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Sample records for barrier reef ecosystem

  1. Assessment of the water quality and ecosystem health of the Great Barrier Reef (Australia): conceptual models.

    PubMed

    Haynes, David; Brodie, Jon; Waterhouse, Jane; Bainbridge, Zoe; Bass, Deb; Hart, Barry

    2007-12-01

    Run-off containing increased concentrations of sediment, nutrients, and pesticides from land-based anthropogenic activities is a significant influence on water quality and the ecologic conditions of nearshore areas of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia. The potential and actual impacts of increased pollutant concentrations range from bioaccumulation of contaminants and decreased photosynthetic capacity to major shifts in community structure and health of mangrove, coral reef, and seagrass ecosystems. A detailed conceptual model underpins and illustrates the links between the main anthropogenic pressures or threats (dry-land cattle grazing and intensive sugar cane cropping) and the production of key contaminants or stressors of Great Barrier Reef water quality. The conceptual model also includes longer-term threats to Great Barrier Reef water quality and ecosystem health, such as global climate change, that will potentially confound direct model interrelationships. The model recognises that system-specific attributes, such as monsoonal wind direction, rainfall intensity, and flood plume residence times, will act as system filters to modify the effects of any water-quality system stressor. The model also summarises key ecosystem responses in ecosystem health that can be monitored through indicators at catchment, riverine, and marine scales. Selected indicators include riverine and marine water quality, inshore coral reef and seagrass status, and biota pollutant burdens. These indicators have been adopted as components of a long-term monitoring program to enable assessment of the effectiveness of change in catchment-management practices in improving Great Barrier Reef (and adjacent catchment) water quality under the Queensland and Australian Governments' Reef Water Quality Protection Plan.

  2. Assessment of the Water Quality and Ecosystem Health of the Great Barrier Reef (Australia): Conceptual Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haynes, David; Brodie, Jon; Waterhouse, Jane; Bainbridge, Zoe; Bass, Deb; Hart, Barry

    2007-12-01

    Run-off containing increased concentrations of sediment, nutrients, and pesticides from land-based anthropogenic activities is a significant influence on water quality and the ecologic conditions of nearshore areas of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia. The potential and actual impacts of increased pollutant concentrations range from bioaccumulation of contaminants and decreased photosynthetic capacity to major shifts in community structure and health of mangrove, coral reef, and seagrass ecosystems. A detailed conceptual model underpins and illustrates the links between the main anthropogenic pressures or threats (dry-land cattle grazing and intensive sugar cane cropping) and the production of key contaminants or stressors of Great Barrier Reef water quality. The conceptual model also includes longer-term threats to Great Barrier Reef water quality and ecosystem health, such as global climate change, that will potentially confound direct model interrelationships. The model recognises that system-specific attributes, such as monsoonal wind direction, rainfall intensity, and flood plume residence times, will act as system filters to modify the effects of any water-quality system stressor. The model also summarises key ecosystem responses in ecosystem health that can be monitored through indicators at catchment, riverine, and marine scales. Selected indicators include riverine and marine water quality, inshore coral reef and seagrass status, and biota pollutant burdens. These indicators have been adopted as components of a long-term monitoring program to enable assessment of the effectiveness of change in catchment-management practices in improving Great Barrier Reef (and adjacent catchment) water quality under the Queensland and Australian Governments’ Reef Water Quality Protection Plan.

  3. Navigating the transition to ecosystem-based management of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Olsson, Per; Folke, Carl; Hughes, Terry P

    2008-07-15

    We analyze the strategies and actions that enable transitions toward ecosystem-based management using the recent governance changes of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as a case study. The interplay among individual actors, organizations, and institutions at multiple levels is central in such transitions. A flexible organization, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, was crucial in initiating the transition to ecosystem-based management. This agency was also instrumental in the subsequent transformation of the governance regime and provided leadership throughout the process. Strategies involved internal reorganization and management innovation, leading to an ability to coordinate the scientific community, to increase public awareness of environmental issues and problems, to involve a broader set of stakeholders, and to maneuver the political system for support at critical times. The transformation process was induced by increased pressure on the Great Barrier Reef (from terrestrial runoff, overharvesting, and global warming) that triggered a new sense of urgency to address these challenges. The focus of governance shifted from protection of selected individual reefs to stewardship of the larger-scale seascape. The study emphasizes the significance of stewardship that can change patterns of interactions among key actors and allow for new forms of management and governance to emerge in response to environmental change. This example illustrates that enabling legislations or other social bounds are essential, but not sufficient for shifting governance toward adaptive comanagement of complex marine ecosystems. PMID:18621698

  4. Navigating the transition to ecosystem-based management of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Olsson, Per; Folke, Carl; Hughes, Terry P

    2008-07-15

    We analyze the strategies and actions that enable transitions toward ecosystem-based management using the recent governance changes of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as a case study. The interplay among individual actors, organizations, and institutions at multiple levels is central in such transitions. A flexible organization, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, was crucial in initiating the transition to ecosystem-based management. This agency was also instrumental in the subsequent transformation of the governance regime and provided leadership throughout the process. Strategies involved internal reorganization and management innovation, leading to an ability to coordinate the scientific community, to increase public awareness of environmental issues and problems, to involve a broader set of stakeholders, and to maneuver the political system for support at critical times. The transformation process was induced by increased pressure on the Great Barrier Reef (from terrestrial runoff, overharvesting, and global warming) that triggered a new sense of urgency to address these challenges. The focus of governance shifted from protection of selected individual reefs to stewardship of the larger-scale seascape. The study emphasizes the significance of stewardship that can change patterns of interactions among key actors and allow for new forms of management and governance to emerge in response to environmental change. This example illustrates that enabling legislations or other social bounds are essential, but not sufficient for shifting governance toward adaptive comanagement of complex marine ecosystems.

  5. Navigating the transition to ecosystem-based management of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    PubMed Central

    Olsson, Per; Folke, Carl; Hughes, Terry P.

    2008-01-01

    We analyze the strategies and actions that enable transitions toward ecosystem-based management using the recent governance changes of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as a case study. The interplay among individual actors, organizations, and institutions at multiple levels is central in such transitions. A flexible organization, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, was crucial in initiating the transition to ecosystem-based management. This agency was also instrumental in the subsequent transformation of the governance regime and provided leadership throughout the process. Strategies involved internal reorganization and management innovation, leading to an ability to coordinate the scientific community, to increase public awareness of environmental issues and problems, to involve a broader set of stakeholders, and to maneuver the political system for support at critical times. The transformation process was induced by increased pressure on the Great Barrier Reef (from terrestrial runoff, overharvesting, and global warming) that triggered a new sense of urgency to address these challenges. The focus of governance shifted from protection of selected individual reefs to stewardship of the larger-scale seascape. The study emphasizes the significance of stewardship that can change patterns of interactions among key actors and allow for new forms of management and governance to emerge in response to environmental change. This example illustrates that enabling legislations or other social bounds are essential, but not sufficient for shifting governance toward adaptive comanagement of complex marine ecosystems. PMID:18621698

  6. The role of sponges in the Mesoamerican Barrier-Reef Ecosystem, Belize.

    PubMed

    Rützler, Klaus

    2012-01-01

    Over the past four decades, sponge research has advanced by leaps and bounds through endeavours such as the Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems (CCRE) programme at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Since its founding in the early 1970s, the programme has been dedicated to a detailed multidisciplinary study of a section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the Atlantic's largest reef complex, and has generated data far beyond the capability of lone investigators and brief expeditions. This reef complex extends 250 km southward from Yucatan, Mexico, into the Gulf of Honduras, most of it lying 20-40 km off the coast of Belize. A relatively unspoiled ecosystem, it features a great variety of habitats in close proximity, ranging from mangrove islands, seagrass meadows, and patch reefs in its lagoon to the barrier reef along the margin of the continental shelf. Among its varied macrobenthos, sponges stand out for their ubiquity, range of colours, rich species and biomass, and ecological importance; they populate rocky substrates, some sandy bottoms, and the subtidal stilt roots and peat banks of mangroves. Working from a field station established in 1972 on Carrie Bow Cay, a sand islet atop the reef off southern Belize, experts in numerous disciplines from both the Museum and academic institutions throughout the world have explored the area's biodiversity in the broadest sense and community development over time. At last count, 113 researchers (88 working on site) have focused on the biological and geological role of Porifera in Carrie Bow's reef communities, with the results reported in 125 scientific papers to date. The majority of these sponge studies have centred on systematics and faunistics, including quantitative distribution among the various habitats. Taxonomic approaches have ranged from basic morphology to fine structure, DNA barcoding, and ecological manipulations and culminated in a mini-workshop involving several experts on Caribbean

  7. The role of sponges in the Mesoamerican Barrier-Reef Ecosystem, Belize.

    PubMed

    Rützler, Klaus

    2012-01-01

    Over the past four decades, sponge research has advanced by leaps and bounds through endeavours such as the Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems (CCRE) programme at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Since its founding in the early 1970s, the programme has been dedicated to a detailed multidisciplinary study of a section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the Atlantic's largest reef complex, and has generated data far beyond the capability of lone investigators and brief expeditions. This reef complex extends 250 km southward from Yucatan, Mexico, into the Gulf of Honduras, most of it lying 20-40 km off the coast of Belize. A relatively unspoiled ecosystem, it features a great variety of habitats in close proximity, ranging from mangrove islands, seagrass meadows, and patch reefs in its lagoon to the barrier reef along the margin of the continental shelf. Among its varied macrobenthos, sponges stand out for their ubiquity, range of colours, rich species and biomass, and ecological importance; they populate rocky substrates, some sandy bottoms, and the subtidal stilt roots and peat banks of mangroves. Working from a field station established in 1972 on Carrie Bow Cay, a sand islet atop the reef off southern Belize, experts in numerous disciplines from both the Museum and academic institutions throughout the world have explored the area's biodiversity in the broadest sense and community development over time. At last count, 113 researchers (88 working on site) have focused on the biological and geological role of Porifera in Carrie Bow's reef communities, with the results reported in 125 scientific papers to date. The majority of these sponge studies have centred on systematics and faunistics, including quantitative distribution among the various habitats. Taxonomic approaches have ranged from basic morphology to fine structure, DNA barcoding, and ecological manipulations and culminated in a mini-workshop involving several experts on Caribbean

  8. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    This detailed view of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia (19.5S, 149.5E) shows several small patch reefs within the overall reef system. The Great Barrier Reef, largest in the world, comprises thousands of individual reefs of great variety and are closely monitored by marine ecologists. These reefs are about 6000 years old and sit on top of much older reefs. The most rapid coral growth occurs on the landward side of the reefs.

  9. Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    A better than average view of the Great Barrier Reef was captured by SeaWiFS on a recent overpass. There is sunglint northeast of the reef and there appears to be some sort of filamentous bloom in the Capricorn Channel.

  10. Studies on the Great Barrier Reef

    SciTech Connect

    Walton, S.

    1985-01-01

    Proposals to drill for oil on Australia's Great Barrier Reef have led to the appointment of a royal commission to study the environmental impact of such activities. The Australian Institute of Marine Science has developed a 5-part research plant which covers the Australian mangrove environment; nearshore habitat; processes and interactions, energy flows, resource cycling and their consequences within the reef ecosystems; patterns, abundances and relationships within the reef; and the continental shelf of the Great Barrier Reef region. Research in each of these areas is described.

  11. Coral Reef Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yap, Helen T.

    Coral reefs are geological structures of significant dimensions, constructed over millions of years by calcifying organisms. The present day reef-builders are hard corals belonging to the order Scleractinia, phylum Cnidaria. The greatest concentrations of coral reefs are in the tropics, with highest levels of biodiversity situated in reefs of the Indo-West Pacific region. These ecosystems have provided coastal protection and livelihood to human populations over the millennia. Human activities have caused destruction of these habitats, the intensity of which has increased alarmingly since the latter decades of the twentieth century. The severity of this impact is directly related to exponential growth rates of human populations especially in the coastal areas of the developing world. However, a more recently recognized phenomenon concerns disturbances brought about by the changing climate, manifested mainly as rising sea surface temperatures, and increasing acidification of ocean waters due to greater drawdown of higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Management efforts have so far not kept pace with the rates of degradation, so that the spatial extent of damaged reefs and the incidences of localized extinction of reef species are increasing year after year. The major management efforts to date consist of establishing marine protected areas and promoting the active restoration of coral habitats.

  12. Ancient reef ecosystem expansion and collapse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Copper, P.

    1994-01-01

    Platform carbonate and, particularly, reef ecosystem development (with reefs representing the acme of carbonate platform growth) were highly cyclical in early to mid Paleozoic time, especially in relation to known or postulated times of global warming or cooling. These cycles do not appear to correspond to postulated 26 Ma rhythms seen in diversity patterns, nor were they regular. There were major periods of worldwide reef expansion (e.g. mid-Silurian-Late Devonian), corresponding to global warming well above present day norms, and periods of complete global reef collapse (e.g., mid-Cambrian to mid-Ordovician, Late Devonian) corresponding to global perturbations. At times of major reef expansion in the Paleozoic, areas covered by equatorial reef and inter-reef carbonate platforms are conservatively estimated to have periodically exceeded 5 million sq. km, nearly ten times that in the modern ocean. At times of global reef collapse, e.g. the Famennian (Late Devonian), reef complexes were completely absent or, at best, covered <1000 sq. km. The chief factors relating to periodic collapse and mass extinction of reef biotas appear to be related to climatic change and possibly ocean anoxic events, in turn as a response to large scale, geologically disruptive factors such as plate collisions, plate movement across equatorial belts and volcanism. Stress “signals” in Cambrian through Cretaceous reef ecosystems appear to be comparable to those of today: whether these relate to physical versus biological stress is uncertain. Reef stress is evident in globally reduced areas and thicknesses of reef carbonate production, the absence of large scale barrier reef systems and reduction to smaller patch reef complexes (or, periodically, following mass extinctions, no reefs at all), reduced species and genus diversity, small skeletons or colonies, limited or no biotic zonation along reef transects, and arrested succession and ecologic replacement of complex, more highly evolved

  13. Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2001-01-01

    The Great Barrier Reef extends for 2,000 kilometers along the northeastern coast of Australia. It is not a single reef, but a vast maze of reefs, passages, and coral cays (islands that are part of the reef). This nadir true-color image was acquired by the MISR instrument on August 26, 2000 (Terra orbit 3679), and shows part of the southern portion of the reef adjacent to the central Queensland coast. The width of the MISR swath is approximately 380 kilometers, with the reef clearly visible up to approximately 200 kilometers from the coast. It may be difficult to see the myriad details in the browse image, but if you retrieve the higher resolution version, a zoomed display reveals the spectacular structure of the many reefs.

    The more northerly coastal area in this image shows the vast extent of sugar cane cultivation, this being the largest sugar producing area in Australia, centered on the city of Mackay. Other industries in the area include coal, cattle, dairying, timber, grain, seafood, and fruit. The large island off the most northerly part of the coast visible in this image is Whitsunday Island, with smaller islands and reefs extending southeast, parallel to the coast. These include some of the better known resort islands such as Hayman, Lindeman, Hamilton, and Brampton Islands.

    Further south, just inland of the small semicircular bay near the right of the image, is Rockhampton, the largest city along the central Queensland coast, and the regional center for much of central Queensland. Rockhampton is just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Its hinterland is a rich pastoral, agricultural, and mining region.

    MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, for NASA's Office of Earth Science, Washington, DC. The Terra satellite is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

  14. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    The Great Barrier Reef of Queensland, Australia extends for roughly 2,000 km along the northeast coast of Australia and is made up of thousands of individual reefs which define the edge of the Continental shelf. Swan Reef, the southern part of the reef system, is seen in this view. Water depths around the reefs are quite shallow (less than 1 to 36 meters) but only a few kilometers offshore, water depths can reach 1,000 meters.

  15. USGS research on Atlantic coral reef ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Yates, Kimberly K.; Zawada, David G.; Richey, Julie N.; Kellogg, Christina A.; Toth, Lauren T.

    2015-10-23

    Coral reefs are massive, biomineralized structures that protect coastal communities by acting as barriers to hazards such as hurricanes and tsunamis. They provide sand for beaches through the natural process of erosion, support tourism and recreational industries, and provide essential habitat for fisheries. The continuing global degradation of coral reef ecosystems is well documented. There is a need for focused, coordinated science to understand the complex physical and biological processes and interactions that are impacting the condition of coral reefs and their ability to respond to a changing environment.

  16. USGS research on Atlantic coral reef ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Yates, Kimberly K.; Zawada, David G.; Richey, Julie N.; Kellogg, Christina A.; Toth, Lauren T.

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs are massive, biomineralized structures that protect coastal communities by acting as barriers to hazards such as hurricanes and tsunamis. They provide sand for beaches through the natural process of erosion, support tourism and recreational industries, and provide essential habitat for fisheries. The continuing global degradation of coral reef ecosystems is well documented. There is a need for focused, coordinated science to understand the complex physical and biological processes and interactions that are impacting the condition of coral reefs and their ability to respond to a changing environment.

  17. Diet and cross-shelf distribution of rabbitfishes (f. Siganidae) on the northern Great Barrier Reef: implications for ecosystem function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoey, A. S.; Brandl, S. J.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2013-12-01

    Herbivorous fishes are a critical functional group on coral reefs, and there is a clear need to understand the role and relative importance of individual species in reef processes. While numerous studies have quantified the roles of parrotfishes and surgeonfishes on coral reefs, the rabbitfishes (f. Siganidae) have been largely overlooked. Consequently, they are typically viewed as a uniform group of grazing or browsing fishes. Here, we quantify the diet and distribution of rabbitfish assemblages on six reefs spanning the continental shelf in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Our results revealed marked variation in the diet and distribution of rabbitfish species. Analysis of stomach contents identified four distinct groups: browsers of leathery brown macroalgae ( Siganus canaliculatus, S. javus), croppers of red and green macroalgae ( S. argenteus, S. corallinus, S. doliatus, S. spinus) and mixed feeders of diverse algal material, cyanobacteria, detritus and sediment ( S. lineatus, S. punctatissimus, S. punctatus, S. vulpinus). Surprisingly, the diet of the fourth group ( S. puellus) contained very little algal material (22.5 %) and was instead dominated by sponges (69.1 %). Together with this variation in diet, the distribution of rabbitfishes displayed clear cross-shelf variation. Biomass was greatest on inner-shelf reefs (112.7 ± 18.2 kg.ha-1), decreasing markedly on mid- (37.8 ± 4.6 kg.ha-1) and outer-shelf reefs (9.7 ± 2.2 kg.ha-1). This pattern was largely driven by the browsing S. canaliculatus that accounted for 50 % of the biomass on inner-shelf reefs, but was absent in mid- and outer-shelf reefs. Mixed feeders, although primarily restricted to the reef slope and back reef habitats, also decreased in abundance and biomass from inshore to offshore, while algal cropping taxa were the dominant group on mid-shelf reefs. These results clearly demonstrate the extent to which diet and distribution vary within the Siganidae and emphasise the importance of

  18. Spatial patterns in benthic communities and the dynamics of a mosaic ecosystem on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ninio, R.; Meekan, M.

    2002-04-01

    The benthic communities of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have been characterized as a mosaic with patches at scales of tens to hundreds of kilometres formed by clusters of reefs with comparable environmental settings and histories of disturbance. We use data sets of changes in cover of abundant benthic organisms to examine the relationship between community composition and the dynamics of this mosaic. Our data were compiled from seven annual video surveys of permanent transects on the north-east flanks of up to 52 reefs at different shelf positions throughout most of the GBR. Classification analysis of these data sets identified three distinct groups of reefs, the first dominated by poritid hard corals and alcyoniid soft corals, the second by hard corals of the genus Acropora, and the third by xeniid soft corals. These groups underwent different amounts of change in cover during the period of our study. As acroporan corals are fast growing but susceptible to mortality due to predators and wave action, the group of reefs dominated by this genus displayed rapid rates of growth and loss of cover. In contrast, cover in the remaining groups changed very slowly or remained stable. Some evidence suggests that competition for space may limit growth of acroporan corals and thus rates of change in the group dominated by xeniid soft corals. These contrasting patterns imply that susceptibility to, and recovery from, disturbances such as cyclones, predators, and bleaching events will differ among these groups of reefs.

  19. Great Barrier Reef

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-16

    ... reef, but a vast maze of reefs, passages, and coral cays (islands that are part of the reef). This nadir true-color image was acquired by ... visible in this image is Whitsunday Island, with smaller islands and reefs extending southeast, parallel to the coast. These include ...

  20. Benthic community composition on submerged reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, T. E.; Moloney, J. M.; Sweatman, H. P. A.; Bridge, T. C. L.

    2015-06-01

    Community dynamics on coral reefs are often examined only in relatively shallow waters, which are most vulnerable to many disturbances. The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) includes extensive submerged reefs that do not approach sea level and are within depths that support many coral reef taxa that also occur in shallow water. However, the composition of benthic communities on submerged reefs in the GBRWHA is virtually unknown. We examined spatial patterns in benthic community composition on 13 submerged reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) at depths of 10-30 m. We show that benthic communities on submerged reefs include similar species groups to those on neighbouring emergent reefs. The spatial distribution of species groups was well explained by depth and cross-shelf gradients that are well-known determinants of community composition on emergent reefs. Many equivalent species groups occurred at greater depths on submerged reefs, likely due to variability in the hydrodynamic environment among reef morphologies. Hard coral cover and species richness were lowest at the shallowest depth (6 m) on emergent reefs and were consistently higher on submerged reefs for any given depth. These results suggest that disturbances are less frequent on submerged reefs, but evidence that a severe tropical cyclone in 2011 caused significant damage to shallow regions of more exposed submerged reefs demonstrates that they are not immune. Our results confirm that submerged reefs in the central GBR support extensive and diverse coral assemblages that deserve greater attention in ecosystem assessments and management decisions.

  1. Quantifying water flow within aquatic ecosystems using load cell sensors: a profile of currents experienced by coral reef organisms around Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Johansen, Jacob L

    2014-01-01

    Current velocity in aquatic environments has major implications for the diversity, abundance and ecology of aquatic organisms, but quantifying these currents has proven difficult. This study utilises a simple and inexpensive instrument (<$150) to provide a detailed current velocity profile of the coral-reef system around Lizard Island (Great Barrier Reef, Australia) at a spatial and temporal scale relevant to the ecology of individual benthos and fish. The instrument uses load-cell sensors to provide a correlation between sensor output and ambient current velocity of 99%. Each instrument is able to continuously record current velocities to >500 cms⁻¹ and wave frequency to >100 Hz over several weeks. Sensor data are registered and processed at 16 MHz and 10 bit resolution, with a measuring precision of 0.06±0.04%, and accuracy of 0.51±0.65% (mean ±S.D.). Each instrument is also pressure rated to 120 m and shear stresses ≤20 kNm⁻² allowing deployment in harsh environments. The instrument was deployed across 27 coral reef sites covering the crest (3 m), mid-slope (6 m) and deep-slope (9 m depth) of habitats directly exposed, oblique or sheltered from prevailing winds. Measurements demonstrate that currents over the reef slope and crest varies immensely depending on depth and exposure: currents differ up to 9-fold within habitats only separated by 3 m depth and 15-fold between exposed, oblique and sheltered habitats. Comparisons to ambient weather conditions reveal that currents around Lizard Island are largely wind driven. Zero to 22.5 knot winds correspond directly to currents of 0 to >82 cms⁻¹, while tidal currents rarely exceed 5.5 cms⁻¹. Rather, current velocity increases exponentially as a function of wave height (0 to 1.6 m) and frequency (0.54 to 0.20 Hz), emphasizing the enormous effect of wind and waves on organisms in these shallow coral reef habitats.

  2. Quantifying Water Flow within Aquatic Ecosystems Using Load Cell Sensors: A Profile of Currents Experienced by Coral Reef Organisms around Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    PubMed Central

    Johansen, Jacob L.

    2014-01-01

    Current velocity in aquatic environments has major implications for the diversity, abundance and ecology of aquatic organisms, but quantifying these currents has proven difficult. This study utilises a simple and inexpensive instrument (<$150) to provide a detailed current velocity profile of the coral-reef system around Lizard Island (Great Barrier Reef, Australia) at a spatial and temporal scale relevant to the ecology of individual benthos and fish. The instrument uses load-cell sensors to provide a correlation between sensor output and ambient current velocity of 99%. Each instrument is able to continuously record current velocities to >500 cms−1 and wave frequency to >100 Hz over several weeks. Sensor data are registered and processed at 16 MHz and 10 bit resolution, with a measuring precision of 0.06±0.04%, and accuracy of 0.51±0.65% (mean ±S.D.). Each instrument is also pressure rated to 120 m and shear stresses ≤20 kNm−2 allowing deployment in harsh environments. The instrument was deployed across 27 coral reef sites covering the crest (3 m), mid-slope (6 m) and deep-slope (9 m depth) of habitats directly exposed, oblique or sheltered from prevailing winds. Measurements demonstrate that currents over the reef slope and crest varies immensely depending on depth and exposure: Currents differ up to 9-fold within habitats only separated by 3 m depth and 15-fold between exposed, oblique and sheltered habitats. Comparisons to ambient weather conditions reveal that currents around Lizard Island are largely wind driven. Zero to 22.5 knot winds correspond directly to currents of 0 to >82 cms−1, while tidal currents rarely exceed 5.5 cms−1. Rather, current velocity increases exponentially as a function of wave height (0 to 1.6 m) and frequency (0.54 to 0.20 Hz), emphasizing the enormous effect of wind and waves on organisms in these shallow coral reef habitats. PMID:24421878

  3. Using MODIS data for mapping of water types within river plumes in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: towards the production of river plume risk maps for reef and seagrass ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Petus, Caroline; da Silva, Eduardo Teixeira; Devlin, Michelle; Wenger, Amelia S; Alvarez-Romero, Jorge G

    2014-05-01

    River plumes are the major transport mechanism for nutrients, sediments and other land-based pollutants into the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia) and are a major threat to coastal and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and seagrass beds. Understanding the spatial extent, frequency of occurrence, loads and ecological impacts of land-based pollutants discharged through river plumes is essential to drive catchment management actions. In this study, a framework to produce river plume risk maps for seagrass and coral ecosystems, using supervised classification of MODIS Level 2 (L2) satellite products, is presented. Based on relevant L2 thresholds, river plumes are classified into Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary water types, which represent distinct water quality (WQ) parameters concentrations and combinations. Annual water type maps are produced over three wet seasons (2010-2013) as a case of study. These maps provide a synoptic basis to assess the likelihood and magnitude of the risk of reduced coastal WQ associated with the river discharge (river plume risk) and in combination with sound knowledge of the regional ecosystems can serve as the basis to assess potential ecological impacts for coastal and marine GBR ecosystems. The methods described herein provide relevant and easily reproducible large-scale information for river plume risk assessment and management.

  4. Using MODIS data for mapping of water types within river plumes in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: towards the production of river plume risk maps for reef and seagrass ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Petus, Caroline; da Silva, Eduardo Teixeira; Devlin, Michelle; Wenger, Amelia S; Alvarez-Romero, Jorge G

    2014-05-01

    River plumes are the major transport mechanism for nutrients, sediments and other land-based pollutants into the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia) and are a major threat to coastal and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and seagrass beds. Understanding the spatial extent, frequency of occurrence, loads and ecological impacts of land-based pollutants discharged through river plumes is essential to drive catchment management actions. In this study, a framework to produce river plume risk maps for seagrass and coral ecosystems, using supervised classification of MODIS Level 2 (L2) satellite products, is presented. Based on relevant L2 thresholds, river plumes are classified into Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary water types, which represent distinct water quality (WQ) parameters concentrations and combinations. Annual water type maps are produced over three wet seasons (2010-2013) as a case of study. These maps provide a synoptic basis to assess the likelihood and magnitude of the risk of reduced coastal WQ associated with the river discharge (river plume risk) and in combination with sound knowledge of the regional ecosystems can serve as the basis to assess potential ecological impacts for coastal and marine GBR ecosystems. The methods described herein provide relevant and easily reproducible large-scale information for river plume risk assessment and management. PMID:24632405

  5. Miocene precursors to Great Barrier Reef

    SciTech Connect

    Davies, P.J.; Symonds, P.A.; Feary, D.A.; Pigram, C.

    1988-01-01

    Huge reefs of Miocene age are present in the Gulf of Papua north of the present-day Great Barrier Reef and to the east on the Marion and Queensland Plateaus. In the Gulf of Papua, Miocene barrier reefs formed the northern forerunner of the Great Barrier Reef, extending for many hundreds of kilometers along the eastern and northern margin of the Australian craton within a developing foreland basin. Barrier reefs, slope pinnacle reefs, and platform reefs are seen in seismic sections and drill holes. Leeside talus deposits testify to the high energy impinging on the eastern margin of these Miocene reefs. The Queensland Plateau is a marginal plateau east of the central Great Barrier Reef and separated from it by a rift trough. Miocene reefs occupied an area of about 50,000 km/sup 2/ and grew on salt-controlled highs on the western margin of the plateau and on a regional basement high extending from the platform interior to its southern margin. Reef growth has continued to the present day, although two major contractions in the area covered by reefs occurred during the Miocene. The Marion Plateau is present directly east of the Great Barrier Reef and during the Micoene formed a 30,000-km/sup 2/ platform with barrier reefs along its northern margin and huge platform reefs and laggons on the platform interior. These reefs grew on a flat peneplained surface, the whole area forming a large shallow epicontinental sea. In all three areas, the middle Miocene formed the acme of reef expansion in the region.

  6. The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area seagrasses: Managing this iconic Australian ecosystem resource for the future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coles, Robert G.; Rasheed, Michael A.; McKenzie, Len J.; Grech, Alana; York, Paul H.; Sheaves, Marcus; McKenna, Skye; Bryant, Catherine

    2015-02-01

    The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) includes one of the world's largest areas of seagrass (35,000 km2) encompassing approximately 20% of the world's species. Mapping and monitoring programs sponsored by the Australian and Queensland Governments and Queensland Port Authorities have tracked a worrying decrease in abundance and area since 2007. This decline has almost certainly been the result of a series of severe tropical storms and associated floods exacerbating existing human induced stressors. A complex variety of marine and terrestrial management actions and plans have been implemented to protect seagrass and other habitats in the GBRWHA. For seagrasses, these actions are inadequate. They provide an impression of effective protection of seagrasses; reduce the sense of urgency needed to trigger action; and waste the valuable and limited supply of "conservation capital". There is a management focus on ports, driven by public concerns about high profile development projects, which exaggerates the importance of these relatively concentrated impacts in comparison to the total range of threats and stressors. For effective management of seagrass at the scale of the GBRWHA, more emphasis needs to be placed on the connectivity between seagrass meadow health, watersheds, and all terrestrial urban and agricultural development associated with human populations. The cumulative impacts to seagrass from coastal and marine processes in the GBRWHA are not evenly distributed, with a mosaic of high and low vulnerability areas. This provides an opportunity to make choices for future coastal development plans that minimise stress on seagrass meadows.

  7. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    Along the coast of Queensland, Australia (18.0S, 147.5E), timbered foothills of the Great Dividing Range separate the semi-arid interior of Queensland from the farmlands of the coastal plains. Prominent cleared areas in the forest indicate deforestation for farm and pasture lands. Offshore, islands and the Great Barrier Reef display sand banks along the southern sides of the structures indicating a dominant southerly wind and current direction.

  8. Reef Ecosystem Services and Decision Support Database

    EPA Science Inventory

    This scientific and management information database utilizes systems thinking to describe the linkages between decisions, human activities, and provisioning of reef ecosystem goods and services. This database provides: (1) Hierarchy of related topics - Click on topics to navigat...

  9. Predicting the Location and Spatial Extent of Submerged Coral Reef Habitat in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia

    PubMed Central

    Bridge, Tom; Beaman, Robin; Done, Terry; Webster, Jody

    2012-01-01

    Aim Coral reef communities occurring in deeper waters have received little research effort compared to their shallow-water counterparts, and even such basic information as their location and extent are currently unknown throughout most of the world. Using the Great Barrier Reef as a case study, habitat suitability modelling is used to predict the distribution of deep-water coral reef communities on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. We test the effectiveness of a range of geophysical and environmental variables for predicting the location of deep-water coral reef communities on the Great Barrier Reef. Location Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Methods Maximum entropy modelling is used to identify the spatial extent of two broad communities of habitat-forming megabenthos phototrophs and heterotrophs. Models were generated using combinations of geophysical substrate properties derived from multibeam bathymetry and environmental data derived from Bio-ORACLE, combined with georeferenced occurrence records of mesophotic coral communities from autonomous underwater vehicle, remotely operated vehicle and SCUBA surveys. Model results are used to estimate the total amount of mesophotic coral reef habitat on the GBR. Results Our models predict extensive but previously undocumented coral communities occurring both along the continental shelf-edge of the Great Barrier Reef and also on submerged reefs inside the lagoon. Habitat suitability for phototrophs is highest on submerged reefs along the outer-shelf and the deeper flanks of emergent reefs inside the GBR lagoon, while suitability for heterotrophs is highest in the deep waters along the shelf-edge. Models using only geophysical variables consistently outperformed models incorporating environmental data for both phototrophs and heterotrophs. Main Conclusion Extensive submerged coral reef communities that are currently undocumented are likely to occur throughout the Great Barrier Reef. High-quality bathymetry data can be used

  10. A Paddock to reef monitoring and modelling framework for the Great Barrier Reef: Paddock and catchment component.

    PubMed

    Carroll, Chris; Waters, David; Vardy, Suzanne; Silburn, David M; Attard, Steve; Thorburn, Peter J; Davis, Aaron M; Halpin, Neil; Schmidt, Michael; Wilson, Bruce; Clark, Andrew

    2012-01-01

    Targets for improvements in water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have been set through the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan). To measure and report on progress towards the targets set a program has been established that combines monitoring and modelling at paddock through to catchment and reef scales; the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program (Paddock to Reef Program). This program aims to provide evidence of links between land management activities, water quality and reef health. Five lines of evidence are used: the effectiveness of management practices to improve water quality; the prevalence of management practice adoption and change in catchment indicators; long-term monitoring of catchment water quality; paddock & catchment modelling to provide a relative assessment of progress towards meeting targets; and finally marine monitoring of GBR water quality and reef ecosystem health. This paper outlines the first four lines of evidence.

  11. Flushing of Bowden Reef lagoon, Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolanski, Eric; King, Brian

    1990-12-01

    Field and numerical studies were undertaken in 1986 and 1987 of the water circulation around and over Bowden Reef, a 5-km long kidney-shaped coral reef lagoon system in the Great Barrier Reef. In windy conditions, the flushing of the lagoon was primarily due to the intrusion into the lagoon of topographically induced tidal eddies generated offshore. In calm weather, such eddies did not prevail and lagoon flushing was much slower. The observed currents at sites a few kilometres apart in inter-reefal waters, have a significant horizontal shear apparently due to the complex circulation in the reef matrix. Under such conditions, sensitivity tests demonstrate the importance of including this shear in the specification of open boundary conditions of numerical models of the hydrodynamics around reefs. Contrary to established practice, the water circulation around a coral reef should not be modelled by assuming reefs are hydrodynamically isolated from surrounding ones. Little improvement appears likely in the reliability of reef-scale numerical models until the inter-reefal shear can be reliably incorporated in such models.

  12. Postglacial fringing-reef to barrier-reef conversion on Tahiti links Darwin's reef types.

    PubMed

    Blanchon, Paul; Granados-Corea, Marian; Abbey, Elizabeth; Braga, Juan C; Braithwaite, Colin; Kennedy, David M; Spencer, Tom; Webster, Jody M; Woodroffe, Colin D

    2014-01-01

    In 1842 Charles Darwin claimed that vertical growth on a subsiding foundation caused fringing reefs to transform into barrier reefs then atolls. Yet historically no transition between reef types has been discovered and they are widely considered to develop independently from antecedent foundations during glacio-eustatic sea-level rise. Here we reconstruct reef development from cores recovered by IODP Expedition 310 to Tahiti, and show that a fringing reef retreated upslope during postglacial sea-level rise and transformed into a barrier reef when it encountered a Pleistocene reef-flat platform. The reef became stranded on the platform edge, creating a lagoon that isolated it from coastal sediment and facilitated a switch to a faster-growing coral assemblage dominated by acroporids. The switch increased the reef's accretion rate, allowing it to keep pace with rising sea level, and transform into a barrier reef. This retreat mechanism not only links Darwin's reef types, but explains the re-occupation of reefs during Pleistocene glacio-eustacy. PMID:24845540

  13. Postglacial fringing-reef to barrier-reef conversion on Tahiti links Darwin's reef types.

    PubMed

    Blanchon, Paul; Granados-Corea, Marian; Abbey, Elizabeth; Braga, Juan C; Braithwaite, Colin; Kennedy, David M; Spencer, Tom; Webster, Jody M; Woodroffe, Colin D

    2014-05-21

    In 1842 Charles Darwin claimed that vertical growth on a subsiding foundation caused fringing reefs to transform into barrier reefs then atolls. Yet historically no transition between reef types has been discovered and they are widely considered to develop independently from antecedent foundations during glacio-eustatic sea-level rise. Here we reconstruct reef development from cores recovered by IODP Expedition 310 to Tahiti, and show that a fringing reef retreated upslope during postglacial sea-level rise and transformed into a barrier reef when it encountered a Pleistocene reef-flat platform. The reef became stranded on the platform edge, creating a lagoon that isolated it from coastal sediment and facilitated a switch to a faster-growing coral assemblage dominated by acroporids. The switch increased the reef's accretion rate, allowing it to keep pace with rising sea level, and transform into a barrier reef. This retreat mechanism not only links Darwin's reef types, but explains the re-occupation of reefs during Pleistocene glacio-eustacy.

  14. Postglacial Fringing-Reef to Barrier-Reef conversion on Tahiti links Darwin's reef types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blanchon, Paul; Granados-Corea, Marian; Abbey, Elizabeth; Braga, Juan C.; Braithwaite, Colin; Kennedy, David M.; Spencer, Tom; Webster, Jody M.; Woodroffe, Colin D.

    2014-05-01

    In 1842 Charles Darwin claimed that vertical growth on a subsiding foundation caused fringing reefs to transform into barrier reefs then atolls. Yet historically no transition between reef types has been discovered and they are widely considered to develop independently from antecedent foundations during glacio-eustatic sea-level rise. Here we reconstruct reef development from cores recovered by IODP Expedition 310 to Tahiti, and show that a fringing reef retreated upslope during postglacial sea-level rise and transformed into a barrier reef when it encountered a Pleistocene reef-flat platform. The reef became stranded on the platform edge, creating a lagoon that isolated it from coastal sediment and facilitated a switch to a faster-growing coral assemblage dominated by acroporids. The switch increased the reef's accretion rate, allowing it to keep pace with rising sea level, and transform into a barrier reef. This retreat mechanism not only links Darwin's reef types, but explains the re-occupation of reefs during Pleistocene glacio-eustacy.

  15. Spectral wave dissipation over a barrier reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lowe, Ryan J.; Falter, James L.; Bandet, Marion D.; Pawlak, Geno; Atkinson, Marlin J.; Monismith, Stephen G.; Koseff, Jeffrey R.

    2005-04-01

    A 2 week field experiment was conducted to measure surface wave dissipation on a barrier reef at Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. Wave heights and velocities were measured at several locations on the fore reef and the reef flat, which were used to estimate rates of dissipation by wave breaking and bottom friction. Dissipation on the reef flat was found to be dominated by friction at rates that are significantly larger than those typically observed at sandy beach sites. This is attributed to the rough surface generated by the reef organisms, which makes the reef highly efficient at dissipating energy by bottom friction. Results were compared to a spectral wave friction model, which showed that the variation in frictional dissipation among the different frequency components could be described using a single hydraulic roughness length scale. Surveys of the bottom roughness conducted on the reef flat showed that this hydraulic roughness length was comparable to the physical roughness measured at this site. On the fore reef, dissipation was due to the combined effect of frictional dissipation and wave breaking. However, in this region the magnitude of dissipation by bottom friction was comparable to wave breaking, despite the existence of a well-defined surf zone there. Under typical wave conditions the bulk of the total wave energy incident on Kaneohe Bay is dissipated by bottom friction, not wave breaking, as is often assumed for sandy beach sites and other coral reefs.

  16. Quantifying Coral Reef Ecosystem Services

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral reefs have been declining during the last four decades as a result of both local and global anthropogenic stresses. Numerous research efforts to elucidate the nature, causes, magnitude, and potential remedies for the decline have led to the widely held belief that the recov...

  17. Regional-scale nitrogen and phosphorus budgets for the northern (14°S) and central (17°S) Great Barrier Reef shelf ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Furnas, M.; Alongi, D.; McKinnon, D.; Trott, L.; Skuza, M.

    2011-12-01

    Seasonally averaged N and P box model budgets were constructed for two regional-scale sections of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) shelf, one in the near-pristine far-northern GBR (13.5-14.5°S) and the other in the central GBR (17-18°S) adjacent to more intensively farmed wet tropics watersheds. We were unable to simultaneously balance shelf-scale N and P budgets within seasonal or annual time frames, indicating that magnitudes of a number of key input and, especially, loss processes are still poorly constrained. In most cases, current estimates of system-level N and P sources (rainfall, runoff, upwelling, N-fixation) are less than estimated loss processes (denitrification, cross-shelfbreak mixing and burial). Nutrient dynamics in both shelf sections are dominated by the tightly coupled uptake and mineralization of soluble N and P in the water column and the sedimentation-resuspension of particulate detritus. On an area-averaged basis, internal cycling fluxes are an order of magnitude greater than input-output fluxes. Denitrification in shelf sediments is a significant sink for N while lateral mixing is both a source and sink for P.

  18. Aliphatic hydrocarbons in Great Barrier Reef organisms and environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coates, M.; Connell, D. W.; Bodero, J.; Miller, G. J.; Back, R.

    1986-07-01

    This investigation was undertaken to assess the chemical nature, occurrence, and possible origin of petroleum hydrocarbons in the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. Aliphatic hydrocarbons in surface sediments, water, and a suite of seven species from widely separated coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef area were analysed by gas chromatography, and by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The hydrocarbons found were substantially of biogenic origin. The major components were n-pentadecane, n-heptadecane, pristane and mono-alkenes based on heptadecane, and were believed to originate from benthic algae and phytoplankton. There was no evidence to suggest that lipid content had any influence on hydrocarbon content. Hydrocarbons from the organisms and sediments have characteristic composition patterns which would be altered by the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons. An unresolved complex mixture, usually considered indicative of petroleum contamination, was found in greater than trace amounts only in Holothuria (sea cucumber) and Acropora (coral) from the Capricorn Group, and in some sediment samples from the Capricorn Group and Lizard Island area.

  19. Framework of barrier reefs threatened by ocean acidification.

    PubMed

    Comeau, Steeve; Lantz, Coulson A; Edmunds, Peter J; Carpenter, Robert C

    2016-03-01

    To date, studies of ocean acidification (OA) on coral reefs have focused on organisms rather than communities, and the few community effects that have been addressed have focused on shallow back reef habitats. The effects of OA on outer barrier reefs, which are the most striking of coral reef habitats and are functionally and physically different from back reefs, are unknown. Using 5-m long outdoor flumes to create treatment conditions, we constructed coral reef communities comprised of calcified algae, corals, and reef pavement that were assembled to match the community structure at 17 m depth on the outer barrier reef of Moorea, French Polynesia. Communities were maintained under ambient and 1200 μatm pCO2 for 7 weeks, and net calcification rates were measured at different flow speeds. Community net calcification was significantly affected by OA, especially at night when net calcification was depressed ~78% compared to ambient pCO2 . Flow speed (2-14 cm s(-1) ) enhanced net calcification only at night under elevated pCO2 . Reef pavement also was affected by OA, with dissolution ~86% higher under elevated pCO2 compared to ambient pCO2 . These results suggest that net accretion of outer barrier reef communities will decline under OA conditions predicted within the next 100 years, largely because of increased dissolution of reef pavement. Such extensive dissolution poses a threat to the carbonate foundation of barrier reef communities. PMID:26154126

  20. Framework of barrier reefs threatened by ocean acidification.

    PubMed

    Comeau, Steeve; Lantz, Coulson A; Edmunds, Peter J; Carpenter, Robert C

    2016-03-01

    To date, studies of ocean acidification (OA) on coral reefs have focused on organisms rather than communities, and the few community effects that have been addressed have focused on shallow back reef habitats. The effects of OA on outer barrier reefs, which are the most striking of coral reef habitats and are functionally and physically different from back reefs, are unknown. Using 5-m long outdoor flumes to create treatment conditions, we constructed coral reef communities comprised of calcified algae, corals, and reef pavement that were assembled to match the community structure at 17 m depth on the outer barrier reef of Moorea, French Polynesia. Communities were maintained under ambient and 1200 μatm pCO2 for 7 weeks, and net calcification rates were measured at different flow speeds. Community net calcification was significantly affected by OA, especially at night when net calcification was depressed ~78% compared to ambient pCO2 . Flow speed (2-14 cm s(-1) ) enhanced net calcification only at night under elevated pCO2 . Reef pavement also was affected by OA, with dissolution ~86% higher under elevated pCO2 compared to ambient pCO2 . These results suggest that net accretion of outer barrier reef communities will decline under OA conditions predicted within the next 100 years, largely because of increased dissolution of reef pavement. Such extensive dissolution poses a threat to the carbonate foundation of barrier reef communities.

  1. Quantifying climatological ranges and anomalies for Pacific coral reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Gove, Jamison M; Williams, Gareth J; McManus, Margaret A; Heron, Scott F; Sandin, Stuart A; Vetter, Oliver J; Foley, David G

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic-biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km) from 85% of our study locations. These metrics will help

  2. Quantifying climatological ranges and anomalies for Pacific coral reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Gove, Jamison M; Williams, Gareth J; McManus, Margaret A; Heron, Scott F; Sandin, Stuart A; Vetter, Oliver J; Foley, David G

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic-biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km) from 85% of our study locations. These metrics will help

  3. Quantifying Climatological Ranges and Anomalies for Pacific Coral Reef Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Gove, Jamison M.; Williams, Gareth J.; McManus, Margaret A.; Heron, Scott F.; Sandin, Stuart A.; Vetter, Oliver J.; Foley, David G.

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic–biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km) from 85% of our study locations. These metrics will

  4. Abundance and diversity of anemonefishes and their host sea anemones at two mesophotic sites on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bridge, T.; Scott, A.; Steinberg, D.

    2012-12-01

    Anemonefishes and their host sea anemones are iconic inhabitants of coral reef ecosystems. While studies have documented their abundance in shallow-water reef habitats in parts of the Indo-Pacific, none have examined these species on mesophotic reefs. In this study, we used autonomous underwater vehicle imagery to examine the abundance and diversity of anemones and anemonefishes at Viper Reef and Hydrographers Passage in the central Great Barrier Reef at depths between 50 and 65 m. A total of 37 host sea anemones (31 Entacmaea quadricolor and 6 Heteractis crispa) and 24 anemonefishes (23 Amphiprion akindynos and 1 A. perideraion) were observed. Densities were highest at Viper Reef, with 8.48 E. quadricolor and A. akindynos per 100 m2 of reef substratum. These results support the hypothesis that mesophotic reefs have many species common to shallow-water coral reefs and that many taxa may occur at depths greater than currently recognised.

  5. Coral reefs on the edge? Carbon chemistry on inshore reefs of the great barrier reef.

    PubMed

    Uthicke, Sven; Furnas, Miles; Lønborg, Christian

    2014-01-01

    While increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration alters global water chemistry (Ocean Acidification; OA), the degree of changes vary on local and regional spatial scales. Inshore fringing coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are subjected to a variety of local pressures, and some sites may already be marginal habitats for corals. The spatial and temporal variation in directly measured parameters: Total Alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration, and derived parameters: partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2); pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωar) were measured at 14 inshore reefs over a two year period in the GBR region. Total Alkalinity varied between 2069 and 2364 µmol kg-1 and DIC concentrations ranged from 1846 to 2099 µmol kg-1. This resulted in pCO2 concentrations from 340 to 554 µatm, with higher values during the wet seasons and pCO2 on inshore reefs distinctly above atmospheric values. However, due to temperature effects, Ωar was not further reduced in the wet season. Aragonite saturation on inshore reefs was consistently lower and pCO2 higher than on GBR reefs further offshore. Thermodynamic effects contribute to this, and anthropogenic runoff may also contribute by altering productivity (P), respiration (R) and P/R ratios. Compared to surveys 18 and 30 years ago, pCO2 on GBR mid- and outer-shelf reefs has risen at the same rate as atmospheric values (∼1.7 µatm yr-1) over 30 years. By contrast, values on inshore reefs have increased at 2.5 to 3 times higher rates. Thus, pCO2 levels on inshore reefs have disproportionately increased compared to atmospheric levels. Our study suggests that inshore GBR reefs are more vulnerable to OA and have less buffering capacity compared to offshore reefs. This may be caused by anthropogenically induced trophic changes in the water column and benthos of inshore reefs subjected to land runoff.

  6. Coral Reefs on the Edge? Carbon Chemistry on Inshore Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Uthicke, Sven; Furnas, Miles; Lønborg, Christian

    2014-01-01

    While increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration alters global water chemistry (Ocean Acidification; OA), the degree of changes vary on local and regional spatial scales. Inshore fringing coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are subjected to a variety of local pressures, and some sites may already be marginal habitats for corals. The spatial and temporal variation in directly measured parameters: Total Alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration, and derived parameters: partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2); pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωar) were measured at 14 inshore reefs over a two year period in the GBR region. Total Alkalinity varied between 2069 and 2364 µmol kg−1 and DIC concentrations ranged from 1846 to 2099 µmol kg−1. This resulted in pCO2 concentrations from 340 to 554 µatm, with higher values during the wet seasons and pCO2 on inshore reefs distinctly above atmospheric values. However, due to temperature effects, Ωar was not further reduced in the wet season. Aragonite saturation on inshore reefs was consistently lower and pCO2 higher than on GBR reefs further offshore. Thermodynamic effects contribute to this, and anthropogenic runoff may also contribute by altering productivity (P), respiration (R) and P/R ratios. Compared to surveys 18 and 30 years ago, pCO2 on GBR mid- and outer-shelf reefs has risen at the same rate as atmospheric values (∼1.7 µatm yr−1) over 30 years. By contrast, values on inshore reefs have increased at 2.5 to 3 times higher rates. Thus, pCO2 levels on inshore reefs have disproportionately increased compared to atmospheric levels. Our study suggests that inshore GBR reefs are more vulnerable to OA and have less buffering capacity compared to offshore reefs. This may be caused by anthropogenically induced trophic changes in the water column and benthos of inshore reefs subjected to land runoff. PMID:25295864

  7. Environmental quality and preservation; reefs, corals, and carbonate sands; guides to reef-ecosystem health and environment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lidz, Barbara H.

    2001-01-01

    Introduction In recent years, the health of the entire coral reef ecosystem that lines the outer shelf off the Florida Keys has declined markedly. In particular, loss of those coral species that are the building blocks of solid reef framework has significant negative implications for economic vitality of the region. What are the reasons for this decline? Is it due to natural change, or are human activities (recreational diving, ship groundings, farmland runoff, nutrient influx, air-borne contaminants, groundwater pollutants) a contributing factor and if so, to what extent? At risk of loss are biologic resources of the reefs, including habitats for endangered species in shoreline mangroves, productive marine and wetland nurseries, and economic fisheries. A healthy reef ecosystem builds a protective offshore barrier to catastrophic wave action and storm surges generated by tropical storms and hurricanes. In turn, a healthy reef protects the homes, marinas, and infrastructure on the Florida Keys that have been designed to capture a lucrative tourism industry. A healthy reef ecosystem also protects inland agricultural and livestock areas of South Florida whose produce and meat feed much of the United States and other parts of the world. In cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Program, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) continues longterm investigations of factors that may affect Florida's reefs. One of the first steps in distinguishing between natural change and the effects of human activities, however, is to determine how coral reefs have responded to past environmental change, before the advent of man. By so doing, accurate scientific information becomes available for Marine Sanctuary management to understand natural change and thus to assess and regulate potential human impact better. The USGS studies described here evaluate the distribution (location) and historic vitality (thickness) of Holocene

  8. Influence of hydrodynamic energy on Holocene reef flat accretion, Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dechnik, Belinda; Webster, Jody M.; Nothdurft, Luke; Webb, Gregory E.; Zhao, Jian-xin; Duce, Stephanie; Braga, Juan C.; Harris, Daniel L.; Vila-Concejo, Ana; Puotinen, Marji

    2016-01-01

    The response of platform reefs to sea-level stabilization over the past 6 ka is well established for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), with reefs typically accreting laterally from windward to leeward. However, these observations are based on few cores spread across reef zones and may not accurately reflect a reef's true accretional response to the Holocene stillstand. We present a new record of reef accretion based on 49 U/Th ages from Heron and One Tree reefs in conjunction with re-analyzed data from 14 reefs across the GBR. We demonstrate that hydrodynamic energy is the main driver of accretional direction; exposed reefs accreted primarily lagoon-ward while protected reefs accreted seawards, contrary to the traditional growth model in the GBR. Lateral accretion rates varied from 86.3 m/ka-42.4 m/ka on the exposed One Tree windward reef and 68.35 m/ka-15.7 m/ka on the protected leeward Heron reef, suggesting that wind/wave energy is not a dominant control on lateral accretion rates. This represents the most comprehensive statement of lateral accretion direction and rates from the mid-outer platform reefs of the GBR, confirming great variability in reef flat growth both within and between reef margins over the last 6 ka, and highlighting the need for closely-spaced transects.

  9. Ocean acidification: Linking science to management solutions using the Great Barrier Reef as a case study.

    PubMed

    Albright, Rebecca; Anthony, Kenneth R N; Baird, Mark; Beeden, Roger; Byrne, Maria; Collier, Catherine; Dove, Sophie; Fabricius, Katharina; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Kelly, Ryan P; Lough, Janice; Mongin, Mathieu; Munday, Philip L; Pears, Rachel J; Russell, Bayden D; Tilbrook, Bronte; Abal, Eva

    2016-11-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to ocean acidification. While our understanding of the potential impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems is growing, gaps remain that limit our ability to translate scientific knowledge into management action. To guide solution-based research, we review the current knowledge of ocean acidification impacts on coral reefs alongside management needs and priorities. We use the world's largest continuous reef system, Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), as a case study. We integrate scientific knowledge gained from a variety of approaches (e.g., laboratory studies, field observations, and ecosystem modelling) and scales (e.g., cell, organism, ecosystem) that underpin a systems-level understanding of how ocean acidification is likely to impact the GBR and associated goods and services. We then discuss local and regional management options that may be effective to help mitigate the effects of ocean acidification on the GBR, with likely application to other coral reef systems. We develop a research framework for linking solution-based ocean acidification research to practical management options. The framework assists in identifying effective and cost-efficient options for supporting ecosystem resilience. The framework enables on-the-ground OA management to be the focus, while not losing sight of CO2 mitigation as the ultimate solution.

  10. Ocean acidification: Linking science to management solutions using the Great Barrier Reef as a case study.

    PubMed

    Albright, Rebecca; Anthony, Kenneth R N; Baird, Mark; Beeden, Roger; Byrne, Maria; Collier, Catherine; Dove, Sophie; Fabricius, Katharina; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Kelly, Ryan P; Lough, Janice; Mongin, Mathieu; Munday, Philip L; Pears, Rachel J; Russell, Bayden D; Tilbrook, Bronte; Abal, Eva

    2016-11-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to ocean acidification. While our understanding of the potential impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems is growing, gaps remain that limit our ability to translate scientific knowledge into management action. To guide solution-based research, we review the current knowledge of ocean acidification impacts on coral reefs alongside management needs and priorities. We use the world's largest continuous reef system, Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), as a case study. We integrate scientific knowledge gained from a variety of approaches (e.g., laboratory studies, field observations, and ecosystem modelling) and scales (e.g., cell, organism, ecosystem) that underpin a systems-level understanding of how ocean acidification is likely to impact the GBR and associated goods and services. We then discuss local and regional management options that may be effective to help mitigate the effects of ocean acidification on the GBR, with likely application to other coral reef systems. We develop a research framework for linking solution-based ocean acidification research to practical management options. The framework assists in identifying effective and cost-efficient options for supporting ecosystem resilience. The framework enables on-the-ground OA management to be the focus, while not losing sight of CO2 mitigation as the ultimate solution. PMID:27564868

  11. Distribution, abundance and diversity of crustose coralline algae on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dean, Angela J.; Steneck, Robert S.; Tager, Danika; Pandolfi, John M.

    2015-06-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world's largest coral reef ecosystem. Crustose coralline algae (CCA) are important contributors to reef calcium carbonate and can facilitate coral recruitment. Despite the importance of CCA, little is known about species-level distribution, abundance, and diversity, and how these vary across the continental shelf and key habitat zones within the GBR. We quantified CCA species distributions using line transects ( n = 127) at 17 sites in the northern and central regions of the GBR, distributed among inner-, mid-, and outer-shelf regions. At each site, we identified CCA along replicate transects in three habitat zones: reef flat, reef crest, and reef slope. Taxonomically, CCA species are challenging to identify (especially in the field), and there is considerable disagreement in approach. We used published, anatomically based taxonomic schemes for consistent identification. We identified 30 CCA species among 12 genera; the most abundant species were Porolithon onkodes, Paragoniolithon conicum (sensu Adey), Neogoniolithon fosliei, and Hydrolithon reinboldii. Significant cross-shelf differences were observed in CCA community structure and CCA abundance, with inner-shelf reefs exhibiting lower CCA abundance than outer-shelf reefs. Shelf position, habitat zone, latitude, depth, and the interaction of shelf position and habitat were all significantly associated with variation in composition of CCA communities. Collectively, shelf position, habitat, and their interaction contributed to 22.6 % of the variation in coralline communities. Compared to mid- and outer-shelf sites, inner-shelf sites exhibited lower relative abundances of N. fosliei and Lithophyllum species. Reef crest habitats exhibited greater abundance of N. fosliei than reef flat and reef slope habitats. Reef slope habitats exhibited lower abundance of P. onkodes, but greater abundance of Neogoniolithon clavycymosum than reef crest and reef slope habitats. These findings

  12. Congruent patterns of connectivity can inform management for broadcast spawning corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Riginos, Cynthia; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2016-07-01

    Connectivity underpins the persistence and recovery of marine ecosystems. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world's largest coral reef ecosystem and managed by an extensive network of no-take zones; however, information about connectivity was not available to optimize the network's configuration. We use multivariate analyses, Bayesian clustering algorithms and assignment tests of the largest population genetic data set for any organism on the GBR to date (Acropora tenuis, >2500 colonies; >50 reefs, genotyped for ten microsatellite loci) to demonstrate highly congruent patterns of connectivity between this common broadcast spawning reef-building coral and its congener Acropora millepora (~950 colonies; 20 reefs, genotyped for 12 microsatellite loci). For both species, there is a genetic divide at around 19°S latitude, most probably reflecting allopatric differentiation during the Pleistocene. GBR reefs north of 19°S are essentially panmictic whereas southern reefs are genetically distinct with higher levels of genetic diversity and population structure, most notably genetic subdivision between inshore and offshore reefs south of 19°S. These broadly congruent patterns of higher genetic diversities found on southern GBR reefs most likely represent the accumulation of alleles via the southward flowing East Australia Current. In addition, signatures of genetic admixture between the Coral Sea and outer-shelf reefs in the northern, central and southern GBR provide evidence of recent gene flow. Our connectivity results are consistent with predictions from recently published larval dispersal models for broadcast spawning corals on the GBR, thereby providing robust connectivity information about the dominant reef-building genus Acropora for coral reef managers.

  13. Congruent patterns of connectivity can inform management for broadcast spawning corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Riginos, Cynthia; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2016-07-01

    Connectivity underpins the persistence and recovery of marine ecosystems. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world's largest coral reef ecosystem and managed by an extensive network of no-take zones; however, information about connectivity was not available to optimize the network's configuration. We use multivariate analyses, Bayesian clustering algorithms and assignment tests of the largest population genetic data set for any organism on the GBR to date (Acropora tenuis, >2500 colonies; >50 reefs, genotyped for ten microsatellite loci) to demonstrate highly congruent patterns of connectivity between this common broadcast spawning reef-building coral and its congener Acropora millepora (~950 colonies; 20 reefs, genotyped for 12 microsatellite loci). For both species, there is a genetic divide at around 19°S latitude, most probably reflecting allopatric differentiation during the Pleistocene. GBR reefs north of 19°S are essentially panmictic whereas southern reefs are genetically distinct with higher levels of genetic diversity and population structure, most notably genetic subdivision between inshore and offshore reefs south of 19°S. These broadly congruent patterns of higher genetic diversities found on southern GBR reefs most likely represent the accumulation of alleles via the southward flowing East Australia Current. In addition, signatures of genetic admixture between the Coral Sea and outer-shelf reefs in the northern, central and southern GBR provide evidence of recent gene flow. Our connectivity results are consistent with predictions from recently published larval dispersal models for broadcast spawning corals on the GBR, thereby providing robust connectivity information about the dominant reef-building genus Acropora for coral reef managers. PMID:27085309

  14. Llandoverian to Ludlovian barrier reef complex in southeast Wisconsin

    SciTech Connect

    Rovey, C.W. )

    1989-08-01

    Subsurface exploration in the Michigan basin established that a carbonate bank and barrier reef complex prograded basinward during the late Wenlockian to early Ludlovian, but the corresponding Niagaran Series is generally undifferentiated. In southeast Wisconsin the series is well exposed; thus, a better record of depositional history is available. Until now, reefs in the Racine formation of southeast Wisconsin (upper Wenlockian through lower Ludlovian) were interpreted as patch reefs built landward of the barrier complex. However, the following criteria are consistent with an extension of Michigan's northern barrier complex beneath Lake Michigan to southeast Wisconsin: (1) Ubiquitous presence of reef facies along a southwest to northeast trend. This trend is coincident with thickening and a facies change indicative of a deep to shallow water transition, (2) similarity in depositional sequence of the overlying Salina Group in Wisconsin and Michigan. The Salina sediments surround, but are absent over, structures interpreted as pinnacle reefs and form a feather edge against the thicker belt interpreted as a barrier complex. Hence, the Racine reefs are reinterpreted as a barrier complex. Hence, the Racine reefs are reinterpreted as a barrier and pinnacle reef complex. Similar facies changes are also present in older formations. Intraformational truncation surfaces in the underlying Waukesha Dolomite (upper Llandoverian to lower Wenlockian) clearly indicate the presence of a nearby carbonate slope. Therefore, the carbonate buildup originated prior to the Wenlockian and migrated further basinward than previously believed.

  15. Impact Of Coral Structures On Wave Directional Spreading Across A Shallow Reef Flat - Lizard Island, Northern Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leon, J. X.; Baldock, T.; Callaghan, D. P.; Hoegh-guldberg, O.; Mumby, P.; Phinn, S. R.; Roelfsema, C. M.; Saunders, M. I.

    2013-12-01

    Coral reef hydrodynamics operate at several and overlapping spatial-temporal scales. Waves have the most important forcing function on shallow (< 5 m) reefs as they drive most ecological and biogeochemical processes by exerting direct physical stress, directly mixing water (temperature and nutrients) and transporting sediments, nutrients and plankton. Reef flats are very effective at dissipating wave energy and providing an important ecosystem service by protecting highly valued shorelines. The effectiveness of reef flats to dissipate wave energy is related to the extreme hydraulic roughness of the benthos and substrate composition. Hydraulic roughness is usually obtained empirically from frictional-dissipation calculations, as detailed field measurements of bottom roughness (e.g. chain-method or profile gauges) is a very labour and time-consuming task. In this study we measured the impact of coral structures on wave directional spreading. Field data was collected during October 2012 across a reef flat on Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef. Wave surface levels were measured using an array of self-logging pressure sensors. A rapid in situ close-range photogrammetric method was used to create a high-resolution (0.5 cm) image mosaic and digital elevation model. Individual coral heads were extracted from these datasets using geo-morphometric and object-based image analysis techniques. Wave propagation was modelled using a modified version of the SWAN model which includes the measured coral structures in 2m by 1m cells across the reef. The approach followed a cylinder drag approach, neglecting skin friction and inertial components. Testing against field data included bed skin friction. Our results show, for the first time, how the variability of the reef benthos structures affects wave dissipation across a shallow reef flat. This has important implications globally for coral reefs, due to the large extent of their area occupied by reef flats, particularly, as

  16. Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) diversity in reef-invertebrates along an offshore to inshore reef gradient near Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Tonk, Linda; Sampayo, Eugenia M; LaJeunesse, Todd C; Schrameyer, Verena; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2014-06-01

    Despite extensive work on the genetic diversity of reef invertebrate-dinoflagellate symbioses on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR; Australia), large information gaps exist from northern and inshore regions. Therefore, a broad survey was done comparing the community of inshore, mid-shelf and outer reefs at the latitude of Lizard Island. Symbiodinium (Freudenthal) diversity was characterized using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting and sequencing of the ITS2 region of the ribosomal DNA. Thirty-nine distinct Symbiodinium types were identified from four subgeneric clades (B, C, D, and G). Several Symbiodinium types originally characterized from the Indian Ocean were discovered as well as eight novel types (C1kk, C1LL, C3nn, C26b, C161a, C162, C165, C166). Multivariate analyses on the Symbiodinium species diversity data showed a strong link with host identity, consistent with previous findings. Of the four environmental variables tested, mean austral winter sea surface temperature (SST) influenced Symbiodinium distribution across shelves most significantly. A similar result was found when the analysis was performed on Symbiodinium diversity data of genera with an open symbiont transmission mode separately with chl a and PAR explaining additional variation. This study underscores the importance of SST and water quality related variables as factors driving Symbiodinium distribution on cross-shelf scales. Furthermore, this study expands our knowledge on Symbiodinium species diversity, ecological partitioning (including host-specificity) and geographic ranges across the GBR. The accelerating rate of environmental change experienced by coral reef ecosystems emphasizes the need to comprehend the full complexity of cnidarian symbioses, including the biotic and abiotic factors that shape their current distributions.

  17. Parrotfish predation on massive Porites on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonaldo, R. M.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2011-03-01

    Parrotfish grazing scars on coral colonies were quantified across four reef zones at Lizard Island, Northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The abundance of parrotfish grazing scars was highest on reef flat and crest, with massive Porites spp . colonies having more parrotfish grazing scars than all other coral species combined. Massive Porites was the only coral type positively selected for grazing by parrotfishes in all four reef zones. The density of parrotfish grazing scars on massive Porites spp., and the rate of new scar formation, was highest on the reef crest and flat, reflecting the lower massive Porites cover and higher parrotfish abundance in these habitats. Overall, it appears that parrotfish predation pressure on corals could affect the abundance of preferred coral species, especially massive Porites spp , across the reef gradient. Parrotfish predation on corals may have a more important role on the GBR reefs than previously thought.

  18. Demography of the ecosystem engineer Crassostrea gigas, related to vertical reef accretion and reef persistence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walles, Brenda; Mann, Roger; Ysebaert, Tom; Troost, Karin; Herman, Peter M. J.; Smaal, Aad C.

    2015-03-01

    Marine species characterized as structure building, autogenic ecosystem engineers are recognized worldwide as potential tools for coastal adaptation efforts in the face of sea level rise. Successful employment of ecosystem engineers in coastal protection largely depends on long-term persistence of their structure, which is in turn dependent on the population dynamics of the individual species. Oysters, such as the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), are recognized as ecosystem engineers with potential for use in coastal protection. Persistence of oyster reefs is strongly determined by recruitment and shell production (growth), processes facilitated by gregarious settlement on extant shell substrate. Although the Pacific oyster has been introduced world-wide, and has formed dense reefs in the receiving coastal waters, the population biology of live oysters and the quantitative mechanisms maintaining these reefs has rarely been studied, hence the aim of the present work. This study had two objectives: (1) to describe the demographics of extant C. gigas reefs, and (2) to estimate vertical reef accretion rates and carbonate production in these oyster reefs. Three long-living oyster reefs (>30 years old), which have not been exploited since their first occurrence, were examined in the Oosterschelde estuary in the Netherlands. A positive reef accretion rate (7.0-16.9 mm year-1 shell material) was observed, consistent with self-maintenance and persistent structure. We provide a framework to predict reef accretion and population persistence under varying recruitment, growth and mortality scenarios.

  19. Assessing the additive risks of PSII herbicide exposure to the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Lewis, Stephen E; Schaffelke, Britta; Shaw, Melanie; Bainbridge, Zoë T; Rohde, Ken W; Kennedy, Karen; Davis, Aaron M; Masters, Bronwyn L; Devlin, Michelle J; Mueller, Jochen F; Brodie, Jon E

    2012-01-01

    Herbicide residues have been measured in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon at concentrations which have the potential to harm marine plant communities. Monitoring on the Great Barrier Reef lagoon following wet season discharge show that 80% of the time when herbicides are detected, more than one are present. These herbicides have been shown to act in an additive manner with regards to photosystem-II inhibition. In this study, the area of the Great Barrier Reef considered to be at risk from herbicides is compared when exposures are considered for each herbicide individually and also for herbicide mixtures. Two normalisation indices for herbicide mixtures were calculated based on current guidelines and PSII inhibition thresholds. The results show that the area of risk for most regions is greatly increased under the proposed additive PSII inhibition threshold and that the resilience of this important ecosystem could be reduced by exposure to these herbicides.

  20. Securing the future of the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, Terry P.; Day, Jon C.; Brodie, Jon

    2015-06-01

    The decline of the Great Barrier Reef can be reversed by improvements to governance and management: current policies that promote fossil fuels and economic development of the Reef region need to be reformed to prioritize long-term protection from climate change and other stressors.

  1. Coral reef community composition in the context of disturbance history on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed Central

    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. Coral mucus functions as an energy carrier and particle trap in the reef ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Wild, Christian; Huettel, Markus; Klueter, Anke; Kremb, Stephan G; Rasheed, Mohammed Y M; Jørgensen, Bo B

    2004-03-01

    Zooxanthellae, endosymbiotic algae of reef-building corals, substantially contribute to the high gross primary production of coral reefs, but corals exude up to half of the carbon assimilated by their zooxanthellae as mucus. Here we show that released coral mucus efficiently traps organic matter from the water column and rapidly carries energy and nutrients to the reef lagoon sediment, which acts as a biocatalytic mineralizing filter. In the Great Barrier Reef, the dominant genus of hard corals, Acropora, exudes up to 4.8 litres of mucus per square metre of reef area per day. Between 56% and 80% of this mucus dissolves in the reef water, which is filtered through the lagoon sands. Here, coral mucus is degraded at a turnover rate of at least 7% per hour. Detached undissolved mucus traps suspended particles, increasing its initial organic carbon and nitrogen content by three orders of magnitude within 2 h. Tidal currents concentrate these mucus aggregates into the lagoon, where they rapidly settle. Coral mucus provides light energy harvested by the zooxanthellae and trapped particles to the heterotrophic reef community, thereby establishing a recycling loop that supports benthic life, while reducing loss of energy and nutrients from the reef ecosystem.

  4. Stochastic dynamics of a warmer Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Cooper, Jennifer K; Spencer, Matthew; Bruno, John F

    2015-07-01

    Pressure on natural communities from human activities continues to increase. Even unique ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), that until recently were considered near-pristine and well-protected, are showing signs of rapid degradation. We collated recent (1996-2006) spatiotemporal relationships between benthic community composition on the GBR and environmental variables (ocean temperature and local threats resulting from human activity). We built multivariate models of the effects of these variables on short-term dynamics, and developed an analytical approach to study their long-term consequences. We used this approach to study the effects of ocean warming under different levels of local threat. Observed short-term changes in benthic community structure (e.g., declining coral cover) were associated with ocean temperature (warming) and local threats. Our model projected that, in the long-term, coral cover of less than 10% was not implausible. With increasing temperature and/or local threats, corals were initially replaced by sponges, gorgonians, and other taxa, with an eventual moderately high probability of domination (> 50%) by macroalgae when temperature increase was greatest (e.g., 3.5 degrees C of warming). Our approach to modeling community dynamics, based on multivariate statistical models, enabled us to project how environmental change (and thus local and international policy decisions) will influence the future state of coral reefs. The same approach could be applied to other systems for which time series of ecological and environmental variables are available.

  5. Stochastic dynamics of a warmer Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Cooper, Jennifer K; Spencer, Matthew; Bruno, John F

    2015-07-01

    Pressure on natural communities from human activities continues to increase. Even unique ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), that until recently were considered near-pristine and well-protected, are showing signs of rapid degradation. We collated recent (1996-2006) spatiotemporal relationships between benthic community composition on the GBR and environmental variables (ocean temperature and local threats resulting from human activity). We built multivariate models of the effects of these variables on short-term dynamics, and developed an analytical approach to study their long-term consequences. We used this approach to study the effects of ocean warming under different levels of local threat. Observed short-term changes in benthic community structure (e.g., declining coral cover) were associated with ocean temperature (warming) and local threats. Our model projected that, in the long-term, coral cover of less than 10% was not implausible. With increasing temperature and/or local threats, corals were initially replaced by sponges, gorgonians, and other taxa, with an eventual moderately high probability of domination (> 50%) by macroalgae when temperature increase was greatest (e.g., 3.5 degrees C of warming). Our approach to modeling community dynamics, based on multivariate statistical models, enabled us to project how environmental change (and thus local and international policy decisions) will influence the future state of coral reefs. The same approach could be applied to other systems for which time series of ecological and environmental variables are available. PMID:26378303

  6. Assessment of uncertainty in Great Barrier Reef catchment models.

    PubMed

    Herr, A; Kuhnert, P M

    2007-01-01

    This paper addresses uncertainty in socio-economic and sediment-nutrient models that are being developed for the assessment of change in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) area. The catchments draining into the GBR lagoon are sources of pollutants. The Reef Water Quality Management Plan of the Queensland Government identified sediments and nutrients transported to the GBR lagoon as the major long-term threats to the reef and inshore ecosystems and the wellbeing of the human communities. The plan clearly indicates that changes in land management are required by 2013 to reduce pollutant inputs and, at the same time, maintain or enhance the benefits from using the inland waters. Science that provides decision tools for natural resource management and improves socio-economic and biophysical understanding is required to enable managers to make better decisions. A major research activity (the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship) aims to address social, economic and biophysical outcomes of land management change in the GBR. It contains research activities that provide information for integrated model development. Currently, however, these models lack the ability to estimate the uncertainty associated with prediction. This project aims to provide statistical methods for assessing uncertainty in models of sediment transportation to the GBR. Furthermore, it provides a link between the models and the decision-making process that allows assessment of uncertainty, a step pertinent to the risk analysis of policy options. This paper describes current and ongoing approaches for assessing uncertainty using a sediment modelling example and provides a way forward for the integration of applied socio-economic and biophysical models used in the decision-making process. PMID:17711014

  7. Water quality in the Great Barrier Reef region: responses of mangrove, seagrass and macroalgal communities.

    PubMed

    Schaffelke, Britta; Mellors, Jane; Duke, Norman C

    2005-01-01

    Marine plants colonise several interconnected ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef region including tidal wetlands, seagrass meadows and coral reefs. Water quality in some coastal areas is declining from human activities. Losses of mangrove and other tidal wetland communities are mostly the result of reclamation for coastal development of estuaries, e.g. for residential use, port infrastructure or marina development, and result in river bank destabilisation, deterioration of water clarity and loss of key coastal marine habitat. Coastal seagrass meadows are characterized by small ephemeral species. They are disturbed by increased turbidity after extreme flood events, but generally recover. There is no evidence of an overall seagrass decline or expansion. High nutrient and substrate availability and low grazing pressure on nearshore reefs have lead to changed benthic communities with high macroalgal abundance. Conservation and management of GBR macrophytes and their ecosystems is hampered by scarce ecological knowledge across macrophyte community types. PMID:15757728

  8. Trapping and dispersion of coral eggs around Bowden Reef, Great Barrier Reef, following mass coral spawning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolanski, Eric; Burrage, Derek; King, Brian

    1989-05-01

    Bowden Reef is a 5 km long kidney-shaped coral reef with a lagoon, located on the mid-shelf of the central region of the Great Barrier Reef. Field studies were carried out, in November 1986, at the time of mass coral spawning, of the water circulation around Bowden Reef and in the surrounding inter-reefal waters. The near-reef water circulation was strongly three-dimensional although the stratification was weak. In calm weather, coral eggs were aggregated in slicks along topographically controlled fronts. In the absence of a longshore current, water and coral eggs were trapped in the lagoon and in a boundary layer around Bowden Reef, by tidally driven recirculating motions. In the presence of a longshore current, some trapping occurred in the lagoon, but the bulk of the coral eggs was advected away from Bowden Reef and reached downstream reefs in a few days. This implies a likelihood of both self-seeding of reefs, and connectivity between reefs.

  9. Mid-late Holocene Reef Growth and Sedimentation History at Inshore Fringing Reefs in the Central Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryan, E.; Smithers, S.; Lewis, S.; Zhao, J. X.; Clark, T.

    2014-12-01

    Inshore coral reefs of Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are threatened by terrestrial sediment loads that are argued to have increased by five to six times since coastal catchments were settled by Europeans in the mid-1850s. Nutrient and contaminant delivery to the inshore GBR has also increased over this period. However, direct evidence that European colonisation has changed the ecology of inshore reefs on the GBR remains limited, partly due to a lack of baseline historical data on coral reef growth. Coral reefs have been growing in inshore areas of the GBR since 6 or 7 ky BP, and have experienced natural fluctuations in terrestrial sediment loads over this period. For example, floods associated with episodic cyclones and major rainfall events often deliver pulses of sediment, especially if they follow prolonged dry spells. To better understand this history of sediment influx and reef development, we have examined in detail the chronostratigraphy of several inshore GBR reefs that have grown since the mid-Holocene. Here, we report on eight percussion cores collected at Bramston Reef (148°15'E, 20°03'S). Two cores terminate in the pre-Holocene substrate and therefore capture the entire Holocene sequence of both reef framework and terrigenous sediment matrix. Results from detailed core analyses indicate variable sedimentation patterns throughout the period of reef development. Furthermore, reef ecological condition and variability through the mid-late Holocene is described using palaeoecological analyses. We explore the impacts of sedimentation variability on reef growth and ecology, and compare reef ecological condition pre- and post-European colonisation.

  10. 77 FR 12567 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-03-01

    ... Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Logbook and Reporting AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric... Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit (authorized under the Fishery Management Plan for Coral Reef... the logbooks is used to obtain fish catch/fishing effort data on coral reef fishes and...

  11. Benthic foraminifera baseline assemblages from a coastal nearshore reef complex on the central Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  12. The importance of structural complexity in coral reef ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, N. A. J.; Nash, K. L.

    2013-06-01

    The importance of structural complexity in coral reefs has come to the fore with the global degradation of reef condition; however, the limited scale and replication of many studies have restricted our understanding of the role of complexity in the ecosystem. We qualitatively and quantitatively (where sufficient standardised data were available) assess the literature regarding the role of structural complexity in coral reef ecosystems. A rapidly increasing number of publications have studied the role of complexity in reef ecosystems over the past four decades, with a concomitant increase in the diversity of methods used to quantify structure. Quantitative analyses of existing data indicate a strong negative relationship between structural complexity and algal cover, which may reflect the important role complexity plays in enhancing herbivory by reef fishes. The cover of total live coral and branching coral was positively correlated with structural complexity. These habitat attributes may be creating much of the structure, resulting in a collinear relationship; however, there is also evidence of enhanced coral recovery from disturbances where structural complexity is high. Urchin densities were negatively correlated with structural complexity; a relationship that may be driven by urchins eroding reef structure or by their gregarious behaviour when in open space. There was a strong positive relationship between structural complexity and fish density and biomass, likely mediated through density-dependent competition and refuge from predation. More variable responses were found when assessing individual fish families, with all families examined displaying a positive relationship to structural complexity, but only half of these relationships were significant. Although only corroborated with qualitative data, structural complexity also seems to have a positive effect on two ecosystem services: tourism and shoreline protection. Clearly, structural complexity is an

  13. Impacts of Artificial Reefs on Surrounding Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Manoukian, Sarine

    Artificial reefs are becoming a popular biological and management component in shallow water environments characterized by soft seabed, representing both important marine habitats and tools to manage coastal fisheries and resources. An artificial reef in the marine environment acts as an open system with exchange of material and energy, altering the physical and biological characteristics of the surrounding area. Reef stability will depend on the balance of scour, settlement, and burial resulting from ocean conditions over time. Because of the unstable nature of sediments, they require a detailed and systematic investigation. Acoustic systems like high-frequency multibeam sonar are efficient tools in monitoring the environmental evolution around artificial reefs, whereas water turbidity can limit visual dive and ROV inspections. A high-frequency multibeam echo sounder offers the potential of detecting fine-scale distribution of reef units, providing an unprecedented level of resolution, coverage, and spatial definition. How do artificial reefs change over time in relation to the coastal processes? How accurately does multibeam technology map different typologies of artificial modules of known size and shape? How do artificial reefs affect fish school behavior? What are the limitations of multibeam technology for investigating fish school distribution as well as spatial and temporal changes? This study addresses the above questions and presents results of a new approach for artificial reef seafloor mapping over time, based upon an integrated analysis of multibeam swath bathymetry data and geoscientific information (backscatter data analysis, SCUBA observations, physical oceanographic data, and previous findings on the geology and sedimentation processes, integrated with unpublished data) from Senigallia artificial reef, northwestern Adriatic Sea (Italy) and St. Petersburg Beach Reef, west-central Florida continental shelf. A new approach for observation of fish

  14. Exploring the hidden shallows: extensive reef development and resilience within the turbid nearshore Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morgan, Kyle; Perry, Chris; Smithers, Scott; Johnson, Jamie; Daniell, James

    2016-04-01

    Mean coral cover on Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has reportedly declined by over 15% during the last 30 years. Climate change events and outbreaks of coral disease have been major drivers of degradation, often exacerbating the stresses caused by localised human activities (e.g. elevated sediment and nutrient inputs). Here, however, in the first assessment of nearshore reef occurrence and ecology across meaningful spatial scales (15.5 sq km), we show that areas of the GBR shelf have exhibited strong intra-regional variability in coral resilience to declining water quality. Specifically, within the highly-turbid "mesophotic" nearshore (<10 m depth) of the central GBR, where terrigenous seafloor sediments are persistently resuspended by wave processes, coral cover averages 38% (twice that reported on mid- and outer-shelf reefs). Of the mapped area, 11% of the seafloor has distinct reef or coral community cover, a density comparable to that measured across the entire GBR shelf (9%). Identified coral taxa (21 genera) exhibited clear depth-stratification corresponding closely to light attenuation and seafloor topography. Reefs have accreted relatively rapidly during the late-Holocene (1.8-3.0 mm y-1) with rates of vertical reef growth influenced by intrinsic shifts in coral assemblages associated with reef development. Indeed, these shallow-water reefs may have similar potential as refugia from large-scale disturbance as their deep-water (>30 m) "mesophotic" equivalents, and also provide a basis from which to model future trajectories of reef growth within nearshore areas.

  15. Exploring the hidden shallows: extensive reef development and resilience within the turbid nearshore Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morgan, Kyle; Perry, Chris; Smithers, Scott; Johnson, Jamie; Daniell, James

    2016-04-01

    Mean coral cover on Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has reportedly declined by over 15% during the last 30 years. Climate change events and outbreaks of coral disease have been major drivers of degradation, often exacerbating the stresses caused by localised human activities (e.g. elevated sediment and nutrient inputs). Here, however, in the first assessment of nearshore reef occurrence and ecology across meaningful spatial scales (15.5 sq km), we show that areas of the GBR shelf have exhibited strong intra-regional variability in coral resilience to declining water quality. Specifically, within the highly-turbid "mesophotic" nearshore (<10 m depth) of the central GBR, where terrigenous seafloor sediments are persistently resuspended by wave processes, coral cover averages 38% (twice that reported on mid- and outer-shelf reefs). Of the mapped area, 11% of the seafloor has distinct reef or coral community cover, a density comparable to that measured across the entire GBR shelf (9%). Identified coral taxa (21 genera) exhibited clear depth-stratification corresponding closely to light attenuation and seafloor topography. Reefs have accreted relatively rapidly during the late-Holocene (1.8-3.0 mm y‑1) with rates of vertical reef growth influenced by intrinsic shifts in coral assemblages associated with reef development. Indeed, these shallow-water reefs may have similar potential as refugia from large-scale disturbance as their deep-water (>30 m) "mesophotic" equivalents, and also provide a basis from which to model future trajectories of reef growth within nearshore areas.

  16. 76 FR 77779 - Availability of Seats for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-12-14

    ... Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS... the following vacant seats on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory....byers@noaa.gov . SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve is a ]...

  17. 77 FR 16211 - Availability of Seats for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-03-20

    ... Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS... the following vacant seats on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory... . SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve is a marine protected area designed to...

  18. 78 FR 49258 - Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-08-13

    ... Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic... assessment; request for comments. SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to issue a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that would authorize Kampachi Farms, LLC, to culture and harvest a coral reef ecosystem...

  19. Valuing coral reefs: a travel cost analysis of the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Carr, Liam; Mendelsohn, Robert

    2003-08-01

    This study examines domestic and international travel to the Great Barrier Reef in order to estimate the benefits the reef provides to the 2 million visitors each year. The study explores the problems of functional form and of measuring travel cost for international visits: comparing actual costs, distance, and lowest price fares. The best estimates of the annual recreational benefits of the Great Barrier Reef range between USD 700 million to 1.6 billion. The domestic value to Australia is about USD 400 million, but the estimated value to more distant countries depends on the definition of travel cost and the functional form. The study conclusively demonstrates that there are very high benefits associated with protecting high quality coral reefs. PMID:14571965

  20. Predicting water toxicity: pairing passive sampling with bioassays on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Shaw, Melanie; Negri, Andrew; Fabricius, Katharina; Mueller, Jochen F

    2009-11-01

    Many coral reefs worldwide occur adjacent to urban or agricultural land which places these ecosystems at threat of exposure to complex mixtures of pollutants. In this study, the pairing of passive sampler extracts with bioassays is proposed as a tool for predicting effects of organic pollutant mixtures on key biota within coral reef ecosystems. Passive samplers, SDB-RPS Empore disks, which sequester a mixture of the contaminants present in the environment, were deployed at three sites in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Extracts from these samplers were analysed for herbicides and applied to bioassays targeting integral life stages or functions of coral reef biota. Biota included scleractinian coral larvae, sea urchin larvae, a marine diatom and marine bacteria. Photosynthesis in the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum was inhibited at the sampled environmental concentration while an environmental concentration factor of 15 times inhibited luminescence in the marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri. Concentrations of 50 times sampled environmental levels of organic pollutants inhibited >90% of Acropora millepora settlement and 100-fold environmental enrichment inhibited 100% Heliocidaris tuberculata larval development. These results demonstrate the utility of pairing passive sampling with bioassays and reveal that mixtures of organic pollutants in the GBR have the potential to cause detrimental effects to coral reef biota.

  1. Low calcification in corals in the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhattacharya, Atreyee

    2012-10-01

    Reef-building coral communities in the Great Barrier Reef—the world's largest coral reef—may now be calcifying at only about half the rate that they did during the 1970s, even though live coral cover may not have changed over the past 40 years, a new study finds. In recent decades, coral reefs around the world, home to large numbers of fish and other marine species, have been threatened by such human activities as pollution, overfishing, global warming, and ocean acidification; the latter affects ambient water chemistry and availability of calcium ions, which are critical for coral communities to calcify, build, and maintain reefs. Comparing data from reef surveys during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s with present-day (2009) measurements of calcification rates in One Tree Island, a coral reef covering 13 square kilometers in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, Silverman et al. show that the total calcification rates (the rate of calcification minus the rate of dissolution) in these coral communities have decreased by 44% over the past 40 years; the decrease appears to stem from a threefold reduction in calcification rates during nighttime.

  2. First frozen repository for the Great Barrier Reef coral created.

    PubMed

    Hagedorn, Mary; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Carter, Virginia; Henley, Mike; Abrego, David; Puill-Stephan, Eneour; Negri, Andrew; Heyward, Andrew; MacFarlane, Doug; Spindler, Rebecca

    2012-10-01

    To build new tools for the continued protection and propagation of coral from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), an international group of coral and cryopreservation scientists known as the Reef Recovery Initiative joined forces during the November 2011 mass-spawning event. The outcome was the creation of the first frozen bank for Australian coral from two important GBR reef-building species, Acropora tenuis and Acropora millepora. Approximately 190 frozen samples each with billions of cells were placed into long-term storage. Sperm cells were successfully cryopreserved, and after thawing, samples were used to fertilize eggs, resulting in functioning larvae. Additionally, developing larvae were dissociated, and these pluripotent cells were cryopreserved and viable after thawing. Now, we are in a unique position to move our work from the laboratory to the reefs to develop collaborative, practical conservation management tools to help secure Australia's coral biodiversity.

  3. Hindcast hurricane characteristics on the Belize barrier reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kjerfve, B.; Dinnel, S. P.

    1983-05-01

    Hurricane Greta was the most intense of the 1978 Atlantic hurricanes, with a minimum central pressure of 947 hPa (mb) just prior to passage across the Belize barrier reef in the western Caribbean. At Carrie Bow Cay, along the Belize barrier reef, 12 km south of the point where the storm crossed the barrier, coral reef damage was moderate and island damage rather extensive. Felled palm trees indicated that the most destructive storm force came from the SW, from across the barrier reef lagoon. Hindcasting of hurricane winds at Carrie Bow indicated that the palms probably fell in response to the most intense storm winds from the SW. Hindcast, significant waves at Carrie Bow reached a maximum height of 10.0 m with a period of 12.7 s. The largest waves that reached Carrie Bow from across the lagoon were hindcast to have a significant wave height of 2.8 m, significant period of 7.0 s and were responsible for construction of a storm berm at Carrie Bow, facing the lagoon.

  4. Physical connectivity in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System inferred from 9 years of ocean color observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soto, I.; Andréfouët, S.; Hu, C.; Muller-Karger, F. E.; Wall, C. C.; Sheng, J.; Hatcher, B. G.

    2009-06-01

    Ocean color images acquired from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) from 1998 to 2006 were used to examine the patterns of physical connectivity between land and reefs, and among reefs in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) in the northwestern Caribbean Sea. Connectivity was inferred by tracking surface water features in weekly climatologies and a time series of weekly mean chlorophyll- a concentrations derived from satellite imagery. Frequency of spatial connections between 17 pre-defined, geomorphological domains that include the major reefs in the MBRS and river deltas in Honduras and Nicaragua were recorded and tabulated as percentage of connections. The 9-year time series of 466 weekly mean images portrays clearly the seasonal patterns of connectivity, including river plumes and transitions in the aftermath of perturbations such as hurricanes. River plumes extended offshore from the Honduras coast to the Bay Islands (Utila, Cayo Cochinos, Guanaja, and Roatán) in 70% of the weekly mean images. Belizean reefs, especially those in the southern section of the barrier reef and Glovers Atoll, were also affected by riverine discharges in every one of the 9 years. Glovers Atoll was exposed to river plumes originating in Honduras 104/466 times (22%) during this period. Plumes from eastern Honduras went as far as Banco Chinchorro and Cozumel in Mexico. Chinchorro appeared to be more frequently connected to Turneffe Atoll and Honduran rivers than with Glovers and Lighthouse Atolls, despite their geographic proximity. This new satellite data analysis provides long-term, quantitative assessments of the main pathways of connectivity in the region. The percentage of connections can be used to validate predictions made using other approaches such as numerical modeling, and provides valuable information to ecosystem-based management in coral reef provinces.

  5. Surface alkaline phosphatase activities of macroalgae on coral reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schaffelke, B.

    2001-05-01

    Inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are subject to episodic nutrient supply, mainly by flood events, whereas midshelf reefs have a more consistent low nutrient availability. Alkaline phosphatase activity (APA) enables macroalgae to increase their phosphorus (P) supply by using organic P. APA was high (~4.0 to 15.5 µmol PO4 3- g DW-1 h-1) in species colonising predominantly inshore reefs and low (<2 µmol PO4 3- g DW-1 h-1) in species with a cross-shelf distribution. However, APA values of GBR algae in this study were much lower than data reported from other coral reef systems. In experiments with two Sargassum species tissue P levels were correlated negatively, and N:P ratios were positively correlated with APA. High APA can compensate for a relative P-limitation of macroalgae in coral reef systems that are subject to significant N-inputs, such as the GBR inshore reefs. APA and other mechanisms to acquire a range of nutrient species allow inshore species to thrive in habitats with episodic nutrient supply. These species also are likely to benefit from an increased nutrient supply caused by human activity, which currently is a global problem.

  6. Controls on Diel and Seasonal Aragonite Saturation State and Carbon Dioxide Variability in a Hawaiian Coral Reef Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shamberger, K. E.; Drupp, P.; Feely, R. A.; Sabine, C. L.; Solomon, R. F.; De Carlo, E. H.; Mackenzie, F. T.; Atkinson, M. J.

    2011-12-01

    The Coral Reef Instrumented Monitoring and CO2-Platform (CRIMP-CO2) was deployed in the southern Kaneohe Bay lagoon from December 2005 through May 2008, then on the Kaneohe Bay barrier reef from June 2008 to the present. The surface water temperature, partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2sw), and aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) of barrier reef waters were similar to those in the southern bay lagoon on seasonal and annual time scales. The pCO2sw in Kaneohe Bay was higher in the summer than winter because temperature was also higher in summer. However, temperature and pCO2sw have opposing effects on Ωarag which resulted in a lack of seasonality in Ωarag. Deeper southern bay lagoon waters had attenuated diel cycles compared to the shallow and biogeochemically active barrier reef. Photosynthesis and respiration controlled the diel cycles of Ωarag and pCO2sw and resulted in large changes in both parameters on hourly time scales. The Ωarag levels in Kaneohe Bay were depressed, and pCO2sw levels elevated, compared to levels in the open ocean and in other coral reef systems because of high net ecosystem calcification (NEC) rates. NEC produced enough CO2 to maintain high pCO2sw levels while daily net photosynthesis consumed some CO2. As demonstrated for Kaneohe Bay, the biogeochemical cycles occurring in coral reef ecosystems strongly alter the Ωarag and pCO2sw of their open-ocean source waters. Taking into account the CO2 cycling within coral reef ecosystems may help determine which reefs will be negatively affected by ocean acidification in the near future.

  7. Environmental quality and preservation; bedrock beneath reefs; the importance of geology in understanding biological decline in a modern reef ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lidz, Barbara H.

    2000-01-01

    Environmental Quality and Preservation-Bedrock Beneath Reefs: the Importance of Geology in Understanding Biological Decline in a Modern Ecosystem' is a four-page and one-plate full-color discussion of the geologic framework and evolutionary history of the coral reef ecosystem that lines the outer shelf off the Florida Keys.

  8. Environmental Records from Great Barrier Reef Corals: inshore versus offshore drivers.

    PubMed

    Walther, Benjamin D; Kingsford, Michael J; McCulloch, Malcolm T

    2013-01-01

    The biogenic structures of stationary organisms can be effective recorders of environmental fluctuations. These proxy records of environmental change are preserved as geochemical signals in the carbonate skeletons of scleractinian corals and are useful for reconstructions of temporal and spatial fluctuations in the physical and chemical environments of coral reef ecosystems, including The Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We compared multi-year monitoring of water temperature and dissolved elements with analyses of chemical proxies recorded in Porites coral skeletons to identify the divergent mechanisms driving environmental variation at inshore versus offshore reefs. At inshore reefs, water Ba/Ca increased with the onset of monsoonal rains each year, indicating a dominant control of flooding on inshore ambient chemistry. Inshore multi-decadal records of coral Ba/Ca were also highly periodic in response to flood-driven pulses of terrigenous material. In contrast, an offshore reef at the edge of the continental shelf was subject to annual upwelling of waters that were presumed to be richer in Ba during summer months. Regular pulses of deep cold water were delivered to the reef as indicated by in situ temperature loggers and coral Ba/Ca. Our results indicate that although much of the GBR is subject to periodic environmental fluctuations, the mechanisms driving variation depend on proximity to the coast. Inshore reefs are primarily influenced by variable freshwater delivery and terrigenous erosion of catchments, while offshore reefs are dominated by seasonal and inter-annual variations in oceanographic conditions that influence the propensity for upwelling. The careful choice of sites can help distinguish between the various factors that promote Ba uptake in corals and therefore increase the utility of corals as monitors of spatial and temporal variation in environmental conditions.

  9. Temporal clustering of tropical cyclones on the Great Barrier Reef and its ecological importance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolff, Nicholas H.; Wong, Aaron; Vitolo, Renato; Stolberg, Kristin; Anthony, Kenneth R. N.; Mumby, Peter J.

    2016-06-01

    Tropical cyclones have been a major cause of reef coral decline during recent decades, including on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). While cyclones are a natural element of the disturbance regime of coral reefs, the role of temporal clustering has previously been overlooked. Here, we examine the consequences of different types of cyclone temporal distributions (clustered, stochastic or regular) on reef ecosystems. We subdivided the GBR into 14 adjoining regions, each spanning roughly 300 km, and quantified both the rate and clustering of cyclones using dispersion statistics. To interpret the consequences of such cyclone variability for coral reef health, we used a model of observed coral population dynamics. Results showed that clustering occurs on the margins of the cyclone belt, being strongest in the southern reefs and the far northern GBR, which also has the lowest cyclone rate. In the central GBR, where rates were greatest, cyclones had a relatively regular temporal pattern. Modelled dynamics of the dominant coral genus, Acropora, suggest that the long-term average cover might be more than 13 % greater (in absolute cover units) under a clustered cyclone regime compared to stochastic or regular regimes. Thus, not only does cyclone clustering vary significantly along the GBR but such clustering is predicted to have a marked, and management-relevant, impact on the status of coral populations. Additionally, we use our regional clustering and rate results to sample from a library of over 7000 synthetic cyclone tracks for the GBR. This allowed us to provide robust reef-scale maps of annual cyclone frequency and cyclone impacts on Acropora. We conclude that assessments of coral reef vulnerability need to account for both spatial and temporal cyclone distributions.

  10. Environmental Records from Great Barrier Reef Corals: Inshore versus Offshore Drivers

    PubMed Central

    Walther, Benjamin D.; Kingsford, Michael J.; McCulloch, Malcolm T.

    2013-01-01

    The biogenic structures of stationary organisms can be effective recorders of environmental fluctuations. These proxy records of environmental change are preserved as geochemical signals in the carbonate skeletons of scleractinian corals and are useful for reconstructions of temporal and spatial fluctuations in the physical and chemical environments of coral reef ecosystems, including The Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We compared multi-year monitoring of water temperature and dissolved elements with analyses of chemical proxies recorded in Porites coral skeletons to identify the divergent mechanisms driving environmental variation at inshore versus offshore reefs. At inshore reefs, water Ba/Ca increased with the onset of monsoonal rains each year, indicating a dominant control of flooding on inshore ambient chemistry. Inshore multi-decadal records of coral Ba/Ca were also highly periodic in response to flood-driven pulses of terrigenous material. In contrast, an offshore reef at the edge of the continental shelf was subject to annual upwelling of waters that were presumed to be richer in Ba during summer months. Regular pulses of deep cold water were delivered to the reef as indicated by in situ temperature loggers and coral Ba/Ca. Our results indicate that although much of the GBR is subject to periodic environmental fluctuations, the mechanisms driving variation depend on proximity to the coast. Inshore reefs are primarily influenced by variable freshwater delivery and terrigenous erosion of catchments, while offshore reefs are dominated by seasonal and inter-annual variations in oceanographic conditions that influence the propensity for upwelling. The careful choice of sites can help distinguish between the various factors that promote Ba uptake in corals and therefore increase the utility of corals as monitors of spatial and temporal variation in environmental conditions. PMID:24204743

  11. Environmental Records from Great Barrier Reef Corals: inshore versus offshore drivers.

    PubMed

    Walther, Benjamin D; Kingsford, Michael J; McCulloch, Malcolm T

    2013-01-01

    The biogenic structures of stationary organisms can be effective recorders of environmental fluctuations. These proxy records of environmental change are preserved as geochemical signals in the carbonate skeletons of scleractinian corals and are useful for reconstructions of temporal and spatial fluctuations in the physical and chemical environments of coral reef ecosystems, including The Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We compared multi-year monitoring of water temperature and dissolved elements with analyses of chemical proxies recorded in Porites coral skeletons to identify the divergent mechanisms driving environmental variation at inshore versus offshore reefs. At inshore reefs, water Ba/Ca increased with the onset of monsoonal rains each year, indicating a dominant control of flooding on inshore ambient chemistry. Inshore multi-decadal records of coral Ba/Ca were also highly periodic in response to flood-driven pulses of terrigenous material. In contrast, an offshore reef at the edge of the continental shelf was subject to annual upwelling of waters that were presumed to be richer in Ba during summer months. Regular pulses of deep cold water were delivered to the reef as indicated by in situ temperature loggers and coral Ba/Ca. Our results indicate that although much of the GBR is subject to periodic environmental fluctuations, the mechanisms driving variation depend on proximity to the coast. Inshore reefs are primarily influenced by variable freshwater delivery and terrigenous erosion of catchments, while offshore reefs are dominated by seasonal and inter-annual variations in oceanographic conditions that influence the propensity for upwelling. The careful choice of sites can help distinguish between the various factors that promote Ba uptake in corals and therefore increase the utility of corals as monitors of spatial and temporal variation in environmental conditions. PMID:24204743

  12. An observational heat budget analysis of a coral reef, Heron Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacKellar, Mellissa C.; McGowan, Hamish A.; Phinn, Stuart R.

    2013-03-01

    Measurements of the surface energy balance, the structure and evolution of the convective atmospheric reef layer (CARL), and local meteorology and hydrodynamics were made during June 2009 and February 2010 at Heron Reef, Australia, to establish the relative partitioning of heating within the water and atmosphere. Horizontal advection was shown to moderate temperature in the CARL and the water, having a cooling influence on the atmosphere, and providing an additional source or sink of energy to the water overlying the reef, depending on tide. The key driver of atmospheric heating was surface sensible heat flux, while heating of the reef water was primarily due to solar radiation, and thermal conduction and convection from the reef substrate. Heating and cooling processes were more defined during winter due to higher sensible and latent heat fluxes and strong diurnal evolution of the CARL. Sudden increases in water temperature were associated with inundation of warmer oceanic water during the flood tide, particularly in winter due to enhanced nocturnal cooling of water overlying the reef. Similarly, cooling of the water over the reef occurred during the ebb tide as heat was transported off the reef to the surrounding ocean. While these results are the first to shed light on the heat budget of a coral reef and overlying CARL, longer-term, systematic measurements of reef thermal budgets are needed under a range of meteorological and hydrodynamic conditions, and across various reef types to elucidate the influence on larger-scale oceanic and atmospheric processes. This is essential for understanding the role of coral reefs in tropical and sub-tropical meteorology; the physical processes that take place during coral bleaching events, and coral and algal community dynamics on coral reefs.

  13. Devonian Great Barrier Reef of Canning basin, Western Australia

    SciTech Connect

    Playford, P.E.

    1980-06-01

    A well-preserved Middle to Upper Devonian barrier-reef belt is exhumed as a series of limestone ranges for 350 km along the northern margin of the Canning basin. The reefs are of international importance for reef research because of the excellence of exposures and the lack of extensive dolomitization or structural deformation. They are also known in the subsurface, where they are regarded as prime objectives for oil exploration. The platforms were built by stromatoporoids, algae, and corals in the Givetian and Frasnian, and by algae in the Famennian. The platform and basin deposits were laid down nearly horizontally, whereas the marginal-slope deposits accumulated on steep depositional slopes. Geopetal fabrics, which quantify depositional and tectonic-compactional dip components, provide paleobathymetric data concerning the reef complexes and their fossil biotas. The reef limestones were subject to strong submarine cementation, resulting in very early porosity destruction, whereas the back-reef deposits of the platform interiors remained largely uncemented and retained most of their primary porosity. Stylolitization and associated compaction were greatest in limestones whose primary porosity was not destroyed by early submarine cementation. Consequently the platform interiors have compacted more than the margins, resulting in the typical concave shape of many platforms. Cementation concomitant with stylolitization destroyed most of the porosity that remained in the limestones after early submarine diagenesis. The most porous rocks now are dolomites having secondary moldic porosity. 27 figures.

  14. 77 FR 12243 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-02-29

    ... Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Permit Form AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration... vessel to fish for Western Pacific coral reef ecosystem management unit species in the designated low-use... regulations; or (3) fishing for, taking, or retaining any Potentially Harvested Coral Reef Taxa in the...

  15. Management Strategy Evaluation Applied to Coral Reef Ecosystems in Support of Ecosystem-Based Management.

    PubMed

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A; Brainard, Russell E

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem modelling is increasingly used to explore ecosystem-level effects of changing environmental conditions and management actions. For coral reefs there has been increasing interest in recent decades in the use of ecosystem models for evaluating the effects of fishing and the efficacy of marine protected areas. However, ecosystem models that integrate physical forcings, biogeochemical and ecological dynamics, and human induced perturbations are still underdeveloped. We applied an ecosystem model (Atlantis) to the coral reef ecosystem of Guam using a suite of management scenarios prioritized in consultation with local resource managers to review the effects of each scenario on performance measures related to the ecosystem, the reef-fish fishery (e.g., fish landings) and coral habitat. Comparing tradeoffs across the selected scenarios showed that each scenario performed best for at least one of the selected performance indicators. The integrated 'full regulation' scenario outperformed other scenarios with four out of the six performance metrics at the cost of reef-fish landings. This model application quantifies the socio-ecological costs and benefits of alternative management scenarios. When the effects of climate change were taken into account, several scenarios performed equally well, but none prevented a collapse in coral biomass over the next few decades assuming a business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions scenario.

  16. Management Strategy Evaluation Applied to Coral Reef Ecosystems in Support of Ecosystem-Based Management.

    PubMed

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A; Brainard, Russell E

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem modelling is increasingly used to explore ecosystem-level effects of changing environmental conditions and management actions. For coral reefs there has been increasing interest in recent decades in the use of ecosystem models for evaluating the effects of fishing and the efficacy of marine protected areas. However, ecosystem models that integrate physical forcings, biogeochemical and ecological dynamics, and human induced perturbations are still underdeveloped. We applied an ecosystem model (Atlantis) to the coral reef ecosystem of Guam using a suite of management scenarios prioritized in consultation with local resource managers to review the effects of each scenario on performance measures related to the ecosystem, the reef-fish fishery (e.g., fish landings) and coral habitat. Comparing tradeoffs across the selected scenarios showed that each scenario performed best for at least one of the selected performance indicators. The integrated 'full regulation' scenario outperformed other scenarios with four out of the six performance metrics at the cost of reef-fish landings. This model application quantifies the socio-ecological costs and benefits of alternative management scenarios. When the effects of climate change were taken into account, several scenarios performed equally well, but none prevented a collapse in coral biomass over the next few decades assuming a business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions scenario. PMID:27023183

  17. Management Strategy Evaluation Applied to Coral Reef Ecosystems in Support of Ecosystem-Based Management

    PubMed Central

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A.; Brainard, Russell E.

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem modelling is increasingly used to explore ecosystem-level effects of changing environmental conditions and management actions. For coral reefs there has been increasing interest in recent decades in the use of ecosystem models for evaluating the effects of fishing and the efficacy of marine protected areas. However, ecosystem models that integrate physical forcings, biogeochemical and ecological dynamics, and human induced perturbations are still underdeveloped. We applied an ecosystem model (Atlantis) to the coral reef ecosystem of Guam using a suite of management scenarios prioritized in consultation with local resource managers to review the effects of each scenario on performance measures related to the ecosystem, the reef-fish fishery (e.g., fish landings) and coral habitat. Comparing tradeoffs across the selected scenarios showed that each scenario performed best for at least one of the selected performance indicators. The integrated ‘full regulation’ scenario outperformed other scenarios with four out of the six performance metrics at the cost of reef-fish landings. This model application quantifies the socio-ecological costs and benefits of alternative management scenarios. When the effects of climate change were taken into account, several scenarios performed equally well, but none prevented a collapse in coral biomass over the next few decades assuming a business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions scenario. PMID:27023183

  18. The influence of sea level and cyclones on Holocene reef flat development: Middle Island, central Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryan, E. J.; Smithers, S. G.; Lewis, S. E.; Clark, T. R.; Zhao, J. X.

    2016-09-01

    The geomorphology and chronostratigraphy of the reef flat (including microatoll ages and elevations) were investigated to better understand the long-term development of the reef at Middle Island, inshore central Great Barrier Reef. Eleven cores across the fringing reef captured reef initiation, framework accretion and matrix sediments, allowing a comprehensive appreciation of reef development. Precise uranium-thorium ages obtained from coral skeletons revealed that the reef initiated ~7873 ± 17 years before present (yBP), and most of the reef was emplaced in the following 1000 yr. Average rates of vertical reef accretion ranged between 3.5 and 7.6 mm yr-1. Reef framework was dominated by branching corals ( Acropora and Montipora). An age hiatus of ~5000 yr between 6439 ± 19 and 1617 ± 10 yBP was observed in the core data and attributed to stripping of the reef structure by intense cyclones during the mid- to late-Holocene. Large shingle ridges deposited onshore and basset edges preserved on the reef flat document the influence of cyclones at Middle Island and represent potential sinks for much of the stripped material. Stripping of the upper reef structure around the outer margin of the reef flat by cyclones created accommodation space for a thin (<1.2 m) veneer of reef growth after 1617 ± 10 yBP that grew over the eroded mid-Holocene reef structure. Although limited fetch and open-water exposure might suggest the reef flat at Middle Island is quite protected, our results show that high-energy waves presumably generated by cyclones have significantly influenced both Holocene reef growth and contemporary reef flat geomorphology.

  19. Declining coral calcification on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    De'ath, Glenn; Lough, Janice M; Fabricius, Katharina E

    2009-01-01

    Reef-building corals are under increasing physiological stress from a changing climate and ocean absorption of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. We investigated 328 colonies of massive Porites corals from 69 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia. Their skeletal records show that throughout the GBR, calcification has declined by 14.2% since 1990, predominantly because extension (linear growth) has declined by 13.3%. The data suggest that such a severe and sudden decline in calcification is unprecedented in at least the past 400 years. Calcification increases linearly with increasing large-scale sea surface temperature but responds nonlinearly to annual temperature anomalies. The causes of the decline remain unknown; however, this study suggests that increasing temperature stress and a declining saturation state of seawater aragonite may be diminishing the ability of GBR corals to deposit calcium carbonate.

  20. Freshwater impacts in the central Great Barrier Reef: 1648-2011

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lough, J. M.; Lewis, S. E.; Cantin, N. E.

    2015-09-01

    The Australian summer monsoon is highly variable from year to year resulting in high variability in the magnitude and extent of freshwater river flood plumes affecting the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). These flood plumes transport terrestrial materials and contaminants to the reef and can have significant impacts on both water quality and ecosystem health. The occurrence and intensity of these freshwater flood plumes are reliably recorded as annual luminescent lines in inshore massive corals and occasional luminescent lines in mid-shelf corals. We use measured luminescence in a long Porites core and four recently collected short cores from Havannah Island (a nearshore reef in the central GBR) to reconstruct Burdekin River flow, 1648-2011, and five recent short cores from Britomart Reef (a mid-shelf reef, 65 km northeast of Havannah Island) to assess the frequency of flood plume events extending beyond the inshore to mid-shelf reefs. The reconstruction highlights that the frequency of high flow events has increased in the GBR from 1 in every 20 yr prior to European settlement (1748-1847) to 1 in every 6 yr reoccurrence (1948-2011). Three of the most extreme events in the past 364 yr have occurred since 1974, including 2011. The reconstruction also shows a shift to higher flows, increased variability from the latter half of the nineteenth century, and likely more frequent freshwater impacts on mid-shelf reefs. This change coincided with European settlement of northern Queensland and substantial changes in land use, which resulted in increased sediment loads exported to the GBR. The consequences of increased sediment loads to the GBR were, therefore, likely exacerbated by this climate shift. This change in Burdekin River flow characteristics appears to be associated with a shift towards greater El Niño-Southern Oscillation variability and rapid warming in the southwest Pacific, evident in independent palaeoclimatic records.

  1. Inadequate evaluation and management of threats in Australia's Marine Parks, including the Great Barrier Reef, misdirect Marine conservation.

    PubMed

    Kearney, Bob; Farebrother, Graham

    2014-01-01

    The magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef and its worthiness of extraordinary efforts to protect it from whatever threats may arise are unquestioned. Yet almost four decades after the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia's most expensive and intensely researched Marine Protected Area, the health of the Reef is reported to be declining alarmingly. The management of the suite of threats to the health of the reef has clearly been inadequate, even though there have been several notable successes. It is argued that the failure to prioritise correctly all major threats to the reef, coupled with the exaggeration of the benefits of calling the park a protected area and zoning subsets of areas as 'no-take', has distracted attention from adequately addressing the real causes of impact. Australia's marine conservation efforts have been dominated by commitment to a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas. In so doing, Australia has displaced the internationally accepted primary priority for pursuing effective protection of marine environments with inadequately critical adherence to the principle of having more and bigger marine parks. The continuing decline in the health of the Great Barrier Reef and other Australian coastal areas confirms the limitations of current area management for combating threats to marine ecosystems. There is great need for more critical evaluation of how marine environments can be protected effectively and managed efficiently.

  2. Inadequate evaluation and management of threats in Australia's Marine Parks, including the Great Barrier Reef, misdirect Marine conservation.

    PubMed

    Kearney, Bob; Farebrother, Graham

    2014-01-01

    The magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef and its worthiness of extraordinary efforts to protect it from whatever threats may arise are unquestioned. Yet almost four decades after the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia's most expensive and intensely researched Marine Protected Area, the health of the Reef is reported to be declining alarmingly. The management of the suite of threats to the health of the reef has clearly been inadequate, even though there have been several notable successes. It is argued that the failure to prioritise correctly all major threats to the reef, coupled with the exaggeration of the benefits of calling the park a protected area and zoning subsets of areas as 'no-take', has distracted attention from adequately addressing the real causes of impact. Australia's marine conservation efforts have been dominated by commitment to a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas. In so doing, Australia has displaced the internationally accepted primary priority for pursuing effective protection of marine environments with inadequately critical adherence to the principle of having more and bigger marine parks. The continuing decline in the health of the Great Barrier Reef and other Australian coastal areas confirms the limitations of current area management for combating threats to marine ecosystems. There is great need for more critical evaluation of how marine environments can be protected effectively and managed efficiently. PMID:25358302

  3. Coral-macroalgal phase shifts or reef resilience: links with diversity and functional roles of herbivorous fishes on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheal, A. J.; MacNeil, M. Aaron; Cripps, E.; Emslie, M. J.; Jonker, M.; Schaffelke, B.; Sweatman, H.

    2010-12-01

    Changes from coral to macroalgal dominance following disturbances to corals symbolize the global degradation of coral reefs. The development of effective conservation measures depends on understanding the causes of such phase shifts. The prevailing view that coral-macroalgal phase shifts commonly occur due to insufficient grazing by fishes is based on correlation with overfishing and inferences from models and small-scale experiments rather than on long-term quantitative field studies of fish communities at affected and resilient sites. Consequently, the specific characteristics of herbivorous fish communities that most promote reef resilience under natural conditions are not known, though this information is critical for identifying vulnerable ecosystems. In this study, 11 years of field surveys recorded the development of the most persistent coral-macroalgal phase shift (>7 years) yet observed on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). This shift followed extensive coral mortality caused by thermal stress (coral bleaching) and damaging storms. Comparisons with two similar reefs that suffered similar disturbances but recovered relatively rapidly demonstrated that the phase shift occurred despite high abundances of one herbivore functional group (scraping/excavating parrotfishes: Labridae). However, the shift was strongly associated with low fish herbivore diversity and low abundances of algal browsers (predominantly Siganidae) and grazers/detritivores (Acanthuridae), suggesting that one or more of these factors underpin reef resilience and so deserve particular protection. Herbivorous fishes are not harvested on the GBR, and the phase shift was not enhanced by unusually high nutrient levels. This shows that unexploited populations of herbivorous fishes cannot ensure reef resilience even under benign conditions and suggests that reefs could lose resilience under relatively low fishing pressure. Predictions of more severe and widespread coral mortality due to global

  4. Comparison of coral reef ecosystems along a fishing pressure gradient.

    PubMed

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A; Parrish, Frank A

    2013-01-01

    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.

  5. Comparison of Coral Reef Ecosystems along a Fishing Pressure Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A.; Parrish, Frank A.

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23737951

  6. The role the Great Barrier Reef plays in resident wellbeing and implications for its management.

    PubMed

    Larson, Silva; Stoeckl, Natalie; Farr, Marina; Esparon, Michelle

    2015-04-01

    Improvements in human wellbeing are dependent on improving ecosystems. Such considerations are particularly pertinent for regions of high ecological, but also social and cultural importance that are facing rapid change. One such region is the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Although the GBR has world heritage status for its 'outstanding universal value', little is known about resident perceptions of its values. We surveyed 1545 residents, finding that absence of visible rubbish; healthy reef fish, coral cover, and mangroves; and iconic marine species, are considered to be more important to quality of life than the jobs and incomes associated with industry (most respondents were dissatisfied with the benefits they received from industry). Highly educated females placed more importance on environmental non-use values than other respondents; less educated males and those employed in mining found non-market use-values relatively more important. Environmental non-use values emerged as the most important management priority for all.

  7. Agricultural lands are hot-spots for annual runoff polluting the southern Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

    PubMed

    Packett, Robert; Dougall, Cameron; Rohde, Ken; Noble, Robert

    2009-07-01

    The world's largest coral reef ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), continues to be degraded from land-based pollution. Information about the source of pollutants is critical for catchment management to improve GBR water quality. We report here on an 11-year source to sea study of pollutant delivery in runoff from the Fitzroy River Basin (FRB), the largest GBR catchment. An innovative technique that relates land use to pollutant generation is presented. Study results indicate that maximum pollutant concentrations at basin and sub-catchment scales are closely related to the percentage area of croplands receiving heavy rain. However, grazing lands contribute the majority of the long-term average annual load of most common pollutants. Findings suggest improved land management targets, rather than water quality targets should be implemented to reduce GBR pollution. This study provides a substantial contribution to the knowledge base for the targeted management of pollution 'hot-spots' to improve GBR water quality.

  8. The role the Great Barrier Reef plays in resident wellbeing and implications for its management.

    PubMed

    Larson, Silva; Stoeckl, Natalie; Farr, Marina; Esparon, Michelle

    2015-04-01

    Improvements in human wellbeing are dependent on improving ecosystems. Such considerations are particularly pertinent for regions of high ecological, but also social and cultural importance that are facing rapid change. One such region is the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Although the GBR has world heritage status for its 'outstanding universal value', little is known about resident perceptions of its values. We surveyed 1545 residents, finding that absence of visible rubbish; healthy reef fish, coral cover, and mangroves; and iconic marine species, are considered to be more important to quality of life than the jobs and incomes associated with industry (most respondents were dissatisfied with the benefits they received from industry). Highly educated females placed more importance on environmental non-use values than other respondents; less educated males and those employed in mining found non-market use-values relatively more important. Environmental non-use values emerged as the most important management priority for all. PMID:25238982

  9. The exposure of the Great Barrier Reef to ocean acidification.

    PubMed

    Mongin, Mathieu; Baird, Mark E; Tilbrook, Bronte; Matear, Richard J; Lenton, Andrew; Herzfeld, Mike; Wild-Allen, Karen; Skerratt, Jenny; Margvelashvili, Nugzar; Robson, Barbara J; Duarte, Carlos M; Gustafsson, Malin S M; Ralph, Peter J; Steven, Andrew D L

    2016-01-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is founded on reef-building corals. Corals build their exoskeleton with aragonite, but ocean acidification is lowering the aragonite saturation state of seawater (Ωa). The downscaling of ocean acidification projections from global to GBR scales requires the set of regional drivers controlling Ωa to be resolved. Here we use a regional coupled circulation-biogeochemical model and observations to estimate the Ωa experienced by the 3,581 reefs of the GBR, and to apportion the contributions of the hydrological cycle, regional hydrodynamics and metabolism on Ωa variability. We find more detail, and a greater range (1.43), than previously compiled coarse maps of Ωa of the region (0.4), or in observations (1.0). Most of the variability in Ωa is due to processes upstream of the reef in question. As a result, future decline in Ωa is likely to be steeper on the GBR than currently projected by the IPCC assessment report. PMID:26907171

  10. The exposure of the Great Barrier Reef to ocean acidification.

    PubMed

    Mongin, Mathieu; Baird, Mark E; Tilbrook, Bronte; Matear, Richard J; Lenton, Andrew; Herzfeld, Mike; Wild-Allen, Karen; Skerratt, Jenny; Margvelashvili, Nugzar; Robson, Barbara J; Duarte, Carlos M; Gustafsson, Malin S M; Ralph, Peter J; Steven, Andrew D L

    2016-02-23

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is founded on reef-building corals. Corals build their exoskeleton with aragonite, but ocean acidification is lowering the aragonite saturation state of seawater (Ωa). The downscaling of ocean acidification projections from global to GBR scales requires the set of regional drivers controlling Ωa to be resolved. Here we use a regional coupled circulation-biogeochemical model and observations to estimate the Ωa experienced by the 3,581 reefs of the GBR, and to apportion the contributions of the hydrological cycle, regional hydrodynamics and metabolism on Ωa variability. We find more detail, and a greater range (1.43), than previously compiled coarse maps of Ωa of the region (0.4), or in observations (1.0). Most of the variability in Ωa is due to processes upstream of the reef in question. As a result, future decline in Ωa is likely to be steeper on the GBR than currently projected by the IPCC assessment report.

  11. The exposure of the Great Barrier Reef to ocean acidification

    PubMed Central

    Mongin, Mathieu; Baird, Mark E.; Tilbrook, Bronte; Matear, Richard J.; Lenton, Andrew; Herzfeld, Mike; Wild-Allen, Karen; Skerratt, Jenny; Margvelashvili, Nugzar; Robson, Barbara J.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Gustafsson, Malin S. M.; Ralph, Peter J.; Steven, Andrew D. L.

    2016-01-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is founded on reef-building corals. Corals build their exoskeleton with aragonite, but ocean acidification is lowering the aragonite saturation state of seawater (Ωa). The downscaling of ocean acidification projections from global to GBR scales requires the set of regional drivers controlling Ωa to be resolved. Here we use a regional coupled circulation–biogeochemical model and observations to estimate the Ωa experienced by the 3,581 reefs of the GBR, and to apportion the contributions of the hydrological cycle, regional hydrodynamics and metabolism on Ωa variability. We find more detail, and a greater range (1.43), than previously compiled coarse maps of Ωa of the region (0.4), or in observations (1.0). Most of the variability in Ωa is due to processes upstream of the reef in question. As a result, future decline in Ωa is likely to be steeper on the GBR than currently projected by the IPCC assessment report. PMID:26907171

  12. The large-scale influence of the Great Barrier Reef matrix on wave attenuation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gallop, Shari L.; Young, Ian R.; Ranasinghe, Roshanka; Durrant, Tom H.; Haigh, Ivan D.

    2014-12-01

    Offshore reef systems consist of individual reefs, with spaces in between, which together constitute the reef matrix. This is the first comprehensive, large-scale study, of the influence of an offshore reef system on wave climate and wave transmission. The focus was on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, utilizing a 16-yr record of wave height from seven satellite altimeters. Within the GBR matrix, the wave climate is not strongly dependent on reef matrix submergence. This suggests that after initial wave breaking at the seaward edge of the reef matrix, wave energy that penetrates the matrix has little depth modulation. There is no clear evidence to suggest that as reef matrix porosity (ratio of spaces between individual reefs to reef area) decreases, wave attenuation increases. This is because individual reefs cast a wave shadow much larger than the reef itself; thus, a matrix of isolated reefs is remarkably effective at attenuating wave energy. This weak dependence of transmitted wave energy on depth of reef submergence, and reef matrix porosity, is also evident in the lee of the GBR matrix. Here, wave conditions appear to be dependent largely on local wind speed, rather than wave conditions either seaward, or within the reef matrix. This is because the GBR matrix is a very effective wave absorber, irrespective of water depth and reef matrix porosity.

  13. Diurnal warming in shallow coastal seas: Observations from the Caribbean and Great Barrier Reef regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, X.; Minnett, P. J.; Berkelmans, R.; Hendee, J.; Manfrino, C.

    2014-07-01

    A good understanding of diurnal warming in the upper ocean is important for the validation of satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) against in-situ buoy data and for merging satellite SSTs taken at different times of the same day. For shallow coastal regions, better understanding of diurnal heating could also help improve monitoring and prediction of ecosystem health, such as coral reef bleaching. Compared to its open ocean counterpart which has been studied extensively and modeled with good success, coastal diurnal warming has complicating localized characteristics, including coastline geometry, bathymetry, water types, tidal and wave mixing. Our goal is to characterize coastal diurnal warming using two extensive in-situ temperature and weather datasets from the Caribbean and Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Results showed clear daily warming patterns in most stations from both datasets. For the three Caribbean stations where solar radiation is the main cause of daily warming, the mean diurnal warming amplitudes were about 0.4 K at depths of 4-7 m and 0.6-0.7 K at shallower depths of 1-2 m; the largest warming value was 2.1 K. For coral top temperatures of the GBR, 20% of days had warming amplitudes >1 K, with the largest >4 K. The bottom warming at shallower sites has higher daily maximum temperatures and lower daily minimum temperatures than deeper sites nearby. The averaged daily warming amplitudes were shown to be closely related to daily average wind speed and maximum insolation, as found in the open ocean. Diurnal heating also depends on local features including water depth, location on different sections of the reef (reef flat vs. reef slope), the relative distance from the barrier reef chain (coast vs. lagoon stations vs. inner barrier reef sites vs. outer rim sites); and the proximity to the tidal inlets. In addition, the influence of tides on daily temperature changes and its relative importance compared to solar radiation was quantified by

  14. Reef sharks exhibit site-fidelity and higher relative abundance in marine reserves on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Bond, Mark E; Babcock, Elizabeth A; Pikitch, Ellen K; Abercrombie, Debra L; Lamb, Norlan F; Chapman, Demian D

    2012-01-01

    Carcharhinid sharks can make up a large fraction of the top predators inhabiting tropical marine ecosystems and have declined in many regions due to intense fishing pressure. There is some support for the hypothesis that carcharhinid species that complete their life-cycle within coral reef ecosystems, hereafter referred to as "reef sharks", are more abundant inside no-take marine reserves due to a reduction in fishing pressure (i.e., they benefit from marine reserves). Key predictions of this hypothesis are that (a) individual reef sharks exhibit high site-fidelity to these protected areas and (b) their relative abundance will generally be higher in these areas compared to fished reefs. To test this hypothesis for the first time in Caribbean coral reef ecosystems we combined acoustic monitoring and baited remote underwater video (BRUV) surveys to measure reef shark site-fidelity and relative abundance, respectively. We focused on the Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi), the most common reef shark in the Western Atlantic, at Glover's Reef Marine Reserve (GRMR), Belize. Acoustically tagged sharks (N = 34) were detected throughout the year at this location and exhibited strong site-fidelity. Shark presence or absence on 200 BRUVs deployed at GRMR and three other sites (another reserve site and two fished reefs) showed that the factor "marine reserve" had a significant positive effect on reef shark presence. We rejected environmental factors or site-environment interactions as predominant drivers of this pattern. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that marine reserves can benefit reef shark populations and we suggest new hypotheses to determine the underlying mechanism(s) involved: reduced fishing mortality or enhanced prey availability.

  15. Reef Sharks Exhibit Site-Fidelity and Higher Relative Abundance in Marine Reserves on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Bond, Mark E.; Babcock, Elizabeth A.; Pikitch, Ellen K.; Abercrombie, Debra L.; Lamb, Norlan F.; Chapman, Demian D.

    2012-01-01

    Carcharhinid sharks can make up a large fraction of the top predators inhabiting tropical marine ecosystems and have declined in many regions due to intense fishing pressure. There is some support for the hypothesis that carcharhinid species that complete their life-cycle within coral reef ecosystems, hereafter referred to as “reef sharks”, are more abundant inside no-take marine reserves due to a reduction in fishing pressure (i.e., they benefit from marine reserves). Key predictions of this hypothesis are that (a) individual reef sharks exhibit high site-fidelity to these protected areas and (b) their relative abundance will generally be higher in these areas compared to fished reefs. To test this hypothesis for the first time in Caribbean coral reef ecosystems we combined acoustic monitoring and baited remote underwater video (BRUV) surveys to measure reef shark site-fidelity and relative abundance, respectively. We focused on the Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi), the most common reef shark in the Western Atlantic, at Glover's Reef Marine Reserve (GRMR), Belize. Acoustically tagged sharks (N = 34) were detected throughout the year at this location and exhibited strong site-fidelity. Shark presence or absence on 200 BRUVs deployed at GRMR and three other sites (another reserve site and two fished reefs) showed that the factor “marine reserve” had a significant positive effect on reef shark presence. We rejected environmental factors or site-environment interactions as predominant drivers of this pattern. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that marine reserves can benefit reef shark populations and we suggest new hypotheses to determine the underlying mechanism(s) involved: reduced fishing mortality or enhanced prey availability. PMID:22412965

  16. Reef sharks exhibit site-fidelity and higher relative abundance in marine reserves on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Bond, Mark E; Babcock, Elizabeth A; Pikitch, Ellen K; Abercrombie, Debra L; Lamb, Norlan F; Chapman, Demian D

    2012-01-01

    Carcharhinid sharks can make up a large fraction of the top predators inhabiting tropical marine ecosystems and have declined in many regions due to intense fishing pressure. There is some support for the hypothesis that carcharhinid species that complete their life-cycle within coral reef ecosystems, hereafter referred to as "reef sharks", are more abundant inside no-take marine reserves due to a reduction in fishing pressure (i.e., they benefit from marine reserves). Key predictions of this hypothesis are that (a) individual reef sharks exhibit high site-fidelity to these protected areas and (b) their relative abundance will generally be higher in these areas compared to fished reefs. To test this hypothesis for the first time in Caribbean coral reef ecosystems we combined acoustic monitoring and baited remote underwater video (BRUV) surveys to measure reef shark site-fidelity and relative abundance, respectively. We focused on the Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi), the most common reef shark in the Western Atlantic, at Glover's Reef Marine Reserve (GRMR), Belize. Acoustically tagged sharks (N = 34) were detected throughout the year at this location and exhibited strong site-fidelity. Shark presence or absence on 200 BRUVs deployed at GRMR and three other sites (another reserve site and two fished reefs) showed that the factor "marine reserve" had a significant positive effect on reef shark presence. We rejected environmental factors or site-environment interactions as predominant drivers of this pattern. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that marine reserves can benefit reef shark populations and we suggest new hypotheses to determine the underlying mechanism(s) involved: reduced fishing mortality or enhanced prey availability. PMID:22412965

  17. A bioindicator system for water quality on inshore coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Fabricius, Katharina E; Cooper, Timothy F; Humphrey, Craig; Uthicke, Sven; De'ath, Glenn; Davidson, Johnston; LeGrand, Hélène; Thompson, Angus; Schaffelke, Britta

    2012-01-01

    Responses of bioindicator candidates for water quality were quantified in two studies on inshore coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). In Study 1, 33 of the 38 investigated candidate indicators (including coral physiology, benthos composition, coral recruitment, macrobioeroder densities and FORAM index) showed significant relationships with a composite index of 13 water quality variables. These relationships were confirmed in Study 2 along four other water quality gradients (turbidity and chlorophyll). Changes in water quality led to multi-faceted shifts from phototrophic to heterotrophic benthic communities, and from diverse coral dominated communities to low-diversity communities dominated by macroalgae. Turbidity was the best predictor of biota; hence turbidity measurements remain essential to directly monitor water quality on the GBR, potentially complemented by our final calibrated 12 bioindicators. In combination, this bioindicator system may be used to assess changes in water quality, especially where direct water quality data are unavailable.

  18. Coral bleaching: one disturbance too many for near-shore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thompson, A. A.; Dolman, A. M.

    2010-09-01

    The dynamic nature of coral communities can make it difficult to judge whether a reef system is resilient to the current disturbance regime. To address this question of resilience for near-shore coral communities of the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) a data set consisting of 350 annual observations of benthic community change was compiled from existing monitoring data. These data spanned the period 1985-2007 and were derived from coral reefs within 20 km of the coast. During years without major disturbance events, cover increase of the Acroporidae was much faster than it was for other coral families; a median of 11% per annum compared to medians of less than 4% for other coral families. Conversely, Acroporidae were more severely affected by cyclones and bleaching events than most other families. A simulation model parameterised with these observations indicated that while recovery rates of hard corals were sufficient to compensate for impacts associated with cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish, the advent of mass bleaching has lead to a significant change in the composition of the community and a rapid decline in hard coral cover. Furthermore, if bleaching events continue to occur with the same frequency and severity as in the recent past, the model predicts that the cover of Acroporidae will continue to decline. Although significant cover of live coral remains on near-shore reefs, and recovery is observed during inter-disturbance periods, it appears that this system will not be resilient to the recent disturbance regime over the long term. Conservation strategies for coral reefs should focus on both mitigating local factors that act synergistically to increase the susceptibility of Acroporidae to climate change while promoting initiatives that maximise the recovery potential from inevitable disturbances.

  19. Nephtyidae (Annelida: Phyllodocida) of Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Murray, Anna; Wong, Eunice; Hutchings, Pat

    2015-01-01

    Seven species of the family Nephtyidae are recorded from Lizard Island, none previously reported from the Great Barrier Reef. Two species of Aglaophamus, four species of Micronephthys, one new and one previously unreported from Australia, and one species of Nephtys, were identified from samples collected during the Lizard Island Polychaete Workshop 2013, as well as from ecological studies undertaken during the 1970s and deposited in the Australian Museum marine invertebrate Collections. A dichotomous key to aid identification of these species newly reported from Lizard Island is provided. PMID:26624076

  20. Nephtyidae (Annelida: Phyllodocida) of Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Murray, Anna; Wong, Eunice; Hutchings, Pat

    2015-09-18

    Seven species of the family Nephtyidae are recorded from Lizard Island, none previously reported from the Great Barrier Reef. Two species of Aglaophamus, four species of Micronephthys, one new and one previously unreported from Australia, and one species of Nephtys, were identified from samples collected during the Lizard Island Polychaete Workshop 2013, as well as from ecological studies undertaken during the 1970s and deposited in the Australian Museum marine invertebrate Collections. A dichotomous key to aid identification of these species newly reported from Lizard Island is provided.

  1. Towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef from land-based pollution.

    PubMed

    Kroon, Frederieke J; Thorburn, Peter; Schaffelke, Britta; Whitten, Stuart

    2016-06-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is an iconic coral reef system extending over 2000 km along the north-east coast of Australia. Global recognition of its Outstanding Universal Value resulted in the listing of the 348 000 km(2) GBR World Heritage Area (WHA) by UNESCO in 1981. Despite various levels of national and international protection, the condition of GBR ecosystems has deteriorated over the past decades, with land-based pollution from the adjacent catchments being a major and ongoing cause for this decline. To reduce land-based pollution, the Australian and Queensland Governments have implemented a range of policy initiatives since 2003. Here, we evaluate the effectiveness of existing initiatives to reduce discharge of land-based pollutants into the waters of the GBR. We conclude that recent efforts in the GBR catchments to reduce land-based pollution are unlikely to be sufficient to protect the GBR ecosystems from declining water quality within the aspired time frames. To support management decisions for desired ecological outcomes for the GBR WHA, we identify potential improvements to current policies and incentives, as well as potential changes to current agricultural land use, based on overseas experiences and Australia's unique potential. The experience in the GBR may provide useful guidance for the management of other marine ecosystems, as reducing land-based pollution by better managing agricultural sources is a challenge for coastal communities around the world. PMID:26922913

  2. Towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef from land-based pollution.

    PubMed

    Kroon, Frederieke J; Thorburn, Peter; Schaffelke, Britta; Whitten, Stuart

    2016-06-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is an iconic coral reef system extending over 2000 km along the north-east coast of Australia. Global recognition of its Outstanding Universal Value resulted in the listing of the 348 000 km(2) GBR World Heritage Area (WHA) by UNESCO in 1981. Despite various levels of national and international protection, the condition of GBR ecosystems has deteriorated over the past decades, with land-based pollution from the adjacent catchments being a major and ongoing cause for this decline. To reduce land-based pollution, the Australian and Queensland Governments have implemented a range of policy initiatives since 2003. Here, we evaluate the effectiveness of existing initiatives to reduce discharge of land-based pollutants into the waters of the GBR. We conclude that recent efforts in the GBR catchments to reduce land-based pollution are unlikely to be sufficient to protect the GBR ecosystems from declining water quality within the aspired time frames. To support management decisions for desired ecological outcomes for the GBR WHA, we identify potential improvements to current policies and incentives, as well as potential changes to current agricultural land use, based on overseas experiences and Australia's unique potential. The experience in the GBR may provide useful guidance for the management of other marine ecosystems, as reducing land-based pollution by better managing agricultural sources is a challenge for coastal communities around the world.

  3. Seasonal variations in the subsurface ultraviolet-B on an inshore Pacific coral reef ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Downs, Nathan J; Schouten, Peter W; Parisi, Alfio V

    2013-01-01

    Fringing coral reefs provide a unique opportunity to study shallow aquatic ecosystems. A fringing coral reef system located in close proximity to a developed region was considered in this study. In such an environment, the rate of decay of dissolved organic matter is high and the penetration of higher energy ultraviolet-B (UVB) extends a greater influence on species diversity, particularly upon shallow benthic communities. Results from a 9 month subsurface UVB exposure measurement campaign performed at a site located on the southern Queensland coast (Hervey Bay, 25°S) are presented in this research. For this, a novel dosimetric technique was utilized to measure long-term subsurface UVB exposures. The resultant data set includes exposure measurements made during the significant La Niña event of late 2010 which resulted in unprecedented high sea surface temperatures and severe flooding across eastern Australia, impacting upon the lagoon regions of the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland's southern estuaries, including the study site. The influence of season, diurnal tidal variation, cloud cover and solar zenith angle were analyzed over the campaign period. Mean minimum daylight water depth was found to be the most significant factor influencing subsurface UVB. PMID:23701175

  4. Remote video bioassays reveal the potential feeding impact of the rabbitfish Siganus canaliculatus (f: Siganidae) on an inner-shelf reef of the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fox, R. J.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2008-09-01

    Herbivores are widely acknowledged as key elements maintaining the health and resilience of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Understanding and quantifying the impact of herbivores in ecosystems are fundamental to our ability to manage these systems. The traditional method of quantifying the impact of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs has been to use transplanted pieces of seagrass or algae as “bioassays”. However, these experiments leave a key question unanswered, namely: Which species are responsible for the impact being quantified? This study revisits the use of bioassays and tested the assumption that the visual abundance of species reflects their role in the removal of assay material. Using remote video cameras to film removal of assay material on an inner-shelf reef of the Great Barrier Reef, the species responsible for assay-based herbivory were identified. The video footage revealed that Siganus canaliculatus, a species not previously recorded at the study site, was primarily responsible for removal of macroalgal biomass. The average percentage decrease in thallus length of whole plants of Sargassum at the reef crest was 54 ± 8.9% (mean ± SE), and 50.4 ± 9.8% for individually presented Sargassum strands (for a 4.5-h deployment). Of the 14,656 bites taken from Sargassum plants and strands across all reef zones, nearly half (6,784 bites or 46%) were taken by S. canaliculatus, with the majority of the remainder attributable to Siganus doliatus. However, multiple regression analysis demonstrated that only the bites of S. canaliculatus were removing macroalgal biomass. The results indicate that, even with detailed observations, the species of herbivore that may be responsible for maintaining benthic community structure can go unnoticed. Some of our fundamental ideas of the relative importance of individual species in ecosystem processes may be in need of re-evaluation.

  5. Biogeochemical responses following coral mass spawning on the Great Barrier Reef: pelagic-benthic coupling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wild, C.; Jantzen, C.; Struck, U.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Huettel, M.

    2008-03-01

    This study quantified how the pulse of organic matter from the release of coral gametes triggered a chain of pelagic and benthic processes during an annual mass spawning event on the Australian Great Barrier Reef. Particulate organic matter (POM) concentrations in reef waters increased by threefold to 11-fold the day after spawning and resulted in a stimulation of pelagic oxygen consumption rates that lasted for at least 1 week. Water column microbial communities degraded the organic carbon of gametes of the broadcast-spawning coral Acropora millepora at a rate of >15% h-1, which is about three times faster than the degradation rate measured for larvae of the brooding coral Stylophora pistillata. Stable isotope signatures of POM in the water column reflected the fast transfer of organic matter from coral gametes into higher levels of the food chain, and the amount of POM reaching the seafloor immediately increased after coral spawning and then tailed-off in the next 2 weeks. Short-lasting phytoplankton blooms developed within a few days after the spawning event, indicating a prompt recycling of nutrients released through the degradation of spawning products. These data show the profound effects of coral mass spawning on the reef community and demonstrate the tight recycling of nutrients in this oligotrophic ecosystem.

  6. Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef: A globally significant demonstration of the benefits of networks of marine reserves

    PubMed Central

    McCook, Laurence J.; Ayling, Tony; Cappo, Mike; Choat, J. Howard; Evans, Richard D.; De Freitas, Debora M.; Heupel, Michelle; Hughes, Terry P.; Jones, Geoffrey P.; Mapstone, Bruce; Marsh, Helene; Mills, Morena; Molloy, Fergus J.; Pitcher, C. Roland; Pressey, Robert L.; Russ, Garry R.; Sutton, Stephen; Sweatman, Hugh; Tobin, Renae; Wachenfeld, David R.; Williamson, David H.

    2010-01-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) provides a globally significant demonstration of the effectiveness of large-scale networks of marine reserves in contributing to integrated, adaptive management. Comprehensive review of available evidence shows major, rapid benefits of no-take areas for targeted fish and sharks, in both reef and nonreef habitats, with potential benefits for fisheries as well as biodiversity conservation. Large, mobile species like sharks benefit less than smaller, site-attached fish. Critically, reserves also appear to benefit overall ecosystem health and resilience: outbreaks of coral-eating, crown-of-thorns starfish appear less frequent on no-take reefs, which consequently have higher abundance of coral, the very foundation of reef ecosystems. Effective marine reserves require regular review of compliance: fish abundances in no-entry zones suggest that even no-take zones may be significantly depleted due to poaching. Spatial analyses comparing zoning with seabed biodiversity or dugong distributions illustrate significant benefits from application of best-practice conservation principles in data-poor situations. Increases in the marine reserve network in 2004 affected fishers, but preliminary economic analysis suggests considerable net benefits, in terms of protecting environmental and tourism values. Relative to the revenue generated by reef tourism, current expenditure on protection is minor. Recent implementation of an Outlook Report provides regular, formal review of environmental condition and management and links to policy responses, key aspects of adaptive management. Given the major threat posed by climate change, the expanded network of marine reserves provides a critical and cost-effective contribution to enhancing the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef. PMID:20176947

  7. Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef: a globally significant demonstration of the benefits of networks of marine reserves.

    PubMed

    McCook, Laurence J; Ayling, Tony; Cappo, Mike; Choat, J Howard; Evans, Richard D; De Freitas, Debora M; Heupel, Michelle; Hughes, Terry P; Jones, Geoffrey P; Mapstone, Bruce; Marsh, Helene; Mills, Morena; Molloy, Fergus J; Pitcher, C Roland; Pressey, Robert L; Russ, Garry R; Sutton, Stephen; Sweatman, Hugh; Tobin, Renae; Wachenfeld, David R; Williamson, David H

    2010-10-26

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) provides a globally significant demonstration of the effectiveness of large-scale networks of marine reserves in contributing to integrated, adaptive management. Comprehensive review of available evidence shows major, rapid benefits of no-take areas for targeted fish and sharks, in both reef and nonreef habitats, with potential benefits for fisheries as well as biodiversity conservation. Large, mobile species like sharks benefit less than smaller, site-attached fish. Critically, reserves also appear to benefit overall ecosystem health and resilience: outbreaks of coral-eating, crown-of-thorns starfish appear less frequent on no-take reefs, which consequently have higher abundance of coral, the very foundation of reef ecosystems. Effective marine reserves require regular review of compliance: fish abundances in no-entry zones suggest that even no-take zones may be significantly depleted due to poaching. Spatial analyses comparing zoning with seabed biodiversity or dugong distributions illustrate significant benefits from application of best-practice conservation principles in data-poor situations. Increases in the marine reserve network in 2004 affected fishers, but preliminary economic analysis suggests considerable net benefits, in terms of protecting environmental and tourism values. Relative to the revenue generated by reef tourism, current expenditure on protection is minor. Recent implementation of an Outlook Report provides regular, formal review of environmental condition and management and links to policy responses, key aspects of adaptive management. Given the major threat posed by climate change, the expanded network of marine reserves provides a critical and cost-effective contribution to enhancing the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.

  8. Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef: a globally significant demonstration of the benefits of networks of marine reserves.

    PubMed

    McCook, Laurence J; Ayling, Tony; Cappo, Mike; Choat, J Howard; Evans, Richard D; De Freitas, Debora M; Heupel, Michelle; Hughes, Terry P; Jones, Geoffrey P; Mapstone, Bruce; Marsh, Helene; Mills, Morena; Molloy, Fergus J; Pitcher, C Roland; Pressey, Robert L; Russ, Garry R; Sutton, Stephen; Sweatman, Hugh; Tobin, Renae; Wachenfeld, David R; Williamson, David H

    2010-10-26

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) provides a globally significant demonstration of the effectiveness of large-scale networks of marine reserves in contributing to integrated, adaptive management. Comprehensive review of available evidence shows major, rapid benefits of no-take areas for targeted fish and sharks, in both reef and nonreef habitats, with potential benefits for fisheries as well as biodiversity conservation. Large, mobile species like sharks benefit less than smaller, site-attached fish. Critically, reserves also appear to benefit overall ecosystem health and resilience: outbreaks of coral-eating, crown-of-thorns starfish appear less frequent on no-take reefs, which consequently have higher abundance of coral, the very foundation of reef ecosystems. Effective marine reserves require regular review of compliance: fish abundances in no-entry zones suggest that even no-take zones may be significantly depleted due to poaching. Spatial analyses comparing zoning with seabed biodiversity or dugong distributions illustrate significant benefits from application of best-practice conservation principles in data-poor situations. Increases in the marine reserve network in 2004 affected fishers, but preliminary economic analysis suggests considerable net benefits, in terms of protecting environmental and tourism values. Relative to the revenue generated by reef tourism, current expenditure on protection is minor. Recent implementation of an Outlook Report provides regular, formal review of environmental condition and management and links to policy responses, key aspects of adaptive management. Given the major threat posed by climate change, the expanded network of marine reserves provides a critical and cost-effective contribution to enhancing the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef. PMID:20176947

  9. Impacts and recovery from severe tropical cyclone Yasi on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Beeden, Roger; Maynard, Jeffrey; Puotinen, Marjetta; Marshall, Paul; Dryden, Jen; Goldberg, Jeremy; Williams, Gareth

    2015-01-01

    Full recovery of coral reefs from tropical cyclone (TC) damage can take decades, making cyclones a major driver of habitat condition where they occur regularly. Since 1985, 44 TCs generated gale force winds (≥17 metres/second) within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). Of the hurricane strength TCs (≥H1-Saffir Simpson scale; ≥ category 3 Australian scale), TC Yasi (February, 2011) was the largest. In the weeks after TC Yasi crossed the GBRMP, participating researchers, managers and rangers assessed the extent and severity of reef damage via 841 Reef Health and Impact Surveys at 70 reefs. Records were scaled into five damage levels representing increasingly widespread colony-level damage (1, 2, 3) and reef structural damage (4, 5). Average damage severity was significantly affected by direction (north vs south of the cyclone track), reef shelf position (mid-shelf vs outer-shelf) and habitat type. More outer-shelf reefs suffered structural damage than mid-shelf reefs within 150 km of the track. Structural damage spanned a greater latitudinal range for mid-shelf reefs than outer-shelf reefs (400 vs 300 km). Structural damage was patchily distributed at all distances, but more so as distance from the track increased. Damage extended much further from the track than during other recent intense cyclones that had smaller circulation sizes. Just over 15% (3,834 km2) of the total reef area of the GBRMP is estimated to have sustained some level of coral damage, with ~4% (949 km2) sustaining a degree of structural damage. TC Yasi likely caused the greatest loss of coral cover on the GBR in a 24-hour period since 1985. Severely impacted reefs have started to recover; coral cover increased an average of 4% between 2011 and 2013 at re-surveyed reefs. The in situ assessment of impacts described here is the largest in scale ever conducted on the Great Barrier Reef following a reef health disturbance.

  10. Holocene aggradation of the Dry Tortugas coral reef ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brock, J.C.; Palaseanu-Lovejoy, M.; Poore, R.Z.; Nayegandhi, A.; Wright, C.W.

    2010-01-01

    Radiometric age dating of reef cores acquired at the Dry Tortugas coral reef ecosystem (DTCRE) was merged with lidar topographic mapping to examine Holocene reef development linked to spatial variation in growth and erosion under the control of sea level. Analysis of variance of lidar topography confirmed the presence of three distinct terraces on all three major DTCRE banks (Loggerhead Bank, Garden Bank, and Pulaski Bank). Reef building on the middle terrace (T2) began atop Pleistocene edifices on Loggerhead Bank by 8.0 ka (thousands of years ago) and on Garden Bank by 7.2 ka at elevations of about −16.0 m and −11.9 m, respectively, relative to present mean sea level. Following this initiation at different elevations, T2 aggraded vertically on both banks at different rates during the early Holocene under foundering conditions until a highstand at 5.2 ka, resulting in a 2.21 m offset in present mean T2 elevation between these banks. Initiation of an upper terrace (T1) occurred on both Loggerhead Bank and Garden Bank in association with sea-level fall to a lowstand at near 4.8 ka. This upper terrace initiated on Garden Bank at about 5.0 ka and then grew upward at rate of 2.5 mm year−1 until approximately 3.8 ka. On Loggerhead Bank, the upper T1 terrace formed after 4.5 ka at a higher vertical aggradation rate of 4.1 mm year−1, but at a lower elevation than on Garden Bank. Terrace T1 aggraded on Loggerhead Bank below the elevation of lowstands during late Holocene sea-level oscillation, and consequently erosion on Loggerhead Bank was minimal and likely limited to the crest of the upper terrace. In contrast, after 3.8 ka terrace T1 on Garden Bank likely tracked sea level and consequently underwent erosion when sea level fell to second, third and fourth lowstands at 3.3, 1.1, and 0.3 ka.

  11. Understanding Biophysical Interactions In The Great Barrier Reef Catchments: Better Landscape Management For Water Quality Outcomes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bui, E. N.; Wilkinson, S. N.; Bartley, R.

    2014-12-01

    Sediment input to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon has had deleterious impacts on seagrass and coral ecosystems. The response of the Australian government has been to develop policies to: (i) reverse the impact of threats from sediments and nutrients, and improve water quality and aquatic health of the GBR lagoon; and (ii) to facilitate the uptake of sustainable farming and land management practices that deliver improved ecosystem services, by at least 30 per cent of farmers. The Reef2050 Long term sustainability plan aims to identify priority locations for on-ground investment of remediation options that will result in a reduction of constituent loads to the GBR. Recent sediment tracing studies indicate that subsoil from erosion features such as gullies and channel banks are the dominant contributors of sediment in the GBR catchments. Better control of gully and streambank erosion and restoration of riparian habitats are therefore necessary. Here we review the evidence for bank erosion in the GBR catchments and how scientific evidence on feedback relationships between climate- geochemistry-vegetation-landforms can be used to develop better guidelines for streambank and gully re-vegetation.

  12. Nereididae (Annelida: Phyllodocida) of Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Glasby, Christopher J

    2015-01-01

    Nereididae is one of the most ubiquitous of polychaete families, yet knowledge of their diversity in the northern Great Barrier Reef is poor; few species have been previously reported from any of the atolls or islands including Lizard Island. In this study, the diversity of the family from Lizard Island and surrounding reefs is documented based on museum collections derived from surveys conducted mostly over the last seven years. The Lizard Island nereidid fauna was found to be represented by 14 genera and 38 species/species groups, including 11 putative new species. Twelve species are newly reported from Lizard Island; four of these are also first records for Australia. For each genus and species, diagnoses and/or taxonomic remarks are provided in addition to notes on their habitat on Lizard Island, and general distribution; the existence of tissue samples tied to vouchered museum specimens is indicated. Fluorescence photography is used to help distinguish closely similar species of Nereis and Platynereis. A key is provided to facilitate identification and encourage further taxonomic, molecular and ecological studies on the group. PMID:26624071

  13. Nereididae (Annelida: Phyllodocida) of Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Glasby, Christopher J

    2015-09-18

    Nereididae is one of the most ubiquitous of polychaete families, yet knowledge of their diversity in the northern Great Barrier Reef is poor; few species have been previously reported from any of the atolls or islands including Lizard Island. In this study, the diversity of the family from Lizard Island and surrounding reefs is documented based on museum collections derived from surveys conducted mostly over the last seven years. The Lizard Island nereidid fauna was found to be represented by 14 genera and 38 species/species groups, including 11 putative new species. Twelve species are newly reported from Lizard Island; four of these are also first records for Australia. For each genus and species, diagnoses and/or taxonomic remarks are provided in addition to notes on their habitat on Lizard Island, and general distribution; the existence of tissue samples tied to vouchered museum specimens is indicated. Fluorescence photography is used to help distinguish closely similar species of Nereis and Platynereis. A key is provided to facilitate identification and encourage further taxonomic, molecular and ecological studies on the group.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-03-10

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

  15. Disturbance and the Dynamics of Coral Cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995–2009)

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently lacking. Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009. Subregional trends (10–100 km) in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families. Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral. Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980's suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10–100 km), driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery. PMID:21423742

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently lacking. Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009. Subregional trends (10-100 km) in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families. Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral. Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980's suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10-100 km), driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery. PMID:21423742

  17. Genetic relatedness of foraminiferan ( Marginopora vertebralis) populations from reefs in the Western Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benzie, John A. H.

    1991-07-01

    Allozyme variation at four loci and phenetic variation for esterase were examined in M. vertebralis populations from 10 reefs from the Western Coral Sea and two from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Genetic distances (Nei's D) among populations on different reefs ranged from 0 0.932 and was neither related to geographical separation of reefs nor to depth of water separating reefs. These findings suggest long-distance dispersal by some means is sufficient to prevent genetic differentiation of M. vertebralis populations, and that M. vertebralis populations need not be connected by habitats suitable for the continued existence of the foraminiferan for genetic differentiation to be prevented. The Western Coral Sea reef populations did not form a related group that were genetically distinct from those on the GBR but were differentiated latitudinally. Reefs to the extreme north and south formed outliers while those on the northern half of the Queensland Plateau showed some differentiation from those on the southern half of the Plateau. This pattern of genetic variation appeared to reflect the distribution of populations north and south of the southern limit of the Southern Equatorial Current. Further work will be required to establish the soundness of this relationship, and to exclude other possible explanations related to historical events or the effects of selection. Relatively high dispersal was inferred between the Southern Queensland Plateau reefs and those sampled on the GBR (average Neis D=0.011). Holmes and Marion reefs formed discrete genetic outliers (average Neis D=0.69 and 0.20 respectively). In the case of Holmes reef other factors (e.g. history of recruitment) will need to be investigated to account for its marked genetic differentiation from the other reefs in the Queensland Plateau.

  18. Carbon Cycle Model of a Hawaiian Barrier Reef under Rising Ocean Acidification and Temperature Conditions of the Anthropocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drupp, P. S.; Mackenzie, F. T.; De Carlo, E. H.; Guidry, M.

    2015-12-01

    A CO2-carbonic acid system biogeochemical box model (CRESCAM, Coral Reef and Sediment Carbonate Model) of the barrier reef flat in Kaneohe Bay, Hawai'i was developed to determine how increasing temperature and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) content of open ocean source waters, resulting from rising anthropogenic CO2 emissions and ocean acidification, affect the CaCO3budget of coral reef ecosystems. CRESCAM consists of 17 reservoirs and 59 fluxes, including a surface water column domain, a two-layer permeable sediment domain, and a coral framework domain. Physical, chemical, and biological processes such as advection, carbonate precipitation/dissolution, and net ecosystem production and calcification were modeled. The initial model parameters were constrained by experimental and field data from previous coral reef studies, mostly in Kaneohe Bay over the past 50 years. The field studies include data collected by our research group for both the water column and sediment-porewater system.The model system, initially in a quasi-steady state condition estimated for the early 21st century, was perturbed using future projections to the year 2100 of the Anthropocene of atmospheric CO2 ­concentrations, temperature, and source water DIC. These perturbations were derived from the most recent (2013) IPCC's Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios, which predict CO2 atmospheric concentrations and temperature anomalies out to 2100. A series of model case studies were also performed whereby one or more parameters (e.g., coral calcification response to declining surface water pH) were altered to investigate potential future outcomes. Our model simulations predict that although the Kaneohe Bay barrier reef will likely see a significant decline in NEC over the coming century, it is unlikely to reach a state of net erosion - a result contrary to several global coral reef model projections. In addition, we show that depending on the future response of NEP and NEC to OA

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

    PubMed

    Armstrong, Asia O; Armstrong, Amelia J; Jaine, Fabrice R A; Couturier, Lydie I E; Fiora, Kym; Uribe-Palomino, Julian; Weeks, Scarla J; Townsend, Kathy A; Bennett, Mike B; Richardson, Anthony J

    2016-01-01

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Armstrong, Asia O.; Armstrong, Amelia J.; Jaine, Fabrice R. A.; Couturier, Lydie I. E.; Fiora, Kym; Uribe-Palomino, Julian; Weeks, Scarla J.; Townsend, Kathy A.; Bennett, Mike B.; Richardson, Anthony J.

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27144343

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

    PubMed

    Armstrong, Asia O; Armstrong, Amelia J; Jaine, Fabrice R A; Couturier, Lydie I E; Fiora, Kym; Uribe-Palomino, Julian; Weeks, Scarla J; Townsend, Kathy A; Bennett, Mike B; Richardson, Anthony J

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27144343

  2. Serpulidae (Annelida) of Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Kupriyanova, Elena K; Sun, Yanan; Hove, Harry A Ten; Wong, Eunice; Rouse, Greg W

    2015-01-01

    Serpulidae are obligatory sedentary polychaetes inhabiting calcareous tubes that are most common in subtropical and tropical areas of the world. This paper describes serpulid polychaetes collected from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia in 1983-2013 and deposited in Australian museums and overseas. In total, 17 serpulid genera were recorded, but although the study deals with 44 nominal taxa, the exact number of species remains unclear because a number of genera (i.e., Salmacina, Protula, Serpula, Spirobranchus, and Vermiliopsis) need world-wide revisions. Some species described herein are commonly found in the waters around Lizard Island, but had not previously been formally reported. A new species of Hydroides (H. lirs) and two new species of Semivermilia (S. annehoggettae and S. lylevaili) are described. A taxonomic key to all taxa found at Lizard Island is provided. PMID:26624073

  3. Serpulidae (Annelida) of Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Kupriyanova, Elena K; Sun, Yanan; Hove, Harry A Ten; Wong, Eunice; Rouse, Greg W

    2015-09-18

    Serpulidae are obligatory sedentary polychaetes inhabiting calcareous tubes that are most common in subtropical and tropical areas of the world. This paper describes serpulid polychaetes collected from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia in 1983-2013 and deposited in Australian museums and overseas. In total, 17 serpulid genera were recorded, but although the study deals with 44 nominal taxa, the exact number of species remains unclear because a number of genera (i.e., Salmacina, Protula, Serpula, Spirobranchus, and Vermiliopsis) need world-wide revisions. Some species described herein are commonly found in the waters around Lizard Island, but had not previously been formally reported. A new species of Hydroides (H. lirs) and two new species of Semivermilia (S. annehoggettae and S. lylevaili) are described. A taxonomic key to all taxa found at Lizard Island is provided.

  4. Broadcast spawning by Pocillopora species on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Schmidt-Roach, Sebastian; Miller, Karen J; Woolsey, Erika; Gerlach, Gabriele; Baird, Andrew H

    2012-01-01

    The coral genus Pocillopora is one of the few to include some species that broadcast spawn gametes and some species that brood larvae, although reports of reproductive mode and timing vary within and among species across their range. Notably, the ubiquitous Pocillopora damicornis has been described as both a brooder and spawner, although evidence of broadcast spawning is rare. Here, we report observations of broadcast-spawning in four species of Pocillopora on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), including P. damicornis. All species spawned predictably during the early morning, two days following the full moon, and spawning was observed in multiple months over the summer period (November to February). Eggs and sperm were free-spawned concurrently. Eggs were negatively buoyant and contained Symbiodinium. This newfound knowledge on the mode, timing and regularity of broadcast spawning in Pocillopora spp. on the GBR brings us one step closer to elucidating the complex reproductive ecology of these species.

  5. Horizontal mixing of Great Barrier Reef waters: Offshore diffusivity determined from radium isotope distribution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hancock, Gary J.; Webster, Ian. T.; Stieglitz, Thomas C.

    2006-12-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR), northern Australia, is the largest coral reef system in the world and provides habitat for highly diverse tropical marine ecosystems. Mixing in the coastal waters of the GBR is an important parameter influencing the health of these ecosystems. We have used the distribution of the four naturally occurring radium isotopes to determine the rate of mixing of nearshore waters of the central part of the GBR lagoon with water from the Coral Sea. The observed radium distribution is modeled using a one-dimensional diffusion model. The model improves on previous radium offshore mixing models by incorporating the benthic flux of radium diffusing across the sediment-water interface and offshore changes in water column depth. We find that the inner lagoon diffusivity (<20 km offshore) is best estimated using the short-lived isotopes 224Ra and 223Ra. The concordance of Kx estimated using the two different isotopes and the apparent consistency between measured riverine inflows to the lagoon and inflows inferred from the modeled salinity distribution provide confidence in the results. The mean value of Kx for the inner lagoon region of the southern central zone between latitudes 15.8°S and 19.0°S (265 ± 36 m2 s-1) is more than twice that in the northern central zone (14.3°S to 15.8°S). This difference likely reflects the different reef matrix density in the two zones. The distribution of the longer-lived isotope 228Ra indicates more rapid mixing in the middle and outer lagoon. These results indicate that central GBR water within 20 km of coast is flushed with outer lagoon water on a timescale of 18-45 days, with the flushing time increasing northward.

  6. Coral Reef and Coastal Ecosystems Decision Support Workshop April 27-29, 2010 Caribbean Coral Reef Institute, La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    EPA Science Inventory

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Caribbean Coral Reef Institute (CCRI) hosted a Coral Reef and Coastal Ecosystems Decision Support Workshop on April 27-28, 2010 at the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute in La Parguera, Puerto Rico. Forty-three participants, includin...

  7. Helium-3 inside atoll barrier reef interstitial water: A clue for geothermal endo-upwelling

    SciTech Connect

    Rougerie, F. ); Andrie, C. ); Jean-Baptiste, P.

    1991-01-01

    Interstitial waters from boreholes in the reef conglomerate of Tikehau atoll (S.W. Pacific) contain positive anomalous concentrations of dissolved inorganic nutrients compared to adjacent oceanic and lagoonal waters. These anomalies have been interpreted by geothermal circulation of deep oceanic waters penetrating the porous reef carbonates and ascending through the atoll flanks by thermo-convective advection as already proposed for other atolls. The authors present here a new strong evidence of this geothermal circulation inside atoll reefs from the record of helium-3 anomalies in borehole waters of Tikehau atoll. These results bear directly on three controversial aspects of reef history: the efficiency of thermal energy for circulation of reef pore waters, the sources of nutrients to support the net productivity of reef ecosystems, the early diagenesis of reef foundation carbonates.

  8. Recruitment Variability of Coral Reef Sessile Communities of the Far North Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Luter, Heidi M; Duckworth, Alan R; Wolff, Carsten W; Evans-Illidge, Elizabeth; Whalan, Steve

    2016-01-01

    One of the key components in assessing marine sessile organism demography is determining recruitment patterns to benthic habitats. An analysis of serially deployed recruitment tiles across depth (6 and 12 m), seasons (summer and winter) and space (meters to kilometres) was used to quantify recruitment assemblage structure (abundance and percent cover) of corals, sponges, ascidians, algae and other sessile organisms from the northern sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Polychaetes were most abundant on recruitment titles, reaching almost 50% of total recruitment, yet covered <5% of each tile. In contrast, mean abundances of sponges, ascidians, algae, and bryozoans combined was generally less than 20% of total recruitment, with percentage cover ranging between 15-30% per tile. Coral recruitment was very low, with <1 recruit per tile identified. A hierarchal analysis of variation over a range of spatial and temporal scales showed significant spatio-temporal variation in recruitment patterns, but the highest variability occurred at the lowest spatial scale examined (1 m-among tiles). Temporal variability in recruitment of both numbers of taxa and percentage cover was also evident across both summer and winter. Recruitment across depth varied for some taxonomic groups like algae, sponges and ascidians, with greatest differences in summer. This study presents some of the first data on benthic recruitment within the northern GBR and provides a greater understanding of population ecology for coral reefs.

  9. Recruitment Variability of Coral Reef Sessile Communities of the Far North Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Luter, Heidi M.; Duckworth, Alan R.; Wolff, Carsten W.; Evans-Illidge, Elizabeth; Whalan, Steve

    2016-01-01

    One of the key components in assessing marine sessile organism demography is determining recruitment patterns to benthic habitats. An analysis of serially deployed recruitment tiles across depth (6 and 12 m), seasons (summer and winter) and space (meters to kilometres) was used to quantify recruitment assemblage structure (abundance and percent cover) of corals, sponges, ascidians, algae and other sessile organisms from the northern sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Polychaetes were most abundant on recruitment titles, reaching almost 50% of total recruitment, yet covered <5% of each tile. In contrast, mean abundances of sponges, ascidians, algae, and bryozoans combined was generally less than 20% of total recruitment, with percentage cover ranging between 15–30% per tile. Coral recruitment was very low, with <1 recruit per tile identified. A hierarchal analysis of variation over a range of spatial and temporal scales showed significant spatio-temporal variation in recruitment patterns, but the highest variability occurred at the lowest spatial scale examined (1 m—among tiles). Temporal variability in recruitment of both numbers of taxa and percentage cover was also evident across both summer and winter. Recruitment across depth varied for some taxonomic groups like algae, sponges and ascidians, with greatest differences in summer. This study presents some of the first data on benthic recruitment within the northern GBR and provides a greater understanding of population ecology for coral reefs. PMID:27049650

  10. Recruitment Variability of Coral Reef Sessile Communities of the Far North Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Luter, Heidi M; Duckworth, Alan R; Wolff, Carsten W; Evans-Illidge, Elizabeth; Whalan, Steve

    2016-01-01

    One of the key components in assessing marine sessile organism demography is determining recruitment patterns to benthic habitats. An analysis of serially deployed recruitment tiles across depth (6 and 12 m), seasons (summer and winter) and space (meters to kilometres) was used to quantify recruitment assemblage structure (abundance and percent cover) of corals, sponges, ascidians, algae and other sessile organisms from the northern sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Polychaetes were most abundant on recruitment titles, reaching almost 50% of total recruitment, yet covered <5% of each tile. In contrast, mean abundances of sponges, ascidians, algae, and bryozoans combined was generally less than 20% of total recruitment, with percentage cover ranging between 15-30% per tile. Coral recruitment was very low, with <1 recruit per tile identified. A hierarchal analysis of variation over a range of spatial and temporal scales showed significant spatio-temporal variation in recruitment patterns, but the highest variability occurred at the lowest spatial scale examined (1 m-among tiles). Temporal variability in recruitment of both numbers of taxa and percentage cover was also evident across both summer and winter. Recruitment across depth varied for some taxonomic groups like algae, sponges and ascidians, with greatest differences in summer. This study presents some of the first data on benthic recruitment within the northern GBR and provides a greater understanding of population ecology for coral reefs. PMID:27049650

  11. Guiding principles for the improved governance of port and shipping impacts in the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Grech, A; Bos, M; Brodie, J; Coles, R; Dale, A; Gilbert, R; Hamann, M; Marsh, H; Neil, K; Pressey, R L; Rasheed, M A; Sheaves, M; Smith, A

    2013-10-15

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region of Queensland, Australia, encompasses a complex and diverse array of tropical marine ecosystems of global significance. The region is also a World Heritage Area and largely within one of the world's best managed marine protected areas. However, a recent World Heritage Committee report drew attention to serious governance problems associated with the management of ports and shipping. We review the impacts of ports and shipping on biodiversity in the GBR, and propose a series of guiding principles to improve the current governance arrangements. Implementing these principles will increase the capacity of decision makers to minimize the impacts of ports and shipping on biodiversity, and will provide certainty and clarity to port operators and developers. A 'business as usual' approach could lead to the GBR's inclusion on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2014.

  12. Topography, substratum and benthic macrofaunal relationships on a tropical mesophotic shelf margin, central Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bridge, T. C. L.; Done, T. J.; Beaman, R. J.; Friedman, A.; Williams, S. B.; Pizarro, O.; Webster, J. M.

    2011-03-01

    Habitats and ecological communities occurring in the mesophotic region of the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, were investigated using autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) from 51 to 145 m. High-resolution multibeam bathymetry of the outer-shelf at Hydrographers Passage in the central GBR revealed submerged linear reefs with tops at 50, 55, 80, 90, 100 and 130 m separated by flat, sandy inter-reefal areas punctuated by limestone pinnacles. Cluster analysis of AUV images yielded five distinct site groups based on their benthic macrofauna, with rugosity and the presence of limestone reef identified as the most significant abiotic factors explaining the distribution of macrofaunal communities. Reef-associated macrofaunal communities occurred in three distinct depth zones: (1) a shallow (<60 m) community dominated by photosynthetic taxa, notably scleractinian corals, zooxanthellate octocorals and photosynthetic sponges; (2) a transitional community (60-75 m) comprising both zooxanthellate taxa and azooxanthellate taxa (notably gorgonians and antipatharians); and (3) an entirely azooxanthellate community (>75 m). The effects of depth and microhabitat topography on irradiance most likely play a critical role in controlling vertical zonation on reef substrates. The lower depth limits of zooxanthellate corals are significantly shallower than that observed in many other mesophotic coral ecosystems. This may be a result of resuspension of sediments from the sand sheets by strong currents and/or a consequence of cold water upwelling.

  13. Fletcher field: a Silurian patch/barrier-reef complex in southwestern Ontario

    SciTech Connect

    Meadows, J.R.; Churcher, P.L.; Lawson, D.E.; Dusseault, M.B.

    1986-08-01

    The importance of reef growth to Silurian oil and gas production in the Michigan basin is reflected in the large number of studies that have been conducted. Unfortunately, most of these studies have focused on pinnacle reefs, with patch and barrier reefs being virtually ignored, although they represent viable oil and gas exploration targets. Many patch reefs in Ontario also represent targets for enhanced oil recovery projects. Without detailed geologic studies, these projects cannot be readily implemented. A recent sedimentologic study defined the facies distribution of a patch- and barrier-reef complex and its associated producing zones (A-1 carbonate). The Fletcher field, located in southwestern Ontario, was chosen for study. Structures and facies relationships were defined using nine cored holes and geophysical well logs. In addition, detailed studies were made of the clay mineralogy and the controversial Guelph A-1 carbonate contact. Defined facies relationships indicate that the Fletcher patch/barrier reef differs in many respects to pinnacle reefs. The facies are simpler and fewer, consisting of a poorly zoned reef core overlain by a micritized reef-top, lagoonal, and supratidal sequence. The origin of the green shale at the Guelph A-1 contact is interpreted as resulting partly from subaerial exposure and partly from the concentration of insolubles by pressure solution. The clay mineralogy consists of a monomineralic assemblage of illite. The amount and distribution of this assemblage would not significantly affect enhanced oil recovery.

  14. Water quality and coral bleaching thresholds: formalising the linkage for the inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Wooldridge, Scott A

    2009-05-01

    The threats of wide-scale coral bleaching and reef demise associated with anthropogenic climate change are widely known. Here, the additional role of poor water quality in lowering the thermal tolerance (i.e. bleaching 'resistance') of symbiotic reef corals is considered. In particular, a quantitative linkage is established between terrestrially-sourced dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) loading and the upper thermal bleaching thresholds of inshore reefs on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Significantly, this biophysical linkage provides concrete evidence for the oft-expressed belief that improved coral reef management will increase the regional-scale survival prospects of corals reefs to global climate change. Indeed, for inshore reef areas with a high runoff exposure risk, it is shown that the potential benefit of this 'local' management imperative is equivalent to approximately 2.0-2.5 degrees C in relation to the upper thermal bleaching limit; though in this case, a potentially cost-prohibitive reduction in end-of-river DIN of >50-80% would be required. An integrated socio-economic modelling framework is outlined that will assist future efforts to understand (optimise) the alternate tradeoffs that the water quality/coral bleaching linkage presents.

  15. Understanding the future impacts of rapid ocean warming and acidification on the carbonate balance of coral reefs. ecosystems.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Dove, S. G.

    2011-12-01

    Marine organisms and ecosystems are undergoing fundamental changes as a consequence of ocean warming and acidification, which must be understood if we are to anticipate and respond to the resulting changes to ecosystem services and functions. We have been investigating potential changes to the calcification and bioerosion rates of coral reefs using flow-through mesocosms at Heron Island on the southern Great Barrier Reef. In these experiments, we have been manipulating the temperature and pCO2 in order to simulate future ocean conditions described by IPCC scenarios (specifically B2, A1FI). We have also created pre-industrial conditions for comparison. Importantly, our system not only provides fine control over experimental conditions but also allows temperature and pCO2 to fluctuate with daily and seasonal changes measured (integrated over 3 h) at specific locations of interest on the Heron Island Reef, which allows a more 'realistic' analysis of the combined influences of ocean warming and acidification. In our first set of experiments, we have examined the impact of IPCC scenarios (year 2100) for a range of ecosystem phenomena relating to the carbonate balance of coral reefs including (1) phototrophic microborers within the dead skeletons of two coral species; (2) calcareous coralline algae, (3) turf algal communities in the presence and absence of grazing damselfish; (4) the calcification, growth, mortality and recruitment of the reef-building corals, and (5) microbial communities associated with corals. The overall conclusion of the studies conducted to date strongly suggests rapid movement to a negative carbonate balance for shallow water tropical coral reefs even under medium (B2) climate scenarios that involve SST increases of approximately +1.5oC and +250 ppm pCO2. Our conclusion is based on observations regarding key organisms that are involved in establishing the carbonate balance of coral reef organisms, and on the observed impacts of these conditions on

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  17. Fish predation on sea urchins on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, M. A. L.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2012-09-01

    Predators are important for regulating adult sea urchin densities. Here, we employ remote underwater video cameras to record diurnal predation on tethered sea urchins at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We identified four fish predators of adult sea urchins ( Balistoides viridescens, Balistapus undulatus, Lethrinus atkinsoni and Choerodon schoenleinii). Predator activity appeared to be site-specific. Balistoides viridescens and B. undulatus (f: Balistidae) were the two most important predators of Echinometra mathaei with the former handling E. mathaei significantly faster (mean 0.7 min) than B. undulatus (5.2 min). Balistoides viridescens also successfully preyed on 70 % of detections, while C. schoenleinii, B. undulatus and L. atkinsoni preyed on just 33, 17 and <1 %, respectively. Additionally, B. viridescens were behaviourally dominant among predator species and were observed as aggressors in 30 encounters with B. undulatus and 8 encounters with L. atkinsoni. In only one encounter was B. viridescens the recipient of any aggression (from B. undulatus). In terms of relative vulnerability, of the three sea urchin species examined, E. mathaei were more vulnerable to predation than Diadema setosum or Echinothrix calamaris, with mean handling times of 1.2, 4.8 and 10.3 min, respectively. Balistoides viridescens and B. undulatus both appear to be able to play an important role as predators of sea urchins on the relatively intact coral reefs of Lizard Island. However, B. viridescens emerge as the most efficient predator in terms of handling speed and the proportion of detections preyed upon. They were also the behaviourally dominant predator. This preliminary study of the predators of sea urchins on the GBR highlights the potential significance of relatively scarce but functionally important species.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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

  19. Rapid survey protocol that provides dynamic information on reef condition to managers of the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Beeden, R J; Turner, M A; Dryden, J; Merida, F; Goudkamp, K; Malone, C; Marshall, P A; Birtles, A; Maynard, J A

    2014-12-01

    Managing to support coral reef resilience as the climate changes requires strategic and responsive actions that reduce anthropogenic stress. Managers can only target and tailor these actions if they regularly receive information on system condition and impact severity. In large coral reef areas like the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP), acquiring condition and impact data with good spatial and temporal coverage requires using a large network of observers. Here, we describe the result of ~10 years of evolving and refining participatory monitoring programs used in the GBR that have rangers, tourism operators and members of the public as observers. Participants complete Reef Health and Impact Surveys (RHIS) using a protocol that meets coral reef managers' needs for up-to-date information on the following: benthic community composition, reef condition and impacts including coral diseases, damage, predation and the presence of rubbish. Training programs ensure that the information gathered is sufficiently precise to inform management decisions. Participants regularly report because the demands of the survey methodology have been matched to their time availability. Undertaking the RHIS protocol we describe involves three ~20 min surveys at each site. Participants enter data into an online data management system that can create reports for managers and participants within minutes of data being submitted. Since 2009, 211 participants have completed a total of more than 10,415 surveys at more than 625 different reefs. The two-way exchange of information between managers and participants increases the capacity to manage reefs adaptively, meets education and outreach objectives and can increase stewardship. The general approach used and the survey methodology are both sufficiently adaptable to be used in all reef regions.

  20. Spatial Scales of Bacterial Diversity in Cold-Water Coral Reef Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Schöttner, Sandra; Wild, Christian; Hoffmann, Friederike; Boetius, Antje; Ramette, Alban

    2012-01-01

    Background Cold-water coral reef ecosystems are recognized as biodiversity hotspots in the deep sea, but insights into their associated bacterial communities are still limited. Deciphering principle patterns of bacterial community variation over multiple spatial scales may however prove critical for a better understanding of factors contributing to cold-water coral reef stability and functioning. Methodology/Principal Findings Bacterial community structure, as determined by Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA), was investigated with respect to (i) microbial habitat type and (ii) coral species and color, as well as the three spatial components (iii) geomorphologic reef zoning, (iv) reef boundary, and (v) reef location. Communities revealed fundamental differences between coral-generated (branch surface, mucus) and ambient microbial habitats (seawater, sediments). This habitat specificity appeared pivotal for determining bacterial community shifts over all other study levels investigated. Coral-derived surfaces showed species-specific patterns, differing significantly between Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata, but not between L. pertusa color types. Within the reef center, no community distinction corresponded to geomorphologic reef zoning for both coral-generated and ambient microbial habitats. Beyond the reef center, however, bacterial communities varied considerably from local to regional scales, with marked shifts toward the reef periphery as well as between different in- and offshore reef sites, suggesting significant biogeographic imprinting but weak microbe-host specificity. Conclusions/Significance This study presents the first multi-scale survey of bacterial diversity in cold-water coral reefs, spanning a total of five observational levels including three spatial scales. It demonstrates that bacterial communities in cold-water coral reefs are structured by multiple factors acting at different spatial scales, which has fundamental

  1. Temporal variation in development of ecosystem services from oyster reef restoration

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    LaPeyre, Megan K.; Humphries, Austin T.; Casas, Sandra M.; La Peyre, Jerome F.

    2014-01-01

    Restoration ecology relies heavily on ecosystem development theories that generally assume development of fully functioning natural systems over time, but often fail to identify the time-frame required for provision of desired functions, or acknowledge different pathways of functional development. In estuaries, a decline of overall habitat quality and functioning has led to significant efforts to restore critical ecosystem services, recently through the creation and restoration of oyster reefs. Oyster reef restoration generally occurs with goals of (1) increasing water quality via filtration through sustainable oyster recruitment, (2) stabilizing shorelines, and (3) creating and enhancing critical estuarine habitat for fish and invertebrates. We restored over 260 m2 of oyster reef habitat in coastal Louisiana and followed the development and provision of these ecosystem services from 2009 through 2012. Oysters recruited to reefs immediately, with densities of oysters greater than 75 mm exceeding 80 ind m−2 after 3 years, and provision of filtration rates of 1002 ± 187 L h−1 m−2; shoreline stabilization effects of the created reefs were minimal over the three years of monitoring, with some evidence of positive shoreline stabilization during higher wind/energy events only; increased nekton abundance of resident, but not larger transient fish was immediately measurable at the reefs, however, this failed to increase through time. Our results provide critical insights into the development trajectories of ecosystem services provided by restored oyster reefs, as well as the mechanisms mediating these changes. This is critical both ecologically to understand how and where a reef thrives, and for policy and management to guide decision-making related to oyster reef restoration and the crediting and accounting of ecosystem services.

  2. Human activity selectively impacts the ecosystem roles of parrotfishes on coral reefs

    PubMed Central

    Bellwood, David R.; Hoey, Andrew S.; Hughes, Terence P.

    2012-01-01

    Around the globe, coral reefs and other marine ecosystems are increasingly overfished. Conventionally, studies of fishing impacts have focused on the population size and dynamics of targeted stocks rather than the broader ecosystem-wide effects of harvesting. Using parrotfishes as an example, we show how coral reef fish populations respond to escalating fishing pressure across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Based on these fish abundance data, we infer the potential impact on four key functional roles performed by parrotfishes. Rates of bioerosion and coral predation are highly sensitive to human activity, whereas grazing and sediment removal are resilient to fishing. Our results offer new insights into the vulnerability and resilience of coral reefs to the ever-growing human footprint. The depletion of fishes causes differential decline of key ecosystem functions, radically changing the dynamics of coral reefs and setting the stage for future ecological surprises. PMID:22090383

  3. Lower Cretaceous barrier reef and outer shelf facies, Sligo Formation, south Texas

    SciTech Connect

    Kirkland, B.L.; Lighty, R.G.; Rezak, R.; Tieh, T.T.

    1987-09-01

    Along the south Texas margin, a vast carbonate-shelf complex with an extensive barrier-reef system and abundant shallow-lagoon and skeletal-shoal deposits existed during the Aptian to Albian. The Sligo Formation represents more than 609.6 m (2000 ft) of deposition along this margin. Facies types along the shelf edge were quantitatively delineated by cluster analysis of detailed point-count data from 90 thin sections of whole cores from five wells. In addition, studies of 42.6 m (140 ft) of core slabs and thin sections of well cuttings from four other wells were used to establish a regional depositional model. Along the Sligo shelf edge, three major facies occur: reef or reef rubble (two subfacies), back reef (three subfacies), and lagoonal (two subfacies). Reef facies are dominated by caprinids and also contain solenoporid algae, stromatoporoids, and an assortment of corals. Behind the reef, a spectrum of extensive back-reef deposits interfinger with shallow (< 5 m), lagoonal sediments. Farther behind the shelf-margin reef complex, along the outer shelf, benthic foraminifera, peloids, and ooids were deposited in high-energy shoals, and are interbedded with low-energy lagoonal sediments. The two types of buildups probably existed along the Sligo shelf margin and the equivalent Cupido shelf margin to the south: (1) wave-resistant coral-caprinid-stromatoporid barrier reefs (adjacent to restricted lagoonal facies), and (2) low-lying rudist banks (adjacent to diverse, washed lagoonal facies).

  4. Reef Fish Community Biomass and Trophic Structure Changes across Shallow to Upper-Mesophotic Reefs in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean.

    PubMed

    Andradi-Brown, Dominic A; Gress, Erika; Wright, Georgina; Exton, Dan A; Rogers, Alex D

    2016-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; reefs 30-150m depth) are of increased research interest because of their potential role as depth refuges from many shallow reef threats. Yet few studies have identified patterns in fish species composition and trophic group structure between MCEs and their shallow counterparts. Here we explore reef fish species and biomass distributions across shallow to upper-MCE Caribbean reef gradients (5-40m) around Utila, Honduras, using a diver-operated stereo-video system. Broadly, we found reef fish species richness, abundance and biomass declining with depth. At the trophic group level we identified declines in herbivores (both total and relative community biomass) with depth, mostly driven by declines in parrotfish (Scaridae). Piscivores increased as a proportion of the community with increased depth while, in contrast to previous studies, we found no change in relative planktivorous reef fish biomass across the depth gradient. In addition, we also found evidence of ontogenetic migrations in the blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus), striped parrotfish (Scarus iserti), blue chromis (Chromis cyanea), creole wrasse (Clepticus parrae), bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum) and yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus), with a higher proportion of larger individuals at mesophotic and near-mesophotic depths than on shallow reefs. Our results highlight the importance of using biomass measures when considering fish community changes across depth gradients, with biomass generating different results to simple abundance counts. PMID:27332811

  5. Reef Fish Community Biomass and Trophic Structure Changes across Shallow to Upper-Mesophotic Reefs in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean

    PubMed Central

    Gress, Erika; Wright, Georgina; Exton, Dan A.; Rogers, Alex D.

    2016-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; reefs 30-150m depth) are of increased research interest because of their potential role as depth refuges from many shallow reef threats. Yet few studies have identified patterns in fish species composition and trophic group structure between MCEs and their shallow counterparts. Here we explore reef fish species and biomass distributions across shallow to upper-MCE Caribbean reef gradients (5-40m) around Utila, Honduras, using a diver-operated stereo-video system. Broadly, we found reef fish species richness, abundance and biomass declining with depth. At the trophic group level we identified declines in herbivores (both total and relative community biomass) with depth, mostly driven by declines in parrotfish (Scaridae). Piscivores increased as a proportion of the community with increased depth while, in contrast to previous studies, we found no change in relative planktivorous reef fish biomass across the depth gradient. In addition, we also found evidence of ontogenetic migrations in the blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus), striped parrotfish (Scarus iserti), blue chromis (Chromis cyanea), creole wrasse (Clepticus parrae), bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum) and yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus), with a higher proportion of larger individuals at mesophotic and near-mesophotic depths than on shallow reefs. Our results highlight the importance of using biomass measures when considering fish community changes across depth gradients, with biomass generating different results to simple abundance counts. PMID:27332811

  6. Seasonal Dynamical Prediction of Coral Bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spillman, C. M.; Alves, O.

    2009-05-01

    Sea surface temperature (SST) is now recognised as the primary cause of mass coral bleaching events. Coral bleaching occurs during times of stress, particularly when SSTs exceed the coral colony's tolerance level. Global warming is potentially a serious threat to the future of the world's reef systems with predictions by the international community that bleaching will increase in both frequency and severity. Advance warning of anomalous sea surface temperatures, and thus potential bleaching events, would allow for the implementation of management strategies to minimise reef damage. Seasonal SST forecasts from the coupled ocean-atmosphere model POAMA (Bureau of Meteorology) have skill in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) several months into the future. We will present model forecasts and probabilistic products for use in reef management, and assess model skill in the region. These products will revolutionise the way in which coral bleaching events are monitored and assessed in the Great Barrier Reef and Australian region.

  7. [Effects of artificial reef construction to marine ecosystem services value: a case of Yang-Meikeng artificial reef region in Shenzhen].

    PubMed

    Qin, Chuan-xin; Chem, Pi-mao; Jia, Xiao-ping

    2011-08-01

    Based on the researches and statistic data of Yangmeikeng artificial reef region in Shenzhen in 2008 and by the method of ecosystem services value, this paper analyzed the effects of artificial reef construction in the region on the marine ecosystem services. After the artificial reef construction, the tourism service value in the region decreased from 87% to 42%, food supply service value increased from 7% to 27%, and the services value of raw material supply, climatic regulation, air quality regulation, water quality regulation, harmful organism and disease regulation, and knowledge expansion had a slight increase, as compared to the surrounding coastal areas. The total services value per unit area of Yangmeikeng artificial reef region in 2008 was 1714.7 x 10(4) yuan x km(-2), far higher than the mean services value of coastal marine ecosystem in the surrounding areas of Shenzhen and in the world. Artificial reef construction affected and altered the structure of regional marine ecosystem services value, and improved the regional ecosystem services value, being of significance for the rational exploitation and utilization of marine resources and the successful recovery of damaged marine eco-environment and fish resources. Utilizing the method of ecosystem services value to evaluate artificial reef construction region could better elucidate the benefits of artificial reef construction, effectively promote the development of our artificial reef construction, and improve the management of marine ecosystem.

  8. Coral community change on a turbid-zone reef complex: developing baseline records for the central Great Barrier Reef's nearshore coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Jamie; Perry, Chris; Smithers, Scott; Morgan, Kyle; Johnson, Kenneth

    2016-04-01

    Understanding past coral community development and reef growth is crucial for placing contemporary ecological and environmental change within appropriate reef-building timescales. Coral reefs located within coastal inner-shelf zones are widely perceived to be most susceptible to declining water quality due to their proximity to modified river catchments. On the inner-shelf of Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) the impacts and magnitude of declining water quality since European settlement (c. 1850 A.D.) still remain unclear. This relates to ongoing debates concerning the significance of increased sediment yields against the naturally high background sedimentary regimes and the paucity of long-term (>decadal) ecological datasets. To provide baseline records for interpreting coral community change within the turbid inner-shelf waters of the GBR, 21 cores were recovered from five nearshore reefs spanning an evolutionary spectrum of reef development. Discrete intervals pre- and post-dating European settlement, but deposited at equivalent water depths, were identified by radiocarbon dating, enabling the discrimination of extrinsic and intrinsic driven shifts within the coral palaeo-record. We report no discernible evidence of anthropogenically-driven disturbance on the coral community records at these sites. Instead, significant transitions in coral community assemblages relating to water depth and vertical reef accretion were observed. We suggest that these records may be used to contextualise observed contemporary ecological change within similar environments on the GBR.

  9. Identical digeneans in coral reef fishes from French Polynesia and the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) demonstrated by morphology and molecules.

    PubMed

    Lo, C M; Morgan, J A; Galzin, R; Cribb, T H

    2001-12-01

    Three coral reef fish species, Zanclus cornutus, Chaetodon vagabundus and Naso lituratus, were collected in French Polynesia and on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. These fish species were each infected by one morphologically similar digenean species in both localities; Schistorchis zancli Hanson, 1953 was found in Zanclus cornutus, Preptetos laguncula Bray and Cribb, 1996 in Naso lituratus and Neohypocreadium dorsoporum Machida and Uchida, 1987 in Chaetodon vagabundus. In addition, on the Great Barrier Reef P. laguncula was also found in Naso unicornis and N. dorsoporum in Chaetodon ephippium and Chaetodon flavirostris. Morphometric differences between the species from the two sites were only slight. Sequences from the second internal transcribed spacer of the ribosomal DNA of each worm revealed total homology or negligible divergence between samples from hosts caught in French Polynesia and on the Great Barrier Reef. These results show that across more than 6000 km these digeneans are similar in morphology and genotype. Some species of fishes and molluscs are considered to have distributions that encompass the entire tropical Indo-West Pacific. These findings suggest that at least some of their parasites have similarly broad distributions. PMID:11730783

  10. Coral mucus fuels the sponge loop in warm- and cold-water coral reef ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Rix, Laura; de Goeij, Jasper M.; Mueller, Christina E.; Struck, Ulrich; Middelburg, Jack J.; van Duyl, Fleur C.; Al-Horani, Fuad A.; Wild, Christian; Naumann, Malik S.; van Oevelen, Dick

    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 nutrients in DOM to higher trophic levels on Caribbean reefs via the so-called sponge loop. Coral mucus may be a major DOM source for the sponge loop, but mucus uptake by sponges has not been demonstrated. Here we used laboratory stable isotope tracer experiments to show the transfer of coral mucus into the bulk tissue and phospholipid fatty acids of the warm-water sponge Mycale fistulifera and cold-water sponge Hymedesmia coriacea, demonstrating a direct trophic link between corals and reef sponges. Furthermore, 21–40% of the mucus carbon and 32–39% of the nitrogen assimilated by the sponges was subsequently released as detritus, confirming a sponge loop on Red Sea warm-water and north Atlantic cold-water coral reefs. The presence of a sponge loop in two vastly different reef environments suggests it is a ubiquitous feature of reef ecosystems contributing to the high biogeochemical cycling that may enable coral reefs to thrive in nutrient-limited (warm-water) and energy-limited (cold-water) environments. PMID:26740019

  11. Coral mucus fuels the sponge loop in warm- and cold-water coral reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Rix, Laura; de Goeij, Jasper M; Mueller, Christina E; Struck, Ulrich; Middelburg, Jack J; van Duyl, Fleur C; Al-Horani, Fuad A; Wild, Christian; Naumann, Malik S; van Oevelen, Dick

    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 nutrients in DOM to higher trophic levels on Caribbean reefs via the so-called sponge loop. Coral mucus may be a major DOM source for the sponge loop, but mucus uptake by sponges has not been demonstrated. Here we used laboratory stable isotope tracer experiments to show the transfer of coral mucus into the bulk tissue and phospholipid fatty acids of the warm-water sponge Mycale fistulifera and cold-water sponge Hymedesmia coriacea, demonstrating a direct trophic link between corals and reef sponges. Furthermore, 21-40% of the mucus carbon and 32-39% of the nitrogen assimilated by the sponges was subsequently released as detritus, confirming a sponge loop on Red Sea warm-water and north Atlantic cold-water coral reefs. The presence of a sponge loop in two vastly different reef environments suggests it is a ubiquitous feature of reef ecosystems contributing to the high biogeochemical cycling that may enable coral reefs to thrive in nutrient-limited (warm-water) and energy-limited (cold-water) environments. PMID:26740019

  12. Challenges for Ecosystem Services Provided by Coral Reefs In the Face of Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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

  13. Impacts and recovery from severe tropical cyclone Yasi on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Beeden, Roger; Maynard, Jeffrey; Puotinen, Marjetta; Marshall, Paul; Dryden, Jen; Goldberg, Jeremy; Williams, Gareth

    2015-01-01

    Full recovery of coral reefs from tropical cyclone (TC) damage can take decades, making cyclones a major driver of habitat condition where they occur regularly. Since 1985, 44 TCs generated gale force winds (≥17 metres/second) within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). Of the hurricane strength TCs (≥H1-Saffir Simpson scale; ≥ category 3 Australian scale), TC Yasi (February, 2011) was the largest. In the weeks after TC Yasi crossed the GBRMP, participating researchers, managers and rangers assessed the extent and severity of reef damage via 841 Reef Health and Impact Surveys at 70 reefs. Records were scaled into five damage levels representing increasingly widespread colony-level damage (1, 2, 3) and reef structural damage (4, 5). Average damage severity was significantly affected by direction (north vs south of the cyclone track), reef shelf position (mid-shelf vs outer-shelf) and habitat type. More outer-shelf reefs suffered structural damage than mid-shelf reefs within 150 km of the track. Structural damage spanned a greater latitudinal range for mid-shelf reefs than outer-shelf reefs (400 vs 300 km). Structural damage was patchily distributed at all distances, but more so as distance from the track increased. Damage extended much further from the track than during other recent intense cyclones that had smaller circulation sizes. Just over 15% (3,834 km2) of the total reef area of the GBRMP is estimated to have sustained some level of coral damage, with ~4% (949 km2) sustaining a degree of structural damage. TC Yasi likely caused the greatest loss of coral cover on the GBR in a 24-hour period since 1985. Severely impacted reefs have started to recover; coral cover increased an average of 4% between 2011 and 2013 at re-surveyed reefs. The in situ assessment of impacts described here is the largest in scale ever conducted on the Great Barrier Reef following a reef health disturbance. PMID:25874718

  14. Impacts and Recovery from Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi on the Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Beeden, Roger; Maynard, Jeffrey; Puotinen, Marjetta; Marshall, Paul; Dryden, Jen; Goldberg, Jeremy; Williams, Gareth

    2015-01-01

    Full recovery of coral reefs from tropical cyclone (TC) damage can take decades, making cyclones a major driver of habitat condition where they occur regularly. Since 1985, 44 TCs generated gale force winds (≥17 metres/second) within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). Of the hurricane strength TCs (≥H1—Saffir Simpson scale; ≥ category 3 Australian scale), TC Yasi (February, 2011) was the largest. In the weeks after TC Yasi crossed the GBRMP, participating researchers, managers and rangers assessed the extent and severity of reef damage via 841 Reef Health and Impact Surveys at 70 reefs. Records were scaled into five damage levels representing increasingly widespread colony-level damage (1, 2, 3) and reef structural damage (4, 5). Average damage severity was significantly affected by direction (north vs south of the cyclone track), reef shelf position (mid-shelf vs outer-shelf) and habitat type. More outer-shelf reefs suffered structural damage than mid-shelf reefs within 150 km of the track. Structural damage spanned a greater latitudinal range for mid-shelf reefs than outer-shelf reefs (400 vs 300 km). Structural damage was patchily distributed at all distances, but more so as distance from the track increased. Damage extended much further from the track than during other recent intense cyclones that had smaller circulation sizes. Just over 15% (3,834 km2) of the total reef area of the GBRMP is estimated to have sustained some level of coral damage, with ~4% (949 km2) sustaining a degree of structural damage. TC Yasi likely caused the greatest loss of coral cover on the GBR in a 24-hour period since 1985. Severely impacted reefs have started to recover; coral cover increased an average of 4% between 2011 and 2013 at re-surveyed reefs. The in situ assessment of impacts described here is the largest in scale ever conducted on the Great Barrier Reef following a reef health disturbance. PMID:25874718

  15. Cross-shelf exchanges between the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef lagoon determined from a regional-scale numerical model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schiller, Andreas; Herzfeld, Mike; Brinkman, Richard; Rizwi, Farhan; Andrewartha, John

    2015-10-01

    Analyses of the variability in a 3.5-year run of a hydrodynamic model developed for simulating the circulation of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are presented. Sea-surface temperature, salinity, currents and cross-shelf transports between the GBR lagoon and the deep ocean offshore are investigated and compare well to available observations. Water mass intrusions and flushing events are critical factors in determining the health of coral reef and continental shelf ecosystems. Results from tracer release experiments provide a synoptic view of the variability of residence times within the GBR and identify critical regions of shelf-ocean exchange. One such region of significant tracer contribution to the shelf is identified in the vicinity of the Pompey Reefs in an area characterised by increased frequency of upslope transported water. Another location of enhanced flux on to the shelf exists in the region bracketing Palm Passage, where the reef matrix is very open, and provides little obstacle to cross-shelf exchange. The Palm Passage location is the origin of a northwards plume of elevated concentration. The model circulation provides a robust and useful picture of the Great Barrier Reef, rendering the model suitable for providing input to biogeochemical and sediment models to simulate, at a broad scale, the ecosystem health, water quality, transport and fate of water and waterborne material, moving through catchments and into the GBR lagoon.

  16. Estaurine Freshwater Entrainment By Oyster Reefs: Quantifying A Keystone Ecosystem Service

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaplan, D. A.; Olabarrieta, M.; Frederick, P.; Valle-Levinson, A.; Seavey, J.

    2014-12-01

    Oyster reefs have been shown to provide myriad critical ecosystem services, however their role in directing flow and currents during non-storm conditions has been largely neglected. In many regions, oyster reefs form as linear structures perpendicular to the coast and across the path of streams and rivers, potentially entraining large volumes of freshwater flow and altering nearshore mixing. We hypothesize that these reefs have the potential to influence salinity over large areas, providing a "keystone" ecosystem service by supporting multiple estuarine functions. Here we present results from a field and modeling study to quantify the effects of reef extent and elevation on estuarine salinities under varying river discharge. We found salinity differences ranging from 2 to 16 g/kg between inshore and offshore sides of degraded oyster reefs in the Suwannee Sound (FL, USA), supporting the role of reefs as local-scale freshwater dams. Moreover, differences between inshore and offshore salinities were correlated with flow, with the most marked differences during periods of low flow. Hydrodynamic modeling using the 3-D Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) suggests that the currently degraded reef system entrained greater volumes of freshwater in the past, buffering the landward advance of high salinities, particularly during low flow events related to droughts. Using ROMS, we also modeled a variety of hypothetical oyster bar morphology scenarios (historical, current, and "restored") to understand how changes in reef structure (elevation, extent, and completeness) impact estuarine mixing and near-shore salinities. Taken together, these results serve to: 1) elucidate a poorly documented ecosystem service of oyster reefs; 2) provide an estimate of the magnitude and sptial extent of the freshwater entrainment effect; and 3) offer quantitative information to managers and restoration specialists interested in restoring oyster habitat.

  17. Large-scale pesticide monitoring across Great Barrier Reef catchments--Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program.

    PubMed

    Smith, Rachael; Middlebrook, Rachael; Turner, Ryan; Huggins, Rae; Vardy, Suzanne; Warne, Michael

    2012-01-01

    The transport and potential toxicity of pesticides in Queensland (QLD) catchments from agricultural areas is a key concern for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). In 2009, a pesticide monitoring program was established as part of the Australian and QLD Governments' Reef Plan (2009). Samples were collected at eight End of System sites (above the tidal zone) and three sub-catchment sites. At least two pesticides were detected at every site including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and the Reef Plan's (2009) five priority photosystem II (PSII) herbicides (diuron, atrazine, hexazinone, tebuthiuron and ametryn). Diuron, atrazine and metolachlor exceeded Australian and New Zealand water quality guideline trigger values (TVs) at eight sites. Accounting for PSII herbicide mixtures increased the estimated toxicity and led to larger exceedances of the TVs at more sites. This study demonstrates the widespread contamination of pesticides, particularly PSII herbicides, across the GBR catchment area which discharges to the GBR.

  18. Patterns of recruitment and microhabitat associations for three predatory coral reef fishes on the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wen, C. K. C.; Pratchett, M. S.; Almany, G. R.; Jones, G. P.

    2013-06-01

    This study examined recruitment patterns and microhabitat associations for three carnivorous fishes, Plectropomus maculatus, Lutjanus carponotatus and Epinephelus quoyanus, at the Keppel Islands, southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Habitat selectivity was highest for recruits that were found mostly with corymbose Acropora, predominantly on patches of live coral located over loose substrates (sand). Adults were more commonly associated with tabular Acropora. The proportion of P. maculatus (72 %) found with live corals was higher than for L. carponotatus (68 %) and E. quoyanus (44 %). Densities of recruits were highly variable among locations, but this was only partly related to availability of preferred microhabitats. Our findings demonstrate that at least some carnivorous reef fishes, especially during early life-history stages, strongly associate with live corals. Such species will be highly sensitive to increasing degradation of coral reef habitats.

  19. Small change, big difference: Sea surface temperature distributions for tropical coral reef ecosystems, 1950-2011

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lough, J. M.

    2012-09-01

    Changes in tropical sea surface temperature (SST) are examined over the period 1950-2011 during which global average temperature warmed by 0.4°C. Average tropical SST is warming about 70% of the global average rate. Spatially, significant warming between the two time periods, 1950-1980 and 1981-2011, has occurred across 65% of the tropical oceans. Coral reef ecosystems occupy 10% of the tropical oceans, typically in regions of warmer (+1.8°C) and less variable SST (80% of months within 3.3°C range) compared to non-reef areas (80% of months within 7.0°C range). SST is a primary controlling factor of coral reef distribution and coral reef organisms have already shown their sensitivity to the relatively small amount of warming observed so far through, for example, more frequent coral bleaching events and outbreaks of coral disease. Experimental evidence is also emerging of possible thermal thresholds in the range 30°C-32°C for some physiological processes of coral reef organisms. Relatively small changes in SST have already resulted in quite large differences in SST distribution with a maximum ‘hot spot’ of change in the near-equatorial Indo-Pacific which encompasses both the Indo-Pacific warm pools and the center of coral reef biodiversity. Identification of this hot spot of SST change is not new but this study highlights its significance with respect to tropical coral reef ecosystems. Given the modest amount of warming to date, changes in SST distribution are of particular concern for coral reefs given additional local anthropogenic stresses on many reefs and ongoing ocean acidification likely to increasingly compromise coral reef processes.

  20. Geochemical Records of Bleaching Events and the Associated Stressors From the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roark, E. B.; McCulloch, M.; Ingram, B. L.; Marshall, J. F.

    2003-12-01

    The health of coral reefs world-wide is increasingly threatened by a wide array of stressors. On the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) these stressors include increased sediment flux associated with land use changes, increased sea surface temperatures (SST) and salinity changes due to large floods, the latter two of which are factors in an increased number of bleaching events. The ability to document long-term change in these stressors along with changes in the number of bleaching events would help discern what are natural and anthropogenic changes in this ecosystem. Here we present results of an initial calibration effort aimed at identifying bleaching events and the associated stressors using stable isotopic and trace element analysis in coral cores. Three ˜15-year time series of geochemical measurements (δ 13C, δ 18O, and Sr/Ca) on Porites coral cores obtained from Pandora Reef and the Keppel Islands on the GBR have been developed at near weekly resolution. Since the δ 13C of the coral skeletal carbonate is known to be affected by both environmental factors (e.g. insolation and temperature) and physiological factors (e.g. photosynthesis, calcification, and the statues of the symbiotic relationship between corals and zooxanthellae) it is the most promising proxy for reconstructing past bleaching events. The first record (PAN-98) comes from a coral head that had undergone bleaching and died shortly after the large-scale bleaching events on Pandora Reef in 1998. A second core (PAN-02) was collected from a living coral within 10m of PAN-98 in 2002. Sr/Ca ratios in both cores tracked even the smallest details of an in situ SST record. The increase in SST that occurred three to four weeks prior to bleaching was faithfully recorded by a similar decrease in the Sr/Ca ratio in PAN-98, indicating that calcification continued despite the high SST of 30-31° C. The δ 13C values decreased by about 5‰ , one week after the SST increase, and remained at this value for about 4

  1. Coral reef ecosystem decline: changing dynamics of coral reef carbonate production and implications for reef growth potential

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perry, Chris

    2016-04-01

    Global-scale deteriorations in coral reef health have caused major shifts in species composition and are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. It has been suggested that one effect of these ecological changes will be to lower reef carbonate production rates, which will impair reef growth potential and, ultimately, may lead to states of net reef erosion. However, quantitative data to support such assertions are limited, and linkages between the ecological state of coral reefs and their past and present geomorphic performance (in other words their growth potential) are poorly resolved. Using recently collected data from sites in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean, and which have undergone very different post-disturbance ecological trajectories over the last ~20-30 years, the differential impacts of disturbance on contemporary carbonate production regimes and on reef growth potential can be explored. In the Caribbean, a region which has been severely impacted ecological over the last 30+ years, our datasets show that average carbonate production rates on reefs are now less than 50% of pre-disturbance rates, and that calculated accretion rates (mm yr-1) are an about order of magnitude lower within shallow water habitats compared to Holocene averages. Collectively, these data suggest that recent ecological declines are now propagating through the system to impact on the geomorphic performance of Caribbean reefs and will impair their future growth potential. In contrast, the carbonate budgets of most reefs across the Chagos archipelago (central Indian Ocean), which is geographically remote and largely isolated from direct human disturbances, have recovered rapidly from major past disturbances (specifically the 1998 coral bleaching event). The carbonate budgets on these remote reefs now average +3.7 G (G = kg CaCO3 m-2 yr-1). Most significantly the production rates on Acropora-dominated reefs, which were most severely impacted by the 1998 bleaching event, average +8.4 G

  2. Assessing the value of Earth Observation for managing coral reefs: an example from the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Bouma, Jetske A; Kuik, Onno; Dekker, Arnold G

    2011-10-01

    The Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS, 2003) argues that further investments in Earth Observation information are required to improve coral reef protection worldwide. The IGOS Strategy does not specify what levels of investments are needed nor does it quantify the benefits associated with better-protected reefs. Evaluating costs and benefits is important for determining optimal investment levels and for convincing policy-makers that investments are required indeed. Few studies have quantitatively assessed the economic benefits of Earth Observation information or evaluated the economic value of information for environmental management. This paper uses an expert elicitation approach based on Bayesian Decision Theory to estimate the possible contribution of global Earth Observation to the management of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef including its lagoon is a World Heritage Area affected by anthropogenic changes in land-use as well as climate change resulting in increased flows of sediments, nutrients and carbon to the GBR lagoon. Since European settlement, nutrient and sediment loads having increased 5-10 times and the change in water quality is causing damages to the reef. Earth Observation information from ocean and coastal color satellite sensors can provide spatially and temporally dense information on sediment flows. We hypothesize that Earth Observation improves decision-making by enabling better-targeted run-off reduction measures and we assess the benefits (cost savings) of this improved targeting by optimizing run-off reductions under different states of the world. The analysis suggests that the benefits of Earth Observation can indeed be substantial, depending on the perceived accuracy of the information and on the prior beliefs of decision-makers. The results indicate that increasing informational accuracy is the most effective way for developers of Earth Observation information to increase the added value of Earth Observation for

  3. Assessing the value of Earth Observation for managing coral reefs: an example from the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Bouma, Jetske A; Kuik, Onno; Dekker, Arnold G

    2011-10-01

    The Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS, 2003) argues that further investments in Earth Observation information are required to improve coral reef protection worldwide. The IGOS Strategy does not specify what levels of investments are needed nor does it quantify the benefits associated with better-protected reefs. Evaluating costs and benefits is important for determining optimal investment levels and for convincing policy-makers that investments are required indeed. Few studies have quantitatively assessed the economic benefits of Earth Observation information or evaluated the economic value of information for environmental management. This paper uses an expert elicitation approach based on Bayesian Decision Theory to estimate the possible contribution of global Earth Observation to the management of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef including its lagoon is a World Heritage Area affected by anthropogenic changes in land-use as well as climate change resulting in increased flows of sediments, nutrients and carbon to the GBR lagoon. Since European settlement, nutrient and sediment loads having increased 5-10 times and the change in water quality is causing damages to the reef. Earth Observation information from ocean and coastal color satellite sensors can provide spatially and temporally dense information on sediment flows. We hypothesize that Earth Observation improves decision-making by enabling better-targeted run-off reduction measures and we assess the benefits (cost savings) of this improved targeting by optimizing run-off reductions under different states of the world. The analysis suggests that the benefits of Earth Observation can indeed be substantial, depending on the perceived accuracy of the information and on the prior beliefs of decision-makers. The results indicate that increasing informational accuracy is the most effective way for developers of Earth Observation information to increase the added value of Earth Observation for

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:25179273

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

    PubMed

    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.

  6. River loads of suspended solids, nitrogen, phosphorus and herbicides delivered to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

    PubMed

    Kroon, Frederieke J; Kuhnert, Petra M; Henderson, Brent L; Wilkinson, Scott N; Kinsey-Henderson, Anne; Abbott, Brett; Brodie, Jon E; Turner, Ryan D R

    2012-01-01

    Degradation of coastal ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon, Australia, has been linked with increased land-based runoff of suspended solids, nutrients and pesticides since European settlement. This study estimated the increase in river loads for all 35 GBR basins, using the best available estimates of pre-European and current loads derived from catchment modelling and monitoring. The mean-annual load to the GBR lagoon for (i) total suspended solids has increased by 5.5 times to 17,000ktonnes/year, (ii) total nitrogen by 5.7 times to 80,000tonnes/year, (iii) total phosphorus by 8.9 times to 16,000tonnes/year, and (iv) PSII herbicides is 30,000kg/year. The increases in river loads differ across the 10 pollutants and 35 basins examined, reflecting differences in surface runoff, urbanisation, deforestation, agricultural practices, mining and retention by reservoirs. These estimates will facilitate target setting for water quality and desired ecosystem states, and enable prioritisation of critical sources for management. PMID:22154273

  7. Coral records of reef-water pH across the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia: assessing the influence of river runoff on inshore reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Olivo, J. P.; McCulloch, M. T.; Eggins, S. M.; Trotter, J.

    2015-02-01

    The boron isotopic (δ11Bcarb) compositions of long-lived Porites coral are used to reconstruct reef-water pH across the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and assess the impact of river runoff on inshore reefs. For the period from 1940 to 2009, corals from both inner- and mid-shelf sites exhibit the same overall decrease in δ11Bcarb of 0.086 ± 0.033‰ per decade, equivalent to a decline in seawater pH (pHsw) of ~0.017 ± 0.007 pH units per decade. This decline is consistent with the long-term effects of ocean acidification based on estimates of CO2 uptake by surface waters due to rising atmospheric levels. We also find that, compared to the mid-shelf corals, the δ11Bcarb compositions of inner-shelf corals subject to river discharge events have higher and more variable values, and hence higher inferred pHsw values. These higher δ11Bcarb values of inner-shelf corals are particularly evident during wet years, despite river waters having lower pH. The main effect of river discharge on reef-water carbonate chemistry thus appears to be from reduced aragonite saturation state and higher nutrients driving increased phytoplankton productivity, resulting in the drawdown of pCO2 and increase in pHsw. Increased primary production therefore has the potential to counter the more transient effects of low-pH river water (pHrw) discharged into near-shore environments. Importantly, however, inshore reefs also show a consistent pattern of sharply declining coral growth that coincides with periods of high river discharge. This occurs despite these reefs having higher pHsw, demonstrating the overriding importance of local reef-water quality and reduced aragonite saturation state on coral reef health.

  8. Coral records of reef-water pH across the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia: assessing the influence of river runoff on inshore reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Olivo, J. P.; McCulloch, M. T.; Eggins, S. M.; Trotter, J.

    2014-07-01

    The boron isotopic (δ11Bcarb) compositions of long-lived Porites coral are used to reconstruct reef-water pH across the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and assess the impact of river runoff on inshore reefs. For the period from 1940 to 2009, corals from both inner as well as mid-shelf sites exhibit the same overall decrease in δ11Bcarb of 0.086 ± 0.033‰ per decade, equivalent to a~decline in seawater pH (pHsw) of ~ 0.017 ± 0.007 pH units per decade. This decline is consistent with the long-term effects of ocean acidification based on estimates of CO2 uptake by surface waters due to rising atmospheric levels. We also find that compared to the mid-shelf corals, the δ11Bcarb compositions for inner shelf corals subject to river discharge events, have higher and more variable values and hence higher inferred pHsw values. These higher δ11Bcarb values for inner-shelf corals are particularly evident during wet years, despite river waters having lower pH. The main effect of river discharge on reef-water carbonate chemistry thus appears to be from higher nutrients driving increased phytoplankton productivity, resulting in the drawdown of pCO2 and increase in pHsw. Increased primary production therefore has the potential to counter the more transient effects of low pH river water (pHrw) discharged into near-shore environments. Importantly however, inshore reefs also show a consistent pattern of sharply declining coral growth that coincides with periods of high river discharge. This occurs despite these reefs having higher pHsw values and hence higher seawater aragonite saturation states, demonstrating the over-riding importance of local reef-water quality on coral reef health.

  9. Climate Warming, Marine Protected Areas and the Ocean-Scale Integrity of Coral Reef Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    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; Öhman, Marcus C.; Garpe, Kajsa C.; Edwards, Alasdair J.; Sheppard, Charles R. C.

    2008-01-01

    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. PMID:18728776

  10. Climate warming, marine protected areas and the ocean-scale integrity of coral reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    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.

  11. Terrestrial pollutant runoff to the Great Barrier Reef: An update of issues, priorities and management responses.

    PubMed

    Brodie, J E; Kroon, F J; Schaffelke, B; Wolanski, E C; Lewis, S E; Devlin, M J; Bohnet, I C; Bainbridge, Z T; Waterhouse, J; Davis, A M

    2012-01-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a World Heritage Area and contains extensive areas of coral reef, seagrass meadows and fisheries resources. From adjacent catchments, numerous rivers discharge pollutants from agricultural, urban, mining and industrial activity. Pollutant sources have been identified and include suspended sediment from erosion in cattle grazing areas; nitrate from fertiliser application on crop lands; and herbicides from various land uses. The fate and effects of these pollutants in the receiving marine environment are relatively well understood. The Australian and Queensland Governments responded to the concerns of pollution of the GBR from catchment runoff with a plan to address this issue in 2003 (Reef Plan; updated 2009), incentive-based voluntary management initiatives in 2007 (Reef Rescue) and a State regulatory approach in 2009, the Reef Protection Package. This paper reviews new research relevant to the catchment to GBR continuum and evaluates the appropriateness of current management responses.

  12. Dynamical seasonal prediction of summer sea surface temperatures in the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spillman, C. M.; Alves, O.

    2009-03-01

    Coral bleaching is a serious problem threatening the world coral reef systems, triggered by high sea surface temperatures (SST) which are becoming more prevalent as a result of global warming. Seasonal forecasts from coupled ocean-atmosphere models can be used to predict anomalous SST months in advance. In this study, we assess the ability of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology seasonal forecast model (POAMA) to forecast SST anomalies in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with particular focus on the major 1998 and 2002 bleaching events. Advance warning of potential bleaching events allows for the implementation of management strategies to minimise reef damage. This study represents the first attempt to apply a dynamical seasonal model to the problem of coral bleaching and predict SST over a reef system for up to 6 months lead-time, a potentially invaluable tool for reef managers.

  13. Presence of Symbiodinium spp. in macroalgal microhabitats from the southern Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Venera-Ponton, D. E.; Diaz-Pulido, G.; Rodriguez-Lanetty, M.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.

    2010-12-01

    Coral reefs are highly dependent on the mutualistic symbiosis between reef-building corals and dinoflagellates from the genus Symbiodinium. These dinoflagellates spend part of their life cycle outside the coral host and in the majority of the cases have to re-infect corals each generation. While considerable insight has been gained about Symbiodinium in corals, little is known about the ecology and biology of Symbiodinium in other reef microhabitats. This study documents Symbiodinium associating with benthic macroalgae on the southern Great Barrier Reef, including some Symbiodinium that are genetically close to the symbiotic strains from reef-building corals. It is possible that some of these Symbiodinium were in hospite, associated to soritid foraminifera or ciliates; nevertheless, the presence of Symbiodinium C3 and C15 in macroalgal microhabitats may also suggest a potential link between communities of Symbiodinium associating with both coral hosts and macroalgae.

  14. Terrestrial pollutant runoff to the Great Barrier Reef: An update of issues, priorities and management responses.

    PubMed

    Brodie, J E; Kroon, F J; Schaffelke, B; Wolanski, E C; Lewis, S E; Devlin, M J; Bohnet, I C; Bainbridge, Z T; Waterhouse, J; Davis, A M

    2012-01-01

    The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a World Heritage Area and contains extensive areas of coral reef, seagrass meadows and fisheries resources. From adjacent catchments, numerous rivers discharge pollutants from agricultural, urban, mining and industrial activity. Pollutant sources have been identified and include suspended sediment from erosion in cattle grazing areas; nitrate from fertiliser application on crop lands; and herbicides from various land uses. The fate and effects of these pollutants in the receiving marine environment are relatively well understood. The Australian and Queensland Governments responded to the concerns of pollution of the GBR from catchment runoff with a plan to address this issue in 2003 (Reef Plan; updated 2009), incentive-based voluntary management initiatives in 2007 (Reef Rescue) and a State regulatory approach in 2009, the Reef Protection Package. This paper reviews new research relevant to the catchment to GBR continuum and evaluates the appropriateness of current management responses. PMID:22257553

  15. Genetic differentiation among populations of the brooding soft coral Clavularia koellikeri on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bastidas, C.; Benzie, J.; Fabricius, K.

    2002-09-01

    The contribution of sexual and asexual reproduction, the spatial patterns of genetic structure, and the potential gene flow among populations were determined for the soft coral Clavularia koellikeri (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea, Clavulariidae) at ten sites among six reefs from two well-separated regions of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Eight allozyme loci indicated that colonies of C. koellikeri separated ≥3 m were produced sexually. Genetic diversity was lower in the southern (18°S) compared with the northern (10°S) populations, suggesting that reefs closer to the southernmost limit of the distribution of C. koellikeri within the GBR (19°S) may represent a more marginal habitat for this species. High levels of genetic differentiation were significant at all spatial scales (sites within reefs, reefs, and regions) from <4 km up to 1,000 km, indicating that C. koellikeri has restricted dispersal, consistent with having brooded larvae.

  16. Herbivory, connectivity, and ecosystem resilience: response of a coral reef to a large-scale perturbation.

    PubMed

    Adam, Thomas C; Schmitt, Russell J; Holbrook, Sally J; Brooks, Andrew J; Edmunds, Peter J; Carpenter, Robert C; Bernardi, Giacomo

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs world-wide are threatened by escalating local and global impacts, and some impacted reefs have shifted from coral dominance to a state dominated by macroalgae. Therefore, there is a growing need to understand the processes that affect the capacity of these ecosystems to return to coral dominance following disturbances, including those that prevent the establishment of persistent stands of macroalgae. Unlike many reefs in the Caribbean, over the last several decades, reefs around the Indo-Pacific island of Moorea, French Polynesia have consistently returned to coral dominance following major perturbations without shifting to a macroalgae-dominated state. Here, we present evidence of a rapid increase in populations of herbivorous fishes following the most recent perturbation, and show that grazing by these herbivores has prevented the establishment of macroalgae following near complete loss of coral on offshore reefs. Importantly, we found the positive response of herbivorous fishes to increased benthic primary productivity associated with coral loss was driven largely by parrotfishes that initially recruit to stable nursery habitat within the lagoons before moving to offshore reefs later in life. These results underscore the importance of connectivity between the lagoon and offshore reefs for preventing the establishment of macroalgae following disturbances, and indicate that protecting nearshore nursery habitat of herbivorous fishes is critical for maintaining reef resilience.

  17. Herbivory, Connectivity, and Ecosystem Resilience: Response of a Coral Reef to a Large-Scale Perturbation

    PubMed Central

    Adam, Thomas C.; Schmitt, Russell J.; Holbrook, Sally J.; Brooks, Andrew J.; Edmunds, Peter J.; Carpenter, Robert C.; Bernardi, Giacomo

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs world-wide are threatened by escalating local and global impacts, and some impacted reefs have shifted from coral dominance to a state dominated by macroalgae. Therefore, there is a growing need to understand the processes that affect the capacity of these ecosystems to return to coral dominance following disturbances, including those that prevent the establishment of persistent stands of macroalgae. Unlike many reefs in the Caribbean, over the last several decades, reefs around the Indo-Pacific island of Moorea, French Polynesia have consistently returned to coral dominance following major perturbations without shifting to a macroalgae-dominated state. Here, we present evidence of a rapid increase in populations of herbivorous fishes following the most recent perturbation, and show that grazing by these herbivores has prevented the establishment of macroalgae following near complete loss of coral on offshore reefs. Importantly, we found the positive response of herbivorous fishes to increased benthic primary productivity associated with coral loss was driven largely by parrotfishes that initially recruit to stable nursery habitat within the lagoons before moving to offshore reefs later in life. These results underscore the importance of connectivity between the lagoon and offshore reefs for preventing the establishment of macroalgae following disturbances, and indicate that protecting nearshore nursery habitat of herbivorous fishes is critical for maintaining reef resilience. PMID:21901131

  18. Global Human Footprint on the Linkage between Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in Reef Fishes

    PubMed Central

    Mora, Camilo; Aburto-Oropeza, Octavio; Ayala Bocos, Arturo; Ayotte, Paula M.; Banks, Stuart; Bauman, Andrew G.; Beger, Maria; Bessudo, Sandra; Booth, David J.; Brokovich, Eran; Brooks, Andrew; Chabanet, Pascale; Cinner, Joshua E.; Cortés, Jorge; Cruz-Motta, Juan J.; Cupul Magaña, Amilcar; DeMartini, Edward E.; Edgar, Graham J.; Feary, David A.; Ferse, Sebastian C. A.; Friedlander, Alan M.; Gaston, Kevin J.; Gough, Charlotte; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Green, Alison; Guzman, Hector; Hardt, Marah; Kulbicki, Michel; Letourneur, Yves; López Pérez, Andres; Loreau, Michel; Loya, Yossi; Martinez, Camilo; Mascareñas-Osorio, Ismael; Morove, Tau; Nadon, Marc-Olivier; Nakamura, Yohei; Paredes, Gustavo; Polunin, Nicholas V. C.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Reyes Bonilla, Héctor; Rivera, Fernando; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A.; Soler, German; Stuart-Smith, Rick; Tessier, Emmanuel; Tittensor, Derek P.; Tupper, Mark; Usseglio, Paolo; Vigliola, Laurent; Wantiez, Laurent; Williams, Ivor; Wilson, Shaun K.; Zapata, Fernando A.

    2011-01-01

    Difficulties in scaling up theoretical and experimental results have raised controversy over the consequences of biodiversity loss for the functioning of natural ecosystems. Using a global survey of reef fish assemblages, we show that in contrast to previous theoretical and experimental studies, ecosystem functioning (as measured by standing biomass) scales in a non-saturating manner with biodiversity (as measured by species and functional richness) in this ecosystem. Our field study also shows a significant and negative interaction between human population density and biodiversity on ecosystem functioning (i.e., for the same human density there were larger reductions in standing biomass at more diverse reefs). Human effects were found to be related to fishing, coastal development, and land use stressors, and currently affect over 75% of the world's coral reefs. Our results indicate that the consequences of biodiversity loss in coral reefs have been considerably underestimated based on existing knowledge and that reef fish assemblages, particularly the most diverse, are greatly vulnerable to the expansion and intensity of anthropogenic stressors in coastal areas. PMID:21483714

  19. Geomorphology and sediment transport on a submerged back-reef sand apron: One Tree Reef, Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harris, Daniel L.; Vila-Concejo, Ana; Webster, Jody M.

    2014-10-01

    Back-reef sand aprons are conspicuous and dynamic sedimentary features in coral reef systems. The development of these features influences the evolution and defines the maturity of coral reefs. However, the hydrodynamic processes that drive changes on sand aprons are poorly understood with only a few studies directly assessing sediment entrainment and transport. Current and wave conditions on a back-reef sand apron were measured during this study and a digital elevation model was developed through topographic and bathymetric surveying of the sand apron, reef flats and lagoon. The current and wave processes that may entrain and transport sediment were assessed using second order small amplitude (Stokes) wave theory and Shields equations. The morphodynamic interactions between current flow and geomorphology were also examined. The results showed that sediment transport occurs under modal hydrodynamic conditions with waves the main force entraining sediment rather than average currents. A morphodynamic relationship between current flow and geomorphology was also observed with current flow primarily towards the lagoon in shallow areas of the sand apron and deeper channel-like areas directing current off the sand apron towards the lagoon or the reef crest. These results show that the short-term mutual interaction of hydrodynamics and geomorphology in coral reefs can result in morphodynamic equilibrium.

  20. Holocene key coral species in the Northwest Pacific: indicators of reef formation and reef ecosystem responses to global climate change and anthropogenic stresses in the near future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hongo, Chuki

    2012-03-01

    The geological record of key coral species that contribute to reef formation and maintenance of reef ecosystems is important for understanding the ecosystem response to global-scale climate change and anthropogenic stresses in the near future. Future responses can be predicted from accumulated data on Holocene reef species identified in drillcore and from data on raised reef terraces. The present study analyzes a dataset based on 27 drillcores, raised reef terraces, and 134 radiocarbon and U-Th ages from reefs of the Northwest Pacific, with the aim of examining the role of key coral species in reef growth and maintenance for reef ecosystem during Holocene sea-level change. The results indicate a latitudinal change in key coral species: arborescent Acropora (Acropora intermedia and Acropora muricata) was the dominant reef builder at reef crests in the tropics, whereas Porites (Porites australiensis, Porites lutea, and Porites lobata) was the dominant contributor to reef growth in the subtropics between 10,000 and 7000 cal. years BP (when the rate of sea-level rise was 10 m/ka). Acropora digitifera, Acropora hyacinthus, Acropora robusta/A. abrotanoides, Isopora palifera, Favia stelligera, and Goniastrea retiformis from the corymbose and tabular Acropora facies were the main key coral species at reef crests between 7000 and 5000 cal. years BP (when the rate of sea-level rise was 5 m/ka) and during the following period of stable sea-level. Massive Porites (P. australiensis, P. lutea, and P. lobata) contributed to reef growth in shallow lagoons during the period of stable sea level. Key coral species from the corymbose and tabular Acropora facies have the potential to build reefs and maintain ecosystems in the near future under a global sea-level rise of 2-6 m/ka, as do key coral species from the arborescent Acropora facies and massive Porites facies, which show vigorous growth and are tolerant to relatively deep-water, low-energy environments. However, these species

  1. Trematodes of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: emerging patterns of diversity and richness in coral reef fishes.

    PubMed

    Cribb, Thomas H; Bott, Nathan J; Bray, Rodney A; McNamara, Marissa K A; Miller, Terrence L; Nolan, Mathew J; Cutmore, Scott C

    2014-10-15

    The Great Barrier Reef holds the richest array of marine life found anywhere in Australia, including a diverse and fascinating parasite fauna. Members of one group, the trematodes, occur as sexually mature adult worms in almost all Great Barrier Reef bony fish species. Although the first reports of these parasites were made 100 years ago, the fauna has been studied systematically for only the last 25 years. When the fauna was last reviewed in 1994 there were 94 species known from the Great Barrier Reef and it was predicted that there might be 2,270 in total. There are now 326 species reported for the region, suggesting that we are in a much improved position to make an accurate prediction of true trematode richness. Here we review the current state of knowledge of the fauna and the ways in which our understanding of this fascinating group is changing. Our best estimate of the true richness is now a range, 1,100-1,800 species. However there remains considerable scope for even these figures to be incorrect given that fewer than one-third of the fish species of the region have been examined for trematodes. Our goal is a comprehensive characterisation of this fauna, and we outline what work needs to be done to achieve this and discuss whether this goal is practically achievable or philosophically justifiable.

  2. Impact of sea-level rise and coral mortality on the wave dynamics and wave forces on barrier reefs.

    PubMed

    Baldock, T E; Golshani, A; Callaghan, D P; Saunders, M I; Mumby, P J

    2014-06-15

    A one-dimensional wave model was used to investigate the reef top wave dynamics across a large suite of idealized reef-lagoon profiles, representing barrier coral reef systems under different sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios. The modeling shows that the impacts of SLR vary spatially and are strongly influenced by the bathymetry of the reef and coral type. A complex response occurs for the wave orbital velocity and forces on corals, such that the changes in the wave dynamics vary reef by reef. Different wave loading regimes on massive and branching corals also leads to contrasting impacts from SLR. For many reef bathymetries, wave orbital velocities increase with SLR and cyclonic wave forces are reduced for certain coral species. These changes may be beneficial to coral health and colony resilience and imply that predicting SLR impacts on coral reefs requires careful consideration of the reef bathymetry and the mix of coral species.

  3. STS-32 Earth observation of the western Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    STS-32 Earth observation taken onboard Columbia, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 102, is of the western Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef. The scene shows phytoplankton or algal bloom in the northwest Coral Sea. The western Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef waters offshore Queensland, Australia are the sites of some of the larger concentrations or 'blooms' of phytoplankton and algae in the open ocean. In the instance illustrated here, the leading edge of a probable concentration of algae or phytoplankton is seen as a light irregular line and sheen between the offshore Great Barrier Reef and the Queensland coast. Previous phytoplankton concentrations in this area have been reported by ships at sea as having formed floating mats as thick as two meters.

  4. The mapping of the Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile barrier reef meadow in the southeastern Gulf of Tunis (Tunisia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hachani, Mohamed Amine; Ziadi, Boutheina; Langar, Habib; Sami, Djallouli Aslem; Turki, Souad; Aleya, Lotfi

    2016-09-01

    Barrier reefs are among the most important ecomorphosis for Posidonia oceanica meadows and have long been subjected to anthropic pressures. The authors mapped the entire Sidi Rais (northeastern Tunisia) Posidonia oceanica barrier reef by means of remote sensing based on processing a satellite image acquired via Google Earth © software, coupled with field observations obtained by snorkeling. The map thus produced represents the P. oceanica barrier reef in its current state, covering a total area of 156.77 ha, the reef being divided into three distinct sections separated by reverse flows with each section subject to varied anthropic factors and disturbances.

  5. How models can support ecosystem-based management of coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A.; Janssen, Annette B. G.; Kuiper, Jan J.; Leemans, Rik; Robson, Barbara J.; van de Leemput, Ingrid A.; Mooij, Wolf M.

    2015-11-01

    Despite the importance of coral reef ecosystems to the social and economic welfare of coastal communities, the condition of these marine ecosystems have generally degraded over the past decades. With an increased knowledge of coral reef ecosystem processes and a rise in computer power, dynamic models are useful tools in assessing the synergistic effects of local and global stressors on ecosystem functions. We review representative approaches for dynamically modeling coral reef ecosystems and categorize them as minimal, intermediate and complex models. The categorization was based on the leading principle for model development and their level of realism and process detail. This review aims to improve the knowledge of concurrent approaches in coral reef ecosystem modeling and highlights the importance of choosing an appropriate approach based on the type of question(s) to be answered. We contend that minimal and intermediate models are generally valuable tools to assess the response of key states to main stressors and, hence, contribute to understanding ecological surprises. As has been shown in freshwater resources management, insight into these conceptual relations profoundly influences how natural resource managers perceive their systems and how they manage ecosystem recovery. We argue that adaptive resource management requires integrated thinking and decision support, which demands a diversity of modeling approaches. Integration can be achieved through complimentary use of models or through integrated models that systemically combine all relevant aspects in one model. Such whole-of-system models can be useful tools for quantitatively evaluating scenarios. These models allow an assessment of the interactive effects of multiple stressors on various, potentially conflicting, management objectives. All models simplify reality and, as such, have their weaknesses. While minimal models lack multidimensionality, system models are likely difficult to interpret as they

  6. The structure of Mediterranean rocky reef ecosystems across environmental and human gradients, and conservation implications

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sala, Enric; Ballesteros, Enric; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; Di Franco, Antonio; Ferretti, Francesco; Foley, David; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Friedlander, Alan M.; Garrabou, Joaquim; Guclusoy, Harun; Guidetti, Paolo; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Hereu, Bernat; Karamanlidis, Alexandros A.; Kizilkaya, Zafer; Macpherson, Enrique; Mangialajo, Luisa; Mariani, Simone; Micheli, Fiorenza; Pais, Antonio; Riser, Kristin; Rosenberg, Andrew A.; Sales, Marta; Selkoe, Kimberly A.; Starr, Rick; Tomas, Fiona; Zabala, Mikel

    2012-01-01

    Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m-2). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated by non-canopy algae, (2) lower fish biomass but abundant native algal canopies and suspension feeders, and (3) low fish biomass and extensive barrens, with areas covered by turf algae. Our results suggest that the healthiest shallow rocky reef ecosystems in the Mediterranean have both large fish and algal biomass. Protection level and primary production were the only variables significantly correlated to community biomass structure. Fish biomass was significantly larger in well-enforced no-take marine reserves, but there were no significant differences between multi-use marine protected areas (which allow some fishing) and open access areas at the regional scale. The gradients reported here represent a trajectory of degradation that can be used to assess the health of any similar habitat in the Mediterranean, and to evaluate the efficacy of marine protected areas.

  7. The structure of Mediterranean rocky reef ecosystems across environmental and human gradients, and conservation implications.

    PubMed

    Sala, Enric; Ballesteros, Enric; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; Di Franco, Antonio; Ferretti, Francesco; Foley, David; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Friedlander, Alan; Garrabou, Joaquim; Güçlüsoy, Harun; Guidetti, Paolo; Halpern, Benjamin S; Hereu, Bernat; Karamanlidis, Alexandros A; Kizilkaya, Zafer; Macpherson, Enrique; Mangialajo, Luisa; Mariani, Simone; Micheli, Fiorenza; Pais, Antonio; Riser, Kristin; Rosenberg, Andrew A; Sales, Marta; Selkoe, Kimberly A; Starr, Rick; Tomas, Fiona; Zabala, Mikel

    2012-01-01

    Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m(-2)). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated by non-canopy algae, (2) lower fish biomass but abundant native algal canopies and suspension feeders, and (3) low fish biomass and extensive barrens, with areas covered by turf algae. Our results suggest that the healthiest shallow rocky reef ecosystems in the Mediterranean have both large fish and algal biomass. Protection level and primary production were the only variables significantly correlated to community biomass structure. Fish biomass was significantly larger in well-enforced no-take marine reserves, but there were no significant differences between multi-use marine protected areas (which allow some fishing) and open access areas at the regional scale. The gradients reported here represent a trajectory of degradation that can be used to assess the health of any similar habitat in the Mediterranean, and to evaluate the efficacy of marine protected areas. PMID:22393445

  8. The Structure of Mediterranean Rocky Reef Ecosystems across Environmental and Human Gradients, and Conservation Implications

    PubMed Central

    Sala, Enric; Ballesteros, Enric; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; Di Franco, Antonio; Ferretti, Francesco; Foley, David; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Friedlander, Alan; Garrabou, Joaquim; Güçlüsoy, Harun; Guidetti, Paolo; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Hereu, Bernat; Karamanlidis, Alexandros A.; Kizilkaya, Zafer; Macpherson, Enrique; Mangialajo, Luisa; Mariani, Simone; Micheli, Fiorenza; Pais, Antonio; Riser, Kristin; Rosenberg, Andrew A.; Sales, Marta; Selkoe, Kimberly A.; Starr, Rick; Tomas, Fiona; Zabala, Mikel

    2012-01-01

    Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m−2). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated by non-canopy algae, (2) lower fish biomass but abundant native algal canopies and suspension feeders, and (3) low fish biomass and extensive barrens, with areas covered by turf algae. Our results suggest that the healthiest shallow rocky reef ecosystems in the Mediterranean have both large fish and algal biomass. Protection level and primary production were the only variables significantly correlated to community biomass structure. Fish biomass was significantly larger in well-enforced no-take marine reserves, but there were no significant differences between multi-use marine protected areas (which allow some fishing) and open access areas at the regional scale. The gradients reported here represent a trajectory of degradation that can be used to assess the health of any similar habitat in the Mediterranean, and to evaluate the efficacy of marine protected areas. PMID:22393445

  9. Effectiveness of benthic foraminiferal and coral assemblages as water quality indicators on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uthicke, S.; Thompson, A.; Schaffelke, B.

    2010-03-01

    Although the debate about coral reef decline focuses on global disturbances (e.g., increasing temperatures and acidification), local stressors (nutrient runoff and overfishing) continue to affect reef health and resilience. The effectiveness of foraminiferal and hard-coral assemblages as indicators of changes in water quality was assessed on 27 inshore reefs along the Great Barrier Reef. Environmental variables (i.e., several water quality and sediment parameters) and the composition of both benthic foraminiferal and hard-coral assemblages differed significantly between four regions (Whitsunday, Burdekin, Fitzroy, and the Wet Tropics). Grain size and organic carbon and nitrogen content of sediments, and a composite water column parameter (based on turbidity and concentrations of particulate matter) explained a significant amount of variation in the data (tested by redundancy analyses) in both assemblages. Heterotrophic species of foraminifera were dominant in sediments with high organic content and in localities with low light availability, whereas symbiont-bearing mixotrophic species were dominant elsewhere. A similar suite of parameters explained 89% of the variation in the FORAM index (a Caribbean coral reef health indicator) and 61% in foraminiferal species richness. Coral richness was not related to environmental setting. Coral assemblages varied in response to environmental variables, but were strongly shaped by acute disturbances (e.g., cyclones, Acanthaster planci outbreaks, and bleaching), thus different coral assemblages may be found at sites with the same environmental conditions. Disturbances also affect foraminiferal assemblages, but they appeared to recover more rapidly than corals. Foraminiferal assemblages are effective bioindicators of turbidity/light regimes and organic enrichment of sediments on coral reefs.

  10. Diuron tolerance and potential degradation by pelagic microbiomes in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

    PubMed

    Angly, Florent E; Pantos, Olga; Morgan, Thomas C; Rich, Virginia; Tonin, Hemerson; Bourne, David G; Mercurio, Philip; Negri, Andrew P; Tyson, Gene W

    2016-01-01

    Diuron is a herbicide commonly used in agricultural areas where excess application causes it to leach into rivers, reach sensitive marine environments like the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon and pose risks to marine life. To investigate the impact of diuron on whole prokaryotic communities that underpin the marine food web and are integral to coral reef health, GBR lagoon water was incubated with diuron at environmentally-relevant concentration (8 µg/L), and sequenced at specific time points over the following year. 16S rRNA gene amplicon profiling revealed no significant short- or long-term effect of diuron on microbiome structure. The relative abundance of prokaryotic phototrophs was not significantly altered by diuron, which suggests that they were largely tolerant at this concentration. Assembly of a metagenome derived from waters sampled at a similar location in the GBR lagoon did not reveal the presence of mutations in the cyanobacterial photosystem that could explain diuron tolerance. However, resident phages displayed several variants of this gene and could potentially play a role in tolerance acquisition. Slow biodegradation of diuron was reported in the incubation flasks, but no correlation with the relative abundance of heterotrophs was evident. Analysis of metagenomic reads supports the hypothesis that previously uncharacterized hydrolases carried by low-abundance species may mediate herbicide degradation in the GBR lagoon. Overall, this study offers evidence that pelagic phototrophs of the GBR lagoon may be more tolerant of diuron than other tropical organisms, and that heterotrophs in the microbial seed bank may have the potential to degrade diuron and alleviate local anthropogenic stresses to inshore GBR ecosystems.

  11. Diuron tolerance and potential degradation by pelagic microbiomes in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon

    PubMed Central

    Pantos, Olga; Morgan, Thomas C.; Rich, Virginia; Tonin, Hemerson; Bourne, David G.; Mercurio, Philip; Negri, Andrew P.; Tyson, Gene W.

    2016-01-01

    Diuron is a herbicide commonly used in agricultural areas where excess application causes it to leach into rivers, reach sensitive marine environments like the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon and pose risks to marine life. To investigate the impact of diuron on whole prokaryotic communities that underpin the marine food web and are integral to coral reef health, GBR lagoon water was incubated with diuron at environmentally-relevant concentration (8 µg/L), and sequenced at specific time points over the following year. 16S rRNA gene amplicon profiling revealed no significant short- or long-term effect of diuron on microbiome structure. The relative abundance of prokaryotic phototrophs was not significantly altered by diuron, which suggests that they were largely tolerant at this concentration. Assembly of a metagenome derived from waters sampled at a similar location in the GBR lagoon did not reveal the presence of mutations in the cyanobacterial photosystem that could explain diuron tolerance. However, resident phages displayed several variants of this gene and could potentially play a role in tolerance acquisition. Slow biodegradation of diuron was reported in the incubation flasks, but no correlation with the relative abundance of heterotrophs was evident. Analysis of metagenomic reads supports the hypothesis that previously uncharacterized hydrolases carried by low-abundance species may mediate herbicide degradation in the GBR lagoon. Overall, this study offers evidence that pelagic phototrophs of the GBR lagoon may be more tolerant of diuron than other tropical organisms, and that heterotrophs in the microbial seed bank may have the potential to degrade diuron and alleviate local anthropogenic stresses to inshore GBR ecosystems. PMID:26989611

  12. Diuron tolerance and potential degradation by pelagic microbiomes in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

    PubMed

    Angly, Florent E; Pantos, Olga; Morgan, Thomas C; Rich, Virginia; Tonin, Hemerson; Bourne, David G; Mercurio, Philip; Negri, Andrew P; Tyson, Gene W

    2016-01-01

    Diuron is a herbicide commonly used in agricultural areas where excess application causes it to leach into rivers, reach sensitive marine environments like the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon and pose risks to marine life. To investigate the impact of diuron on whole prokaryotic communities that underpin the marine food web and are integral to coral reef health, GBR lagoon water was incubated with diuron at environmentally-relevant concentration (8 µg/L), and sequenced at specific time points over the following year. 16S rRNA gene amplicon profiling revealed no significant short- or long-term effect of diuron on microbiome structure. The relative abundance of prokaryotic phototrophs was not significantly altered by diuron, which suggests that they were largely tolerant at this concentration. Assembly of a metagenome derived from waters sampled at a similar location in the GBR lagoon did not reveal the presence of mutations in the cyanobacterial photosystem that could explain diuron tolerance. However, resident phages displayed several variants of this gene and could potentially play a role in tolerance acquisition. Slow biodegradation of diuron was reported in the incubation flasks, but no correlation with the relative abundance of heterotrophs was evident. Analysis of metagenomic reads supports the hypothesis that previously uncharacterized hydrolases carried by low-abundance species may mediate herbicide degradation in the GBR lagoon. Overall, this study offers evidence that pelagic phototrophs of the GBR lagoon may be more tolerant of diuron than other tropical organisms, and that heterotrophs in the microbial seed bank may have the potential to degrade diuron and alleviate local anthropogenic stresses to inshore GBR ecosystems. PMID:26989611

  13. Organic biomarkers to describe the major carbon inputs and cycling of organic matter in the central Great Barrier Reef region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burns, Kathryn; Brinkman, Diane

    2011-06-01

    Controversy surrounds the sources and transport of land derived pollutants in the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem because there is insufficient knowledge of the mechanism of movement of organic contaminants and the cycling of organic matter in this dynamic system. Thus a sediment and sediment trap study was used to describe the composition of resuspended and surface sediments in the south central Great Barrier Reef and its lagoon. This region is characterised by strong tides (6-8 m at Mackay) and trade winds regularly about 15-20 knots. A series of organic biomarkers detailed the cyclical processes of sediment resuspension, recolonising with marine algae and bacteria, packaging into zooplankton faecal pellets and resettlement to sediments where the organics undergo further diagenesis. With each cycle the inshore sediments are diluted with CaCO 3 reef sediments and moved further offshore with the strong ebb tide currents. This results in transport of land derived materials offshore and little storage of organic materials in the lagoon or reef sediments. These processes were detailed by inorganic measurements such as %CaCO 3 and Al/Ca ratios, and by the compositions of hydrocarbon, sterol, alcohol, and fatty acid lipid fractions. Persistent contaminants such as coal dust from a coastal loading facility can be detected in high concentration inshore and decreasing out to the shelf break at 180 m approximately 40 nautical miles offshore. The normal processes would likely be amplified during cyclonic and other storms. The lipids show the sources of carbon to include diatoms and other phytoplankton, creanaerchaeota, sulfate reducing and other bacteria, land plants including mangrove leaves, plus coal dust and other petroleum contaminants.

  14. Occurrence and distribution of antifouling biocide Irgarol-1051 in coral reef ecosystems, Zanzibar.

    PubMed

    Sheikh, Mohammed A; Juma, Fatma S; Staehr, Peter; Dahl, Karsten; Rashid, Rashid J; Mohammed, Mohammed S; Ussi, Ali M; Ali, Hassan R

    2016-08-15

    2-methythiol-4-tert-butylamino-6-cyclopropylamino-s-triazine (Irgarol-1051) has been widely used as effective alternative antifouling paint in marine structures including ships. However, it has been causing deleterious effects to marine organisms including reef building corals. The main objective of this study was to establish baseline levels of Irgarol-1051 around coral reefs and nearby ecosystems along coastline of Zanzibar Island. The levels of Irgarol-1051 ranged from 1.35ng/L around coral reefs to 15.44ng/L around harbor with average concentration of 4.11 (mean)±0.57 (SD) ng/L. This is below Environmental Risk Limit of 24ng/L as proposed by Dutch Authorities which suggests that the contamination is not alarming especially for coral reef ecosystem health. The main possible sources of the contamination are from shipping activities. This paper provides important baseline information of Irgarol-1051 around the coral reef ecosystems within the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region and may be useful for formulation of marine conservation strategies and policies. PMID:27234364

  15. Some nemerteans (Nemertea) from Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Gibson, R; Sundberg, P

    2001-12-01

    Three species of marine nemerteans described and illustrated from Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, include one new genus and two new species: these are the monostiliferous hoplonemerteans Thallasionemertes leucocephala gen. et sp. nov. and Correanemertes polyophthalma sp. nov. A new colour variety of the heteronemertean Micrura callima is also reported, this species previously only being known from Rottnest Island, Western Australia. A key for the field identification of the marine nemerteans recorded from coastal Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef is provided.

  16. Last interglacial reef growth beneath Belize barrier and isolated platform reefs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gischler, Eberhard; Lomando, Anthony J.; Hudson, J. Harold; Holmes, Charles W.

    2000-01-01

    We report the first radiometric dates (thermal-ionization mass spectrometry) from late Pleistocene reef deposits from offshore Belize, the location of the largest modern reef complex in the Atlantic Ocean. The results presented here can be used to explain significant differences in bathymetry, sedimentary facies, and reef development of this major reef area, and the results are significant because they contribute to the knowledge of the regional geology of the eastern Yucatán. The previously held concept of a neotectonically stable eastern Yucatán is challenged. The dates indicate that Pleistocene reefs and shallow-water limestones, which form the basement of modern reefs in the area, accumulated ca. 125–130 ka. Significant differences in elevation of the samples relative to present sea level (>10 m) have several possible causes. Differential subsidence along a series of continental margin fault blocks in combination with variation in karstification are probably the prime causes. Differential subsidence is presumably related to initial extension and later left-lateral movements along the adjacent active boundary between the North American and Caribbean plates. Increasing dissolution toward the south during Pleistocene sea-level lowstands is probably a consequence of higher precipitation rates in mountainous southern Belize.

  17. Amino acid chronostratigraphy of late Quaternary coral reefs: Huon Peninsula, New Guinea, and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hearty, Paul J.; Aharon, Paul

    1988-07-01

    D-alloisoleucine/L-isoleucine (D/L) ratios were measured in Tridacna gigas (the giant clam) whose ages were calibrated against radiometrically dated coral reef terraces from New Guinea and storm ridges on coral islands from the Great Barrier Reef. The results of 52 samples show several distinct intervals encompassing a fast epimerization phase at a rate of 0.077/ka for the first 8 ka, a transitional interval for the next 60 ka during which epimerization evolves at the rate of 0.006/ka, and the final phase between 60 and 185 ka when D/L ratios attain quasi-equilibrium (˜1.30) at an average rate of 0.003/ka. The demonstrated relation between the D/L ratios and the radiometric ages is useful for estimating ages of undated or insufficiently dated terraces. A comparison of the "New Guinea curve" and other less completely dated curves from elsewhere demonstrates the effect of sedimentary temperature on the rate of epimerization through time. Refinements of the D/L reaction among coral reef terraces, coupled with a better definition of the kinetic model presented here, would improve our knowledge of the temperature history and the chrono-stratigraphy of Quaternary coral reefs.

  18. Critical thresholds and tangible targets for ecosystem-based management of coral reef fisheries.

    PubMed

    McClanahan, Tim R; Graham, Nicholas A J; MacNeil, M Aaron; Muthiga, Nyawira A; Cinner, Joshua E; Bruggemann, J Henrich; Wilson, Shaun K

    2011-10-11

    Sustainably managing ecosystems is challenging, especially for complex systems such as coral reefs. This study develops critical reference points for sustainable management by using a large empirical dataset on the coral reefs of the western Indian Ocean to investigate associations between levels of target fish biomass (as an indicator of fishing intensity) and eight metrics of ecosystem state. These eight ecological metrics each exhibited specific thresholds along a continuum of fishable biomass ranging from heavily fished sites to old fisheries closures. Three thresholds lay above and five below a hypothesized window of fishable biomass expected to produce a maximum multispecies sustainable yield (B(MMSY)). Evaluating three management systems in nine countries, we found that unregulated fisheries often operate below the B(MMSY), whereas fisheries closures and, less frequently, gear-restricted fisheries were within or above this window. These findings provide tangible management targets for multispecies coral reef fisheries and highlight key tradeoffs required to achieve different fisheries and conservation goals.

  19. EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Corals and coral reefs of the Caribbean and through the world are deteriorating at an accelerated rate. Several stressors are believed to contrbute to this decline, including global changes in atmospheric gases and land use patterns. In particular, warmer water temperatures and...

  20. Coral skeletons provide historical evidence of phosphorus runoff on the great barrier reef.

    PubMed

    Mallela, Jennie; Lewis, Stephen E; Croke, Barry

    2013-01-01

    Recently, the inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef have declined rapidly because of deteriorating water quality. Increased catchment runoff is one potential culprit. The impacts of land-use on coral growth and reef health however are largely circumstantial due to limited long-term data on water quality and reef health. Here we use a 60 year coral core record to show that phosphorus contained in the skeletons (P/Ca) of long-lived, near-shore Porites corals on the Great Barrier Reef correlates with annual records of fertiliser application and particulate phosphorus loads in the adjacent catchment. Skeletal P/Ca also correlates with Ba/Ca, a proxy for fluvial sediment loading, again linking near-shore phosphorus records with river runoff. Coral core records suggest that phosphorus levels increased 8 fold between 1949 and 2008 with the greatest levels coinciding with periods of high fertiliser-phosphorus use. Periods of high P/Ca correspond with intense agricultural activity and increased fertiliser application in the river catchment following agricultural expansion and replanting after cyclone damage. Our results demonstrate how coral P/Ca records can be used to assess terrestrial nutrient loading of vulnerable near-shore reefs.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-30

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

  2. Coral Skeletons Provide Historical Evidence of Phosphorus Runoff on the Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Mallela, Jennie; Lewis, Stephen E.; Croke, Barry

    2013-01-01

    Recently, the inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef have declined rapidly because of deteriorating water quality. Increased catchment runoff is one potential culprit. The impacts of land-use on coral growth and reef health however are largely circumstantial due to limited long-term data on water quality and reef health. Here we use a 60 year coral core record to show that phosphorus contained in the skeletons (P/Ca) of long-lived, near-shore Porites corals on the Great Barrier Reef correlates with annual records of fertiliser application and particulate phosphorus loads in the adjacent catchment. Skeletal P/Ca also correlates with Ba/Ca, a proxy for fluvial sediment loading, again linking near-shore phosphorus records with river runoff. Coral core records suggest that phosphorus levels increased 8 fold between 1949 and 2008 with the greatest levels coinciding with periods of high fertiliser-phosphorus use. Periods of high P/Ca correspond with intense agricultural activity and increased fertiliser application in the river catchment following agricultural expansion and replanting after cyclone damage. Our results demonstrate how coral P/Ca records can be used to assess terrestrial nutrient loading of vulnerable near-shore reefs. PMID:24086606

  3. 50 CFR 665.120 - American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 11 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.120 Section 665.120 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC American Samoa Fisheries § 665.120...

  4. 50 CFR 665.420 - Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 11 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.420 Section 665.420 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Mariana Archipelago Fisheries § 665.420...

  5. 50 CFR 665.420 - Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.420 Section 665.420 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Mariana Archipelago Fisheries § 665.420...

  6. 50 CFR 665.120 - American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.120 Section 665.120 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC American Samoa Fisheries § 665.120...

  7. 50 CFR 665.620 - PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 11 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.620 Section 665.620 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Pacific Remote Island Area Fisheries § 665.620...

  8. 50 CFR 665.220 - Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.220 Section 665.220 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Hawaii Fisheries § 665.220 Hawaii coral...

  9. 50 CFR 665.120 - American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.120 Section 665.120 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC American Samoa Fisheries § 665.120...

  10. 50 CFR 665.420 - Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.420 Section 665.420 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Mariana Archipelago Fisheries § 665.420...

  11. 50 CFR 665.620 - PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.620 Section 665.620 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Pacific Remote Island Area Fisheries § 665.620...

  12. 50 CFR 665.220 - Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.220 Section 665.220 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Hawaii Fisheries § 665.220 Hawaii coral...

  13. 50 CFR 665.620 - PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.620 Section 665.620 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Pacific Remote Island Area Fisheries § 665.620...

  14. 50 CFR 665.620 - PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.620 Section 665.620 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Pacific Remote Island Area Fisheries § 665.620...

  15. 50 CFR 665.220 - Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.220 Section 665.220 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Hawaii Fisheries § 665.220 Hawaii coral...

  16. 50 CFR 665.620 - PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false PRIA coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.620 Section 665.620 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Pacific Remote Island Area Fisheries § 665.620...

  17. 50 CFR 665.120 - American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.120 Section 665.120 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC American Samoa Fisheries § 665.120...

  18. 50 CFR 665.420 - Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.420 Section 665.420 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Mariana Archipelago Fisheries § 665.420...

  19. 50 CFR 665.220 - Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 11 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.220 Section 665.220 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Hawaii Fisheries § 665.220 Hawaii coral...

  20. 50 CFR 665.420 - Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Mariana coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.420 Section 665.420 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Mariana Archipelago Fisheries § 665.420...

  1. 50 CFR 665.220 - Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.220 Section 665.220 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Hawaii Fisheries § 665.220 Hawaii coral...

  2. 50 CFR 665.120 - American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 13 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. 665.120 Section 665.120 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED) FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC American Samoa Fisheries § 665.120...

  3. Informing policy to protect coastal coral reefs: insight from a global review of reducing agricultural pollution to coastal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Kroon, Frederieke J; Schaffelke, Britta; Bartley, Rebecca

    2014-08-15

    The continuing degradation of coral reefs has serious consequences for the provision of ecosystem goods and services to local and regional communities. While climate change is considered the most serious risk to coral reefs, agricultural pollution threatens approximately 25% of the total global reef area with further increases in sediment and nutrient fluxes projected over the next 50 years. Here, we aim to inform coral reef management using insights learned from management examples that were successful in reducing agricultural pollution to coastal ecosystems. We identify multiple examples reporting reduced fluxes of sediment and nutrients at end-of-river, and associated declines in nutrient concentrations and algal biomass in receiving coastal waters. Based on the insights obtained, we recommend that future protection of coral reef ecosystems demands policy focused on desired ecosystem outcomes, targeted regulatory approaches, up-scaling of watershed management, and long-term maintenance of scientifically robust monitoring programs linked with adaptive management. PMID:24975091

  4. Informing policy to protect coastal coral reefs: insight from a global review of reducing agricultural pollution to coastal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Kroon, Frederieke J; Schaffelke, Britta; Bartley, Rebecca

    2014-08-15

    The continuing degradation of coral reefs has serious consequences for the provision of ecosystem goods and services to local and regional communities. While climate change is considered the most serious risk to coral reefs, agricultural pollution threatens approximately 25% of the total global reef area with further increases in sediment and nutrient fluxes projected over the next 50 years. Here, we aim to inform coral reef management using insights learned from management examples that were successful in reducing agricultural pollution to coastal ecosystems. We identify multiple examples reporting reduced fluxes of sediment and nutrients at end-of-river, and associated declines in nutrient concentrations and algal biomass in receiving coastal waters. Based on the insights obtained, we recommend that future protection of coral reef ecosystems demands policy focused on desired ecosystem outcomes, targeted regulatory approaches, up-scaling of watershed management, and long-term maintenance of scientifically robust monitoring programs linked with adaptive management.

  5. Sedimentary environments of the Central Region of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scoffin, Terence P.; Tudhope, Alexander W.

    1985-09-01

    The sediments and calcareous organisms on the outer reefal shelf of the Central Region of the Great Barrier Reef were collected and observed by SCUBA diving and research vessel techniques (including underwater television) to understand the production and processes of deposition of the sediment. The carbonate grains are mainly sand and gravel size and solely of skeletal origin. Over the whole area the major CaCO3 producers, in order of decreasing importance are: benthic foraminiferans (chiefly Operculina, Amphistegina, Marginopora, Alveolinella and Cycloclypeus), the calcareous green alga Halimeda, molluscs and corals. Coral abundance is high only close to reefs and submerged rocky substrates. Benthic foraminiferal sands dominate the inter-reef areas i.e. the bulk of the shelf, and Halimeda gravels form an outer shelf band between 60 and 100 m depths. Seven distinct facies are recognised after quantitative analyses of the sediments. These are: A. Shelf edge slope (>120 m depth); B. Shelf edge (with rocky outcrops); C. Outer shelf with high Halimeda (>40%); D. Inter-reef I; E. Inter-reef II ( 100 m depth but >2% pelagics); F. Lee-ward reef talus wedge (<2 km from sea level reefs); G. Lagoonal.

  6. Effects of different disturbance types on butterflyfish communities of Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Emslie, M. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Cheal, A. J.

    2011-06-01

    The effects of disturbances on coral reef fishes have been extensively documented but most studies have relied on opportunistic sampling following single events. Few studies have the spatial and temporal extent to directly compare the effects of multiple disturbances over a large geographic scale. Here, benthic communities and butterflyfishes on 47 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef were surveyed annually to examine their responses to physical disturbances (cyclones and storms) and/or biological disturbances (bleaching, outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish and white syndrome disease). The effects on benthic and butterflyfish communities varied among reefs depending on the structure and geographical setting of each community, on the size and type of disturbance, and on the disturbance history of that reef. There was considerable variability in the response of butterflyfishes to different disturbances: physical disturbances (occurring with or without biological disturbances) produced substantial declines in abundance, whilst biological disturbances occurring on their own did not. Butterflyfishes with the narrowest feeding preferences, such as obligate corallivores, were always the species most affected. The response of generalist feeders varied with the extent of damage. Wholesale changes to the butterflyfish community were only recorded where structural complexity of reefs was drastically reduced. The observed effects of disturbances on butterflyfishes coupled with predictions of increased frequency and intensity of disturbances sound a dire warning for the future of butterflyfish communities in particular and reef fish communities in general.

  7. A Decision Support System for Ecosystem-Based Management of Tropical Coral Reef Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muller-Karger, F. E.; Eakin, C.; Guild, L. S.; Nemani, R. R.; Hu, C.; Lynds, S. E.; Li, J.; Vega-Rodriguez, M.; Coral Reef Watch Decision Support System Team

    2010-12-01

    We review a new collaborative program established between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to augment the NOAA Coral Reef Watch decision-support system. NOAA has developed a Decision Support System (DSS) under the Coral Reef Watch (CRW) program to forecast environmental stress in coral reef ecosystems around the world. This DSS uses models and 50 km Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) to generate “HotSpot” and Degree Heating Week coral bleaching indices. These are used by scientists and resource managers around the world. These users, including National Marine Sanctuary managers, have expressed the need for higher spatial resolution tools to understand local issues. The project will develop a series of coral bleaching products at higher spatial resolution using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and AVHRR data. We will generate and validate products at 1 km resolution for the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, and test global assessments at 4 and 50 km. The project will also incorporate the Global Coral Reef Millennium Map, a 30-m resolution thematic classification of coral reefs developed by the NASA Landsat-7 Science Team, into the CRW. The Millennium Maps help understand the geomorphology of individual reefs around the world. The products will be available through the NOAA CRW and UNEP-WCMC web portals. The products will help users formulate policy options and management decisions. The augmented DSS has a global scope, yet it addresses the needs of local resource managers. The work complements efforts to map and monitor coral reef communities in the U.S. territories by NOAA, NASA, and the USGS, and is a contribution to international efforts in ecological forecasting of coral reefs under changing environments, coral reef research, resource management, and conservation. Acknowledgement: Funding is provided by the NASA Ecological Forecasting

  8. Coral record of increased sediment flux to the inner Great Barrier Reef since European settlement.

    PubMed

    McCulloch, Malcolm; Fallon, Stewart; Wyndham, Timothy; Hendy, Erica; Lough, Janice; Barnes, David

    2003-02-13

    The effect of European settlement on water quality in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is a long-standing and controversial issue. Erosion and sediment transport in river catchments in this region have increased substantially since European settlement, but the magnitude of these changes remains uncertain. Here we report analyses of Ba/Ca ratios in long-lived Porites coral from Havannah Reef--a site on the inner Great Barrier Reef that is influenced by flood plumes from the Burdekin river--to establish a record of sediment fluxes from about 1750 to 1998. We find that, in the early part of the record, suspended sediment from river floods reached the inner reef area only occasionally, whereas after about 1870--following the beginning of European settlement--a five- to tenfold increase in the delivery of sediments is recorded with the highest fluxes occurring during the drought-breaking floods. We conclude that, since European settlement, land-use practices such as clearing and overstocking have led to major degradation of the semi-arid river catchments, resulting in substantially increased sediment loads entering the inner Great Barrier Reef.

  9. The effects of river run-off on water clarity across the central Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Fabricius, K E; Logan, M; Weeks, S; Brodie, J

    2014-07-15

    Changes in water clarity across the shallow continental shelf of the central Great Barrier Reef were investigated from ten years of daily river load, oceanographic and MODIS-Aqua data. Mean photic depth (i.e., the depth of 10% of surface irradiance) was related to river loads after statistical removal of wave and tidal effects. Across the ∼25,000 km(2) area, photic depth was strongly related to river freshwater and phosphorus loads (R(2)=0.65 and 0.51, respectively). In the six wetter years, photic depth was reduced by 19.8% and below water quality guidelines for 156 days, compared to 9 days in the drier years. After onset of the seasonal river floods, photic depth was reduced for on average 6-8 months, gradually returning to clearer baseline values. Relationships were strongest inshore and midshelf (∼12-80 km from the coast), and weaker near the chronically turbid coast. The data show that reductions in river loads would measurably improve shelf water clarity, with significant ecosystem health benefits.

  10. The effects of river run-off on water clarity across the central Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Fabricius, K E; Logan, M; Weeks, S; Brodie, J

    2014-07-15

    Changes in water clarity across the shallow continental shelf of the central Great Barrier Reef were investigated from ten years of daily river load, oceanographic and MODIS-Aqua data. Mean photic depth (i.e., the depth of 10% of surface irradiance) was related to river loads after statistical removal of wave and tidal effects. Across the ∼25,000 km(2) area, photic depth was strongly related to river freshwater and phosphorus loads (R(2)=0.65 and 0.51, respectively). In the six wetter years, photic depth was reduced by 19.8% and below water quality guidelines for 156 days, compared to 9 days in the drier years. After onset of the seasonal river floods, photic depth was reduced for on average 6-8 months, gradually returning to clearer baseline values. Relationships were strongest inshore and midshelf (∼12-80 km from the coast), and weaker near the chronically turbid coast. The data show that reductions in river loads would measurably improve shelf water clarity, with significant ecosystem health benefits. PMID:24863415

  11. Satellite Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs: By Learning about Coral Reefs, Students Gain an Understanding of Ecosystems and How Cutting-Edge Technology Can Be Used to Study Ecological Change

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Palandro, David; Thoms, Kristin; Kusek, Kristen; Muller-Karger, Frank; Greely, Teresa

    2005-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems on the planet, providing sustenance to both marine organisms and humans. Yet they are also one of the most endangered ecosystems as coral reef coverage has declined dramatically in the past three decades. Researchers continually seek better ways to map coral reef coverage and monitor changes…

  12. The Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment: Mangrove, Tidal Emergent Marsh, Barrier Islands, and Oyster Reef

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Watson, Amanda; Reece, Joshua S.; Tirpak, Blair; Edwards, Cynthia Kallio; Geselbracht, Laura; Woodrey, Mark; LaPeyre, Megan K.; Dalyander, Patricia (Soupy)

    2015-01-01

    Climate, sea level rise, and urbanization are undergoing unprecedented levels of combined change and are expected to have large effects on natural resources—particularly along the Gulf of Mexico coastline (Gulf Coast). Management decisions to address these effects (i.e., adaptation) require an understanding of the relative vulnerability of various resources to these stressors. To meet this need, the four Landscape Conservation Cooperatives along the Gulf partnered with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to conduct this Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment (GCVA). Vulnerability in this context incorporates the aspects of exposure and sensitivity to threats, coupled with the adaptive capacity to mitigate those threats. Potential impact and adaptive capacity reflect natural history features of target species and ecosystems. The GCVA used an expert opinion approach to qualitatively assess the vulnerability of four ecosystems: mangrove, oyster reef, tidal emergent marsh, and barrier islands, and a suite of wildlife species that depend on them. More than 50 individuals participated in the completion of the GCVA, facilitated via Ecosystem and Species Expert Teams. Of the species assessed, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was identified as the most vulnerable species across the Gulf Coast. Experts identified the main threats as loss of nesting habitat to sea level rise, erosion, and urbanization. Kemp’s ridley also had an overall low adaptive capacity score due to their low genetic diversity, and higher nest site fidelity as compared to other assessed species. Tidal emergent marsh was the most vulnerable ecosystem, due in part to sea level rise and erosion. In general, avian species were more vulnerable than fish because of nesting habitat loss to sea level rise, erosion, and potential increases in storm surge. Assessors commonly indicated a lack of information regarding impacts due to projected changes in the disturbance regime, biotic interactions, and synergistic effects in both

  13. Coral reefs of the turbid inner-shelf of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: An environmental and geomorphic perspective on their occurrence, composition and growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Browne, N. K.; Smithers, S. G.; Perry, C. T.

    2012-10-01

    Investigations of the geomorphic and sedimentary context in which turbid zone reefs exist, both in the modern and fossil reef record, can inform key ecological debates regarding species tolerances and adaptability to elevated turbidity and sedimentation. Furthermore, these investigations can address critical geological and palaeoecological questions surrounding longer-term coral-sediment interactions and reef growth histories. Here we review current knowledge about turbid zone reefs from the inner-shelf regions of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia to consider these issues and to evaluate reef growth in the period prior to and post European settlement. We also consider the future prospects of these reefs under reported changing water quality regimes. Turbid zone reefs on the GBR are relatively well known compared to those in other reef regions. They occur within 20 km of the mainland coast where reef development may be influenced by continual or episodic terrigenous sediment inputs, fluctuating salinities (24-36 ppt), and reduced water quality through increased nutrient and pollutant delivery from urban and agricultural runoff. Individually, and in synergy, these environmental conditions are widely viewed as unfavourable for sustained and vigorous coral reef growth, and thus these reefs are widely perceived as marginal compared to clear water reef systems. However, recent research has revealed that this view is misleading, and that in fact many turbid zone reefs in this region are resilient, exhibit relatively high live coral cover (> 30%) and have distinctive community assemblages dominated by fast growing (Acropora, Montipora) and/or sediment tolerant species (Turbinaria, Goniopora, Galaxea, Porites). Palaeoecological reconstructions based on the analysis of reef cores show that community assemblages are relatively stable at millennial timescales, and that many reefs are actively accreting (average 2-7 mm/year) where accommodation space is available

  14. Disease outbreaks, bleaching and a cyclone drive changes in coral assemblages on an inshore reef of the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  15. Remote sensing of sea surface temperatures during 2002 Barrier Reef coral bleaching

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Gang; Strong, Alan E.; Skirving, William

    Early in 2002, satellites of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) detected anomalously high sea surface temperatures (SST) developing in the western Coral Sea, midway along Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR). This was the beginning of what was to become the most significant GBR coral bleaching event on record [Wilkinson, 2002]. During this time, NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) provided satellite data as part of ongoing collaborative work on coral reef health with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). These data proved invaluable to AIMS and GBRMPA as they monitored and assessed the development and evolution of SSTs throughout the austral summer, enabling them to keep stakeholders, government, and the general public informed and up to date.

  16. Assessment of crown-of-thorns skeletal elements in surface sediment of the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henderson, R. A.

    1992-07-01

    A total of 1655 crown-of-thorns starfish skeletal elements were recovered from 237 surface sediment samples from Davies, Centipede, Myrmidon, Hope, Holbourne Island, 22 110, Gannet Cay and Lady Musgrave Island Reefs of the central and southern sectors of the Great Barrier Reef. Three categories of reef may be recognised on the incidence of Acanthaster planci skeletal elements in surface sediment from these and previously studied reefs: category A (abundant, >12 elements kg1-), category C (common, 3 8 elements kg-1) and category C (rare, 0 0.1 elements kg-1). These categories parallel estimates of crown-of-thorns populations in the period 1986 1990. “A” reefs have generally experienced high intensity outbreaks, “C” reefs less intense or perhaps less frequent outbreaks and “R” reefs have had little or no crown-of-thorns presence. The incidence of crown-of-thorns skeletal elements in surface sediment potentially provides an indication of population densities and outbreaks over a time scale of several decades. A perspective of contemporary crown-of-thorns incidence on the many reefs of the GBR lacking direct observational records may thereby be obtained. For Holbourne Island a comparison was made of element incidence in an area of known mass mortality induced by poisoning with a control area that was undisturbed. The incidence of A. planci skeletal elements is comparable in the two areas and similar to the incidence established for other reefs such as Green Island and John Brewer where high intensity outbreaks are known to have occurred. A direct relationship between high incidence of elements in surface sediment and mass mortality following outbreak events is indicated.

  17. Sedimentary petrology of a declining reef ecosystem, Florida reef tract (U.S.A.)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lidz, B.H.; Hallock, P.

    2000-01-01

    Petrologic evaluation of biogenic sediments collected shelf-wide along the Florida reef tract in 1989 revealed three principal components: coral, the calcareous green alga Halimeda, and mollusc. The dominant grain was dependent in part upon local morphology that controlled composition and vitality of the biota. Either Halimeda or mollusc grains prevailed in sands off the upper Keys. In the middle and lower Keys, Halimeda grains prevailed nearshore and coral grains offshore. Comparison with similar analyses of samples collected in 1952 and 1963 indicates that, over 37 years, the relative abundance of molluscan grains more than doubled in the upper Keys and that of particulate coral tripled in the middle Keys. These changes can be interpreted in the context of physical and biological events that affected Florida Keys reefs over that period of time. In the 1970s, outbreaks of extremely cold water killed even representatives of the hardiest coral species. In the 1980s, black-band and white-band diseases decimated the major reef-building acroporid corals, and the pivotal herbivore, Diadema antillarum, disappeared. Although Diadema is a major coral bioeroder, the sea urchin is also essential to healthy reef growth. The increase in coral debris in the middle Keys may be related to Hurricane Donna in 1960, but it is also consistent with the prediction of accelerated bioerosion by boring organisms in response to increased plankton productivity. Plankton productivity is stimulated by nutrients from Florida Bay and by well-documented eutrophication of nearshore environments. In the upper Keys, where reefs are somewhat removed from bay and nearshore influence, a relative decrease in coral debris over the 37 years may reflect proliferation of algae and algae-grazing molluscs as well as suppressed rates of bioerosion in the absence of Diadema. Human activities have substantially increased the natural flux of fixed nitrogen to coastal systems worldwide. Waters in the Florida Keys

  18. Net ecosystem production, calcification and CO2 fluxes on a reef flat in Northeastern Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Longhini, Cybelle M.; Souza, Marcelo F. L.; Silva, Ananda M.

    2015-12-01

    The carbon cycle in coral reefs is usually dominated by the organic carbon metabolism and precipitation-dissolution of CaCO3, processes that control the CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) in seawater and the CO2 fluxes through the air-sea interface. In order to characterize these processes and the carbonate system, four sampling surveys were conducted at the reef flat of Coroa Vermelha during low tide (exposed flat). Net ecosystem production (NEP), net precipitation-dissolution of CaCO3 (G) and CO2 fluxes across the air-water interface were calculated. The reef presented net autotrophy and calcification at daytime low tide. The NEP ranged from -8.7 to 31.6 mmol C m-2 h-1 and calcification from -13.1 to 26.0 mmol C m-2 h-1. The highest calcification rates occurred in August 2007, coinciding with the greater NEP rates. The daytime CO2 fluxes varied from -9.7 to 22.6 μmol CO2 m-2 h-1, but reached up to 13,900 μmol CO2 m-2 h-1 during nighttime. Carbon dioxide influx to seawater was predominant in the reef flat during low tide. The regions adjacent to the reef showed a supersaturation of CO2, acting as a source of CO2 to the atmosphere (from -22.8 to -2.6 mol CO2 m-2 h-1) in the reef flat during ebbing tide. Nighttime gas release to the atmosphere indicates a net CO2 release from the Coroa Vermelha reef flat within 24 h, and that these fluxes can be important to carbon budget in coral reefs.

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:24692262

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

    PubMed

    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.

  1. On the variability of the flow along the Meso-American Barrier Reef system: a numerical model study of the influence of the Caribbean current and eddies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ezer, Tal; Thattai, Deeptha V.; Kjerfve, Björn; Heyman, William D.

    2005-12-01

    A high resolution (3-8 km grid), 3D numerical ocean model of the West Caribbean Sea (WCS) is used to investigate the variability and the forcing of flows near the Meso-American Barrier Reef System (MBRS) which runs along the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. Mesoscale variations in velocity and temperature along the reef were found in seasonal model simulations and in observations; these variations are associated with meandering of the Caribbean current (CC) and the propagation of Caribbean eddies. Diagnostic calculations and a simple assimilation technique are combined to infer the dynamically adjusted flow associated with particular eddies. The results demonstrate that when a cyclonic eddy (negative sea surface height anomaly (SSHA)) is found near the MBRS the CC shifts offshore, the cyclonic circulation in the Gulf of Honduras (GOH) intensifies, and a strong southward flow results along the reef. However, when an anticyclonic eddy (positive SSHA) is found near the reef, the CC moves onshore and the flow is predominantly westward across the reef. The model results help to explain how drifters are able to propagate in a direction opposite to the mean circulation when eddies cause a reversal of the coastal circulation. The effect of including the Meso-American Lagoon west of the Belize Reef in the model topography was also investigated, to show the importance of having accurate coastal topography in determining the variations of transports across the MBRS. The variations found in transports across the MBRS (on seasonal and mesoscale time scales) may have important consequences for biological activities along the reef such as spawning aggregations; better understanding the nature of these variations will help ongoing efforts in coral reef conservation and maintaining the health of the ecosystem in the region.

  2. Spatial analyses of benthic habitats to define coral reef ecosystem regions and potential biogeographic boundaries along a latitudinal gradient.

    PubMed

    Walker, Brian K

    2012-01-01

    Marine organism diversity typically attenuates latitudinally from tropical to colder climate regimes. Since the distribution of many marine species relates to certain habitats and depth regimes, mapping data provide valuable information in the absence of detailed ecological data that can be used to identify and spatially quantify smaller scale (10 s km) coral reef ecosystem regions and potential physical biogeographic barriers. This study focused on the southeast Florida coast due to a recognized, but understudied, tropical to subtropical biogeographic gradient. GIS spatial analyses were conducted on recent, accurate, shallow-water (0-30 m) benthic habitat maps to identify and quantify specific regions along the coast that were statistically distinct in the number and amount of major benthic habitat types. Habitat type and width were measured for 209 evenly-spaced cross-shelf transects. Evaluation of groupings from a cluster analysis at 75% similarity yielded five distinct regions. The number of benthic habitats and their area, width, distance from shore, distance from each other, and LIDAR depths were calculated in GIS and examined to determine regional statistical differences. The number of benthic habitats decreased with increasing latitude from 9 in the south to 4 in the north and many of the habitat metrics statistically differed between regions. Three potential biogeographic barriers were found at the Boca, Hillsboro, and Biscayne boundaries, where specific shallow-water habitats were absent further north; Middle Reef, Inner Reef, and oceanic seagrass beds respectively. The Bahamas Fault Zone boundary was also noted where changes in coastal morphologies occurred that could relate to subtle ecological changes. The analyses defined regions on a smaller scale more appropriate to regional management decisions, hence strengthening marine conservation planning with an objective, scientific foundation for decision making. They provide a framework for similar

  3. Spatial analyses of benthic habitats to define coral reef ecosystem regions and potential biogeographic boundaries along a latitudinal gradient.

    PubMed

    Walker, Brian K

    2012-01-01

    Marine organism diversity typically attenuates latitudinally from tropical to colder climate regimes. Since the distribution of many marine species relates to certain habitats and depth regimes, mapping data provide valuable information in the absence of detailed ecological data that can be used to identify and spatially quantify smaller scale (10 s km) coral reef ecosystem regions and potential physical biogeographic barriers. This study focused on the southeast Florida coast due to a recognized, but understudied, tropical to subtropical biogeographic gradient. GIS spatial analyses were conducted on recent, accurate, shallow-water (0-30 m) benthic habitat maps to identify and quantify specific regions along the coast that were statistically distinct in the number and amount of major benthic habitat types. Habitat type and width were measured for 209 evenly-spaced cross-shelf transects. Evaluation of groupings from a cluster analysis at 75% similarity yielded five distinct regions. The number of benthic habitats and their area, width, distance from shore, distance from each other, and LIDAR depths were calculated in GIS and examined to determine regional statistical differences. The number of benthic habitats decreased with increasing latitude from 9 in the south to 4 in the north and many of the habitat metrics statistically differed between regions. Three potential biogeographic barriers were found at the Boca, Hillsboro, and Biscayne boundaries, where specific shallow-water habitats were absent further north; Middle Reef, Inner Reef, and oceanic seagrass beds respectively. The Bahamas Fault Zone boundary was also noted where changes in coastal morphologies occurred that could relate to subtle ecological changes. The analyses defined regions on a smaller scale more appropriate to regional management decisions, hence strengthening marine conservation planning with an objective, scientific foundation for decision making. They provide a framework for similar

  4. Spatial Analyses of Benthic Habitats to Define Coral Reef Ecosystem Regions and Potential Biogeographic Boundaries along a Latitudinal Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Walker, Brian K.

    2012-01-01

    Marine organism diversity typically attenuates latitudinally from tropical to colder climate regimes. Since the distribution of many marine species relates to certain habitats and depth regimes, mapping data provide valuable information in the absence of detailed ecological data that can be used to identify and spatially quantify smaller scale (10 s km) coral reef ecosystem regions and potential physical biogeographic barriers. This study focused on the southeast Florida coast due to a recognized, but understudied, tropical to subtropical biogeographic gradient. GIS spatial analyses were conducted on recent, accurate, shallow-water (0–30 m) benthic habitat maps to identify and quantify specific regions along the coast that were statistically distinct in the number and amount of major benthic habitat types. Habitat type and width were measured for 209 evenly-spaced cross-shelf transects. Evaluation of groupings from a cluster analysis at 75% similarity yielded five distinct regions. The number of benthic habitats and their area, width, distance from shore, distance from each other, and LIDAR depths were calculated in GIS and examined to determine regional statistical differences. The number of benthic habitats decreased with increasing latitude from 9 in the south to 4 in the north and many of the habitat metrics statistically differed between regions. Three potential biogeographic barriers were found at the Boca, Hillsboro, and Biscayne boundaries, where specific shallow-water habitats were absent further north; Middle Reef, Inner Reef, and oceanic seagrass beds respectively. The Bahamas Fault Zone boundary was also noted where changes in coastal morphologies occurred that could relate to subtle ecological changes. The analyses defined regions on a smaller scale more appropriate to regional management decisions, hence strengthening marine conservation planning with an objective, scientific foundation for decision making. They provide a framework for similar

  5. Great Barrier Reef butterflyfish community structure: the role of shelf position and benthic community type

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Emslie, M. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Cheal, A. J.; Osborne, K.

    2010-09-01

    The extent to which fish communities are structured by spatial variability in coral reef habitats versus stochastic processes (such as larval supply) is very important in predicting responses to sustained and ongoing habitat degradation. In this study, butterflyfish and benthic communities were surveyed annually over 15 years on 47 reefs (spanning 12° of latitude) of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Spatial autocorrelation in the structure of butterflyfish communities versus key differences in reef habitats was investigated to assess the extent to which the structure of these fish communities is influenced by habitat conditions. Benthic communities on each of the 47 reefs were broadly categorised as either: 1. Poritidae/Alcyoniidae, 2. mixed taxa, 3. soft coral or 4. Acropora-dominated habitats. These habitat types most reflected increases in water clarity and wave exposure, moving across the GBR shelf from coastal to outer-shelf environments. In turn, each habitat type also supported very distinct butterflyfish communities. Hard coral feeders were always the dominant butterflyfish species in each community type. However, the numerically dominant species changed according to habitat type, representing spatial replacement of species across the shelf. This study reveals clear and consistent differences in the structure of fish communities among reefs associated with marked differences in habitat structure.

  6. An Integrated Coral Reef Ecosystem Model to Support Resource Management under a Changing Climate

    PubMed Central

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A.; Kaplan, Isaac C.; Gorton, Rebecca; Leemans, Rik; Mooij, Wolf M.; Brainard, Russell E.

    2015-01-01

    Millions of people rely on the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs, but sustaining these benefits requires an understanding of how reefs and their biotic communities are affected by local human-induced disturbances and global climate change. Ecosystem-based management that explicitly considers the indirect and cumulative effects of multiple disturbances has been recommended and adopted in policies in many places around the globe. Ecosystem models give insight into complex reef dynamics and their responses to multiple disturbances and are useful tools to support planning and implementation of ecosystem-based management. We adapted the Atlantis Ecosystem Model to incorporate key dynamics for a coral reef ecosystem around Guam in the tropical western Pacific. We used this model to quantify the effects of predicted climate and ocean changes and current levels of current land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) and fishing. We used the following six ecosystem metrics as indicators of ecosystem state, resilience and harvest potential: 1) ratio of calcifying to non-calcifying benthic groups, 2) trophic level of the community, 3) biomass of apex predators, 4) biomass of herbivorous fishes, 5) total biomass of living groups and 6) the end-to-start ratio of exploited fish groups. Simulation tests of the effects of each of the three drivers separately suggest that by mid-century climate change will have the largest overall effect on this suite of ecosystem metrics due to substantial negative effects on coral cover. The effects of fishing were also important, negatively influencing five out of the six metrics. Moreover, LBSP exacerbates this effect for all metrics but not quite as badly as would be expected under additive assumptions, although the magnitude of the effects of LBSP are sensitive to uncertainty associated with primary productivity. Over longer time spans (i.e., 65 year simulations), climate change impacts have a slight positive interaction with other drivers

  7. An Integrated Coral Reef Ecosystem Model to Support Resource Management under a Changing Climate.

    PubMed

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A; Kaplan, Isaac C; Gorton, Rebecca; Leemans, Rik; Mooij, Wolf M; Brainard, Russell E

    2015-01-01

    Millions of people rely on the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs, but sustaining these benefits requires an understanding of how reefs and their biotic communities are affected by local human-induced disturbances and global climate change. Ecosystem-based management that explicitly considers the indirect and cumulative effects of multiple disturbances has been recommended and adopted in policies in many places around the globe. Ecosystem models give insight into complex reef dynamics and their responses to multiple disturbances and are useful tools to support planning and implementation of ecosystem-based management. We adapted the Atlantis Ecosystem Model to incorporate key dynamics for a coral reef ecosystem around Guam in the tropical western Pacific. We used this model to quantify the effects of predicted climate and ocean changes and current levels of current land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) and fishing. We used the following six ecosystem metrics as indicators of ecosystem state, resilience and harvest potential: 1) ratio of calcifying to non-calcifying benthic groups, 2) trophic level of the community, 3) biomass of apex predators, 4) biomass of herbivorous fishes, 5) total biomass of living groups and 6) the end-to-start ratio of exploited fish groups. Simulation tests of the effects of each of the three drivers separately suggest that by mid-century climate change will have the largest overall effect on this suite of ecosystem metrics due to substantial negative effects on coral cover. The effects of fishing were also important, negatively influencing five out of the six metrics. Moreover, LBSP exacerbates this effect for all metrics but not quite as badly as would be expected under additive assumptions, although the magnitude of the effects of LBSP are sensitive to uncertainty associated with primary productivity. Over longer time spans (i.e., 65 year simulations), climate change impacts have a slight positive interaction with other drivers

  8. An Integrated Coral Reef Ecosystem Model to Support Resource Management under a Changing Climate.

    PubMed

    Weijerman, Mariska; Fulton, Elizabeth A; Kaplan, Isaac C; Gorton, Rebecca; Leemans, Rik; Mooij, Wolf M; Brainard, Russell E

    2015-01-01

    Millions of people rely on the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs, but sustaining these benefits requires an understanding of how reefs and their biotic communities are affected by local human-induced disturbances and global climate change. Ecosystem-based management that explicitly considers the indirect and cumulative effects of multiple disturbances has been recommended and adopted in policies in many places around the globe. Ecosystem models give insight into complex reef dynamics and their responses to multiple disturbances and are useful tools to support planning and implementation of ecosystem-based management. We adapted the Atlantis Ecosystem Model to incorporate key dynamics for a coral reef ecosystem around Guam in the tropical western Pacific. We used this model to quantify the effects of predicted climate and ocean changes and current levels of current land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) and fishing. We used the following six ecosystem metrics as indicators of ecosystem state, resilience and harvest potential: 1) ratio of calcifying to non-calcifying benthic groups, 2) trophic level of the community, 3) biomass of apex predators, 4) biomass of herbivorous fishes, 5) total biomass of living groups and 6) the end-to-start ratio of exploited fish groups. Simulation tests of the effects of each of the three drivers separately suggest that by mid-century climate change will have the largest overall effect on this suite of ecosystem metrics due to substantial negative effects on coral cover. The effects of fishing were also important, negatively influencing five out of the six metrics. Moreover, LBSP exacerbates this effect for all metrics but not quite as badly as would be expected under additive assumptions, although the magnitude of the effects of LBSP are sensitive to uncertainty associated with primary productivity. Over longer time spans (i.e., 65 year simulations), climate change impacts have a slight positive interaction with other drivers

  9. A critical review of environmental management of the 'not so Great' Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brodie, Jon; Waterhouse, Jane

    2012-06-01

    Recent estimates put average coral cover across the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) at about 20-30%. This is estimated to be a large reduction since the 1960s. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act was enacted in 1975 and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) set up shortly afterwards. So the question is: why has coral cover continued to decline when the GBR is being managed with a management regime often recognised as 'the best managed coral reef system in the world', based on a strong science-for-management ethic. The stressors which are known to be most responsible for the loss of coral cover (and general 'reef health') are terrestrial pollution including the link to outbreaks of crown of thorns starfish, fishing impacts and climate change. These have been established through a long and intensive research effort over the last 30 years. However the management response of the GBRMPA after 1975, while based on a strong science-for-management program, did not concentrate on these issues but instead on managing access through zoning with restrictions on fishing in very limited areas and tourism management. Significant action on fishing, including trawling, did not occur until the Trawl Management Plan of 2000 and the rezoning of the GBR Marine Park in 2004. Effective action on terrestrial pollution did not occur until the Australian Government Reef Rescue initiative which commenced in 2008. Effective action on climate change has yet to begin either nationally or globally. Thus it is not surprising that coral cover on the GBR has reduced to values similar to those seen in other coral reef areas in the world such as Indonesia and the Philippines. Science has always required long periods to acquire sufficient evidence to drive management action and hence there is a considerable time lag between the establishment of scientific evidence and the introduction of effective management. It can still be credibly claimed that the GBR is the best managed coral reef

  10. Community calcification in Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef: A 33 year perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silverman, J.; Schneider, K.; Kline, D. I.; Rivlin, T.; Rivlin, A.; Hamylton, S.; Lazar, B.; Erez, J.; Caldeira, K.

    2014-11-01

    Measurements of community calcification (Gnet) were made during September 2008 and October 2009 on a reef flat in Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, 33 years after the first measurements were made there by the LIMER expedition in 1975. In 2008 and 2009 we measured Gnet = 61 ± 12 and 54 ± 13 mmol CaCO3 m-2·day-1, respectively. These rates are 27-49% lower than those measured during the same season in 1975-76. These rates agree well with those estimated from the measured temperature and degree of aragonite saturation using a reef calcification rate equation developed from observations in a Red Sea coral reef. Community structure surveys across the Lizard Island reef flat during our study using the same methods employed in 1978 showed that live coral coverage had not changed significantly (∼8%). However, it should be noted that the uncertainty in the live coral coverage estimates in this study and in 1978 were fairly large and inherent to this methodology. Using the reef calcification rate equation while assuming that seawater above the reef was at equilibrium with atmospheric PCO2 and given that live coral cover had not changed Gnet should have declined by 30 ± 8% since the LIMER study as indeed observed. We note, however, that the error in estimated Gnet decrease relative to the 1970's could be much larger due to the uncertainties in the coral coverage measurements. Nonetheless, the similarity between the predicted and the measured decrease in Gnet suggests that ocean acidification may be the primary cause for the lower CaCO3 precipitation rate on the Lizard Island reef flat.

  11. Rebecca shoal barrier reef complex of Gulfian and Paleocene age - onshore and offshore Florida

    SciTech Connect

    Winston, G.O.

    1989-03-01

    Surrounding the Florida Peninsula and the offshore portion of the South Florida basin is a 1300-mi long dolomite barrier reef complex that occupies a 3800-ft composite interval spanning most of the Gulfian and Paleocene. Forty-four wells have penetrated various aspects of this complex. Growth began with the Card Sound facies (some 1400 ft thick) in the lower Gulfian, shortly after the end of the Early Cretaceous. This facies is present in only two wells, 4 mi apart on Key Largo. The appearance of the Rebecca Shoal reef in the earliest Gulfian indicates that the Florida Straits were then present, as deep water would have been necessary to support a growing reef of this magnitude. During the late Gulfian, the reef (Plantation equivalent) expanded northward along the East Coast and westward along the Keys. The width now was over 6 mi. By the beginning of the Paleocene, the reef (Tavernier facies) had completely surrounded the peninsula, resulting in the deposition of the Cedar Keys dolomite-anhydrite lagoonal facies. The width of the complex was now as much as 20 mi. At the close of the Paleocene, the Rebecca Shoals reef ended abruptly. It was overlain by an orange/brown anhedral dolomite characteristic of the basal Eocene. The lithology of the outer region of the reef complex is characterized by a light-colored, porous, fine to medium crystalline euhedral dolomite. Large cavities, including a 60-ft cavern, have been reported. Two core samples show a taluslike rubble texture with vug porosity between the square-sided fragments. Behind the Tavernier reef, this facies is gradually replaced by nonporous anhedral and cryptocrystalline dolomite. Farther lagoonward, these three lithologies become interbedded with typical Cedar keys, a very fine microcrystalline to microcrystalline dolomite.

  12. Cross-shelf variation in browsing intensity on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoey, A. S.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2010-06-01

    Herbivory is widely accepted as a key process determining the structure and resilience of coral reefs, with regional reductions in herbivores often being related to shifts from dominance by coral to leathery macroalgae. The removal of leathery macroalgae may therefore be viewed as a critical process on coral reefs. However, few studies have examined this process beyond a within-reef scale. Here, browsing activity was examined across the entire Great Barrier Reef shelf using bioassays of the leathery macroalga Sargassum to directly quantify algal removal. The assays revealed marked cross-shelf variation in browsing intensity, with the highest rates recorded on mid-shelf reefs (55.2-79.9% day-1) and decreasing significantly on inner- (10.8-17.0% day-1) and outer-shelf (10.1-10.4% day-1) reefs. Surprisingly, the variation in browsing intensity was not directly related to estimates of macroalgal browser biomass; rather, it appears to be shaped primarily by the local environment and behaviour of the component species. Removal rates across the inner- and mid-shelf reefs appear to be related to the attractiveness of the assays relative to the resident algal communities. Controlling for the influence of the resident algal communities revealed a positive relationship between removal rates and the biomass of a single macroalgal browsing species, Naso unicornis. In contrast, the low removal rates on the outer-shelf reefs displayed no relationship to algal or herbivore communities and appeared to reflect a negative behavioural response by the resident fishes to a novel, or unfamiliar, alga. These findings not only highlight the complexities of the relationship between fish presence and ecological function, but also the value of examining ecological processes across broader spatial scales.

  13. Ecological traits influencing range expansion across large oceanic dispersal barriers: insights from tropical Atlantic reef fishes.

    PubMed

    Luiz, Osmar J; Madin, Joshua S; Robertson, D Ross; Rocha, Luiz A; Wirtz, Peter; Floeter, Sergio R

    2012-03-01

    How do biogeographically different provinces arise in response to oceanic barriers to dispersal? Here, we analyse how traits related to the pelagic dispersal and adult biology of 985 tropical reef fish species correlate with their establishing populations on both sides of two Atlantic marine barriers: the Mid-Atlantic Barrier (MAB) and the Amazon-Orinoco Plume (AOP). Generalized linear mixed-effects models indicate that predictors for successful barrier crossing are the ability to raft with flotsam for the deep-water MAB, non-reef habitat usage for the freshwater and sediment-rich AOP, and large adult-size and large latitudinal-range for both barriers. Variation in larval-development mode, often thought to be broadly related to larval-dispersal potential, is not a significant predictor in either case. Many more species of greater taxonomic diversity cross the AOP than the MAB. Rafters readily cross both barriers but represent a much smaller proportion of AOP crossers than MAB crossers. Successful establishment after crossing both barriers may be facilitated by broad environmental tolerance associated with large body size and wide latitudinal-range. These results highlight the need to look beyond larval-dispersal potential and assess adult-biology traits when assessing determinants of successful movements across marine barriers.

  14. Impacts of human activities on coral reef ecosystems of southern Taiwan: a long-term study.

    PubMed

    Liu, Pi-Jen; Meng, Pei-Jie; Liu, Li-Lian; Wang, Jih-Terng; Leu, Ming-Yih

    2012-06-01

    In July 2001, the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, co-sponsored by the Kenting National Park Headquarters and Taiwan's National Science Council, launched a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program to monitor anthropogenic impacts on the ecosystems of southern Taiwan, specifically the coral reefs of Kenting National Park (KNP), which are facing an increasing amount of anthropogenic pressure. We found that the seawater of the reef flats along Nanwan Bay, Taiwan's southernmost embayment, was polluted by sewage discharge at certain monitoring stations. Furthermore, the consequently higher nutrient and suspended sediment levels had led to algal blooms and sediment smothering of shallow water corals at some sampling sites. Finally, our results show that, in addition to this influx of anthropogenically-derived sewage, increasing tourist numbers are correlated with decreasing shallow water coral cover, highlighting the urgency of a more proactive management plan for KNP's coral reefs.

  15. Factors affecting adoption of improved management practices in the pastoral industry in Great Barrier Reef catchments.

    PubMed

    Rolfe, John; Gregg, Daniel

    2015-07-01

    Substantial efforts are being made by industry and government in Australia to reduce adverse impacts of pastoral operations on water quality draining to the Great Barrier Reef. A key target is to achieve rapid adoption of better management practices by landholders, but current theoretical frameworks provide limited guidance about priorities for improving adoption. In this study information from direct surveys with landholders in the two largest catchments draining into the Great Barrier Reef has been collected and analysed. Study outcomes have important implications for policy settings, because they confirm that substantial variations in adoption drivers exist across landholders, enterprises and practices. The results confirm that the three broad barriers to adoption of information gaps, financial incentives and risk perceptions are relevant. This implies that different policy mechanisms, including extension and incentive programs, remain important, although financial incentives were only identified as important to meet capital and transformational costs rather than recurrent costs.

  16. Factors affecting adoption of improved management practices in the pastoral industry in Great Barrier Reef catchments.

    PubMed

    Rolfe, John; Gregg, Daniel

    2015-07-01

    Substantial efforts are being made by industry and government in Australia to reduce adverse impacts of pastoral operations on water quality draining to the Great Barrier Reef. A key target is to achieve rapid adoption of better management practices by landholders, but current theoretical frameworks provide limited guidance about priorities for improving adoption. In this study information from direct surveys with landholders in the two largest catchments draining into the Great Barrier Reef has been collected and analysed. Study outcomes have important implications for policy settings, because they confirm that substantial variations in adoption drivers exist across landholders, enterprises and practices. The results confirm that the three broad barriers to adoption of information gaps, financial incentives and risk perceptions are relevant. This implies that different policy mechanisms, including extension and incentive programs, remain important, although financial incentives were only identified as important to meet capital and transformational costs rather than recurrent costs. PMID:25909442

  17. Sustaining Ecosystem Services in the Global Coral Reef Crisis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aronson, Richard B.; Precht, William F.

    2009-07-01

    Objective science is critical to understanding the relative impacts of the many putative causal agents in the global coral reef crisis. This paper provides an evidence-based scenario of causality leading to the current state of reef degradation. Contrary to revisionist narratives that emphasize the local-scale effects of fishing and nutrient loading, coral populations were and are degrading primarily due to regional-to global-scale factors. Most important among these large-scale factors are disease outbreaks and coral bleaching, both of which are related to climate change. Because policy recommendations and management strategies will differ depending on which cause(s) are perceived to exert the greatest influence, scientists must be explicit about when they are acting as advocates and when they are objectively conveying scientific results. Legitimate scientific debate is healthy and in no way diminishes the goal of creating cogent policy. Forced ideological unification, in contrast, risks obfuscation, undermining the scientific process. Science must move forward unfettered by political expediency; however, the situation is dire enough to warrant immediate action on local, regional, and global levels, based on the best scientific information at hand, in parallel with continuing research.

  18. Population growth rates of reef sharks with and without fishing on the great barrier reef: robust estimation with multiple models.

    PubMed

    Hisano, Mizue; Connolly, Sean R; Robbins, William D

    2011-01-01

    Overfishing of sharks is a global concern, with increasing numbers of species threatened by overfishing. For many sharks, both catch rates and underwater visual surveys have been criticized as indices of abundance. In this context, estimation of population trends using individual demographic rates provides an important alternative means of assessing population status. However, such estimates involve uncertainties that must be appropriately characterized to credibly and effectively inform conservation efforts and management. Incorporating uncertainties into population assessment is especially important when key demographic rates are obtained via indirect methods, as is often the case for mortality rates of marine organisms subject to fishing. Here, focusing on two reef shark species on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, we estimated natural and total mortality rates using several indirect methods, and determined the population growth rates resulting from each. We used bootstrapping to quantify the uncertainty associated with each estimate, and to evaluate the extent of agreement between estimates. Multiple models produced highly concordant natural and total mortality rates, and associated population growth rates, once the uncertainties associated with the individual estimates were taken into account. Consensus estimates of natural and total population growth across multiple models support the hypothesis that these species are declining rapidly due to fishing, in contrast to conclusions previously drawn from catch rate trends. Moreover, quantitative projections of abundance differences on fished versus unfished reefs, based on the population growth rate estimates, are comparable to those found in previous studies using underwater visual surveys. These findings appear to justify management actions to substantially reduce the fishing mortality of reef sharks. They also highlight the potential utility of rigorously characterizing uncertainty, and applying multiple

  19. Population Growth Rates of Reef Sharks with and without Fishing on the Great Barrier Reef: Robust Estimation with Multiple Models

    PubMed Central

    Hisano, Mizue; Connolly, Sean R.; Robbins, William D.

    2011-01-01

    Overfishing of sharks is a global concern, with increasing numbers of species threatened by overfishing. For many sharks, both catch rates and underwater visual surveys have been criticized as indices of abundance. In this context, estimation of population trends using individual demographic rates provides an important alternative means of assessing population status. However, such estimates involve uncertainties that must be appropriately characterized to credibly and effectively inform conservation efforts and management. Incorporating uncertainties into population assessment is especially important when key demographic rates are obtained via indirect methods, as is often the case for mortality rates of marine organisms subject to fishing. Here, focusing on two reef shark species on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, we estimated natural and total mortality rates using several indirect methods, and determined the population growth rates resulting from each. We used bootstrapping to quantify the uncertainty associated with each estimate, and to evaluate the extent of agreement between estimates. Multiple models produced highly concordant natural and total mortality rates, and associated population growth rates, once the uncertainties associated with the individual estimates were taken into account. Consensus estimates of natural and total population growth across multiple models support the hypothesis that these species are declining rapidly due to fishing, in contrast to conclusions previously drawn from catch rate trends. Moreover, quantitative projections of abundance differences on fished versus unfished reefs, based on the population growth rate estimates, are comparable to those found in previous studies using underwater visual surveys. These findings appear to justify management actions to substantially reduce the fishing mortality of reef sharks. They also highlight the potential utility of rigorously characterizing uncertainty, and applying multiple

  20. Population growth rates of reef sharks with and without fishing on the great barrier reef: robust estimation with multiple models.

    PubMed

    Hisano, Mizue; Connolly, Sean R; Robbins, William D

    2011-01-01

    Overfishing of sharks is a global concern, with increasing numbers of species threatened by overfishing. For many sharks, both catch rates and underwater visual surveys have been criticized as indices of abundance. In this context, estimation of population trends using individual demographic rates provides an important alternative means of assessing population status. However, such estimates involve uncertainties that must be appropriately characterized to credibly and effectively inform conservation efforts and management. Incorporating uncertainties into population assessment is especially important when key demographic rates are obtained via indirect methods, as is often the case for mortality rates of marine organisms subject to fishing. Here, focusing on two reef shark species on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, we estimated natural and total mortality rates using several indirect methods, and determined the population growth rates resulting from each. We used bootstrapping to quantify the uncertainty associated with each estimate, and to evaluate the extent of agreement between estimates. Multiple models produced highly concordant natural and total mortality rates, and associated population growth rates, once the uncertainties associated with the individual estimates were taken into account. Consensus estimates of natural and total population growth across multiple models support the hypothesis that these species are declining rapidly due to fishing, in contrast to conclusions previously drawn from catch rate trends. Moreover, quantitative projections of abundance differences on fished versus unfished reefs, based on the population growth rate estimates, are comparable to those found in previous studies using underwater visual surveys. These findings appear to justify management actions to substantially reduce the fishing mortality of reef sharks. They also highlight the potential utility of rigorously characterizing uncertainty, and applying multiple

  1. An Ecosystem Service Evaluation Tool to Support Ridge-to-Reef Management and Conservation in Hawaii

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oleson, K.; Callender, T.; Delevaux, J. M. S.; Falinski, K. A.; Htun, H.; Jin, G.

    2014-12-01

    Faced with increasing anthropogenic stressors and diverse stakeholders, local managers are adopting a ridge-to-reef and multi-objective management approach to restore declining coral reef health state. An ecosystem services framework, which integrates ecological indicators and stakeholder values, can foster more applied and integrated research, data collection, and modeling, and thus better inform the decision-making process and realize decision outcomes grounded in stakeholders' values. Here, we describe a research program that (i) leverages remotely sensed and empirical data to build an ecosystem services-based decision-support tool geared towards ridge-to-reef management; and (ii) applies it as part of a structured, value-based decision-making process to inform management in west Maui, a NOAA coral reef conservation priority site. The tool links terrestrial and marine biophysical models in a spatially explicit manner to quantify and map changes in ecosystem services delivery resulting from management actions, projected climate change impacts, and adaptive responses. We couple model outputs with localized valuation studies to translate ecosystem service outcomes into benefits and their associated socio-cultural and/or economic values. Managers can use this tool to run scenarios during their deliberations to evaluate trade-offs, cost-effectiveness, and equity implications of proposed policies. Ultimately, this research program aims at improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity outcomes of ecosystem-based management. This presentation will describe our approach, summarize initial results from the terrestrial modeling and economic valuations for west Maui, and highlight how this decision support tool benefits managers in west Maui.

  2. Internal structure and Holocene evolution of One Tree Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marshall, J. F.; Davies, P. J.

    1982-06-01

    Analysis of core from six drill holes and ten vibrocores from One Tree Reef has delineated five major biosedimentological facies: algal pavement, coral head facies, branching coral facies, reef flat rubble facies and sand facies. Holocene growth began around 8,000 years B.P. with a high energy coral head facies on windward margins and a lower energy branching coral facies on patch reefs and on leeward margins. Vertical accumulation rates for these two principal facies are not greatly different; the coral head facies grew at 1.8 7.3 m/1,000 years and the branching coral facies at 0.6 8.3 m/1,000 years. Growth was initially much slower than the rate of sea level rise, a situation which changed only after sea level stabilized around 6,200 years B.P. A facies evolution model with rigidly imposed time constraints divides growth into three phases, i.e. vertical growth to sea level, transitional adjustment of biofacies at sea level, and leeward progradative phases.

  3. Phylogeography of colour polymorphism in the coral reef fish Pseudochromis fuscus, from Papua New Guinea and the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Messmer, Vanessa; van Herwerden, Lynne; Munday, Philip L.; Jones, Geoffrey P.

    2005-11-01

    Body colour has played a significant role in the evolution of coral reef fishes, but the phylogenetic level at which colour variation is expressed and the evolutionary processes driving the development and persistence of different colour patterns are often poorly understood. The aim of this study was to examine the genetic relationships between multiple colour morphs of Pseudochromis fuscus (family Pseudochromidae), both within and among geographic locations. Pseudochromis fuscus is currently described as a single species, but exhibits at least six discrete colour morphs throughout its range. In this study, P. fuscus from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, formed three genetically distinct clades based on mitochondrial DNA (control region) sequence data: (1) yellow and brown morphs from the GBR and southern PNG, as well as an orange morph from southern PNG; (2) a pink morph from southern PNG; and (3) all three morphs (pink, orange and grey) found in Kimbe Bay, northern PNG. The three groups showed deep levels of divergence ( d=14.6-25.4%), suggesting that P. fuscus is a complex of polychromatic species, rather than a single widespread species with many different colour morphs. Population genetic analyses indicate that the three clades have experienced unique evolutionary histories, possibly from differential effects of sea level fluctuations, barriers to gene flow and historical biogeography.

  4. Ocean acidification and coral reefs: effects on breakdown, dissolution, and net ecosystem calcification.

    PubMed

    Andersson, Andreas J; Gledhill, Dwight

    2013-01-01

    The persistence of carbonate structures on coral reefs is essential in providing habitats for a large number of species and maintaining the extraordinary biodiversity associated with these ecosystems. As a consequence of ocean acidification (OA), the ability of marine calcifiers to produce calcium carbonate (CaCO(3)) and their rate of CaCO(3) production could decrease while rates of bioerosion and CaCO(3) dissolution could increase, resulting in a transition from a condition of net accretion to one of net erosion. This would have negative consequences for the role and function of coral reefs and the eco-services they provide to dependent human communities. In this article, we review estimates of bioerosion, CaCO(3) dissolution, and net ecosystem calcification (NEC) and how these processes will change in response to OA. Furthermore, we critically evaluate the observed relationships between NEC and seawater aragonite saturation state (Ω(a)). Finally, we propose that standardized NEC rates combined with observed changes in the ratios of dissolved inorganic carbon to total alkalinity owing to net reef metabolism may provide a biogeochemical tool to monitor the effects of OA in coral reef environments. PMID:22881351

  5. Positive and negative effects of a threatened parrotfish on reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    McCauley, Douglas J; Young, Hillary S; Guevara, Roger; Williams, Gareth J; Power, Eleanor A; Dunbar, Robert B; Bird, Douglas W; Durham, William H; Micheli, Fiorenza

    2014-10-01

    Species that are strong interactors play disproportionately important roles in the dynamics of natural ecosystems. It has been proposed that their presence is necessary for positively shaping the structure and functioning of ecosystems. We evaluated this hypothesis using the case of the world's largest parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum), a globally imperiled species. We used direct observation, animal tracking, and computer simulations to examine the diverse routes through which B. muricatum affects the diversity, dispersal, relative abundance, and survival of the corals that comprise the foundation of reef ecosystems. Our results suggest that this species can influence reef building corals in both positive and negative ways. Field observation and simulation outputs indicated that B. muricatum reduced the abundance of macroalgae that can outcompete corals, but they also feed directly on corals, decreasing coral abundance, diversity, and colony size. B. muricatum appeared to facilitate coral advancement by mechanically dispersing coral fragments and opening up bare space for coral settlement, but they also damaged adult corals and remobilized a large volume of potentially stressful carbonate sediment. The impacts this species has on reefs appears to be regulated in part by its abundance-the effects of B. muricatum were more intense in simulation scenarios populated with high densities of these fish. Observations conducted in regions with high and low predator (e.g., sharks) abundance generated results that are consistent with the hypothesis that these predators of B. muricatum may play a role in governing their abundance; thus, predation may modulate the intensity of the effects they have on reef dynamics. Overall our results illustrate that functionally unique and threatened species may not have universally positive impacts on ecosystems and that it may be necessary for environmental managers to consider the diverse effects of such species and the forces that

  6. Benthic Foraminifera as ecological indicators for water quality on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uthicke, Sven; Nobes, Kristie

    2008-07-01

    Benthic foraminifera are established indicators for Water Quality (WQ) in Florida and the Caribbean. However, nearshore coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and other Pacific regions are also subjected to increased nutrient and sediment loads. Here, we investigate the use of benthic foraminifera as indicators to assess status and trends of WQ on GBR reefs. We quantified several sediment parameters and the foraminiferan assemblage composition on 20 reefs in four geographic regions of the GBR, and along a water column nutrient and turbidity gradient. Twenty-seven easily recognisable benthic foraminiferan taxa (>63 μm) were distinguished. All four geographic regions differed significantly ( p < 0.05, ANOSIM) in their assemblage composition, and a redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that sediment parameters only explained a small proportion of the variance in the assemblage composition. On nine reefs along a previously studied water quality gradient, foraminifera showed a distinct shift in assemblage composition towards larger symbiont-bearing taxa from turbid inner shelf towards clearer outer shelf reefs. A RDA separated symbiotic and aposymbiotic (heterotrophic) taxa. In addition, total suspended solid and water column chlorophyll a concentrations were negatively correlated, and optical depth and distance to the mainland were positively correlated, with the abundance of symbiont-bearing taxa. Several large foraminifera were identified as indicators for offshore, clear water conditions. In contrast, heterotrophic rotaliids and a species retaining plastids ( Elphidium sp.) where highly characteristic for low light, higher nutrient conditions. Application of the FORAM index to GBR assemblage composition showed a significant increase in the value of this index with increased distance from the mainland in the Whitsunday region ( r2 = 0.75, p < 0.001), and therefore with increasing light and decreased nutrient availability. We conclude that it will be possible to

  7. [Latest forty two years' sea surface temperature change of Weizhou Island and its influence on coral reef ecosystem].

    PubMed

    Yu, Kefu; Jiang, Mingxing; Cheng, Zhiqiang; Chen, Tegu

    2004-03-01

    Weizhou Island (109 degrees 00'-109 degrees 15'E, 21 degrees 00'-21 degrees 10'N) locates in the north coral reef distribution belt of the South China Sea. In such relatively high latitude area, sea surface temperature (SST) is an important factor affecting the development of coral reef ecosystem. Measurements of the latest 42 years' SST of Weizhou Island showed that with 3-4 years and 7-8 years fluctuating cycles, the SST almost had a synchronous increase with global warming, especially since the later 1980s. Overall, the coral reef of Weizhou Island could benefit from the SST warming, especially the cold months SST increase, because it's the north margin of tropical zone. But, the warming of the warmest month may be a thermal stress on the development of coral reef. It reaches the upper limits of coral reef development, and leads the coral reef bleaching. Mankind activities, including wide scale building, oil gas factory near the island, traveling, fishing and breeding, may be also the potential stresses on limiting the coral reef development. The combination of summer warming and mankind stress is possibly to destroy the coral reef ecosystem of Weizhou Island. Based on a detailed field investigation, the modern coral reef distribution map around Weizhou Island was described.

  8. Distribution of two species of sea snakes, Aipysurus laevis and Emydocephalus annulatus, in the southern Great Barrier Reef: metapopulation dynamics, marine protected areas and conservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lukoschek, V.; Heatwole, H.; Grech, A.; Burns, G.; Marsh, H.

    2007-06-01

    Aipysurus laevis and Emydocephalus annulatus typically occur in spatially discrete populations, characteristic of metapopulations; however, little is known about the factors influencing the spatial and temporal stability of populations or whether specific conservation strategies, such as networks of marine protected areas, will ensure the persistence of species. Classification tree analyses of 35 years of distribution data (90 reefs, surveyed 1-11 times) in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) revealed that longitude was a major factor determining the status of A. laevis on reefs (present = 38, absent = 38 and changed = 14). Reef exposure and reef area were also important; however, these factors did not specifically account for the population fluctuations and the recent local extinctions of A. laevis in this region. There were no relationships between the status of E. annulatus (present = 16, absent = 68 and changed = 6) and spatial or physical variables. Moreover, prior protection status of reefs did not account for the distribution of either species. Biotic factors, such as habitat and prey availability and the distribution of predators, which may account for the observed patterns of distribution, are discussed. The potential for inter-population exchange among sea snake populations is poorly understood, as is the degree of protection that will be afforded to sea snakes by the recently implemented network of No-take areas in the GBR. Data from this study provide a baseline for evaluating the responses of A. laevis and E. annulatus populations to changes in biotic factors and the degree of protection afforded on reefs within an ecosystem network of No-take marine protected areas in the southern GBR.

  9. Evidence of reduced mid-Holocene ENSO variance on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonard, N. D.; Welsh, K. J.; Lough, J. M.; Feng, Y.-x.; Pandolfi, J. M.; Clark, T. R.; Zhao, J.-x.

    2016-09-01

    Globally, coral reefs are under increasing pressure both through direct anthropogenic influence and increases in climate extremes. Understanding past climate dynamics that negatively affected coral reef growth is imperative for both improving management strategies and for modeling coral reef responses to a changing climate. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the primary source of climate variability at interannual timescales on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), northeastern Australia. Applying continuous wavelet transforms to visually assessed coral luminescence intensity in massive Porites corals from the central GBR we demonstrate that these records reliably reproduce ENSO variance patterns for the period 1880-1985. We then applied this method to three subfossil corals from the same reef to reconstruct ENSO variance from ~5200 to 4300 years before present (yBP). We show that ENSO events were less extreme and less frequent after ~5200 yBP on the GBR compared to modern records. Growth characteristics of the corals are consistent with cooler sea surface temperatures (SSTs) between 5200 and 4300 yBP compared to both the millennia prior (~6000 yBP) and modern records. Understanding ENSO dynamics in response to SST variability at geological timescales will be important for improving predictions of future ENSO response to a rapidly warming climate.

  10. Symbiont acquisition strategy drives host-symbiont associations in the southern Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stat, M.; Loh, W. K. W.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Carter, D. A.

    2008-12-01

    Coral larvae acquire populations of the symbiotic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium from the external environment (horizontal acquisition) or inherit their symbionts from the parent colony (maternal or vertical acquisition). The effect of the symbiont acquisition strategy on Symbiodinium-host associations has not been fully resolved. Previous studies have provided mixed results, probably due to factors such as low sample replication of Symbiodinium from a single coral host, biogeographic differences in Symbiodinium diversity, and the presence of some apparently host-specific symbiont lineages in coral with either symbiont acquisition strategies. This study set out to assess the effect of the symbiont acquisition strategy by sampling Symbiodinium from 10 coral species (five with a horizontal and five with a vertical symbiont acquisition strategy) across two adjacent reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Symbiodinium diversity was assessed using single-stranded conformational polymorphism of partial nuclear large subunit rDNA and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the internal transcribed spacer 2 region. The Symbiodinium population in hosts with a vertical symbiont acquisition strategy partitioned according to coral species, while hosts with a horizontal symbiont acquisition strategy shared a common symbiont type across the two reef environments. Comparative analysis of existing data from the southern Great Barrier Reef found that the majority of corals with a vertical symbiont acquisition strategy associated with distinct species- or genus-specific Symbiodinium lineages, but some could also associate with symbiont types that were more commonly found in hosts with a horizontal symbiont acquisition strategy.

  11. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in clams, sediments, and seawater from the Great Barrier Reef region, Australia

    SciTech Connect

    Bagg, J.; Smith, J.D. )

    1988-09-01

    On the Great Barrier Reef actively growing organisms occur mainly in shallow water, between the low-water mark and about 5m depth. The effects of hydrocarbon pollution either from discharge into the sea or run-off from the shore might be expected to be most significantly at air/water or solid/water interfaces and so the earliest indications of contamination are likely to be found in species that live in this vulnerable zone. For this reason the clam Tridacna maxima which is found in the intertidal region was chosen to be analyzed for PAH content. This clam occurs in adequate numbers along the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef and yields enough tissue to permit detection of PAH at very low concentrations. In addition during collection their shells close so that the chance of significant contamination during transport is very small. Clams were taken from a number of sites including isolated reefs such as John Brewer Reef, the research stations, Heron and Lizard Islands, and a tourist resort, Green Island. At all these sites sediments were analyzed for PAH and at Green Island, in addition, seawater was analyzed.

  12. Wind-driven circulation on the northern Great Barrier Reef continental shelf in summer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolanski, E.; Thomson, R. E.

    1984-03-01

    Observations of wind, atmospheric pressure, sea levels and current are presented for the northern (9°14‧S) Great Barrier Reef continental shelf for November 1981 to May 1982. Strong low-frequency non-tidal oceanic fluctuations were observed, resulting in alternating northward and southward transport and a weak 'mean' circulation, and are the result of long 'arrested' topographic waves driven by a quasi-steady longshore wind stress and damped by turbulent bottom friction. The coefficient of friction for low-frequency currents is found to be proportional to the tidal velocities. The coefficient is also found to be much larger than that in the central (15-19°S) region of the Great Barrier Reef continental shelf, and this difference is attributed to the greatly enhanced energy dissipation by secondary circulation around coral reefs in the reef-studded northern region. Sough of Cape York (10·5°S), the primary effect of the cross-shelf wind is to complement the geostrophic set-up due to the longshore current. Intense tidal currents in the vicinity of Cape York combined with a dissipative western boundary in Torres Strait appear to prevent long wave propagation north of Cape York where a steady-state analytical model is used to show that both cross- and longshore wind components generate the reversing currents observed through Bligh Entrance.

  13. Reefs of the deep: the biology and geology of cold-water coral ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Roberts, J Murray; Wheeler, Andrew J; Freiwald, André

    2006-04-28

    Coral reefs are generally associated with shallow tropical seas; however, recent deep-ocean exploration using advanced acoustics and submersibles has revealed unexpectedly widespread and diverse coral ecosystems in deep waters on continental shelves, slopes, seamounts, and ridge systems around the world. Advances reviewed here include the use of corals as paleoclimatic archives and their biogeological functioning, biodiversity, and biogeography. Threats to these fragile, long-lived, and rich ecosystems are mounting: The impacts of deep-water trawling are already widespread, and effects of ocean acidification are potentially devastating. PMID:16645087

  14. Reefs of the deep: the biology and geology of cold-water coral ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Roberts, J Murray; Wheeler, Andrew J; Freiwald, André

    2006-04-28

    Coral reefs are generally associated with shallow tropical seas; however, recent deep-ocean exploration using advanced acoustics and submersibles has revealed unexpectedly widespread and diverse coral ecosystems in deep waters on continental shelves, slopes, seamounts, and ridge systems around the world. Advances reviewed here include the use of corals as paleoclimatic archives and their biogeological functioning, biodiversity, and biogeography. Threats to these fragile, long-lived, and rich ecosystems are mounting: The impacts of deep-water trawling are already widespread, and effects of ocean acidification are potentially devastating.

  15. Three new species of Calyptotheca (Bryozoa: Lanceoporidae) from the Great Barrier Reef, tropical Australia.

    PubMed

    Sebastian, Pascal; Cumming, Robyn L

    2016-02-15

    The cheilostome bryozoans Calyptotheca wulguru n. sp. and Calyptotheca tilbrooki n. sp. (Lanceoporidae) are described from inter-reefal, sediment-dominated habitats of the Great Barrier Reef, and Calyptotheca churro n. sp. was washed up on a Heron Island beach, with uncertain origin. Calyptotheca wulguru n. sp. and C. churro n. sp. belong to a subgroup of Calyptotheca species with numerous small, oval, marginal adventitious avicularia and suboral nodular thickening or umbones. The vicarious avicularia of C. tilbrooki n. sp. are elongate-oval, unlike those of other known Calyptotheca species, and C. tilbrooki n. sp. has more pronounced orificial dimorphism than in any other known Calyptotheca species. Calyptotheca churro n. sp. has the most pronounced suboral umbo of all known Calyptotheca species. This study increases the known Calyptotheca species of the Great Barrier Reef to ten, and of tropical Australia to 14.

  16. Three new species of Calyptotheca (Bryozoa: Lanceoporidae) from the Great Barrier Reef, tropical Australia.

    PubMed

    Sebastian, Pascal; Cumming, Robyn L

    2016-01-01

    The cheilostome bryozoans Calyptotheca wulguru n. sp. and Calyptotheca tilbrooki n. sp. (Lanceoporidae) are described from inter-reefal, sediment-dominated habitats of the Great Barrier Reef, and Calyptotheca churro n. sp. was washed up on a Heron Island beach, with uncertain origin. Calyptotheca wulguru n. sp. and C. churro n. sp. belong to a subgroup of Calyptotheca species with numerous small, oval, marginal adventitious avicularia and suboral nodular thickening or umbones. The vicarious avicularia of C. tilbrooki n. sp. are elongate-oval, unlike those of other known Calyptotheca species, and C. tilbrooki n. sp. has more pronounced orificial dimorphism than in any other known Calyptotheca species. Calyptotheca churro n. sp. has the most pronounced suboral umbo of all known Calyptotheca species. This study increases the known Calyptotheca species of the Great Barrier Reef to ten, and of tropical Australia to 14. PMID:27394202

  17. Exposure of clownfish larvae to suspended sediment levels found on the Great Barrier Reef: Impacts on gill structure and microbiome.

    PubMed

    Hess, Sybille; Wenger, Amelia S; Ainsworth, Tracy D; Rummer, Jodie L

    2015-06-22

    Worldwide, increasing coastal development has played a major role in shaping coral reef species assemblages, but the mechanisms underpinning distribution patterns remain poorly understood. Recent research demonstrated delayed development in larval fishes exposed to suspended sediment, highlighting the need to further understand the interaction between suspended sediment as a stressor and energetically costly activities such as growth and development that are essential to support biological fitness. We examined the gill morphology and the gill microbiome in clownfish larvae (Amphiprion percula) exposed to suspended sediment concentrations (using Australian bentonite) commonly found on the inshore Great Barrier Reef. The gills of larvae exposed to 45 mg L(-1) of suspended sediment had excessive mucous discharge and growth of protective cell layers, resulting in a 56% thicker gill epithelium compared to fish from the control group. Further, we found a shift from 'healthy' to pathogenic bacterial communities on the gills, which could increase the disease susceptibility of larvae. The impact of suspended sediments on larval gills may represent an underlying mechanism behind the distribution patterns of fish assemblages. Our findings underscore the necessity for future coastal development to consider adverse effects of suspended sediments on fish recruitment, and consequently fish populations and ecosystem health.

  18. Exposure of clownfish larvae to suspended sediment levels found on the Great Barrier Reef: Impacts on gill structure and microbiome.

    PubMed

    Hess, Sybille; Wenger, Amelia S; Ainsworth, Tracy D; Rummer, Jodie L

    2015-01-01

    Worldwide, increasing coastal development has played a major role in shaping coral reef species assemblages, but the mechanisms underpinning distribution patterns remain poorly understood. Recent research demonstrated delayed development in larval fishes exposed to suspended sediment, highlighting the need to further understand the interaction between suspended sediment as a stressor and energetically costly activities such as growth and development that are essential to support biological fitness. We examined the gill morphology and the gill microbiome in clownfish larvae (Amphiprion percula) exposed to suspended sediment concentrations (using Australian bentonite) commonly found on the inshore Great Barrier Reef. The gills of larvae exposed to 45 mg L(-1) of suspended sediment had excessive mucous discharge and growth of protective cell layers, resulting in a 56% thicker gill epithelium compared to fish from the control group. Further, we found a shift from 'healthy' to pathogenic bacterial communities on the gills, which could increase the disease susceptibility of larvae. The impact of suspended sediments on larval gills may represent an underlying mechanism behind the distribution patterns of fish assemblages. Our findings underscore the necessity for future coastal development to consider adverse effects of suspended sediments on fish recruitment, and consequently fish populations and ecosystem health. PMID:26094624

  19. Neosabellides lizae, a new species of Ampharetidae (Annelida) from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Alvestad, Tom; Budaeva, Nataliya

    2015-01-01

    Neosabellides lizae, a new species of Ampharetidae, is described from the intertidal zone off Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. The new species is referred to the genus Neosabellides based on the shape of the prostomium, three pairs of branchiae, 14 thoracic segments with notopodia, 12 thoracic uncinigerous segments, and the first two pairs of abdominal uncinigers of thoracic type. The new species differs from all known species of Neosabellides in having 14 abdominal uncinigerous segments. PMID:26624066

  20. Neosabellides lizae, a new species of Ampharetidae (Annelida) from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Alvestad, Tom; Budaeva, Nataliya

    2015-09-18

    Neosabellides lizae, a new species of Ampharetidae, is described from the intertidal zone off Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. The new species is referred to the genus Neosabellides based on the shape of the prostomium, three pairs of branchiae, 14 thoracic segments with notopodia, 12 thoracic uncinigerous segments, and the first two pairs of abdominal uncinigers of thoracic type. The new species differs from all known species of Neosabellides in having 14 abdominal uncinigerous segments.

  1. Declining Coral Skeletal Extension for Forereef Colonies of Siderastrea siderea on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, Southern Belize

    PubMed Central

    Castillo, Karl D.; Ries, Justin B.; Weiss, Jack M.

    2011-01-01

    Background Natural and anthropogenic stressors are predicted to have increasingly negative impacts on coral reefs. Understanding how these environmental stressors have impacted coral skeletal growth should improve our ability to predict how they may affect coral reefs in the future. We investigated century-scale variations in skeletal extension for the slow-growing massive scleractinian coral Siderastrea siderea inhabiting the forereef, backreef, and nearshore reefs of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) in the western Caribbean Sea. Methodology/Principal Findings Thirteen S. siderea cores were extracted, slabbed, and X-rayed. Annual skeletal extension was estimated from adjacent low- and high-density growth bands. Since the early 1900s, forereef S. siderea colonies have shifted from exhibiting the fastest to the slowest average annual skeletal extension, while values for backreef and nearshore colonies have remained relatively constant. The rates of change in annual skeletal extension were −0.020±0.005, 0.011±0.006, and −0.008±0.006 mm yr−1 per year [mean±SE] for forereef, backreef, and nearshore colonies respectively. These values for forereef and nearshore S. siderea were significantly lower by 0.031±0.008 and by 0.019±0.009 mm yr−1 per year, respectively, than for backreef colonies. However, only forereef S. siderea exhibited a statistically significant decline in annual skeletal extension over the last century. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that forereef S. siderea colonies are more susceptible to environmental stress than backreef and nearshore counterparts, which may have historically been exposed to higher natural baseline stressors. Alternatively, sediment plumes, nutrients, and pollution originating from watersheds of Guatemala and Honduras may disproportionately impact the forereef environment of the MBRS. We are presently reconstructing the history of environmental stressors that have impacted the MBRS to constrain

  2. Spatial and temporal genetic structure of Symbiodinium populations within a common reef-building coral on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Howells, Emily J; Willis, Bette L; Bay, Line K; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2013-07-01

    The dinoflagellate photosymbiont Symbiodinium plays a fundamental role in defining the physiological tolerances of coral holobionts, but little is known about the dynamics of these endosymbiotic populations on coral reefs. Sparse data indicate that Symbiodinium populations show limited spatial connectivity; however, no studies have investigated temporal dynamics for in hospite Symbiodinium populations following significant mortality and recruitment events in coral populations. We investigated the combined influences of spatial isolation and disturbance on the population dynamics of the generalist Symbiodinium type C2 (ITS1 rDNA) hosted by the scleractinian coral Acropora millepora in the central Great Barrier Reef. Using eight microsatellite markers, we genotyped Symbiodinium in a total of 401 coral colonies, which were sampled from seven sites across a 12-year period including during flood plume-induced coral bleaching. Genetic differentiation of Symbiodinium was greatest within sites, explaining 70-86% of the total genetic variation. An additional 9-27% of variation was explained by significant differentiation of populations among sites separated by 0.4-13 km, which is consistent with low levels of dispersal via water movement and historical disturbance regimes. Sampling year accounted for 6-7% of total genetic variation and was related to significant coral mortality following severe bleaching in 1998 and a cyclone in 2006. Only 3% of the total genetic variation was related to coral bleaching status, reflecting generally small (8%) reductions in allelic diversity within bleached corals. This reduction probably reflected a loss of genotypes in hospite during bleaching, although no site-wide changes in genetic diversity were observed. Combined, our results indicate the importance of disturbance regimes acting together with limited oceanographic transport to determine the genetic composition of Symbiodinium types within reefs.

  3. Social, institutional, and knowledge mechanisms mediate diverse ecosystem service benefits from coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Hicks, Christina C; Cinner, Joshua E

    2014-12-16

    Ecosystem services are supplied by nature but, by definition, are received by people. Ecosystem service assessments, intended to influence the decisions people make regarding their interactions with nature, need to understand how people benefit from different ecosystem services. A critical question is therefore, What determines the distribution of ecosystem service benefits between different sections of society? Here, we use an entitlements approach to examine how people perceive ecosystem service benefits across 28 coral reef fishing communities in four countries. In doing so, we quantitatively show that bundles of benefits are mediated by key access mechanisms (e.g., rights-based, economic, knowledge, social, and institutional). We find that specific access mechanisms influence which ecosystem services people prioritize. Social, institutional, and knowledge mechanisms are associated with the largest number and diversity of benefits. However, local context strongly determines whether specific access mechanisms enable or constrain benefits. Local ecological knowledge enabled people to prioritize a habitat benefit in Kenya, but constrained people from prioritizing the same benefit in Madagascar. Ecosystem service assessments, and their resultant policies, need to include the broad suite of access mechanisms that enable different people to benefit from a supply of ecosystem services. PMID:25453100

  4. Social, institutional, and knowledge mechanisms mediate diverse ecosystem service benefits from coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Hicks, Christina C; Cinner, Joshua E

    2014-12-16

    Ecosystem services are supplied by nature but, by definition, are received by people. Ecosystem service assessments, intended to influence the decisions people make regarding their interactions with nature, need to understand how people benefit from different ecosystem services. A critical question is therefore, What determines the distribution of ecosystem service benefits between different sections of society? Here, we use an entitlements approach to examine how people perceive ecosystem service benefits across 28 coral reef fishing communities in four countries. In doing so, we quantitatively show that bundles of benefits are mediated by key access mechanisms (e.g., rights-based, economic, knowledge, social, and institutional). We find that specific access mechanisms influence which ecosystem services people prioritize. Social, institutional, and knowledge mechanisms are associated with the largest number and diversity of benefits. However, local context strongly determines whether specific access mechanisms enable or constrain benefits. Local ecological knowledge enabled people to prioritize a habitat benefit in Kenya, but constrained people from prioritizing the same benefit in Madagascar. Ecosystem service assessments, and their resultant policies, need to include the broad suite of access mechanisms that enable different people to benefit from a supply of ecosystem services.

  5. [A review of the role and function of microbes in coral reef ecosystem].

    PubMed

    Zhou, Jin; Jin, Hui; Cai, Zhong-Hua

    2014-03-01

    Coral reef is consisted with several kinds of reef-associated organisms, including coral, fish, benthos, algae and microbes, which is an important marine ecosystem. Coral reef lives in the oligotrophic environment, has very highly primary productivity and net productivity, and is called "tropical rain forest in ocean". In corals, diverse microorganisms exert a significant influence on biogeochemical and ecological processes, including food webs, organism life cycles, and nutrient cycling. With the development of molecular biology, the role of microorganisms in a coral system is becoming more outstanding. In this article, we reviewed current understanding on 1) the onset of coral-bacterial associations; 2) the characteristics of microbes in coral (specificity, plasticity and co-evolution) ; 3) the role and signal regulation of microbes in the health and disease of coral; and 4) the response mechanism of microbes for global climatic change and consequent effects, such as temperature rise, ocean acidification and eutrophication. The aims of this article were to summarize the latest theories and achievements, clear the mechanism of microbial ecology in coral reefs and provide a theoretical reference for better protection and maintaining the coral's biodiversity.

  6. Surviving coral bleaching events: porites growth anomalies on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Cantin, Neal E; Lough, Janice M

    2014-01-01

    Mass coral bleaching affected large parts of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in 1998 and 2002. In this study, we assessed if signatures of these major thermal stress events were recorded in the growth characteristics of massive Porites colonies. In 2005 a suite of short (<50 cm) cores were collected from apparently healthy, surviving Porites colonies, from reefs in the central GBR (18-19°S) that have documented observations of widespread bleaching. Sites included inshore (Nelly Bay, Pandora Reef), annually affected by freshwater flood events, midshelf (Rib Reef), only occasionally affected by freshwater floods and offshore (Myrmidon Reef) locations primarily exposed to open ocean conditions. Annual growth characteristics (extension, density and calcification) were measured in 144 cores from 79 coral colonies and analysed over the common 24-year period, 1980-2003. Visual examination of the annual density bands revealed growth hiatuses associated with the bleaching years in the form of abrupt decreases in annual linear extension rates, high density stress bands and partial mortality. The 1998 mass-bleaching event reduced Porites calcification by 13 and 18% on the two inshore locations for 4 years, followed by recovery to baseline calcification rates in 2002. Evidence of partial mortality was apparent in 10% of the offshore colonies in 2002; however no significant effects of the bleaching events were evident in the calcification rates at the mid shelf and offshore sites. These results highlight the spatial variation of mass bleaching events and that all reef locations within the GBR were not equally stressed by the 1998 and 2002 mass bleaching events, as some models tend to suggest, which enabled recovery of calcification on the GBR within 4 years. The dynamics in annual calcification rates and recovery displayed here should be used to improve model outputs that project how coral calcification will respond to ongoing warming of the tropical oceans.

  7. Economic valuation of ecosystem services from coral reefs in the South Pacific: taking stock of recent experience.

    PubMed

    Laurans, Yann; Pascal, Nicolas; Binet, Thomas; Brander, Luke; Clua, Eric; David, Gilbert; Rojat, Dominique; Seidl, Andrew

    2013-02-15

    The economic valuation of coral reefs ecosystem services is currently seen as a promising approach to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable management of coral ecosystems to policymakers and to provide useful information for improved decisions. Most coral reefs economic studies have been conducted in the United States, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, and only a few have covered the South Pacific region. In this region, coral reefs are essential assets for small island developing states as well as for developed countries. Accordingly, a series of ecosystem services valuations has been carried out recently in the South Pacific, to try and supply decision-makers with new information. Applying ecosystem services valuation to the specific ecological, social, economic and cultural contexts of the South Pacific is however not straightforward. This paper analyses how extant valuations address the various management challenges of coral reef regions in general and more specifically for the South Pacific. Bearing in mind that economic valuation has to match policy-making contexts, we emphasize a series of specific considerations when conducting and applying ecosystem services valuation in South Pacific ecological and social contexts. Finally, the paper examines the decision-making situations in which extant valuations took place. We conclude that, although ecosystem valuations have been effectively used as a means to raise awareness with respect to coral reef conservation, methodologies will have to be further developed, with multidisciplinary inputs, if they are to provide valuable inputs in local and technical decision-making.

  8. Economic valuation of ecosystem services from coral reefs in the South Pacific: taking stock of recent experience.

    PubMed

    Laurans, Yann; Pascal, Nicolas; Binet, Thomas; Brander, Luke; Clua, Eric; David, Gilbert; Rojat, Dominique; Seidl, Andrew

    2013-02-15

    The economic valuation of coral reefs ecosystem services is currently seen as a promising approach to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable management of coral ecosystems to policymakers and to provide useful information for improved decisions. Most coral reefs economic studies have been conducted in the United States, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, and only a few have covered the South Pacific region. In this region, coral reefs are essential assets for small island developing states as well as for developed countries. Accordingly, a series of ecosystem services valuations has been carried out recently in the South Pacific, to try and supply decision-makers with new information. Applying ecosystem services valuation to the specific ecological, social, economic and cultural contexts of the South Pacific is however not straightforward. This paper analyses how extant valuations address the various management challenges of coral reef regions in general and more specifically for the South Pacific. Bearing in mind that economic valuation has to match policy-making contexts, we emphasize a series of specific considerations when conducting and applying ecosystem services valuation in South Pacific ecological and social contexts. Finally, the paper examines the decision-making situations in which extant valuations took place. We conclude that, although ecosystem valuations have been effectively used as a means to raise awareness with respect to coral reef conservation, methodologies will have to be further developed, with multidisciplinary inputs, if they are to provide valuable inputs in local and technical decision-making. PMID:23295680

  9. Spionidae (Annelida) from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia: the genera Aonides, Dipolydora, Polydorella, Prionospio, Pseudopolydora, Rhynchospio, and Tripolydora.

    PubMed

    Radashevsky, Vasily I

    2015-01-01

    Nineteen species in seven genera of spionid polychaetes are described and illustrated based on new material collected from the intertidal and shallow waters around the Lizard Island Group, northern Great Barrier Reef. Only one of these species had been previously reported from the Reef. Six species are described as new to science, and the taxonomy of seven species should be clarified in the future. Prionospio sensu lato is the most diverse group with 11 species identified in the present study. One species is identified in each of the genera Dipolydora, Polydorella, Rhynchospio and Tripolydora, and two species are identified in each of the genera Aonides and Pseudopolydora. The fauna of spionid polychaetes of the Great Barrier Reef seems to be more diverse than previously described and more species are expected to be found in the future. An identification key is provided to 16 genera of Spionidae reported from or likely to be found on the Great Barrier Reef. PMID:26624082

  10. Spionidae (Annelida) from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia: the genera Aonides, Dipolydora, Polydorella, Prionospio, Pseudopolydora, Rhynchospio, and Tripolydora.

    PubMed

    Radashevsky, Vasily I

    2015-09-18

    Nineteen species in seven genera of spionid polychaetes are described and illustrated based on new material collected from the intertidal and shallow waters around the Lizard Island Group, northern Great Barrier Reef. Only one of these species had been previously reported from the Reef. Six species are described as new to science, and the taxonomy of seven species should be clarified in the future. Prionospio sensu lato is the most diverse group with 11 species identified in the present study. One species is identified in each of the genera Dipolydora, Polydorella, Rhynchospio and Tripolydora, and two species are identified in each of the genera Aonides and Pseudopolydora. The fauna of spionid polychaetes of the Great Barrier Reef seems to be more diverse than previously described and more species are expected to be found in the future. An identification key is provided to 16 genera of Spionidae reported from or likely to be found on the Great Barrier Reef.

  11. A model of the effects of land-based, human activities on the health of coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef and in Fouha Bay, Guam, Micronesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolanski, Eric; Richmond, Robert H.; McCook, Laurence

    2004-05-01

    A model is proposed to explain coral and algal abundance on coastal coral reefs as a function of spike-like natural disturbances from tropical cyclones and turbid river floods, followed by long recovery periods where the rate of reef recovery depends on ambient water and substratum quality. The model includes competition for space between corals and algae, coral recruitment and reef connectivity. The model is applied to a 400-km stretch of Australia's Great Barrier Reef and to the 200-m-long reef tract at Fouha Bay, in Guam, Micronesia. For these two sites and at these two scales, the model appears successful at reproducing the observed distribution of algae and coral. For both sites, it is suggested that the reefs have been degraded by human activities on land and that they will recover provided remedial measures are implemented on land to restore the water and substrate conditions. We suggest ways to improve the model and to use the model to guide future ecological research and management efforts on coastal coral reefs.

  12. Baseline data for evaluating development trajectory and provision of ecosystem services of created fringing oyster reefs in Vermilion Bay, Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the time frame in which ecosystem services (that is, water quality maintenance, shoreline protection, habitat provision) are expected to be provided is important when restoration projects are being designed and implemented. Restoration of three-dimensional shell habitats in coastal Louisiana and elsewhere presents a valuable and potentially self-sustaining approach to providing shoreline protection, enhancing nekton habitat, and providing water quality maintenance. As with most restoration projects, the development of expected different ecosystem services often occurs over varying time frames, with some services provided immediately and others taking longer to develop. This project was designed initially to compare the provision and development of ecosystem services by created fringing shoreline reefs in subtidal and intertidal environments in Vermilion Bay, Louisiana. Specifically, the goal was to test the null hypothesis that over time, the oyster recruitment and development of a sustainable oyster reef community would be similar at both intertidal and subtidal reef bases, and these sustainable reefs would in time provide similar shoreline stabilization, nekton habitat, and water quality services over similar time frames. Because the ecosystem services hypothesized to be provided by oyster reefs reflect long-term processes, fully testing the above-stated null hypothesis requires a longer-time frame than this project allowed. As such, this project was designed to provide the initial data on reef development and provision of ecosystem services, to identify services that may develop immediately, and to provide baseline data to allow for longer-term follow up studies tracking reef development over time. Unfortunately, these initially created reef bases (subtidal, intertidal) were not constructed as planned because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, which resulted in reef duplicates being created 6 months apart. Further confounding the

  13. Phytoplankton, bacterioplankton and virioplankton structure and function across the southern Great Barrier Reef shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alongi, Daniel M.; Patten, Nicole L.; McKinnon, David; Köstner, Nicole; Bourne, David G.; Brinkman, Richard

    2015-02-01

    Bacterioplankton and phytoplankton dynamics, pelagic respiration, virioplankton abundance, and the diversity of pelagic diazotrophs and other bacteria were examined in relation to water-column nutrients and vertical mixing across the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) shelf where sharp inshore to offshore gradients in water chemistry and hydrology prevail. A principal component analysis (PCA) revealed station groups clustered geographically, suggesting across-shelf differences in plankton function and structure driven by changes in mixing intensity, sediment resuspension, and the relative contributions of terrestrial, reef and oceanic nutrients. At most stations and sampling periods, microbial abundance and activities peaked both inshore and at channels between outer shelf reefs of the Pompey Reef complex. PCA also revealed that virioplankton numbers and biomass correlated with bacterioplankton numbers and production, and that bacterial growth and respiration correlated with net primary production, suggesting close virus-bacteria-phytoplankton interactions; all plankton groups correlated with particulate C, N, and P. Strong vertical mixing facilitates tight coupling of pelagic and benthic shelf processes as, on average, 37% and 56% of N and P demands of phytoplankton are derived from benthic nutrient regeneration and resuspension. These across-shelf planktonic trends mirror those of the benthic microbial community.

  14. Diversity of sponges (Porifera) from cryptic habitats on the Belize barrier reef near Carrie Bow Cay.

    PubMed

    Rützler, Klaus; Piantoni, Carla; Van Soest, Rob W M; Díaz, M Cristina

    2014-01-01

    The Caribbean barrier reef near Carrie Bow Cay, Belize, has been a focus of Smithsonian Institution (Washington) reef and mangrove investigations since the early 1970s. Systematics and biology of sponges (Porifera) were addressed by several researchers but none of the studies dealt with cryptic habitats, such as the shaded undersides of coral rubble, reef crevices, and caves, although a high species diversity was recognized and samples were taken for future reference and study. This paper is the result of processing samples taken between 1972 and 2012. In all, 122 species were identified, 14 of them new (including one new genus). The new species are Tetralophophora (new genus) mesoamericana, Geodia cribrata, Placospongia caribica, Prosuberites carriebowensis, Timea diplasterina, Timea oxyasterina, Rhaphidhistia belizensis, Wigginsia curlewensis, Phorbas aurantiacus, Myrmekioderma laminatum, Niphates arenata, Siphonodictyon occultum, Xestospongia purpurea, and Aplysina sciophila. We determined that about 75 of the 122 cryptic sponge species studied (61%) are exclusive members of the sciophilic community, 47 (39 %) occur in both, light-exposed and shaded or dark habitats. Since we estimate the previously known sponge population of Carrie Bow reefs and mangroves at about 200 species, the cryptic fauna makes up 38 % of total diversity. PMID:24871152

  15. Diversity of sponges (Porifera) from cryptic habitats on the Belize barrier reef near Carrie Bow Cay.

    PubMed

    Rützler, Klaus; Piantoni, Carla; Van Soest, Rob W M; Díaz, M Cristina

    2014-05-29

    The Caribbean barrier reef near Carrie Bow Cay, Belize, has been a focus of Smithsonian Institution (Washington) reef and mangrove investigations since the early 1970s. Systematics and biology of sponges (Porifera) were addressed by several researchers but none of the studies dealt with cryptic habitats, such as the shaded undersides of coral rubble, reef crevices, and caves, although a high species diversity was recognized and samples were taken for future reference and study. This paper is the result of processing samples taken between 1972 and 2012. In all, 122 species were identified, 14 of them new (including one new genus). The new species are Tetralophophora (new genus) mesoamericana, Geodia cribrata, Placospongia caribica, Prosuberites carriebowensis, Timea diplasterina, Timea oxyasterina, Rhaphidhistia belizensis, Wigginsia curlewensis, Phorbas aurantiacus, Myrmekioderma laminatum, Niphates arenata, Siphonodictyon occultum, Xestospongia purpurea, and Aplysina sciophila. We determined that about 75 of the 122 cryptic sponge species studied (61%) are exclusive members of the sciophilic community, 47 (39 %) occur in both, light-exposed and shaded or dark habitats. Since we estimate the previously known sponge population of Carrie Bow reefs and mangroves at about 200 species, the cryptic fauna makes up 38 % of total diversity.

  16. Insights into the Coral Microbiome: Underpinning the Health and Resilience of Reef Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bourne, David G; Morrow, Kathleen M; Webster, Nicole S

    2016-09-01

    Corals are fundamental ecosystem engineers, creating large, intricate reefs that support diverse and abundant marine life. At the core of a healthy coral animal is a dynamic relationship with microorganisms, including a mutually beneficial symbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) and enduring partnerships with an array of bacterial, archaeal, fungal, protistan, and viral associates, collectively termed the coral holobiont. The combined genomes of this coral holobiont form a coral hologenome, and genomic interactions within the hologenome ultimately define the coral phenotype. Here we integrate contemporary scientific knowledge regarding the ecological, host-specific, and environmental forces shaping the diversity, specificity, and distribution of microbial symbionts within the coral holobiont, explore physiological pathways that contribute to holobiont fitness, and describe potential mechanisms for holobiont homeostasis. Understanding the role of the microbiome in coral resilience, acclimation, and environmental adaptation is a new frontier in reef science that will require large-scale collaborative research efforts.

  17. Insights into the Coral Microbiome: Underpinning the Health and Resilience of Reef Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bourne, David G; Morrow, Kathleen M; Webster, Nicole S

    2016-09-01

    Corals are fundamental ecosystem engineers, creating large, intricate reefs that support diverse and abundant marine life. At the core of a healthy coral animal is a dynamic relationship with microorganisms, including a mutually beneficial symbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) and enduring partnerships with an array of bacterial, archaeal, fungal, protistan, and viral associates, collectively termed the coral holobiont. The combined genomes of this coral holobiont form a coral hologenome, and genomic interactions within the hologenome ultimately define the coral phenotype. Here we integrate contemporary scientific knowledge regarding the ecological, host-specific, and environmental forces shaping the diversity, specificity, and distribution of microbial symbionts within the coral holobiont, explore physiological pathways that contribute to holobiont fitness, and describe potential mechanisms for holobiont homeostasis. Understanding the role of the microbiome in coral resilience, acclimation, and environmental adaptation is a new frontier in reef science that will require large-scale collaborative research efforts. PMID:27482741

  18. Inferred syngenetic textural evolution in Holocene cryptic reefal microbialites, Heron Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Webb, Gregory E.; Baker, Julian C.; Jell, John S.

    1998-04-01

    Cryptic microbialites in the Heron Reef framework occur as crusts of fingerlike microcolumns or branching dendrolites, rarely more than 1 cm long. Microstructure of the most recently growing microbialite surfaces consists of coalesced, <0.5 μm, rounded Mg-calcite crystallites forming smooth, thin crusts that are interpreted as calcified mucus within the basal layer of a biofilm. The crystallites become larger and more euhedral from the tip toward the base of the microcolumn. A similar progression occurs from the surface to the interior of the microbialites, yielding, at the bases of microcolumns, >3 μm scalenohedra that are indistinguishable from previously described Mg-calcite “abiotic” cement. The transformation from submicrometer, anhedral crystallites to >3 μm scalenohedra is inferred to have occurred only during active microbialite accretion beneath a biofilm. This syngenetic change from primary, biologically induced microstructures to microstructures that are indistinguishable from abiotic cement has important implications for the recognition and interpretation of early marine microcrystalline carbonates and cements.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. The ecosystem service value of living versus dead biogenic reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheehan, E. V.; Bridger, D.; Attrill, M. J.

    2015-03-01

    Mixed maerl beds (corralline red algae) comprise dead thalli with varying amounts of live maerl fragments, but previously it was not known whether the presence of the live maerl increases the ecosystem service 'habitat provision' of the dead maerl for the associated epibenthos. A 'flying array' towed sled with high definition video was used to film transects of the epibenthos in dead maerl and mixed maerl beds in two locations to the north and south of the English Channel (Falmouth and Jersey). Mixed maerl beds supported greater number of taxa and abundance than dead beds in Falmouth, while in Jersey, mixed and dead beds supported similar number of taxa and dead beds had a greater abundance of epifauna. Scallops tended to be more abundant on mixed beds than dead beds. Tube worms were more abundant on mixed beds in Falmouth and dead beds in Jersey. An increasing percentage occurrence of live maerl thalli correlated with increasing number of taxa in Falmouth but not Jersey. It was concluded that while live thalli can increase the functional role of dead maerl beds for the epibenthos, this is dependent on location and response variable. As a result of this work, maerl habitat in SE Jersey has been protected from towed demersal fishing gear.

  3. Deepwater Chondrichthyan Bycatch of the Eastern King Prawn Fishery in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Rigby, Cassandra L; White, William T; Simpfendorfer, Colin A

    2016-01-01

    The deepwater chondrichthyan fauna of the Great Barrier Reef is poorly known and life history information is required to enable their effective management as they are inherently vulnerable to exploitation. The chondrichthyan bycatch from the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery at the Swain Reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef was examined to determine the species present and provide information on their life histories. In all, 1533 individuals were collected from 11 deepwater chondrichthyan species, with the Argus skate Dipturus polyommata, piked spurdog Squalus megalops and pale spotted catshark Asymbolus pallidus the most commonly caught. All but one species is endemic to Australia with five species restricted to waters offshore from Queensland. The extent of life history information available for each species varied but the life history traits across all species were characteristic of deep water chondrichthyans with relatively large length at maturity, small litters and low ovarian fecundity; all indicative of low biological productivity. However, variability among these traits and spatial and bathymetric distributions of the species suggests differing degrees of resilience to fishing pressure. To ensure the sustainability of these bycatch species, monitoring of their catches in the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery is recommended. PMID:27218654

  4. Deepwater Chondrichthyan Bycatch of the Eastern King Prawn Fishery in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Rigby, Cassandra L; White, William T; Simpfendorfer, Colin A

    2016-01-01

    The deepwater chondrichthyan fauna of the Great Barrier Reef is poorly known and life history information is required to enable their effective management as they are inherently vulnerable to exploitation. The chondrichthyan bycatch from the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery at the Swain Reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef was examined to determine the species present and provide information on their life histories. In all, 1533 individuals were collected from 11 deepwater chondrichthyan species, with the Argus skate Dipturus polyommata, piked spurdog Squalus megalops and pale spotted catshark Asymbolus pallidus the most commonly caught. All but one species is endemic to Australia with five species restricted to waters offshore from Queensland. The extent of life history information available for each species varied but the life history traits across all species were characteristic of deep water chondrichthyans with relatively large length at maturity, small litters and low ovarian fecundity; all indicative of low biological productivity. However, variability among these traits and spatial and bathymetric distributions of the species suggests differing degrees of resilience to fishing pressure. To ensure the sustainability of these bycatch species, monitoring of their catches in the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery is recommended.

  5. Deepwater Chondrichthyan Bycatch of the Eastern King Prawn Fishery in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    PubMed Central

    Rigby, Cassandra L.; White, William T.; Simpfendorfer, Colin A.

    2016-01-01

    The deepwater chondrichthyan fauna of the Great Barrier Reef is poorly known and life history information is required to enable their effective management as they are inherently vulnerable to exploitation. The chondrichthyan bycatch from the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery at the Swain Reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef was examined to determine the species present and provide information on their life histories. In all, 1533 individuals were collected from 11 deepwater chondrichthyan species, with the Argus skate Dipturus polyommata, piked spurdog Squalus megalops and pale spotted catshark Asymbolus pallidus the most commonly caught. All but one species is endemic to Australia with five species restricted to waters offshore from Queensland. The extent of life history information available for each species varied but the life history traits across all species were characteristic of deep water chondrichthyans with relatively large length at maturity, small litters and low ovarian fecundity; all indicative of low biological productivity. However, variability among these traits and spatial and bathymetric distributions of the species suggests differing degrees of resilience to fishing pressure. To ensure the sustainability of these bycatch species, monitoring of their catches in the deepwater eastern king prawn fishery is recommended. PMID:27218654

  6. Simple ecological trade-offs give rise to emergent cross-ecosystem distributions of a coral reef fish

    PubMed Central

    Grol, Monique G. G.; Rypel, Andrew L.; Layman, Craig A.

    2010-01-01

    Ecosystems are intricately linked by the flow of organisms across their boundaries, and such connectivity can be essential to the structure and function of the linked ecosystems. For example, many coral reef fish populations are maintained by the movement of individuals from spatially segregated juvenile habitats (i.e., nurseries, such as mangroves and seagrass beds) to areas preferred by adults. It is presumed that nursery habitats provide for faster growth (higher food availability) and/or low predation risk for juveniles, but empirical data supporting this hypothesis is surprisingly lacking for coral reef fishes. Here, we investigate potential mechanisms (growth, predation risk, and reproductive investment) that give rise to the distribution patterns of a common Caribbean reef fish species, Haemulon flavolineatum (French grunt). Adults were primarily found on coral reefs, whereas juvenile fish only occurred in non-reef habitats. Contrary to our initial expectations, analysis of length-at-age revealed that growth rates were highest on coral reefs and not within nursery habitats. Survival rates in tethering trials were 0% for small juvenile fish transplanted to coral reefs and 24–47% in the nurseries. As fish grew, survival rates on coral reefs approached those in non-reef habitats (56 vs. 77–100%, respectively). As such, predation seems to be the primary factor driving across-ecosystem distributions of this fish, and thus the primary reason why mangrove and seagrass habitats function as nursery habitat. Identifying the mechanisms that lead to such distributions is critical to develop appropriate conservation initiatives, identify essential fish habitat, and predict impacts associated with environmental change. PMID:21072542

  7. Simple ecological trade-offs give rise to emergent cross-ecosystem distributions of a coral reef fish.

    PubMed

    Grol, Monique G G; Nagelkerken, Ivan; Rypel, Andrew L; Layman, Craig A

    2011-01-01

    Ecosystems are intricately linked by the flow of organisms across their boundaries, and such connectivity can be essential to the structure and function of the linked ecosystems. For example, many coral reef fish populations are maintained by the movement of individuals from spatially segregated juvenile habitats (i.e., nurseries, such as mangroves and seagrass beds) to areas preferred by adults. It is presumed that nursery habitats provide for faster growth (higher food availability) and/or low predation risk for juveniles, but empirical data supporting this hypothesis is surprisingly lacking for coral reef fishes. Here, we investigate potential mechanisms (growth, predation risk, and reproductive investment) that give rise to the distribution patterns of a common Caribbean reef fish species, Haemulon flavolineatum (French grunt). Adults were primarily found on coral reefs, whereas juvenile fish only occurred in non-reef habitats. Contrary to our initial expectations, analysis of length-at-age revealed that growth rates were highest on coral reefs and not within nursery habitats. Survival rates in tethering trials were 0% for small juvenile fish transplanted to coral reefs and 24-47% in the nurseries. As fish grew, survival rates on coral reefs approached those in non-reef habitats (56 vs. 77-100%, respectively). As such, predation seems to be the primary factor driving across-ecosystem distributions of this fish, and thus the primary reason why mangrove and seagrass habitats function as nursery habitat. Identifying the mechanisms that lead to such distributions is critical to develop appropriate conservation initiatives, identify essential fish habitat, and predict impacts associated with environmental change.

  8. Bayesian decision-network modeling of multiple stakeholders for reef ecosystem restoration in the coral triangle.

    PubMed

    Varkey, Divya A; Pitcher, Tony J; McAllister, Murdoch K; Sumaila, Rashid S

    2013-06-01

    Proposals for marine conservation measures have proliferated in the last 2 decades due to increased reports of fishery declines and interest in conservation. Fishers and fisheries managers have often disagreed strongly when discussing controls on fisheries. In such situations, ecosystem-based models and fisheries-stock assessment models can help resolve disagreements by highlighting the trade-offs that would be made under alternative management scenarios. We extended the analytical framework for modeling such trade-offs by including additional stakeholders whose livelihoods and the value they place on conservation depend on the condition of the marine ecosystem. To do so, we used Bayesian decision-network models (BDNs) in a case study of an Indonesian coral reef fishery. Our model included interests of the fishers and fishery managers; individuals in the tourism industry; conservation interests of the state, nongovernmental organizations, and the local public; and uncertainties in ecosystem status, projections of fisheries revenues, tourism growth, and levels of interest in conservation. We calculated the total utility (i.e., value) of a range of restoration scenarios. Restricting net fisheries and live-fish fisheries appeared to be the best compromise solutions under several combinations of settings of modeled variables. Results of our case study highlight the implications of alternate formulations for coral reef stakeholder utility functions and discount rates for the calculation of the net benefits of alternative fisheries management options. This case study may also serve as a useful example for other decision analyses with multiple stakeholders. PMID:23530881

  9. Climate change disables coral bleaching protection on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Ainsworth, Tracy D; Heron, Scott F; Ortiz, Juan Carlos; Mumby, Peter J; Grech, Alana; Ogawa, Daisie; Eakin, C Mark; Leggat, William

    2016-04-15

    Coral bleaching events threaten the sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Here we show that bleaching events of the past three decades have been mitigated by induced thermal tolerance of reef-building corals, and this protective mechanism is likely to be lost under near-future climate change scenarios. We show that 75% of past thermal stress events have been characterized by a temperature trajectory that subjects corals to a protective, sub-bleaching stress, before reaching temperatures that cause bleaching. Such conditions confer thermal tolerance, decreasing coral cell mortality and symbiont loss during bleaching by over 50%. We find that near-future increases in local temperature of as little as 0.5°C result in this protective mechanism being lost, which may increase the rate of degradation of the GBR.

  10. Climate change disables coral bleaching protection on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Ainsworth, Tracy D; Heron, Scott F; Ortiz, Juan Carlos; Mumby, Peter J; Grech, Alana; Ogawa, Daisie; Eakin, C Mark; Leggat, William

    2016-04-15

    Coral bleaching events threaten the sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Here we show that bleaching events of the past three decades have been mitigated by induced thermal tolerance of reef-building corals, and this protective mechanism is likely to be lost under near-future climate change scenarios. We show that 75% of past thermal stress events have been characterized by a temperature trajectory that subjects corals to a protective, sub-bleaching stress, before reaching temperatures that cause bleaching. Such conditions confer thermal tolerance, decreasing coral cell mortality and symbiont loss during bleaching by over 50%. We find that near-future increases in local temperature of as little as 0.5°C result in this protective mechanism being lost, which may increase the rate of degradation of the GBR. PMID:27081069

  11. Depleted dissolved organic carbon and distinct bacterial communities in the water column of a rapid-flushing coral reef ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Craig E; Alldredge, Alice L; McCliment, Elizabeth A; Amaral-Zettler, Linda A; Carlson, Craig A

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs are highly productive ecosystems bathed in unproductive, low-nutrient oceanic waters, where microbially dominated food webs are supported largely by bacterioplankton recycling of dissolved compounds. Despite evidence that benthic reef organisms efficiently scavenge particulate organic matter and inorganic nutrients from advected oceanic waters, our understanding of the role of bacterioplankton and dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the interaction between reefs and the surrounding ocean remains limited. In this study, we present the results of a 4-year study conducted in a well-characterized coral reef ecosystem (Paopao Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia) where changes in bacterioplankton abundance and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations were quantified and bacterial community structure variation was examined along spatial gradients of the reef:ocean interface. Our results illustrate that the reef is consistently depleted in concentrations of both DOC and bacterioplankton relative to offshore waters (averaging 79 μmol l−1 DOC and 5.5 × 108 cells l−1 offshore and 68 μmol l−1 DOC and 3.1 × 108 cells l−1 over the reef, respectively) across a 4-year time period. In addition, using a suite of culture-independent measures of bacterial community structure, we found consistent differentiation of reef bacterioplankton communities from those offshore or in a nearby embayment across all taxonomic levels. Reef habitats were enriched in Gamma-, Delta-, and Betaproteobacteria, Bacteriodetes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes. Specific bacterial phylotypes, including members of the SAR11, SAR116, Flavobacteria, and Synechococcus clades, exhibited clear gradients in relative abundance among nearshore habitats. Our observations indicate that this reef system removes oceanic DOC and exerts selective pressures on bacterioplankton community structure on timescales approximating reef water residence times, observations which are notable both because

  12. Baseline data for evaluating development trajectory and provision of ecosystem services of created fringing oyster reefs in Vermilion Bay, Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the time frame in which ecosystem services (that is, water quality maintenance, shoreline protection, habitat provision) are expected to be provided is important when restoration projects are being designed and implemented. Restoration of three-dimensional shell habitats in coastal Louisiana and elsewhere presents a valuable and potentially self-sustaining approach to providing shoreline protection, enhancing nekton habitat, and providing water quality maintenance. As with most restoration projects, the development of expected different ecosystem services often occurs over varying time frames, with some services provided immediately and others taking longer to develop. This project was designed initially to compare the provision and development of ecosystem services by created fringing shoreline reefs in subtidal and intertidal environments in Vermilion Bay, Louisiana. Specifically, the goal was to test the null hypothesis that over time, the oyster recruitment and development of a sustainable oyster reef community would be similar at both intertidal and subtidal reef bases, and these sustainable reefs would in time provide similar shoreline stabilization, nekton habitat, and water quality services over similar time frames. Because the ecosystem services hypothesized to be provided by oyster reefs reflect long-term processes, fully testing the above-stated null hypothesis requires a longer-time frame than this project allowed. As such, this project was designed to provide the initial data on reef development and provision of ecosystem services, to identify services that may develop immediately, and to provide baseline data to allow for longer-term follow up studies tracking reef development over time. Unfortunately, these initially created reef bases (subtidal, intertidal) were not constructed as planned because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, which resulted in reef duplicates being created 6 months apart. Further confounding the

  13. Spatial variation in background mortality among dominant coral taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries) and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries), in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91%) and Montipora encrusting (85%) and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned <10-m apart). Similarly, severity of background partial mortality was surprisingly high (between 5% and 21%) but varied greatly among colonies within the same site and habitat. This study suggests that intraspecific variation in partial mortality between adjacent colonies may be more important than variation between colonies in different latitudinal sectors or reefs. Differences in the prevalence and severity of background partial mortality have significant ramifications for coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances.

  14. Sea spray aerosol in the Great Barrier Reef and the presence of nonvolatile organics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mallet, Marc; Cravigan, Luke; Miljevic, Branka; Vaattovaara, Petri; Deschaseaux, Elisabeth; Swan, Hilton; Jones, Graham; Ristovski, Zoran

    2016-06-01

    Sea spray aerosol (SSA) particles produced from the ocean surface in regions of biological activity can vary greatly in size, number and composition, and in their influence on cloud formation. Algal species such as phytoplankton can alter the SSA composition. Numerous studies have investigated nascent SSA properties, but all of these have focused on aerosol particles produced by seawater from noncoral related phytoplankton and in coastal regions. Bubble chamber experiments were performed with seawater samples taken from the reef flat around Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef during winter 2011. Here we show that the SSA from these samples was composed of an internal mixture of varying fractions of sea salt, semivolatile organics, as well as nonvolatile (below 550°C) organics. A relatively constant volume fraction of semivolatile organics of 10%-13% was observed, while nonvolatile organic volume fractions varied from 29% to 49% for 60 nm SSA. SSA organic fractions were estimated to reduce the activation ratios of SSA to cloud condensation nuclei by up to 14% when compared with artificial sea salt. Additionally, a sea-salt calibration was applied so that a compact time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer could be used to quantify the contribution of sea salt to submicron SSA, which yielded organic volume fractions of 3%-6%. Overall, these results indicate a high fraction of organics associated with wintertime Aitken mode SSA generated from Great Barrier Reef seawater. Further work is required to fully distinguish any differences coral reefs have on SSA composition when compared to open oceans.

  15. Spatial variation in background mortality among dominant coral taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries) and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries), in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91%) and Montipora encrusting (85%) and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned <10-m apart). Similarly, severity of background partial mortality was surprisingly high (between 5% and 21%) but varied greatly among colonies within the same site and habitat. This study suggests that intraspecific variation in partial mortality between adjacent colonies may be more important than variation between colonies in different latitudinal sectors or reefs. Differences in the prevalence and severity of background partial mortality have significant ramifications for coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances. PMID:24959921

  16. Spatial Variation in Background Mortality among Dominant Coral Taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Pisapia, Chiara; Pratchett, Morgan S.

    2014-01-01

    Even in the absence of major disturbances (e.g., cyclones, bleaching), corals are consistently subject to high levels of background mortality, which undermines individual fitness and resilience of coral colonies. Partial mortality may impact coral response to climate change by reducing colony ability to recover between major acute stressors. This study quantified proportion of injured versus uninjured colonies (the prevalence of injuries) and instantaneous measures of areal extent of injuries across individual colonies (the severity of injuries), in four common coral species along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia: massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and Pocillopora damicornis. A total of 2,276 adult colonies were surveyed three latitudinal sectors, nine reefs and 27 sites along 1000 km2 on the Great Barrier Reef. The prevalence of injuries was very high, especially for Porites spp (91%) and Montipora encrusting (85%) and varied significantly, but most lay at small spatial scales (e.g., among colonies positioned <10-m apart). Similarly, severity of background partial mortality was surprisingly high (between 5% and 21%) but varied greatly among colonies within the same site and habitat. This study suggests that intraspecific variation in partial mortality between adjacent colonies may be more important than variation between colonies in different latitudinal sectors or reefs. Differences in the prevalence and severity of background partial mortality have significant ramifications for coral capacity to cope with increasing acute disturbances, such as climate-induced coral bleaching. These data are important for understanding coral responses to increasing stressors, and in particular for predicting their capacity to recover between subsequent disturbances. PMID:24959921

  17. The Effect of the Great Barrier Reef on the Propagation of the 2007 Solomon Islands Tsunami Recorded in Northeastern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baba, Toshitaka; Mleczko, Richard; Burbidge, David; Cummins, Phil R.; Thio, Hong Kie

    2008-12-01

    The effect of offshore coral reefs on the impact from a tsunami remains controversial. For example, field surveys after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami indicate that the energy of the tsunami was reduced by natural coral reef barriers in Sri Lanka, but there was no indication that coral reefs off Banda Aceh, Indonesia had any effect on the tsunami. In this paper, we investigate whether the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) offshore Queensland, Australia, may have weakened the tsunami impact from the 2007 Solomon Islands earthquake. The fault slip distribution of the 2007 Solomon Islands earthquake was firstly obtained by teleseismic inversion. The tsunami was then propagated to shallow water just offshore the coast by solving the linear shallow water equations using a staggered grid finite-difference method. We used a relatively high resolution (approximately 250 m) bathymetric grid for the region just off the coast containing the reef. The tsunami waveforms recorded at tide gauge stations along the Australian coast were then compared to the results from the tsunami simulation when using both the realistic 250 m resolution bathymetry and with two grids having fictitious bathymetry: One in which the the GBR has been replaced by a smooth interpolation from depths outside the GBR to the coast (the “No GBR” grid), and one in which the GBR has been replaced by a flat plane at a depth equal to the mean water depth of the GBR (the “Average GBR” grid). From the comparison between the synthetic waveforms both with and without the Great Barrier Reef, we found that the Great Barrier Reef significantly weakened the tsunami impact. According to our model, the coral reefs delayed the tsunami arrival time by 5-10 minutes, decreased the amplitude of the first tsunami pulse to half or less, and lengthened the period of the tsunami.

  18. Conservation objectives and sea-surface temperature anomalies in the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Ban, Natalie C; Pressey, Robert L; Weeks, Scarla

    2012-10-01

    Spatial and temporal dynamics of ecological processes have long been considered important in marine systems, but seldom have conservation objectives been set for them. Climate change makes the consideration of the dynamics of ecological processes in the design of marine protected areas critical. We analyzed sea-surface temperature (SST) trends and variability in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) for 25 years and formulated and tested whether three sets of notional conservation objectives were met to illustrate the potential for planning to address climate change. Given mixed and limited evidence that no-take areas increase resilience to disturbances such as anomalously high temperatures (i.e., temperatures ≥1 °C above weekly mean temperature), our conservation objectives focused on areas less likely to be affected by such events at extents ranging from the entire Great Barrier Reef to the system of no-take zones and individual no-take zones. The objective sets were (1) at least 50% of temperature refugia (i.e., pixels that had high-temperature anomalies <5% or <7% of the time) within no-take zones, (2) maximum occurrence of high-temperature anomalies is <10%,< 20%, or <30% of total no-take area 90% of the time, and (3) coverage of any single no-take zone by high-temperature anomalies occurs <5% or <10% of the time. We used satellite imagery from 1985-2009 to measure SST to determine high-temperature anomalies. SSTs in the Great Barrier Reef increased significantly in some regions, and some of the conservation objectives were met by the park's current zoning plan. Dialogue between conservation scientists and managers is needed to develop appropriate conservation objectives under climate change and strategies to meet them.

  19. Conservation objectives and sea-surface temperature anomalies in the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Ban, Natalie C; Pressey, Robert L; Weeks, Scarla

    2012-10-01

    Spatial and temporal dynamics of ecological processes have long been considered important in marine systems, but seldom have conservation objectives been set for them. Climate change makes the consideration of the dynamics of ecological processes in the design of marine protected areas critical. We analyzed sea-surface temperature (SST) trends and variability in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) for 25 years and formulated and tested whether three sets of notional conservation objectives were met to illustrate the potential for planning to address climate change. Given mixed and limited evidence that no-take areas increase resilience to disturbances such as anomalously high temperatures (i.e., temperatures ≥1 °C above weekly mean temperature), our conservation objectives focused on areas less likely to be affected by such events at extents ranging from the entire Great Barrier Reef to the system of no-take zones and individual no-take zones. The objective sets were (1) at least 50% of temperature refugia (i.e., pixels that had high-temperature anomalies <5% or <7% of the time) within no-take zones, (2) maximum occurrence of high-temperature anomalies is <10%,< 20%, or <30% of total no-take area 90% of the time, and (3) coverage of any single no-take zone by high-temperature anomalies occurs <5% or <10% of the time. We used satellite imagery from 1985-2009 to measure SST to determine high-temperature anomalies. SSTs in the Great Barrier Reef increased significantly in some regions, and some of the conservation objectives were met by the park's current zoning plan. Dialogue between conservation scientists and managers is needed to develop appropriate conservation objectives under climate change and strategies to meet them. PMID:22808910

  20. Two new species of Phyllodistomum Braun, 1899 (Trematoda: Gorgoderidae Looss, 1899) from Great Barrier Reef fishes.

    PubMed

    Ho, Hei Wa; Bray, Rodney A; Cutmore, Scott C; Ward, Selina; Cribb, Thomas H

    2014-01-01

    Two new species of Phyllodistomum Braun, 1899 are described from the urinary bladder of fishes of the Great Barrier Reef. Phyllodistomum hoggettae n. sp. is described from Plectropomus leopardus (leopard coralgrouper) (Serranidae) and P. vaili n. sp. is described from Mulloidichthys vanicolensis (yellowfin goatfish) and M. flavolineatus (yellowstripe goatfish) (Mullidae). These species are compared with 26 previously described marine Phyllodistomum species and found to be distinct in combinations of body shape, sucker ratio and shape of the gonads. Preliminary molecular data also demonstrate that they are distinct from each other and for those other species for which data are available. PMID:24871750

  1. Coral Community Reproductive Patterns: Red Sea Versus the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shlesinger, Y.; Loya, Y.

    1985-06-01

    In contrast to many corals of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, which are synchronous multispecific spawners, the abundant coral species in the northern Red Sea, Israel, exhibit temporal reproductive isolation. Spawning dates of 12 of the 13 Red Sea species followed lunar periodicity and were consistent throughout 3 years of study. Spawning periods of all species occurred in different seasons, different months, or different lunar phases within the same month. The high abundance of the corals studied at Eilat may be due in part to the advantages gained through not having overlapping spawning periods and settlement times.

  2. Two new species of Phyllodistomum Braun, 1899 (Trematoda: Gorgoderidae Looss, 1899) from Great Barrier Reef fishes.

    PubMed

    Ho, Hei Wa; Bray, Rodney A; Cutmore, Scott C; Ward, Selina; Cribb, Thomas H

    2014-03-19

    Two new species of Phyllodistomum Braun, 1899 are described from the urinary bladder of fishes of the Great Barrier Reef. Phyllodistomum hoggettae n. sp. is described from Plectropomus leopardus (leopard coralgrouper) (Serranidae) and P. vaili n. sp. is described from Mulloidichthys vanicolensis (yellowfin goatfish) and M. flavolineatus (yellowstripe goatfish) (Mullidae). These species are compared with 26 previously described marine Phyllodistomum species and found to be distinct in combinations of body shape, sucker ratio and shape of the gonads. Preliminary molecular data also demonstrate that they are distinct from each other and for those other species for which data are available.

  3. Future habitat suitability for coral reef ecosystems under global warming and ocean acidification.

    PubMed

    Couce, Elena; Ridgwell, Andy; Hendy, Erica J

    2013-12-01

    Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are placing spatially divergent stresses on the world's tropical coral reefs through increasing ocean surface temperatures and ocean acidification. We show how these two stressors combine to alter the global habitat suitability for shallow coral reef ecosystems, using statistical Bioclimatic Envelope Models rather than basing projections on any a priori assumptions of physiological tolerances or fixed thresholds. We apply two different modeling approaches (Maximum Entropy and Boosted Regression Trees) with two levels of complexity (one a simplified and reduced environmental variable version of the other). Our models project a marked temperature-driven decline in habitat suitability for many of the most significant and bio-diverse tropical coral regions, particularly in the central Indo-Pacific. This is accompanied by a temperature-driven poleward range expansion of favorable conditions accelerating up to 40-70 km per decade by 2070. We find that ocean acidification is less influential for determining future habitat suitability than warming, and its deleterious effects are centered evenly in both hemispheres between 5° and 20° latitude. Contrary to expectations, the combined impact of ocean surface temperature rise and acidification leads to little, if any, degradation in future habitat suitability across much of the Atlantic and areas currently considered 'marginal' for tropical corals, such as the eastern Equatorial Pacific. These results are consistent with fossil evidence of range expansions during past warm periods. In addition, the simplified models are particularly sensitive to short-term temperature variations and their projections correlate well with reported locations of bleaching events. Our approach offers new insights into the relative impact of two global environmental pressures associated with rising atmospheric CO2 on potential future habitats, but greater understanding of past and current controls on coral

  4. Future habitat suitability for coral reef ecosystems under global warming and ocean acidification

    PubMed Central

    Couce, Elena; Ridgwell, Andy; Hendy, Erica J

    2013-01-01

    Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are placing spatially divergent stresses on the world's tropical coral reefs through increasing ocean surface temperatures and ocean acidification. We show how these two stressors combine to alter the global habitat suitability for shallow coral reef ecosystems, using statistical Bioclimatic Envelope Models rather than basing projections on any a priori assumptions of physiological tolerances or fixed thresholds. We apply two different modeling approaches (Maximum Entropy and Boosted Regression Trees) with two levels of complexity (one a simplified and reduced environmental variable version of the other). Our models project a marked temperature-driven decline in habitat suitability for many of the most significant and bio-diverse tropical coral regions, particularly in the central Indo-Pacific. This is accompanied by a temperature-driven poleward range expansion of favorable conditions accelerating up to 40–70 km per decade by 2070. We find that ocean acidification is less influential for determining future habitat suitability than warming, and its deleterious effects are centered evenly in both hemispheres between 5° and 20° latitude. Contrary to expectations, the combined impact of ocean surface temperature rise and acidification leads to little, if any, degradation in future habitat suitability across much of the Atlantic and areas currently considered ‘marginal’ for tropical corals, such as the eastern Equatorial Pacific. These results are consistent with fossil evidence of range expansions during past warm periods. In addition, the simplified models are particularly sensitive to short-term temperature variations and their projections correlate well with reported locations of bleaching events. Our approach offers new insights into the relative impact of two global environmental pressures associated with rising atmospheric CO2 on potential future habitats, but greater understanding of past and current controls on

  5. The origins of ambient biological sound from coral reef ecosystems in the Line Islands archipelago.

    PubMed

    Freeman, Simon E; Rohwer, Forest L; D'Spain, Gerald L; Friedlander, Alan M; Gregg, Allison K; Sandin, Stuart A; Buckingham, Michael J

    2014-04-01

    Although ambient biological underwater sound was first characterized more than 60 years ago, attributing specific components of ambient sound to their creators remains a challenge. Noise produced by snapping shrimp typically dominates the ambient spectra near tropical coasts, but significant unexplained spectral variation exists. Here, evidence is presented indicating that a discernible contribution to the ambient sound field over coral reef ecosystems in the Line Islands archipelago originates from the interaction of hard-shelled benthic macro-organisms with the coral substrate. Recordings show a broad spectral peak centered between 14.30 and 14.63 kHz, incoherently added to a noise floor typically associated with relatively "white" snapping shrimp sounds. A 4.6 to 6.2 dB increase of pressure spectral density level in the 11 to 17 kHz band occurs simultaneously with an increase in benthic invertebrate activity at night, quantified through time-lapse underwater photography. Spectral-level-filtered recordings of hermit crabs Clibanarius diugeti in quiet aquarium conditions reveal that transient sounds produced by the interaction between the crustaceans' carapace, shell, and coral substrate are spectrally consistent with Line Islands recordings. Coral reef ecosystems are highly interconnected and subtle yet important ecological changes may be detected quantitatively through passive monitoring that utilizes the acoustic byproducts of biological activity.

  6. Towards environmental management of water turbidity within open coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Macdonald, Rachael K; Ridd, Peter V; Whinney, James C; Larcombe, Piers; Neil, David T

    2013-09-15

    Water turbidity and suspended sediment concentration (SSC) are commonly used as part of marine monitoring and water quality plans. Current management plans utilise threshold SSC values derived from mean-annual turbidity concentrations. Little published work documents typical ranges of turbidity for reefs within open coastal waters. Here, time-series turbidity measurements from 61 sites in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and Moreton Bay, Australia, are presented as turbidity exceedance curves and derivatives. This contributes to the understanding of turbidity and SSC in the context of environmental management in open-coastal reef environments. Exceedance results indicate strong spatial and temporal variability in water turbidity across inter/intraregional scales. The highest turbidity across 61 sites, at 50% exceedance (T50) is 15.3 NTU and at 90% exceedance (T90) 4.1 NTU. Mean/median turbidity comparisons show strong differences between the two, consistent with a strongly skewed turbidity regime. Results may contribute towards promoting refinement of water quality management protocols.

  7. Sea surface temperature as a tracer to estimate cross-shelf turbulent diffusivity and flushing time in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mao, Yadan; Ridd, Peter V.

    2015-06-01

    Accurate parameterization of spatially variable diffusivity in complex shelf regions such as the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon is an unresolved issue for hydrodynamic models. This leads to large uncertainties to the flushing time derived from them and to the evaluation of ecosystem resilience to terrestrially derived pollution. In fact, numerical hydrodynamic models and analytical cross-shore diffusion models have predicted very different flushing times for the GBR lagoon. Nevertheless, scarcity of in situ measurements used previously in the latter method prevents derivation of detailed diffusivity profiles. Here detailed cross-shore profiles of diffusivity were calculated explicitly in a closed form for the first time from the steady state transects of sea surface temperature for different sections of the GBR lagoon. We find that diffusivity remains relatively constant within the inner lagoon (<˜20 km) where tidal current is weak, and increases linearly with sufficiently large tidal amplitude in reef-devoid regions, but increases dramatically where the reef matrixes start and fluctuates with reef size and density. The cross-shelf profile of steady state salinity calculated using the derived diffusivity values agrees well with field measurements. The calculated diffusivity values are also consistent with values derived from satellite-tracked drifters. Flushing time by offshore diffusion is of the order of 1 month, suggesting the important role of turbulent diffusion in flushing the lagoon, especially in reef-distributed regions. The results imply that previous very large residence times predicted by numerical hydrodynamic models may result from underestimation of diffusivity. Our findings can guide parameterization of diffusivity in hydrodynamic modeling.

  8. Loss of an ecological baseline through the eradication of oyster reefs from coastal ecosystems and human memory.

    PubMed

    Alleway, Heidi K; Connell, Sean D

    2015-06-01

    Oyster reefs form over extensive areas and the diversity and productivity of sheltered coasts depend on them. Due to the relatively recent population growth of coastal settlements in Australia, we were able to evaluate the collapse and extirpation of native oyster reefs (Ostrea angasi) over the course of a commercial fishery. We used historical records to quantify commercial catch of O. angasi in southern Australia from early colonization, around 1836, to some of the last recorded catches in 1944 and used our estimates of catch and effort to map their past distribution and assess oyster abundance over 180 years. Significant declines in catch and effort occurred from 1886 to 1946 and no native oyster reefs occur today, but historically oyster reefs extended across more than 1,500 km of coastline. That oyster reefs were characteristic of much of the coastline of South Australia from 1836 to 1910 appears not to be known because there is no contemporary consideration of their ecological and economic value. Based on the concept of a shifted baseline, we consider this contemporary state to reflect a collective, intergenerational amnesia. Our model of generational amnesia accounts for differences in intergenerational expectations of food, economic value, and ecosystem services of nearshore areas. An ecological system that once surrounded much of the coast and possibly the past presence of oyster reefs altogether may be forgotten and could not only undermine progress towards their recovery, but also reduce our expectations of these coastal ecosystems.

  9. Loss of an ecological baseline through the eradication of oyster reefs from coastal ecosystems and human memory.

    PubMed

    Alleway, Heidi K; Connell, Sean D

    2015-06-01

    Oyster reefs form over extensive areas and the diversity and productivity of sheltered coasts depend on them. Due to the relatively recent population growth of coastal settlements in Australia, we were able to evaluate the collapse and extirpation of native oyster reefs (Ostrea angasi) over the course of a commercial fishery. We used historical records to quantify commercial catch of O. angasi in southern Australia from early colonization, around 1836, to some of the last recorded catches in 1944 and used our estimates of catch and effort to map their past distribution and assess oyster abundance over 180 years. Significant declines in catch and effort occurred from 1886 to 1946 and no native oyster reefs occur today, but historically oyster reefs extended across more than 1,500 km of coastline. That oyster reefs were characteristic of much of the coastline of South Australia from 1836 to 1910 appears not to be known because there is no contemporary consideration of their ecological and economic value. Based on the concept of a shifted baseline, we consider this contemporary state to reflect a collective, intergenerational amnesia. Our model of generational amnesia accounts for differences in intergenerational expectations of food, economic value, and ecosystem services of nearshore areas. An ecological system that once surrounded much of the coast and possibly the past presence of oyster reefs altogether may be forgotten and could not only undermine progress towards their recovery, but also reduce our expectations of these coastal ecosystems. PMID:25588455

  10. Changes in water clarity in response to river discharges on the Great Barrier Reef continental shelf: 2002-2013

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fabricius, K. E.; Logan, M.; Weeks, S. J.; Lewis, S. E.; Brodie, J.

    2016-05-01

    Water clarity is a key factor for the health of marine ecosystems. The Australian Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is located on a continental shelf, with >35 major seasonal rivers discharging into this 344,000 km2 tropical to subtropical ecosystem. This work investigates how river discharges affect water clarity in different zones along and across the GBR. For each day over 11 years (2002-2013) we calculated 'photic depth' as a proxy measure of water clarity (calibrated to be equivalent to Secchi depth), for each 1 km2 pixel from MODIS-Aqua remote sensing data. Long-term and seasonal changes in photic depth were related to the daily discharge volumes of the nearest rivers, after statistically removing the effects of waves and tides on photic depth. The relationships between photic depths and rivers differed across and along the GBR. They typically declined from the coastal to offshore zones, and were strongest in proximity to rivers in agriculturally modified catchments. In most southern inner zones, photic depth declined consistently throughout the 11-year observation period; such long-term trend was not observed offshore nor in the northern regions. Averaged across the GBR, photic depths declined to 47% of local maximum values soon after the onset of river floods, and recovery to 95% of maximum values took on average 6 months (range: 150-260 days). The river effects were strongest at latitude 14.5°-19.0°S, where river loads are high and the continental shelf is narrow. Here, even offshore zones showed a >40% seasonal decline in photic depth, and 17-24% reductions in annual mean photic depth in years with large river nutrients and sediment loads. Our methodology is based on freely available data and tools and may be applied to other shelf systems, providing valuable insights in support of ecosystem management.

  11. Wet season fine sediment dynamics on the inner shelf of the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolanski, Eric; Fabricius, Katharina E.; Cooper, Timothy F.; Humphrey, Craig

    2008-05-01

    Fine sediment dynamics were recorded in February 2007 in coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef during a moderate flood of the Tully River. An estuarine circulation prevailed on the inner continental shelf with a surface seaward velocity peaking at 0.1 m s -1 and a near-bottom landward flow peaking at 0.05 m s -1. Much of the riverine mud originating from eroded soils was exported onto a 10 km wide coastal strip during the rising stage of the river flood in the first flush. In coastal waters, suspended sediment concentration peaked at 0.2 kg m -3 near the surface and 0.4 kg m -3 at 10 m depth during calm weather, and 0.5 kg m -3 near the surface and 2 kg m -3 at 10 m depth during strong winds when bottom sediment was resuspended. Diurnal irradiance at 4 m depth was almost zero for 10 days. The sedimentation rate averaged 254 (±33) g m -2 d -1 over the 28-day study period, and concentrations of dissolved and particulate nutrients originating from the river were high. The observed low irradiance would have prevented coral photosynthesis, while the sedimentation rate would have been lethal to some juvenile corals. The mud may ultimately be minnowed out over long periods, however, flushing of the mud occurs at time scales much longer than the flood event and the mud is likely to affect coral physiology for significant periods after the flood has subsided. The data show the need to better control erosion on farmed land for the conservation of coral reefs on the inner shelf of the Great Barrier Reef.

  12. Crowding Norms in Marine Settings: A Case Study of Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Inglis; Johnson; Ponte

    1999-10-01

    / Research on crowding in natural environments has traditionally been concerned with encounters in terrestrial settings. Increased visitation to tropical marine environments, however, has meant that evaluations of aesthetic quality are increasingly becoming issues for managers of marine parks. In this study, we used image-capture techniques to develop a series of above- and below-water images depicting different numbers of people snorkeling in acoral reef setting. The presence of safety facilities in the above-water settings was manipulated to examine the influence of human-made structures on perception of crowding. Four respondent groups-a scuba-diving club, local residents, tourists, and US university students-representing different levels of experience in marine recreation on the Great Barrier Reef, were asked to rate the acceptability of each image. Ratings were significantly influenced by the number of people in the images, the prior experience and gender of the respondents, and the presence of safety infrastructure. Experienced scuba divers preferred scenes without people or infrastructure, while novices regarded the presence of both as more acceptable. The results suggest that evaluations of social density and crowding may vary between below-water scenes and the more familiar above-water setting. A lack of concordance between how respondents rated the images and their nominated preferences for the number of other people in the settings highlights a need for more research on how perceptions of resource conditions should be measured in marine environments.KEY WORDS: Recreation; Great Barrier Reef Marine Park; Image capture technology; Crowding norms; Snorkelinghttp://link.springer-ny.com/link/service/journals/00267/bibs/24n3p369.html

  13. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the clam Tridacna maxima from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, J.D.; Bagg, J.; Bycroft, B.M.

    1984-05-01

    The concentrations of eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), anthracene, pyrene, chrysene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(ghi)perylene, fluoranthene, and perylene, were measured in clams, Tridacna maxima, collected from sites on the Great Barrier Reef ranging in latitude from 14/sup 0/31'S to 23/sup 0/33' S. At most locations the concentrations of PAH were not significantly above the limit of detection, e.g., pyrene < 0.07 ..mu..g/kg wet weight, benzo(a)pyrene < 0.01 ..mu..g/kg, and chrysene < 0.07 ..mu..g/kg. These levels of PAH appear to be the lowest reported for clams anywhere in the world, indicating the pristine nature of the Great Barrier Reef at the present time. Concentrations significantly above detection levels were found at only two sites, Lizard Island First Beach (anthracene, 3.2 ..mu..g/kg; pyrene, 1.4 ..mu..g/kg) and Heron Island Harbour (pyrene, 1.2 ..mu..g/kg; benzo(a)pyrene, 0.02 ..mu..g/kg). Both sites are frequently visited by power boats which are the most likely source of hydrocarbon contamination. These low levels of contamination would not have been demonstrated by the measurement of only the most commonly studied PAH, benzo(a)pyrene. Simultaneous determination of several PAH was necessary to show clearly that some localized pollution had occurred.

  14. No gene flow across the Eastern Pacific Barrier in the reef-building coral Porites lobata.

    PubMed

    Baums, Iliana B; Boulay, Jennifer N; Polato, Nicholas R; Hellberg, Michael E

    2012-11-01

    The expanse of deep water between the central Pacific islands and the continental shelf of the Eastern Tropical Pacific is regarded as the world's most potent marine biogeographic barrier. During recurrent climatic fluctuations (ENSO, El Niño Southern Oscillation), however, changes in water temperature and the speed and direction of currents become favourable for trans-oceanic dispersal of larvae from central Pacific to marginal eastern Pacific reefs. Here, we investigate the population connectivity of the reef-building coral Porites lobata across the Eastern Pacific Barrier (EPB). Patterns of recent gene flow in samples (n = 1173) from the central Pacific and the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) were analysed with 12 microsatellite loci. Results indicated that P. lobata from the ETP are strongly isolated from those in the central Pacific and Hawaii (F(ct) ' = 0.509; P < 0.001). However, samples from Clipperton Atoll, an oceanic island on the eastern side of the EPB, grouped with the central Pacific. Within the central Pacific, Hawaiian populations were strongly isolated from three co-occurring clusters found throughout the remainder of the central Pacific. No further substructure was evident in the ETP. Changes in oceanographic conditions during ENSO over the past several thousand years thus appear insufficient to support larval deliveries from the central Pacific to the ETP or strong postsettlement selection acts on ETP settlers from the central Pacific. Recovery of P. lobata populations in the frequently disturbed ETP thus must depend on local larval sources.

  15. Expectations and Outcomes of Reserve Network Performance following Re-zoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

    PubMed

    Emslie, Michael J; Logan, Murray; Williamson, David H; Ayling, Anthony M; MacNeil, M Aaron; Ceccarelli, Daniela; Cheal, Alistair J; Evans, Richard D; Johns, Kerryn A; Jonker, Michelle J; Miller, Ian R; Osborne, Kate; Russ, Garry R; Sweatman, Hugh P A

    2015-04-20

    Networks of no-take marine reserves (NTMRs) are widely advocated for preserving exploited fish stocks and for conserving biodiversity. We used underwater visual surveys of coral reef fish and benthic communities to quantify the short- to medium-term (5 to 30 years) ecological effects of the establishment of NTMRs within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). The density, mean length, and biomass of principal fishery species, coral trout (Plectropomus spp., Variola spp.), were consistently greater in NTMRs than on fished reefs over both the short and medium term. However, there were no clear or consistent differences in the structure of fish or benthic assemblages, non-target fish density, fish species richness, or coral cover between NTMR and fished reefs. There was no indication that the displacement and concentration of fishing effort reduced coral trout populations on fished reefs. A severe tropical cyclone impacted many survey reefs during the study, causing similar declines in coral cover and fish density on both NTMR and fished reefs. However, coral trout biomass declined only on fished reefs after the cyclone. The GBRMP is performing as expected in terms of the protection of fished stocks and biodiversity for a developed country in which fishing is not excessive and targets a narrow range of species. NTMRs cannot protect coral reefs directly from acute regional-scale disturbance but, after a strong tropical cyclone, impacted NTMR reefs supported higher biomass of key fishery-targeted species and so should provide valuable sources of larvae to enhance population recovery and long-term persistence.

  16. Thinking and managing outside the box: coalescing connectivity networks to build region-wide resilience in coral reef ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steneck, R. S.; Paris, C. B.; Arnold, S. N.; Ablan-Lagman, M. C.; Alcala, A. C.; Butler, M. J.; McCook, L. J.; Russ, G. R.; Sale, P. F.

    2009-06-01

    As the science of connectivity evolves, so too must the management of coral reefs. It is now clear that the spatial scale of disturbances to coral reef ecosystems is larger and the scale of larval connectivity is smaller than previously thought. This poses a challenge to the current focus of coral reef management, which often centers on the establishment of no-take reserves (NTRs) that in practice are often too small, scattered, or have low stakeholder compliance. Fished species are generally larger and more abundant in protected reserves, where their reproductive potential is often greater, yet documented demographic benefits of these reproductive gains outside reserves are modest at best. Small reproductive populations and limited dispersal of larvae play a role, as does the diminished receptivity to settling larvae of degraded habitats that can limit recruitment by more than 50%. For “demographic connectivity” to contribute to the resilience of coral reefs, it must function beyond the box of no-take reserves. Specifically, it must improve nursery habitats on or near reefs and enhance the reproductive output of ecologically important species throughout coral reef ecosystems. Special protection of ecologically important species (e.g., some herbivores in the Caribbean) and size-regulated fisheries that capitalize on the benefits of NTRs and maintain critical ecological functions are examples of measures that coalesce marine reserve effects and improve the resilience of coral reef ecosystems. Important too is the necessity of local involvement in the management process so that social costs and benefits are properly assessed, compliance increased and success stories accrued.

  17. A continuous, real-time water quality monitoring system for the coral reef ecosystems of Nanwan Bay, Southern Taiwan.

    PubMed

    Tew, Kwee Siong; Leu, Ming-Yih; Wang, Jih-Terng; Chang, Chia-Ming; Chen, Chung-Chi; Meng, Pei-Jie

    2014-08-30

    The coral reef ecosystems of Nanwan Bay, Southern Taiwan are undergoing degradation due to anthropogenic impacts, and as such have resulted in a decline in coral cover. As a first step in preventing the continual degradation of these coral reef environments, it is important to understand how changes in water quality affect these ecosystems on a fine-tuned timescale. To this end, a real-time water quality monitoring system was implemented in Nanwan Bay in 2010. We found that natural events, such as cold water intrusion due to upwelling, tended to elicit temporal shifts in coral spawning between 2010 and 2011. In addition, Degree Heating Weeks (DHWs), a commonly utilized predictor of coral bleaching, were 0.92 and 0.59 in summer 2010 and 2011, respectively. Though this quantity of DHW was below the presumed stress-inducing value for these reefs, a rise in DHWs in the future may stress the resident corals.

  18. Spatial variation in the effects of grazing on epilithic algal turfs on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonaldo, R. M.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2011-06-01

    Of all benthic components on tropical reefs, algal turfs are the most widespread and the main source of primary productivity. We compared the importance of grazing by herbivores on algal turfs on two zones with marked differences in terms of benthic composition, herbivore biomass and grazing pressure, the inner flat and crest, of an inshore reef on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. A combination of herbivore exclusion cages and transplants of coral rubble covered by algal turfs between reef zones was used to examine changes in algal turfs over a 4-day experimental period. In situ crest turfs had lower algal height, sediment loads and particulate content than reef flat turfs. Caged samples on the crest exhibited an increase in all three variables. In contrast, in situ and caged treatments on the flat presented algal turfs with similar values for the three analysed variables, with high algal height and heavy particulate and sediment loads. In the absence of cages, reef flat turfs transplanted to the crest had decreased algal height, total particulate material and particulate inorganic content, while the opposite was found in crest turf samples transplanted to the flat. Our results highlight the dynamic nature of algal turfs and the clear differences in the relative importance of herbivory in shaping turf length and sediment load between the reef crest and inner flat.

  19. Environmental triggers for primary outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Wooldridge, Scott A; Brodie, Jon E

    2015-12-30

    In this paper, we postulate a unique environmental triggering sequence for primary outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS, Acanthaster planci) on the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia). Notably, we extend the previous terrestrial runoff hypothesis, viz. nutrient-enriched terrestrial runoff → elevated phytoplankton 'bloom' concentrations → enhanced COTS larval survival, to include the additional importance of strong larvae retention around reefs or within reef groups (clusters) that share enhanced phytoplankton concentrations. For the central GBR, this scenario is shown to occur when El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) linked hydrodynamic conditions cause the 'regional' larval connectivity network to fragment into smaller 'local' reef clusters due to low ocean current velocities. As inter-annual variations in hydrodynamic circulation patterns are not amenable to direct management intervention, the ability to reduce the future frequency of COTS outbreaks on the central GBR is shown to be contingent on reducing terrestrial bioavailable nutrient loads ~20-40%. PMID:26460182

  20. Environmental triggers for primary outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Wooldridge, Scott A; Brodie, Jon E

    2015-12-30

    In this paper, we postulate a unique environmental triggering sequence for primary outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS, Acanthaster planci) on the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia). Notably, we extend the previous terrestrial runoff hypothesis, viz. nutrient-enriched terrestrial runoff → elevated phytoplankton 'bloom' concentrations → enhanced COTS larval survival, to include the additional importance of strong larvae retention around reefs or within reef groups (clusters) that share enhanced phytoplankton concentrations. For the central GBR, this scenario is shown to occur when El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) linked hydrodynamic conditions cause the 'regional' larval connectivity network to fragment into smaller 'local' reef clusters due to low ocean current velocities. As inter-annual variations in hydrodynamic circulation patterns are not amenable to direct management intervention, the ability to reduce the future frequency of COTS outbreaks on the central GBR is shown to be contingent on reducing terrestrial bioavailable nutrient loads ~20-40%.

  1. Ongoing effects of no-take marine reserves on commercially exploited coral trout populations on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Miller, Ian; Cheal, Alistair J; Emslie, Michael J; Logan, Murray; Sweatman, Hugh

    2012-08-01

    Networks of no-take marine reserves (NTMRs) are widely used for managing marine resources. Because they restrict fishing, managers need to monitor reserves to reassure stakeholders that they are achieving the intended results. In 2004, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Marine Park was rezoned and the area of NTMRs was greatly increased. Using manta tow we assessed the effectiveness of the new NTMRs in conserving coral trout (Plectropomus and Variola spp.), the principle targets of the GBR reef line fishery. Over a six year period, we sampled regional groups of matched pairs of similar reefs, ones closed to fishing under the rezoning and ones that remained open. Coral trout populations were significantly higher in NTMRs. While coral trout populations declined on reefs open to fishing, stocks were maintained in NTMRs, highlighting the ongoing benefits of marine reserves. PMID:22763179

  2. Genotype – environment correlations in corals from the Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Knowledge of genetic markers that are correlated to stress tolerance may improve spatial mapping of reef vulnerability and can inform restoration efforts, including the choice of genotypes for breeding and reseeding. In this manuscript we present two methods for screening transcriptome data for candidate genetic markers in two reef building corals, Acropora millepora and Pocillopora damicornis (types α and β). In A. millepora, Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) were pre-selected by targeting genes believed to be involved in the coral thermal stress responses. In P. damicornis (type α and β), SNPs showing varying allele frequencies between two populations from distinct environments were pre-selected. Allele frequencies at nine, five and eight of the pre-selected SNP loci were correlated against gradients of water clarity and temperature in a large number of populations along the Great Barrier Reef. Results A significant correlation between environmental category and SNP allele frequency was detected in up to 55% of the tested loci, which is an exceptional success rate for these types of tests. In P. damicornis, SNP allele frequencies of β-hexosaminidase and Elongation factor 1-α were significantly correlated to temperature in type α and to temperature and/or water clarity respectively in type β. Type α also showed a correlation between water clarity and SNP allele frequency in a gene of unknown function. In A. millepora, allele frequencies at five (β-gamma crystallin, Galaxin, Ubiquitin, Ligand of Numb X2 and Thioredoxin) SNP loci showed significant correlations. Conclusions After validation of these candidate loci through laboratory or field assessment of relative stress tolerance of colonies harbouring different alleles, it is anticipated that a proportion of these markers may represent the first coral candidate Quantitative Trait Loci for environmental stress tolerance and provide an important genetic tool that can be incorporated into

  3. Water quality as a regional driver of coral biodiversity and macroalgae on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    De'ath, Glenn; Fabricius, Katharina

    2010-04-01

    Degradation of inshore coral reefs due to poor water quality is a major issue, yet it has proved difficult to demonstrate this linkage at other than local scales. This study modeled the relationships between large-scale data on water clarity and chlorophyll and four measures of reef status along the whole Great Barrier Reef, Australia (GBR; 12-24 degrees S). Four biotic groups with different trophic requirements, namely, the cover of macroalgae and the taxonomic richness of hard corals and phototrophic and heterotrophic octocorals, were predicted from water quality and spatial location. Water clarity and chlorophyll showed strong spatial patterns, with water clarity increasing more than threefold from inshore to offshore waters and chlorophyll decreasing approximately twofold from inshore to offshore and approximately twofold from south to north. Richness of hard corals and phototrophic octocorals declined with increasing turbidity and chlorophyll, whereas macroalgae and the richness of heterotrophic octocorals increased. Macroalgal cover experienced the largest water quality effects, increasing fivefold with decreasing water clarity and 1.4-fold with increasing chlorophyll. For each of the four biota, -45% of variation was predictable, with water quality effects accounting for 18-46% of that variation and spatial effects accounting for the remainder. Effects were consistent with the trophic requirements of the biota, suggesting that both macroalgal cover and coral biodiversity are partially controlled by energy supply limitation. Throughout the GBR, mean annual values of >10 m Secchi disk depth (a measure of water clarity) and < 0.45 g/L chlorophyll were associated with low macroalgal cover and high coral richness, indicating these values to be potentially useful water quality guidelines. The models predict that on the 22.8% of GBR reefs where guideline values are currently exceeded, water quality improvement, e.g., by minimizing agricultural runoff, should reduce

  4. New constraints on the origin of the Australian Great Barrier Reef: Results from an international project of deep coring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    ConsortiumGreat Barrier Reef Drilling, International

    2001-06-01

    Two new boreholes provide the first direct evidence of the age of the Australian Great Barrier Reef. An inner shelf sequence (total depth, 86 m; basal age = 210 ± 40 ka) comprises a dominantly siliciclastic unit (thickness ˜52 86 m), overlain by four carbonate units (total thickness 0 34 m). A shelf-edge and slope sequence (total depth 210 m) reveals three major sections: (1) a lower section of resedimented flows deposited on a lower slope, (2) a mid-section including intervals of corals, rhodoliths, and calcarenites with low- angle graded laminae, and (3) an upper section of four shelf- margin coral-reef units separated by karst surfaces bearing paleosols. Sr isotope and magnetostratigraphic data indicate that the central Great Barrier Reef is relatively young (post Brühnes-Matuyama boundary time), and our best estimate for the onset of reef growth on the outer barrier system is ca. 600 ± 280 ka. This date suggests that reef initiation may have been related to the onset of full eccentricity-dominated glacio-eustatic sea-level oscillation as inferred from large-amplitude “saw-tooth” 100 k.y. δ18O cycles (after marine isotope stage 17), rather than to some regional environmental parameter. A major question raised by our study is whether reef margins globally display a similar growth history. The possibility of a global reef initiation event has important implications for basin to shelf partitioning of CaCO3, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and global temperature change during Quaternary time.

  5. Assessing the impact of fishing in shallow rocky reefs: a multivariate approach to ecosystem management.

    PubMed

    Sangil, Carlos; Martín-García, Laura; Clemente, Sabrina

    2013-11-15

    In this paper we develop a tool to assess the impact of fishing on ecosystem functioning in shallow rocky reefs. The relationships between biological parameters (fishes, sea urchins, seaweeds), and fishing activities (fish traps, boats, land-based fishing, spearfishing) were tested in La Palma island (Canary Islands). Data from fishing activities and biological parameters were analyzed using principal component analyses. We produced two models using the first component of these analyses. This component was interpreted as a new variable that described the fishing pressure and the conservation status at each studied site. Subsequently the scores on the first axis were mapped using universal kriging methods and the models obtained were extrapolated across the whole island to display the expected fishing pressure and conservation status more widely. The fishing pressure and conservation status models were spatially related; zones where fishing pressure was high coincided with zones in the unhealthiest ecological state. PMID:24045124

  6. Observations of Surface Energy Fluxes and Boundary-Layer Structure Over Heron Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacKellar, Mellissa C.; McGowan, Hamish A.; Phinn, Stuart R.; Soderholm, Joshua S.

    2013-02-01

    Over warm, shallow coral reefs the surface radiation and energy fluxes differ from those of the open ocean and result in modification to the marine atmospheric boundary layer via the development of convective internal boundary layers. The complex interrelationships between the surface energy balance and boundary-layer characteristics influence local weather (wind, temperature, humidity) and hydrodynamics (water temperature and currents), as well as larger scale processes, including cloud field properties and precipitation. The nature of these inter-relationships has not been accurately described for coral reef environments. This study presents the first measurements of the surface energy balance, radiation budget and boundary layer thermodynamics made over a coral reef using an eddy-covariance system and radiosonde aerological profiling of the lower atmosphere. Results show that changes in surface properties and the associated energetics across the ocean-reef boundary resulted in modification to the marine atmospheric boundary layer during the Austral winter and summer. Internal convective boundary layers developed within the marine atmospheric boundary layer over the reef and were found to be deeper in the summer, yet more unstable during the winter when cold and drier flow from the mainland enhances heat and moisture fluxes to the atmosphere. A mixed layer was identified in the marine atmospheric boundary layer varying from 375 to 1,200 m above the surface, and was deeper during the summer, particularly under stable anticyclonic conditions. Significant cloud cover and at times rain resulted in the development of a stable stratified atmosphere over the reef. Our findings show that, for Heron Reef, a lagoonal platform reef, there was a horizontal discontinuity in surface energy fluxes across the ocean-reef boundary, which modified the marine atmospheric boundary layer.

  7. Patterns of Reef Ecosystem Recovery Indicate That Adverse Early Triassic Ocean Conditions Extended into Middle Triassic Time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kelley, B. M.; Yu, M.; Lehrmann, D. J.; Jost, A. B.; Lau, K. V.; Li, X.; Schaal, E. K.; Payne, J.

    2013-12-01

    The pattern of reef ecosystem recovery from the end-Permian extinction is poorly constrained due to the limited stratigraphic, spatial, and geographic range of reef buildups in Early Triassic and Anisian (early Middle Triassic) strata. In this study, we combined field studies and petrographic analysis to examine the pattern of reef evolution in latest Permian to Late Triassic carbonate platforms in the Nanpanjiang Basin of South China, an area of extensive shallow-water carbonate deposition in the tropical eastern Tethys. We find that early Mesozoic reef recovery in the eastern Tethys was a five-step process: (1) in the immediate aftermath of extinction, calcimicrobial biostromes (P/T boundary microbialites) developed in shallow-water platform settings; (2) in late Induan time, biohermal stromatolites developed in platform interior settings; (3) in latest Spathian time, large-scale Tubiphytes, microbial, and cement reefs lacking skeletal metazoans initiated on the margins and steep upper slopes of carbonate platforms, signaling the return of reefs to platform-margin settings; (4) in the Aegean or Bithynian (early Anisian), diminutive (mm-scale) calcareous sponges and calcareous algae appeared in the Tubiphytes reef, marking the reappearance of skeletal metazoans and calcareous algae to reefs in the eastern Tethys; and (5) in the late Anisian, the appearance of scleractinian corals coincided with increased abundance, size, and diversity of metazoan and algal reef builders. Early Mesozoic reefs of the eastern Tethys were dominated by microbes, Tubiphytes, and early-marine cements until the late Anisian, several million years into the Middle Triassic. The appearance of small metazoan buildups in Early Triassic strata in other parts of the world indicates that potential reef-building organisms were present much earlier. The limited stratigraphic range of those buildups, however, reinforces the interpretation that episodic environmental disturbances such as euxinia

  8. Taxonomy, host specificity and dietary implications of Hurleytrematoides (Digenea: Monorchiidae) from chaetodontid fishes on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    McNamara, M K A; Cribb, T H

    2011-09-01

    Five new and five previously described species of Hurleytrematoides are reported from 19 of 34 chaetodontid species examined from the Great Barrier Reef; new species are H. faliexae n. sp., H. galzini n. sp., H. loi n. sp., H. morandi n. sp., and H. sasali n. sp. Previously described species are H. coronatum, H. fijiensis, H. prevoti, H. bartolii, and H. zebrasomae. The genus is rediagnosed in the light of morphological variation of the new species; the degree of spination and shape of the terminal genitalia distinguish individual species. Species of Hurleytrematoides infect almost every clade of the family Chaetodontidae found on the Great Barrier Reef, but obligate corallivores are not infected. All ten species were found at Heron Island on the southern Great Barrier Reef, but only six at Lizard Island on the northern Great Barrier Reef. For three of the four species not present at Lizard Island, the absence appears to be statistically significant. Although all species are apparently restricted to chaetodontids on the GBR, specificity within the family varies from oioxenous to euryxenous; a core/satellite host paradigm explains the distribution of several species.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  10. Reefs of the Deep: Moving Toward Integrated Ocean Basin-scale Study of Cold-water Coral Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, J. M.

    2007-12-01

    Scleractinian hard corals in deep, cold waters have been known since the eighteenth century but advances in deep-ocean exploration are now revealing the true scale and distribution of cold-water coral reefs. Hundreds of tropical coral species build shallow reefs, but less than ten cold-water species form deep reef frameworks. Of these the best characterised is Lophelia pertusa which dominates in the north east Atlantic. Assemblages of octocorals and hydrocorals are found in other parts of the world's oceans, such as the north Pacific. Cold-water coral skeletons provide well-preserved, high resolution palaeoclimatic archives and recent advances have been made in interpreting geochemical proxies for seawater temperature and ocean ventilation history. The reefs form long-lived, structurally complex habitats supporting many other species. This complexity makes them vulnerable to mechanical damage from deep-water bottom trawling and modelled scenarios suggest that cold-water coral reefs may be threatened by ocean acidification. Despite these threats, our understanding of many aspects of cold-water coral ecosystems remains in its infancy and studies have been geographically limited in their scope. Here I summarise recent advances and emerging research themes and discuss the importance of moving toward integrated interdisciplinary study at the scale of an ocean basin if we are to appreciate the broad scale importance and connections between these reefs of the deep.

  11. Using MODIS data for understanding changes in seagrass meadow health: a case study in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia).

    PubMed

    Petus, Caroline; Collier, Catherine; Devlin, Michelle; Rasheed, Michael; McKenna, Skye

    2014-07-01

    Stretching more than 2000 km along the Queensland coast, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBR) shelters over 43,000 square km of seagrass meadows. Despite the status of marine protected area and World Heritage listing of the GBR, local seagrass meadows are under stress from reduced water quality levels; with reduction in the amount of light available for seagrass photosynthesis defined as the primary cause of seagrass loss throughout the GBR. Methods have been developed to map GBR plume water types by using MODIS quasi-true colour (hereafter true colour) images reclassified in function of their dominant colour. These data can be used as an interpretative tool for understanding changes in seagrass meadow health (as defined in this study by the seagrass area and abundance) at different spatial and temporal scales. We tested this method in Cleveland Bay, in the northern GBR, where substantial loss in seagrass area and biomass was detected by annual monitoring from 2007 to 2011. A strong correlation was found between bay-wide seagrass meadow area and biomass and exposure to turbid Primary (sediment-dominated) water type. There was also a strong correlation between the changes of biomass and area of individual meadows and exposure of seagrass ecosystems to Primary water type over the 5-year period. Seagrass meadows were also grouped according to the dominant species within each meadow, irrespective of location within Cleveland Bay. These consolidated community types did not correlate well with the exposure to Primary water type, and this is likely to be due to local environmental conditions with the individual meadows that comprise these groupings. This study proved that remote sensing data provide the synoptic window and repetitivity required to investigate changes in water quality conditions over time. Remote sensing data provide an opportunity to investigate the risk of marine-coastal ecosystems to light limitation due to increased water turbidity when in situ

  12. Using MODIS data for understanding changes in seagrass meadow health: a case study in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia).

    PubMed

    Petus, Caroline; Collier, Catherine; Devlin, Michelle; Rasheed, Michael; McKenna, Skye

    2014-07-01

    Stretching more than 2000 km along the Queensland coast, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBR) shelters over 43,000 square km of seagrass meadows. Despite the status of marine protected area and World Heritage listing of the GBR, local seagrass meadows are under stress from reduced water quality levels; with reduction in the amount of light available for seagrass photosynthesis defined as the primary cause of seagrass loss throughout the GBR. Methods have been developed to map GBR plume water types by using MODIS quasi-true colour (hereafter true colour) images reclassified in function of their dominant colour. These data can be used as an interpretative tool for understanding changes in seagrass meadow health (as defined in this study by the seagrass area and abundance) at different spatial and temporal scales. We tested this method in Cleveland Bay, in the northern GBR, where substantial loss in seagrass area and biomass was detected by annual monitoring from 2007 to 2011. A strong correlation was found between bay-wide seagrass meadow area and biomass and exposure to turbid Primary (sediment-dominated) water type. There was also a strong correlation between the changes of biomass and area of individual meadows and exposure of seagrass ecosystems to Primary water type over the 5-year period. Seagrass meadows were also grouped according to the dominant species within each meadow, irrespective of location within Cleveland Bay. These consolidated community types did not correlate well with the exposure to Primary water type, and this is likely to be due to local environmental conditions with the individual meadows that comprise these groupings. This study proved that remote sensing data provide the synoptic window and repetitivity required to investigate changes in water quality conditions over time. Remote sensing data provide an opportunity to investigate the risk of marine-coastal ecosystems to light limitation due to increased water turbidity when in situ

  13. Temporal consistency in background mortality of four dominant coral taxa along Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pisapia, C.; Anderson, K. D.; Pratchett, M. S.

    2016-09-01

    Studies on the population and community dynamics of scleractinian corals typically focus on catastrophic mortality associated with acute disturbances (e.g., coral bleaching and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish), though corals are subject to high levels of background mortality and injuries caused by routine and chronic processes. This study quantified prevalence (proportion of colonies with injuries) and severity (areal extent of injuries on individual colonies) of background mortality and injuries for four common coral taxa (massive Porites, encrusting Montipora, Acropora hyacinthus and branching Pocillopora) on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Sampling was conducted over three consecutive years during which there were no major acute disturbances. A total of 2276 adult colonies were surveyed across 27 sites, within nine reefs and three distinct latitudinal sectors. The prevalence of injuries was very high (>83%) across all four taxa, but highest for Porites (91%) and Montipora (85%). For these taxa ( Montipora and Pocillopora), there was also significant temporal and spatial variation in prevalence of partial mortality. The severity of injuries ranged from 3% to more than 80% and varied among coral taxa, but was fairly constant spatially and temporally. This shows that some injuries have considerable longevity and that corals may invest relatively little in regenerating tissue over sites of previous injuries. Inter-colony variation in the severity of injury also had no apparent effect on the realized growth of individual colonies, suggesting that energy diverted to regeneration has a limited bearing on overall energetic allocation, or impacts on other life-history processes (e.g., reproduction) rather than growth. Establishing background levels of injury and regeneration is important for understanding energy investment and life-history consequences for reef-building corals as well as for predicting susceptibility to, and capacity to recover from, acute

  14. Diel patterns in sea urchin activity and predation on sea urchins on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, M. A. L.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2011-09-01

    Understanding diel patterns in sea urchin activity is important when assessing sea urchin populations and when interpreting their interactions with predators. Here we employ a combination of surveys and a non-invasive tethering technique to examine these patterns in an intact coral reef system on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We also assess local scale variation in relative diurnal predation pressure. Surveys revealed that sea urchins were active and exposed at night. Echinometra mathaei and Echinothrix calamaris were the most abundant species with significantly higher night densities (0.21 and 0.03 ind. m-2, respectively), than daytime densities (0.05 and 0.001, respectively). Bioassays revealed that exposed adult E. mathaei (the most abundant sea urchin species) were 30.8 times more likely to be eaten during the day than at night when controlling for sites. This observation concurs with widely held assumptions that nocturnal activity is a risk-related adaptive response to diurnal predation pressure. Despite relatively intact predator communities on the GBR, potential predation pressure on diurnally exposed E. mathaei assays was variable at a local scale and the biomass of potential fish predators at each site was a poor predictive measure of this variation. Patterns in predation appear to be more complex and variable than we may have assumed.

  15. Joint estimation of crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) densities on the Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Mellin, Camille; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Hoey, Jessica; Anthony, Kenneth R.N.; Cheal, Alistair J.; Miller, Ian; Sweatman, Hugh; Cowan, Zara L.; Taylor, Sascha; Moon, Steven; Fonnesbeck, Chris J.

    2016-01-01

    Crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS; Acanthaster spp.) are an outbreaking pest among many Indo-Pacific coral reefs that cause substantial ecological and economic damage. Despite ongoing CoTS research, there remain critical gaps in observing CoTS populations and accurately estimating their numbers, greatly limiting understanding of the causes and sources of CoTS outbreaks. Here we address two of these gaps by (1) estimating the detectability of adult CoTS on typical underwater visual count (UVC) surveys using covariates and (2) inter-calibrating multiple data sources to estimate CoTS densities within the Cairns sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We find that, on average, CoTS detectability is high at 0.82 [0.77, 0.87] (median highest posterior density (HPD) and [95% uncertainty intervals]), with CoTS disc width having the greatest influence on detection. Integrating this information with coincident surveys from alternative sampling programs, we estimate CoTS densities in the Cairns sector of the GBR averaged 44 [41, 48] adults per hectare in 2014. PMID:27635314

  16. Joint estimation of crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) densities on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    MacNeil, M Aaron; Mellin, Camille; Pratchett, Morgan S; Hoey, Jessica; Anthony, Kenneth R N; Cheal, Alistair J; Miller, Ian; Sweatman, Hugh; Cowan, Zara L; Taylor, Sascha; Moon, Steven; Fonnesbeck, Chris J

    2016-01-01

    Crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS; Acanthaster spp.) are an outbreaking pest among many Indo-Pacific coral reefs that cause substantial ecological and economic damage. Despite ongoing CoTS research, there remain critical gaps in observing CoTS populations and accurately estimating their numbers, greatly limiting understanding of the causes and sources of CoTS outbreaks. Here we address two of these gaps by (1) estimating the detectability of adult CoTS on typical underwater visual count (UVC) surveys using covariates and (2) inter-calibrating multiple data sources to estimate CoTS densities within the Cairns sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We find that, on average, CoTS detectability is high at 0.82 [0.77, 0.87] (median highest posterior density (HPD) and [95% uncertainty intervals]), with CoTS disc width having the greatest influence on detection. Integrating this information with coincident surveys from alternative sampling programs, we estimate CoTS densities in the Cairns sector of the GBR averaged 44 [41, 48] adults per hectare in 2014.

  17. DMSP in Corals and Benthic Algae from the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Broadbent, A. D.; Jones, G. B.; Jones, R. J.

    2002-10-01

    In this study the first measurements of DMSP in six species of corals and ten species of benthic algae collected from four coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef are reported, together with DMSP measurements made on cultured zooxanthellae. Concentrations ranged from 21 to 3831 (mean=743) fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1 in corals, 0·16 to 2·96 nmol DMSP cm -2 (mean=90) for benthic macroalgae, and 48-285 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1 (mean=153) for cultured zooxanthellae. The highest concentrations of DMSP in corals occurred in Acropora formosa (mean=371 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1) and Acropora palifera (mean=3341 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1) with concentrations in A. palifera the highest DMSP concentrations reported in corals examined to date. As well as inter-specific differences in DMSP, intra-specific variation was also observed. Adjacent colonies of A. formosa that are known to have different thermal bleaching thresholds and morphologically distinct zooxanthellae, were also observed to have different DMSP concentrations, with the zooxanthellae in the colony that bleached containing DMSP at an average concentration of 436 fmol zooxanthellae -1, whilst the non-bleaching colony contained DMSP at an average concentration of 171 fmol zooxanthellae -1. The results of the present study have been used to calculate the area normalized DMSP concentrations in benthic algae (mean=0·015 mmol m -2) and corals (mean=2·22 mmol m -2) from the GBR. This data indicates that benthic algae and corals are a significant reservoir of DMSP in GBR waters.

  18. Relationships between temperature, bleaching and white syndrome on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ban, S. S.; Graham, N. A. J.; Connolly, S. R.

    2013-03-01

    Coral bleaching and disease have often been hypothesized to be mutually reinforcing or co-occurring, but much of the research supporting this has only drawn an implicit connection through common environmental predictors. In this study, we examine whether an explicit relationship between white syndrome and bleaching exists using assemblage-level monitoring data from up to 112 sites on reef slopes spread throughout the Great Barrier Reef over 11 years of monitoring. None of the temperature metrics commonly used to predict mass bleaching performed strongly when applied to these data. Furthermore, the inclusion of bleaching as a predictor did not improve model skill over baseline models for predicting white syndrome. Similarly, the inclusion of white syndrome as a predictor did not improve models of bleaching. Evidence for spatial co-occurrence of bleaching and white syndrome at the assemblage level in this data set was also very weak. These results suggest the hypothesized relationship between bleaching and disease events may be weaker than previously thought, and more likely to be driven by common responses to environmental stressors, rather than directly facilitating one another.

  19. Joint estimation of crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) densities on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    MacNeil, M Aaron; Mellin, Camille; Pratchett, Morgan S; Hoey, Jessica; Anthony, Kenneth R N; Cheal, Alistair J; Miller, Ian; Sweatman, Hugh; Cowan, Zara L; Taylor, Sascha; Moon, Steven; Fonnesbeck, Chris J

    2016-01-01

    Crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS; Acanthaster spp.) are an outbreaking pest among many Indo-Pacific coral reefs that cause substantial ecological and economic damage. Despite ongoing CoTS research, there remain critical gaps in observing CoTS populations and accurately estimating their numbers, greatly limiting understanding of the causes and sources of CoTS outbreaks. Here we address two of these gaps by (1) estimating the detectability of adult CoTS on typical underwater visual count (UVC) surveys using covariates and (2) inter-calibrating multiple data sources to estimate CoTS densities within the Cairns sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We find that, on average, CoTS detectability is high at 0.82 [0.77, 0.87] (median highest posterior density (HPD) and [95% uncertainty intervals]), with CoTS disc width having the greatest influence on detection. Integrating this information with coincident surveys from alternative sampling programs, we estimate CoTS densities in the Cairns sector of the GBR averaged 44 [41, 48] adults per hectare in 2014. PMID:27635314

  20. Joint estimation of crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) densities on the Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Mellin, Camille; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Hoey, Jessica; Anthony, Kenneth R.N.; Cheal, Alistair J.; Miller, Ian; Sweatman, Hugh; Cowan, Zara L.; Taylor, Sascha; Moon, Steven; Fonnesbeck, Chris J.

    2016-01-01

    Crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS; Acanthaster spp.) are an outbreaking pest among many Indo-Pacific coral reefs that cause substantial ecological and economic damage. Despite ongoing CoTS research, there remain critical gaps in observing CoTS populations and accurately estimating their numbers, greatly limiting understanding of the causes and sources of CoTS outbreaks. Here we address two of these gaps by (1) estimating the detectability of adult CoTS on typical underwater visual count (UVC) surveys using covariates and (2) inter-calibrating multiple data sources to estimate CoTS densities within the Cairns sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We find that, on average, CoTS detectability is high at 0.82 [0.77, 0.87] (median highest posterior density (HPD) and [95% uncertainty intervals]), with CoTS disc width having the greatest influence on detection. Integrating this information with coincident surveys from alternative sampling programs, we estimate CoTS densities in the Cairns sector of the GBR averaged 44 [41, 48] adults per hectare in 2014.

  1. Relationships between butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae) feeding rates and coral consumption on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gregson, M. A.; Pratchett, M. S.; Berumen, M. L.; Goodman, B. A.

    2008-09-01

    This study explored differences in the feeding rate among 20 species of coral reef butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae) from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Feeding rate, measured as bites per minute (b.p.m.), varied between 2.98 ± 0.65 and 12.29 ± 0.27 (mean ± SE) according to species and was positively related to the proportional consumption of coral ( r 2 = 0.40, n = 20, P < 0.01), independent of phylogeny (standardised independent contrasts r 2 = 0.29, n = 19, P < 0.05). All species fed actively throughout the day, with obligate corallivores having a higher feeding rate at all times than either facultative corallivores or non-corallivores. The feeding rate of the obligate corallivores was also highest during the middle of the day. For eight of the species for which data was available, there was a positive correlation between bite rate and competitive dominance ( r = 0.71, P < 0.05). Chaetodon ephippium was the only species for which the feeding rate of pairs was higher than for solitary individuals.

  2. A method for risk analysis across governance systems: a Great Barrier Reef case study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dale, Allan; Vella, Karen; Pressey, Robert L.; Brodie, Jon; Yorkston, Hugh; Potts, Ruth

    2013-03-01

    Healthy governance systems are key to delivering sound environmental management outcomes from global to local scales. There are, however, surprisingly few risk assessment methods that can pinpoint those domains and sub-domains within governance systems that are most likely to influence good environmental outcomes at any particular scale, or those if absent or dysfunctional, most likely to prevent effective environmental management. This paper proposes a new risk assessment method for analysing governance systems. This method is then tested through its preliminary application to a significant real-world context: governance as it relates to the health of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The GBR exists at a supra-regional scale along most of the north eastern coast of Australia. Brodie et al (2012 Mar. Pollut. Bull. 65 81-100) have recently reviewed the state and trend of the health of the GBR, finding that overall trends remain of significant concern. At the same time, official international concern over the governance of the reef has recently been signalled globally by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These environmental and political contexts make the GBR an ideal candidate for use in testing and reviewing the application of improved tools for governance risk assessment.

  3. Impacts of Cyclone Yasi on nearshore, terrigenous sediment-dominated reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perry, C. T.; Smithers, S. G.; Kench, P. S.; Pears, B.

    2014-10-01

    Tropical Cyclone (TC) Yasi (Category 5) was a large (~ 700 km across) cyclone that crossed Australia's Queensland coast on the 3rd of February 2011. TC Yasi was one of the region's most powerful recorded cyclones, with winds gusting to 290 km/h and wave heights exceeding 7 m. Here we describe the impacts of TC Yasi on a number of nearshore, turbid-zone coral reefs, that include several in the immediate vicinity of the cyclone's landfall path (King Reef, Lugger Shoal and Dunk Island), as well as a more distally located reef (Paluma Shoals) ~ 150 km to the south in Halifax Bay. These reefs were the focus of recent (between 2006 and 2009) pre-Yasi studies into their geomorphology, sedimentology and community structure, and here we discuss data from a recent (August 2011) post-Yasi re-assessment. This provided a unique opportunity to identify and describe the impacts of an intense tropical cyclone on nearshore reefs, which are often assumed to be vulnerable to physical disturbance and reworking due to their poorly lithified framework. Observed impacts of TC Yasi were site specific and spatially highly heterogeneous, but appear to have been strongly influenced by the contemporary evolutionary stage and ecological make-up of the individual reefs, with site setting (i.e. exposure to prevailing wave action) apparently more important than proximity to the landfall path. The most significant ecological impacts occurred at King Reef (probably a result of freshwater bleaching) and at Paluma Shoals, where widespread physical destruction of branched Acropora occurred. New coral recruits are, however, common at all sites and colony re-growth clearly evident at King Reef. Only localised geomorphic change was evident, mainly in the form of coral fracturing, rubble deposition, and sediment movement, but again these impacts were highly site specific. The dominant impact at Paluma Shoals was localised storm ridge/shingle sheet deposition, at Lugger Shoal major offshore fine sediment

  4. The functional value of Caribbean coral reef, seagrass and mangrove habitats to ecosystem processes.

    PubMed

    Harborne, Alastair R; Mumby, Peter J; Micheli, Fiorenza; Perry, Christopher T; Dahlgren, Craig P; Holmes, Katherine E; Brumbaugh, Daniel R

    2006-01-01

    Caribbean coral reef habitats, seagrass beds and mangroves provide important goods and services both individually and through functional linkages. A range of anthropogenic factors are threatening the ecological and economic importance of these habitats and it is vital to understand how ecosystem processes vary across seascapes. A greater understanding of processes will facilitate further insight into the effects of disturbances and assist with assessing management options. Despite the need to study processes across whole seascapes, few spatially explicit ecosystem-scale assessments exist. We review the empirical literature to examine the role of different habitat types for a range of processes. The importance of each of 10 generic habitats to each process is defined as its "functional value" (none, low, medium or high), quantitatively derived from published data wherever possible and summarised in a single figure. This summary represents the first time the importance of habitats across an entire Caribbean seascape has been assessed for a range of processes. Furthermore, we review the susceptibility of each habitat to disturbances to investigate spatial patterns that might affect functional values. Habitat types are considered at the scale discriminated by remotely-sensed imagery and we envisage that functional values can be combined with habitat maps to provide spatially explicit information on processes across ecosystems. We provide examples of mapping the functional values of habitats for populations of three commercially important species. The resulting data layers were then used to generate seascape-scale assessments of "hot spots" of functional value that might be considered priorities for conservation. We also provide an example of how the literature reviewed here can be used to parameterise a habitat-specific model investigating reef resilience under different scenarios of herbivory. Finally, we use multidimensional scaling to provide a basic analysis of the

  5. Crossing the impassable: genetic connections in 20 reef fishes across the eastern Pacific barrier

    PubMed Central

    Lessios, H.A; Robertson, D.R

    2006-01-01

    The ‘impassable’ Eastern Pacific Barrier (EPB), ca 5000 km of deep water separating the eastern from the central Pacific, is the World's widest marine biogeographic barrier. Sequencing of mitochondrial DNA in 20 reef fish morphospecies encountered on both sides of the barrier revealed cryptic speciation in two. Among the other 18 species only two showed significant differentiation (as revealed by haplotype networks and FST statistics) between the eastern and the central Pacific. Coalescence analyses indicated that genetic similarity in the 18 truly transpacific species resulted from different combinations of ages of most recent invasion and of levels of recurrent gene flow, with estimated times of initial separation ranging from approximately 30 000 to 1 Myr (ago). There is no suggestion of simultaneous interruptions of gene flow among the species. Migration across the EPB was previously thought to be exclusively eastward, but our evidence showed two invasions from east to west and eight cases in which subsequent gene flow possibly proceeded in the same direction. Thus, the EPB is sporadically permeable to propagules originating on either side. PMID:16901840

  6. An assessment of an environmental gradient using coral geochemical records, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Lewis, S E; Brodie, J E; McCulloch, M T; Mallela, J; Jupiter, S D; Williams, H Stuart; Lough, J M; Matson, E G

    2012-01-01

    Coral cores were collected along an environmental and water quality gradient through the Whitsunday Island group, Great Barrier Reef (Australia), for trace element and stable isotope analysis. The primary aim of the study was to examine if this gradient could be detected in coral records and, if so, whether the gradient has changed over time with changing land use in the adjacent river catchments. Y/Ca was the trace element ratio which varied spatially across the gradient, with concentrations progressively decreasing away from the river mouths. The Ba/Ca and Y/Ca ratios were the only indicators of change in the gradient through time, increasing shortly after European settlement. The Mn/Ca ratio responded to local disturbance related to the construction of tourism infrastructure. Nitrogen isotope ratios showed no apparent trend over time. This study highlights the importance of site selection when using coral records to record regional environmental signals. PMID:22030106

  7. Six genetically distinct clades of Palola (Eunicidae, Annelida) from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Schulze, Anja

    2015-01-01

    A total of 36 lots of Palola spp. (Eunicidae, Annelida) were collected during the Lizard Island Polychaete Workshop on Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. Of these, 21 specimens were sequenced for a portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene. These sequences were analysed in conjunction with existing sequences of Palola spp. from other geographic regions. The samples from Lizard Island form six distinct clades, although none of them can clearly be assigned to any of the nominal species. Four of the six Lizard Island clades fall into species group A and the remaining two into species group B (which also includes the type species, Palola viridis). All sequenced specimens were characterized morphologically as far as possible and a dichotomous key was assembled. Based on this key, the remaining samples were identified as belonging to one of the clades. PMID:26624083

  8. Six genetically distinct clades of Palola (Eunicidae, Annelida) from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Schulze, Anja

    2015-09-18

    A total of 36 lots of Palola spp. (Eunicidae, Annelida) were collected during the Lizard Island Polychaete Workshop on Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. Of these, 21 specimens were sequenced for a portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene. These sequences were analysed in conjunction with existing sequences of Palola spp. from other geographic regions. The samples from Lizard Island form six distinct clades, although none of them can clearly be assigned to any of the nominal species. Four of the six Lizard Island clades fall into species group A and the remaining two into species group B (which also includes the type species, Palola viridis). All sequenced specimens were characterized morphologically as far as possible and a dichotomous key was assembled. Based on this key, the remaining samples were identified as belonging to one of the clades.

  9. Reproductive biology of a new hesionid polychaete from the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Pleijel, Fredrik; Rouse, Greg W

    2005-02-01

    We describe Lizardia hirschi, a new hesionid genus and species, from shallow water on the Great Barrier Reef. It is characterized by small size (maximally around 2 mm long) and by males with paired penes on the last segment or the pygidium. The sperm are elongated, with a conical acrosome; extended, cylindrical nucleus; and three mitochondria. The females have three to four pairs of eggs in segments 10-13, up to 150 microm in diameter. The female reproductive system consists of spermathecae, situated in the notopodia of segments 10-12, and oviducts opening ventrally on segment 11. Fertilization may be internal. The female (but not the male) reproductive system appears to be homologous to that in another small hesionid, capricornia. The phylogenetic position of L. hirschi within Hesionidae is currently uncertain due to the retention of many apparently larval features in the adults. PMID:15713814

  10. An assessment of an environmental gradient using coral geochemical records, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Lewis, S E; Brodie, J E; McCulloch, M T; Mallela, J; Jupiter, S D; Williams, H Stuart; Lough, J M; Matson, E G

    2012-01-01

    Coral cores were collected along an environmental and water quality gradient through the Whitsunday Island group, Great Barrier Reef (Australia), for trace element and stable isotope analysis. The primary aim of the study was to examine if this gradient could be detected in coral records and, if so, whether the gradient has changed over time with changing land use in the adjacent river catchments. Y/Ca was the trace element ratio which varied spatially across the gradient, with concentrations progressively decreasing away from the river mouths. The Ba/Ca and Y/Ca ratios were the only indicators of change in the gradient through time, increasing shortly after European settlement. The Mn/Ca ratio responded to local disturbance related to the construction of tourism infrastructure. Nitrogen isotope ratios showed no apparent trend over time. This study highlights the importance of site selection when using coral records to record regional environmental signals.

  11. Dispersal of adult black marlin (Istiompax indica) from a Great Barrier Reef spawning aggregation.

    PubMed

    Domeier, Michael L; Speare, Peter

    2012-01-01

    The black marlin (Istiompax indica) is one of the largest bony fishes in the world with females capable of reaching a mass of over 700 kg. This highly migratory predator occurs in the tropical regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and is the target of regional recreational and commercial fisheries. Through the sampling of ichthyoplankton and ovaries we provide evidence that the relatively high seasonal abundance of black marlin off the Great Barrier Reef is, in fact, a spawning aggregation. Furthermore, through the tracking of individual black marlin via satellite popup tags, we document the dispersal of adult black marlin away from the spawning aggregation, thereby identifying the catchment area for this spawning stock. Although tag shedding is an issue when studying billfish, we tentatively identify the catchment area for this stock of black marlin to extend throughout the Coral Sea, including the waters of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tuvalu and Nauru.

  12. Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon world heritage areas.

    PubMed

    Hughes, Terence P; Gunderson, Lance H; Folke, Carl; Baird, Andrew H; Bellwood, David; Berkes, Fikret; Crona, Beatrice; Helfgott, Ariella; Leslie, Heather; Norberg, Jon; Nyström, Magnus; Olsson, Per; Osterblom, Henrik; Scheffer, Marten; Schuttenberg, Heidi; Steneck, Robert S; Tengö, Maria; Troell, Max; Walker, Brian; Wilson, James; Worm, Boris

    2007-11-01

    Conventional perceptions of the interactions between people and their environment are rapidly transforming. Old paradigms that view humans as separate from nature, natural resources as inexhaustible or endlessly substitutable, and the world as stable, predictable, and in balance are no longer tenable. New conceptual frameworks are rapidly emerging based on an adaptive approach that focuses on learning and flexible management in a dynamic social-ecological landscape. Using two iconic World Heritage Areas as case studies (the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon) we outline how an improved integration of the scientific and social aspects of natural resource management can guide the evolution of multiscale systems of governance that confront and cope with uncertainty, risk, and change in an increasingly human-dominated world.

  13. Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon world heritage areas.

    PubMed

    Hughes, Terence P; Gunderson, Lance H; Folke, Carl; Baird, Andrew H; Bellwood, David; Berkes, Fikret; Crona, Beatrice; Helfgott, Ariella; Leslie, Heather; Norberg, Jon; Nyström, Magnus; Olsson, Per; Osterblom, Henrik; Scheffer, Marten; Schuttenberg, Heidi; Steneck, Robert S; Tengö, Maria; Troell, Max; Walker, Brian; Wilson, James; Worm, Boris

    2007-11-01

    Conventional perceptions of the interactions between people and their environment are rapidly transforming. Old paradigms that view humans as separate from nature, natural resources as inexhaustible or endlessly substitutable, and the world as stable, predictable, and in balance are no longer tenable. New conceptual frameworks are rapidly emerging based on an adaptive approach that focuses on learning and flexible management in a dynamic social-ecological landscape. Using two iconic World Heritage Areas as case studies (the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon) we outline how an improved integration of the scientific and social aspects of natural resource management can guide the evolution of multiscale systems of governance that confront and cope with uncertainty, risk, and change in an increasingly human-dominated world. PMID:18074897

  14. Sensitivity of coral cays to climatic variations, southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flood, P. G.

    1986-08-01

    Analysis of available wind data for the years 1962 80 from Heron Island which is located within the southern Great Barrier Reef indicates that the annual wind energy vector has oscillated within a 45 degree arc from the SSE in the early 1960's to ESE in the late 1970's. Such changes in wind direction influence the direction of propagation of the waves which mould the shape of coral sand cays in this region. Documentation is provided which shows that the variability of the shoreline positions on Erskine Island, an uninhabited vegetated sand cay reflects this change. The implication is that contemporary shoreline erosion on Heron Island is not caused by the development associated with the tourist resort there. It is a symptom of the change in the propagation direction of the wind-induced waves which is related to long-term climatic change.

  15. High genetic differentiation and cross-shelf patterns of genetic diversity among Great Barrier Reef populations of Symbiodinium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howells, E. J.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Willis, B. L.

    2009-03-01

    The resilience of Symbiodinium harboured by corals is dependent on the genetic diversity and extent of connectivity among reef populations. This study presents genetic analyses of Great Barrier Reef (GBR) populations of clade C Symbiodinium hosted by the alcyonacean coral, Sinularia flexibilis. Allelic variation at four newly developed microsatellite loci demonstrated that Symbiodinium populations are genetically differentiated at all spatial scales from 16 to 1,360 km (pairwise ΦST = 0.01-0.47, mean = 0.22); the only exception being two neighbouring populations in the Cairns region separated by 17 km. This indicates that gene flow is restricted for Symbiodinium C hosted by S. flexibilis on the GBR. Patterns of population structure reflect longshore circulation patterns and limited cross-shelf mixing, suggesting that passive transport by currents is the primary mechanism of dispersal in Symbiodinium types that are acquired horizontally. There was no correlation between the genetic structure of Symbiodinium populations and their host S. flexibilis, most likely because different factors affect the dispersal and recruitment of each partner in the symbiosis. The genetic diversity of these Symbiodinium reef populations is on average 1.5 times lower on inshore reefs than on offshore reefs. Lower inshore diversity may reflect the impact of recent bleaching events on Sinularia assemblages, which have been more widespread and severe on inshore reefs, but may also have been shaped by historical sea level fluctuations or recent migration patterns.

  16. The demise of a major Acropora palmata bank-barrier reef off the southeast coast of Barbados, West Indies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacIntyre, I. G.; Glynn, P. W.; Toscano, M. A.

    2007-12-01

    Formerly attributed to human activity, the demise of a bank-barrier reef off southeastern Barbados known as Cobbler’s Reef is now thought to be largely the result of late Holocene, millennial-scale storm damage. Eleven surface samples of the reef crest coral Acropora palmata from nine sites along its 15-km length plot above the western Atlantic sea-level curve from 3,000 to 4,500 cal years ago (calibrated, calendar 14C years). These elevated clusters suggest that the reef complex suffered extensive storm damage during this period. The constant heavy wave action typical of this area and consequent low herbivory maintain conditions favoring algal growth, thereby limiting the reestablishment of post-storm reef framework. Site descriptions and detailed line surveys show a surface now composed mainly of reworked fragments of A. palmata covered with algal turf, macroalgae and crustose coralline algae. The reef contains no live A. palmata and only a few scattered coral colonies consisting primarily of Diploria spp . and Porites astreoides, along with the hydrocoral Millepora complanata. A few in situ framework dates plot at expected depths for normal coral growth below the sea-level curve during and after the period of intense storm activity. The most recent of these in situ samples are 320 and 400 cal years old. Corals of this late period likely succumbed to high turbidity associated with land clearance for sugarcane agriculture in the mid-1600s.

  17. The potential benefits of herbicide regulation: a cautionary note for the Great Barrier Reef catchment area.

    PubMed

    Davis, A M; Lewis, S E; Brodie, J E; Benson, Ash

    2014-08-15

    Industry transitions away from traditional photosystem II inhibiting (PSII) herbicides towards an 'alternative' herbicide suite are now widely advocated as a key component of improved environmental outcomes for Australia's Great Barrier Reef and improved environmental stewardship on the part of the Queensland sugar industry. A systematic desktop risk analysis found that based on current farming practices, traditional PSII herbicides can pose significant environmental risks. Several of the 'alternatives' that can directly fill a specific pre-emergent ('soil residual') weed control function similar to regulated PSII herbicides also, however, presented a similar environmental risk profile, regardless of farming systems and bio-climatic zones being considered. Several alternatives with a pre-emergent residual function as well as alternative post-emergent (contact or 'knockdown') herbicides were, predicted to pose lower environmental risks than the regulated PSII herbicides to most trophic levels, although environmental risks could still be present. While several herbicides may well be viable alternatives in terms of weed control, they can still present equal or possibly higher risks to the environment. Imposing additional regulations (or even de-registrations) on particular herbicides could result in marginal, and possibly perverse environmental impacts in the long term, if usage shifts to alternative herbicides with similar risk profiles. Regardless of any regulatory efforts, improved environmental sustainability outcomes in pesticide practices within the Great Barrier Reef catchment area will hinge primarily on the continuing adoption of integrated, strategic pest management systems and technologies applied to both traditional and 'alternative' herbicides. One of the emerging policy challenges is ensuring the requisite technical and extension support for cane growers to ensure effective adoption of rapidly evolving farming system technologies, in a very dynamic and

  18. The potential benefits of herbicide regulation: a cautionary note for the Great Barrier Reef catchment area.

    PubMed

    Davis, A M; Lewis, S E; Brodie, J E; Benson, Ash

    2014-08-15

    Industry transitions away from traditional photosystem II inhibiting (PSII) herbicides towards an 'alternative' herbicide suite are now widely advocated as a key component of improved environmental outcomes for Australia's Great Barrier Reef and improved environmental stewardship on the part of the Queensland sugar industry. A systematic desktop risk analysis found that based on current farming practices, traditional PSII herbicides can pose significant environmental risks. Several of the 'alternatives' that can directly fill a specific pre-emergent ('soil residual') weed control function similar to regulated PSII herbicides also, however, presented a similar environmental risk profile, regardless of farming systems and bio-climatic zones being considered. Several alternatives with a pre-emergent residual function as well as alternative post-emergent (contact or 'knockdown') herbicides were, predicted to pose lower environmental risks than the regulated PSII herbicides to most trophic levels, although environmental risks could still be present. While several herbicides may well be viable alternatives in terms of weed control, they can still present equal or possibly higher risks to the environment. Imposing additional regulations (or even de-registrations) on particular herbicides could result in marginal, and possibly perverse environmental impacts in the long term, if usage shifts to alternative herbicides with similar risk profiles. Regardless of any regulatory efforts, improved environmental sustainability outcomes in pesticide practices within the Great Barrier Reef catchment area will hinge primarily on the continuing adoption of integrated, strategic pest management systems and technologies applied to both traditional and 'alternative' herbicides. One of the emerging policy challenges is ensuring the requisite technical and extension support for cane growers to ensure effective adoption of rapidly evolving farming system technologies, in a very dynamic and

  19. Anthropogenic contaminants in Indo-Pacific humpback and Australian snubfin dolphins from the central and southern Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Cagnazzi, Daniele; Fossi, Maria Cristina; Parra, Guido J; Harrison, Peter L; Maltese, Silvia; Coppola, Daniele; Soccodato, Alice; Bent, Michael; Marsili, Letizia

    2013-11-01

    We present the first evidence of accumulation of organochlorine compounds (DDTs, PCBs, HCB) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Indo-Pacific humpback and Australian snubfin dolphins from the central and southern Great Barrier Reef. These dolphins are considered by the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority to be high priority species for management. Analyses of biopsy samples, collected from free ranging individuals, showed PAHs levels comparable to those reported from highly industrialized countries. DDTs and HCB were found at low levels, while in some individuals, PCBs were above thresholds over which immunosuppression and reproductive anomalies occur. These results highlight the need for ongoing monitoring of these and other contaminants, and their potential adverse effects on dolphins and other marine fauna. This is particularly important given the current strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area being undertaken by the Australian Government and the Queensland Government.

  20. Climate change, coral reef ecosystems, and management options for marine protected areas.

    PubMed

    Keller, Brian D; Gleason, Daniel F; McLeod, Elizabeth; Woodley, Christa M; Airamé, Satie; Causey, Billy D; Friedlander, Alan M; Grober-Dunsmore, Rikki; Johnson, Johanna E; Miller, Steven L; Steneck, Robert S

    2009-12-01

    Marine protected areas (MPAs) provide place-based management of marine ecosystems through various degrees and types of protective actions. Habitats such as coral reefs are especially susceptible to degradation resulting from climate change, as evidenced by mass bleaching events over the past two decades. Marine ecosystems are being altered by direct effects of climate change including ocean warming, ocean acidification, rising sea level, changing circulation patterns, increasing severity of storms, and changing freshwater influxes. As impacts of climate change strengthen they may exacerbate effects of existing stressors and require new or modified management approaches; MPA networks are generally accepted as an improvement over individual MPAs to address multiple threats to the marine environment. While MPA networks are considered a potentially effective management approach for conserving marine biodiversity, they should be established in conjunction with other management strategies, such as fisheries regulations and reductions of nutrients and other forms of land-based pollution. Information about interactions between climate change and more "traditional" stressors is limited. MPA managers are faced with high levels of uncertainty about likely outcomes of management actions because climate change impacts have strong interactions with existing stressors, such as land-based sources of pollution, overfishing and destructive fishing practices, invasive species, and diseases. Management options include ameliorating existing stressors, protecting potentially resilient areas, developing networks of MPAs, and integrating climate change into MPA planning, management, and evaluation.

  1. Climate Change, Coral Reef Ecosystems, and Management Options for Marine Protected Areas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, Brian D.; Gleason, Daniel F.; McLeod, Elizabeth; Woodley, Christa M.; Airamé, Satie; Causey, Billy D.; Friedlander, Alan M.; Grober-Dunsmore, Rikki; Johnson, Johanna E.; Miller, Steven L.; Steneck, Robert S.

    2009-12-01

    Marine protected areas (MPAs) provide place-based management of marine ecosystems through various degrees and types of protective actions. Habitats such as coral reefs are especially susceptible to degradation resulting from climate change, as evidenced by mass bleaching events over the past two decades. Marine ecosystems are being altered by direct effects of climate change including ocean warming, ocean acidification, rising sea level, changing circulation patterns, increasing severity of storms, and changing freshwater influxes. As impacts of climate change strengthen they may exacerbate effects of existing stressors and require new or modified management approaches; MPA networks are generally accepted as an improvement over individual MPAs to address multiple threats to the marine environment. While MPA networks are considered a potentially effective management approach for conserving marine biodiversity, they should be established in conjunction with other management strategies, such as fisheries regulations and reductions of nutrients and other forms of land-based pollution. Information about interactions between climate change and more “traditional” stressors is limited. MPA managers are faced with high levels of uncertainty about likely outcomes of management actions because climate change impacts have strong interactions with existing stressors, such as land-based sources of pollution, overfishing and destructive fishing practices, invasive species, and diseases. Management options include ameliorating existing stressors, protecting potentially resilient areas, developing networks of MPAs, and integrating climate change into MPA planning, management, and evaluation.

  2. Lessons from the Field—Two Years of Deploying Operational Wireless Sensor Networks on the Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Bainbridge, Scott; Eggeling, Damien; Page, Geoff

    2011-01-01

    Wireless Sensor Networks promised to do for observation systems what consumer electronics have done for areas like photography—drive down the price per observation (photograph), introduce new functionality and capabilities, and make, what had been a relatively exclusive set of technologies and capabilities, ubiquitous. While this may have been true for some terrestrial sensor networks there are issues in the marine environment that have limited the realization of ubiquitous cheap sensing. This paper reports on the lessons learned from two years of operation of wireless sensor networks deployed at seven coral reefs along the Great Barrier Reef in north-eastern Australia. PMID:22163988

  3. Impact of sea-level rise on cross-shore sediment transport on fetch-limited barrier reef island beaches under modal and cyclonic conditions.

    PubMed

    Baldock, T E; Golshani, A; Atkinson, A; Shimamoto, T; Wu, S; Callaghan, D P; Mumby, P J

    2015-08-15

    A one-dimensional wave model is combined with an analytical sediment transport model to investigate the likely influence of sea-level rise on net cross-shore sediment transport on fetch-limited barrier reef and lagoon island beaches. The modelling considers if changes in the nearshore wave height and wave period in the lagoon induced by different water levels over the reef flat are likely to lead to net offshore or onshore movement of sediment. The results indicate that the effects of SLR on net sediment movement are highly variable and controlled by the bathymetry of the reef and lagoon. A significant range of reef-lagoon bathymetry, and notably shallow and narrow reefs, appears to lead hydrodynamic conditions and beaches that are likely to be stable or even accrete under SLR. Loss of reef structural complexity, particularly on the reef flat, increases the chance of sediment transport away from beaches and offshore.

  4. Bioerosion caused by foraging of the tropical chiton Acanthopleura gemmata at One Tree Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barbosa, S. S.; Byrne, M.; Kelaher, B. P.

    2008-09-01

    The bioerosive potential of the intertidal chiton Acanthopleura gemmata on One Tree Reef was determined by quantification of CaCO3 in daily faecal pellet production of individuals transplanted into mesocosms after nocturnal-feeding forays. Mean bioerosive potential was estimated at 0.16 kg CaCO3 chiton-1 yr-1. Bioerosion rates were estimated for populations on two distinct chiton habitats, reef margin (0.013 kg CaCO3 m-2 yr-1) and beachrock platform (0.25 kg CaCO3 m-2 yr-1). Chiton density on the platform was orders of magnitude greater than on the reef margin. The surface-lowering rate (0.16 mm m-2 yr) due to bioerosion by the beachrock population is a substantial contribution to the total surface-lowering rate of 2 mm m-2 yr-1 previously reported for One Tree Reef across all erosive agents. At high densities, the contribution of A. gemmata to coral reef bioerosion budgets may be comparable to other important bioeroders such as echinoids and fish.

  5. Quantifying the environmental impacts of artisanal fishing gear on Kenya's coral reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Mangi, S C; Roberts, C M

    2006-12-01

    The environmental impacts of artisanal fishing gear on coral reef ecosystems were studied in the multi-gear fishery of southern Kenya to evaluate which types of gear have the greatest impact on coral reef biodiversity. The gear types studied were large and small traps, gill nets, beach seines, hand lines and spear guns. Levels of coral damage, proportion of juvenile fish and discards, size and maturity stage at first capture were quantified and compared amongst the gear types. Results indicate that fishers using beach seines, spears and gill nets cause the most direct physical damage to corals. Spear fishers showed the highest number of contacts to live corals per unit catch followed by fishers using gill nets (12.6+/-1.8 and 5.9+/-2.0 coral contacts per kg fish caught per trip respectively). Apart from discarding 6.5% of their daily catch in the sea, as it was too small, beach seine fishers also landed the highest percentage of juvenile fish (68.4+/-15.7%), a proportion significantly higher (p<0.001) than in any other gear. The size and maturity stage at first capture for 150 of 195 species caught by all gear types was well below the lengths at which they mature. For example, 100% of Lethrinus xanthochilus, 99% of Lethrinus nebulosus and 94% of Lethrinus harak caught were juveniles. Across all gear types, 50.1+/-22.7% of the catch consisted of juvenile fish, indicating serious growth overfishing. Field assessment of levels of coral density showed that fishing grounds where beach seines were still in use had a significantly lower density than where beach seining was not used. This correlation is likely to arise in part because seines cannot be used in the most coral rich areas, and in part because coral loss is a consequence of seine use. On a per gear basis therefore, beach seines had the most impact on coral reef biodiversity. This study emphasizes the need to enforce restrictions on destructive gear and mesh sizes.

  6. A modern soft-bottom, shallow-water crinoid fauna (Echinodermata) from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Messing, C. G.; Meyer, D. L.; Siebeck, U. E.; Jermiin, L. S.; Vaney, D. I.; Rouse, G. W.

    2006-03-01

    A recent preliminary survey revealed that 12 species of unstalked crinoids occur on a gentle sandy slope (12 18 m depth) at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia; five of which are also found on coral reefs. The other seven appear to constitute a unique assemblage restricted to unconsolidated substrates, where most cling to algae or hide beneath rubble or sponges. Members of this assemblage exhibit all of the basic feeding postures found among reef-dwelling species. However, Comatula rotalaria, which lacks anchoring cirri and bears uniquely differentiated short and long arms, exhibits a posture different from other living crinoids. Quantitative transects reveal apparent depth-related differences in species composition: C. rotalaria dominated the 12 transects in 12 13 m (84% of 82 specimens), while Comatella nigra, Comatula cf. purpurea, Amphimetra cf. tessellata and Zygometra microdiscus accounted for 96% of 54 specimens observed along 12 transects in 16 17 m.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    The world’s coral reefs are being degraded, and the need to reduce local pressures to offset the effects of increasing global pressures is now widely recognized. This study investigates the spatial and temporal dynamics of coral cover, identifies the main drivers of coral mortality, and quantifies the rates of potential recovery of the Great Barrier Reef. Based on the world’s most extensive time series data on reef condition (2,258 surveys of 214 reefs over 1985–2012), we show a major decline in coral cover from 28.0% to 13.8% (0.53% y−1), a loss of 50.7% of initial coral cover. Tropical cyclones, coral predation by crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), and coral bleaching accounted for 48%, 42%, and 10% of the respective estimated losses, amounting to 3.38% y−1 mortality rate. Importantly, the relatively pristine northern region showed no overall decline. The estimated rate of increase in coral cover in the absence of cyclones, COTS, and bleaching was 2.85% y−1, demonstrating substantial capacity for recovery of reefs. In the absence of COTS, coral cover would increase at 0.89% y−1, despite ongoing losses due to cyclones and bleaching. Thus, reducing COTS populations, by improving water quality and developing alternative control measures, could prevent further coral decline and improve the outlook for the Great Barrier Reef. Such strategies can, however, only be successful if climatic conditions are stabilized, as losses due to bleaching and cyclones will otherwise increase. PMID:23027961

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-06-01

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

  9. Predicting outbreaks of a climate-driven coral disease in the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maynard, J. A.; Anthony, K. R. N.; Harvell, C. D.; Burgman, M. A.; Beeden, R.; Sweatman, H.; Heron, S. F.; Lamb, J. B.; Willis, B. L.

    2011-06-01

    Links between anomalously high sea temperatures and outbreaks of coral diseases known as White Syndromes (WS) represent a threat to Indo-Pacific reefs that is expected to escalate in a changing climate. Further advances in understanding disease aetiologies, determining the relative importance of potential risk factors for outbreaks and in trialing management actions are hampered by not knowing where or when outbreaks will occur. Here, we develop a tool to target research and monitoring of WS outbreaks in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The tool is based on an empirical regression model and takes the form of user-friendly interactive ~1.5-km resolution maps. The maps denote locations where long-term monitoring suggests that coral cover exceeds 26% and summer temperature stress (measured by a temperature metric termed the mean positive summer anomaly) is equal to or exceeds that experienced at sites in 2002 where the only severe WS outbreaks documented on the GBR to date were observed. No WS outbreaks were subsequently documented at 45 routinely surveyed sites from 2003 to 2008, and model hindcasts for this period indicate that outbreak likelihood was never high. In 2009, the model indicated that outbreak likelihood was high at north-central GBR sites. The results of the regression model and targeted surveys in 2009 revealed that the threshold host density for an outbreak decreases as thermal stress increases, suggesting that bleaching could be a more important precursor to WS outbreaks than previously anticipated, given that bleaching was severe at outbreak sites in 2002 but not at any of the surveyed sites in 2009. The iterative approach used here has led to an improved understanding of disease causation, will facilitate management responses and can be applied to other coral diseases and/or other regions.

  10. Pathways and Hydrography in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System Part 1: Circulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrillo, L.; Johns, E. M.; Smith, R. H.; Lamkin, J. T.; Largier, J. L.

    2015-10-01

    Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) measurements and surface drifters released from two oceanographic cruises conducted during March 2006 and January/February 2007 are used to investigate the circulation off the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS). We show that the MBRS circulation can be divided into two distinct regimes, a northern region dominated by the strong, northward-flowing Yucatan Current, and a southern region with weaker southward coastal currents and the presence of the Honduras Gyre. The latitude of impingement of the Cayman Current onto the coastline varies with time, and creates a third region, which acts as a boundary between the northern and southern circulation regimes. This circulation pattern yields two zones in terms of dispersal, with planktonic propagules in the northern region being rapidly exported to the north, whereas plankton in the southern and impingement regions may be retained locally or regionally. The latitude of the impingement region shifts interannually and intra-annually up to 3° in latitude. Sub-mesoscale features are observed in association with topography, e.g., flow bifurcation around Cozumel Island, flow wake north of Chinchorro Bank and separation of flow from the coast just north of Bahia de la Ascencion. This third feature is evident as cyclonic recirculation in coastal waters, which we call the Ascencion-Cozumel Coastal Eddy. An understanding of the implications of these different circulation regimes on water mass distributions, population connectivity, and the fate of land-based pollutants in the MBRS is critically important to better inform science-based resource management and conservation plans for the MBRS coral reefs.

  11. The Paradoxical Roles of Climate Stressors on Disturbance and Recovery of Coral Reef Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Manfrino, C.; Foster, G.; Camp, E.

    2013-05-01

    The geographic isolation, absence of significant anthropogenic impacts, compressed spatial scale, and habitat diversity of Little Cayman combine to make it a natural laboratory for elucidating the dualistic impacts of various climatic events. These events both impart ecosystem disturbances and aid in the subsequent recovery of coral reef habitats. Within the isolated microcosm of Little Cayman the environmental factors commonly associated with coral stress, mortality, resilience and recovery hinted at by regional-scale observations can be more clearly observed. The primary thrust of this study is to reveal the under-pinning biophysical and hydrologic factors pertinent to reef resilience and to better understand the various roles played by climatic disturbances that have led to the rapid recovery of corals at Little Cayman following a spate of high temperature anomalies. Six closely-spaced high-temperature events were recorded in the Caribbean between the years of 1987 and 2009. Of these, only the 1998 global ENSO event, with well-documented levels of elevated SST, reduced cloud cover and surface water texture with concomittant increases in UV and irradiance and reduced water velocity, resulted in significant mortality at Little Cayman. Following this event, island-wide live coral cover decreased by 40%, from 26% to 14%. Annual monitoring of live coral cover following the 1998 ENSO event revealed no significant recovery of live coral cover until 2009, at which point there was a rapid rebound to pre-disturbance levels by 2011. Such a protracted step-change in coral recovery is indicative of one or more episodic events. The proposed scenario is that the numerous thermal stress events damaged the photo-system of the zooxanthellae, limiting the scope for growth and recovery as the metabolic budgets of corals were diverted to cellular repair. It is posited that the rapid cooling effect of frequent Tropical Storms and Hurricanes between 2002 - 2008, coupled with the

  12. Evidence of large-scale chronic eutrophication in the Great Barrier Reef: quantification of chlorophyll a thresholds for sustaining coral reef communities.

    PubMed

    Bell, Peter R F; Elmetri, Ibrahim; Lapointe, Brian E

    2014-04-01

    Long-term monitoring data show that hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has reduced by >70 % over the past century. Although authorities and many marine scientists were in denial for many years, it is now widely accepted that this reduction is largely attributable to the chronic state of eutrophication that exists throughout most of the GBR. Some reefs in the far northern GBR where the annual mean chlorophyll a (Chl a) is in the lower range of the proposed Eutrophication Threshold Concentration for Chl a (~0.2-0.3 mg m⁻³) show little or no evidence of degradation over the past century. However, the available evidence suggests that coral diseases and the crown-of-thorns starfish will proliferate in such waters and hence the mandated eutrophication Trigger values for Chl a (~0.4-0.45 mg m⁻³) will need to be decreased to ~0.2 mg m⁻³ for sustaining coral reef communities.

  13. Evidence of large-scale chronic eutrophication in the Great Barrier Reef: quantification of chlorophyll a thresholds for sustaining coral reef communities.

    PubMed

    Bell, Peter R F; Elmetri, Ibrahim; Lapointe, Brian E

    2014-04-01

    Long-term monitoring data show that hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has reduced by >70 % over the past century. Although authorities and many marine scientists were in denial for many years, it is now widely accepted that this reduction is largely attributable to the chronic state of eutrophication that exists throughout most of the GBR. Some reefs in the far northern GBR where the annual mean chlorophyll a (Chl a) is in the lower range of the proposed Eutrophication Threshold Concentration for Chl a (~0.2-0.3 mg m⁻³) show little or no evidence of degradation over the past century. However, the available evidence suggests that coral diseases and the crown-of-thorns starfish will proliferate in such waters and hence the mandated eutrophication Trigger values for Chl a (~0.4-0.45 mg m⁻³) will need to be decreased to ~0.2 mg m⁻³ for sustaining coral reef communities. PMID:24114070

  14. Minke whale song, spacing, and acoustic communication on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gedamke, Jason

    An inquisitive population of minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata ) that concentrates on the Great Barrier Reef during its suspected breeding season offered a unique opportunity to conduct a multi-faceted study of a little-known Balaenopteran species' acoustic behavior. Chapter one investigates whether the minke whale is the source of an unusual, complex, and stereotyped sound recorded, the "star-wars" vocalization. A hydrophone array was towed from a vessel to record sounds from circling whales for subsequent localization of sound sources. These acoustic locations were matched with shipboard and in-water observations of the minke whale, demonstrating the minke whale was the source of this unusual sound. Spectral and temporal features of this sound and the source levels at which it is produced are described. The repetitive "star-wars" vocalization appears similar to the songs of other whale species and has characteristics consistent with reproductive advertisement displays. Chapter two investigates whether song (i.e. the "star-wars" vocalization) has a spacing function through passive monitoring of singer spatial patterns with a moored five-sonobuoy array. Active song playback experiments to singers were also conducted to further test song function. This study demonstrated that singers naturally maintain spatial separations between them through a nearest-neighbor analysis and animated tracks of singer movements. In response to active song playbacks, singers generally moved away and repeated song more quickly suggesting that song repetition interval may help regulate spatial interaction and singer separation. These results further indicate the Great Barrier Reef may be an important reproductive habitat for this species. Chapter three investigates whether song is part of a potentially graded repertoire of acoustic signals. Utilizing both vessel-based recordings and remote recordings from the sonobuoy array, temporal and spectral features, source levels, and

  15. Applying data fusion techniques for benthic habitat mapping and monitoring in a coral reef ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Caiyun

    2015-06-01

    Accurate mapping and effective monitoring of benthic habitat in the Florida Keys are critical in developing management strategies for this valuable coral reef ecosystem. For this study, a framework was designed for automated benthic habitat mapping by combining multiple data sources (hyperspectral, aerial photography, and bathymetry data) and four contemporary imagery processing techniques (data fusion, Object-based Image Analysis (OBIA), machine learning, and ensemble analysis). In the framework, 1-m digital aerial photograph was first merged with 17-m hyperspectral imagery and 10-m bathymetry data using a pixel/feature-level fusion strategy. The fused dataset was then preclassified by three machine learning algorithms (Random Forest, Support Vector Machines, and k-Nearest Neighbor). Final object-based habitat maps were produced through ensemble analysis of outcomes from three classifiers. The framework was tested for classifying a group-level (3-class) and code-level (9-class) habitats in a portion of the Florida Keys. Informative and accurate habitat maps were achieved with an overall accuracy of 88.5% and 83.5% for the group-level and code-level classifications, respectively.

  16. Joeropsididae Nordenstam, 1933 (Crustacea, Isopoda, Asellota) from the Lizard Island region of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

    PubMed

    Bruce, Niel L

    2015-01-01

    The marine isopod family Joeropsididae (Asellota) is documented for the Lizard Island region of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Fifteen species of Joeropsis are recorded, including ten new species; descriptive notes are provided for five species that lacked adequate material for description. A revised family and genus diagnosis is presented together with comments on the most useful characters for species identification and a key to Joeropsis of the Lizard Island region.

  17. CaCO3 dissolution by holothurians (sea cucumber): a case study from One Tree Reef, Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, K.; Silverman, J.; Kravitz, B.; Woolsey, E.; Eriksson, H.; Schneider-Mor, A.; Barbosa, S.; Rivlin, T.; Byrne, M.; Caldeira, K.

    2012-12-01

    Holothurians (sea cucumbers) are among the largest and most important deposit feeder in coral reefs. They play a role in nutrient and CaCO3 cycling within the reef structure. As a result of their digestive process they secrete alkalinity due to CaCO3 dissolution and organic matter degradation forming CO2 and ammonium. In a survey at station DK13 on One Three Reef we found that the population density of holothurians was > 1 individual m-2. The dominant sea cucumber species Holothuria leucospilota was collected from DK13. The increase in alkalinity due to CaCO3 dissolution in aquaria incubations was measured to be 47±7 μmol kg-1 in average per individual. Combining this dissolution rate with the sea cucumbers concentrations at DK13 suggest that they may account for a dissolution rate of 34.9±17.8 mmol m-2 day-1, which is equivalent to about half of night time community dissolution measured in DK13. This indicates that in reefs where the sea cucumber population is healthy and protected from fishing they can be locally important in the CaCO3 cycle. Preliminary result suggests that the CaCO3 dissolution rates are not affected by the chemistry of the sea water they are incubated in. Measurements of the empty digestive track volume of two sea cucumbers H. atra and Stichopus herrmanni were 36 ± 4 ml and 151 ± 14 ml, respectively. Based on these measurements it is estimated that these species process 19 ± 2kg and 80 ± 7kg CaCO3 sand yr-1 per individual, respectively. The annual dissolution rates of H. atra and S. herrmanni are 6.5±1.9g and 9.6±1.4g, respectively, suggest that 0.05±0.02% and 0.1±0.02% of the CaCO3 processed through their gut annually is dissolved. During the incubations the CaCO3 dissolution was 0.07±0.01%, 0.04±0.01% and 0.21±0.05% of the fecal casts for H. atra, H. leucospilota and S. herrmanni, respectively. Our result that the primary parameter determining the CaCO3 dissolution by sea cucumber is the amount of carbonate send in their gut

  18. pH homeostasis during coral calcification in a free ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiment, Heron Island reef flat, Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Georgiou, Lucy; Falter, James; Trotter, Julie; Kline, David I; Holcomb, Michael; Dove, Sophie G; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; McCulloch, Malcolm

    2015-10-27

    Geochemical analyses (δ(11)B and Sr/Ca) are reported for the coral Porites cylindrica grown within a free ocean carbon enrichment (FOCE) experiment, conducted on the Heron Island reef flat (Great Barrier Reef) for a 6-mo period from June to early December 2010. The FOCE experiment was designed to simulate the effects of CO2-driven acidification predicted to occur by the end of this century (scenario RCP4.5) while simultaneously maintaining the exposure of corals to natural variations in their environment under in situ conditions. Analyses of skeletal growth (measured from extension rates and skeletal density) showed no systematic differences between low-pH FOCE treatments (ΔpH = ∼-0.05 to -0.25 units below ambient) and present day controls (ΔpH = 0) for calcification rates or the pH of the calcifying fluid (pHcf); the latter was derived from boron isotopic compositions (δ(11)B) of the coral skeleton. Furthermore, individual nubbins exhibited near constant δ(11)B compositions along their primary apical growth axes (±0.02 pHcf units) regardless of the season or treatment. Thus, under the highly dynamic conditions of the Heron Island reef flat, P. cylindrica up-regulated the pH of its calcifying fluid (pHcf ∼8.4-8.6), with each nubbin having near-constant pHcf values independent of the large natural seasonal fluctuations of the reef flat waters (pH ∼7.7 to ∼8.3) or the superimposed FOCE treatments. This newly discovered phenomenon of pH homeostasis during calcification indicates that coral living in highly dynamic environments exert strong physiological controls on the carbonate chemistry of their calcifying fluid, implying a high degree of resilience to ocean acidification within the investigated ranges. PMID:26438833

  19. pH homeostasis during coral calcification in a free ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiment, Heron Island reef flat, Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Georgiou, Lucy; Falter, James; Trotter, Julie; Kline, David I; Holcomb, Michael; Dove, Sophie G; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; McCulloch, Malcolm

    2015-10-27

    Geochemical analyses (δ(11)B and Sr/Ca) are reported for the coral Porites cylindrica grown within a free ocean carbon enrichment (FOCE) experiment, conducted on the Heron Island reef flat (Great Barrier Reef) for a 6-mo period from June to early December 2010. The FOCE experiment was designed to simulate the effects of CO2-driven acidification predicted to occur by the end of this century (scenario RCP4.5) while simultaneously maintaining the exposure of corals to natural variations in their environment under in situ conditions. Analyses of skeletal growth (measured from extension rates and skeletal density) showed no systematic differences between low-pH FOCE treatments (ΔpH = ∼-0.05 to -0.25 units below ambient) and present day controls (ΔpH = 0) for calcification rates or the pH of the calcifying fluid (pHcf); the latter was derived from boron isotopic compositions (δ(11)B) of the coral skeleton. Furthermore, individual nubbins exhibited near constant δ(11)B compositions along their primary apical growth axes (±0.02 pHcf units) regardless of the season or treatment. Thus, under the highly dynamic conditions of the Heron Island reef flat, P. cylindrica up-regulated the pH of its calcifying fluid (pHcf ∼8.4-8.6), with each nubbin having near-constant pHcf values independent of the large natural seasonal fluctuations of the reef flat waters (pH ∼7.7 to ∼8.3) or the superimposed FOCE treatments. This newly discovered phenomenon of pH homeostasis during calcification indicates that coral living in highly dynamic environments exert strong physiological controls on the carbonate chemistry of their calcifying fluid, implying a high degree of resilience to ocean acidification within the investigated ranges.

  20. pH homeostasis during coral calcification in a free ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiment, Heron Island reef flat, Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Georgiou, Lucy; Falter, James; Trotter, Julie; Kline, David I.; Holcomb, Michael; Dove, Sophie G.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; McCulloch, Malcolm

    2015-01-01

    Geochemical analyses (δ11B and Sr/Ca) are reported for the coral Porites cylindrica grown within a free ocean carbon enrichment (FOCE) experiment, conducted on the Heron Island reef flat (Great Barrier Reef) for a 6-mo period from June to early December 2010. The FOCE experiment was designed to simulate the effects of CO2-driven acidification predicted to occur by the end of this century (scenario RCP4.5) while simultaneously maintaining the exposure of corals to natural variations in their environment under in situ conditions. Analyses of skeletal growth (measured from extension rates and skeletal density) showed no systematic differences between low-pH FOCE treatments (ΔpH = ∼−0.05 to −0.25 units below ambient) and present day controls (ΔpH = 0) for calcification rates or the pH of the calcifying fluid (pHcf); the latter was derived from boron isotopic compositions (δ11B) of the coral skeleton. Furthermore, individual nubbins exhibited near constant δ11B compositions along their primary apical growth axes (±0.02 pHcf units) regardless of the season or treatment. Thus, under the highly dynamic conditions of the Heron Island reef flat, P. cylindrica up-regulated the pH of its calcifying fluid (pHcf ∼8.4–8.6), with each nubbin having near-constant pHcf values independent of the large natural seasonal fluctuations of the reef flat waters (pH ∼7.7 to ∼8.3) or the superimposed FOCE treatments. This newly discovered phenomenon of pH homeostasis during calcification indicates that coral living in highly dynamic environments exert strong physiological controls on the carbonate chemistry of their calcifying fluid, implying a high degree of resilience to ocean acidification within the investigated ranges. PMID:26438833

  1. Genetic structure of juvenile cohorts of bicolor damselfish ( Stegastes partitus) along the Mesoamerican barrier reef: chaos through time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hepburn, R. I.; Sale, P. F.; Dixon, B.; Heath, Daniel D.

    2009-03-01

    Dispersal in marine systems is a critical component of the ecology, evolution, and conservation of such systems; however, estimating dispersal is logistically difficult, especially in coral reef fish. Juvenile bicolor damselfish ( Stegastes partitus) were sampled at 13 sites along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS), the barrier reefs on the east coast of Central America extending from the Yucatan, Mexico to Honduras, to evaluate genetic structure among recently settled cohorts. Using genotype data at eight microsatellite loci genetic structure was estimated at large and small spatial scales using exact tests for allele frequency differences and hierarchical analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA). Isolation-by-distance models of divergence were assessed at both spatial scales. Results showed genetic homogeneity of recently settled S. partitus at large geographic scales with subtle, but significant, genetic structure at smaller geographic scales. Genetic temporal stability was tested for using archived juvenile S. partitus collected earlier in the same year (nine sites), and in the previous year (six sites). The temporal analyses indicated that allele frequency differences among sites were not generally conserved over time, nor were pairwise genetic distances correlated through time, indicative of temporal instability. These results indicate that S. partitus larvae undergo high levels of dispersal along the MBRS, and that the structure detected at smaller spatial scales is likely driven by stochastic effects on dispersal coupled with microgeographic effects. Temporal variation in juvenile cohort genetic signature may be a fundamental characteristic of connectivity patterns in coral reef fishes, with various species and populations differing only in the magnitude of that instability. Such a scenario provides a basis for the reconciliation of conflicting views regarding levels of genetic structuring in S. partitus and possibly other coral reef fish species.

  2. The density-driven circulation of the coastal hypersaline system of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Salamena, Gerry G; Martins, Flávio; Ridd, Peter V

    2016-04-15

    The coastal hypersaline system of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in the dry season, was investigated for the first time using a 3D baroclinic model. In the shallow coastal embayments, salinity increases to c.a. 1‰ above typical offshore salinity (~35.4‰). This salinity increase is due to high evaporation rates and negligible freshwater input. The hypersalinity drifts longshore north-westward due to south-easterly trade winds and may eventually pass capes or headlands, e.g. Cape Cleveland, where the water is considerably deeper (c.a. 15m). Here, a pronounced thermohaline circulation is predicted to occur which flushes the hypersalinity offshore at velocities of up to 0.08m/s. Flushing time of the coastal embayments is around 2-3weeks. During the dry season early summer, the thermohaline circulation reduces and therefore, flushing times are predicted to be slight longer due to the reduced onshore-offshore density gradient compared to that in the dry season winter period. PMID:26880128

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26960200

  4. Adaptive management and its role in managing Great Barrier Reef water quality.

    PubMed

    Bennett, J; Lawrence, P; Johnstone, R; Shaw, R

    2005-01-01

    Adaptive management is the pathway to effective conservation, use and management of Australia's coastal catchments and waterways. While the concepts of adaptive management are not new, applications involving both assessment and management responses are indeed limited at the national and regional scales. This paper outlines the components of a systematic framework for linking scientific knowledge, existing tools, planning approaches and participatory processes to achieve healthy regional partnerships between community, industry, government agencies and science providers to overcome institutional barriers and uncoordinated monitoring. The framework developed by the Coastal CRC (www.coastal.crc.org.au/amf/amf/_index.htm) is hierarchical in the way it displays information to allow associated frameworks to be integrated, and represents a construct in which processes, information, decision tools and outcomes are brought together in a structured and transparent way for adaptive catchment and coastal management. This paper proposes how an adaptive management approach could be used to benefit the implementation of the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (RWQPP).

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  7. The density-driven circulation of the coastal hypersaline system of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Salamena, Gerry G; Martins, Flávio; Ridd, Peter V

    2016-04-15

    The coastal hypersaline system of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in the dry season, was investigated for the first time using a 3D baroclinic model. In the shallow coastal embayments, salinity increases to c.a. 1‰ above typical offshore salinity (~35.4‰). This salinity increase is due to high evaporation rates and negligible freshwater input. The hypersalinity drifts longshore north-westward due to south-easterly trade winds and may eventually pass capes or headlands, e.g. Cape Cleveland, where the water is considerably deeper (c.a. 15m). Here, a pronounced thermohaline circulation is predicted to occur which flushes the hypersalinity offshore at velocities of up to 0.08m/s. Flushing time of the coastal embayments is around 2-3weeks. During the dry season early summer, the thermohaline circulation reduces and therefore, flushing times are predicted to be slight longer due to the reduced onshore-offshore density gradient compared to that in the dry season winter period.

  8. Metagenomic analysis of the coral holobiont during a natural bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Littman, Raechel; Willis, Bette L; Bourne, David G

    2011-12-01

    Understanding the effects of elevated seawater temperatures on each member of the coral holobiont (the complex comprised of coral polyps and associated symbiotic microorganisms, including Bacteria, viruses, Fungi, Archaea and endolithic algae) is becoming increasingly important as evidence accumulates that microbial members contribute to overall coral health, particularly during thermal stress. Here we use a metagenomic approach to identify metabolic and taxonomic shifts in microbial communities associated with the hard coral Acropora millepora throughout a natural thermal bleaching event at Magnetic Island (Great Barrier Reef). A direct comparison of metagenomic data sets from healthy versus bleached corals indicated major shifts in microbial associates during heat stress, including Bacteria, Archaea, viruses, Fungi and micro-algae. Overall, metabolism of the microbial community shifted from autotrophy to heterotrophy, including increases in genes associated with the metabolism of fatty acids, proteins, simple carbohydrates, phosphorus and sulfur. In addition, the proportion of virulence genes was higher in the bleached library, indicating an increase in microorganisms capable of pathogenesis following bleaching. These results demonstrate that thermal stress results in shifts in coral-associated microbial communities that may lead to deteriorating coral health.

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:26960200

  10. Intensification of the meridional temperature gradient in the Great Barrier Reef following the Last Glacial Maximum.

    PubMed

    Felis, Thomas; McGregor, Helen V; Linsley, Braddock K; Tudhope, Alexander W; Gagan, Michael K; Suzuki, Atsushi; Inoue, Mayuri; Thomas, Alexander L; Esat, Tezer M; Thompson, William G; Tiwari, Manish; Potts, Donald C; Mudelsee, Manfred; Yokoyama, Yusuke; Webster, Jody M

    2014-06-17

    Tropical south-western Pacific temperatures are of vital importance to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), but the role of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the growth of the GBR since the Last Glacial Maximum remains largely unknown. Here we present records of Sr/Ca and δ(18)O for Last Glacial Maximum and deglacial corals that show a considerably steeper meridional SST gradient than the present day in the central GBR. We find a 1-2 °C larger temperature decrease between 17° and 20°S about 20,000 to 13,000 years ago. The result is best explained by the northward expansion of cooler subtropical waters due to a weakening of the South Pacific gyre and East Australian Current. Our findings indicate that the GBR experienced substantial meridional temperature change during the last deglaciation, and serve to explain anomalous deglacial drying of northeastern Australia. Overall, the GBR developed through significant SST change and may be more resilient than previously thought.

  11. Intensification of the meridional temperature gradient in the Great Barrier Reef following the Last Glacial Maximum.

    PubMed

    Felis, Thomas; McGregor, Helen V; Linsley, Braddock K; Tudhope, Alexander W; Gagan, Michael K; Suzuki, Atsushi; Inoue, Mayuri; Thomas, Alexander L; Esat, Tezer M; Thompson, William G; Tiwari, Manish; Potts, Donald C; Mudelsee, Manfred; Yokoyama, Yusuke; Webster, Jody M

    2014-01-01

    Tropical south-western Pacific temperatures are of vital importance to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), but the role of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the growth of the GBR since the Last Glacial Maximum remains largely unknown. Here we present records of Sr/Ca and δ(18)O for Last Glacial Maximum and deglacial corals that show a considerably steeper meridional SST gradient than the present day in the central GBR. We find a 1-2 °C larger temperature decrease between 17° and 20°S about 20,000 to 13,000 years ago. The result is best explained by the northward expansion of cooler subtropical waters due to a weakening of the South Pacific gyre and East Australian Current. Our findings indicate that the GBR experienced substantial meridional temperature change during the last deglaciation, and serve to explain anomalous deglacial drying of northeastern Australia. Overall, the GBR developed through significant SST change and may be more resilient than previously thought. PMID:24937320

  12. Intensification of the meridional temperature gradient in the Great Barrier Reef following the Last Glacial Maximum

    PubMed Central

    Felis, Thomas; McGregor, Helen V.; Linsley, Braddock K.; Tudhope, Alexander W.; Gagan, Michael K.; Suzuki, Atsushi; Inoue, Mayuri; Thomas, Alexander L.; Esat, Tezer M.; Thompson, William G.; Tiwari, Manish; Potts, Donald C.; Mudelsee, Manfred; Yokoyama, Yusuke; Webster, Jody M.

    2014-01-01

    Tropical south-western Pacific temperatures are of vital importance to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), but the role of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the growth of the GBR since the Last Glacial Maximum remains largely unknown. Here we present records of Sr/Ca and δ18O for Last Glacial Maximum and deglacial corals that show a considerably steeper meridional SST gradient than the present day in the central GBR. We find a 1–2 °C larger temperature decrease between 17° and 20°S about 20,000 to 13,000 years ago. The result is best explained by the northward expansion of cooler subtropical waters due to a weakening of the South Pacific gyre and East Australian Current. Our findings indicate that the GBR experienced substantial meridional temperature change during the last deglaciation, and serve to explain anomalous deglacial drying of northeastern Australia. Overall, the GBR developed through significant SST change and may be more resilient than previously thought. PMID:24937320

  13. Sources of sediment to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

    PubMed

    McKergow, Lucy A; Prosser, Ian P; Hughes, Andrew O; Brodie, Jon

    2005-01-01

    To reduce sediment exports discharging to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), it is essential to identify the sources of exported sediment. We used modelling of spatial sediment budgets (the SedNet model) to identify sources and deposition of sediment as it is transported through river networks. Catchments with high levels of land clearing, cattle grazing and cropping show the largest increases in sediment export compared with natural conditions. Hillslope erosion supplies 63% of sediment to the rivers. Gully erosion and riverbank erosion are lower sources of sediment at the GBR catchment scale, but they are important in some catchments. Overall, 70% of sediment exported from rivers comes from just 20% of the total catchment area, showing that much of the problem can be addressed in a relatively small area. This is a much more manageable problem than trying to reduce erosion across the entire GBR catchment. Areas of high contribution are all relatively close to the coast because of the high erosion and high sediment delivery potential.

  14. Regional scale nutrient modelling: exports to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

    PubMed

    McKergow, Lucy A; Prosser, Ian P; Hughes, Andrew O; Brodie, Jon

    2005-01-01

    Clearing of native vegetation and replacement with cropping and grazing systems has increased nutrient exports to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) to a level many times the natural rate. We present a technique for modelling nutrient transport, based on material budgets of river systems, and use it to identify the patterns and sources of nutrients exported. The outputs of the model can then be used to help prioritise catchment areas and land uses for management and assess various management options. Hillslope erosion is the largest source of particulate nutrients because of its dominance as a sediment source and the higher nutrient concentrations on surface soils. Dissolved nutrient fractions contribute 30% of total nitrogen and 15% of total phosphorus inputs. Spatial patterns show the elevated dissolved inorganic nitrogen export in the wetter catchments, and the dominance of particulate N and P from soil erosion in coastal areas. This study has identified catchments with high levels of contribution to exports and targeting these should be a priority.

  15. Pathways and hydrography in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System Part 2: Water masses and thermohaline structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrillo, L.; Johns, E. M.; Smith, R. H.; Lamkin, J. T.; Largier, J. L.

    2016-06-01

    Hydrographic data from two oceanographic cruises conducted during March 2006 and January/February 2007 are used to investigate the thermohaline structure related to the observed circulation along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS). From our observations we identify three water masses in the MBRS: the Caribbean Surface Water (CSW), North Atlantic Subtropical Underwater (SUW), and Tropical Atlantic Central Water (TACW). Little vertical structure in temperature is observed in the upper 100 m of the water column, but important differences are observed in the salinity distribution both horizontally and with depth. Freshwater inputs to the system from the mainland can be traced in the surface layer, with two possible sources: one from surface rivers located along the southern portion of the MBRS, and the other originating from an underground river system located along the northern portion of the MBRS. The thermohaline structure in the MBRS reflects the dynamics of the observed circulation. Uplifted isopycnals along most of the central and northern coastline of the MBRS reflect the effects of the strong geostrophic circulation flowing northward, i.e. the Yucatan Current. To the south along the MBRS, much weaker velocities are observed, with the Honduras Gyre dominating the flow in this region as presented during January/February 2007. These two regions are separated by onshore and divergent alongshore flow associated with the impingement of the Cayman Current on the shore and the MBRS.

  16. Metagenomic analysis of the coral holobiont during a natural bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Littman, Raechel; Willis, Bette L; Bourne, David G

    2011-12-01

    Understanding the effects of elevated seawater temperatures on each member of the coral holobiont (the complex comprised of coral polyps and associated symbiotic microorganisms, including Bacteria, viruses, Fungi, Archaea and endolithic algae) is becoming increasingly important as evidence accumulates that microbial members contribute to overall coral health, particularly during thermal stress. Here we use a metagenomic approach to identify metabolic and taxonomic shifts in microbial communities associated with the hard coral Acropora millepora throughout a natural thermal bleaching event at Magnetic Island (Great Barrier Reef). A direct comparison of metagenomic data sets from healthy versus bleached corals indicated major shifts in microbial associates during heat stress, including Bacteria, Archaea, viruses, Fungi and micro-algae. Overall, metabolism of the microbial community shifted from autotrophy to heterotrophy, including increases in genes associated with the metabolism of fatty acids, proteins, simple carbohydrates, phosphorus and sulfur. In addition, the proportion of virulence genes was higher in the bleached library, indicating an increase in microorganisms capable of pathogenesis following bleaching. These results demonstrate that thermal stress results in shifts in coral-associated microbial communities that may lead to deteriorating coral health. PMID:23761353

  17. Man's Impact on the Environment: The Barrier Beach as an Ecosystem.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brevard County School Board, Cocoa, FL.

    This environmental education program deals with man's impact on the barrier beach. The program contained in the guide is developed around the following nine questions: (1) What is a definition of the ecosystem being investigated?; (2) What are some of the biotic and abiotic features of the ecosystem and how do these features interrelate?; (3)…

  18. Dactylogyrids (Monogenoidea) parasitizing the gills of spinefoots (Teleostei: Siganidae): proposal of Glyphidohaptor n. gen., with two new species from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and G. plectocirra n. comb. from Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt.

    PubMed

    Kritsky, Delane C; Galli, Paolo; Yang, Tingbao

    2007-02-01

    Nine species of Siganus (Perciformes: Siganidae) were examined for dactylogyrids (Monogenoidea) from the Red Sea, Egypt; the Great Barrier Reef, Australia; and the South China Sea, China. Species of Tetrancistrum were found on siganids from all 3 localities; Pseudohaliotrema spp. were restricted to siganids from the Great Barrier Reef; and species representing Glyphidohaptor n. gen. were found on siganids from the Red Sea and Great Barrier Reef. Siganus argenteus from the Red Sea and Siganus vulpinus from the Great Barrier Reef were negative for dactylogyrid parasites. Glyphidohaptor n. gen. is proposed for 3 species (2 species new to science) and the new species are described: Glyphidohaptor phractophallus n. sp. from Siganus fuscescens from the Great Barrier Reef; Glyphidohaptor sigani n. sp. from Siganus doliatus (type host), Siganus punctatus, Siganus corallinus, and Siganus lineatus from the Great Barrier Reef; and Glyphidohaptor plectocirra (Paperna, 1972) n. comb. (= Pseudohaliotrema plectocirra Paperna, 1972) from Siganus luridus and Siganus rivulatus from the Red Sea.

  19. CORAL CONDITION: HOW TO FATHOM THE DECLINE OF CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coral reefs have experienced unprecedented levels of bleaching, disease and mortality during the last three decades. The goal of EPA-ORD research is to identify the culpable stressors in different species, reefs and regions using integrated field and laboratory studies.

  20. Ecologically based targets for bioavailable (reactive) nitrogen discharge from the drainage basins of the Wet Tropics region, Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Wooldridge, Scott A; Brodie, Jon E; Kroon, Frederieke J; Turner, Ryan D R

    2015-08-15

    A modelling framework is developed for the Wet Tropics region of the Great Barrier Reef that links a quantitative river discharge parameter (viz. dissolved inorganic nitrogen concentration, DIN) with an eutrophication indicator within the marine environment (viz. chlorophyll-a concentration, chl-a). The model predicts catchment-specific levels of reduction (%) in end-of-river DIN concentrations (as a proxy for total potentially reactive nitrogen, PRN) needed to ensure compliance with chl-a 'trigger' guidelines for the ecologically distinct, but PRN-related issues of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) outbreaks, reef biodiversity loss, and thermal bleaching sensitivity. The results indicate that even for river basins dominated by agricultural land uses, quite modest reductions in end-of-river PRN concentrations (∼20-40%) may assist in mitigating the risk of primary COTS outbreaks from the mid-shelf reefs of the Wet Tropics. However, more significant reductions (∼60-80%) are required to halt and reverse declines in reef biodiversity, and loss of thermal bleaching resistance.

  1. Palaeoecological evidence of a historical collapse of corals at Pelorus Island, inshore Great Barrier Reef, following European settlement

    PubMed Central

    Roff, George; Clark, Tara R.; Reymond, Claire E.; Zhao, Jian-xin; Feng, Yuexing; McCook, Laurence J.; Done, Terence J.; Pandolfi, John M.

    2013-01-01

    The inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have undergone significant declines in water quality following European settlement (approx. 1870 AD). However, direct evidence of impacts on coral assemblages is limited by a lack of historical baselines prior to the onset of modern monitoring programmes in the early 1980s. Through palaeoecological reconstructions, we report a previously undocumented historical collapse of Acropora assemblages at Pelorus Island (central GBR). High-precision U-series dating of dead Acropora fragments indicates that this collapse occurred between 1920 and 1955, with few dates obtained after 1980. Prior to this event, our results indicate remarkable long-term stability in coral community structure over centennial scales. We suggest that chronic increases in sediment flux and nutrient loading following European settlement acted as the ultimate cause for the lack of recovery of Acropora assemblages following a series of acute disturbance events (SST anomalies, cyclones and flood events). Evidence for major degradation in reef condition owing to human impacts prior to modern ecological surveys indicates that current monitoring of inshore reefs on the GBR may be predicated on a significantly shifted baseline. PMID:23135672

  2. Ecologically based targets for bioavailable (reactive) nitrogen discharge from the drainage basins of the Wet Tropics region, Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Wooldridge, Scott A; Brodie, Jon E; Kroon, Frederieke J; Turner, Ryan D R

    2015-08-15

    A modelling framework is developed for the Wet Tropics region of the Great Barrier Reef that links a quantitative river discharge parameter (viz. dissolved inorganic nitrogen concentration, DIN) with an eutrophication indicator within the marine environment (viz. chlorophyll-a concentration, chl-a). The model predicts catchment-specific levels of reduction (%) in end-of-river DIN concentrations (as a proxy for total potentially reactive nitrogen, PRN) needed to ensure compliance with chl-a 'trigger' guidelines for the ecologically distinct, but PRN-related issues of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) outbreaks, reef biodiversity loss, and thermal bleaching sensitivity. The results indicate that even for river basins dominated by agricultural land uses, quite modest reductions in end-of-river PRN concentrations (∼20-40%) may assist in mitigating the risk of primary COTS outbreaks from the mid-shelf reefs of the Wet Tropics. However, more significant reductions (∼60-80%) are required to halt and reverse declines in reef biodiversity, and loss of thermal bleaching resistance. PMID:26072049

  3. Changes in coral assemblages during an outbreak of Acanthaster planci at Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef (1995-1999)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pratchett, M. S.

    2010-09-01

    Population outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish ( Acanthaster planci L.) represent one of the most significant biological disturbances on tropical coral reefs and have the potential to devastate coral communities, thereby altering the biological and physical structure of reef habitats. This study reports on changes in area cover, species diversity and taxonomic composition of corals during an outbreak of A. planci at Lizard Island, in the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Mean coral cover declined by 28.8% across ten locations studied. However, densities of A. planci, and their effects on local coral assemblages, were very patchy. Declines in coral cover were mostly due to the selective removal of certain coral taxa (mainly Acropora and Pocilloporidae corals); such that the greatest coral loss occurred at locations with highest initial cover of preferred coral prey. Most notably, coral assemblages in back-reef locations were transformed from topographically complex staghorn Acropora-dominated habitats, to relatively depauperate assemblages dominated by alcyonacean soft corals. Although coral loss was greatest among formerly dominant taxa (especially Acropora), effects were sufficiently widespread across different coral taxa, such that overall coral diversity tended to decline. Clearly, moderate outbreaks of A. planci have the potential to greatly alter community structure of coral communities even if they do not devastate live corals. Recovery in this instance is expected to be very rapid given that all coral taxa persisted, and effects were greatest among fast growing corals.

  4. Palaeoecological evidence of a historical collapse of corals at Pelorus Island, inshore Great Barrier Reef, following European settlement.

    PubMed

    Roff, George; Clark, Tara R; Reymond, Claire E; Zhao, Jian-xin; Feng, Yuexing; McCook, Laurence J; Done, Terence J; Pandolfi, John M

    2013-01-01

    The inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have undergone significant declines in water quality following European settlement (approx. 1870 AD). However, direct evidence of impacts on coral assemblages is limited by a lack of historical baselines prior to the onset of modern monitoring programmes in the early 1980s. Through palaeoecological reconstructions, we report a previously undocumented historical collapse of Acropora assemblages at Pelorus Island (central GBR). High-precision U-series dating of dead Acropora fragments indicates that this collapse occurred between 1920 and 1955, with few dates obtained after 1980. Prior to this event, our results indicate remarkable long-term stability in coral community structure over centennial scales. We suggest that chronic increases in sediment flux and nutrient loading following European settlement acted as the ultimate cause for the lack of recovery of Acropora assemblages following a series of acute disturbance events (SST anomalies, cyclones and flood events). Evidence for major degradation in reef condition owing to human impacts prior to modern ecological surveys indicates that current monitoring of inshore reefs on the GBR may be predicated on a significantly shifted baseline.

  5. RESEARCH: Influence of Social, Biophysical, and Managerial Conditions on Tourism Experiences Within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

    PubMed

    Shafer; Inglis

    2000-07-01

    / Managing protected areas involves balancing the enjoyment of visitors with the protection of a variety of cultural and biophysical resources. Tourism pressures in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) are creating concerns about how to strike this balance in a marine environment. Terrestrial-based research has led to conceptual planning and management frameworks that address issues of human use and resource protection. The limits of acceptable change (LAC) framework was used as a conceptual basis for a study of snorkeling at reef sites in the GBRWHA. The intent was to determine if different settings existed among tourism operators traveling to the reef and, if so, to identify specific conditions relating to those settings. Snorkelers (N = 1475) traveling with tourism operations of different sizes who traveled to different sites completed surveys. Results indicated that snorkelers who traveled with larger operations (more people and infrastructure) differed from those traveling with smaller operations (few people and little on-site infrastructure) on benefits received and in the way that specific conditions influenced their enjoyment. Benefits related to nature, escape, and family helped to define reef experiences. Conditions related to coral, fish, and operator staff had a positive influence on the enjoyment of most visitors but, number of people on the trip and site infrastructure may have the greatest potential as setting indicators. Data support the potential usefulness of visitor input in applying the LAC concept to a marine environment where tourism and recreational uses are rapidly changing.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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. The Importance of Coral Larval Recruitment for the Recovery of Reefs Impacted by Cyclone Yasi in the Central Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Cross, Peter; Torda, Gergely; Zimmerman, Rachel; Willis, Bette L.

    2013-01-01

    Cyclone Yasi, one of the most severe tropical storms on record, crossed the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in February 2011, bringing wind speeds of up to 285 km hr−1 and wave heights of at least 10 m, and causing massive destruction to exposed reefs in the Palm Island Group. Following the cyclone, mean (± S.E.) hard coral cover ranged from just 2.1 (0.2) % to 5.3 (0.4) % on exposed reefs and no reproductively mature colonies of any species of Acropora remained. Although no fragments of Acropora were found at impacted exposed sites following the cyclone, small juvenile colonies of Acropora (<10 cm diameter) were present, suggesting that their small size and compact morphologies enabled them to survive the cyclone. By contrast, sheltered reefs appeared to be unaffected by the cyclone. Mean (± S.E.) hard coral cover ranged from 18.2 (2.4) % to 30.0 (1.0) % and a large proportion of colonies of Acropora were reproductively mature. Macroalgae accounted for 8 to 16% of benthic cover at exposed sites impacted by cyclone Yasi but were absent at sheltered sites. Mean (± S.E.) recruitment of acroporids to settlement tiles declined from 25.3 (4.8) recruits tile−1 in the pre-cyclone spawning event (2010) to 15.4 (2.2) recruits tile−1 in the first post-cyclone spawning event (2011). Yet, post-cyclone recruitment did not differ between exposed (15.2±2.1 S.E.) and sheltered sites (15.6±2.2 S.E.), despite the loss of reproductive colonies at the exposed sites, indicating larval input from external sources. Spatial variation in impacts, the survival of small colonies, and larval replenishment to impacted reefs suggest that populations of Acropora have the potential to recover from this severe disturbance, provided that the Palm Islands are not impacted by acute disturbances or suffer additional chronic stressors in the near future. PMID:23755223

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. The importance of coral larval recruitment for the recovery of reefs impacted by cyclone Yasi in the central Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Cross, Peter; Torda, Gergely; Zimmerman, Rachel; Willis, Bette L

    2013-01-01

    Cyclone Yasi, one of the most severe tropical storms on record, crossed the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in February 2011, bringing wind speeds of up to 285 km hr⁻¹ and wave heights of at least 10 m, and causing massive destruction to exposed reefs in the Palm Island Group. Following the cyclone, mean (± S.E.) hard coral cover ranged from just 2.1 (0.2) % to 5.3 (0.4) % on exposed reefs and no reproductively mature colonies of any species of Acropora remained. Although no fragments of Acropora were found at impacted exposed sites following the cyclone, small juvenile colonies of Acropora (<10 cm diameter) were present, suggesting that their small size and compact morphologies enabled them to survive the cyclone. By contrast, sheltered reefs appeared to be unaffected by the cyclone. Mean (± S.E.) hard coral cover ranged from 18.2 (2.4) % to 30.0 (1.0) % and a large proportion of colonies of Acropora were reproductively mature. Macroalgae accounted for 8 to 16% of benthic cover at exposed sites impacted by cyclone Yasi but were absent at sheltered sites. Mean (± S.E.) recruitment of acroporids to settlement tiles declined from 25.3 (4.8) recruits tile⁻¹ in the pre-cyclone spawning event (2010) to 15.4 (2.2) recruits tile⁻¹ in the first post-cyclone spawning event (2011). Yet, post-cyclone recruitment did not differ between exposed (15.2±2.1 S.E.) and sheltered sites (15.6±2.2 S.E.), despite the loss of reproductive colonies at the exposed sites, indicating larval input from external sources. Spatial variation in impacts, the survival of small colonies, and larval replenishment to impacted reefs suggest that populations of Acropora have the potential to recover from this severe disturbance, provided that the Palm Islands are not impacted by acute disturbances or suffer additional chronic stressors in the near future.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs surrounding the islands lying close to the coast are unique to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in that they are frequently exposed to disturbance events including floods caused by cyclonic rainfall, strong winds and occasional periods of prolonged above-average temperatures during summer. In one such group of islands in the southern GBR, the Keppel Island archipelago, climate-driven disturbances frequently result in major coral mortality. Whilst these island reefs have clearly survived such dramatic disturbances in the past,