An outbreak of sea cucumbers hinders coral recruitment

Zhang, Yu-Yang, McCook, Laurence, Jiang, Lei, Lian, Jian-Sheng, Liu, Sheng, and Huang, Hui (2018) An outbreak of sea cucumbers hinders coral recruitment. Coral Reefs, 37 (2). pp. 321-326.

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An outbreak of a small sessile sea cucumber, Ocnus sanya, occurred on the degraded Luhuitou coral reef in Sanya Bay, Hainan, China. This study explored the pattern of distribution of O. sanya on the reef and the impacts of the high abundance of O. sanya on post-settlement mortality of Pocillopora damicornis recruits. The density of O. sanya ranged from about 500 to over 2000 individuals m(-2) with 10.95-23.69% cover on hard substrate. Terracotta tiles with O. sanya on the surface accumulated 19.7% more surface sediment than those without sea cucumbers. Post-settlement P. damicornis recruits had significantly higher mortality on terracotta tiles with O. sanya than those without O. sanya after 21 d. Overall, O. sanya appears to increase sediment stress and inhibit coral recruitment, exacerbating the degradation of Luhuitou Reef. This study raises the possibility that such novel outbreak species could contribute significant additional stress on coral reefs at larger scales.

Item ID: 53869
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: sea cucumber outbreak, Ocnus sanya, Pocillopora damicornis, coral recruitment, Luhuitou Reef China, coral reef degradation
Copyright Information: © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018.
Funders: Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), National Nature Science Foundation of China (NNSFC), Science and Technology Service Network Initiative (STSNI)
Projects and Grants: CAS Strategic Priority Research Program, Grant No. XDA13020201, NNSFC 41676150, NNSFC 31370499, STSNI 2014B030301064, CAS President's International Visiting Expert Professonial Fellowship (2016VEA025)
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2018 07:31
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 50%
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