Advertisement

Coral Reefs

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 181–191 | Cite as

Experimental evidence for high temperature stress as the cause of El Niño-coincident coral mortality

  • P. W. Glynn
  • L. D'Croz
Article

Abstract

High temperature tolerance experiments performed on Pocillopora damicornis, a major reef-building coral in the tropical eastern Pacific, resulted in loss of zooxanthellae, histopathological abnormalities, and mortality similar to that observed during the severe 1982–83 El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event. Coral vitality declined significantly at 30–32°C during a 10-week period, but remained high at normal temperatures (26–28°C). Laboratory time courses to coral morbidity and death were similar to those observed in the field. Experimental high temperatures had a greater negative effect on corals from the Gulf of Panama, which experiences seasonally cool upwellings, than on corals from the nonupwelling Gulf of Chiriqui. The condition of obligate symbiotic crustaceans (Trapezia, Alpheus) associated with experimental corals declined with their host's declining condition. All Gulf of Panama corals subjected to 32°C were dead after 5 weeks, and all of their associated crustacean symbionts were dead after 9 weeks. Gulf of Chiriqui corals at 30°C survived for 9 weeks and 42% of their crustacean symbionts were still alive after 10 weeks. Coral mortality in the Gulf of Panama was significantly higher (68.5%) after El Niño warming than after subsequent episodes of unusually intense cool upwellings (10.4%). Low temperature stress (cool currents and upwelling) has been generally suggested as the critical limiting condition that prevents extensive coral reef development in the eastern Pacific. Our results suggest that infrequent but severe ENSO sea warming events also may limit reef development in this region.

Keywords

Coral Reef High Temperature Stress Coral Mortality Reef Development Experimental High Temperature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Atwood DK, Sylvester JC, Corredor JE, Morell JM, Mendez A, Nodal WJ, Huss BE, Foltz C (1988) Sea surface temperature anomalies for the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Florida reef track and the Bahamas considered in light of the 1987 regional coral bleaching event. Proc Assoc Is Mar Lab Carib 21:47Google Scholar
  2. Birkeland C (1977) The importance of rate of biomass accumulation in early successional stages of benthic communities to the survival of coral recruits. Proc 3rd Int Coral Reef Symp 1:15–21Google Scholar
  3. Brown BE (1987) Worldwide death of corals — natural cyclical events or man-made pollution? Mar Poll Bull 18:9–13Google Scholar
  4. Causey B, Halas JC, Hudson JH, Jaap WC (1988) Zooxanthellae expulsions in Florida reefs during 1987. Proc Assoc Is Mar Lab Carib 21:51Google Scholar
  5. Chave KE, Smith SV, Roy KJ (1972) Carbonate production by coral reefs. Mar Geol 12:123–140Google Scholar
  6. Clausen CD, Roth AA (1975) Effect of temperature and temperature adaptation on calcification rate in the hermatypic coral Pocillopora damicornis. Mar Biol 33:93–100Google Scholar
  7. Coffroth MA, Lasker HR, Oliver JK (in press) Coral mortality outside of the eastern Pacific during 1982–1983: relationship to El Niño. In: Glynn PW (ed) Global ecological consequences of the 1982–1983 El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Elsevier Oceanography Series, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  8. Coles SL, Jokiel PL (1977) Effects of temperature on photosynthesis and respiration in hermatypic corals. Mar Biol 43:209–216Google Scholar
  9. Coles SL, Jokiel PL (1978) Synergistic effects of temperature, salinity and light on the hermatypic coral Montipora verrucosa. Mar Biol 49:187–195Google Scholar
  10. Coles SL, Jokiel PL, Lewis CR (1976) Thermal tolerance in tropical versus subtropical Pacific reef corals. Pac Sci 30:159–166Google Scholar
  11. Cortés J, Murillo MM, Guzmán HM, Acuña J (1984) Pérdida de zooxantelas y muerte de corales y otros organismos arrecifales en el Caribe y Pacífico de Costa Rica. Rev Biol Trop 32:227–231Google Scholar
  12. Dana JD (1843) On the temperature limiting the distribution of corals. Am J Sci Arts 45:130–131Google Scholar
  13. Dana TF (1975) Development of contemporary eastern Pacific coral reefs. Mar Biol 33:355–374Google Scholar
  14. Davies PS (1984) The role of zooxanthellae in the nutritional energy requirements of Pocillopora eydouxi. Coral Reefs 2:181–186Google Scholar
  15. Dodge RE, Vaisnys JR (1977) Coral populations and growth patterns: responses to sedimentation and turbidity associated with dredging. J Mar Res 35:715–730Google Scholar
  16. Dunlap WC, Chalker BE, Oliver JK (1986) Bathymetric adaptations of reef-building corals at Davies Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. III. UV-B absorbing compounds. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 104:239–248Google Scholar
  17. Edmondson CH (1928) The ecology of an Hawaiian coral reef. Bernice P Bishop Mus Bull 45:1–64Google Scholar
  18. Egaña AC, DiSalvo LH (1982) Mass expulsion of zooxanthellae by Easter Island corals. Pac Sci 36:61–63Google Scholar
  19. Emiliani C, Kraus EB, Shoemaker EM (1981) Sudden death at the end of the Mesozoic. Earth Planet Sci Lett 55:317–334Google Scholar
  20. Endean R (1976) Destruction and recovery of coral reef communities. In: Jones OA, Endean R (eds) Biology and geology of coral reefs 3, Biology 2. Academic Press, New York, pp 215–254Google Scholar
  21. Fisk DA, Done TJ (1985) Taxonomic and bathymetric patterns of bleaching in corals, Myrmidon Reef (Queensland). Proc 5th Int Coral Reef Cong 6:149–154Google Scholar
  22. Franzisket L (1970) The atrophy of hermatypic reef corals maintained in darkness and their subsequent regeneration in light. Int Rev Ges Hydrobiol 55:1–12Google Scholar
  23. Gladfelter EH (1988) The physiological basis of coral bleaching. In: Ogden J, Wicklund R (eds) Mass bleaching of coral reefs in the Caribbean: a research strategy. NOAA's Undersea Res Prog, St Croix, U S Virgin Islands. Res Rpt 88-2:15–18Google Scholar
  24. Glynn PW (1977) Coral growth in upwelling and nonupwelling areas off the Pacific coast of Panama. J Mar Res 35:567–585Google Scholar
  25. Glynn PW (1983a) Extensive “bleaching” and death of reef corals on the Pacific coast of Panama. Environ Conserv 10:149–154Google Scholar
  26. Glynn PW (1983b) Increased survivorship in corals harboring crustacean symbionts. Mar Biol Lett 4:105–111Google Scholar
  27. Glynn PW (1984) Widespread coral mortality and the 1982/83 El Niño warming event. Environ Conserv 11:133–146Google Scholar
  28. Glynn PW (1988) El Niño-Southern Oscillation 1982–1983: near-shore population, community, and ecosystem responses. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 19:309–345Google Scholar
  29. Glynn PW, Stewart RH (1973) Distribution of coral reefs in the Pearl Islands (Gulf of Panama) in relation to thermal conditions. Limnol Oceanogr 18:367–379Google Scholar
  30. Glynn PW, Macintyre IG (1977) Growth rate and age of coral reefs on the Pacific coast of Panama. Proc 3rd Int Coral Reef Symp 2:251–259Google Scholar
  31. Glynn PW, Wellington GM (1983) Corals and coral reefs of the Galapagos Islands. University of California Press, Berkeley, p 330Google Scholar
  32. Glynn PW, Stewart RH, McCosker JE (1972) Pacific coral reefs of Panama: structure, distribution and predators. Geol Rundschau 61:483–519Google Scholar
  33. Glynn PW, Druffel EM, Dunbar RB (1983) A dead Central American coral reef tract: possible link with the Little Ice Age. J Mar Res 41:605–637Google Scholar
  34. Glynn PW, Howard LS, Corcoran E, Freay AD (1984) The occurrence and toxicity of herbicides in reef building corals. Mar Pollut Bull 15:370–374Google Scholar
  35. Glynn PW, Peters EC, Muscatine L (1985a) Coral tissue micro-structure and necrosis: relation to catastrophic coral mortality in Panama. Dis Aquat Org 1:29–37Google Scholar
  36. Glynn PW, Perez M, Gilchrist SL (1985b) Lipid decline in stressed corals and their crustacean symbionts. Biol Bull 168:276–284Google Scholar
  37. Glynn PW, Cortes J, Guzman HM, Richmond RH (1988) El Niño (1982–83) associated coral mortality and relationship to sea surface temperature deviations in the tropical eastern Pacific. Proc 6th Int Coral Reef Symp 3:237–243Google Scholar
  38. Harriott VH (1985) Mortality rates of scleractinian corals before and during a mass bleaching event. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 21:81–88Google Scholar
  39. Hoegh-Guldberg O, Smith GJ (1988) Physiological correlates of light and temperature stress in two pocilloporid corals. Proc Assoc Is Mar Lab Carib 21:57Google Scholar
  40. Jaap WC (1985) An epidemic zooxanthellae expulsion during 1983 in the lower Florida Keys coral reefs: hyperthermic etiology. Proc 5th Int Coral Reef Cong 6:143–148Google Scholar
  41. Jaap WC (1988) The 1987 zooxanthellae expulsion event at Florida reefs. NOAA's Undersea Res Prog. Res Rpt 88–2:24–29Google Scholar
  42. Jeffrey SW, Haxo FT (1968) Photosynthetic pigments of symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) from corals and clams. Biol Bull 135:149–165Google Scholar
  43. Johannes RE (1975) Pollution and degradation of coral reef communities. In: Ferguson Wood EJ, Johannes RE (eds) Tropical Marine Pollution. Elsevier Oceanogr Ser 12:13–51Google Scholar
  44. Johannes RE, Wiebe WJ (1970) A method for determination of coral tissue biomass and composition. Limnol Oceanogr 15:822–824Google Scholar
  45. Jokiel PL, Coles SL (1977) Effects of temperature on the mortality and growth of Hawaiian reef corals. Mar Biol 43:201–208Google Scholar
  46. Kamezaki N, Ui S (1984) Bleaching of hermatypic corals in Yaeyama Islands. Mar Parks J 61:10–13Google Scholar
  47. Kinsey DW (1982) The Pacific/Atlantic reef growth controversy. Proc 4th Int Coral Reef Symp 1:493–498Google Scholar
  48. Kinzie RA III, Jokiel PL, York R (1984) Effects of light of altered spectral composition on coral zooxanthelae associations and on zooxanthellae in vitro. Mar Biol 78:239–248Google Scholar
  49. Kwiecinski B, Chial-Z B (1983) Algunos aspectos de la oceanografia del Golfo de Chiriquí, su comparacion con el Golfo de Panamá. Rev Biol Trop 31:323–325Google Scholar
  50. Lasker HR, Peters EC, Coffroth MA (1984) Bleaching of reef coelenterates in the San Blas Islands, Panama. Coral Reefs 3:183–190Google Scholar
  51. Mayer AG (1914) The effects of temperature upon tropical marine animals. Pap Tortugas Lab 6:1–24Google Scholar
  52. Moore HB (1972) Aspects of stress in the tropical marine environment. Adv Mar Biol 10:217–269Google Scholar
  53. Muscatine L, McCloskey LR, Marian RE (1981) Estimating the daily contribution of carbon from zooxanthellae to coral animal respiration. Limnol Oceanogr 26:601–611Google Scholar
  54. Muscatine L, Falkowski PG, Porter JW, Dubinsky Z (1984) Fate of photosynthetic fixed carbon in light-and shade-adapted colonies of the symbiotic coral Stylophora pistillata. Proc R Soc Lond B 222:181–202Google Scholar
  55. Ogden J, Wicklund R (eds) (1988) Mass bleaching of coral reefs in the Caribbean: a research strategy. NOAA's Undersea Res Prog, Res Rpt 88-2, 51 ppGoogle Scholar
  56. Oliver J (1985) Recurrent seasonal bleaching and mortality of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Proc 5th Int Coral Reef Congr 4:201–206Google Scholar
  57. Peterson GL (1977) A simplification of the protein assay method of Lowry et al. which is more generally applicable. Anal Biochem 83:346–356Google Scholar
  58. Porter JW (1972) Patterns of species diversity in Caribbean reef corals. Ecology 53:745–748Google Scholar
  59. Porter JW, Battey JF, Jason Smith G (1982) Perturbation and change in coral reef communities. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 79:1678–1681Google Scholar
  60. Prahl H von (1985) Blanqueo masivo y muerte de corales hermatípicos en el Pacífico Colombiano atribuidos al fenómeno de El Niño 1982–83. Biol Erfen 12:22–24Google Scholar
  61. Prahl H von (1986) Crecimiento del coral Pocillopora damicornis durante y después del fenómeno El Niño 1982–1983 en la Isla de Gorgona, Colombia. Bol Erfen 18:11–13Google Scholar
  62. Robinson G (1985) Influence of the 1982–83 El Niño on Galápagos marine life. In: Robinson G, del Pino EM (eds) El Niño en las Islas Galapagos: el evento de 1982–1983. Quito, Ecuador, pp 153–190Google Scholar
  63. Sandeman IM (1988) Coral bleaching at Discovery Bay, Jamaica: a possible mechanism for temperature-related bleaching. In: Ogden J, Wicklund R (eds) Mass bleaching of coral reefs in the Caribbean: a research strategy. NOAA's Undersea Res Prog, St Croix, U S Virgin Islands, Res Rpt 88-2:46–48Google Scholar
  64. Stanley SM (1984) Marine mass extinctions: a dominant role for temperature. In: Nitecki MH (ed) Extinctions. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 69–117Google Scholar
  65. Szmant-Froelich A, Ruetter M, Riggs L (1985) Sexual reproduction of Favia fragum (Esper): lunar patterns of gametogenesis, embryogenesis, and planulation in Puerto Rico. Bull Mar Sci 37:880–892Google Scholar
  66. Walker ND, Roberts HH, Rouse LJ Jr, Huh OK (1982) Thermal history of reef-associated environments during a record cold-air outbreak event. Coral Reefs 1:83–87Google Scholar
  67. Wellington GM (1982) An experimental analysis of the effects of light and zooplankton on coral zonation. Oecologia (Berl) 52:311–320Google Scholar
  68. Williams EH Jr, Bunkley-Williams L (1988) Bleaching of Caribbean coral reef symbionts in 1987–1988. Proc 6th Int Coral Reef Symp 3:313–318Google Scholar
  69. Williams EH Jr, Goenaga C, Vicente V (1987) Mass bleachings on Atlantic coral reefs. Science 238:877–878Google Scholar
  70. Yamazato K (1981) A note on the expulsion of zooxanthellae during summer, 1980 by the Okinawan reef-building corals. Sesoko Mar Sci Lab Tech Rep 8:9–18Google Scholar
  71. Yang R-T, Yeh S-Z, Sun C-L (1980) Effects of temperature on reef corals in the Nan-Wan Bay, Taiwan. Inst Oceanogr Nat Taiwan Univ (Special Publ) 23:1–27Google Scholar
  72. Yonge CM (1940) The biology of reef-building corals. Br Mus (Nat Hist), Sci Repts Gr Barrier Reef Exped 1928–1929 1:353–391Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. W. Glynn
    • 1
  • L. D'Croz
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Biology and Living Resources, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiUSA
  2. 2.Centro de Ciencias del Mar y LimnologíaUniversidad de PanamáRepública de Panamá

Personalised recommendations