Background mortality rates for recovering populations of Acropora cytherea in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean

Pratchett, M.S., Pisapia, C., and Sheppard, C.R.C. (2013) Background mortality rates for recovering populations of Acropora cytherea in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean. Marine Environmental Research, 86. pp. 29-34.

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Abstract

This study quantified background rates of mortality for Acropora cytherea in the Chagos Archipelago. Despite low levels of anthropogenic disturbance, 27.5% (149/541) of A. cytherea colonies exhibited some level of partial mortality, and 9.0% (49/541) of colonies had recent injuries. A total of 15.3% of the overall surface area of physically intact A. cytherea colonies was dead. Observed mortality was partly attributable to overtopping and/or self-shading among colonies. There were also low-densities of Acanthaster planci apparent at some study sites. However, most of the recent mortality recorded was associated with isolated infestations of the coral crab, Cymo melanodactylus. A. cytherea is a relatively fast growing coral and these levels of mortality may be biologically unimportant. However, few studies have measured background rates of coral mortality, especially in the absence of direct human disturbances. These data are important for assessing the impacts of increasing disturbances, especially in projecting likely recovery.

Item ID: 28859
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-0291
Keywords: coral reefs, mortality, recovery, population dynamics, tissue lesions, Cymo melanodactylus
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2013 04:28
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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