Contrasting patterns of changes in abundance following a bleaching event between juvenile and adult scleractinian corals

Mariana Álvarez-Noriega*, Andrew H. Baird, Tom C.L. Bridge, Maria Dornelas, Luisa Fontoura, Oscar Pizarro, Kristin Precoda, Damaris Torres-Pulliza, Rachael M. Woods, Kyle Zawada, Joshua S. Madin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Coral bleaching events have caused extensive mortality on reefs around the world. Juvenile corals are generally less affected by bleaching than their conspecific adults and therefore have the potential to buffer population declines and seed recovery. Here, we use juvenile and adult abundance data at 20 sites encircling Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, before and after the 2016 bleaching event to quantify: (1) correlates of changes in juvenile abundance following a bleaching event; (2) differences in susceptibility to extreme thermal stress between juveniles and adults. Declines in juvenile abundance were lower at sites closer to the 20-m-depth contour and higher for Acropora and Pocillopora juveniles than for other taxa. Juveniles of Acropora and Goniastrea were less susceptible to bleaching than adults, but the opposite was true for Pocillopora spp. and taxa in the family Merulinidae. Our results indicate that the potential of the juvenile life stage to act as a buffer during bleaching events is taxon-dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527–532
Number of pages6
JournalCoral Reefs
Volume37
Issue number2
Early online date19 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • coral reefs
  • climate change
  • ecology
  • thermal stress
  • juvenile corals

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