Coral-reef catastrophe

Hodgson, Gregor, Ogden, John C., and Hughes, Terrence P. (1994) Coral-reef catastrophe. Science, 266 (5193). pp. 1930-1933.

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The article" Catastrophes, phase shifts,and large-scale degradation of a Caribbean coral reef" by Terence P. Hughes (9 Sept., p.1547) relates the sad story of the decline of scleractinian coral populations in Jamaica over the past two decades. The article is a rare example of the long-term research needed to document trends on reefs; however, the monitoring program design appears to have excluded at least one potentially important causal factor, and the solution offered does not address sociopolitical reality.

The data in the study by Hughes show a rapid decline of coral populations initiated by a 1980 hurricane. Coral cover declined further after the reduction of an herbivorous sea urchin, Diadema antillarum, resulting from disease, while the cover of fleshy macro-algae bloomed. Thus two natural events, hurricanes and disease, have decimated Jamaica's coral reefs. It is not clear what effect human activities have had on fleshy algae on these reefs and what, if anything, we can do to help the coral.

Item ID: 26513
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-9203
Keywords: diadema-antillarum philippi; community structure; mass mortality; Jamaica; diversity
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2013 01:48
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 > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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