Coral Reefs

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 209–211 | Cite as

Rapid phase-shift reversal on a Jamaican coral reef

  • Joshua A. Idjadi
  • Sarah C. Lee
  • John F. Bruno
  • William F. Precht
  • Laurie Allen-Requa
  • Peter J. Edmunds
Note

Abstract

Many Caribbean reefs have experienced a phase-shift in community structure, the principle features being a decline in coral cover and an increase in macroalgal biomass. However, one Jamaican reef—Dairy Bull on the north shore near Discovery Bay—is once again dominated by scleractinian corals and several key species have returned. Living coral cover at 6–8 m depth at Dairy Bull has doubled over the past 9 years and is now ~54%. The absolute cover of Acropora cervicornis was <1% in 1995, but increased to ~11% by January 2004. During this time the cover of macroalgae decreased by 90%, from 45 to 6%. We speculate that long-lived colonies of Montastraea annularis may have facilitated the recovery of this reef by providing structural refugia.

Keywords

Acropora cervicornis Coral reef Montastraea annularis Phase-shift 

References

  1. Aronson RB, Precht WF (2001) Evolutionary paleoecology of Caribbean coral reefs. In: Allmon WD, Bottjer DJ (eds) Evolutionary paleoecology: the ecological context of macroevolutionary change. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 171–233Google Scholar
  2. Bechtel JD, Gayle P, Kaufman L (2006) The return of Diadema antillarum to Discovery Bay: patterns of distribution and abundance. In: Proceedings of the 10th international coral reef symposium, Okinawa (in press)Google Scholar
  3. Bruno JF, Bertness MD (2001) Habitat modification and facilitation in benthic marine communities. In: Bertness MD, Hay ME, Gaines SD (eds) Marine community ecology. Sinauer, Sunderland pp 201–218Google Scholar
  4. Cho LL, Woodley JD (2002) Recovery of reefs at Discovery Bay, Jamaica and the role of Diadema antillarum. In: Proceedings of the 9th international coral reef symposium Bali 1:331–338Google Scholar
  5. Carpenter RC, Edmunds PJ (2006) Local and regional scale recovery of Diadema promotes recruitment of scleractinian corals. Ecol Lett 9:271–280PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Edmunds PJ, Bruno JF (1996) The importance of sampling scale in ecology: Kilometer-wide variation in coral reef communities. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 143:165–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Edmunds PJ, Carpenter RC (2001) Recovery of Diadema antillarum reduces macroalgal cover and increases abundance of juvenile corals on a Caribbean reef. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:5067–5071PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gardner TA, Côté IM, Gill JA, Grant A, Watkinson AR (2003) Long-term region-wide declines in Caribbean corals. Science 301:958–960PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hughes TP (1994) Catastrophes, phase-shifts, and large-scale degradation of a Caribbean coral reef. Science 265:1547–1551PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Huston MA (1985) Patterns of species diversity in relation to depth at Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Bull Mar Sci 37:928–935Google Scholar
  11. Rylaarsdam KW (1983) Life histories and abundance patterns of colonial corals on Jamaican reefs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 13:249–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Woodley JD, Chornesky EA, Clifford PA, Jackson JBC, Kaufman LS, Knowlton N, Lang JC, Pearson MP, Porter JW, Rooney MC, Rylaarsdam KW, Tunnicliffe VJ, Wahle CM, Wulff JL, Curtis ASG, Dallmeyer MD, Jupp BP, Koehl MAR, Neigel J, Sides EM (1981) Hurricane Allen’s impact on Jamaican coral reefs. Science 214:749–755PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua A. Idjadi
    • 1
  • Sarah C. Lee
    • 2
  • John F. Bruno
    • 2
  • William F. Precht
    • 3
  • Laurie Allen-Requa
    • 4
  • Peter J. Edmunds
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Biological ScienceUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Marine SciencesThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Ecological Sciences DivisionPBS&JMiamiUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiologyCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations