Morphodynamic controls for growth and evolution of a rubble coral island

Talavera, Lara, Vila-Concejo, Ana, Webster, Jody M., Smith, Courtney, Duce, Stephanie, Fellowes, Thomas E., Salles, Tristan, Harris, Daniel, Hill, Jon, Figueira, Will, and Hacker, Jörg (2021) Morphodynamic controls for growth and evolution of a rubble coral island. Remote Sensing, 13 (8). 1582.

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Rubble islands are dynamic sedimentary features present on reef platforms that evolve under a variety of morphodynamic processes and controlling mechanisms. They provide valuable inhabitable land for small island nations, critical habitat for numerous species, and are threatened by climate change. Aiming to investigate the controlling mechanisms dictating the evolution of One Tree Island (OTI), a rubble island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, we combined different remotely-sensed data across varying timescales with wave data extracted from satellite altimetry and cyclone activity. Our findings show that (1) OTI had expanded by 7% between 1978 and 2019, (2) significant gross planform decadal adjustments were governed by the amount, intensity, proximity, and relative position of cyclones as well as El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases, and (3) the mechanisms of island growth involve rubble spits delivering and redistributing rubble to the island through alongshore sediment transport and wave overtopping. Frequent short-term monitoring of the island and further research coupling variations in the different factors driving island change (i.e., sediment availability, reef-wave interactions, and extreme events) are needed to shed light on the future trajectory of OTI and other rubble islands under a climate change scenario.

Item ID: 70459
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2072-4292
Keywords: Cyclones, DEMs of difference, ENSO, Geomorphic change, Gravel island, Great Barrier Reef, Planform changes, Reef island dynamics, Remote-sensing, Rubble spit dynamics
Copyright Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC grant DP120101793, ARC grant FT100100215
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2022 04:12
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