Variation in growth rates of branching corals along Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Anderson, Kristen D., Cantin, Neal E., Heron, Scott F., Pisapia, Chiara, and Pratchett, Morgan S. (2017) Variation in growth rates of branching corals along Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Scientific Reports, 7. pp. 1-13.

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Abstract

Coral growth is an important component of reef health and resilience. However, few studies have investigated temporal and/or spatial variation in growth of branching corals, which are important contributors to the structure and function of reef habitats. This study assessed growth (linear extension, density, and calcification) of three branching coral species (Acropora muricata, Pocillopora damicornis and Isopora palifera) at three distinct locations (Lizard Island, Davies/Trunk Reef, and Heron Island) along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Annual growth rates of all species were highest at Lizard Island and declined with increasing latitude, corresponding with differences in temperature. Within locations, however, seasonal variation in growth did not directly correlate with temperature. Between October 2012 and October 2014, the highest growth of A. muricata was in the 2013–14 summer at Lizard Island, which was unusually cool and ~0.5 °C less than the long-term summer average temperature. At locations where temperatures reached or exceeded the long-term summer maxima, coral growth during summer periods was equal to, if not lower than, winter periods. This study shows that temperature has a significant influence on spatiotemporal patterns of branching coral growth, and high summer temperatures in the northern GBR may already be constraining coral growth and reef resilience.

Item ID: 49293
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Additional Information:

Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

ISSN: 2045-2322
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2017 05:30
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060808 Invertebrate Biology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 75%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 25%
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