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Coral Reefs

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 39–44 | Cite as

Age structure of massive Porites lutea corals at Luhuitou fringing reef (northern South China Sea) indicates recovery following severe anthropogenic disturbance

  • M. X. ZhaoEmail author
  • K. F. Yu
  • Q. M. Zhang
  • Q. Shi
  • G. Roff
Note

Abstract

Luhuitou fringing reef at Hainan Island (northern South China Sea) has experienced severe anthropogenic disturbance, with live coral cover declining by > 80 % since the 1960 s. To assess the size structure of Porites lutea, we measured the sizes of 1,857 colonies from the reef flat (0 m) and slope (2–4 m depth). Both populations were positively skewed and leptokurtic in shape, indicating a high abundance of smaller colonies (averaging 21.4 ± 2.3 cm on the flat and 31.9 ± 2.8 cm on the slope). Age structure of populations was determined through growth rates extracted from X-rays of P. lutea cores. The majority of colonies (> 95 %) were < 50 yr old, with 55 % of P. lutea on the reef flat having recruited following the establishment of a marine reserve in 1990. The abundance of younger colonies indicates significant recovery of P. lutea following the removal of chronic anthropogenic disturbance.

Keywords

Coral Age structure Porites Recovery Disturbance 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (Nos. 2013CB956101 and 2010CB950101), the “Strategic Priority Research Program” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. XDA05080301), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China projects (Nos. 40830852, 41025007, and 40906043).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. X. Zhao
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. F. Yu
    • 1
  • Q. M. Zhang
    • 1
  • Q. Shi
    • 1
  • G. Roff
    • 2
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Marginal Sea Geology, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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