Article

Caribbean corals in crisis: record thermal stress, bleaching, and mortality in 2005.

Coral Reef Watch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 01/2010; 5(11):e13969. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013969
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The rising temperature of the world's oceans has become a major threat to coral reefs globally as the severity and frequency of mass coral bleaching and mortality events increase. In 2005, high ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean resulted in the most severe bleaching event ever recorded in the basin.
Satellite-based tools provided warnings for coral reef managers and scientists, guiding both the timing and location of researchers' field observations as anomalously warm conditions developed and spread across the greater Caribbean region from June to October 2005. Field surveys of bleaching and mortality exceeded prior efforts in detail and extent, and provided a new standard for documenting the effects of bleaching and for testing nowcast and forecast products. Collaborators from 22 countries undertook the most comprehensive documentation of basin-scale bleaching to date and found that over 80% of corals bleached and over 40% died at many sites. The most severe bleaching coincided with waters nearest a western Atlantic warm pool that was centered off the northern end of the Lesser Antilles.
Thermal stress during the 2005 event exceeded any observed from the Caribbean in the prior 20 years, and regionally-averaged temperatures were the warmest in over 150 years. Comparison of satellite data against field surveys demonstrated a significant predictive relationship between accumulated heat stress (measured using NOAA Coral Reef Watch's Degree Heating Weeks) and bleaching intensity. This severe, widespread bleaching and mortality will undoubtedly have long-term consequences for reef ecosystems and suggests a troubled future for tropical marine ecosystems under a warming climate.

4 Bookmarks
 · 
225 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Over 1.3 billion people live on tropical coasts, primarily in developing countries. Many depend on adjacent coastal seas for food, and livelihoods. We show how trends in demography and in several local and global anthropogenic stressors are progressively degrading capacity of coastal waters to sustain these people. Far more effective approaches to environmental management are needed if the loss in provision of ecosystem goods and services is to be stemmed. We propose expanded use of marine spatial planning as a framework for more effective, pragmatic management based on ocean zones to accommodate conflicting uses. This would force the holistic, regional-scale reconciliation of food security, livelihoods, and conservation that is needed. Transforming how countries manage coastal resources will require major change in policy and politics, implemented with sufficient flexibility to accommodate societal variations. Achieving this change is a major challenge - one that affects the lives of one fifth of humanity.
    Marine Pollution Bulletin 07/2014; 85:8-23. · 2.79 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Five novel strains of Photobacterium (A-394T, A-373, A-379, A-397 and A-398) were isolated from bleached coral Madracis decactis (scleractinian) in the remote St Peter & St Archipelago (SPSPA), Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Brazil. Healthy M. decactis specimens were also surveyed, but no strains were related to them. The novel isolates formed a distinct lineage based on the 16S rRNA, recA, and rpoA gene sequences analysis. Their closest phylogenetic neighbours were Photobacterium rosenbergii, P. gaetbulicola, and P. lutimaris, sharing 96.6 to 95.8 % 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity. The novel species can be differentiated from the closest neighbours by several phenotypic and chemotaxonomic markers. It grows at pH 11, produces tryptophane deaminase, presents the fatty acid C18:0, but lacks C16:0 iso. The whole cell protein profile, based in MALDI-TOF MS, distinguished the strains of the novel species among each other and from the closest neighbors. In addition, we are releasing the whole genome sequence of the type strain. The name Photobacterium sanctipauli sp. nov. is proposed for this taxon. The G+C content of the type strain A-394T (=LMG 27910T = CAIM 1892T) is 48.2 mol%.
    PeerJ. 05/2014;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Marine invertebrates are particularly vulnerable to climatic anomalies in early life history stages because of the time spent in the water column. Studies have focused on the effect of seawater temperature on fertilization, development, and larval stages in corals; however, none of them show comparative results along an environmental gradient. In this study, we show that temperatures in the range of 15-33°C have strong effects on fertilization rates and embryonic stages of two coral species, Acropora muricata in the subtropical environment and Acropora hyacinthus in subtropical and temperate environments. Deformations after the first cleavage stages were observed at low (15°C) and high (33°C) temperatures. Development was delayed by 6-7 h in the slightly non-optimal temperature of 20°C. We found significant differences in fertilization rates and responses of embryos from different latitudes, with temperate corals being more sensitive to extremely hot temperatures and vice versa. We hypothesize that the coral development is restricted to a narrow temperature range and deviation outside this window could inhibit a species' continuance and ecological success. Thus, it would have significant negative effects on adult populations and communities, playing a role in future of coral reef survival.
    Scientific Reports 07/2014; 4:5633. · 5.08 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
71 Downloads
Available from
May 22, 2014