Bleaching, energetics, and coral mortality risk: Effects of temperature, light, and sediment regime

Anthony, Kenneth R.N., Connolly, Sean R., and Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove (2007) Bleaching, energetics, and coral mortality risk: Effects of temperature, light, and sediment regime. Limnology and Oceanography, 52 (2). pp. 716-726.

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The most severe outcome of coral bleaching is colony mortality. However, the risk of mortality is one of the least understood consequences for reef corals under climate-change scenarios. Specifically, links among combinations of temperature anomalies, varying solar irradiance, reduced water quality, and mortality risks are unclear. Here, we analyze the effects of high temperature, irradiance, and sediment loading on coral survivorship in a controlled tank experiment using Acropora intermedia from the inner Great Barrier Reef lagoon. Survival analyses based on the fate of 1600 subcolonies revealed that temperature and sediment exerted strong effects on coral mortality risk. As expected, high temperature increased mortality risk at all light and sediment levels. However, high sediment reduced mortality under high temperature and/or high light, potentially by alleviating light pressure and by providing an alternative food source for bleached corals. A survivorship model using coral energy status (lipid stores) as a predictor variable provided an excellent fit to the data, suggesting that much of the variation in survivorship among treatments and over time can be explained by colony energetics. Our study provides a new framework for predicting coral mortality risk under complex bleaching scenarios in which multiple environmental variables are involved.

Item ID: 2215
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1939-5590
Keywords: coral bleaching; energetics; effects of temperature; mortality risk
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Reproduced with permission from American Society of Limnology and Oceanography.

Date Deposited: 07 May 2009 01:37
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 70%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 30%
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%
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