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Coral Reefs

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 527–532 | Cite as

Contrasting patterns of changes in abundance following a bleaching event between juvenile and adult scleractinian corals

  • Mariana Álvarez-Noriega
  • Andrew H. Baird
  • Tom C. L. Bridge
  • Maria Dornelas
  • Luisa Fontoura
  • Oscar Pizarro
  • Kristin Precoda
  • Damaris Torres-Pulliza
  • Rachael M. Woods
  • Kyle Zawada
  • Joshua S. Madin
Note

Abstract

Coral bleaching events have caused extensive mortality on reefs around the world. Juvenile corals are generally less affected by bleaching than their conspecific adults and therefore have the potential to buffer population declines and seed recovery. Here, we use juvenile and adult abundance data at 20 sites encircling Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, before and after the 2016 bleaching event to quantify: (1) correlates of changes in juvenile abundance following a bleaching event; (2) differences in susceptibility to extreme thermal stress between juveniles and adults. Declines in juvenile abundance were lower at sites closer to the 20-m-depth contour and higher for Acropora and Pocillopora juveniles than for other taxa. Juveniles of Acropora and Goniastrea were less susceptible to bleaching than adults, but the opposite was true for Pocillopora spp. and taxa in the family Merulinidae. Our results indicate that the potential of the juvenile life stage to act as a buffer during bleaching events is taxon-dependent.

Keywords

Coral reefs Climate change Ecology Thermal stress Juvenile corals 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the Lizard Island Research Station staff for their support. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback. Funding was provided by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CE140100020) and the Templeton Foundation (Grant #60501, ‘Putting the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis to the Test’). MD is grateful to the Scottish Funding Council (MASTS, grant reference HR09011) and the European Research Council (grant BioTIME). The study was partially supported by Australian Research Council grants DP1093448 and FT110100609.

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_1677_MOESM1_ESM.docx (58 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 57 kb)

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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariana Álvarez-Noriega
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew H. Baird
    • 2
  • Tom C. L. Bridge
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maria Dornelas
    • 4
  • Luisa Fontoura
    • 5
  • Oscar Pizarro
    • 6
  • Kristin Precoda
    • 5
  • Damaris Torres-Pulliza
    • 5
  • Rachael M. Woods
    • 5
  • Kyle Zawada
    • 4
    • 5
  • Joshua S. Madin
    • 5
  1. 1.College of Marine and Environmental SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Queensland Museum NetworkTownsvilleAustralia
  4. 4.Centre for Biological Diversity, Scottish Oceans InstituteUniversity of St. AndrewsSt. AndrewsScotland, UK
  5. 5.Department of Biological SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  6. 6.Australian Centre for Field RoboticsUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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