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  • 2013

    Coral population trajectories, increased disturbance and management intervention: a sensitivity analysis

    Coral reefs worldwide, even remote reefs, are impacted by global change - a combined multitude of large-scale and local stressors. COTS impacts and bleaching are key drivers of coral degradation. This scientific article on coral population trajectories looks at increased disturbance and possible management interventions that may be advisable as just leaving reefs alone, seems no longer a satisfactory option.

  • 2012

    Temporal Variation in Nucleic Acid and Protein Ratios in Four Anthozoan-Dinoflagellate Endosymbioses of the Indo-Pacific: Implications for Molecular Diagnostics

    Given the threat of global climate change towards coral reefs and the endosymbiotic anthozoans that construct them, there is an urgent need to better understand the physiological response of these environmentally sensitive organisms. Unfortunately, many aspects of anthozoan biology are poorly understood, such as the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the stability of their association with dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. For instance, it has only recently been demonstrated that the molecular composition of these mutualisms is temporally variable; specifically, Symbiodinium DNA content has been shown to vary significantly across the light-dark cycle, and such variation could have implications for...

  • 2012

    The Effects of a Variable Temperature Regime on the Physiology of the Reef-Building Corals Seriatopora hystrix: Results From a Laboratory-Based Reciprocal Transplant

    To understand the effects of global climate change on reef-building corals, a thorough investigation of their physiological mechanisms of acclimatization is warranted. However, static temperature manipulations may underestimate the thermal complexity of the reefs in which many corals live. For instance, corals of Houbihu, Taiwan, experience changes in temperature of up to 10°C over the course of a day during spring-tide upwelling events. To better understand the phenotypic plasticity of these corals, a laboratory-based experiment was conducted whereby specimens of Seriatopora hystrix from an upwelling reef (Houbihu) and conspecifics from a non-upwelling reef (Houwan) were exposed...

  • 2012

    Red Sea Coral Reef Trajectories over 2 Decades Suggest Increasing Community Homogenization and Decline in Coral Size

    Three independent line intercept transect surveys on northern Red Sea reef slopes conducted in 1988/9 and 1997/8 in Egypt and from 2006–9 in Saudi Arabia were used to compare community patterns and coral size. Coral communities showed scale-dependent variability, highest at fine spatial and taxonomic scale (species-specific within and among reef patterns). At coarser scale (generic pattern across regions), patterns were more uniform (regionally consistent generic dominance on differently exposed reef slopes and at different depths). Neither fine- nor coarse-scale patterns aligned along the sampled 1700 km latitudinal gradient. Thus, a latitudinal gradient that had been described earlier...

  • 2012

    Diseases, Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) and Their Effects on Gulf Coral Populations and Communities

    Corals in the Gulf exist in a harsh environment, which only allows a small subset of the typical Indo-Pacifi c fauna and flora to persist and/or form viable populations (Sheppard and Sheppard 1991; Sheppard et al. 1992; Samimi-Namin and van Ofwegen 2009; Chaps. 11 and 12 ). Environmental factors have been identified as the major killers of corals and these factors regulate population dynamics and coral reef community structure (Chaps. 2, 5, 10 and 16 ). Among these, extreme temperature variability, salinity variability and turbidity (as a result of coastal construction, Chap. 16 ) have been isolated as prime killers. However, a host of biological agents are also capable of wreaking havoc on coral populations. In the Gulf, several of the major invertebrate nemeses of corals that exist in the Indian Ocean are absent...

  • 2012

    Applying Habitat Maps and Biodiversity Assessments to Coral Reef Management

    The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is conducting a five year Global Reef Expedition (GRE) to map, characterize and assess coral reefs and develop tools and information to assist local managers in their conservation and management activities. Measurements of coral demographics, mortality and recruitment are combined with assessments of benthic cover types, biomass of algal functional groups, population structure of commercially-valuable and ecologically-relevant reef fishes, and environmental resilience indicators using a standardized, rapid, quantitative survey protocol. Concurrent groundtruthing is used to define the bathymetry, identify habitat classes and their spatial distribution and extent, characterize dominant species assemblages, substrate types...

  • 2012

    Factors Contributing to the Regional Decline of Montastraea annularis (complex)

    Over the last 15 years the massive framework coral, Montastraea annularis (complex) has experienced a rapid decline in abundance, size and condition, and on many reefs in the western Atlantic these species are no longer the dominant corals. Surveys conducted in Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, Bonaire, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Bahamas show a similar die-off and replacement by other corals, aggressive invertebrates and macroalgae, although the timing of these events is variable. Widespread colony mortality has been triggered by mass bleaching events, with coral diseases emerging after corals began to recover from bleaching. Outbreaks of yellow band disease...