Dangerous demographics in post-bleach corals reveal boom-bust versus protracted declines

Morais, Juliano, Morais Araujo, Renato A., Tebbett, Sterling B., Pratchett, Morgan S., and Bellwood, David R. (2021) Dangerous demographics in post-bleach corals reveal boom-bust versus protracted declines. Scientific Reports, 11. 18787.

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Abstract

Thermal-stress events have changed the structure, biodiversity, and functioning of coral reefs. But how these disturbances affect the dynamics of individual coral colonies remains unclear. By tracking the fate of 1069 individual Acropora and massive Porites coral colonies for up to 5 years, spanning three bleaching events, we reveal striking genus-level differences in their demographic response to bleaching (mortality, growth, and recruitment). Although Acropora colonies were locally extirpated, substantial local recruitment and fast growth revealed a marked capacity for apparent recovery. By contrast, almost all massive Porites colonies survived and the majority grew in area; yet no new colonies were detected over the 5 years. Our results highlight contrasting dynamics of boom-and-bust vs. protracted declines in two major coral groups. These dangerous demographics emphasise the need for caution when documenting the susceptibility and perceived resistance or recovery of corals to disturbances.

Item ID: 69929
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC CE140100020, ARC FL190100062
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2022 23:43
Downloads: Total: 151
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