Recovery without resilience: persistent disturbance and long-term shifts in the structure of fish and coral communities at Tiahura Reef, Moorea

Berumen, Michael L., and Pratchett, Morgan S. (2006) Recovery without resilience: persistent disturbance and long-term shifts in the structure of fish and coral communities at Tiahura Reef, Moorea. Coral Reefs, 25 (4). pp. 647-653.

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Abstract

Disturbances have a critical effect on the structure of natural communities. In this study long-term changes were examined in the reef community at Tiahura Reef, on the northern coast of Moorea, which had been subject to many and varied disturbances over the last 25 years. Tiahura Reef was subject to an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) in 1980–1981, causing significant declines in the abundance of scleractinian corals and butterflyfishes. By 2003, the abundance of corals and butterflyfishes had returned to former levels, but despite this apparent recovery, the species composition of coral communities and butterflyfish assemblages was very different from those recorded in 1979. Ongoing disturbances (including further outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, cyclones, and coral bleaching events) appear to have prevented recovery of many important coral species (notably, Acropora spp.), which has had subsequent effects on the community structure of coral-feeding butterflyfishes. This study shows that recurrent disturbances may have persistent effects on the structure and dynamics of natural communities.

Item ID: 1790
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: community structure, alternate stable states, Chaetodontidae, Scleractinia, Coral reefs, corallivores
ISSN: 1432-0975
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2008
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 51%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 49%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 77
Downloads: Total: 1
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