Abstract


FREQUENCY OF MAJOR STRESS EVENTS ON THE GREAT BARRIER REEF: LONG-TERM TRENDS IN CALCIFICATION AND COMMUNITY COMPOSITION AS INDICATORS OF REEF RECOVERY

Defining, measuring and monitoring coral reef health is fundamental to understanding the future of coral reefs in a changing ocean. Long-term trends in reef health improve our understanding of how dynamic reef processes alter the composition and productivity of reef ecosystems in order to identify resilient reef habitats for management. In this study we combine two key indicators of coral reef health, annual trends in colony calcification rates and benthic composition and cover, with environmental factors to document and assess the frequency of major disturbances and their impacts across decadal and century time-scales. Calcification rates for the Great Barrier Reef suffered an 11% decline between the late 20th and early 21st century, following two major widespread bleaching events in 1998 and 2002. Calcification records from a subset of these coral colonies, collected a decade later, indicate that calcification rates recovered from these thermal stress events within 3-4 years, returning to baseline calcification rates. These skeletal growth records provide a long-term assessment of how individual coral colonies respond to stress events, enabling us to quantify rates of recovery. In this presentation we will compare trends in coral calcification with shifts in community composition to understand and define the frequency and severity of major disturbances and assess recovery trends on reefs along the Great Barrier Reef.

Authors

Cantin, N. E., Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia, n.cantin@aims.gov.au

Heron, S., NOAA Coral Reef Watch, Australia, scott.heron@noaa.gov

Osborne, K., Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia, k.osborne@aims.gov.au

Logan, M., Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia, m.logan@aims.gov.au

Lough, J. M., Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia, j.lough@aims.gov.au

Details

Oral presentation

Session #:17
Date: 06/23/2016
Time: 14:15
Location: 313 A

Presentation is given by student: No