Coral Reefs

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 749–758 | Cite as

Coral growth with thermal stress and ocean acidification: lessons from the eastern tropical Pacific

Report

Abstract

The rapid growth of scleractinian corals is responsible for the persistence of coral reefs through time. Coral growth rates have declined over the past 30 years in the western Pacific, Indian, and North Atlantic Oceans. The spatial scale of this decline has led researchers to suggest that a global phenomenon like ocean acidification may be responsible. A multi-species inventory of coral growth from Pacific Panamá confirms that declines have occurred in some, but not all species. Linear extension declined significantly in the most important reef builder of the eastern tropical Pacific, Pocillopora damicornis, by nearly one-third from 1974 to 2006. The rate of decline in skeletal extension for P. damicornis from Pacific Panamá (0.9% year−1) was nearly identical to massive Porites in the Indo-Pacific over the past 20–30 years (0.89–1.23% year−1). The branching pocilloporid corals have shown an increased tolerance to recurrent thermal stress events in Panamá, but appear to be susceptible to acidification. In contrast, the massive pavonid corals have shown less tolerance to thermal stress, but may be less sensitive to acidification. These differing sensitivities will be a fundamental determinant of eastern tropical Pacific coral reef community structure with accelerating climate change that has implications for the future of reef communities worldwide.

Keywords

Calcification Ocean acidification Climate change Eastern tropical Pacific Panamá 

Supplementary material

338_2010_623_MOESM1_ESM.doc (34 kb)
(DOC 34 kb)
338_2010_623_MOESM2_ESM.doc (30 kb)
(DOC 29 kb)

References

  1. Alvarez-Filip L, Dulvy NK, Gill JA, Côté IM, Watkinson AR (2009) Flattening of Caribbean coral reefs: region-wide declines in architectural complexity. Proc Roy Soc London B 276:3019–3025CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersson AJ, Mackenzie FT, Lerman A (2005) Coastal ocean and carbonate systems in the high CO2 world of the anthropocene. Am J Sci 305:875–918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bak RPM, Nieuwland G, Meesters EH (2009) Coral growth rates revisited after 31 years: what is causing lower extension rates in Acropora palmata? Bull Mar Sci 84:287–294Google Scholar
  4. Berkelmans R, Oliver JK (1999) Large-scale bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 18:55–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berkelmans R, De’ath G, Kininmonth S, Skirving WJ (2004) A comparison of the 1998 and 2002 coral bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef: spatial correlation, patterns and predictions. Coral Reefs 23:74–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bucher DJ, Harriott VJ, Roberts LG (1998) Skeletal micro-density, porosity and bulk density of acroporid corals. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 228:117–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cantin NE, van Oppen MJH, Willis BL, Mieog JC, Negri AP (2009) Juvenile corals can acquire more carbon from high-performance algal symbionts. Coral Reefs 28:405–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carricart-Ganivet JP (2004) Sea surface temperature and the growth of the West Atlantic reef-building coral Montastraea annularis. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 302:249–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carricart-Ganivet JP (2007) Annual density banding in massive coral skeletons: result of growth strategies to inhabit reefs with high microborers’ activity? Mar Biol 153:1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carricart-Ganivet JP, Merino M (2001) Growth responses of the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis along a gradient of continental influence in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Bull Mar Sci 68:133–146Google Scholar
  11. Cohen AL, Holcomb M (2009) Why corals care about ocean acidification: uncovering the mechanism. Oceanogr 22:118–127Google Scholar
  12. Cooper TF, De’ath G, Fabricus K, Lough JM (2008) Declining coral calcification in massive Porites in two nearshore regions of the northern Great Barrier Reef. Global Change Biol 14:529–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Correa AMS (2009) Molecular ecology of endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium) in scleractinian corals. Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, p 235Google Scholar
  14. Cortés J (1997) Biology and geology of eastern Pacific coral reefs. Coral Reefs 16:S39–S46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De’ath G, Lough JM, Fabricus KE (2009) Declining coral calcification on the Great Barrier Reef. Science 323:116–119CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Dodge RE, Brass GW (1984) Skeletal extension, density and calcification of the reef coral Montastraea annularis: St. Croix US Virgin Isl. Bull Mar Sci 34:288–307Google Scholar
  17. Dunne RP (2010) Synergy or antagonism—interactions between stressors on coral reefs. Coral Reefs 29:145–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Eakin CM (1996) Where have all the carbonates gone? A model comparison of calcium carbonate budgets before and after the 1982–1983 El Niño at Uva Island in the eastern Pacific. Coral Reefs 15:109–119Google Scholar
  19. Edmunds PJ (2007) Evidence for a decadal-scale decline in the growth rates of juvenile scleractinian corals. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 341:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gledhill DK, Wanninkhof R, Millero FJ, Eakin CM (2008) Ocean acidification of the greater Caribbean region, 1996–2006. J Geophys Res 113, doi:10.1029/2007JC004629
  21. Glynn PW (1977) Coral growth in upwelling and nonupwelling areas off the Pacific coast of Panamá. J Mar Res 35:567–585Google Scholar
  22. Glynn PW (1985) El Niño-associated disturbance to coral reefs and post disturbance mortality by Acanthaster planci. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 26:295–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Glynn PW (1997) Bioerosion and coral reef growth: a dynamic balance. In: Birkeland C (ed) Life and death on coral reefs. Chapman Hall, New York, pp 68–95Google Scholar
  24. Glynn PW, Maté JM (1997) Field guide to the Pacific coral reefs of Panamá. Proc 8th Int Coral Reef Symp 1:145–166Google Scholar
  25. Glynn PW, Wellington GM (1983) Corals and coral reefs of the Galápagos Islands. Univ. California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  26. Glynn PW, Wellington GM, Birkeland C (1979) Coral reef growth in the Galápagos: limitation by sea urchins. Science 203:47–49CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Glynn PW, Druffel EM, Dunbar RB (1983) A dead Central American coral reef tract: possible link with the little ice age. J Mar Res 41:605–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Glynn PW, Maté JM, Baker AC, Calderon MO (2001) Coral bleaching and mortality in Panamá and Ecuador during the 1997–98 El Niño-Southern Oscillation event: spatial/temporal patterns and comparisons with the 1982–83 event. Bull Mar Sci 69:79–110Google Scholar
  29. Goreau TF, Macfarlane AH (1990) Reduced growth rate of Montastraea annularis following the 1987–1988 coral bleaching event. Coral Reefs 8:211–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Guzman HM, Cortés J (1989) Growth rates of eight species of scleractinian corals in the eastern Pacific (Costa Rica). Bull Mar Sci 44:1186–1194Google Scholar
  31. Jiménez C, Cortés J (2003) Growth of seven species of scleractinian corals in an upwelling environment of the eastern Pacific (Golfo de Papagayo, Costa Rica). Bull Mar Sci 72:187–198Google Scholar
  32. Jury CP, Whitehead RF, Szmant AM (2010) Effects of variations in carbonate chemistry on the calcification rates of Madracis auretenra (=Madracis mirabilis sensu Wells, 1973): Bicarbonate concentrations best predict calcification rates. Global Change Biol 16. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02057.x
  33. Kleypas JA (2007) Constraints on predicting coral reef response to climate change. In: Aronson RB (ed) Geological approaches to coral reef ecology. Springer, New York, pp 386–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kleypas JA, Buddemeier RW, Archer D, Gattuso J-P, Langdon C, Opdyke BN (1999) Geochemical consequences of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on coral reefs. Science 284:118–120CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Lamberts AE (1978) Coral growth: Alizarin method. In: Stoddart DR, Johannes RE (eds) Coral Reefs: research methods. UNESCO, Paris, pp 523–527Google Scholar
  36. Leder JJ, Szmant AM, Swart PK (1991) The effect of prolonged ‘bleaching’ on the stable isotope composition and banding patterns in Montastraea annularis. Preliminary observations. Coral Reefs 10:19–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Little AF, van Oppen MJH, Willis BL (2004) Flexibility in algal endosymbioses shapes growth of reef corals. Science 304:1492–1494CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Lough JM, Barnes DJ (2000) Environmental controls on growth of the massive coral Porites. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 245:225–243CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Manzello DP (2009) Reef development and resilience to acute (El Niño warming) and chronic (high-CO2) disturbances in the eastern tropical Pacific: a real-world climate change model. Proc 11th Int Coral Reef Symp 1:1299–1304Google Scholar
  40. Manzello DP (2010) Ocean acidification hotspots: spatiotemporal dynamics of the seawater CO2 system of eastern Pacific coral reefs. Limnol Oceanogr 55:239–248Google Scholar
  41. Manzello DP, Kleypas JA, Budd DA, Eakin CM, Glynn PW, Langdon C (2008) Poorly cemented coral reefs of the eastern tropical Pacific: possible insights into reef development in a high-CO2 world. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:10450–10455CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Matthews KA, Grottoli AG, McDonough WF, Palardy JE (2008) Upwelling, species, and depth effects on coral skeletal cadmium-to-calcium ratios (Cd/Ca). Geochim Cosmochim Acta 72:4537–4550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Orr JC, Fabry VJ, Aumont O, Bopp L, Doney SC, Feely RA, Gnanadesikan A, Gruber N, Ishida A, Joos F, Key RM, Lindsay K, Maier-Reimer E, Matear R, Monfray P, Mouchet A, Najjar RG, Plattner G-K, Rodgers KB, Sabine CL, Sarmiento JL, Schlitzer R, Slater RD, Totterdell IJ, Weirig M-F, Yamanaka Y, Yool A (2005) Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms. Nature 437:681–686CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Palardy JE, Grottoli AG, Matthews KA (2005) Effects of upwelling, depth, morphology and polyp size on feeding in three species of Panamanian corals. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 300:79–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Reynaud S, Leclercq N, Romaine-Lioud S, Ferrier-Pages C, Jaubert J, Gattuso J-P (2003) Interacting effects of CO2 partial pressure and temperature on photosynthesis and calcification in a scleractinian coral. Global Change Biol 9:1660–1668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Smith LW, Barshis D, Birkeland C (2007) Phenotypic plasticity for skeletal growth, density and calcification of Porites lobata in response to habitat type. Coral Reefs 26:559–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Suzuki A, Gagan MK, Fabricius K, Isdale PJ, Yukino I, Kawahata H (2003) Skeletal isotope microprofiles of growth perturbations in Porites corals during the 1997–1998 mass bleaching event. Coral Reefs 22:357–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tanzil JTI, Brown BE, Tudhope AW, Dunne RP (2009) Decline in skeletal growth of the coral Porites lutea from the Andaman Sea, South Thailand between 1984 and 2005. Coral Reefs 28:519–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thornhill DJ, LaJeunesse TC, Kemp DW, Fitt WK, Schmidt GW (2006) Multi-year, seasonal genotypic surveys of coral-algal symbioses reveal prevalent stability or post-bleaching reversion. Mar Biol 148:711–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wellington GM, Glynn PW (1983) Environmental influences on skeletal banding in eastern Pacific (Panamá) corals. Coral Reefs 1:215–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UM/CIMAS, NOAA/AOML/OCDMiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations