Coral bleaching: the winners and the losers

Coral bleaching: the winners and the losers Sea surface temperatures were warmer throughout 1998 at Sesoko Island, Japan, than in the 10 preceding years. Temperatures peaked at 2.8 °C above average, resulting in extensive coral bleaching and subsequent coral mortality. Using random quadrat surveys, we quantitatively documented the coral community structure one year before and one year after the bleaching event. The 1998 bleaching event reduced coral species richness by 61% and reduced coral cover by 85%. Colony morphology affected bleaching vulnerability and subsequent coral mortality. Finely branched corals were most susceptible, while massive and encrusting colonies survived. Most heavily impacted were the branched Acropora and pocilloporid corals, some of which showed local extinction. We suggest two hypotheses whose synergistic effect may partially explain observed mortality patterns (i.e. preferential survival of thick‐tissued species, and shape‐dependent differences in colony mass‐transfer efficiency). A community‐structural shift occurred on Okinawan reefs, resulting in an increase in the relative abundance of massive and encrusting coral species. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecology Letters Wiley

Coral bleaching: the winners and the losers

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Blackwell Science Ltd
ISSN
1461-023X
eISSN
1461-0248
D.O.I.
10.1046/j.1461-0248.2001.00203.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Sea surface temperatures were warmer throughout 1998 at Sesoko Island, Japan, than in the 10 preceding years. Temperatures peaked at 2.8 °C above average, resulting in extensive coral bleaching and subsequent coral mortality. Using random quadrat surveys, we quantitatively documented the coral community structure one year before and one year after the bleaching event. The 1998 bleaching event reduced coral species richness by 61% and reduced coral cover by 85%. Colony morphology affected bleaching vulnerability and subsequent coral mortality. Finely branched corals were most susceptible, while massive and encrusting colonies survived. Most heavily impacted were the branched Acropora and pocilloporid corals, some of which showed local extinction. We suggest two hypotheses whose synergistic effect may partially explain observed mortality patterns (i.e. preferential survival of thick‐tissued species, and shape‐dependent differences in colony mass‐transfer efficiency). A community‐structural shift occurred on Okinawan reefs, resulting in an increase in the relative abundance of massive and encrusting coral species.

Journal

Ecology LettersWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2001

References

  • Genetic variation and clonal structure in the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis in the Ryukyu Archipelago, southern Japan
    Adjeroud, Adjeroud; Tsuchiya, Tsuchiya
  • Temperature‐induced bleaching of corals begins with impairment of the CO 2 fixation mechanism in zooxanthellae
    Jones, Jones; Hoegh‐Guldberg, Hoegh‐Guldberg; Larkum, Larkum; Schreiber, Schreiber
  • Effects of ultraviolet radiation on corals and other coral reef organisms
    Shick, Shick; Lesser, Lesser; Jokiel, Jokiel
  • Sea surface temperature signals from satellites–an update
    Strong, Strong; Kearns, Kearns; Gjovig, Gjovig

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