Adaptive strategies in reef-building corals

Kuo, Chao-Yang (2017) Adaptive strategies in reef-building corals. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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One of the major goals of ecology is to identify metrics of assemblage structure that are easy to obtain and that enable accurate predictions of how assemblages respond to disturbance and environmental change. One recent approach, termed Universal Adaptive Strategy Theory (UAST), has been hypothesised to apply to all creatures on the tree of life. However, previous attempts to classify reef-building corals according to UAST have been inconclusive, perhaps because they have not chosen species traits according to the principles set out in the theory. In addition, the utility of the approach for predicting the response of coral assemblages to disturbance has not been effectively tested. This aims of my thesis was to test whether UAST applies to reef-building corals and whether or not adaptive strategy grouping are useful for predicting the response of taxa to disturbance. In Chapter 2, I first classify coral species into groups using the principles of UAST and a comprehensive database of coral traits. Next, in Chapter 3, I test the ability of adaptive strategy groups to predict the response of coral taxa to disturbance using a long-term dataset from inshore reefs on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Finally, in Chapter 4, I test for variation in the relative abundance of adaptive strategy groups in coral assemblages along the 1600 km latitudinal or environmental gradient that is the GBR. I found that UAST does not apply to corals and the analyses suggests only two groups of species rather than the three predicted by the theory. I also found that adaptive strategy groups do not accurately predict how a taxa will respond to disturbance nor do these groups respond in a predictable way along an environmental gradient. In conclusion, it is much more tractable and informative to explore traits directly, rather than looking for groups based on traits.

Item ID: 56203
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: reef-building corals, universal adaptive strategy theory, UAST, adaption, Great Barrier Reef
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Copyright Information: Copyright © 2017 Chao-yang Kuo
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Madin, Joshua S., Anderson, Kristen D., Andreasen, Magnus Heide, Bridge, Tom C.L., Cairns, Stephen d., Connolly, Sean R., Darling, Emily S., Diaz, Marcela, Falster, Daniel S., Franklin, Erik C., Gates, Ruth, Hoogenboom, Mia O., Huang, Danwei, Keith, Sally A., Kosnik, Matthew A., Kuo, Chao-Yang, Lough, Janice M., Lovelock, Catherine E., Luiz, Osmar, Martinelli, Julieta, Mizerek, Toni, Pandolfi, John M., Pochon, Xavier, Pratchett, Morgan S., Putnam, Hollie M., Roberts, T. Edward, Stat, Michael, Wallace, Carden C., Widman, Elizabeth, and Baird, Andrew H. (2016) The coral trait database: a curated database of trait information for coral species from the global oceans. Scientific Data, 3. pp. 1-21.

Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2018 05:17
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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