The implications of recurrent disturbances within the world's hottest coral reef

Rita Bento, Andrew S. Hoey, Andrew G. Bauman, David A. Feary, John Burt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Determining how coral ecosystems are structured within extreme environments may provide insights into how coral reefs are impacted by future climate change. Benthic community structure was examined within the Persian Gulf, and adjacent Musandam and northern Oman regions across a 3-year period (2008-2011) in which all regions were exposed to major disturbances. Although there was evidence of temporal switching in coral composition within regions, communities predominantly reflected local environmental conditions and the disturbance history of each region. Gulf reefs showed little change in coral composition, being dominated by stress-tolerant Faviidae and Poritidae across the 3 years. In comparison, Musandam and Oman coral communities were comprised of stress-sensitive Acroporidae and Pocilloporidae; Oman communities showed substantial declines in such taxa and increased cover of stress-tolerant communities. Our results suggest that coral communities may persist within an increasingly disturbed future environment, albeit in a much more structurally simple configuration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-472
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume105
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 30 2016

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Keywords

  • Coral composition
  • Environmental variation
  • Novel ecosystems
  • Resilience
  • Stability
  • Stress-tolerant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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