Massive coral mortality following a large flood event

Tan, James C.H., Pratchett, Morgan S., Bay, Line K., and Baird, Andrew H. (2012) Massive coral mortality following a large flood event. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, pp. 1-4. From: 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, 9-13 July 2012, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

In early 2011, heavy rain associated with a strong La-Niña caused extensive flooding in the Fitzroy catchment, central Queensland. More than 33 million mega-liters of water flowed from Fitzroy River between December 2010 and March 2011, creating an extensive freshwater plume within the southern Great Barrier Reef lagoon. During this period, we recorded high mortality of scleractinian corals on the reef at Great Keppel Island, located <50 km from the river mouth. In particular, there was 100% mortality among 60 tagged colonies of Acropora millepora. Prior to the flood event, annual per capita mortality among tagged colonies was very low (1.1%), whereby only 1 (out of 60 colonies) had died during 18-months of study. This study shows that while it is important to quantify rates of background mortality (in the absence of major disturbance events) among coral populations, periodic and acute disturbances are likely to have an over-riding influence on population dynamics. Clearly therefore, the persistence of coral populations will depend upon the future frequency and severity of these major disturbances.

Item ID: 22387
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: coral reef, disturbance, bleaching, salinity
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ISBN: 978-0-9808572-5-2
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2012 07:02
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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