Coral Reefs

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 181–186 | Cite as

Thermal stress markers in Colpophyllianatans provide an archive of site-specific bleaching events

Note

Abstract

Tropical coral reef monitoring relies heavily on in situ diver observations. However, in many reef regions resources are not available to regularly monitor reefs. This lack of historical baseline data makes it difficult to determine how different reefs respond to environmental stressors and what the implications are for management. To test whether coral cores could be used to identify bleaching events retrospectively, three sites in Tobago with pre-existing reef data including water quality and bleaching observations were identified. Colpophyllianatans cores were examined for growth anomalies which occurred during periods of thermal stress. If present, anomalies were compared to in situ, real-time bleaching observations and water quality data. Interestingly, sites with better water quality during the 2005 thermal anomaly were less prone to bleaching. We suggest that by reducing terrestrial run-off (e.g., sediment and nutrients), and therefore improving marine water quality, reef managers could enhance near-shore coral reef resilience during high-temperature events.

Keywords

Sclerochronology Caribbean Temperature anomaly Terrestrial runoff Monitoring Reef management 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennie Mallela
    • 1
    • 2
  • Steffen Hetzinger
    • 3
  • Jochen Halfar
    • 4
  1. 1.Research School of BiologyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Research School of Earth SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung KielKielGermany
  4. 4.Department of Chemical and Physical SciencesUniversity of Toronto at MississaugaMississaugaCanada

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