Coral Reefs

Journal of the International Society for Reef Studies

ISSN: 0722-4028 (Print) 1432-0975 (Online)


Coral Reefs, the Journal of the International Society for Reef Studies, presents multidisciplinary literature across the broad fields of reef studies, publishing analytical and theoretical papers on both modern and ancient reefs. These encourage the search for theories about reef structure and dynamics, and the use of experimentation, modeling, quantification and the applied sciences.

Coverage includes such subject areas as population dynamics; community ecology of reef organisms; energy and nutrient flows; biogeochemical cycles; physiology of calcification; reef responses to natural and anthropogenic influences; stress markers in reef organisms; behavioural ecology; sedimentology; diagenesis; reef structure and morphology; evolutionary ecology of the reef biota; palaeoceanography of coral reefs and coral islands; reef management and its underlying disciplines; molecular biology and genetics of coral; aetiology of disease in reef-related organisms; reef responses to global change, and more. 

Best Paper Award Coral Reefs Vol 34, 1 (2015)
Editors and Editorial Board voted the publication: 'Growth tradeoffs associated with thermotolerant symbionts in the coral Pocillopora damicornis are lost in warmer oceans’ by R. Cunning, P. Gillette, T. Capo, K. Galvez, and A.C. Baker. DOI: 10.1007/s00338-014-1216-4.
(Link to article:

The Award consists of EUR 1.000 and an engraved glass paperweight for the first author. In addition printed Certificates are sent to all authors. 

Abstract: The growth and survival of reef corals are influenced by their symbiotic algal partners (Symbiodinium spp.), which may be flexible in space and time. Tradeoffs among partnerships exist such that corals with thermotolerant symbionts (e.g., clade D) resist bleaching but grow more slowly, making the long-term ecosystem-level impacts of different host–symbiont associations uncertain. However, much of this uncertainty is due to limited data regarding these tradeoffs and particularly how they are mediated by the environment. To address this knowledge gap, we measured growth and survival of Pocillopora damicornis with thermally sensitive (clade C) or tolerant (clade D) symbionts at three temperatures over 18–55 weeks. Warming reduced coral growth overall, but altered the tradeoffs associated with symbiont type. While clade D corals grew 35–40 % slower than clade C corals at cooler temperatures (26 °C), warming of 1.5–3 °C reduced and eliminated this growth disadvantage. These results suggest that although warmer oceans will negatively impact corals, clade D may enhance survival at no cost to growth relative to clade C. Understanding these genotype–environment interactions can help improve modeling efforts and conservation strategies for reefs under global climate change.

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