Coral Reefs

, 30:1101 | Cite as

Disappearance of Acropora from the Marquesas (French Polynesia) during the last deglacial period

  • G. Cabioch
  • C. C. Wallace
  • M. T. McCulloch
  • H. Zibrowius
  • P. Laboute
  • B. Richer de Forges


The major reef-building coral genus Acropora has never been recorded, living or fossil, from the Marquesas Islands in the central Pacific Ocean, which are characterized by limited modern reef formations. During the “Musorstom 9” cruise in 1997, investigations of marine platforms representing drowned reef systems revealed for the first time the presence of two Acropora species as fossils at seven Marquesas islands. The predominant species was Acropora valida, which was widespread in the archipelago and dated between 7.4 and 48.6 ka, providing evidence of an earlier Pacific distribution pattern broader than previously observed. It is proposed that disappearance of Acropora after 7.4 ka was linked to climatic events probably ENSO events controlling the distribution of corals and coral reefs in the eastern Pacific without excluding alternatively the effects of an increase in sea-level rise.


Marquesas Acropora Fossil Climate Biogeography 



The authors wish to thank the director of IRD-Tahiti and Captain R. Proner and crew of the IRD R/V “Alis” for their help and assistance during the cruise. Paul Muir and Antoine Jorre are thanked for assistance with photography and SEM of the fossils and Paul Muir with figures. We greatly appreciate the assistance provided by Dr Graham Mortimer in the U-series age determinations undertaken at the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University. Our thanks are extended to the Topic Editor of Coral Reefs, B. Riegl, and two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Cabioch
    • 1
  • C. C. Wallace
    • 2
  • M. T. McCulloch
    • 3
  • H. Zibrowius
    • 4
  • P. Laboute
    • 6
  • B. Richer de Forges
    • 5
  1. 1.IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement), UMR LOCEAN/IPSLBondy CedexFrance
  2. 2.Museum of Tropical QueenslandTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.School of Earth and EnvironmentThe University of Western Australia and ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef StudiesCrawleyAustralia
  4. 4.Station Marine d’Endoume, rue de la Batterie des LionsMarseilleFrance
  5. 5.IRD, UMR 7138Nouméa CedexNew Caledonia
  6. 6.Nouméa CedexNew Caledonia

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