Christopher Doropoulos

Christopher Doropoulos
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation | CSIRO · Oceans and Atmosphere

PhD

About

88
Publications
39,675
Reads
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Citations
Introduction
Christopher Doropoulos is a marine ecologist whose work focuses on patterns of benthic recruitment and the influence of species interactions in modulating system recovery. He specialises in coral recruitment, focusing on the interactions and demographic rates that influence coral recruitment success, and how these are altered by environmental perturbation. Christopher's research uses a combination of observational, experimental and modelling approaches to develop a mechanistic understanding of ecological patterns and responses to perturbation. He aims to: 1. Understand how biophysical interactions influence recovery trajectories. 2. Assess environmental gradients in coral recruitment processes. 3. Evaluate the feasibility of large scale ecological restoration approaches for coral reefs
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - present
CSIRO
Position
  • Researcher
October 2015 - October 2018
CSIRO
Position
  • PostDoc Position
March 2013 - March 2015
The University of Queensland
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (88)
Article
Full-text available
The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for urgent actions to reduce global biodiversity loss. Here, we synthesize >44,000 articles published in the past decade to assess the research focus on global drivers of loss. Relative research efforts on different drivers are not well aligned with their assessed impact, and multiple...
Article
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Extreme disturbances often lead to community reorganisations, yet sometimes ecosystems unexpectedly fail to recover. Such surprising outcomes may pinpoint important yet overlooked mechanisms that drive ecosystems into undesirable states. Using long-term field observations, experimental manipulations and mechanistic modelling, we document the driver...
Article
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Coral settlement is a key process for the recovery and maintenance of coral reefs, yet interspecific variations in density-dependent settlement are unknown. Settlement of the submassive Goniastrea retiformis and corymbose Acropora digitifera and A. millepora was quantified at densities ranging from 1 to 50 larvae per 20 mL from 110 to 216 h followi...
Article
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Population growth involves demographic bottlenecks that regulate recruitment success during various early-life history stages. The success of each early-life history stage can vary in response to population density, interacting with intrinsic (e.g. behavioural) and environmental (e.g. competition, predation) factors. Here, we used the common reef-b...
Article
Full-text available
Community succession following disturbance depends on positive and negative interactions, the strength of which change along environmental gradients. To investigate how early succession affects coral reef recovery, we conducted an 18 month experiment in Palau, using recruitment tiles and herbivore exclusion cages. One set of reefs has higher wave e...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ecologists have long sought to understand larval dispersal characteristics of benthic marine invertebrates. Direct quantification of coral larvae dispersal has proven challenging, in part due to their complex life-history, minute size, and widespread dispersal at the scale of kilometres. Instead, indirect methods such as particle modelling, chemica...
Article
COVER PHOTO: Lighthouse Reef, Palau, Micronesia, in a healthy state in 2012 prior to a super typhoon which reduced coral cover to zero percent. In their study published in The Scientific Naturalist section of this issue, Doropoulos et al. (Article e3621; doi:10.1002/ecy.3621) document the recovery of corals at Lighthouse Reef over a seven‐year peri...
Article
Full-text available
Positive feedbacks driving habitat‐forming species recovery and population growth are often lost as ecosystems degrade. For such systems, identifying mechanisms that limit the re‐establishment of critical positive feedbacks is key to facilitating recovery. Theory predicts the primary drivers limiting system recovery shift from biological to physica...
Article
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Bolbometopon muricatum (bumphead parrotfish, Valenciennes, 1839) is a conspicuous, iconic and ecologically important coral reef fish species. B. muricatum plays an important role in the bioerosion of the reef framework and as a result has been described as both an ecosystem engineer and keystone species. Despite the complete absence of B. muricatum...
Preprint
Humans have long sought to restore species but little attention has been directed at how best to do so for rich assemblages of foundation species that support ecosystems, like rainforests and coral reefs that are increasingly threatened by environmental change. We developed a two-part triage process for selecting optimized sets of species for resto...
Article
Herbivory and nutrient availability are fundamental drivers of benthic community succession in shallow marine systems, including coral reefs. Despite the importance of early community succession for coral recruitment and recovery, studies characterising the impact of top‐down and bottom‐up drivers on micro‐ and macro‐benthic communities at scales r...
Article
Assisting the natural recovery of coral reefs through local management actions is needed in response to increasing ecosystem disturbances in the Anthropocene. There is growing evidence that commonly used resilience-based passive management approaches may not be sufficient to maintain coral reef key functions. We synthesize and discuss advances in c...
Article
It is hypothesized that spatio-temporal variability in larval supply is caused by multiple biophysical drivers which correlate with the occurrence of recruitment pulses, influencing the recovery potential of coral reefs following large-scale disturbances. Here, we used a larval dispersal model to explore coral larvae dispersal patterns under variab...
Article
Full-text available
The discovery of multi-species synchronous spawning of scleractinian corals on the Great Barrier Reef in the 1980s stimulated an extraordinary effort to document spawning times in other parts of the globe. Unfortunately, most of these data remain unpublished which limits our understanding of regional and global reproductive patterns. The Coral Spaw...
Article
Full-text available
The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) is a unique initiative by 14 world leaders who are building momentum for a sustainable ocean economy in which effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand in hand. By enhancing humanity's relationship with the ocean, bridging ocean health and wealth,...
Article
The sliding and overturning of unconsolidated rubble by hydrodynamic forcing is expected to cause physical damage to settled coral recruits and asexual fragments by scouring and smothering. Yet, few empirical studies have tested the relationship between rubble mobilisation frequency and the survival and growth of these corals. Here, we tested the r...
Article
The United Nations General Assembly calls for ecosystem restoration to be a primary intervention strategy used to counter the continued loss of natural habitats worldwide, while supporting human health and wellbeing globally. Restoration of coastal marine ecosystems is perceived by many to be expensive and prone to failure, in part explaining its l...
Article
Full-text available
Reversing the decline of coastal marine ecosystems will rely extensively on ecological restoration. This will in turn rely on ensuring adequate supply and survival of propagules — for the main habitat-forming taxa of coastal marine ecosystems these are mainly fruits, seeds, viviparous seedlings, zoospores or larvae. The likelihood of propagule surv...
Article
Full-text available
Scleractinian corals often reproduce in synchronized spawning events to maximize gamete fertilization and coral larval production. The extent of spawning synchrony and its timing vary among coral taxa and among biogeographic regions. Information is, however, limited, especially for equatorial reefs, hindering the identification of environmental cue...
Article
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We introduce five measures describing the system-wide behaviour of complex ecological systems. Within an information-theoretic framework, these measures account for changes in both species diversity and total biomass to describe (i) overall system change, (ii) sustainability to external pressure, (iii) shift from a baseline state and two types of r...
Article
Depth gradients are known to drive patterns of adult and juvenile coral distribution, but the influence on early successional communities and subsequent interactions with coral larvae settlement are poorly understood. We studied how early successional communities changed across a 40 m depth gradient to test whether patterns of coral larvae settleme...
Article
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The concept of resilience is long established across a wide-range of disciplines, but its evaluation in many ecosystems has been challenging due to the complexities involved in quantifying a somewhat abstract dynamical phenomenon. We develop a framework of resilience-related concepts and describe their methodological approaches. Seven broad approac...
Article
Full-text available
Following disturbances, corals recolonize space through the process of recruitment consisting of the three phases of propagule supply, settlement, and post-settlement survival. Yet, each phase is influenced by biophysical factors, leading to recruitment success variability through space. To resolve the relative contributions of biophysical factors...
Article
It is hypothesized that spatio-temporal variability in larval supply is caused by multiple biophysical drivers which correlate with the occurrence of recruitment pulses, influencing the recovery potential of coral reefs following large-scale disturbances. Here, we used a larval dispersal model to explore coral larvae dispersal patterns under variab...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Effective and reliable methods to mass-propagate corals both sexually and asexually has the potential to support intervention benefits at scale and conserve wild populations on the Great Barrier Reef. The R&D of the Coral Propagation and Aquaculture sub-program proposed under the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP) will deliver the metho...
Article
Full-text available
We introduce five measures describing the system-wide behaviour of complex ecological systems. Within an information-theoretic framework, these measures account for changes in both species diversity and total biomass to describe i) overall system change, ii) sustainability to external pressure, iii) shift from a baseline state and two types of resi...
Article
Full-text available
Accelerating the recovery of marine coastal ecosystems is a global challenge that has been attempted on many systems around the world. Restoration efforts have shown varying levels of success at localized-scales, but developing techniques for large-scale application are still in their nascent stage for many systems. For seagrass meadows and marsh p...
Article
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Population persistence in the marine environment is driven by patterns of ocean circulation, larval dispersal, ecological interactions, and demographic rates. For habitat forming organisms in particular, understanding the relationship between larval connectivity and meta‐population dynamics aids in planning for marine spatial management. Here, we e...
Article
Full-text available
Many habitat-building corals undergo mass synchronous spawning events. Yet, despite the enormous amounts of larvae produced, larval dispersal from a single spawning event and the reliability of larval supply are highly dependent on vagaries of ocean currents. However, colonies from the same population will occasionally spawn over successive months....
Article
Full-text available
Benthic marine organisms rely on the dispersal and recruitment of propagules to replenish depleted populations following disturbances. Yet, ecological interactions between colonizing larvae and benthic competitors that become established following a disturbance can be a primary driver of recruitment success. On some coral reefs, local and global st...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this Draft Chapter 2.1 of the IBES Global Assesment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services we explored how global transformation involved key tradeoffs, and inequalities, as growing interactions drove economic growth but also degradation. Accelerations in consumption & interconnection have had tradeoffs.
Article
Larval settlement to the benthos can be influenced by physical and chemical cues. On coral reefs, the macroalga Lobophora is known to negatively impact coral recruitment, though the scales at which it affects coral larvae is unclear. We used aquarium experiments to mechanistically assess the response of larvae from 3 Acropora species to Lobophora a...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding processes that drive community recovery are needed to predict ecosystem trajectories and manage for impacts under increasing global threats. Yet, the quantification of community recovery in coral reefs has been challenging owing to a paucity of long-term ecological data and high frequency of disturbances. Here we investigate community...
Article
Accelerating coral reef restoration is a global challenge that has been attempted around the world. Previous attempts show varying levels of success at localized‐scales, but comparisons of cost and benefits to evaluate large‐scale reef restoration approaches are lacking. Here, we compare two large‐scale restoration approaches: the harvesting, devel...
Article
Full-text available
Settlement of invertebrates is a key process affecting the structure of marine communities and underpins the ability of benthic ecosystems to recover from disturbance. While it is known that specific crustose coralline algae (CCA) are important for settlement of some coral species, the role of algal chemical compounds versus surface microbial biofi...
Article
Notionally herbivorous fishes maintains a critical ecosystem function on coral reefs by grazing algae and maintaining highly productive algal turf assemblages. Current paradigms implicate habitat complexity, predation, and primary productivity as major drivers of the distribution and abundance of herbivorous fish, yet little is known about the rela...
Article
Understanding the dynamics of habitat-forming organisms is fundamental to managing natural ecosystems. Most studies of coral reef dynamics have focused on clear-water systems though corals inhabit many turbid regions. Here, we illustrate the key drivers of an inshore coral reef ecosystem using 10 years of biological, environmental, and disturbance...
Article
Aim The aim was to quantify latitudinal patterns in seagrass–herbivore interactions in the context of a warming climate. Location: We carried out a global meta‐analysis combined with a field experiment across 1,700 km and 12° of latitude in Western Australia. Time period: 1984–2014. Major taxa studied: Seagrasses. Methods We first synthesized the...
Article
Full-text available
The present study reports a previously undocumented mass spawning aggregation and group spawning phenomena of c. 1200 individual bumphead parrotfish Bolbometopon muricatum in Palau, Micronesia. Although B. muricatum are protected in Palau, it is further recommended that management strategies should consider establishment of no-take zones at B. muri...
Article
Full-text available
With rapid changes taking place on coral reefs, managers and scientists are faced with prioritising interventions that might avoid undesirable losses in ecosystem health. The property of resilience captures how reefs react and respond to stressors and environmental changes. Therefore, in principle, management goals are more likely to be realised if...
Data
Results of two-way permutational MANOVA and PERMDISP test of homogeneity of dispersions between monitoring and resilience studies. (PDF)
Data
The rationale behind the classification of studies into monitoring programs or resilience assessments. (PDF)
Data
Original metrics used in studies and their respective classification in the three phases of analysis. The standard metric, higher-level metric and metric categories were used in Figs 1–3 respectively. (PDF)
Data
PRIMSA Checklist for current study. (PDF)
Data
Results of SIMPER analysis for studies within the monitoring group (A), resilience group (B) and a comparison between the two groups (C). (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
Coral recruitment and juvenile growth are essential processes for coral population maintenance and recovery. A growing body of research has evaluated the influence of reef microstructure on coral settlement and post-settlement survival, showing that physical refugia enhance recruitment. These studies have evaluated coral recruit morality from compe...
Article
Full-text available
Some of the most profound effects of climate change on ecological communities are due to alterations in species interactions rather than direct physiological effects of changing environmental conditions. Empirical evidence of historical changes in species interactions within climate-impacted communities is, however, rare and difficult to obtain. He...
Article
In our recent review of the ecological roles of sharks on coral reefs, we concluded that the evidence to support hypothesised shark-driven trophic cascades on coral reefs was weak and equivocal. In their response to our review, Ruppert et al. [2] assert that a major issue with our approach was that we primarily reviewed evidence from correlative ob...
Article
Sharks are considered the apex predator of coral reefs, but the consequencesof their global depletion are uncertain. Here we explore the ecological roles of sharks on coral reefs and, conversely, the importance of reefs for sharks. We find that most reef-associated shark species do not act as apex predators but instead function as mesopredators alo...
Article
Full-text available
Drivers of recruitment in sessile marine organisms are often poorly understood, due to the rapidly changing requirements experienced during early ontogeny. The complex suite of physical, biological and ecological interactions beginning at larval settlement involve a series of trade-offs that influence recruitment success. For example, while cryptic...
Article
Full-text available
Typhoons generally develop in the warm tropics, but rarely damage coral reefs between the latitudes 10° N and 10° S because they intensify at higher latitudes. However, climate change is forcing anomalous weather patterns, and is causing typhoons to take less predictable trajectories. For the first time in 70 yr, in December 2012, a super typhoon p...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical reefs are dynamic ecosystems that host diverse coral assemblages with different life-history strategies. Here, we quantified how juvenile (<50 mm) coral demographics influenced benthic coral structure in reef flat and reef slope habitats on the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Permanent plots and settlement tiles were monitored ever...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental conditions play an important role in post-disturbance dynamics of ecosystems by modulating recovery of surviving communities and influencing patterns of succession. Here, we document the effects of wave exposure following a catastrophic disturbance on coral reefs in driving a phase shift to macroalgal dominance. In December 2012, a Ca...