Gradients of disturbance and environmental conditions shape coral community structure for south‐eastern Indian Ocean reefs

Jens Zinke, James P. Gilmour, Rebecca Fisher, Marji Puotinen, Joseph Maina, Emily Darling, Michael Stat, Zoe T. Richards, Timothy R. McClanahan, Maria Beger, Cordelia Moore, Nicholas A. J. Graham, Ming Feng, Jean-Paul A. Hobbs, Scott N. Evans, Stuart Field, George Shedrawi, Russ C. Babcock, Shaun K. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Aim To describe, model and assess the relative importance of environmental and climatic factors likely influencing the regional distribution of coral cover and assemblages with contrasting life histories and susceptibilities to bleaching. Location We compiled the first comprehensive empirical dataset for coral communities in the south‐eastern Indian Ocean (SEIO), incorporating information from 392 sites along the western coast of Australia and offshore atolls/islands across ~19° of latitude. Methods We assessed hard coral cover and community composition to genus using point‐intercept transects or point‐count analysis of digital images taken along transects. We explored spatial variation in environmental conditions and in composition of corals with contrasting life histories. After de‐trending the temporal patterns, we assessed the relative importance of environmental metrics to coral cover, life histories and bleaching susceptibility using a full subsets model‐selection approach with generalized additive mixed models, accounting for both temporal and among site variation. Results The distribution of temperature, light, the frequency of temperature anomalies and tropical cyclones appear to be drivers of coral community structure. Functional diversity of low‐ to mid‐latitude coral communities may convey some resilience to thermal stress, while higher latitude communities dominated by Competitive and Bleaching‐Susceptible taxa may lack this functional resilience. These patterns likely reflect varying historical exposure to cyclones and temperature anomalies. Main conclusions As evident in recent years, changing background conditions and regimes of disturbance in coming decades will shift the distribution, functional diversity and resilience of coral reefs throughout the SEIO. The rate and magnitude of environmental change will ultimately determine the future of the tropical reefs and whether the higher latitude reefs provide some refuge from climate change. Our study highlights the need to quantify the distributional properties of key environmental metrics to better understand and predict reef condition through coming decades.
LanguageEnglish
Pages605-620
Number of pages16
JournalDiversity and Distributions
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Fingerprint

Indian Ocean
corals
reefs
coral
community structure
reef
environmental conditions
disturbance
environmental factors
bleaching
life history
functional diversity
temperature anomaly
transect
atolls
temperature
thermal stress
hurricanes
digital images
climatic factors

Keywords

  • biodiversity
  • coral bleaching
  • coral life‐history traits
  • Indian Ocean
  • sea surface temperature
  • tropical cyclones

Cite this

Zinke, Jens ; Gilmour, James P. ; Fisher, Rebecca ; Puotinen, Marji ; Maina, Joseph ; Darling, Emily ; Stat, Michael ; Richards, Zoe T. ; McClanahan, Timothy R. ; Beger, Maria ; Moore, Cordelia ; Graham, Nicholas A. J. ; Feng, Ming ; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A. ; Evans, Scott N. ; Field, Stuart ; Shedrawi, George ; Babcock, Russ C. ; Wilson, Shaun K. / Gradients of disturbance and environmental conditions shape coral community structure for south‐eastern Indian Ocean reefs. In: Diversity and Distributions. 2018 ; Vol. 24, No. 5. pp. 605-620.
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title = "Gradients of disturbance and environmental conditions shape coral community structure for south‐eastern Indian Ocean reefs",
abstract = "Aim To describe, model and assess the relative importance of environmental and climatic factors likely influencing the regional distribution of coral cover and assemblages with contrasting life histories and susceptibilities to bleaching. Location We compiled the first comprehensive empirical dataset for coral communities in the south‐eastern Indian Ocean (SEIO), incorporating information from 392 sites along the western coast of Australia and offshore atolls/islands across ~19° of latitude. Methods We assessed hard coral cover and community composition to genus using point‐intercept transects or point‐count analysis of digital images taken along transects. We explored spatial variation in environmental conditions and in composition of corals with contrasting life histories. After de‐trending the temporal patterns, we assessed the relative importance of environmental metrics to coral cover, life histories and bleaching susceptibility using a full subsets model‐selection approach with generalized additive mixed models, accounting for both temporal and among site variation. Results The distribution of temperature, light, the frequency of temperature anomalies and tropical cyclones appear to be drivers of coral community structure. Functional diversity of low‐ to mid‐latitude coral communities may convey some resilience to thermal stress, while higher latitude communities dominated by Competitive and Bleaching‐Susceptible taxa may lack this functional resilience. These patterns likely reflect varying historical exposure to cyclones and temperature anomalies. Main conclusions As evident in recent years, changing background conditions and regimes of disturbance in coming decades will shift the distribution, functional diversity and resilience of coral reefs throughout the SEIO. The rate and magnitude of environmental change will ultimately determine the future of the tropical reefs and whether the higher latitude reefs provide some refuge from climate change. Our study highlights the need to quantify the distributional properties of key environmental metrics to better understand and predict reef condition through coming decades.",
keywords = "biodiversity, coral bleaching, coral life‐history traits, Indian Ocean, sea surface temperature, tropical cyclones",
author = "Jens Zinke and Gilmour, {James P.} and Rebecca Fisher and Marji Puotinen and Joseph Maina and Emily Darling and Michael Stat and Richards, {Zoe T.} and McClanahan, {Timothy R.} and Maria Beger and Cordelia Moore and Graham, {Nicholas A. J.} and Ming Feng and Hobbs, {Jean-Paul A.} and Evans, {Scott N.} and Stuart Field and George Shedrawi and Babcock, {Russ C.} and Wilson, {Shaun K.}",
year = "2018",
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doi = "10.1111/ddi.12714",
language = "English",
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Zinke, J, Gilmour, JP, Fisher, R, Puotinen, M, Maina, J, Darling, E, Stat, M, Richards, ZT, McClanahan, TR, Beger, M, Moore, C, Graham, NAJ, Feng, M, Hobbs, J-PA, Evans, SN, Field, S, Shedrawi, G, Babcock, RC & Wilson, SK 2018, 'Gradients of disturbance and environmental conditions shape coral community structure for south‐eastern Indian Ocean reefs' Diversity and Distributions, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 605-620. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12714

Gradients of disturbance and environmental conditions shape coral community structure for south‐eastern Indian Ocean reefs. / Zinke, Jens; Gilmour, James P.; Fisher, Rebecca; Puotinen, Marji; Maina, Joseph; Darling, Emily; Stat, Michael; Richards, Zoe T.; McClanahan, Timothy R.; Beger, Maria; Moore, Cordelia; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Feng, Ming; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.; Evans, Scott N.; Field, Stuart; Shedrawi, George; Babcock, Russ C.; Wilson, Shaun K.

In: Diversity and Distributions, Vol. 24, No. 5, 05.2018, p. 605-620.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Gradients of disturbance and environmental conditions shape coral community structure for south‐eastern Indian Ocean reefs

AU - Zinke,Jens

AU - Gilmour,James P.

AU - Fisher,Rebecca

AU - Puotinen,Marji

AU - Maina,Joseph

AU - Darling,Emily

AU - Stat,Michael

AU - Richards,Zoe T.

AU - McClanahan,Timothy R.

AU - Beger,Maria

AU - Moore,Cordelia

AU - Graham,Nicholas A. J.

AU - Feng,Ming

AU - Hobbs,Jean-Paul A.

AU - Evans,Scott N.

AU - Field,Stuart

AU - Shedrawi,George

AU - Babcock,Russ C.

AU - Wilson,Shaun K.

PY - 2018/5

Y1 - 2018/5

N2 - Aim To describe, model and assess the relative importance of environmental and climatic factors likely influencing the regional distribution of coral cover and assemblages with contrasting life histories and susceptibilities to bleaching. Location We compiled the first comprehensive empirical dataset for coral communities in the south‐eastern Indian Ocean (SEIO), incorporating information from 392 sites along the western coast of Australia and offshore atolls/islands across ~19° of latitude. Methods We assessed hard coral cover and community composition to genus using point‐intercept transects or point‐count analysis of digital images taken along transects. We explored spatial variation in environmental conditions and in composition of corals with contrasting life histories. After de‐trending the temporal patterns, we assessed the relative importance of environmental metrics to coral cover, life histories and bleaching susceptibility using a full subsets model‐selection approach with generalized additive mixed models, accounting for both temporal and among site variation. Results The distribution of temperature, light, the frequency of temperature anomalies and tropical cyclones appear to be drivers of coral community structure. Functional diversity of low‐ to mid‐latitude coral communities may convey some resilience to thermal stress, while higher latitude communities dominated by Competitive and Bleaching‐Susceptible taxa may lack this functional resilience. These patterns likely reflect varying historical exposure to cyclones and temperature anomalies. Main conclusions As evident in recent years, changing background conditions and regimes of disturbance in coming decades will shift the distribution, functional diversity and resilience of coral reefs throughout the SEIO. The rate and magnitude of environmental change will ultimately determine the future of the tropical reefs and whether the higher latitude reefs provide some refuge from climate change. Our study highlights the need to quantify the distributional properties of key environmental metrics to better understand and predict reef condition through coming decades.

AB - Aim To describe, model and assess the relative importance of environmental and climatic factors likely influencing the regional distribution of coral cover and assemblages with contrasting life histories and susceptibilities to bleaching. Location We compiled the first comprehensive empirical dataset for coral communities in the south‐eastern Indian Ocean (SEIO), incorporating information from 392 sites along the western coast of Australia and offshore atolls/islands across ~19° of latitude. Methods We assessed hard coral cover and community composition to genus using point‐intercept transects or point‐count analysis of digital images taken along transects. We explored spatial variation in environmental conditions and in composition of corals with contrasting life histories. After de‐trending the temporal patterns, we assessed the relative importance of environmental metrics to coral cover, life histories and bleaching susceptibility using a full subsets model‐selection approach with generalized additive mixed models, accounting for both temporal and among site variation. Results The distribution of temperature, light, the frequency of temperature anomalies and tropical cyclones appear to be drivers of coral community structure. Functional diversity of low‐ to mid‐latitude coral communities may convey some resilience to thermal stress, while higher latitude communities dominated by Competitive and Bleaching‐Susceptible taxa may lack this functional resilience. These patterns likely reflect varying historical exposure to cyclones and temperature anomalies. Main conclusions As evident in recent years, changing background conditions and regimes of disturbance in coming decades will shift the distribution, functional diversity and resilience of coral reefs throughout the SEIO. The rate and magnitude of environmental change will ultimately determine the future of the tropical reefs and whether the higher latitude reefs provide some refuge from climate change. Our study highlights the need to quantify the distributional properties of key environmental metrics to better understand and predict reef condition through coming decades.

KW - biodiversity

KW - coral bleaching

KW - coral life‐history traits

KW - Indian Ocean

KW - sea surface temperature

KW - tropical cyclones

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U2 - 10.1111/ddi.12714

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EP - 620

JO - Diversity and Distributions

T2 - Diversity and Distributions

JF - Diversity and Distributions

SN - 1366-9516

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