Quantifying climatological ranges and anomalies for Pacific coral reef ecosystems

Gove, Jamison M., Williams, Gareth J., McManus, Margaret A., Heron, Scott F., Sandin, Stuart A., Vetter, Oliver J., and Foley, David G. (2013) Quantifying climatological ranges and anomalies for Pacific coral reef ecosystems. PLoS ONE, 8 (4). e61974. pp. 1-14.

[img]
Preview
PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication.

Download (1MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0...
 
54
61


Abstract

Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic–biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km) from 85% of our study locations. These metrics will help identify reef ecosystems most exposed to environmental stress as well as systems that may be more resistant or resilient to future climate change.

Item ID: 28357
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information:

This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

Funders: Comparative Analysis of Marine Ecosystem Organization (CAMEO), NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2013 05:30
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0405 Oceanography > 040501 Biological Oceanography @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 30%
Downloads: Total: 61
Last 12 Months: 19
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page