Protracted declines in coral cover and fish abundance following climate-induced coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef
Pratchett, M.S., Baird, A.H., McCowan, D.M., Coker, D.J., Cole, A.J., and Wilson, S.K. (2009) Protracted declines in coral cover and fish abundance following climate-induced coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. In: Proceedings of the 11th Coral Reef Symposium, 1042- 1046. From: 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, 7 July - 11 July 2008, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
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Understanding how corals and coral-dependant organisms respond to major disturbances is critical in predicting long-term changes in the structure and dynamics of coral reef assemblages affected by ongoing climate change. This study documents changes in coral and butterflyfish assemblages at Trunk Reef in the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, following severe climate-induced coral bleaching in 2001-02. Coral cover declined by 90%, to a low of 3.2% (± 0.8SE) in March 2005. However, coral cover has started to recover, increasing to 6.5% in January 2008 (±1.0 SE). Despite recent increases in the abundance of corals there has been no apparent increase in abundance of butterflyfishes. If anything, overall densities of butterflyfishes declined even further between 2005 and 2008, due to recent declines in the abundance of non-coral feeding butterfly fish. Although there are some signs of coral recovery, it is clear that severe episodes of coral bleaching can have enduring effects on coral reef ecosystems, and that recovery typically takes many years (>5 years). Protracted declines and limited recovery of coral and fish communities indicate that reef ecosystems will gradually deteriorate as bleaching events become more frequent and more severe.
|Item Type:||Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)|
|Keywords:||bleaching; butterflyfishes; coral reefs; coral loss; disturbance; reef fishes|
|Date Deposited:||20 Apr 2010 05:45|
|FoR Codes:||06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%|
|SEO Codes:||97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%|