The influence of repetitive thermal stresses on the dominance of reef-building Acropora spp. (Scleractinia) on coral reefs of the Maldive Islands

The influence of repetitive thermal stresses on the dominance of reef-building Acropora spp.... The distribution and size-age structure of Acropora corals were studied in two Maldivian atolls that differ in their geographic position and sea surface temperature regimes. The frequency and strength of thermal anomalies for the last 2 decades had a significant influence on the abundance, mortality rates, and age structures of acroporid communities. The long-term temperature amplitude was higher and the maxima were more pronounced in the northernmost Ihavandippolu Atoll than those in the equatorial South Huvadhoo Atoll. These differences resulted in a 10.4% mean cover of Acropora at Ihavandippolu Atoll, whereas the Acropora cover in the South Huvadhoo Atoll reached 59.5%. In the northern atoll, the coral mortality rate after the 2010 thermal anomaly was 3 times higher than that in the southern atoll. Younger acroporid colonies (up to 2 years old) dominated the northern atoll reefs, while the southern atoll showed a high proportion of older mature colonies. In both atolls, healthy table colonies of Acropora cytherea with a disk diameter greater than 2 m were observed that apparently survived three thermal anomalies since 1998. The mechanisms of acclimatization of Acropora and the prospects for its dominance in the Maldives under changing environmental conditions are discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Russian Journal of Marine Biology Springer Journals

The influence of repetitive thermal stresses on the dominance of reef-building Acropora spp. (Scleractinia) on coral reefs of the Maldive Islands

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by Pleiades Publishing, Ltd.
Subject
Life Sciences; Freshwater & Marine Ecology
ISSN
1063-0740
eISSN
1608-3377
D.O.I.
10.1134/S1063074014040105
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The distribution and size-age structure of Acropora corals were studied in two Maldivian atolls that differ in their geographic position and sea surface temperature regimes. The frequency and strength of thermal anomalies for the last 2 decades had a significant influence on the abundance, mortality rates, and age structures of acroporid communities. The long-term temperature amplitude was higher and the maxima were more pronounced in the northernmost Ihavandippolu Atoll than those in the equatorial South Huvadhoo Atoll. These differences resulted in a 10.4% mean cover of Acropora at Ihavandippolu Atoll, whereas the Acropora cover in the South Huvadhoo Atoll reached 59.5%. In the northern atoll, the coral mortality rate after the 2010 thermal anomaly was 3 times higher than that in the southern atoll. Younger acroporid colonies (up to 2 years old) dominated the northern atoll reefs, while the southern atoll showed a high proportion of older mature colonies. In both atolls, healthy table colonies of Acropora cytherea with a disk diameter greater than 2 m were observed that apparently survived three thermal anomalies since 1998. The mechanisms of acclimatization of Acropora and the prospects for its dominance in the Maldives under changing environmental conditions are discussed.

Journal

Russian Journal of Marine BiologySpringer Journals

Published: Aug 30, 2014

References

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