Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene

Hughes, Terry P., Anderson, Kristen D., Connolly, Sean R., Heron, Scott F., Kerry, James T., Lough, Janice M., Baird, Andrew H., Baum, Julia, Berumen, Michael L., Bridge, Tom C., Claar, Danielle C., Eakin, C. Mark, Gilmour, James P., Graham, Nicholas A.J., Harrison, Hugo, Hobbs, Jean-Paul A., Hoey, Andrew S., Hoogenboom, Mia, Lowe, Ryan J., McCulloch, Malcolm T., Pandolfi, John M., Pratchett, Morgan, Schoepf, Verena, Torda, Gergely, and Wilson, Shaun K. (2018) Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene. Science, 359 (6371). pp. 80-83.

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Abstract

Tropical reef systems are transitioning to a new era in which the interval between recurrent bouts of coral bleaching is too short for a full recovery of mature assemblages. We analyzed bleaching records at 100 globally distributed reef locations from 1980 to 2016. The median return time between pairs of severe bleaching events has diminished steadily since 1980 and is now only 6 years. As global warming has progressed, tropical sea surface temperatures are warmer now during current La Niña conditions than they were during El Niño events three decades ago. Consequently, as we transition to the Anthropocene, coral bleaching is occurring more frequently in all El Niño–Southern Oscillation phases, increasing the likelihood of annual bleaching in the coming decades.

Item ID: 55264
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-9203
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. http://www.sciencemag.org/about/science-licenses-journal-article-reuse. This is an article distributed under the terms of the Science Journals Default License.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC CE140100020
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2018 05:19
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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