A demographic approach to monitoring the health of coral reefs

Smith, L. D., Devlin, M., Haynes, D., and Gilmour, J.P. (2005) A demographic approach to monitoring the health of coral reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 51 (1). pp. 399-407.

[img] PDF (Published Version)
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.20...
 
35
1


Abstract

Inshore coral reefs adjacent to the wet tropics in North Queensland, Australia, are regularly exposed to flood plumes from coastal river systems. Changes in the nature of these plumes have been linked to the declining health of coral reefs in the region. The effect of flood plumes on the health of inshore corals was investigated by quantifying aspects of the demography of populations of corymbose and digitate Acropora at three groups of Island reefs along a gradient of exposure and decreasing water quality (High Island >Franklands >Fitzroy). The size-structures of colonies, the rates of sexual recruitment, and the growth and survival of juveniles, all varied among the Island reefs. Juvenile and adult sized colonies were far more abundant at the Fitzroy Island reefs, than at the High or Frankland Island reefs that were more exposed to flood plumes. Additionally, there were up to eight times as many sexual recruits at the Fitzroy Island reefs, compared with the High Island reefs. However, the rates of growth and survival of the juvenile sized corals at the Fitzroy Island reefs were lower than at the more exposed reefs. The comparatively low abundance of adult corals at the exposed reefs is most likely due to their histories of disturbance from crown-of-thorns and coral bleaching, but the lack of subsequent recovery due to their low levels of larval recruitment. If a stock-recruitment relationship is typical for these groups of reefs, then the low rates of recruitment may be linked to the low density of adult colonies. Alternately, direct or indirect effects of chronic exposure to poor water quality may have resulted in less suitable substrata for larval settlement. We discuss these results and provide examples of how information about population structure and dynamics can be used in simple matrix models to quantify the current and future health of populations of corals under various scenarios.

Item ID: 9099
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: coral demography; coral recruitment; disturbance; resilience; water quality; Great Barrier Reef
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2010 05:55
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 30%
Downloads: Total: 1
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page