A functional approach to the structural complexity of coral assemblages based on colony morphological features

Denis, Vianney, Ribas-Deulofeu, Lauriane, Sturaro, Nicolas, Kuo, Chao-Yang, and Chen, Chaolun Allen (2017) A functional approach to the structural complexity of coral assemblages based on colony morphological features. Scientific Reports, 7. 9849.

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Abstract

Colony morphological features is among the best predictor of the scleractinian coral's function in reef ecosystems. However, morphological traits are categorical and to convert this information into a quantitative value as well as estimate their influence on ecosystem process remain a challenge. Here, we propose a trait-based approach to quantify morphological diversity and assess the structural complexity of the habitat provided by corals. We used a previously published dataset that is related to a bleaching event that affected the coral reef off Tikus Island in Indonesia in 1983. We found clear signs of recovery of the coral assemblage's complexity toward pre El Niño conditions five years after the event. Independent of the change observed in species richness, this return in structural complexity was accompanied by a global decrease in species number associated with each particular morphological entity (Functional Redundancy) and an increase in the number of single-species entities (Functional Vulnerability). Together with species loss, we show an overall functional erosion of the coral assemblage and suggest that the role of the coral reef habitat could be strongly imperiled under repeated or synergistic disturbances. This approach offers an opportunity for a better understanding of coral responses to natural and anthropogenic disturbances.

Item ID: 53854
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
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/

Funders: Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (MOST), National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC), Academia Sinica (AS), National Taiwan University (NTU), Taiwan International Graduate Program (TIGP)
Projects and Grants: MOST 103-2621-B-001-004-MY3, NSC 100-2811-B-001-074, AS Thematic Grant AS-100-TP2-A02-3, NTU 106R4000
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2018 01:58
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 33%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 34%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 33%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
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