Cyclone damage at mesophotic depths on Myrmidon Reef (GBR)
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KeywordsCyclone Continental Shelf Great Barrier Reef Coral Cover Coral Community
Mesophotic reefs often escape the effects of storm-induced waves, which may play an important role in their persistence over time and highlights their potential as “refugia” (Bongaerts et al. 2010). Here, we present the first observations of extensive storm damage at mesophotic depths on the Great Barrier Reef, demonstrating that great depths do not necessarily guarantee protection from severe storms. Given that the severity and frequency of cyclones are predicted to increase due to climate change, we need a better understanding of the growth and recovery rates of coral communities in deeper water.
We would like to thank David Whillas, Kyra Hay, Linda Tonk, Jaap Barendrecht, Terry Done, David Hopley, David Harris, Susie Green, Russell Kelley, and “Reef Connections.” The study was undertaken as part of the “Catlin Seaview Survey” funded by the Catlin Group Limited and the Global Change Institute.