Cumulative effects of cyclones and bleaching on coral cover and species richness at Lizard Island

Madin, Joshua S., Baird, Andrew H., Bridge, Tom C.L., Connolly, Sean R., Zawada, Kyle J.A., and Dornelas, Maria (2018) Cumulative effects of cyclones and bleaching on coral cover and species richness at Lizard Island. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 604. pp. 263-268.

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Coral reefs are being subjected to an increase in the frequency and intensity of disturbance, such as bleaching and cyclones, and it is important to document the effects of such disturbance on reef coral assemblages. Between March 2014 and May 2017, the reefs of Lizard Island in the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef were affected by 4 consecutive disturbances: severe tropical cyclones Ita and Nathan in 2014 and 2015, and mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. Loss of coral cover following the cyclones was patchy and dependent on the direction of the waves generated. In contrast, loss of cover following bleaching was much more uniform. Overall, coral cover declined 5-fold from 36% pre-cyclone Ita to 7% post-bleaching in 2017, while mean species richness dropped from 10 to 4 species per transect. The spatial scale and magnitude of the loss of coral cover in the region suggests that it will be many years before these reefs recover.

Item ID: 55924
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: Community ecology, Coral reefs, Climate change, Disturbance, Diversity, Great Barrier Reef
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Templeton Foundation (TF)
Projects and Grants: ARC COE140100020, TF Grant #60501
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2018 08:13
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410203 Ecosystem function @ 30%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 70%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 30%
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