Recurrent disturbances, recovery trajectories, and resilience of coral assemblages on a South Central Pacific reef

Adjeroud, M., Michonneau, F, Edmunds, P.J., Chancerelle, Y., Lison de Loma, T., Penin, L., Thibaut, L., Vidal-Dupiol, J., Salvat, B., and Galzin, R. (2009) Recurrent disturbances, recovery trajectories, and resilience of coral assemblages on a South Central Pacific reef. Coral Reefs, 28 (3). pp. 775-780.

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Abstract

Coral reefs are increasingly threatened by various types of disturbances, and a critical challenge for ecologists is to determine their ability for resistance and resilience. Like most other reefs worldwide, coral assemblages at Moorea, French Polynesia, have been impacted by multiple disturbances over the last four decades. These disturbances have caused large declines in coral cover, and subsequent colonization by turf algae, but this phase-shift from coral to algal dominance has not persisted. Instead, the composition of the coral community changed following the disturbances, and in this form, the reef returned to pre-disturbance coral cover within a decade. Thus, this coral assemblage is characterized by high resilience in terms of coral cover, but fragility in terms of species composition. Our results support the possibility that instead of a rapid collapse in response to disturbances, some coral reefs may undergo gradual changes in their community structure.

Item ID: 10781
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: coral; bleaching; cyclone; phase-shift; resilience; Moorea
ISSN: 1432-0975
Date Deposited: 04 May 2010 05:34
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 90%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960309 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on the South Pacific (excl. Australia and New Zealand) (excl. Social Impacts) @ 10%
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