Coral Reefs

, 28:999

Effect of colony size and surrounding substrate on corals experiencing a mild bleaching event on Heron Island reef flat (southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia)

  • J. C. Ortiz
  • M. del C. Gomez-Cabrera
  • O. Hoegh-Guldberg
Note

Abstract

In January–May 2006, Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef experienced a mild bleaching event. The effect of colony size, morphology and surrounding substrate on the extent of bleaching was explored. In contrast with previous studies, colony size did not influence bleaching sensitivity, suggesting that there may be a threshold of light and temperature stress beyond which size plays a role. Also contrasting with previous studies, massive corals were more affected by bleaching than branching corals. Massive corals surrounded by sand were more affected than the ones surrounded by rubble or dead coral. It is hypothesized that light reflectance from sand increases stress levels experienced by the colonies. This effect is maximized in massive corals as opposed to branching corals that form dense thickets on Heron Island. These results emphasize the importance of the ecological dynamics of coral communities experiencing low, moderate and high levels of bleaching for the understanding of how coral communities may change under the stress of climate change.

Keywords

Coral bleaching Colony size Coral growth morph Coral-surrounding substrate 

References

  1. Aeby GS, Kenyon JC, Maragos JE, Potts DC (2003) First record of mass coral bleaching in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Coral Reefs 22:256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrefouet S, Robinson JA (2003) The use of Space Shuttle images to improve cloud detection in mapping of tropical coral reef environments. Int J Remote Sens 24:143–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bak RPM, Meesters EH (1998) Coral population structure: the hidden information of colony size-frequency distributions. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 162:301–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bak RPM, Meesters EH (1999) Population structure as a response of coral communities to global changes. Am Zool 39:56–65Google Scholar
  5. Berkelmans R, Oliver JK (1999) Large-scale bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 18:55–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berkelmans R, De’ath G, Kininmonth S, Skirving WJ (2004) A comparison of the 1998 and 2002 coral bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef: spatial correlation, patterns, and predictions. Coral Reefs 23:74–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Donner SD, Skirving WJ, Little CM, Oppenheimer M, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2005) Global assessment of coral bleaching and required rates of adaptation under climate change. Global Change Biol 11:2251–2265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Faure G, Guillaume M, Payri C, Thomassin BA, Van Praet M, Vasseur P (1984) Massive bleaching and death of corals in the Mayotte Reef ecosystem (southwestern Indian Ocean). C R Acad Sci Serie III Sci Vie 299:637–642Google Scholar
  9. Fitt WK, Warner ME (1995) Bleaching patterns of four species of Caribbean reef corals. Biol Bull 189:298–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Glynn PW (1983) Extensive “bleaching” and death of reef corals on the Pacific Coast of Panama. Environ Conserv 10:149–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Glynn PW (1996) Coral reef bleaching: facts, hypotheses and implications. Global Change Biol 2:495–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goreau TJ (1992) Bleaching and reef community change in Jamaica: 1951–1991. Am Zool 32:683–695Google Scholar
  13. Goreau TJ, MacFarlane AH (1990) Reduced growth rate of Montastrea annularis following the 1997–1998 coral-bleaching event. Coral Reefs 8:211–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hill T, Lewicki P (2006) Statistics: Methods and Applications. StatSoft, Inc, TulsaGoogle Scholar
  15. Hoegh-Guldberg O (1999) Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world’s coral reefs. Mar Freshw Res 50:839–866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hoegh-Guldberg O, Salvat B (1995) Periodic mass-bleaching and elevated sea temperatures: bleaching of outer reef slope communities in Moorea, French Polynesia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 121:181–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jones RJ, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Larkum AWD, Schreiber U (1998) Temperature-induced bleaching of corals begins with impairment of the CO2 fixation mechanism in zooxanthellae. Plant Cell Environ 21:1219–1230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Leggat W, Ainsworth T, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2006) Aerial exposure influences bleaching patterns. Coral Reefs 25:452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Loya Y, Sakai K, Yamazato K, Nakano Y, Sambali H, van Woesik R (2001) Coral bleaching: the winners and the losers. Ecol Lett 4:122–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marshall PA, Baird AH (2000) Bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef: differential susceptibilities among taxa. Coral Reefs 19:155–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McGrath TA, Smith GW (2003) Comparisons of the 1995 and 1998 coral bleaching events on the patch reefs of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Rev Biol Trop 51:67–75PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Miller J, Waara R, Muller E, Rogers C (2006) Coral bleaching and disease combine to cause extensive mortality on reefs in US Virgin Islands. Coral Reefs 25:418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mumby PJ, Green EP, Edwards AJ, Clark CD (1997) Coral reef habitat-mapping: how much detail can remote sensing provide? Mar Biol 130:193–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Phinn SR, Dekker AG, Brando VE, Roelfsema CM (2005) Mapping water quality and substrate cover in optically complex coastal and reef waters: an integrated approach. Mar Pollut Bull 51:459–469CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Phongsuwan N (1998) Extensive coral mortality as a result of bleaching in the Andaman Sea in 1995. Coral Reefs 17:70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shenkar N, Fine M, Loya Y (2005) Size matters: bleaching dynamics of the coral Oculina patagonica. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 294:181–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Siebeck UE, Marshall NJ, Kluter A, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2006) Monitoring coral bleaching using a colour reference card. Coral Reefs 25:453–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Szmant AM, Gassman NJ (1990) The effects of prolonged bleaching on the tissue biomass and reproduction of the reef coral Montastrea annularis. Coral Reefs 8:217–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Veron JEN (2000) Corals of the world. Australian Institute of Marine Science, TownsvilleGoogle Scholar
  30. Wilkinson CR (2000) Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2000. Australian Institute of Marine Science, TownsvilleGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. Ortiz
    • 1
  • M. del C. Gomez-Cabrera
    • 1
  • O. Hoegh-Guldberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Marine StudiesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations