Advertisement

Coral Reefs

pp 1–15 | Cite as

Linking climate variability and growth in coral skeletal records from the Great Barrier Reef

  • Emma V. Reed
  • Julia E. Cole
  • Janice M. Lough
  • Diane Thompson
  • Neal E. Cantin
Report

Abstract

The remoteness of the northern Great Barrier Reef makes observations of environmental change and coral health sparse, but provides opportunities for paleoclimate and paleoecology proxies to contribute new insights into coral health in a changing climate. These proxies include geochemical measures (δ18O, δ13C, and Sr/Ca) that track sea surface temperature (SST), salinity, and physiological processes; luminescence, which records freshwater input; and annual growth parameters (density, extension, and calcification). Merging these approaches provides insight into the historical role of environmental variability in coral health. This study uses Porites spp. corals from five sites on the northern Great Barrier Reef (12–13.5°S) to produce combined monthly resolved records of geochemistry, growth banding, and luminescence between 1972 and 2008. We demonstrate that SST reconstructed from Sr/Ca accurately captures Indo-Pacific Warm Pool variability, and hydrological proxies (luminescence and seawater δ18O) accurately reconstruct summer rainfall and river discharge in nearshore corals. Concurrent Sr/Ca minima and density and luminescence peaks from two sites demonstrate that high-density bands are generally formed during summer at these sites, which aids the development of future coral paleoclimate and paleoecology chronologies. Regional hydrological proxies showed more consistent responses to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events than SST proxies, in agreement with instrumental data. Because these corals, like instrumental records, show no consistently large ENSO heat extremes, we find no consistent growth anomalies during historical ENSO events. Our results highlight the unusual nature of recent widespread and severe coral bleaching and establish groundwork for exploring the response of northern GBR corals to past climate variations.

Keywords

Great Barrier Reef Paleoclimate Paleoecology Densitometry Sr/Ca δ18

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank S. Hlohowskyj, S. Lemieux, N. Schmidt, B. Vaughn, C. Urban, and E. Matson for their expertise in the production of data sets; K. Fabricius for collected coral cores; and J. Russell and W. Beck for their invaluable advice. Funding was provided by the US National Science Foundation through the Ocean Sciences program, an ATM CAREER grant, and the East Asia & Pacific Summer Institute. Additional support came from a National Aeronautics and Space Administration/University of Arizona Space Grant Fellowship, Biosphere-2, the University of Arizona (Department of Geosciences and Water, Energy, and Environment Solutions program), and Boston University Department of Earth & Environment. Data is available from the NOAA National Centers for 745 Environmental Information paleoclimatology data sets.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

338_2018_1755_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.7 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 10154 kb)

References

  1. Alibert C, McCulloch MT (1997) Strontium/calcium ratios in modern Porites corals from the Great Barrier Reef as a proxy for sea surface temperature: Calibration of the thermometer and monitoring of ENSO. Paleoceanography 12:345–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alibert C, Kinsley L, Fallon S, McCulloch MT, Berkelmans R, McAllister F (2003) Source of trace element variability in Great Barrier Reef corals affected by the Burdekin flood plumes. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 67:231–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allison N, Finch AA (2004) High-resolution Sr/Ca records in modern Porites lobata corals: Effects of skeletal extension rate and architecture. Geochem Geophys Geosys 5:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Australian Bureau of Meteorology (2016a) Climate Data Online, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/index.shtml, Accessed 07/16/2016
  5. Australian Bureau of Meteorology (2016b) Water Data Online, http://www.bom.gov.au/waterdata, Accessed 07/16/2016
  6. Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) (2016a) Sea Water Temperature Logger Data at Night Island, Great Barrier Reef From 02 Dec 1996 to 22 Oct 2013, http://data.aims.gov.au/metadataviewer/faces/view.xhtml?uuid=aa34c88d-d547-494b-b9cd-147efaf2e625, Accessed 06/17/2016
  7. Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) (2016b) Sea Water Temperature Logger Data at Sand Bank No. 7, Great Barrier Reef From 07 Dec 1996 to 26 Oct 2013, http://data.aims.gov.au/metadataviewer/faces/view.xhtml?uuid=fd72476c-3def-412d-b1ca-32da38f59626, Accessed 06/17/2016
  8. Barnes DJ, Taylor RB, Lough JM (2003) Measurement of luminescence in coral skeletons. J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 295:91–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beck JW, Edwards RL, Ito E, Taylor FW, Recy J, Rougerie F, Joannot P, Henin C (1992) Sea-surface temperature from coral skeletal strontium/calcium ratios. Science 257:644–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brinkman R, Wolanski E, Deleersnijder E, McAllister F, Skirving W (2002) Oceanic inflow from the Coral Sea into the Great Barrier Reef. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 54:655–668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cahyarini SY, Pfeiffer M, Timm O, Dullo W-C, Schonberg DG (2008) Reconstructing seawater δ18O from paired coral δ18O and Sr/Ca ratios: Methods, error analysis and problems, with examples from Tahiti (French Polynesia) and Timor (Indonesia). Geochim Cosmochim Acta 72:2841–2853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cai W, van Rensch P, Cowan T, Hendon HH (2011) Teleconnection pathways of ENSO and the IOD and the mechanisms for impacts on Australian rainfall. J Clim 24:3910–3923CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cantin NE, Lough JM (2014) Surviving coral bleaching events: Porites growth anomalies on the Great Barrier Reef. PLoS One 9:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carton JA, Giese B (2008) A reanalysis of ocean climate using Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA). Mon Weath Rev 136:2999–3017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Catto JL, Nicholls N, Jakob C (2012) North Australian sea surface temperatures and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation in observations and models. J Clim 25:5011–5029CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chalker BE, Barnes DJ (1990) Gamma densitometry for the measurement of skeletal density. Coral Reefs 9:11–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Climate Prediction Center, Center for Weather and Climate Prediction, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (2017) Cold & warm episodes by season, http://origin.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ONI_v5.php. Accessed 23 Oct 2017
  18. Cole JE, Dunbar RB, McClanahan TR, Muthiga NA (2000) Tropical Pacific forcing of decadal SST variability in the western Indian Ocean over the past two centuries. Science 287:617–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cooper TF, De’Ath G, Fabricius KE, Lough JM (2008) Declining coral calcification in massive Porites in two nearshore regions of the northern Great Barrier Reef. Glob Chang Biol 14:529–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Damassa TD, Cole JE, Barnett HR, Ault TR, McClanahan TR (2006) Enhanced multidecadal climate variability in the seventeenth century from coral isotope records in the western Indian Ocean. Paleoceanography 21:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dassié EP, Lemley GM, Linsley BK (2013) The Suess effect in Fiji coral δ13C and its potential as a tracer for CO2 uptake. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 370:30–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dawdy DR, Matalas NC (1964) Statistical and probability analysis of hydrologic data, part III: Analysis of variance, covariance and time series. In: Te Chow V (ed) Handbook of applied hydrology, a compendium of water-resources technology. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, USA, pp 8.68–8.90Google Scholar
  23. De’ath G, Lough JM, Fabricius KE (2009) Declining coral calcification on the Great Barrier Reef. Science 323:116–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. DeLong KL, Quinn TM, Taylor FW (2007) Reconstruction twentieth-century sea surface temperature variability in the southwest Pacific: A replication study using multiple coral Sr/Ca records from New Caledonia. Paleoceanography 22:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. DeLong KL, Quinn TM, Taylor FW, Lin K, Shen C-C (2012) Sea surface temperature variability in the southwest tropical Pacific since AD 1649. Nat Clim Chang 2:799–804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. DeLong KL, Quinn TM, Taylor FW, Shen C-C, Lin K (2013) Improving coral-base paleoclimate reconstructions by replicating 350 years of coral Sr/Ca variations. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 373:6–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. DeLong KL, Flannery JA, Poore RZ, Quinn TM, Maupin CR, Lin K, Shen C-C (2014) A reconstruction of sea surface temperature variability in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico from 1734 to 2008 C.E. using cross-dated Sr/Ca records from the coral Siderastrea siderea. Paleoceanography 29:403–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Donner SD (2011) An evaluation of the effect of recent temperature variability on the prediction of coral bleaching events. Ecological Applications 21:1718–1730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Felis T, Lohmann G, Kuhnert H, Lorenz SJ, Scholz D, Pätzold J, Al-Rousan SA, Al-Moghrabi SM (2004) Increased seasonality in Middle East temperatures during the last interglacial period. Nature 429:164–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gagan MK, Chivas AR, Isdale PJ (1994) High-resolution isotopic records from corals using ocean temperature and mass-spawning chronometers. Earth Planet Sci Lett 121:549–558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gagan MK, Dunbar GB, Suzuki A (2012) The effect of skeletal mass accumulation in Porites on coral Sr/Ca and δ18O paleothermometry. Paleoceanography 27,  https://doi.org/10.1029/2011pa002215
  32. Goodkin NF, Hughen KA, Cohen AL (2007) A multicoral calibration method to approximate a universal equation relating Sr/Ca and growth rate to sea surface temperature. Paleoceanography 22:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) (2015) Great Barrier Reef Features, http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/geoportal/catalog/main/home.page, Accessed 07/20/2016
  34. Grottoli AG (2002) Effect of light and brine shrimp on skeletal δ13C in the Hawaiian coral Porites compressa: A tank experiment. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 66:1955–1967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Grove CA, Brummer G-J, Kasper S, Zinke J, Pfeiffer M, Schönberg (2013) Confounding effects of coral growth and high SST variability on skeletal Sr/Ca: Implications for coral paleothermometry. Geochem Geophys Geosys 14:1277–1293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Guilderson TP, Schrag DP (1998) Abrupt shift in subsurface temperatures in the tropical Pacific associated with changes in El Niño. Science 281:240–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hathorne EC, Gagnon A, Felis T, Adkins J, Asami R, Boer W, Caillon N, Case D, Cobb KM, Douville E, deMenocal P, Eisenhauer A, Garbe-Schönberg D, Geibert W, Goldstein S, Hughen K, Inoue M, Kawahata H, Kölling M, Cornec FL, Linsley BK, McGregor HV, Montagna P, Nurhati IS, Quinn TM, Raddatz J, Rebaubier H, Robinson L, Sadekov A, Sherrell R, Sinclair D, Tudhope AW, Wei G, Wong H, Wu HC, You C-F (2013) Interlaboratory study for coral Sr/Ca and other element/Ca ratio measurements. Geochem Geophys Geosys 14:3730–3750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Howell P, Pisias N, Ballance J, Baughman J, Ochs L (2006) ARAND Time-Series Analysis Software. Brown University, Providence, RIGoogle Scholar
  39. Hu D, Wu L, Cai W, Sen Gupta A, Ganachaud A, Qiu B, Gordon AL, Lin X, Chen Z, Hu S, Wang G, Wang Q, Sprintall J, Qu T, Kashino Y, Wang F, Kessler WS (2015) Pacific western boundary currents and their roles in climate. Nature 522:299–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hu J, Emile-Geay J, Partin J (2017) Correlation-based interpretations of paleoclimate data—where statistics meet past climates. Earth Planet Sci Lett 459:362–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hughes TP, Kerry J, Álvarez-Noriega M, Álvarez-Romero J, Anderson K, Baird A, Babcock R, Beger M, Bellwood D, Berkelmans R, Bridge T, Butler I, Byrne M, Cantin N, Comeau S, Connolly S, Cumming G, Dalton S, Diaz-Pulido G, Eakin CM, Figueira W, Gilmour J, Harrison H, Heron S, Hoey AS, Hobbs J-P, Hoogenboom M, Kennedy E, Kuo C-Y, Lough J, Lowe R, Liu G, Malcolm McCulloch HM, McWilliam M, Pandolfi J, Pears R, Pratchett M, Schoepf V, Simpson T, Skirving W, Sommer B, Torda G, Wachenfeld D, Willis B, Wilson S (2017) Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals. Nature 543:373–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Johnson JE, Marshall PA (eds) (2007) Climate change and the Great Barrier Reef: A vulnerability assessment. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Australian Greenhouse Office. AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  43. Klein R, Loya Y (1991) Skeletal growth and density patterns of two Porites corals form the Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea. 77:253–259Google Scholar
  44. Knutson DW, Buddemeier RW, Smith SV (1972) Coral chronometers: Seasonal growth bands in reef corals. Science 177:270–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kuffner IB, Roberts KE, Flannery JA, Morrison JM, Richey JN (2017) Fidelity of the Sr/Ca proxy in recording ocean temperature in the western Atlantic coral Siderastrea siderea. Geochem Geophys Geosys 18:178–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Linsley BK, Wellington GM, Schrag DP (2000) Decadal sea surface temperature variability in the subtropical south Pacific from 1726 to 1997 A.D. Science 290:1145–1148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Linsley BK, Wu HC, Dassié EP, Schrag DP (2015) Decadal changes in south Pacific sea surface temperatures and the relationship to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and upper ocean heat content. Geophys Res Lett 42:2358–2366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lough JM (1998) Coastal climate of northwest Australia and comparison with the Great Barrier Reef: 1960 to 1992. Coral Reefs 17:351–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lough JM (2007a) Tropical river flow and rainfall reconstructions from coral luminescence: Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Paleoceanography 22:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lough JM (2007b) Chapter 2: Climate and Climate Change on the Great Barrier Reef. In Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef, eds. Johnson JE and Marshall PA. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Australian Greenhouse Office, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  51. Lough JM (2008) Coral calcification from skeletal records revisited. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 373:257–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lough JM (2011a) Great Barrier Reef coral luminescence reveals rainfall variability over northeastern Australia since the 17th century. Paleoceanography 26:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lough JM (2011b) Measured coral luminescence as a freshwater proxy: comparison with visual indices and a potential age artefact. Coral Reefs 30:169–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lough JM, Barnes DJ (1990) Intra-annual timing of density band formation of Porites coral from the central Great Barrier Reef. J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 135:35–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Lough JM, Cooper TF (2011) New insights from coral growth band studies in an era of rapid environmental change. Earth-Science Rev 108:170–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lough JM, Barnes DJ, Devereux MJ, Tobin BJ, Tobin S (1999) Variability in growth characteristics of massive Porites on the Great Barrier Reef. CRC Reef Research Technical Report, TownsvilleGoogle Scholar
  57. Lough JM, Barnes DJ, McAllister FA (2002) Luminescent lines in corals from the Great Barrier Reef provide spatial and temporal records of reefs affected by land runoff. Coral Reefs 21:333–343Google Scholar
  58. Lough JM, Lewis SE, Cantin NE (2015) Freshwater impacts in the central Great Barrier Reef: 1648–2011. Coral Reefs 34:739–751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Marshall PA, Baird AH (2000) Bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef: differential susceptibilities among taxa. Coral Reefs 19:155–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. McCulloch M, Fallon S, Wyndham T, Hendy E, Lough J, Barnes D (2003) Coral record of increased sediment flux to the inner Great Barrier Reef since European settlement. Nature 421:727–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. McKay NP, Kaufman DS, Michelutti N (2008) Biogenic silica concentration as a high-resolution, quantitative temperature proxy at Hallet Lake, south-central Alaska. Geophys Res Lett 35:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Meko DM, Touchan R, Anchukaitis KJ (2011) Seascorr: A MATLAB program for identifying the seasonal climate signal in annual tree-ring time series. Computers & Geosciences 37:1234–1241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Palmer MR, Edmond JM (1989) The strontium isotope budget of the modern ocean. Earth Planet Sci Lett 92:11–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Quinn TM, Taylor FW, Crowley TJ (2006) Coral-based climate variability in the Western Pacific Warm Pool since 1867. J Geophys Res 111:1–11Google Scholar
  65. Reynolds RW, Rayner NA, Smith TM, Stokes DC, Wang W (2002) An improved in situ and satellite SST analysis for climate. J Clim 15:1609–1625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Reynolds RW, Smith TM, Liu C, Chelton DB, Casey KS, Schlax MG (2007) Daily high-resolution-blended analyses for sea surface temperature. J Clim 20:5473–5496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Risbey JS, Pook MJ, McIntosh PC, Wheeler MC, Hendon HH (2009) On the remote drivers of rainfall variability in Australia. Mon Weather Rev 137:3233–3253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rosenfeld M, Yam R, Shemesh A, Loya Y (2003) Implication of water depth on stable isotope composition and skeletal density banding patterns in a Porites lutea colony: results from a long-term translocation experiment. Coral Reefs 22:337–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Russon T, Tudhope AW, Hegerl GC, Collins M, Tindall J (2013) Inter-annual tropical Pacific climate variability in an isotope-enabled CGCM: Implications for interpreting coral stable oxygen isotope records of ENSO. Clim Past 9:1543–1557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Schrag DP (1999) Rapid analysis of high-precision Sr/Ca ratios in corals and other marine carbonates. Paleoceanography 14:97–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Scoffin TP, Tudhope AW, Brown BE (1989) Fluorescent and Skeletal Density Banding in Porites lutea From Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Coral Reefs 7:169–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Scoffin TP, Tudhope AW, Brown BE, Chansang H, Cheeney RF (1992) Patterns and possible environmental controls of skeletogenesis of Porites lutea, South Thailand. Coral Reefs 11:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Smith TM, Reynolds RW, Peterson TC, Lawrimore J (2008) Improvements to NOAA’s Historical Merged Land-Ocean Temp Analysis (1880–2006). J Clim 21:2283–2296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Swart PK, Greer L, Rosenheim BE, Moses CS, Waite AJ, Winter A, Dodge RE, Helmle K (2010) The 13C Suess effect in scleractinian corals mirror changes in the anthropogenic CO2 inventory of the surface oceans. Geophys Res Lett 37:1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Tanzil JTI, Lee JN, Brown BE, Quax R, Kaandorp JA, Lough JM, Todd PA (2016) Luminescence and density banding patterns in massive Porites corals around the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Southeast Asia. Limnol Oceanogr 61:2003–2026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Thompson DM, van Woesik R (2009) Corals escape bleaching in regions that recently and historically experienced frequent thermal stress. Proc R Soc B 276:2893–2901CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Tierney JE, Abram NJ, Anchukaitis KJ, Evans MN, Giry C, Halimeda Kilbourne K, Saenger CP, Wu HC, Zinke J (2015) Tropical sea surface temperatures for the past four centuries reconstructed from coral archives. Paleoceanography 30:226–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. United States Geological Survey (USGS) HydroSHEDS (2008) Australia 15-Second River Network, http://hydrosheds.cr.usgs.gov/index.php, Accessed 07/20/2016
  79. Urban FE, Cole JE, Overpeck JT (2000) Influence of mean climate change on climate variability from a 155-year tropical Pacific coral record. Nature 407:989–993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Wang H, Mehta VM (2008) Decadal variability of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool and its association with atmospheric and oceanic variability in the NCEP–NCAR and SODA reanalyses. J Clim 21:5545–5565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Webster PJ, Magaña VO, Palmer TN, Shukla J, Tomas RA, Yanai M, Yasunari T (1998) Monsoons: Processes, predictability, and the prospects for prediction. J Geophys Res Ocean 103:14451–14510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Wellington GM, Glynn PW (1983) Environmental influences on skeletal banding in eastern Pacific (Panama) corals. Coral Reefs 1:215–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Xu Y-Y, Pearson S, Kilbourne KH (2015) Assessing coral Sr/Ca-SST calibration techniques using the species Diploria strigosa. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 440:353–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and EnvironmentBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceTownsville MCAustralia
  5. 5.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations