The decline of reef health and resilience has been recorded in many locations, but the causes of this decline are less clear. The ecologically complex and dynamic nature of coral reefs means that identifying the factors contributing to coral decline is difficult, and requires measuring numerous indicators. In this study, indicators of reef resilience to coral bleaching were collected on 40 different sites in Kenya, Mozambique, Maldives and Sumatra. All parameters used in this study were collected either during a single visit to the reef or from freely available online data sources. The resilience of these reefs in terms of recovery potential and resistance to bleaching were compared with five explanatory factors, intended to encompass a range of human stressors, past climatic stress and natural variation in resilience: local human population density, distance to the mainland, past acute thermal stress, protected status and reef zone. Local population, distance to the mainland and zone were significantly correlated with reef resilience. Reefs with the highest recovery potential were associated with low population densities, and offshore locations. Sites with the highest resistance were in lagoons and nearer to the mainland. This study demonstrates how multiple stressors on coral reefs can be investigated and analysed using minimal resources. The findings of this study point towards conservation actions, including the prioritisation of protecting Enggano, Sumatra, as an MPA, and boosting resilience in Vamizi, Mozambique, through increasing herbivore biomass.


Cowburn, B., A Rocha International, United Kingdom, benjamindcowburn@gmail.com

Obura, D., CORDIO East Africa, Kenya, dobura@cordioea.net


Oral presentation

Session #:36
Date: 06/23/2016
Time: 14:45
Location: 306 A/B

Presentation is given by student: No