Climate change doubles sedimentation-induced coral recruit mortality

Brunner, Christopher, Uthicke, Sven, Ricardo, Gerard F., Hoogenboom, Mia O., and Negri, Andrew P. (2021) Climate change doubles sedimentation-induced coral recruit mortality. Science of the Total Environment, 768. 143897.

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Abstract

Coral reef replenishment is threatened by global climate change and local water-quality degradation, including smothering of coral recruits by sediments generated by anthropogenic activities. Here we show that the ability of Acropora millepora recruits to remove sediments diminishes under future climate conditions, leading to increased mortality. Recruits raised under future climate scenarios for fourteen weeks (highest treatment: +1.2 °C, pCO2: 950 ppm) showed twofold higher mortality following repeated sediment deposition (50% lethal sediment concentration LC50: 14–24 mg cm−2) compared to recruits raised under current climate conditions (LC50: 37–51 mg cm−2), depending on recruit age at the time of sedimentation. Older and larger recruits were more resistant to sedimentation and only ten-week-old recruits grown under current climate conditions survived sediment loads possible during dredging operations. This demonstrates that water-quality guidelines for managing sediment concentrations will need to be climate-adjusted to protect future coral recruitment.

Item ID: 66873
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Keywords: Dredging, Recruitment, Runoff, Sediment, Survival threshold, Water quality
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Research Data: https://doi.org/10.25909/zkst-2h38
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2022 00:46
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4105 Pollution and contamination > 410599 Pollution and contamination not elsewhere classified @ 40%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 40%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180505 Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition @ 30%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180501 Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems @ 30%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190504 Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts) @ 40%
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