Response of Coral Assemblages to the Interaction between Natural Temperature Variation and Rare Warm-Water Events

T. R. McClanahan, J. Maina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We examined changes in coral assemblages in four back-reef locations across the warm 1998 El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event based on annually collected line-transect data from 3 years before and after this event. The physical locations of the reefs differed such that there was a 120%-275% warm-season range in the SDs of seawater temperatures but only minor differences in mean temperatures, based on 2 non-ENSO years. We tested the predictions that (a) rare warm-water events would produce fewer changes in eurythermal than stenothermal coral assemblages; and (b) after the disturbance, the stenothermal assemblages would more closely resemble the eurythermal ones. The 1998 event produced fewer changes in coral cover and community similarity among the assemblages in the reefs with high variation in temperature than in those with low variation in temperature. Despite the initially lower taxonomic richness in the eurythermal assemblage, there was an additional loss of taxonomic richness in the high and none in the stenothermal reefs. There was some evidence for taxonomic convergence, of the stenothermal towards the eurythermal reefs and a general loss of some of the branching taxa, such as branching Porités, Pavana, and Stylophora, and a relative increase in massive Porités and Favia. There was, however, moderate site specificity that did not produce true convergence. The eurythermal assemblages maintained the basic community structure but lost taxonomic richness, whereas the opposite was true for the stenothermal assemblages.

LanguageEnglish
Pages551-563
Number of pages13
JournalEcosystems
Volume6
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Reefs
warm water
corals
reefs
coral
reef
Water
temperature
water
branching
Temperature
line transect
Southern Oscillation
warm season
El Nino
Seawater
El Nino-Southern Oscillation
oscillation
community structure
seawater

Keywords

  • Bleaching
  • Coral community structure
  • Diversity
  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
  • Global climate change
  • Resilience
  • Stability
  • Stress

Cite this

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abstract = "We examined changes in coral assemblages in four back-reef locations across the warm 1998 El Ni{\~n}o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event based on annually collected line-transect data from 3 years before and after this event. The physical locations of the reefs differed such that there was a 120{\%}-275{\%} warm-season range in the SDs of seawater temperatures but only minor differences in mean temperatures, based on 2 non-ENSO years. We tested the predictions that (a) rare warm-water events would produce fewer changes in eurythermal than stenothermal coral assemblages; and (b) after the disturbance, the stenothermal assemblages would more closely resemble the eurythermal ones. The 1998 event produced fewer changes in coral cover and community similarity among the assemblages in the reefs with high variation in temperature than in those with low variation in temperature. Despite the initially lower taxonomic richness in the eurythermal assemblage, there was an additional loss of taxonomic richness in the high and none in the stenothermal reefs. There was some evidence for taxonomic convergence, of the stenothermal towards the eurythermal reefs and a general loss of some of the branching taxa, such as branching Porit{\'e}s, Pavana, and Stylophora, and a relative increase in massive Porit{\'e}s and Favia. There was, however, moderate site specificity that did not produce true convergence. The eurythermal assemblages maintained the basic community structure but lost taxonomic richness, whereas the opposite was true for the stenothermal assemblages.",
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Response of Coral Assemblages to the Interaction between Natural Temperature Variation and Rare Warm-Water Events. / McClanahan, T. R.; Maina, J.

In: Ecosystems, Vol. 6, No. 6, 09.2003, p. 551-563.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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