Coral Reefs

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 93–103

Seasonal monitoring of coral–algae interactions in fringing reefs of the Gulf of Aqaba, Northern Red Sea


DOI: 10.1007/s00338-009-0556-y

Cite this article as:
Haas, A., el-Zibdah, M. & Wild, C. Coral Reefs (2010) 29: 93. doi:10.1007/s00338-009-0556-y


This paper presents seasonal in situ monitoring data on benthic coverage and coralalgae interactions in high-latitude fringing reefs of the Northern Red Sea over a period of 19 months. More than 30% of all hermatypic corals were involved in interaction with benthic reef algae during winter compared to 17% during summer, but significant correlation between the occurrence of coralalgae interactions and monitored environmental factors such as temperature and inorganic nutrient availability was not detected. Between 5 and 10-m water depth, the macroalgae Caulerpa serrulata,Peyssonnelia capensis and filamentous turf algae represented almost 100% of the benthic algae involved in interaction with corals. Turf algae were most frequently (between 77 and 90% of all interactions) involved in interactions with hermatypic corals and caused most tissue damage to them. Maximum coral tissue loss of 0.75% day−1 was observed for Acropora-turf algae interaction during fall, while an equilibrium between both groups of organisms appeared during summer. Slow-growing massive corals were more resistant against negative algal influence than fast-growing branching corals. Branching corals of the genus Acropora partly exhibited a newly observed phenotypic plasticity mechanism, by development of a bulge towards the competing organism, when in interaction with algae. These findings may contribute to understand the dynamics of phase shifts in coral reefs by providing seasonally resolved in situ monitoring data on the abundance and the competitive dynamic of coralalgae interactions.


Coral reefCoralAlgaeInteractionGenus-specific differencesEnvironmental factors

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Coral Reef Ecology Group (CORE), GeoBio-Center & Department of Earth and Environmental ScienceLudwig-Maximilians UniversityMunichGermany
  2. 2.Yarmouk UniversityAqabaJordan