Excess seawater nutrients, enlarged algal symbiont densities and bleaching sensitive reef locations: 2. A regional-scale predictive model for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Wooldridge, Scott A., Heron, Scott F., Brodie, Jon E., Done, Terrence J., Masiri, Itsara, and Hinrichs, Saskia (2017) Excess seawater nutrients, enlarged algal symbiont densities and bleaching sensitive reef locations: 2. A regional-scale predictive model for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 114 (1). pp. 343-354.

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Abstract

A spatial risk assessment model is developed for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia) that helps identify reef locations at higher or lower risk of coral bleaching in summer heat-wave conditions. The model confirms the considerable benefit of discriminating nutrient-enriched areas that contain corals with enlarged (suboptimal) symbiont densities for the purpose of identifying bleaching-sensitive reef locations. The benefit of the new system level understanding is showcased in terms of: (i) improving early-warning forecasts of summer bleaching risk, (ii) explaining historical bleaching patterns, (iii) testing the bleaching-resistant quality of the current marine protected area (MPA) network (iv) identifying routinely monitored coral health attributes, such as the tissue energy reserves and skeletal growth characteristics (viz. density and extension rates) that correlate with bleaching resistant reef locations, and (v) targeting region-specific water quality improvement strategies that may increase reef-scale coral health and bleaching resistance.

Item ID: 50282
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: coral health, coral bleaching resistance, water quality, Marine Protected Area (MPA), Bayesian Belief Network (BBN), resilience, coral calcification, coral cores
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 07:32
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961104 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Marine Environments @ 50%
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