Climate-mediated mechanical changes to post-disturbance coral assemblages

Madin, Joshua S., O'Donnell, Michael J., and Connolly, Sean R. (2008) Climate-mediated mechanical changes to post-disturbance coral assemblages. Biology Letters, 4 (5). pp. 490-493.

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Increasingly severe storms and weaker carbonate materials associated with more acidic oceans will increase the vulnerability of reef corals to mechanical damage. Mechanistic predictions based on measurements of colony mechanical vulnerability and future climate scenarios demonstrate dramatic shifts in assemblage structure following hydrodynamic disturbances, including switches in species' dominance on the reef and thus potential for post-disturbance recovery. Larger colonies are more resistant to factors such as disease and competition for space, and complex morphologies support more associated reef species. Future reefs are thus expected to have lower colony abundances and be dominated by small and morphologically simple, yet mechanically robust species, which will in turn support lower levels of whole-reef biodiversity than do present-day reefs.

Item ID: 6023
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1744-957X
Keywords: reef corals; hydrodynamic disturbance; assemblage structure; seawater acidification; marine sciences
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2010 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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