Temporal dynamics in coral bioindicators for water quality on coastal coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef

Cooper, Timothy F., Ridd, Peter V., Ulstrup, Karin E., Humphrey, Craig, Slivokoff, Matthew, and Fabricius, Katharina E. (2008) Temporal dynamics in coral bioindicators for water quality on coastal coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Marine and Freshwater Research, 59 (8). pp. 703-716.

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Abstract

There is a need to identify effective coral bioindicators that provide quantifiable links between changes in water quality and the condition of coastal coral reefs. Temporal variation in a range of coral bioindicators including symbiont density, concentration of chlorophyll a, skeletal density and colony brightness of Pocillopora damicornis, as well as colony brightness and density of macro-bioeroders of massive Porites spp. was examined for 2 years on a coastal coral reef of the Great Barrier Reef. The specificity to changes in water quality varied among bioindicators. For example, a 2.5-fold variation in symbiont density of P. damicornis was related strongly to mean 14-day sea surface temperature and seasonal changes in water quality, suggesting medium specificity to changes in water quality. In contrast, the density of macro-bioeroders in Porites did not vary seasonally but there were consistently more macro-bioeroders at the coastal than mid-shelf reference locations, suggesting high specificity of spatial differences in water quality. In situ measurements of benthic irradiance and turbidity allowed the quantification of potential stress thresholds for coastal corals. Our data suggest long-term turbidity >3 NTU leads to sublethal stress, whereas long-term turbidity >5 NTU corresponds to severe stress effects on corals at shallow depths.

Item ID: 6786
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-6059
Keywords: benthic irradiance; bioerosion; sea surface temperature; specificity; symbiont density; turbidity
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2010 00:45
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0405 Oceanography > 040503 Physical Oceanography @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0405 Oceanography > 040501 Biological Oceanography @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969902 Marine Oceanic Processes (excl. Climate Related) @ 100%
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