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Rapid increase in coral cover on an isolated coral reef, the Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve, north-western Australia

Citation

Ceccarelli, DM and Richards, ZT and Pratchett, MS and Cvitanovic, C, Rapid increase in coral cover on an isolated coral reef, the Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve, north-western Australia, Marine and Freshwater Research, 62, (10) pp. 1214-1220. ISSN 1323-1650 (2011) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

This compilation copyright CSIRO 2011

DOI: doi:10.1071/MF11013

Abstract

Against a background of coral reef ecosystem decline, understanding the propensity for coral communities to recover after acute disturbances is fundamental to forecasting and maintaining resilience. It may be expected that offshore reef ecosystems are less affected by anthropogenic disturbances compared with reefs closer to population centres, but that recovery may be slower on isolated reefs following disturbances. To test the hypothesis that community recovery is slow in isolated locations, we measured changes in coral cover and relative abundance of coral genera over a 4 year period (200509) at Ashmore Reef, north Western Australia, following severe bleaching. The percent cover of hard coral tripled, from 10.2% (1.46 s.e.) in 2005 to 29.4% (1.83 s.e.) in 2009 in all habitats (exposed and lagoonal) and depth zones (25 and 810m), and the percent cover of soft corals doubled, from 4.5% (+0.63 s.e.) in 2005 to 8.3% (+1.4 s.e.) in 2009. Significant shifts in the taxonomic composition of hard corals were detected. Our results imply that coral recovery in isolated locations can occur rapidly after an initial delay in recruitment, presumably through the interacting effects of self-recruitment and reduced exposure to additive impacts such as coastal pollution.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Ashmore reef, coral reef resilience
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental Science and Management
Research Field:Environmental Management
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Author:Cvitanovic, C (Dr Christopher Cvitanovic)
ID Code:105189
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-12-12
Last Modified:2017-10-31
Downloads:0

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