Bleaching susceptibility and mortality among corals with differing growth forms

McCowan, Dominique M., Pratchett, Morgan S., and Baird, Andrew H. (2012) Bleaching susceptibility and mortality among corals with differing growth forms. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, pp. 1-6. From: 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, 9-13 July 2012, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

Differences in bleaching susceptibility and mortality are apparent among coral species, and have been variously ascribed to differences in physiology and morphology, in particular overall growth form (e.g., branching versus massive corals). However, coral morphology is highly confounded with taxonomy, and no studies have tested for differences in bleaching susceptibility among corals with varying morphology within (rather than between) coral families. For this study, data were compiled for bleaching susceptibility and mortality from 65 published studies that monitored coral health throughout the bleaching event. Overall patterns of bleaching susceptibility were significantly different among coral growth forms, whereby a much higher proportion of branching, tabular, and submassive corals bleached compared to encrusting, massive, and free-living corals. However, differences in bleaching susceptibility and mortality were not consistent among growth forms within families. Branching faviid species (e.g., Echinopora) had much lower incidence of bleaching compared to massive species, but the reverse was true for Acroporidae and Poritidae. Moreover, mortality was markedly different amongst growth forms within families, such that massive Acroporidae (e.g. Montipora) suffered highest mortality when compared to Faviidae and Poritidae, but branching Acroporidae suffered lowest mortality compared to branching Faviidae and Poritidae. Our data suggest that generalities about the susceptibility of branching versus massive corals (and among other major growth forms) arise at least in part because certain growth forms are over-represented by highly susceptible coral taxa (e.g., Acropora) or perhaps because branching corals generally maintain higher dominance than massive corals.

Item ID: 22384
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: coral reef, morphology, mass bleaching, scleractinia
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ISBN: 978-0-9808572-5-2
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2012 07:04
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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