respectively) due to pulsed upwelling events may rival the importance of surface waves and storms in shaping coral distribution and reef development.

  13. Bacterial community composition and predicted functional ecology of sponges, sediment and seawater from the thousand islands reef complex, West Java, Indonesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Voogd, Nicole J; Cleary, Daniel F R; Polónia, Ana R M; Gomes, Newton C M

    2015-04-01

    In the present study, we assessed the composition of Bacteria in four biotopes namely sediment, seawater and two sponge species (Stylissa massa and Xestospongia testudinaria) at four different reef sites in a coral reef ecosystem in West Java, Indonesia. In addition to this, we used a predictive metagenomic approach to estimate to what extent nitrogen metabolic pathways differed among bacterial communities from different biotopes. We observed marked differences in bacterial composition of the most abundant bacterial phyla, classes and orders among sponge species, water and sediment. Proteobacteria were by far the most abundant phylum in terms of both sequences and Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs). Predicted counts for genes associated with the nitrogen metabolism suggested that several genes involved in the nitrogen cycle were enriched in sponge samples, including nosZ, nifD, nirK, norB and nrfA genes. Our data show that a combined barcoded pyrosequencing and predictive metagenomic approach can provide novel insights into the potential ecological functions of the microbial communities. Not only is this approach useful for our understanding of the vast microbial diversity found in sponges but also to understand the potential response of microbial communities to environmental change. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Louise S L Teh

    Full Text Available Overfishing threatens coral reefs worldwide, yet there is no reliable estimate on the number of reef fishers globally. We address this data gap by quantifying the number of reef fishers on a global scale, using two approaches - the first estimates reef fishers as a proportion of the total number of marine fishers in a country, based on the ratio of reef-related to total marine fish landed values. The second estimates reef fishers as a function of coral reef area, rural coastal population, and fishing pressure. In total, we find that there are 6 million reef fishers in 99 reef countries and territories worldwide, of which at least 25% are reef gleaners. Our estimates are an improvement over most existing fisher population statistics, which tend to omit accounting for gleaners and reef fishers. Our results suggest that slightly over a quarter of the world's small-scale fishers fish on coral reefs, and half of all coral reef fishers are in Southeast Asia. Coral reefs evidently support the socio-economic well-being of numerous coastal communities. By quantifying the number of people who are employed as reef fishers, we provide decision-makers with an important input into planning for sustainable coral reef fisheries at the appropriate scale.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

    Overfishing threatens coral reefs worldwide, yet there is no reliable estimate on the number of reef fishers globally. We address this data gap by quantifying the number of reef fishers on a global scale, using two approaches - the first estimates reef fishers as a proportion of the total number of marine fishers in a country, based on the ratio of reef-related to total marine fish landed values. The second estimates reef fishers as a function of coral reef area, rural coastal population, and fishing pressure. In total, we find that there are 6 million reef fishers in 99 reef countries and territories worldwide, of which at least 25% are reef gleaners. Our estimates are an improvement over most existing fisher population statistics, which tend to omit accounting for gleaners and reef fishers. Our results suggest that slightly over a quarter of the world's small-scale fishers fish on coral reefs, and half of all coral reef fishers are in Southeast Asia. Coral reefs evidently support the socio-economic well-being of numerous coastal communities. By quantifying the number of people who are employed as reef fishers, we provide decision-makers with an important input into planning for sustainable coral reef fisheries at the appropriate scale.

  16. Reef-fish larval dispersal patterns validate no-take marine reserve network connectivity that links human communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abesamis, Rene A.; Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo; Berumen, Michael L.; Bode, Michael; Jadloc, Claro Renato L.; Solera, Leilani A.; Villanoy, Cesar L.; Bernardo, Lawrence Patrick C.; Alcala, Angel C.; Russ, Garry R.

    2017-09-01

    Networks of no-take marine reserves (NTMRs) are a widely advocated strategy for managing coral reefs. However, uncertainty about the strength of population connectivity between individual reefs and NTMRs through larval dispersal remains a major obstacle to effective network design. In this study, larval dispersal among NTMRs and fishing grounds in the Philippines was inferred by conducting genetic parentage analysis on a coral-reef fish ( Chaetodon vagabundus). Adult and juvenile fish were sampled intensively in an area encompassing approximately 90 km of coastline. Thirty-seven true parent-offspring pairs were accepted after screening 1978 juveniles against 1387 adults. The data showed all types of dispersal connections that may occur in NTMR networks, with assignments suggesting connectivity among NTMRs and fishing grounds ( n = 35) far outnumbering those indicating self-recruitment ( n = 2). Critically, half (51%) of the inferred occurrences of larval dispersal linked reefs managed by separate, independent municipalities and constituent villages, emphasising the need for nested collaborative management arrangements across management units to sustain NTMR networks. Larval dispersal appeared to be influenced by wind-driven seasonal reversals in the direction of surface currents. The best-fit larval dispersal kernel estimated from the parentage data predicted that 50% of larvae originating from a population would attempt to settle within 33 km, and 95% within 83 km. Mean larval dispersal distance was estimated to be 36.5 km. These results suggest that creating a network of closely spaced (less than a few tens of km apart) NTMRs can enhance recruitment for protected and fished populations throughout the NTMR network. The findings underscore major challenges for regional coral-reef management initiatives that must be addressed with priority: (1) strengthening management of NTMR networks across political or customary boundaries; and (2) achieving adequate population

  17. Reef-fish larval dispersal patterns validate no-take marine reserve network connectivity that links human communities

    KAUST Repository

    Abesamis, Rene A.

    2017-03-24

    Networks of no-take marine reserves (NTMRs) are a widely advocated strategy for managing coral reefs. However, uncertainty about the strength of population connectivity between individual reefs and NTMRs through larval dispersal remains a major obstacle to effective network design. In this study, larval dispersal among NTMRs and fishing grounds in the Philippines was inferred by conducting genetic parentage analysis on a coral-reef fish (Chaetodon vagabundus). Adult and juvenile fish were sampled intensively in an area encompassing approximately 90 km of coastline. Thirty-seven true parent-offspring pairs were accepted after screening 1978 juveniles against 1387 adults. The data showed all types of dispersal connections that may occur in NTMR networks, with assignments suggesting connectivity among NTMRs and fishing grounds (n = 35) far outnumbering those indicating self-recruitment (n = 2). Critically, half (51%) of the inferred occurrences of larval dispersal linked reefs managed by separate, independent municipalities and constituent villages, emphasising the need for nested collaborative management arrangements across management units to sustain NTMR networks. Larval dispersal appeared to be influenced by wind-driven seasonal reversals in the direction of surface currents. The best-fit larval dispersal kernel estimated from the parentage data predicted that 50% of larvae originating from a population would attempt to settle within 33 km, and 95% within 83 km. Mean larval dispersal distance was estimated to be 36.5 km. These results suggest that creating a network of closely spaced (less than a few tens of km apart) NTMRs can enhance recruitment for protected and fished populations throughout the NTMR network. The findings underscore major challenges for regional coral-reef management initiatives that must be addressed with priority: (1) strengthening management of NTMR networks across political or customary boundaries; and (2) achieving adequate population

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Derek P. Manzello

    2012-02-01

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

  19. Local and Regional Impacts of Pollution on Coral Reefs along the Thousand Islands North of the Megacity Jakarta, Indonesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baum, Gunilla; Januar, Hedi I; Ferse, Sebastian C A; Kunzmann, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Worldwide, coral reefs are challenged by multiple stressors due to growing urbanization, industrialization and coastal development. Coral reefs along the Thousand Islands off Jakarta, one of the largest megacities worldwide, have degraded dramatically over recent decades. The shift and decline in coral cover and composition has been extensively studied with a focus on large-scale gradients (i.e. regional drivers), however special focus on local drivers in shaping spatial community composition is still lacking. Here, the spatial impact of anthropogenic stressors on local and regional scales on coral reefs north of Jakarta was investigated. Results indicate that the direct impact of Jakarta is mainly restricted to inshore reefs, separating reefs in Jakarta Bay from reefs along the Thousand Islands further north. A spatial patchwork of differentially degraded reefs is present along the islands as a result of localized anthropogenic effects rather than regional gradients. Pollution is the main anthropogenic stressor, with over 80% of variation in benthic community composition driven by sedimentation rate, NO2, PO4 and Chlorophyll a. Thus, the spatial structure of reefs is directly related to intense anthropogenic pressure from local as well as regional sources. Therefore, improved spatial management that accounts for both local and regional stressors is needed for effective marine conservation.

  20. Local and Regional Impacts of Pollution on Coral Reefs along the Thousand Islands North of the Megacity Jakarta, Indonesia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gunilla Baum

    Full Text Available Worldwide, coral reefs are challenged by multiple stressors due to growing urbanization, industrialization and coastal development. Coral reefs along the Thousand Islands off Jakarta, one of the largest megacities worldwide, have degraded dramatically over recent decades. The shift and decline in coral cover and composition has been extensively studied with a focus on large-scale gradients (i.e. regional drivers, however special focus on local drivers in shaping spatial community composition is still lacking. Here, the spatial impact of anthropogenic stressors on local and regional scales on coral reefs north of Jakarta was investigated. Results indicate that the direct impact of Jakarta is mainly restricted to inshore reefs, separating reefs in Jakarta Bay from reefs along the Thousand Islands further north. A spatial patchwork of differentially degraded reefs is present along the islands as a result of localized anthropogenic effects rather than regional gradients. Pollution is the main anthropogenic stressor, with over 80% of variation in benthic community composition driven by sedimentation rate, NO2, PO4 and Chlorophyll a. Thus, the spatial structure of reefs is directly related to intense anthropogenic pressure from local as well as regional sources. Therefore, improved spatial management that accounts for both local and regional stressors is needed for effective marine conservation.

  1. Local and Regional Impacts of Pollution on Coral Reefs along the Thousand Islands North of the Megacity Jakarta, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baum, Gunilla; Januar, Hedi I.; Ferse, Sebastian C. A.; Kunzmann, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Worldwide, coral reefs are challenged by multiple stressors due to growing urbanization, industrialization and coastal development. Coral reefs along the Thousand Islands off Jakarta, one of the largest megacities worldwide, have degraded dramatically over recent decades. The shift and decline in coral cover and composition has been extensively studied with a focus on large-scale gradients (i.e. regional drivers), however special focus on local drivers in shaping spatial community composition is still lacking. Here, the spatial impact of anthropogenic stressors on local and regional scales on coral reefs north of Jakarta was investigated. Results indicate that the direct impact of Jakarta is mainly restricted to inshore reefs, separating reefs in Jakarta Bay from reefs along the Thousand Islands further north. A spatial patchwork of differentially degraded reefs is present along the islands as a result of localized anthropogenic effects rather than regional gradients. Pollution is the main anthropogenic stressor, with over 80% of variation in benthic community composition driven by sedimentation rate, NO2, PO4 and Chlorophyll a. Thus, the spatial structure of reefs is directly related to intense anthropogenic pressure from local as well as regional sources. Therefore, improved spatial management that accounts for both local and regional stressors is needed for effective marine conservation. PMID:26378910

  2. Interactive effects of ocean acidification and warming on coral reef associated epilithic algal communities under past, present-day and future ocean conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vogel, N.; Cantin, N. E.; Strahl, J.; Kaniewska, P.; Bay, L.; Wild, C.; Uthicke, S.

    2016-06-01

    Epilithic algal communities play critical ecological roles on coral reefs, but their response to individual and interactive effects of ocean warming (OW) and ocean acidification (OA) is still largely unknown. We investigated growth, photosynthesis and calcification of early epilithic algal community assemblages exposed for 6 months to four temperature profiles (-1.1, ±0.0, +0.9, +1.6 °C) that were crossed with four carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2) levels (360, 440, 650, 940 µatm), under flow-through conditions and natural light regimes. Additionally, we compared the cover of heavily calcified crustose coralline algae (CCA) and lightly calcified red algae of the genus Peyssonnelia among treatments. Increase in cover of epilithic communities showed optima under moderately elevated temperatures and present pCO2, while cover strongly decreased under high temperatures and high-pCO2 conditions, particularly due to decreasing cover of CCA. Similarly, community calcification rates were strongly decreased at high pCO2 under both measured temperatures. While final cover of CCA decreased under high temperature and pCO2 (additive negative effects), cover of Peyssonnelia spp. increased at high compared to annual average and moderately elevated temperatures. Thus, cover of Peyssonnelia spp. increased in treatment combinations with less CCA, which was supported by a significant negative correlation between organism groups. The different susceptibility to stressors most likely derived from a different calcification intensity and/or mineral. Notably, growth of the epilithic communities and final cover of CCA were strongly decreased under reduced-pCO2 conditions compared to the present. Thus, CCA may have acclimatized from past to present-day pCO2 conditions, and changes in carbonate chemistry, regardless in which direction, negatively affect them. However, if epilithic organisms cannot further acclimatize to OW and OA, the interacting effects of both factors may change

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stathakopoulos, A.; Riegl, B. M.

    2015-03-01

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

  4. Community Structure of Decapod Inhabit Dead Coral Pocillopora sp. in Pemuteran, Bali

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pertiwi, N. P. D.; Malik, M. D. A.; Kholilah, N.; Kurniasih, E. M.; Sembiring, A.; Anggoro, A. W.; Ambariyanto; Meyer, C.

    2018-02-01

    Decapod is one of the cryptic fauna associated with coral reefs, which play an important role and accounts for a major part of the biodiversity in the reef ecosystem. However, this biodiversity is largely overlooked and assessment regarding this biodiversity has not been conducted thoroughly due to lack of resources and the difficulties of sample collection. This research used semi-quantitative sampling methods to assess the community structure of decapod species inhabit dead Pocillopora sp. in Pemuteran, Bali. Two dead coral head of Pocillopora sp. were used as pilot study and sampled at the 8-12 m depth. All decapod found were collected and identify into family level. The result showed 214 decapods found consisting 12 families, with Xanthidae as the most abundant family. Community Index which consisting diversity, uniformity, and dominancy, indicated medium diversity, stable uniformity, and low dominancy of decapod community. This result also indicated no dominancy between families of decapod. Meanwhile, Species Density Index showed the value of 84.58 ± 2.04 individual per m3, with mean diversity of 7.05 ± 2.04 individual per m3 for each family.

  5. Species richness of motile cryptofauna across a gradient of reef framework erosion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Enochs, I. C.; Manzello, D. P.

    2012-09-01

    Coral reef ecosystems contain exceptionally high concentrations of marine biodiversity, potentially encompassing millions of species. Similar to tropical rainforests and their insects, the majority of reef animal species are small and cryptic, living in the cracks and crevices of structural taxa (trees and corals). Although the cryptofauna make up the majority of a reef's metazoan biodiversity, we know little about their basic ecology. We sampled motile cryptofaunal communities from both live corals and dead carbonate reef framework across a gradient of increasing erosion on a reef in Pacific Panamá. A total of 289 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) from six phyla were identified. We used species-accumulation models fitted to individual- and sample-based rarefaction curves, as well as seven nonparametric richness estimators to estimate species richness among the different framework types. All procedures predicted the same trends in species richness across the differing framework types. Estimated species richness was higher in dead framework (261-370 OTUs) than in live coral substrates (112-219 OTUs). Surprisingly, richness increased as framework structure was eroded: coral rubble contained the greatest number of species (227-320 OTUs) and the lowest estimated richness of 47-115 OTUs was found in the zone where the reef framework had the greatest vertical relief. This contradicts the paradigm that abundant live coral indicates the apex of reef diversity.

  6. Assessing community values for reducing agricultural emissions to improve water quality and protect coral health in the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rolfe, John; Windle, Jill

    2011-12-01

    Policymakers wanting to increase protection of the Great Barrier Reef from pollutants generated by agriculture need to identify when measures to improve water quality generate benefits to society that outweigh the costs involved. The research reported in this paper makes a contribution in several ways. First, it uses the improved science understanding about the links between management changes and reef health to bring together the analysis of costs and benefits of marginal changes, helping to demonstrate the appropriate way of addressing policy questions relating to reef protection. Second, it uses the scientific relationships to frame a choice experiment to value the benefits of improved reef health, with the results of mixed logit (random parameter) models linking improvements explicitly to changes in "water quality units." Third, the research demonstrates how protection values are consistent across a broader population, with some limited evidence of distance effects. Fourth, the information on marginal costs and benefits that are reported provide policymakers with information to help improve management decisions. The results indicate that while there is potential for water quality improvements to generate net benefits, high cost water quality improvements are generally uneconomic. A major policy implication is that cost thresholds for key pollutants should be set to avoid more expensive water quality proposals being selected.

  7. Water use benefit index as a tool for community-based monitoring of water related trends in the Great Barrier Reef region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smajgl, A.; Larson, S.; Hug, B.; De Freitas, D. M.

    2010-12-01

    SummaryThis paper presents a tool for documenting and monitoring water use benefits in the Great Barrier Reef catchments that allows temporal and spatial comparison along the region. Water, water use benefits and water allocations are currently receiving much attention from Australian policy makers and conservation practitioners. Because of the inherent complexity and variability in water quality, it is essential that scientific information is presented in a meaningful way to policy makers, managers and ultimately, to the general public who have to live with the consequences of the decisions. We developed an inexpensively populated and easily understandable water use benefit index as a tool for community-based monitoring of water related trends in the Great Barrier Reef region. The index is developed based on a comparative list of selected water-related indices integrating attributes across physico-chemical, economic, social, and ecological domains currently used in the assessment of water quality, water quantity and water use benefits in Australia. Our findings indicate that the proposed index allows the identification of water performance indicators by temporal and spatial comparisons. Benefits for decision makers and conservation practitioners include a flexible way of prioritization towards the domain with highest concern. The broader community benefits from a comprehensive and user-friendly tool, communicating changes in water quality trends more effectively.

  8. Soil shapes community structure through fire.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ojeda, Fernando; Pausas, Juli G; Verdú, Miguel

    2010-07-01

    Recurrent wildfires constitute a major selecting force in shaping the structure of plant communities. At the regional scale, fire favours phenotypic and phylogenetic clustering in Mediterranean woody plant communities. Nevertheless, the incidence of fire within a fire-prone region may present strong variations at the local, landscape scale. This study tests the prediction that woody communities on acid, nutrient-poor soils should exhibit more pronounced phenotypic and phylogenetic clustering patterns than woody communities on fertile soils, as a consequence of their higher flammability and, hence, presumably higher propensity to recurrent fire. Results confirm the predictions and show that habitat filtering driven by fire may be detected even in local communities from an already fire-filtered regional flora. They also provide a new perspective from which to consider a preponderant role of fire as a key evolutionary force in acid, infertile Mediterranean heathlands.

  9. Hysteresis in coral reefs under macroalgal toxicity and overfishing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhattacharyya, Joydeb; Pal, Samares

    2015-03-01

    Macroalgae and corals compete for the available space in coral reef ecosystems.While herbivorous reef fish play a beneficial role in decreasing the growth of macroalgae, macroalgal toxicity and overfishing of herbivores leads to proliferation of macroalgae. The abundance of macroalgae changes the community structure towards a macroalgae-dominated reef ecosystem. We investigate coral-macroalgal phase shifts by means of a continuous time model in a food chain. Conditions for local asymptotic stability of steady states are derived. It is observed that in the presence of macroalgal toxicity and overfishing, the system exhibits hysteresis through saddle-node bifurcation and transcritical bifurcation. We examine the effects of time lags in the liberation of toxins by macroalgae and the recovery of algal turf in response to grazing of herbivores on macroalgae by performing equilibrium and stability analyses of delay-differential forms of the ODE model. Computer simulations have been carried out to illustrate the different analytical results.

  10. Holocene reef accretion: southwest Molokai, Hawaii, U.S.A.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Engels, Mary S.; Fletcher, Charles H.; Field, Michael E.; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Grossman, Eric E.; Rooney, John J.B.; Conger, Christopher L.; Glenn, Craig

    2004-01-01

    Two reef systems off south Molokai, Hale O Lono and Hikauhi (separated by only 10 km), show strong and fundamental differences in modern ecosystem structure and Holocene accretion history that reflect the influence of wave-induced near-bed shear stresses on reef development in Hawaii. Both sites are exposed to similar impacts from south, Kona, and trade-wind swell. However, the Hale O Lono site is exposed to north swell and the Hikuahi site is not. As a result, the reef at Hale O Lono records no late Holocene net accretion while the reef at Hikauhi records consistent and robust accretion over late Holocene time. Analysis and dating of 24 cores from Hale O Lono and Hikauhi reveal the presence of five major lithofacies that reflect paleo-environmental conditions. In order of decreasing depositional energy they are: (1) coral-algal bindstone; (2) mixed skeletal rudstone; (3) massive coral framestone; (4) unconsolidated floatstone; and (5) branching coral framestone-bafflestone. At Hale O Lono, 10 cores document a backstepping reef ranging from ∼ 8,100 cal yr BP (offshore) to ∼ 4,800 cal yr BP (nearshore). A depauperate community of modern coral diminishes shoreward and seaward of ∼ 15 m depth due to wave energy, disrupted recruitment activities, and physical abrasion. Evidence suggests a change from conditions conducive to accretion during the early Holocene to conditions detrimental to accretion in the late Holocene. Reef structure at Hikauhi, reconstructed from 14 cores, reveals a thick, rapidly accreting and young reef (maximum age ∼ 900 cal yr BP). Living coral cover on this reef increases seaward with distance from the reef crest but terminates at a depth of ∼ 20 m where the reef ends in a large sand field. The primary limitation on vertical reef growth is accommodation space under wave base, not recruitment activities or energy conditions. Interpretations of cored lithofacies suggest that modern reef growth on the southwest corner of Molokai, and by

  11. Preliminary assessment of bioengineered fringing shoreline reefs in Grand Isle and Breton Sound, Louisiana

    Science.gov (United States)

    La Peyre, Megan K.; Schwarting, Lindsay; Miller, Shea

    2013-01-01

    Restoration of three-dimensional shell habitats in coastal Louisiana presents a valuable and potentially self-sustaining approach to providing shoreline protection and critical nekton habitat and may contribute to water quality maintenance. The use of what has been called “living shorelines” is particularly promising because in addition to the hypothesized shoreline protection services, it is predicted that, if built and located in viable sites, these living shorelines may ultimately contribute to water quality maintenance through filtration of bivalves and may enhance nekton habitat. This approach, however, has not been tested extensively in different shallow water estuarine settings; understanding under what conditions a living shoreline must have to support a sustainable oyster population, and where these reefs may provide valuable shoreline protection, is key to ensuring that this approach provides an effective tool for coastal restoration. This project gathered preliminary data on the sustainability and shoreline stabilization of three large bioengineered fringing reefs located in Grand Isle, Lake Eloi, and Lake Fortuna, Louisiana. We collected preconstruction and postconstruction physiochemical and biological data by using a before-after-control-impact approach to evaluate the effectiveness of these living shoreline structures on reducing marsh erosion, enabling reef sustainability, and providing other ecosystem benefits. Although this project was originally designed to compare reef performance and impacts across three different locations over 2 years, delays in construction because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill resulted in reefs being built from 12 to 18 months later than anticipated. As a result, monitoring postconstruction was severely limited. One reef, Grand Isle, was completed in March 2011 and monitored up to 18 months postcreation, whereas Lake Eloi and Lake Fortuna reefs were not completed until January 2012, and only 8 months of

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-04-22

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

  13. Cyanobacteria in Coral Reef Ecosystems: A Review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Charpy

    2012-01-01

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

  14. Multiscale change in reef coral species diversity and composition in the Tropical Eastern Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomez, Catalina G.; Gonzalez, Andrew; Guzman, Hector M.

    2018-03-01

    Both natural and anthropogenic factors are changing coral-reef structure and function worldwide. Long-term monitoring has revealed declines in the local composition and species diversity of reefs. Here we report changes in coral-reef community structure over 12 yr (2000-2012) at 17 sites and three spatial scales (reef, gulf and country) in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (Panama). We found a significant 4% annual decline in species population sizes at the country and gulf scales, with significant declines ranging from 3 to 32% at all but one reef. No significant temporal change in expected richness was found at the country scale or in the Gulf of Chiriquí, but a 7% annual decline in expected species richness was found in the Gulf of Panama. There was a 2% increase in community evenness in the Gulf of Chiriquí, but no change in the Gulf of Panama. Significant temporal turnover was found at the country and gulf scales and at 29% of the reefs, a finding mostly explained by changes in species abundance, and losses and gains of rare species. Temporal trends in alpha and beta diversity metrics were explained by water temperature maxima, anomalies and variation that occurred even in the absence of a strong El Niño warming event.

  15. Finding Community Structures In Social Activity Data

    KAUST Repository

    Peng, Chengbin

    2015-05-19

    Social activity data sets are increasing in number and volume. Finding community structure in such data is valuable in many applications. For example, understand- ing the community structure of social networks may reduce the spread of epidemics or boost advertising revenue; discovering partitions in tra c networks can help to optimize routing and to reduce congestion; finding a group of users with common interests can allow a system to recommend useful items. Among many aspects, qual- ity of inference and e ciency in finding community structures in such data sets are of paramount concern. In this thesis, we propose several approaches to improve com- munity detection in these aspects. The first approach utilizes the concept of K-cores to reduce the size of the problem. The K-core of a graph is the largest subgraph within which each node has at least K connections. We propose a framework that accelerates community detection. It first applies a traditional algorithm that is relatively slow to the K-core, and then uses a fast heuristic to infer community labels for the remaining nodes. The second approach is to scale the algorithm to multi-processor systems. We de- vise a scalable community detection algorithm for large networks based on stochastic block models. It is an alternating iterative algorithm using a maximum likelihood ap- proach. Compared with traditional inference algorithms for stochastic block models, our algorithm can scale to large networks and run on multi-processor systems. The time complexity is linear in the number of edges of the input network. The third approach is to improve the quality. We propose a framework for non- negative matrix factorization that allows the imposition of linear or approximately linear constraints on each factor. An example of the applications is to find community structures in bipartite networks, which is useful in recommender systems. Our algorithms are compared with the results in recent papers and their quality and e

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-30

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

  17. Snorkelling and trampling in shallow-water fringing reefs: Risk assessment and proposed management strategy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hannak, Judith S.; Kompatscher, Sarah; Stachowitsch, Michael; Herler, Jürgen

    2011-01-01

    Shallow reefs (reef flats tourism that includes swimmers, snorkellers and reef walkers but have largely been neglected in past studies. We selected a fringing reef along the lagoon of Dahab (Sinai, Egypt) as a model for a management strategy. Point-intercept line transects were used to determine substrate composition, coral community and condition, and the coral damage index (CDI) was applied. Approximately 84% of the coral colonies showed signs of damage such as breakage, partial mortality or algal overgrowth, especially affecting the most frequent coral genus Acropora. Questionnaires were used to determine the visitors’ socio-economic background and personal attitudes regarding snorkelling, SCUBA-diving and interest in visiting a prospective snorkelling trail. Experiencing nature (97%) was by far the strongest motivation, and interest in further education about reef ecology and skill training was high. Less experienced snorkellers and divers – the target group for further education and skill training – were those most prepared to financially support such a trail. We therefore recommend a guided underwater snorkelling trail and restricting recreational use to a less sensitive ‘ecotourism zone’ while protecting the shallow reef flat. Artificial structures can complete the trail and offer the opportunity to snorkel over deeper areas at unfavourable tide or wind conditions. This approach provides a strategy for the management and conservation of shallow-water reefs, which are facing increasing human impact here and elsewhere. PMID:21708420

  18. Snorkelling and trampling in shallow-water fringing reefs: risk assessment and proposed management strategy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hannak, Judith S; Kompatscher, Sarah; Stachowitsch, Michael; Herler, Jürgen

    2011-10-01

    Shallow reefs (reef flats impacted by growing tourism that includes swimmers, snorkellers and reef walkers but have largely been neglected in past studies. We selected a fringing reef along the lagoon of Dahab (Sinai, Egypt) as a model for a management strategy. Point-intercept line transects were used to determine substrate composition, coral community and condition, and the coral damage index (CDI) was applied. Approximately 84% of the coral colonies showed signs of damage such as breakage, partial mortality or algal overgrowth, especially affecting the most frequent coral genus Acropora. Questionnaires were used to determine the visitors' socio-economic background and personal attitudes regarding snorkelling, SCUBA-diving and interest in visiting a prospective snorkelling trail. Experiencing nature (97%) was by far the strongest motivation, and interest in further education about reef ecology and skill training was high. Less experienced snorkellers and divers--the target group for further education and skill training--were those most prepared to financially support such a trail. We therefore recommend a guided underwater snorkelling trail and restricting recreational use to a less sensitive 'ecotourism zone' while protecting the shallow reef flat. Artificial structures can complete the trail and offer the opportunity to snorkel over deeper areas at unfavourable tide or wind conditions. This approach provides a strategy for the management and conservation of shallow-water reefs, which are facing increasing human impact here and elsewhere. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Ecology of the ciguatera causing dinoflagellates from the Northern Great Barrier Reef: changes in community distribution and coastal eutrophication.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skinner, Mark P; Lewis, Richard J; Morton, Steve

    2013-12-15

    Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) is known to be caused by the ciguatoxins from the dinoflagellate genus Gambierdiscus, however, there is the potential for other toxins such as okadaic acid and dinophysistoxins from the genus Prorocentrum, and palytoxin from the genus Ostreopsis, to contaminate seafood. These genera may also be indicators of ecosystem health and potentially impact on coral reef ecosystems and the role they may play in the succession of coral to macroalgae dominated reefs has not been researched. Sixteen GBR field sites spanning inshore, mid-lagoon and outer lagoon (offshore) regions were studied. Samples were collected from September 2006 to December 2007 and abundance of benthic dinoflagellates on different host macroalgae and concentration of nutrients present in the water column were determined. The maximum abundance of Prorocentrum, Ostreopsis and Gambierdiscus found was 112, 793 and 50 cells per gram wet weight of host macroalgae, respectively. The average level of Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) in the water column across all sites (0.03 mg/L) was found to be more than double the threshold critical value (0.013 mg/L) for healthy coral reefs. Compared to a previous study 1984, there is evidence of a major shift in the distribution and abundance of these dinoflagellates. Inshore reefs have either of Prorocentrum (as at Green Island) or Ostreopsis (as at Magnetic Island) dominating the macroalgal surface niche which was once dominated by Gambierdiscus, whilst at offshore regions Gambierdiscus is still dominant. This succession may be linked to the ongoing eutrophication of the GBR lagoon and have consequences for the sources of toxins for ongoing cases of ciguatera. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  20. Phylogenetic structure in tropical hummingbird communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Graham, Catherine H; Parra, Juan L; Rahbek, Carsten

    2009-01-01

    How biotic interactions, current and historical environment, and biogeographic barriers determine community structure is a fundamental question in ecology and evolution, especially in diverse tropical regions. To evaluate patterns of local and regional diversity, we quantified the phylogenetic...... composition of 189 hummingbird communities in Ecuador. We assessed how species and phylogenetic composition changed along environmental gradients and across biogeographic barriers. We show that humid, low-elevation communities are phylogenetically overdispersed (coexistence of distant relatives), a pattern...... that is consistent with the idea that competition influences the local composition of hummingbirds. At higher elevations communities are phylogenetically clustered (coexistence of close relatives), consistent with the expectation of environmental filtering, which may result from the challenge of sustaining...

  1. Optimal community structure for social contagions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Su, Zhen; Wang, Wei; Li, Lixiang; Stanley, H. Eugene; Braunstein, Lidia A.

    2018-05-01

    Community structure is an important factor in the behavior of real-world networks because it strongly affects the stability and thus the phase transition order of the spreading dynamics. We here propose a reversible social contagion model of community networks that includes the factor of social reinforcement. In our model an individual adopts a social contagion when the number of received units of information exceeds its adoption threshold. We use mean-field approximation to describe our proposed model, and the results agree with numerical simulations. The numerical simulations and theoretical analyses both indicate that there is a first-order phase transition in the spreading dynamics, and that a hysteresis loop emerges in the system when there is a variety of initially adopted seeds. We find an optimal community structure that maximizes spreading dynamics. We also find a rich phase diagram with a triple point that separates the no-diffusion phase from the two diffusion phases.

  2. Tracing carbon flow through coral reef food webs using a compound-specific stable isotope approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McMahon, Kelton W; Thorrold, Simon R; Houghton, Leah A; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-03-01

    Coral reefs support spectacularly productive and diverse communities in tropical and sub-tropical waters throughout the world's oceans. Debate continues, however, on the degree to which reef biomass is supported by new water column production, benthic primary production, and recycled detrital carbon (C). We coupled compound-specific stable C isotope ratio (δ(13)C) analyses with Bayesian mixing models to quantify C flow from primary producers to coral reef fishes across multiple feeding guilds and trophic positions in the Red Sea. Analyses of reef fishes with putative diets composed primarily of zooplankton (Amblyglyphidodon indicus), benthic macroalgae (Stegastes nigricans), reef-associated detritus (Ctenochaetus striatus), and coral tissue (Chaetodon trifascialis) confirmed that δ(13)C values of essential amino acids from all baseline C sources were both isotopically diagnostic and accurately recorded in consumer tissues. While all four source end-members contributed to the production of coral reef fishes in our study, a single-source end-member often dominated dietary C assimilation of a given species, even for highly mobile, generalist top predators. Microbially reworked detritus was an important secondary C source for most species. Seascape configuration played an important role in structuring resource utilization patterns. For instance, Lutjanus ehrenbergii showed a significant shift from a benthic macroalgal food web on shelf reefs (71 ± 13 % of dietary C) to a phytoplankton-based food web (72 ± 11 %) on oceanic reefs. Our work provides insights into the roles that diverse C sources play in the structure and function of coral reef ecosystems and illustrates a powerful fingerprinting method to develop and test nutritional frameworks for understanding resource utilization.

  3. Tracing carbon flow through coral reef food webs using a compound-specific stable isotope approach

    KAUST Repository

    McMahon, Kelton

    2015-11-21

    Coral reefs support spectacularly productive and diverse communities in tropical and sub-tropical waters throughout the world’s oceans. Debate continues, however, on the degree to which reef biomass is supported by new water column production, benthic primary production, and recycled detrital carbon (C). We coupled compound-specific stable C isotope ratio (δ13C) analyses with Bayesian mixing models to quantify C flow from primary producers to coral reef fishes across multiple feeding guilds and trophic positions in the Red Sea. Analyses of reef fishes with putative diets composed primarily of zooplankton (Amblyglyphidodon indicus), benthic macroalgae (Stegastes nigricans), reef-associated detritus (Ctenochaetus striatus), and coral tissue (Chaetodon trifascialis) confirmed that δ13C values of essential amino acids from all baseline C sources were both isotopically diagnostic and accurately recorded in consumer tissues. While all four source end-members contributed to the production of coral reef fishes in our study, a single-source end-member often dominated dietary C assimilation of a given species, even for highly mobile, generalist top predators. Microbially reworked detritus was an important secondary C source for most species. Seascape configuration played an important role in structuring resource utilization patterns. For instance, Lutjanus ehrenbergii showed a significant shift from a benthic macroalgal food web on shelf reefs (71 ± 13 % of dietary C) to a phytoplankton-based food web (72 ± 11 %) on oceanic reefs. Our work provides insights into the roles that diverse C sources play in the structure and function of coral reef ecosystems and illustrates a powerful fingerprinting method to develop and test nutritional frameworks for understanding resource utilization.

  4. Land use intensity controls actinobacterial community structure

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hill, P.; Krištůfek, Václav; Dijkhuizen, L.; Boddy, Ch.; Kroetsch, D.; van Elsas, J.D.

    2011-01-01

    Roč. 61, č. 2 (2011), s. 286-302 ISSN 0095-3628 R&D Projects: GA MŠk LC06066; GA MŠk 2B06154 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60660521 Keywords : actinobacterial community structure * DNA * soils Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 2.912, year: 2011

  5. Emergence of structured communities through evolutionary dynamics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shtilerman, Elad; Kessler, David A; Shnerb, Nadav M

    2015-10-21

    Species-rich communities, in which many competing species coexist in a single trophic level, are quite frequent in nature, but pose a formidable theoretical challenge. In particular, it is known that complex competitive systems become unstable and unfeasible when the number of species is large. Recently, many studies have attributed the stability of natural communities to the structure of the interspecific interaction network, yet the nature of such structures and the underlying mechanisms responsible for them remain open questions. Here we introduce an evolutionary model, based on the generic Lotka-Volterra competitive framework, from which a stable, structured, diverse community emerges spontaneously. The modular structure of the competition matrix reflects the phylogeny of the community, in agreement with the hierarchial taxonomic classification. Closely related species tend to have stronger niche overlap and weaker fitness differences, as opposed to pairs of species from different modules. The competitive-relatedness hypothesis and the idea of emergent neutrality are discussed in the context of this evolutionary model. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Community structure informs species geographic distributions

    KAUST Repository

    Montesinos-Navarro, Alicia

    2018-05-23

    Understanding what determines species\\' geographic distributions is crucial for assessing global change threats to biodiversity. Measuring limits on distributions is usually, and necessarily, done with data at large geographic extents and coarse spatial resolution. However, survival of individuals is determined by processes that happen at small spatial scales. The relative abundance of coexisting species (i.e. \\'community structure\\') reflects assembly processes occurring at small scales, and are often available for relatively extensive areas, so could be useful for explaining species distributions. We demonstrate that Bayesian Network Inference (BNI) can overcome several challenges to including community structure into studies of species distributions, despite having been little used to date. We hypothesized that the relative abundance of coexisting species can improve predictions of species distributions. In 1570 assemblages of 68 Mediterranean woody plant species we used BNI to incorporate community structure into Species Distribution Models (SDMs), alongside environmental information. Information on species associations improved SDM predictions of community structure and species distributions moderately, though for some habitat specialists the deviance explained increased by up to 15%. We demonstrate that most species associations (95%) were positive and occurred between species with ecologically similar traits. This suggests that SDM improvement could be because species co-occurrences are a proxy for local ecological processes. Our study shows that Bayesian Networks, when interpreted carefully, can be used to include local conditions into measurements of species\\' large-scale distributions, and this information can improve the predictions of species distributions.

  7. Information transfer in community structured multiplex networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Albert eSolé Ribalta

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available The study of complex networks that account for different types of interactions has become a subject of interest in the last few years, specially because its representational power in the description of users interactions in diverse online social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.. The mathematical description of these interacting networks has been coined under the name of multilayer networks, where each layer accounts for a type of interaction. It has been shown that diffusive processes on top of these networks present a phenomenology that cannot be explained by the naive superposition of single layer diffusive phenomena but require the whole structure of interconnected layers. Nevertheless, the description of diffusive phenomena on multilayer networks has obviated the fact that social networks have strong mesoscopic structure represented by different communities of individuals driven by common interests, or any other social aspect. In this work, we study the transfer of information in multilayer networks with community structure. The final goal is to understand and quantify, if the existence of well-defined community structure at the level of individual layers, together with the multilayer structure of the whole network, enhances or deteriorates the diffusion of packets of information.

  8. Information transfer in community structured multiplex networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solé Ribalta, Albert; Granell, Clara; Gómez, Sergio; Arenas, Alex

    2015-08-01

    The study of complex networks that account for different types of interactions has become a subject of interest in the last few years, specially because its representational power in the description of users interactions in diverse online social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). The mathematical description of these interacting networks has been coined under the name of multilayer networks, where each layer accounts for a type of interaction. It has been shown that diffusive processes on top of these networks present a phenomenology that cannot be explained by the naive superposition of single layer diffusive phenomena but require the whole structure of interconnected layers. Nevertheless, the description of diffusive phenomena on multilayer networks has obviated the fact that social networks have strong mesoscopic structure represented by different communities of individuals driven by common interests, or any other social aspect. In this work, we study the transfer of information in multilayer networks with community structure. The final goal is to understand and quantify, if the existence of well-defined community structure at the level of individual layers, together with the multilayer structure of the whole network, enhances or deteriorates the diffusion of packets of information.

  9. Vaal Reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1983-01-01

    Vaal Reefs Mine, the world's top gold producer with an output last quarter of 19,6 tons of gold, is to expand further with the building of an 120 000t/month run-of-mine mill at the new No 9 Shaft in the south area, linked with a carbon-in-pulp plant

  10. Reef Development on Artificial Patch Reefs in Shallow Water of Panjang Island, Central Java

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munasik; Sugiyanto; Sugianto, Denny N.; Sabdono, Agus

    2018-02-01

    Reef restoration methods are generally developed by propagation of coral fragments, coral recruits and provide substrate for coral attachment using artificial reefs (ARs). ARs have been widely applied as a tool for reef restoration in degraded natural reefs. Successful of coral restoration is determined by reef development such as increasing coral biomass, natural of coral recruits and fauna associated. Artificial Patch Reefs (APRs) is designed by combined of artificial reefs and coral transplantation and constructed by modular circular structures in shape, were deployed from small boats by scuba divers, and are suitable near natural reefs for shallow water with low visibility of Panjang Island, Central Java. Branching corals of Acropora aspera, Montipora digitata and Porites cylindrica fragments were transplanted on to each module of two units of artificial patch reefs in different periods. Coral fragments of Acropora evolved high survival and high growth, Porites fragments have moderate survival and low growth, while fragment of Montipora show in low survival and moderate growth. Within 19 to 22 months of APRs deployment, scleractinian corals were recruited on the surface of artificial patch reef substrates. The most recruits abundant was Montastrea, followed by Poritids, Pocilloporids, and Acroporids. We conclude that artificial patch reefs with developed by coral fragments and natural coral recruitment is one of an alternative rehabilitation method in shallow reef with low visibility.

  11. Topographical features of physiographic unit borders on reef flat in fringing reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Nakai, Tatsuo

    2007-01-01

    In coral reef ecosystem spatial structure of 10^1-10^3m scale provide very important aspect in coral reef conservation. Nakai (2007) showed that physiographic unit (PGU) could be set as well as zonation on reef flat of fringing reef. The borders of PGUs delimiting it from the open sea or an adjacent PGU are constituted by landforms such as reef crest or channels. In this article the landforms becoming the borders of PGUs were discussed and the PGU property was clarified.

  12. Baselines and Comparison of Coral Reef Fish Assemblages in the Central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Kattan, Alexander

    2014-12-01

    In order to properly assess human impacts and appropriate restoration goals, baselines of pristine conditions on coral reefs are required. In Saudi Arabian waters of the central Red Sea, widespread and heavy fishing pressure has been ongoing for decades. To evaluate this influence, we surveyed the assemblage of offshore reef fishes in both this region as well as those of remote and largely unfished southern Sudan. At comparable latitudes, of similar oceanographic influence, and hosting the same array of species, the offshore reefs of southern Sudan provided an ideal location for comparison. We found that top predators (jacks, large snappers, groupers, and others) dominated the reef fish community biomass in Sudan’s deep south region, resulting in an inverted (top-heavy) biomass pyramid. In contrast, the Red Sea reefs of central Saudi Arabia exhibited the typical bottom-heavy pyramid and show evidence for trophic cascades in the form of mesopredator release. Biomass values from Sudan’s deep south are quite similar to those previously reported in the remote and uninhabited Northwest Hawaiian Islands, northern Line Islands, Pitcairn Islands, and other remote Pacific islands and atolls. The findings of this study suggest that heavy fishing pressure has significantly altered the fish community structure of Saudi Arabian Red Sea reefs. The results point towards the urgent need for enhanced regulation and enforcement of fishing practices in Saudi Arabia while simultaneously making a strong case for protection in the form of marine protected areas in the southern Sudanese Red Sea.

  13. Diving down the reefs? Intensive diving tourism threatens the reefs of the northern Red Sea

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Ott, Jörg A.

    2008-01-01

    Intensive recreational SCUBA diving threatens coral reef ecosystems. The reefs at Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt, are among the world’s most dived (>30,000dives y−1). We compared frequently dived sites to sites with no or little diving. Benthic communities and condition of corals were examined...... to intensive SCUBA diving showed a significantly higher number of broken and damaged corals and significantly lower coral cover. Reef crest coral communities were significantly more affected than those of the reef slope: 95% of the broken colonies were branching ones. No effect of diving on the abundance...... by the point intercept sampling method in the reef crest zone (3 m) and reef slope zone (12 m). Additionally, the abundance of corallivorous and herbivorous fish was estimated based on the visual census method. Sediments traps recorded the sedimentation rates caused by SCUBA divers. Zones subject...

  14. 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

  15. Epidemic spreading on complex networks with community structures

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stegehuis, C.; van der Hofstad, R.W.; van Leeuwaarden, J.S.H.

    2016-01-01

    Many real-world networks display a community structure. We study two random graph models that create a network with similar community structure as a given network. One model preserves the exact community structure of the original network, while the other model only preserves the set of communities

  16. Coral Reefs: Beyond Mortality?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charles Sheppard

    2000-01-01

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

  17. Coral reef bleaching: ecological perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, P. W.

    1993-03-01

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

  18. Do reef fish habituate to diver presence? Evidence from two reef sites with contrasting historical levels of SCUBA intensity in the Bay Islands, Honduras.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin M Titus

    Full Text Available Contact between humans and the marine environment is increasing, but the capacity of communities to adapt to human presence remains largely unknown. The popularization of SCUBA diving has added a new dimension to human impacts in aquatic systems and, although individual-level impacts have been identified, cumulative effects on ecosystem function and community-wide responses are unclear. In principle, habituation may mitigate the consequences of human presence on the biology of an individual and allow the quick resumption of its ecological roles, but this has not been documented in aquatic systems. Here, we investigate the short-term impact of human presence and the long-term habituation potential of reef-fish communities to recreational SCUBA divers by studying symbiotic cleaning interactions on coral reefs with differing levels of historical contact with divers. We show that incidences of human contact result in a smaller decline in ecosystem function and more rapid resumption of baseline services on a reef in Utila, Honduras that has heavy historical levels of SCUBA diver presence, compared to an un-dived reef site in the Cayos Cochinos Marine Protected Area (CCMPA. Nonetheless, despite the generally smaller change in ecosystem function and decades of regular contact with divers, cleaning behavior is suppressed by >50% at Utila when divers are present. We hypothesize that community-wide habituation of reef fish is not fully achievable and may be biologically restricted to only partial habituation. Differential responses to human presence impacts the interpretation and execution of behavioral research where SCUBA is the predominant means of data collection, and provides an important rationale for future research investigating the interplay between human presence, ecosystem function, and community structure on coral reefs.

  19. Do reef fish habituate to diver presence? Evidence from two reef sites with contrasting historical levels of SCUBA intensity in the Bay Islands, Honduras.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Titus, Benjamin M; Daly, Marymegan; Exton, Dan A

    2015-01-01

    Contact between humans and the marine environment is increasing, but the capacity of communities to adapt to human presence remains largely unknown. The popularization of SCUBA diving has added a new dimension to human impacts in aquatic systems and, although individual-level impacts have been identified, cumulative effects on ecosystem function and community-wide responses are unclear. In principle, habituation may mitigate the consequences of human presence on the biology of an individual and allow the quick resumption of its ecological roles, but this has not been documented in aquatic systems. Here, we investigate the short-term impact of human presence and the long-term habituation potential of reef-fish communities to recreational SCUBA divers by studying symbiotic cleaning interactions on coral reefs with differing levels of historical contact with divers. We show that incidences of human contact result in a smaller decline in ecosystem function and more rapid resumption of baseline services on a reef in Utila, Honduras that has heavy historical levels of SCUBA diver presence, compared to an un-dived reef site in the Cayos Cochinos Marine Protected Area (CCMPA). Nonetheless, despite the generally smaller change in ecosystem function and decades of regular contact with divers, cleaning behavior is suppressed by >50% at Utila when divers are present. We hypothesize that community-wide habituation of reef fish is not fully achievable and may be biologically restricted to only partial habituation. Differential responses to human presence impacts the interpretation and execution of behavioral research where SCUBA is the predominant means of data collection, and provides an important rationale for future research investigating the interplay between human presence, ecosystem function, and community structure on coral reefs.

  20. Assessing the utility of eDNA as a tool to survey reef-fish communities in the Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    DiBattista, Joseph D.; Coker, Darren J.; Sinclair-Taylor, Tane H.; Stat, Michael; Berumen, Michael L.; Bunce, Michael

    2017-12-01

    Relatively small volumes of water may contain sufficient environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect target aquatic organisms via genetic sequencing. We therefore assessed the utility of eDNA to document the diversity of coral reef fishes in the central Red Sea. DNA from seawater samples was extracted, amplified using fish-specific 16S mitochondrial DNA primers, and sequenced using a metabarcoding workflow. DNA sequences were assigned to taxa using available genetic repositories or custom genetic databases generated from reference fishes. Our approach revealed a diversity of conspicuous, cryptobenthic, and commercially relevant reef fish at the genus level, with select genera in the family Labridae over-represented. Our approach, however, failed to capture a significant fraction of the fish fauna known to inhabit the Red Sea, which we attribute to limited spatial sampling, amplification stochasticity, and an apparent lack of sequencing depth. Given an increase in fish species descriptions, completeness of taxonomic checklists, and improvement in species-level assignment with custom genetic databases as shown here, we suggest that the Red Sea region may be ideal for further testing of the eDNA approach.

  1. Assessing the utility of eDNA as a tool to survey reef-fish communities in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    DiBattista, Joseph; Coker, Darren James; Sinclair-Taylor, Tane; Stat, Michael; Berumen, Michael L.; Bunce, Michael

    2017-01-01

    Relatively small volumes of water may contain sufficient environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect target aquatic organisms via genetic sequencing. We therefore assessed the utility of eDNA to document the diversity of coral reef fishes in the central Red Sea. DNA from seawater samples was extracted, amplified using fish-specific 16S mitochondrial DNA primers, and sequenced using a metabarcoding workflow. DNA sequences were assigned to taxa using available genetic repositories or custom genetic databases generated from reference fishes. Our approach revealed a diversity of conspicuous, cryptobenthic, and commercially relevant reef fish at the genus level, with select genera in the family Labridae over-represented. Our approach, however, failed to capture a significant fraction of the fish fauna known to inhabit the Red Sea, which we attribute to limited spatial sampling, amplification stochasticity, and an apparent lack of sequencing depth. Given an increase in fish species descriptions, completeness of taxonomic checklists, and improvement in species-level assignment with custom genetic databases as shown here, we suggest that the Red Sea region may be ideal for further testing of the eDNA approach.

  2. Assessing the utility of eDNA as a tool to survey reef-fish communities in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    DiBattista, Joseph D.

    2017-08-23

    Relatively small volumes of water may contain sufficient environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect target aquatic organisms via genetic sequencing. We therefore assessed the utility of eDNA to document the diversity of coral reef fishes in the central Red Sea. DNA from seawater samples was extracted, amplified using fish-specific 16S mitochondrial DNA primers, and sequenced using a metabarcoding workflow. DNA sequences were assigned to taxa using available genetic repositories or custom genetic databases generated from reference fishes. Our approach revealed a diversity of conspicuous, cryptobenthic, and commercially relevant reef fish at the genus level, with select genera in the family Labridae over-represented. Our approach, however, failed to capture a significant fraction of the fish fauna known to inhabit the Red Sea, which we attribute to limited spatial sampling, amplification stochasticity, and an apparent lack of sequencing depth. Given an increase in fish species descriptions, completeness of taxonomic checklists, and improvement in species-level assignment with custom genetic databases as shown here, we suggest that the Red Sea region may be ideal for further testing of the eDNA approach.

  3. Reef flattening effects on total richness and species responses in the Caribbean

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Newman, Steven P.; Meesters, E.H.; Dryden, Charlie S.; Williams, Stacey M.; Sanchez, Cristina; Mumby, Peter J.; Polunin, Nicholas V.C.

    2015-01-01

    There has been ongoing flattening of Caribbean coral reefs with the loss of habitat having severe implications for these systems. Complexity and its structural components are important to fish species richness and community composition, but little is known about its role for other taxa or

  4. Temporal patterns in coral reef, seagrass and mangrove communities from Chengue bay CARICOMP site (Colombia: 1993-2008

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alberto Rodríguez-Ramírez

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Few monitoring programs have simultaneously assessed the dynamics of linked marine ecosystems (coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves to document their temporal and spatial variability. Based on CARICOMP protocol we evaluated permanent stations in coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves from 1993 to 2008 in Chengue Bay at the Tayrona Natural Park, Colombian Caribbean. Overall, the studied ecosystems showed a remarkable stability pattern over the monitoring period. While there were annual variations in coral reefs (coral cover and mangroves (litterfall caused by hurricane Lenny in 1999, particular trends in seagrass (leaf area index and leaf productivity appear to reflect the natural variability in this ecosystem. We suggest that monitoring sites at the three marine ecosystems had in general a healthy development in the last 16 years. Our results are critical to locally improve the management strategies (Tayrona Natural Park and to understand the long-term dynamics of closely associated marine ecosystems in the Caribbean. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (Suppl. 3: 45-62. Epub 2010 October 01.Pocos programas de monitoreo han estudiado simultáneamente la dinámica de ecosistemas marinos estrechamente relacionados (arrecifes coralinos, pastos marinos y manglares para documentar su variabilidad espacial y temporal. Siguiendo el protocolo de monitoreo del programa CARICOMP, estaciones permanentes de monitoreo en estos ecosistemas fueron evaluadas entre 1993 y 2008 en la Bahía de Chengue del Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (Caribe Colombiano. En general los ecosistemas monitoreados han presentado un patrón de estabilidad durante los años de estudio. Mientras los arrecifes coralinos (cobertura de coral y manglares tuvieron algunas variaciones anuales debidas al paso del huracán Lenny en 1999, los pastos marinos registraron tendencias particulares de cambio (índicece de área foliar y productividad de hojas que podrían estar reflejando la variabilidad

  5. PERAN SERTA MASYARAKAT DALAM PELESTARIAN TERUMBU KARANG DI PESISIR PANTAI KABUPATEN GUNUNG KIDUL (Community Participation in the Preservation of Coral Reef at the Coastal Area of Gunung Kidul Regency, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francisca Romana Harjiyatni

    2001-04-01

    . Masyarakat dilibatkan perannya sebagai pengawas sosial dan dilibatkan dalam pengambilan keputusan dalam setiap usaha/kegiatan baik yang dilakukan pemerintah maupun swasta, dan ini akan tercapai jika kesadaran masyarakat sudah tinggi.    ABSTRACT This study was condacted Gunung Kidul Regency at there locations, i.e. Baron Beach, Kukup Beach, and Drini Beach. The purpose was to assess factors causing the lack of community participation in efforts to preserve the coral reef ecosystem. This research is a a qualitatively descrtive in nature. While the primary data was obtained from respondents and observations of objects investigated, the secondary data was obtained from references and file studies related to the research materials. The result of the study showed that the factor causing the lack of community participation in efforts to preserve the coral reef ecosystem was that the community awareness in the preservation of coral reef ecosystem was still low. It was due to the low education, low income level, infertile soil, unpopular environment regulation and disappointing law enforcement. There has been some efforts to increase the community awareness in coral reef preservation, i.e. by education, but the topic was about the environment as a whole, not specifically about the coral reef. Another effort was by giving guidance about the utilization of sea resources and coral reef ecosystem. It was also little done by the community, because they want something big and quick yielding to increase their income. Thus, the development of sustained alternative jobs must be created for the community that, during this time, they utilize the resources from coral reef. It also needs an effort to establish the more strict regulation. The most important effort is to explain the significance of coral reef ecosystem preservation and to arouse the awareness to participate in coral reef ecosystem preservation. The community should involve in that efforts as a social controller and they should

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-12-01

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

  7. Research on Community Structure in Bus Transport Networks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yang Xuhua; Wang Bo; Sun Youxian

    2009-01-01

    We abstract the bus transport networks (BTNs) to two kinds of complex networks with space L and space P methods respectively. Using improved community detecting algorithm (PKM agglomerative algorithm), we analyze the community property of two kinds of BTNs graphs. The results show that the BTNs graph described with space L method have obvious community property, but the other kind of BTNs graph described with space P method have not. The reason is that the BTNs graph described with space P method have the intense overlapping community property and general community division algorithms can not identify this kind of community structure. To overcome this problem, we propose a novel community structure called N-depth community and present a corresponding community detecting algorithm, which can detect overlapping community. Applying the novel community structure and detecting algorithm to a BTN evolution model described with space P, whose network property agrees well with real BTNs', we get obvious community property. (general)

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-06

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lirman, Diego; Fong, Peggy

    2007-06-01

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

  11. Cross-shelf investigation of coral reef cryptic benthic organisms reveals diversity patterns of the hidden majority

    KAUST Repository

    Pearman, John K.

    2018-05-18

    Coral reefs harbor diverse assemblages of organisms yet the majority of this diversity is hidden within the three dimensional structure of the reef and neglected using standard visual surveys. This study uses Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) and amplicon sequencing methodologies, targeting mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I and 18S rRNA genes, to investigate changes in the cryptic reef biodiversity. ARMS, deployed at 11 sites across a near- to off-shore gradient in the Red Sea were dominated by Porifera (sessile fraction), Arthropoda and Annelida (mobile fractions). The two primer sets detected different taxa lists, but patterns in community composition and structure were similar. While the microhabitat of the ARMS deployment affected the community structure, a clear cross-shelf gradient was observed for all fractions investigated. The partitioning of beta-diversity revealed that replacement (i.e. the substitution of species) made the highest contribution with richness playing a smaller role. Hence, different reef habitats across the shelf are relevant to regional diversity, as they harbor different communities, a result with clear implications for the design of Marine Protected Areas. ARMS can be vital tools to assess biodiversity patterns in the generally neglected but species-rich cryptic benthos, providing invaluable information for the management and conservation of hard-bottomed habitats over local and global scales.

  12. Community-oriented support and research structures

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Attig, Norbert; Eickermann, Thomas; Gibbon, Paul; Lippert, Thomas, E-mail: th.lippert@fz-juelich.d [Institute for Advanced Simulation, Juelich Supercomputing Centre, Forschungszentrum Juelich, 52425 Juelich (Germany)

    2009-07-01

    Coordinated by the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) Europe is restructuring and strengthening its high-performance computing infrastructure with the aim to create a model HPC ecosystem. At the tip of the pyramid, up to six centres are envisaged that will operate systems of the highest performance class. The HPC Research Infrastructure (HPC-RI) will comprise European, national and regional centres. Science communities are integral partners, strong links will include Grid and Cloud users. The HPC-RI strives at providing scientists all over Europe, on the one hand, with unlimited and independent access to state-of-the-art computer resources in all performance classes and, on the other hand, with a world-class pan-European competence and support network. While the hardware-oriented buildup of the infrastructure is making progress, high-quality user support and software development in the upcoming era of unprecedented parallelism and exascale on the horizon have become the imminent challenges. This has been clearly recognized by the European Commission, who will issue calls for proposals to fund petascale software development in summer 2009. Although traditional support structures are well established in Europe's major supercomputing centres, it is questionable if these structures are able to meet the challenges of the future: in general, support structures are based on cross-disciplinary computer science and mathematics teams; disciplinary computational science support usually is given in an ad-hoc, project-oriented manner. In this paper, we describe our approach to establish a suitable support structure-Simulation Laboratories (SL). SLs are currently being established at the Juelich Supercomputing Centre of the Forschungszentrum Juelich (FZJ) and at the Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC) of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) in Germany. While SLs are community-oriented, i.e. each SL focusses on a specific community, they are

  13. Community-oriented support and research structures

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Attig, Norbert; Eickermann, Thomas; Gibbon, Paul; Lippert, Thomas

    2009-01-01

    Coordinated by the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) Europe is restructuring and strengthening its high-performance computing infrastructure with the aim to create a model HPC ecosystem. At the tip of the pyramid, up to six centres are envisaged that will operate systems of the highest performance class. The HPC Research Infrastructure (HPC-RI) will comprise European, national and regional centres. Science communities are integral partners, strong links will include Grid and Cloud users. The HPC-RI strives at providing scientists all over Europe, on the one hand, with unlimited and independent access to state-of-the-art computer resources in all performance classes and, on the other hand, with a world-class pan-European competence and support network. While the hardware-oriented buildup of the infrastructure is making progress, high-quality user support and software development in the upcoming era of unprecedented parallelism and exascale on the horizon have become the imminent challenges. This has been clearly recognized by the European Commission, who will issue calls for proposals to fund petascale software development in summer 2009. Although traditional support structures are well established in Europe's major supercomputing centres, it is questionable if these structures are able to meet the challenges of the future: in general, support structures are based on cross-disciplinary computer science and mathematics teams; disciplinary computational science support usually is given in an ad-hoc, project-oriented manner. In this paper, we describe our approach to establish a suitable support structure-Simulation Laboratories (SL). SLs are currently being established at the Juelich Supercomputing Centre of the Forschungszentrum Juelich (FZJ) and at the Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC) of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) in Germany. While SLs are community-oriented, i.e. each SL focusses on a specific community, they are structured

  14. Deeply hidden inside introduced biogenic structures - Pacific oyster reefs reduce detrimental barnacle overgrowth on native blue mussels

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buschbaum, Christian; Cornelius, Annika; Goedknegt, M. Anouk

    2016-11-01

    In sedimentary coastal ecosystems shells of epibenthic organisms such as blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) provide the only major attachment surface for barnacle epibionts, which may cause detrimental effects on their mussel basibionts by e.g. reducing growth rate. In the European Wadden Sea, beds of native blue mussels have been invaded by Pacific oysters Crassostrea gigas, which transformed these beds into mixed reefs of oysters with mussels. In this study, we determined the spatial distribution of M. edulis and their barnacle epibionts (Semibalanus balanoides) within the reef matrix. Mean mussel density near the bottom was about twice as high compared to the mussel density near the top of an oyster reef, whereas barnacles on mussels showed a reversed pattern. Barnacle dry weight per mussel was on average 14 times higher near the top than at the bottom. This pattern was confirmed by experimentally placing clean M. edulis at the top and on the bottom of oyster reefs at two sites in the Wadden Sea (island of Texel, The Netherlands; island of Sylt, Germany). After an experimental period of five weeks (April and May 2015, the main settlement period of S. balanoides), the number of barnacles per mussel was at both sites significantly higher on mussels near the top compared to near the bottom. We conclude that the oyster reef matrix offers a refuge for M. edulis: inside reefs they are not only better protected against predators but also against detrimental barnacle overgrowth. This study shows that alien species can cause beneficial effects for native organisms and should not be generally considered as a risk for the recipient marine ecosystems.

  15. Fouling assemblages associated with estuarine artificial reefs in new South Wales, Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rob Mckenzie

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Previous studies examining the dynamics of succession on artificial reefs have predominantly focussed on fish communities and largely ignored the role of fouling assemblages in explaining the patterns of community structure associated with artificial reefs. The objective of this study was to record the development of epibiotic assemblages on three "design specific" (Reef Ball® estuarine artificial reefs systems located in Lake Macquarie, Botany Bay and St Georges Basin in New South Wales, Australia. Recruitment to the artificial reefs was relatively rapid with the majority of taxa identified over the two-year study period observed within the first year post-deployment. The artificial reefs in Lake Macquarie and St Georges Basin were characterised by low diversity with four and nine taxa recorded respectively in contrast to the sixteen taxa observed on the Botany Bay reefs. Results indicated no significant differences in percentage cover of taxa among reefs in either St Georges Basin or Lake Macquarie. In contrast, comparisons between individual Botany Bay reefs identified significant differences in the percentage cover of species between artificial reefs. Analysis of assemblage structure with reef age indicated discrete patterns among estuaries with an overall reduction in the percentage cover of filamentous turfing algae (FTA identified for all reef systems with an increase in reef age. Variations in environmental and physical conditions (turbidity, water flow, wave action and proximity to naturally occurring reef may have contributed to the observed differences in fouling assemblages between estuaries and between artificial reefs within Botany Bay.Estudos prévios que examinaram a dinâmica de sucessão em recifes artificiais foram focalizados nas comunidades de peixes, e sempre ignoraram o papel exercido pelos organismos incrustantes sobre a estruturação das comunidades associadas aos recifes artificiais. O presente estudo tem por objetivo

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-08-27

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

  18. Immunization of networks with community structure

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Masuda, Naoki

    2009-01-01

    In this study, an efficient method to immunize modular networks (i.e. networks with community structure) is proposed. The immunization of networks aims at fragmenting networks into small parts with a small number of removed nodes. Its applications include prevention of epidemic spreading, protection against intentional attacks on networks, and conservation of ecosystems. Although preferential immunization of hubs is efficient, good immunization strategies for modular networks have not been established. On the basis of an immunization strategy based on eigenvector centrality, we develop an analytical framework for immunizing modular networks. To this end, we quantify the contribution of each node to the connectivity in a coarse-grained network among modules. We verify the effectiveness of the proposed method by applying it to model and real networks with modular structure.

  19. Bright spots among the world’s coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cinner, Joshua E.; Huchery, Cindy; MacNeil, M. Aaron; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; McClanahan, Tim R.; Maina, Joseph; Maire, Eva; Kittinger, John N.; Hicks, Christina C.; Mora, Camilo; Allison, Edward H.; D'Agata, Stephanie; Hoey, Andrew; Feary, David A.; Crowder, Larry; Williams, Ivor D.; Kulbicki, Michel; Vigliola, Laurent; Wantiez, Laurent; Edgar, Graham; Stuart-Smith, Rick D.; Sandin, Stuart A.; Green, Alison L.; Hardt, Marah J.; Beger, Maria; Friedlander, Alan; Campbell, Stuart J.; Holmes, Katherine E.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Brokovich, Eran; Brooks, Andrew J.; Cruz-Motta, Juan J.; Booth, David J.; Chabanet, Pascale; Gough, Charlie; Tupper, Mark; Ferse, Sebastian C. A.; Sumaila, U. Rashid; Mouillot, David

    2016-07-01

    Ongoing declines in the structure and function of the world’s coral reefs require novel approaches to sustain these ecosystems and the millions of people who depend on them. A presently unexplored approach that draws on theory and practice in human health and rural development is to systematically identify and learn from the ‘outliers’—places where ecosystems are substantially better (‘bright spots’) or worse (‘dark spots’) than expected, given the environmental conditions and socioeconomic drivers they are exposed to. Here we compile data from more than 2,500 reefs worldwide and develop a Bayesian hierarchical model to generate expectations of how standing stocks of reef fish biomass are related to 18 socioeconomic drivers and environmental conditions. We identify 15 bright spots and 35 dark spots among our global survey of coral reefs, defined as sites that have biomass levels more than two standard deviations from expectations. Importantly, bright spots are not simply comprised of remote areas with low fishing pressure; they include localities where human populations and use of ecosystem resources is high, potentially providing insights into how communities have successfully confronted strong drivers of change. Conversely, dark spots are not necessarily the sites with the lowest absolute biomass and even include some remote, uninhabited locations often considered near pristine. We surveyed local experts about social, institutional, and environmental conditions at these sites to reveal that bright spots are characterized by strong sociocultural institutions such as customary taboos and marine tenure, high levels of local engagement in management, high dependence on marine resources, and beneficial environmental conditions such as deep-water refuges. Alternatively, dark spots are characterized by intensive capture and storage technology and a recent history of environmental shocks. Our results suggest that investments in strengthening fisheries

  20. Detecting highly overlapping community structure by greedy clique expansion

    OpenAIRE

    Lee, Conrad; Reid, Fergal; McDaid, Aaron; Hurley, Neil

    2010-01-01

    In complex networks it is common for each node to belong to several communities, implying a highly overlapping community structure. Recent advances in benchmarking indicate that existing community assignment algorithms that are capable of detecting overlapping communities perform well only when the extent of community overlap is kept to modest levels. To overcome this limitation, we introduce a new community assignment algorithm called Greedy Clique Expansion (GCE). The algorithm identifies d...

  1. Extinction rate, historical population structure and ecological role of the Caribbean monk seal.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClenachan, Loren; Cooper, Andrew B

    2008-06-22

    The productivity and biomass of pristine coral reef ecosystems is poorly understood, particularly in the Caribbean where communities have been impacted by overfishing and multiple other stressors over centuries. Using historical data on the spatial distribution and abundance of the extinct Caribbean monk seal (Monachus tropicalis), this study reconstructs the population size, structure and ecological role of this once common predator within coral reef communities, and provides evidence that historical reefs supported biomasses of fishes and invertebrates up to six times greater than those found on typical modern Caribbean reefs. An estimated 233,000-338,000 monk seals were distributed among 13 colonies across the Caribbean. The biomass of reef fishes and invertebrates required to support historical seal populations was 732-1018 gm(-2) of reefs, which exceeds that found on any Caribbean reef today and is comparable with those measured in remote Pacific reefs. Quantitative estimates of historically dense monk seal colonies and their consumption rates on pristine reefs provide concrete data on the magnitude of decline in animal biomass on Caribbean coral reefs. Realistic reconstruction of these past ecosystems is critical to understanding the profound and long-lasting effect of human hunting on the functioning of coral reef ecosystems.

  2. Spatial competition dynamics between reef corals under ocean acidification

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  3. Environmental gradients predict the genetic population structure of a coral reef fish in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Nanninga, Gerrit B.

    2014-01-20

    The relatively recent fields of terrestrial landscape and marine seascape genetics seek to identify the influence of biophysical habitat features on the spatial genetic structure of populations or individuals. Over the last few years, there has been accumulating evidence for the effect of environmental heterogeneity on patterns of gene flow and connectivity in marine systems. Here, we investigate the population genetic patterns of an anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, along the Saudi Arabian coast of the Red Sea. We collected nearly one thousand samples from 19 locations, spanning approximately 1500 km, and genotyped them at 38 microsatellite loci. Patterns of gene flow appeared to follow a stepping-stone model along the northern and central Red Sea, which was disrupted by a distinct genetic break at a latitude of approximately 19°N. The Red Sea is characterized by pronounced environmental gradients along its axis, roughly separating the northern and central from the southern basin. Using mean chlorophyll-a concentrations as a proxy for this gradient, we ran tests of isolation by distance (IBD, R2 = 0.52) and isolation by environment (IBE, R2 = 0.64), as well as combined models using partial Mantel tests and multiple matrix regression with randomization (MMRR). We found that genetic structure across our sampling sites may be best explained by a combined model of IBD and IBE (Mantel: R2 = 0.71, MMRR: R2 = 0.86). Our results highlight the potential key role of environmental patchiness in shaping patterns of gene flow in species with pelagic larval dispersal. We support growing calls for the integration of biophysical habitat characteristics into future studies of population genetic structure. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  4. Environmental gradients predict the genetic population structure of a coral reef fish in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Saenz Agudelo, Pablo; Manica, Andrea; Berumen, Michael L.

    2014-01-01

    The relatively recent fields of terrestrial landscape and marine seascape genetics seek to identify the influence of biophysical habitat features on the spatial genetic structure of populations or individuals. Over the last few years, there has been accumulating evidence for the effect of environmental heterogeneity on patterns of gene flow and connectivity in marine systems. Here, we investigate the population genetic patterns of an anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, along the Saudi Arabian coast of the Red Sea. We collected nearly one thousand samples from 19 locations, spanning approximately 1500 km, and genotyped them at 38 microsatellite loci. Patterns of gene flow appeared to follow a stepping-stone model along the northern and central Red Sea, which was disrupted by a distinct genetic break at a latitude of approximately 19°N. The Red Sea is characterized by pronounced environmental gradients along its axis, roughly separating the northern and central from the southern basin. Using mean chlorophyll-a concentrations as a proxy for this gradient, we ran tests of isolation by distance (IBD, R2 = 0.52) and isolation by environment (IBE, R2 = 0.64), as well as combined models using partial Mantel tests and multiple matrix regression with randomization (MMRR). We found that genetic structure across our sampling sites may be best explained by a combined model of IBD and IBE (Mantel: R2 = 0.71, MMRR: R2 = 0.86). Our results highlight the potential key role of environmental patchiness in shaping patterns of gene flow in species with pelagic larval dispersal. We support growing calls for the integration of biophysical habitat characteristics into future studies of population genetic structure. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  5. Change in algal symbiont communities after bleaching, not prior heat exposure, increases heat tolerance of reef corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silverstein, Rachel N; Cunning, Ross; Baker, Andrew C

    2015-01-01

    Mutualistic organisms can be particularly susceptible to climate change stress, as their survivorship is often limited by the most vulnerable partner. However, symbiotic plasticity can also help organisms in changing environments by expanding their realized niche space. Coral-algal (Symbiodinium spp.) symbiosis exemplifies this dichotomy: the partnership is highly susceptible to 'bleaching' (stress-induced symbiosis breakdown), but stress-tolerant symbionts can also sometimes mitigate bleaching. Here, we investigate the role of diverse and mutable symbiotic partnerships in increasing corals' ability to thrive in high temperature conditions. We conducted repeat bleaching and recovery experiments on the coral Montastraea cavernosa, and used quantitative PCR and chlorophyll fluorometry to assess the structure and function of Symbiodinium communities within coral hosts. During an initial heat exposure (32 °C for 10 days), corals hosting only stress-sensitive symbionts (Symbiodinium C3) bleached, but recovered (at either 24 °C or 29 °C) with predominantly (>90%) stress-tolerant symbionts (Symbiodinium D1a), which were not detected before bleaching (either due to absence or extreme low abundance). When a second heat stress (also 32 °C for 10 days) was applied 3 months later, corals that previously bleached and were now dominated by D1a Symbiodinium experienced less photodamage and symbiont loss compared to control corals that had not been previously bleached, and were therefore still dominated by Symbiodinium C3. Additional corals that were initially bleached without heat by a herbicide (DCMU, at 24 °C) also recovered predominantly with D1a symbionts, and similarly lost fewer symbionts during subsequent thermal stress. Increased thermotolerance was also not observed in C3-dominated corals that were acclimated for 3 months to warmer temperatures (29 °C) before heat stress. These findings indicate that increased thermotolerance post-bleaching resulted from

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

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

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

  7. Impact of conservation areas on trophic interactions between apex predators and herbivores on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rizzari, Justin R; Bergseth, Brock J; Frisch, Ashley J

    2015-04-01

    Apex predators are declining at alarming rates due to exploitation by humans, but we have yet to fully discern the impacts of apex predator loss on ecosystem function. In a management context, it is critically important to clarify the role apex predators play in structuring populations of lower trophic levels. Thus, we examined the top-down influence of reef sharks (an apex predator on coral reefs) and mesopredators on large-bodied herbivores. We measured the abundance, size structure, and biomass of apex predators, mesopredators, and herbivores across fished, no-take, and no-entry management zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia. Shark abundance and mesopredator size and biomass were higher in no-entry zones than in fished and no-take zones, which indicates the viability of strictly enforced human exclusion areas as tools for the conservation of predator communities. Changes in predator populations due to protection in no-entry zones did not have a discernible influence on the density, size, or biomass of different functional groups of herbivorous fishes. The lack of a relationship between predators and herbivores suggests that top-down forces may not play a strong role in regulating large-bodied herbivorous coral reef fish populations. Given this inconsistency with traditional ecological theories of trophic cascades, trophic structures on coral reefs may need to be reassessed to enable the establishment of appropriate and effective management regimes. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

  8. Benthic foraminifera baseline assemblages from a coastal nearshore reef complex on the central Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Jamie; Perry, Chris; Smithers, Scott; Morgan, Kyle

    2016-04-01

    Declining water quality due to river catchment modification since European settlement (c. 1850 A.D.) represents a major threat to the health of coral reefs on Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), particularly for those located in the coastal waters of the GBR's inner-shelf. These nearshore reefs are widely perceived to be most susceptible to declining water quality owing to their close proximity to river point sources. Despite this, nearshore reefs have been relatively poorly studied with the impacts and magnitudes of environmental degradation still remaining unclear. This is largely due to ongoing debates concerning the significance of increased sediment yields against naturally high background sedimentary regimes. Benthic foraminifera are increasingly used as tools for monitoring environmental and ecological change on coral reefs. On the GBR, the majority of studies have focussed on the spatial distributions of contemporary benthic foraminiferal assemblages. While baseline assemblages from other environments (e.g. inshore reefs and mangroves) have been described, very few records exist for nearshore reefs. Here, we present preliminary results from the first palaeoecological study of foraminiferal assemblages of nearshore reefs on the central GBR. Cores were recovered from the nearshore reef complex at Paluma Shoals using percussion techniques. Recovery was 100%, capturing the entire Holocene reef sequence of the selected reef structures. Radiocarbon dating and subsequent age-depth modelling techniques were used to identify reef sequences pre-dating European settlement. Benthic foraminifera assemblages were reconstructed from the identified sequences to establish pre-European ecological baselines with the aim of providing a record of foraminiferal distribution during vertical reef accretion and against which contemporary ecological change may be assessed.

  9. Bipartite Community Structure of eQTLs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Platig, John; Castaldi, Peter J; DeMeo, Dawn; Quackenbush, John

    2016-09-01

    Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) and expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analyses have identified genetic associations with a wide range of human phenotypes. However, many of these variants have weak effects and understanding their combined effect remains a challenge. One hypothesis is that multiple SNPs interact in complex networks to influence functional processes that ultimately lead to complex phenotypes, including disease states. Here we present CONDOR, a method that represents both cis- and trans-acting SNPs and the genes with which they are associated as a bipartite graph and then uses the modular structure of that graph to place SNPs into a functional context. In applying CONDOR to eQTLs in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we found the global network "hub" SNPs were devoid of disease associations through GWAS. However, the network was organized into 52 communities of SNPs and genes, many of which were enriched for genes in specific functional classes. We identified local hubs within each community ("core SNPs") and these were enriched for GWAS SNPs for COPD and many other diseases. These results speak to our intuition: rather than single SNPs influencing single genes, we see groups of SNPs associated with the expression of families of functionally related genes and that disease SNPs are associated with the perturbation of those functions. These methods are not limited in their application to COPD and can be used in the analysis of a wide variety of disease processes and other phenotypic traits.

  10. Community Structure in Online Collegiate Social Networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Traud, Amanda; Kelsic, Eric; Mucha, Peter; Porter, Mason

    2009-03-01

    Online social networking sites have become increasingly popular with college students. The networks we studied are defined through ``friendships'' indicated by Facebook users from UNC, Oklahoma, Caltech, Georgetown, and Princeton. We apply the tools of network science to study the Facebook networks from these five different universities at a single point in time. We investigate each single-institution network's community structure, which we obtain through partitioning the graph using an eigenvector method. We use both graphical and quantitative tools, including pair-counting methods, which we interpret through statistical analysis and permutation tests to measure the correlations between the network communities and a set of characteristics given by each user (residence, class year, major, and high school). We also analyze the single gender subsets of these networks, and the impact of missing demographical data. Our study allows us to compare the online social networks for the five schools as well as infer differences in offline social interactions. At the schools studied, we were able to define which characteristics of the Facebook users correlate best with friendships.

  11. Distinguishing between contaminant and reef effects on meiofauna near offshore hydrocarbon platforms in the Gulf of Mexico

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Montagna, P. A.; Jarvis, S. C. [Univ. of Texas at Austin, Marine Science Institute, Port Aransas, TX (United States); Kennicutt, M. C. [Texas A and M Univ., Geochemical and Environmental Research Group, College Station, TX (United States)

    2002-10-01

    The GEOMEX study which was initiated in 1993 successfully investigated the long-term effects of hydrocarbon production on macro- and meiobenthos at the community, population, organismic and suborganismic levels. It concluded that adverse effects were localized to within 100-200 m of production platforms. The current study was designed to distinguish between reef and contaminant effects on meiofaunal communities by comparing communities at production platforms, artificial reefs, platform removal sites and appropriate controls. The focus was on highly abundant and diverse meiobenthic harpacticoid copepods which exhibited negative effects in the GEOMEX study. The removal sites were found to have higher concentrations of many contaminants than reef or control sites, but lower concentrations than platform sites. Reduced meiobenthic abundance and altered Harpacticoida community structure were primarily a function of reef effects, not contaminant effects. The reef effect appeared to be important in controlling microfauna near platforms where contaminants were low because of drilling and production techniques in the Gulf of Mexico. The significant habitat influence was attributed to a variety of possible causes, such as increased food web activity related to primary production of hard-bottom algae, secondary production of fouling organisms or attraction of mobile fish and invertebrates. 23 refs., 6 tabs., 3 figs.

  12. Year-Long Monitoring of Physico-Chemical and Biological Variables Provide a Comparative Baseline of Coral Reef Functioning in the Central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna; Rö thig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Ziegler, Maren; Kremb, Stephan Georg; Voolstra, Christian R.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs in the central Red Sea are sparsely studied and in situ data on physico-chemical and key biotic variables that provide an important comparative baseline are missing. To address this gap, we simultaneously monitored three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient for an entire year over four seasons, collecting data on currents, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), chlorophyll-a, turbidity, inorganic nutrients, sedimentation, bacterial communities of reef water, and bacterial and algal composition of epilithic biofilms. Summer temperature (29–33°C) and salinity (39 PSU) exceeded average global maxima for coral reefs, whereas DO concentration was low (2–4 mg L-1). While temperature and salinity differences were most pronounced between seasons, DO, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and sedimentation varied most between reefs. Similarly, biotic communities were highly dynamic between reefs and seasons. Differences in bacterial biofilms were driven by four abundant families: Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae, Flammeovirgaceae, and Pseudanabaenaceae. In algal biofilms, green crusts, brown crusts, and crustose coralline algae were most abundant and accounted for most of the variability of the communities. Higher bacterial diversity of biofilms coincided with increased algal cover during spring and summer. By employing multivariate matching, we identified temperature, salinity, DO, and chlorophyll-a as the main contributing physico-chemical drivers of biotic community structures. These parameters are forecast to change most with the progression of ocean warming and increased nutrient input, which suggests an effect on the recruitment of Red Sea benthic communities as a result of climate change and anthropogenic influence. In conclusion, our study provides insight into coral reef functioning in the Red Sea and a comparative baseline to support coral reef studies in the region.

  13. Year-Long Monitoring of Physico-Chemical and Biological Variables Provide a Comparative Baseline of Coral Reef Functioning in the Central Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roik, Anna; Röthig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Ziegler, Maren; Kremb, Stephan G; Voolstra, Christian R

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs in the central Red Sea are sparsely studied and in situ data on physico-chemical and key biotic variables that provide an important comparative baseline are missing. To address this gap, we simultaneously monitored three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient for an entire year over four seasons, collecting data on currents, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), chlorophyll-a, turbidity, inorganic nutrients, sedimentation, bacterial communities of reef water, and bacterial and algal composition of epilithic biofilms. Summer temperature (29-33°C) and salinity (39 PSU) exceeded average global maxima for coral reefs, whereas DO concentration was low (2-4 mg L-1). While temperature and salinity differences were most pronounced between seasons, DO, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and sedimentation varied most between reefs. Similarly, biotic communities were highly dynamic between reefs and seasons. Differences in bacterial biofilms were driven by four abundant families: Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae, Flammeovirgaceae, and Pseudanabaenaceae. In algal biofilms, green crusts, brown crusts, and crustose coralline algae were most abundant and accounted for most of the variability of the communities. Higher bacterial diversity of biofilms coincided with increased algal cover during spring and summer. By employing multivariate matching, we identified temperature, salinity, DO, and chlorophyll-a as the main contributing physico-chemical drivers of biotic community structures. These parameters are forecast to change most with the progression of ocean warming and increased nutrient input, which suggests an effect on the recruitment of Red Sea benthic communities as a result of climate change and anthropogenic influence. In conclusion, our study provides insight into coral reef functioning in the Red Sea and a comparative baseline to support coral reef studies in the region.

  14. Year-Long Monitoring of Physico-Chemical and Biological Variables Provide a Comparative Baseline of Coral Reef Functioning in the Central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roik, Anna Krystyna

    2016-11-09

    Coral reefs in the central Red Sea are sparsely studied and in situ data on physico-chemical and key biotic variables that provide an important comparative baseline are missing. To address this gap, we simultaneously monitored three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient for an entire year over four seasons, collecting data on currents, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), chlorophyll-a, turbidity, inorganic nutrients, sedimentation, bacterial communities of reef water, and bacterial and algal composition of epilithic biofilms. Summer temperature (29–33°C) and salinity (39 PSU) exceeded average global maxima for coral reefs, whereas DO concentration was low (2–4 mg L-1). While temperature and salinity differences were most pronounced between seasons, DO, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and sedimentation varied most between reefs. Similarly, biotic communities were highly dynamic between reefs and seasons. Differences in bacterial biofilms were driven by four abundant families: Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae, Flammeovirgaceae, and Pseudanabaenaceae. In algal biofilms, green crusts, brown crusts, and crustose coralline algae were most abundant and accounted for most of the variability of the communities. Higher bacterial diversity of biofilms coincided with increased algal cover during spring and summer. By employing multivariate matching, we identified temperature, salinity, DO, and chlorophyll-a as the main contributing physico-chemical drivers of biotic community structures. These parameters are forecast to change most with the progression of ocean warming and increased nutrient input, which suggests an effect on the recruitment of Red Sea benthic communities as a result of climate change and anthropogenic influence. In conclusion, our study provides insight into coral reef functioning in the Red Sea and a comparative baseline to support coral reef studies in the region.

  15. Year-Long Monitoring of Physico-Chemical and Biological Variables Provide a Comparative Baseline of Coral Reef Functioning in the Central Red Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anna Roik

    Full Text Available Coral reefs in the central Red Sea are sparsely studied and in situ data on physico-chemical and key biotic variables that provide an important comparative baseline are missing. To address this gap, we simultaneously monitored three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient for an entire year over four seasons, collecting data on currents, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, inorganic nutrients, sedimentation, bacterial communities of reef water, and bacterial and algal composition of epilithic biofilms. Summer temperature (29-33°C and salinity (39 PSU exceeded average global maxima for coral reefs, whereas DO concentration was low (2-4 mg L-1. While temperature and salinity differences were most pronounced between seasons, DO, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and sedimentation varied most between reefs. Similarly, biotic communities were highly dynamic between reefs and seasons. Differences in bacterial biofilms were driven by four abundant families: Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae, Flammeovirgaceae, and Pseudanabaenaceae. In algal biofilms, green crusts, brown crusts, and crustose coralline algae were most abundant and accounted for most of the variability of the communities. Higher bacterial diversity of biofilms coincided with increased algal cover during spring and summer. By employing multivariate matching, we identified temperature, salinity, DO, and chlorophyll-a as the main contributing physico-chemical drivers of biotic community structures. These parameters are forecast to change most with the progression of ocean warming and increased nutrient input, which suggests an effect on the recruitment of Red Sea benthic communities as a result of climate change and anthropogenic influence. In conclusion, our study provides insight into coral reef functioning in the Red Sea and a comparative baseline to support coral reef studies in the region.

  16. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program: 2016 projects to assess coral resilence and the resilence of communities to climate change

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In 2016 the following projects will take place to assess coral resilence and the resilence of communities to climate change: Climate and resilience-based...

  17. Archaeal and Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus of Caribbean Corals Differ in Their Degree of Host Specificity and Community Turnover Over Reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Frade, P.R.; Roll, K.; Bergauer, K.; Herndl, G.

    2016-01-01

    Comparative studies on the distribution of archaeal versus bacterial communities associatedwith the surface mucus layer of corals have rarely taken place. It has thereforeremained enigmatic whether mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities exhibita similar specificity towards coral hosts

  18. Warm-water coral reefs and climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spalding, Mark D; Brown, Barbara E

    2015-11-13

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

  19. Monitoring fisheries in data-limited situations : a case study of the artisanal reef fisheries of Eritrea

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tsehaye, I.W.

    2007-01-01

    Elucidating trends in catch rate and composition is important to evaluate the impact of fishing on fish stocks, and thereby guide fisheries management action. Since major changes in fish community structure can take place even at the initial stages in the development of fisheries, the onset of reef

  20. Impacts of Artificial Reefs and Diving Tourism

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandra Jakšić

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are currently endangered throughout the world. One of the main activities responsible for this is scuba-diving. Scuba-diving on coral reefs was not problematic in the begging, but due to popularization of the new sport, more and more tourists desired to participate in the activity. Mass tourism, direct contact of the tourists with the coral reefs and unprofessional behavior underwater has a negative effect on the coral reefs. The conflict between nature preservation and economy benefits related to scuba-diving tourism resulted in the creation of artificial reefs, used both to promote marine life and as tourists attractions, thereby taking the pressure off the natural coral reefs. Ships, vehicles and other large structures can be found on the coastal sea floor in North America, Australia, Japan and Europe. The concept of artificial reefs as a scuba-diving attraction was developed in Florida. The main goal was to promote aquaculture, with the popularization of scuba-diving attractions being a secondary effect. The aim of this paper is to determine the effects of artificial reefs on scuba-diving tourism, while taking into account the questionnaire carried out among 18 divers

  1. Ecosystem regime shifts disrupt trophic structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hempson, Tessa N; Graham, Nicholas A J; MacNeil, M Aaron; Hoey, Andrew S; Wilson, Shaun K

    2018-01-01

    Regime shifts between alternative stable ecosystem states are becoming commonplace due to the combined effects of local stressors and global climate change. Alternative states are characterized as substantially different in form and function from pre-disturbance states, disrupting the delivery of ecosystem services and functions. On coral reefs, regime shifts are typically characterized by a change in the benthic composition from coral to macroalgal dominance. Such fundamental shifts in the benthos are anticipated to impact associated fish communities that are reliant on the reef for food and shelter, yet there is limited understanding of how regime shifts propagate through the fish community over time, relative to initial or recovery conditions. This study addresses this knowledge gap using long-term data of coral reef regime shifts and recovery on Seychelles reefs following the 1998 mass bleaching event. It shows how trophic structure of the reef fish community becomes increasingly dissimilar between alternative reef ecosystem states (regime-shifted vs. recovering) with time since disturbance. Regime-shifted reefs developed a concave trophic structure, with increased biomass in base trophic levels as herbivorous species benefitted from increased algal resources. Mid trophic level species, including specialists such as corallivores, declined with loss of coral habitat, while biomass was retained in upper trophic levels by large-bodied, generalist invertivores. Recovering reefs also experienced an initial decline in mid trophic level biomass, but moved toward a bottom-heavy pyramid shape, with a wide range of feeding groups (e.g., planktivores, corallivores, omnivores) represented at mid trophic levels. Given the importance of coral reef fishes in maintaining the ecological function of coral reef ecosystems and their associated fisheries, understanding the effects of regime shifts on these communities is essential to inform decisions that enhance ecological

  2. Phase synchronization on small-world networks with community structure

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Xiao-Hua, Wang; Li-Cheng, Jiao; Jian-She, Wu

    2010-01-01

    In this paper, we propose a simple model that can generate small-world network with community structure. The network is introduced as a tunable community organization with parameter r, which is directly measured by the ratio of inter- to intra-community connectivity, and a smaller r corresponds to a stronger community structure. The structure properties, including the degree distribution, clustering, the communication efficiency and modularity are also analysed for the network. In addition, by using the Kuramoto model, we investigated the phase synchronization on this network, and found that increasing the fuzziness of community structure will markedly enhance the network synchronizability; however, in an abnormal region (r ≤ 0.001), the network has even worse synchronizability than the case of isolated communities (r = 0). Furthermore, this network exhibits a remarkable synchronization behaviour in topological scales: the oscillators of high densely interconnected communities synchronize more easily, and more rapidly than the whole network. (general)

  3. 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...

  4. NMFS Reef Survey Forms

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Reef Environmental Survey Project (REEF) mission to educate and enlist divers in the conservation of marine habitats is accomplished primarily through its Fish...

  5. Community structure and diversity of macrobenthic invertebrates in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Macrobenthic invertebrates' community structure and diversity in relation to ... Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that there were significant difference ... invertebrates' species distribution and some measured environmental variables.

  6. In four shallow and mesophotic tropical reef sponges from Guam the microbial community largely depends on host identity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Steinert, Georg; Taylor, Michael W.; Deines, Peter; Simister, Rachel L.; Voogd, De Nicole J.; Hoggard, Michael; Schupp, Peter J.

    2016-01-01

    Sponges (phylum Porifera) are important members of almost all aquatic ecosystems, and are renowned for hosting often dense and diverse microbial communities. While the specificity of the sponge microbiota seems to be closely related to host phylogeny, the environmental factors that could shape

  7. Comparison of coral reef ecosystems along a fishing pressure gradient.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mariska Weijerman

    Full Text Available Three trophic mass-balance models representing coral reef ecosystems along a fishery gradient were compared to evaluate ecosystem effects of fishing. The majority of the biomass estimates came directly from a large-scale visual survey program; therefore, data were collected in the same way for all three models, enhancing comparability. Model outputs-such as net system production, size structure of the community, total throughput, production, consumption, production-to-respiration ratio, and Finn's cycling index and mean path length-indicate that the systems around the unpopulated French Frigate Shoals and along the relatively lightly populated Kona Coast of Hawai'i Island are mature, stable systems with a high efficiency in recycling of biomass. In contrast, model results show that the reef system around the most populated island in the State of Hawai'i, O'ahu, is in a transitional state with reduced ecosystem resilience and appears to be shifting to an algal-dominated system. Evaluation of the candidate indicators for fishing pressure showed that indicators at the community level (e.g., total biomass, community size structure, trophic level of the community were most robust (i.e., showed the clearest trend and that multiple indicators are necessary to identify fishing perturbations. These indicators could be used as performance indicators when compared to a baseline for management purposes. This study shows that ecosystem models can be valuable tools in identification of the system state in terms of complexity, stability, and resilience and, therefore, can complement biological metrics currently used by monitoring programs as indicators for coral reef status. Moreover, ecosystem models can improve our understanding of a system's internal structure that can be used to support management in identification of approaches to reverse unfavorable states.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  9. Detecting the overlapping and hierarchical community structure in complex networks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lancichinetti, Andrea; Fortunato, Santo; Kertesz, Janos

    2009-01-01

    Many networks in nature, society and technology are characterized by a mesoscopic level of organization, with groups of nodes forming tightly connected units, called communities or modules, that are only weakly linked to each other. Uncovering this community structure is one of the most important problems in the field of complex networks. Networks often show a hierarchical organization, with communities embedded within other communities; moreover, nodes can be shared between different communities. Here, we present the first algorithm that finds both overlapping communities and the hierarchical structure. The method is based on the local optimization of a fitness function. Community structure is revealed by peaks in the fitness histogram. The resolution can be tuned by a parameter enabling different hierarchical levels of organization to be investigated. Tests on real and artificial networks give excellent results.

  10. Enhancing community detection by using local structural information

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Xiang, Ju; Bao, Mei-Hua; Tang, Liang; Li, Jian-Ming; Hu, Ke; Chen, Benyan; Hu, Jing-Bo; Zhang, Yan; Tang, Yan-Ni; Gao, Yuan-Yuan

    2016-01-01

    Many real-world networks, such as gene networks, protein–protein interaction networks and metabolic networks, exhibit community structures, meaning the existence of groups of densely connected vertices in the networks. Many local similarity measures in the networks are closely related to the concept of the community structures, and may have a positive effect on community detection in the networks. Here, various local similarity measures are used to extract local structural information, which is then applied to community detection in the networks by using the edge-reweighting strategy. The effect of the local similarity measures on community detection is carefully investigated and compared in various networks. The experimental results show that the local similarity measures are crucial for the improvement of community detection methods, while the positive effect of the local similarity measures is closely related to the networks under study and applied community detection methods. (paper: interdisciplinary statistical mechanics)

  11. A new hierarchical method to find community structure in networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saoud, Bilal; Moussaoui, Abdelouahab

    2018-04-01

    Community structure is very important to understand a network which represents a context. Many community detection methods have been proposed like hierarchical methods. In our study, we propose a new hierarchical method for community detection in networks based on genetic algorithm. In this method we use genetic algorithm to split a network into two networks which maximize the modularity. Each new network represents a cluster (community). Then we repeat the splitting process until we get one node at each cluster. We use the modularity function to measure the strength of the community structure found by our method, which gives us an objective metric for choosing the number of communities into which a network should be divided. We demonstrate that our method are highly effective at discovering community structure in both computer-generated and real-world network data.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  14. The structure and evolution of plankton communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Longhurst, Alan R.

    New understanding of the circulation of ancient oceans is not yet matched by progress in our understanding of their pelagic ecology, though it was the planktonic ecosystems that generated our offshore oil and gas reserves. Can we assume that present-day models of ecosystem function are also valid for ancient seas? This question is addressed by a study of over 4000 plankton samples to derive a comprehensive, global description of zooplankton community structure in modern oceans: this shows that copepods form only 50% of the biomass of all plankton, ranging from 70% in polar to 35% in tropical seas. Comparable figures are derived from 14 other taxonomic categories of zooplankton. For trophic groupings, the data indicate globally: geletinous predators - 14%; gelatinous herbivores - 4%; raptorial predators - 33%; macrofiltering herbivores - 20%; macrofiltering omnivores - 25%; and detritivores - 3%. A simple, idealized model for the modern pelagic ecosystem is derived from these percentages which indicates that metazooplankton are not the most important consumers of pico- and nano-plankton production which itself probably constitutes 90% of primary production in warm oceans. This model is then compared with candidate life-forms available in Palaeozoic and Mesozoic oceans to determine to what extent it is also valid for ancient ecosystems: it is concluded that it is probably unnecessary to postulate models fundamentally differing from it in order to accommodate the life-forms, both protozoic and metazoic, known to have populated ancient seas. Remarkably few life-forms have existed which cannot be paralleled in the modern ocean, which contains remarkably few life-forms which cannot be paralleled in the Palaeozoic ocean. As a first assumption, then, it is reasonable to assume that energy pathways were similar in ancient oceans to those we study today.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Extinction vulnerability of coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-04-01

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

  17. Seasonality and structure of the arthropod community in a forested ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The structure of an arthropod community in the forest floor vegetation was studied in a low altitude (about 700 m a.s.l.) forest valley in the Uluguru Mountains near Morogoro, Tanzania, by monthly sweep net sampling during one year (December 1996-November 1997). The community structure of arthropods changed ...

  18. Investigating Effects of Invasive Species on Plant Community Structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Franklin, Wilfred

    2008-01-01

    In this article, the author presents a field study project that explores factors influencing forest community structure and lifts the veil off of "plant blindness." This ecological study consists of three laboratories: (1) preliminary field trip to the study site; (2) plant survey; and (3) analyzing plant community structure with descriptive…

  19. Community Structural Instability, Anomie, Imitation and Adolescent Suicidal Behavior

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thorlindsson, Thorolfur; Bernburg, Jon Gunnar

    2009-01-01

    The current study examines the contextual effects of community structural characteristics, as well as the mediating role of key social mechanisms, on youth suicidal behavior in Iceland. We argue that the contextual influence of community structural instability on youth suicidal behavior should be mediated by weak attachment to social norms and…

  20. Similarity between community structures of different online social networks and its impact on underlying community detection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fan, W.; Yeung, K. H.

    2015-03-01

    As social networking services are popular, many people may register in more than one online social network. In this paper we study a set of users who have accounts of three online social networks: namely Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter. Community structure of this set of users may be reflected in these three online social networks. Therefore, high correlation between these reflections and the underlying community structure may be observed. In this work, community structures are detected in all three online social networks. Also, we investigate the similarity level of community structures across different networks. It is found that they show strong correlation with each other. The similarity between different networks may be helpful to find a community structure close to the underlying one. To verify this, we propose a method to increase the weights of some connections in networks. With this method, new networks are generated to assist community detection. By doing this, value of modularity can be improved and the new community structure match network's natural structure better. In this paper we also show that the detected community structures of online social networks are correlated with users' locations which are identified on Foursquare. This information may also be useful for underlying community detection.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. Fishing down the largest coral reef fish species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fenner, Douglas

    2014-07-15

    Studies on remote, uninhabited, near-pristine reefs have revealed surprisingly large populations of large reef fish. Locations such as the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, northern Marianas Islands, Line Islands, U.S. remote Pacific Islands, Cocos-Keeling Atoll and Chagos archipelago have much higher reef fish biomass than islands and reefs near people. Much of the high biomass of most remote reef fish communities lies in the largest species, such as sharks, bumphead parrots, giant trevally, and humphead wrasse. Some, such as sharks and giant trevally, are apex predators, but others such as bumphead parrots and humphead wrasse, are not. At many locations, decreases in large reef fish species have been attributed to fishing. Fishing is well known to remove the largest fish first, and a quantitative measure of vulnerability to fishing indicates that large reef fish species are much more vulnerable to fishing than small fish. The removal of large reef fish by fishing parallels the extinction of terrestrial megafauna by early humans. However large reef fish have great value for various ecological roles and for reef tourism. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thresher, R E

    1982-10-01

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

  4. Shell Games. VORTEX: Virginia's Oyster Reef Teaching EXperience.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harding, Juliana M.; Mann, Roger; Clark, Vicki P.

    This document introduces Virginia's Oyster Reef Teaching EXperience (VORTEX), which is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the importance of oyster reef communities in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The VORTEX program uses field and laboratory experiences supported by multimedia instruction. This document presents an overview on the biology of…

  5. Artificial reef evaluation capabilities of Florida counties

    OpenAIRE

    Halusky, Joseph G.; Antonini, Gustavo A.; Seaman, William

    1993-01-01

    Florida's coastal county artificial reef sampling and data management programs are surveyed in this report. The survey describes the county level capability for artificial reef documentation and performance assessment based on their needs, interests, organizational structure and "in-situ" data collection and data management techniques. The. primary purpose of this study is to describe what staffing, training, techniques, organizational procedures and equipment are used by the c...

  6. Genetic Population Structure of the Coral Reef Sea Star Linckia laevigata in the Western Indian Ocean and Indo-West Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Otwoma, Levy Michael; Kochzius, Marc

    2016-01-01

    The coral reef sea star Linckia laevigata is common on shallow water coral reefs of the Indo-West Pacific. Its large geographic distribution and comprehensive data from previous studies makes it suitable to examine genetic differentiation and connectivity over large geographical scales. Based on partial sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene this study investigates the genetic population structure and connectivity of L. laevigata in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) and compares it to previous studies in the Indo-Malay-Philippines Archipelago (IMPA). A total of 138 samples were collected from nine locations in the WIO. AMOVA revealed a low but significant ΦST-value of 0.024 for the WIO populations. In the hierarchical AMOVA, the following grouping rejected the hypothesis of panmixia: (1) Kenya (Watamu, Mombasa, Diani) and Tanzanian Island populations (Misali and Jambiani) and (2) the rest of the WIO sites (mainland Tanzania and Madagascar; ΦCT = 0.03). The genetic population structure was stronger and more significant (ΦST = 0.13) in the comparative analysis of WIO and IMPA populations. Three clades were identified in the haplotype network. The strong genetic differentiation (ΦCT = 0.199, P Indo-West Pacific populations of L. laevigata can be grouped into four biogeographic regions: (1) WIO (2) Eastern Indian Ocean (3) IMPA and (4) Western Pacific. The findings of this study support the existence of a genetic break in the Indo-West Pacific consistent with the effect of lowered sea level during the Pleistocene, which limited gene flow between the Pacific and Indian Ocean.

  7. Genetic Population Structure of the Coral Reef Sea Star Linckia laevigata in the Western Indian Ocean and Indo-West Pacific.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Levy Michael Otwoma

    Full Text Available The coral reef sea star Linckia laevigata is common on shallow water coral reefs of the Indo-West Pacific. Its large geographic distribution and comprehensive data from previous studies makes it suitable to examine genetic differentiation and connectivity over large geographical scales. Based on partial sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI gene this study investigates the genetic population structure and connectivity of L. laevigata in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO and compares it to previous studies in the Indo-Malay-Philippines Archipelago (IMPA. A total of 138 samples were collected from nine locations in the WIO. AMOVA revealed a low but significant ΦST-value of 0.024 for the WIO populations. In the hierarchical AMOVA, the following grouping rejected the hypothesis of panmixia: (1 Kenya (Watamu, Mombasa, Diani and Tanzanian Island populations (Misali and Jambiani and (2 the rest of the WIO sites (mainland Tanzania and Madagascar; ΦCT = 0.03. The genetic population structure was stronger and more significant (ΦST = 0.13 in the comparative analysis of WIO and IMPA populations. Three clades were identified in the haplotype network. The strong genetic differentiation (ΦCT = 0.199, P < 0.001 suggests that Indo-West Pacific populations of L. laevigata can be grouped into four biogeographic regions: (1 WIO (2 Eastern Indian Ocean (3 IMPA and (4 Western Pacific. The findings of this study support the existence of a genetic break in the Indo-West Pacific consistent with the effect of lowered sea level during the Pleistocene, which limited gene flow between the Pacific and Indian Ocean.

  8. Diving down the reefs? Intensive diving tourism threatens the reefs of the northern Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hasler, Harald; Ott, Jörg A

    2008-10-01

    Intensive recreational SCUBA diving threatens coral reef ecosystems. The reefs at Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt, are among the world's most dived (>30,000 dives y(-1)). We compared frequently dived sites to sites with no or little diving. Benthic communities and condition of corals were examined by the point intercept sampling method in the reef crest zone (3m) and reef slope zone (12 m). Additionally, the abundance of corallivorous and herbivorous fish was estimated based on the visual census method. Sediments traps recorded the sedimentation rates caused by SCUBA divers. Zones subject to intensive SCUBA diving showed a significantly higher number of broken and damaged corals and significantly lower coral cover. Reef crest coral communities were significantly more affected than those of the reef slope: 95% of the broken colonies were branching ones. No effect of diving on the abundance of corallivorous and herbivorous fish was evident. At heavily used dive sites, diver-related sedimentation rates significantly decreased with increasing distance from the entrance, indicating poor buoyancy regulation at the initial phase of the dive. The results show a high negative impact of current SCUBA diving intensities on coral communities and coral condition. Corallivorous and herbivorous fishes are apparently not yet affected, but are endangered if coral cover decline continues. Reducing the number of dives per year, ecologically sustainable dive plans for individual sites, and reinforcing the environmental education of both dive guides and recreational divers are essential to conserve the ecological and the aesthetic qualities of these dive sites.

  9. USING A MULTIBEAM ECHOSOUNDER TO MONITOR AN ARTIFICIAL REEF

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. N. Tassetti

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Artificial reefs (ARs have become popular technological interventions in shallow water environments characterized by soft seabed for a wide number of purposes, from fisheries/environmental protection and enhancement to research and tourism. AR deployment has the potential for causing significant hydrographical and biological changes in the receiving environments and, in turn, ARs are strongly affected by the surrounding area in terms of spatial arrangement and structural integrity as well as colonization by benthic communities and finfish. In this context, ARs require a systematic monitoring program that a multibeam echosounder (MBES can provide better than other sampling methods such as visual dives and ROV inspections that are not quantitative and often influenced by water visibility and diver experience/skills. In this paper, some subsequent MBES surveys of the Senigallia scientifically-planned AR (Northern Adriatic Sea are presented and state-of-the art data processing and visualization techniques are used to draw post-reef deployment comparisons and quantify the evolution of the reef in terms of spatial arrangement and bulk volume. These multibeam surveys play a leading part in a general multi-year program, started simultaneously with the AR design and deployment and aimed to map how the reef structure quantitatively changes over time, as well as it affects the sea-bottom morphology and the fishery resource. All the data, surveyed over years making use of different sampling methods such as visual and instrumental echosounding observations and catch rate surveys, gain a mechanistic and predictive understanding of how the Senigallia AR functions ecologically and physically across spatial and temporal scales during its design life

  10. The influence of heterogeneity on coastal groundwater flow - physical and numerical modeling of fringing reefs, dykes and structured conductivity fields

    Science.gov (United States)

    Houben, Georg J.; Stoeckl, Leonard; Mariner, Katrina E.; Choudhury, Anis S.

    2018-03-01

    Geological heterogeneity of the subsurface, caused by both discrete features and spatially distributed hydraulic conductivity fields, affects the flow of coastal groundwater. It influences the shape and the position of the interface between saltwater and freshwater, as well as the location and flux rate of freshwater discharge to the ocean. Fringing reefs lead to a bimodal regime of freshwater discharge, with discharge at the beach face and through deeper, submarine springs. Impermeable vertical flow barriers (dykes) lead to an impoundment of fresh groundwater and a compartmentalization of the aquifer but also to a delayed expulsion of saline water. Spatially distributed conductivity fields affect the shape of the interface and the geometry of the saltwater wedge. Higher effective conductivities lead to a further landward intrusion of the wedge toe. These flow characteristics can be important for groundwater extraction, the delineation of protection zones and the assessment of contaminant transport to coastal ecosystems.

  11. A Time Series Study of Lophelia pertusa and Reef Megafauna Responses to Drill Cuttings Exposure on the Norwegian Margin.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Autun Purser

    Full Text Available As hotspots of local biodiversity in the deep sea, preservation of cold-water coral reef communities is of great importance. In European waters the most extensive reefs are found at depths of 300 - 500 m on the continental margin. In Norwegian waters many of these reefs are located in areas of interest for oil and gas exploration and production. In this study drilling was carried out in the Morvin drill field in proximity to a number of small Lophelia pertusa coral reefs (closest reefs 100 m upstream and 350 m downstream of point of waste drill material release. In a novel monitoring study, ROV video surveys of 9 reefs were conducted prior, during, immediately after and >1 year after drilling operations. Behavior of coral polyps inhabiting reefs exposed to differing concentrations of drill cuttings and drilling fluids (waste drilling material were compared. Levels of expected exposure to these waste materials were determined for each reef by modelling drill cutting transport following release, using accurate in-situ hydrodynamic data collected during the drilling period and drill cutting discharge data as parameters of a dispersal model. The presence / absence of associate reef species (Acesta excavata, Paragorgia arborea and Primnoa resedaeformis were also determined from each survey video. There were no significant differences in Lophelia pertusa polyp behavior in corals modelled to have been exposed to pulses of >25 ppm drill cutting material and those modelled to be exposed to negligible concentrations of material. From the video data collected, there were no observed degradations of reef structure over time, nor reductions of associate fauna abundance, regardless of modelled exposure concentration at any of the surveyed reefs. This study focused exclusively on adult fauna, and did not assess the potential hazard posed by waste drilling material to coral or other larvae. Video data was collected by various ROV's, using different camera and

  12. Triclosan alterations of estuarine phytoplankton community structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinckney, James L; Thompson, Laura; Hylton, Sarah

    2017-06-15

    Antimicrobial additives in pharmaceutical and personal care products are a major environmental concern due to their potential ecological impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Triclosan (TCS) has been used as an antiseptic, disinfectant, and preservative in various media. The sublethal and lethal effects of TCS on estuarine phytoplankton community composition were investigated using bioassays of natural phytoplankton communities to measure phytoplankton responses to different concentrations of TCS ranging from 1 to 200μgl -1 . The EC 50 (the concentration of an inhibitor where the growth is reduced by half) for phytoplankton groups (diatoms, chlorophytes, cryptophytes) examined in this ranged from 10.7 to 113.8μg TCS l -1 . Exposures resulted in major shifts in phytoplankton community composition at concentrations as low as 1.0μg TCS l -1 . This study demonstrates estuarine ecosystem sensitivity to TCS exposure and highlights potential alterations in phytoplankton community composition at what are typically environmental concentrations of TCS in urbanized estuaries. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Effects of drought on avian community structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas P. Albright; Anna M. Pidgeon; Chadwick D. Rittenhouse; Murray K. Clayton; Curtis H. Flather; Patrick D. Culbert; Brian D. Wardlow; Volker C. Radeloff

    2010-01-01

    Droughts are expected to become more frequent under global climate change. Avifauna depend on precipitation for hydration, cover, and food. While there are indications that avian communities respond negatively to drought, little is known about the response of birds with differing functional and behavioural traits, what time periods and indicators of drought are most...

  14. Virality Prediction and Community Structure in Social Networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weng, Lilian; Menczer, Filippo; Ahn, Yong-Yeol

    2013-08-01

    How does network structure affect diffusion? Recent studies suggest that the answer depends on the type of contagion. Complex contagions, unlike infectious diseases (simple contagions), are affected by social reinforcement and homophily. Hence, the spread within highly clustered communities is enhanced, while diffusion across communities is hampered. A common hypothesis is that memes and behaviors are complex contagions. We show that, while most memes indeed spread like complex contagions, a few viral memes spread across many communities, like diseases. We demonstrate that the future popularity of a meme can be predicted by quantifying its early spreading pattern in terms of community concentration. The more communities a meme permeates, the more viral it is. We present a practical method to translate data about community structure into predictive knowledge about what information will spread widely. This connection contributes to our understanding in computational social science, social media analytics, and marketing applications.

  15. Floral colour versus phylogeny in structuring subalpine flowering communities

    OpenAIRE

    McEwen, Jamie R.; Vamosi, Jana C.

    2010-01-01

    The relative number of seeds produced by competing species can influence the community structure; yet, traits that influence seed production, such as pollinator attraction and floral colour, have received little attention in community ecology. Here, we analyse floral colour using reflectance spectra that include near-UV and examined the phylogenetic signal of floral colour. We found that coflowering species within communities tended to be more divergent in floral colour than expected by chanc...

  16. Artificial Reefs in Motion: Legacy of changes and degradation at the Redbird Reef Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trembanis, A. C.; DuVal, C.; Peter, B.

    2016-12-01

    Artificial reefs are used for a variety of purposes at sites throughout the U.S. and around the globe, yet little, if any, long-term monitoring has been conducted with the goal of understanding inter-annual changes to the emplaced structures. Throughout the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region, several programs utilized retired subway cars as disposal structures to form artificial reefs. One such site, known as site 11, or "Redbird Reef", is located off the coast of Delaware and was at one time home to 997 former NYC subway cars. Opportunistic sonar surveys at the site have been conducted between 2008 and 2016 providing one of the most extensive and repeated mapping studies for this type of reef. Previous studies conducted by our group at the site have focused on understanding wave orbital ripple dynamics and scour patterns. In this present study, we analyze the changes apparent at the site itself, focused on the storm-response dynamics of the subway cars. Results have shown that Superstorm Sandy in 2012 produced dramatic changes to the reef structures resulting in the total or partial destruction of eight subway cars within a small (.45 x .2km) portion of the reef site. Winter Storm Jonas in 2016 resulted in the destruction of fewer cars, but rotated a previously static 47m long Navy barge nearly 60 degrees. Once destroyed or collapsed by waves the subway cars go from providing positive structural relief and thus beneficial habitat above the surrounding seabed to being reduced to scattered low relief marine debris. A once popular consideration for reef material, the event and inter-annual decay of subway cars as observed at the Redbird reef provides both a stark indication of the power of storm dynamics on the inner-shelf and a cautionary tale with regards to the selection of seabed reef material.

  17. Bacterial community structure in the Cerasus sachalinensis Kom ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Jane

    2011-07-21

    Jul 21, 2011 ... The bacterial community structures of the Cerasus sachalinensis Kom. rhizosphere in wild and cultivated soil were studied and the community changes in different growth stages were analyzed by the PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) method. The results showed that the bacterial ...

  18. Colonisation and community structure of benthic diatoms on artificial ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    This was undertaken using tiles as artificial substrates so that we could study how the communities developed after the flood disturbance. The diatom community structure was assessed over a 28-day period following a flood event in October 2012. The Mann Whitney test indicated that there was a statistically significant ...

  19. A new dynamic null model for phylogenetic community structure

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pigot, Alex L; Etienne, Rampal S

    Phylogenies are increasingly applied to identify the mechanisms structuring ecological communities but progress has been hindered by a reliance on statistical null models that ignore the historical process of community assembly. Here, we address this, and develop a dynamic null model of assembly by

  20. Determinants of the detrital arthropod community structure

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lessard, J.P.; Sackett, Tara E.; Reynolds, William N.

    2011-01-01

    for the effect of climatic variation along the elevational gradient, food resource addition and microclimate alteration influenced the richness and abundance of some taxa. However, the effect of food resource addition and microclimate alteration on the richness and abundance of arthropods did not vary...... manipulative experiments along environmental gradients can help tease apart the relative importance and detect the interactive effects of local-scale factors and broad-scale climatic variation in shaping communities...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

    Coral reefs provide many ecosystem services of which coastal populations are especially dependent upon, both in cases of extreme events and in daily life. However, adaptation to climate change is still relatively unknown territory regarding the ecosystem services provided by coastal environments, such as coral reefs. Management strategies usually consider climate change as a distant issue and rarely include ecosystem services in decision-making. Coral reefs are among the most vulnerable environments to climate change, considering the impact that increased ocean temperature and acidity have on the organisms that compose this ecosystem. If no actions are taken, the most likely scenario to occur will be of extreme decline in the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs. Loss of biodiversity due to the pressures of ocean warming and acidification will lead to increased price of seafood products, negative impact on food security, and ecological imbalances. Also, sea-level rise and fragile structures due to carbonate dissolution will increase vulnerability to storms, which can lead to shoreline erosion and ultimately threaten coastal communities. Both these conditions will undoubtedly affect recreation and tourism, which are often the most important use values in the case of coral reef systems. Adaptation strategies to climate change must take on an ecosystem-based approach with continuous monitoring programs, so that multiple ecosystem services are considered and not only retrospective trends are analyzed. Brazilian coral reefs have been monitored on a regular basis since 2000 and, considering that these marginal coral reefs of the eastern Atlantic are naturally under stressful conditions (e.g. high sedimentation rates), inshore reefs of Brazil, such as those in Tinharé-Boipeba, have shown lower vitality rates due to greater impacts from the proximity to the coastal area (e.g. pollution, overfishing, sediment run-off). This chronic negative impact must be addressed

  2. The coral reef crisis: the critical importance of<350 ppm CO2.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Veron, J E N; Hoegh-Guldberg, O; Lenton, T M; Lough, J M; Obura, D O; Pearce-Kelly, P; Sheppard, C R C; Spalding, M; Stafford-Smith, M G; Rogers, A D

    2009-10-01

    Temperature-induced mass coral bleaching causing mortality on a wide geographic scale started when atmospheric CO(2) levels exceeded approximately 320 ppm. When CO(2) levels reached approximately 340 ppm, sporadic but highly destructive mass bleaching occurred in most reefs world-wide, often associated with El Niño events. Recovery was dependent on the vulnerability of individual reef areas and on the reef's previous history and resilience. At today's level of approximately 387 ppm, allowing a lag-time of 10 years for sea temperatures to respond, most reefs world-wide are committed to an irreversible decline. Mass bleaching will in future become annual, departing from the 4 to 7 years return-time of El Niño events. Bleaching will be exacerbated by the effects of degraded water-quality and increased severe weather events. In addition, the progressive onset of ocean acidification will cause reduction of coral growth and retardation of the growth of high magnesium calcite-secreting coralline algae. If CO(2) levels are allowed to reach 450 ppm (due to occur by 2030-2040 at the current rates), reefs will be in rapid and terminal decline world-wide from multiple synergies arising from mass bleaching, ocean acidification, and other environmental impacts. Damage to shallow reef communities will become extensive with consequent reduction of biodiversity followed by extinctions. Reefs will cease to be large-scale nursery grounds for fish and will cease to have most of their current value to humanity. There will be knock-on effects to ecosystems associated with reefs, and to other pelagic and benthic ecosystems. Should CO(2) levels reach 600 ppm reefs will be eroding geological structures with populations of surviving biota restricted to refuges. Domino effects will follow, affecting many other marine ecosystems. This is likely to have been the path of great mass extinctions of the past, adding to the case that anthropogenic CO(2) emissions could trigger the Earth's sixth

  3. Analysis of bacterial and fungal community structure in replant ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    user

    2012-06-19

    Jun 19, 2012 ... roots and few functional root hairs. Normally, RDS is ... community structure of microbes, including microbes as yet unable to be cultured. ..... Due to the fact that. Method 3 in this paper has the advantages in combining.

  4. Implementing a structured triage system at a community health ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Implementing a structured triage system at a community health centre using Kaizen. ... and a resultant increased workload for doctors; management is concerned ... Aim: We set out to standardise the triage process and to manage unbooked ...

  5. Dynamical community structure of populations evolving on genotype networks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Capitán, José A.; Aguirre, Jacobo; Manrubia, Susanna

    2015-01-01

    Neutral evolutionary dynamics of replicators occurs on large and heterogeneous networks of genotypes. These networks, formed by all genotypes that yield the same phenotype, have a complex architecture that conditions the molecular composition of populations and their movements on genome spaces. Here we consider as an example the case of populations evolving on RNA secondary structure neutral networks and study the community structure of the network revealed through dynamical properties of the population at equilibrium and during adaptive transients. We unveil a rich hierarchical community structure that, eventually, can be traced back to the non-trivial relationship between RNA secondary structure and sequence composition. We demonstrate that usual measures of modularity that only take into account the static, topological structure of networks, cannot identify the community structure disclosed by population dynamics

  6. Ecological and evolutionary effects of stickleback on community structure.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simone Des Roches

    Full Text Available Species' ecology and evolution can have strong effects on communities. Both may change concurrently when species colonize a new ecosystem. We know little, however, about the combined effects of ecological and evolutionary change on community structure. We simultaneously examined the effects of top-predator ecology and evolution on freshwater community parameters using recently evolved generalist and specialist ecotypes of three-spine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus. We used a mesocosm experiment to directly examine the effects of ecological (fish presence and density and evolutionary (phenotypic diversity and specialization factors on community structure at lower trophic levels. We evaluated zooplankton biomass and composition, periphyton and phytoplankton chlorophyll-a concentration, and net primary production among treatments containing different densities and diversities of stickleback. Our results showed that both ecological and evolutionary differences in the top-predator affect different aspects of community structure and composition. Community structure, specifically the abundance of organisms at each trophic level, was affected by stickleback presence and density, whereas composition of zooplankton was influenced by stickleback diversity and specialization. Primary productivity, in terms of chlorophyll-a concentration and net primary production was affected by ecological but not evolutionary factors. Our results stress the importance of concurrently evaluating both changes in density and phenotypic diversity on the structure and composition of communities.

  7. Does reef architectural complexity influence resource availability for a large reef-dwelling invertebrate?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lozano-Álvarez, Enrique; Luviano-Aparicio, Nelia; Negrete-Soto, Fernando; Barradas-Ortiz, Cecilia; Aguíñiga-García, Sergio; Morillo-Velarde, Piedad S.; Álvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Briones-Fourzán, Patricia

    2017-10-01

    In coral reefs, loss of architectural complexity and its associated habitat degradation is expected to affect reef specialists in particular due to changes in resource availability. We explored whether these features could potentially affect populations of a large invertebrate, the spotted spiny lobster Panulirus guttatus, which is an obligate Caribbean coral reef-dweller with a limited home range. We selected two separate large coral reef patches in Puerto Morelos (Mexico) that differed significantly in structural complexity and level of degradation, as assessed via the rugosity index, habitat assessment score, and percent cover of various benthic components. On each reef, we estimated density of P. guttatus and sampled lobsters to analyze their stomach contents, three different condition indices, and stable isotopes (δ15N and δ13C) in muscle. Lobster density did not vary with reef, suggesting that available crevices in the less complex patch still provided adequate refuge to these lobsters. Lobsters consumed many food types, dominated by mollusks and crustaceans, but proportionally more crustaceans (herbivore crabs) in the less complex patch, which had more calcareous macroalgae and algal turf. Lobsters from both reefs had a similar condition (all three indices) and mean δ15N, suggesting a similar quality of diet between reefs related to their opportunistic feeding, but differed in mean δ13C values, reflecting the different carbon sources between reefs and providing indirect evidence of individuals of P. guttatus foraging exclusively over their home reef. Overall, we found no apparent effects of architectural complexity, at least to the degree observed in our less complex patch, on density, condition, or trophic level of P. guttatus.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-04-01

    We examined the development of coral reef science and the policies, institutions, and governance frameworks for management of coral reefs in China in order to highlight the wicked problem of preserving reefs while simultaneously promoting human development and nation building. China and other sovereign states in the region are experiencing unprecedented economic expansion, rapid population growth, mass migration, widespread coastal development, and loss of habitat. We analyzed a large, fragmented literature on the condition of coral reefs in China and the disputed territories of the South China Sea. We found that coral abundance has declined by at least 80% over the past 30 years on coastal fringing reefs along the Chinese mainland and adjoining Hainan Island. On offshore atolls and archipelagos claimed by 6 countries in the South China Sea, coral cover has declined from an average of >60% to around 20% within the past 10-15 years. Climate change has affected these reefs far less than coastal development, pollution, overfishing, and destructive fishing practices. Ironically, these widespread declines in the condition of reefs are unfolding as China's research and reef-management capacity are rapidly expanding. Before the loss of corals becomes irreversible, governance of China's coastal reefs could be improved by increasing public awareness of declining ecosystem services, by providing financial support for training of reef scientists and managers, by improving monitoring of coral reef dynamics and condition to better inform policy development, and by enforcing existing regulations that could protect coral reefs. In the South China Sea, changes in policy and legal frameworks, refinement of governance structures, and cooperation among neighboring countries are urgently needed to develop cooperative management of contested offshore reefs. © 2012 Society for Conservation Biology.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  10. Covariance, correlation matrix, and the multiscale community structure of networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shen, Hua-Wei; Cheng, Xue-Qi; Fang, Bin-Xing

    2010-07-01

    Empirical studies show that real world networks often exhibit multiple scales of topological descriptions. However, it is still an open problem how to identify the intrinsic multiple scales of networks. In this paper, we consider detecting the multiscale community structure of network from the perspective of dimension reduction. According to this perspective, a covariance matrix of network is defined to uncover the multiscale community structure through the translation and rotation transformations. It is proved that the covariance matrix is the unbiased version of the well-known modularity matrix. We then point out that the translation and rotation transformations fail to deal with the heterogeneous network, which is very common in nature and society. To address this problem, a correlation matrix is proposed through introducing the rescaling transformation into the covariance matrix. Extensive tests on real world and artificial networks demonstrate that the correlation matrix significantly outperforms the covariance matrix, identically the modularity matrix, as regards identifying the multiscale community structure of network. This work provides a novel perspective to the identification of community structure and thus various dimension reduction methods might be used for the identification of community structure. Through introducing the correlation matrix, we further conclude that the rescaling transformation is crucial to identify the multiscale community structure of network, as well as the translation and rotation transformations.

  11. Community Structure of Fish and Macrobenthos at Selected Sites in the Vicinity of Mokapu Ocean Outfall, Oahu, Hawaii, 1998 (NODC Accession 0000173)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This report provides the results of the first quantitative survey of the coral reef communities in the vicinity of the Mokapu Ocean Outfall in Kailua Bay, Oahu,...

  12. The overlapping community structure of structural brain network in young healthy individuals.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kai Wu

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Community structure is a universal and significant feature of many complex networks in biology, society, and economics. Community structure has also been revealed in human brain structural and functional networks in previous studies. However, communities overlap and share many edges and nodes. Uncovering the overlapping community structure of complex networks remains largely unknown in human brain networks. Here, using regional gray matter volume, we investigated the structural brain network among 90 brain regions (according to a predefined anatomical atlas in 462 young, healthy individuals. Overlapped nodes between communities were defined by assuming that nodes (brain regions can belong to more than one community. We demonstrated that 90 brain regions were organized into 5 overlapping communities associated with several well-known brain systems, such as the auditory/language, visuospatial, emotion, decision-making, social, control of action, memory/learning, and visual systems. The overlapped nodes were mostly involved in an inferior-posterior pattern and were primarily related to auditory and visual perception. The overlapped nodes were mainly attributed to brain regions with higher node degrees and nodal efficiency and played a pivotal role in the flow of information through the structural brain network. Our results revealed fuzzy boundaries between communities by identifying overlapped nodes and provided new insights into the understanding of the relationship between the structure and function of the human brain. This study provides the first report of the overlapping community structure of the structural network of the human brain.

  13. CaCO3 dissolution by holothurians (sea cucumber): a case study from One Tree Reef, Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)<