Michael D Fox

Michael D Fox
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | WHOI · Department of Geology and Geophysics

PhD Scripps Institution of Oceanography

About

46
Publications
9,749
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799
Citations
Citations since 2017
37 Research Items
762 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200

Publications

Publications (46)
Article
Full-text available
Rising anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere is accompanied by an increase in oceanic CO2 and a concomitant decline in seawater pH (ref. 1). This phenomenon, known as ocean acidification (OA), has been experimentally shown to impact the biology and ecology of numerous animals and plants2, most notably those that precipitate calcium carbonate skeleton...
Article
Resource allocation and translocation are fundamental physiological functions for autotrophs. The mobilization and use of resources drive population dynamics by regulating growth and recovery of individuals, but also influences ecosystem‐level processes such as primary productivity and carbon cycling. This study provides the first observation of tr...
Article
Full-text available
In the face of growing human impacts on ecosystems, scientists and managers recognize the need to better understand thresholds and non-linear dynamics in ecological systems to help set management targets. However, our understanding of the factors that drive threshold dynamics, and when and how rapidly thresholds will be crossed is currently limited...
Article
The rocky, photic benthos of Arctic and Subarctic Biogeographic Regions has a characteristic seaweed flora that includes an extensive high-magnesium calcium carbonate basal layer of crustose coralline red algae. The thickest (10–40 cm) and oldest parts of the crust (previously reported as up to 640–830 years old), primarily at mid-photic depths of...
Article
Coral reefs of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCIs) (Caribbean Sea) constitute some of the few pristine coral reef systems in the world and play a crucial role in the islands’ economy because they support rich fisheries catches and tourism development. Ambitious development plans involving increase in fishing and tourism pressures are about to bring...
Article
Full-text available
Ocean warming is killing corals, but heat-tolerant populations exist; if protected, they could replenish affected reefs naturally or through restoration. Palau’s Rock Islands experience consistently higher temperatures and extreme heatwaves, yet their diverse coral communities bleach less than those on Palau’s cooler outer reefs. Here, we combined...
Article
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Within low-nutrient tropical oceans, islands and atolls with higher primary production support higher fish biomass and reef organism abundance. External energy subsidies can be delivered onto reefs via a range of physical mechanisms. However, the influence of spatial variation in primary production on reef fish growth and condition is largely unkno...
Article
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Decades of research have revealed relationships between the abundance of coral reef taxa and local conditions, especially at small scales. However, a rigorous test of covariation requires a robust dataset collected across wide environmental or experimental gradients. Here, we surveyed spatial variability in the densities of major coral reef functio...
Article
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The prevalence of coral bleaching due to thermal stress has been increasing on coral reefs worldwide. While many studies have documented how corals respond to warming, fewer have focused on benthic community responses over longer time periods or on the response of non-coral taxa (e.g., crustose coralline algae, macroalgae, or turf). Here, we quanti...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ocean warming is increasing the incidence, scale, and severity of global-scale coral bleaching and mortality, culminating in the third global coral bleaching event that occurred during record marine heatwaves of 2014-2017. While local effects of these events have been widely reported, the global implications remain unknown. Analysis of 15,066 reef...
Article
Carbon isotope fingerprinting, or multivariate analysis using δ13C values of individual compounds, is a powerful tool in ecological studies, particularly measurements of essential amino acids (EAA δ13C). Despite the widespread application of this technique, there has been little methodological validation to determine (1) whether multivariate EAA δ1...
Article
Full-text available
Work on marine biofilms has primarily focused on host-associated habitats for their roles in larval recruitment and disease dynamics; little is known about the factors regulating the composition of reef environmental biofilms. To contrast the roles of succession, benthic communities and nutrients in structuring marine biofilms, we surveyed bacteria...
Article
Full-text available
Plain Language Summary Mass bleaching events caused by warming oceans and intensifying marine heatwaves have killed millions of corals globally. In the central equatorial Pacific, coral reefs experienced three extreme heatwaves within 15 years, providing valuable insights into the mechanisms that could facilitate coral survival under global warming...
Article
Full-text available
Kelp forests are highly productive coastal habitats that serve as biodiversity hotspots and provide valuable ecosystem services. Despite being one the largest marine biomes, kelp forests have been drastically understudied relative to other marine systems. Notably, while the role of kelp as habitat-forming, or ‘foundation species', is well-documente...
Article
The effects of nutrient pollution on coral reef ecosystems are multifaceted. Numerous experiments have sought to identify the physiological effects of nutrient enrichment on reef‐building corals, but the results have been variable and sensitive to choices of nutrient quantity, chemical composition, and exposure duration. To test the effects of chro...
Article
Full-text available
Coral reefs were traditionally perceived as productive hot spots in oligotrophic waters. While modern evidence indicates that many coral reef food webs are heavily subsidized by planktonic production, the pathways through which this occurs remain unresolved. We used the analytical power of carbon isotope analysis of essential amino acids to disting...
Chapter
Reef-building coral taxa demonstrate considerable flexibility and diversity in reproduction and growth mechanisms. Corals take advantage of this flexibility to increase or decrease size through clonal expansion and loss of live tissue area (i.e. via reproduction and mortality of constituent polyps). The biological lability of reef-building corals m...
Article
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Upwelling is an important source of inorganic nutrients in marine systems, yet little is known about how gradients in upwelling affect primary producers on coral reefs. The Southern Line Islands span a natural gradient of inorganic nutrient concentrations across the equatorial upwelling region in the central Pacific. We used this gradient to test t...
Article
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Few studies have documented the spatial and temporal dynamics of highly invasive species in coral reef benthic communities. Here, we quantified the ecological dynamics of invasion by a corallimorph, Rhodactis howesii, at Palmyra Atoll in the central Pacific. A localized outbreak of this species was first observed following a shipwreck at Palmyra in...
Article
Full-text available
We take advantage of a natural gradient of human exploitation and oceanic primary production across five central Pacific coral reefs to examine foraging patterns in common coral reef fishes. Using stomach content and stable isotope (δ¹⁵N and δ¹³C) analyses, we examined consistency across islands in estimated foraging patterns. Surprisingly, species...
Article
Full-text available
The ecological success of shallow water reef-building corals has been linked to the symbiosis between the coral host and its dinoflagellate symbionts (herein 'symbionts'). As mixotrophs, symbiotic corals depend on nutrients 1) transferred from their photosynthetic symbionts (autotrophy) and 2) acquired by host feeding on particulate organic resourc...
Article
Reef‐building corals are mixotrophic organisms that can obtain nutrition from endosymbiotic microalgae (autotrophy) and particle capture (heterotrophy). Heterotrophic nutrition is highly beneficial to many corals, particularly in times of stress. Yet, the extent to which different coral species rely on heterotrophic nutrition remains largely unknow...
Article
Full-text available
During 2015–2016, an El Niño and associated warm water event caused widespread coral bleaching across the equatorial Pacific. Here, we combine 8 yr of benthic monitoring data from permanent photoquadrats with remotely sensed and in situ temperature measurements to assess the impact of the warming event on benthic communities at Palmyra Atoll. We qu...
Article
Full-text available
On coral reefs, microorganisms are essential for recycling nutrients to primary producers through the remineralization of benthic-derived organic matter. Diel investigations of reef processes are required to holistically understand the functional roles of microbial players in these ecosystems. Here we report a metagenomic analysis characterizing mi...
Article
Oceanographic processes shape coral reefs worldwide by redistributing inorganic nutrients and particulate resources over depth. Deep‐water upwelling occurs frequently in coral reef ecosystems, but its impact on coral nutrition remains unclear. This study investigated the influence of upwelling on the trophic ecology of three common reef‐building co...
Article
Mixotrophy is among the most successful nutritional strategies in terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The ability of organisms to supplement primary nutritional modes along continua of autotrophy and heterotrophy fosters trophic flexibility that can sustain metabolic demands under variable or stressful conditions. Symbiotic, reef-building corals are...
Article
Full-text available
There is a long history of examining the impacts of nutrient pollution and pH on coral reefs. However, little is known about how these two stressors interact and influence coral reef ecosystem functioning. Using a six-week nutrient addition experiment, we measured the impact of elevated nitrate (NO-3) and phosphate (PO3-4) on net community calcific...
Article
Full-text available
Dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition influences microbial community metabolism and benthic primary producers are a source of DOM in coral reefs. As reef benthic communities change, in part due to nutrient pollution, understanding impacts on reef microbial processes requires knowledge of DOM sources and composition. We conducted a multi-week m...
Article
Full-text available
Depth is used often as a proxy for gradients in energetic resources on coral reefs and for predicting patterns of community energy use. With increasing depth, loss of light can lead to a reduced reliance on autotrophy and an increased reliance on heterotrophy by mixotrophic corals. However, the generality of such trophic zonation varies across cont...
Preprint
Full-text available
Dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition is a key determinant of microbial community metabolism and trophic nutrient transfer. On coral reefs, four primary groups of benthic organisms dominate photosynthetic production: corals, macroalgae, microphytobenthos, and encrusting algae on rubble, all of which exude significant quantities of DOM. We cond...
Preprint
Full-text available
Dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition is a key determinant of microbial community metabolism and trophic nutrient transfer. On coral reefs, four primary groups of benthic organisms dominate photosynthetic production: corals, macroalgae, microphytobenthos, and encrusting algae on rubble, all of which exude significant quantities of DOM. We cond...
Article
There is global consensus that marine protected areas offer a plethora of benefits to the biodiversity within and around them. Nevertheless, many organisms threatened by human impacts also find shelter in unexpected or informally protected places. For coral reef organisms, refuges can be tourist resorts implementing local environment-friendly botto...
Preprint
Full-text available
Primary production due to photosynthesis results in daytime oxygen production across marine and freshwater ecosystems. However, a prevalent, globally-occurring nighttime spike in dissolved oxygen (DO) challenges our traditional assumption that oxygen production is limited to daylight hours, particularly in tropical coral reefs. When considered in t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Primary production due to photosynthesis results in daytime oxygen production across marine and freshwater ecosystems. However, a prevalent, globally-occurring nighttime spike in dissolved oxygen (DO) challenges our traditional assumption that oxygen production is limited to daylight hours, particularly in tropical coral reefs. When considered in t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Primary production due to photosynthesis results in daytime oxygen production across marine and freshwater ecosystems. However, a prevalent, globally-occurring nighttime spike in dissolved oxygen (DO) challenges our traditional assumption that oxygen production is limited to daylight hours, particularly in tropical coral reefs. When considered in t...
Article
Full-text available
The biomass dynamics of primary producers have important implications for the structure and function of ecosystems. Along the wave-swept coastline of central California, USA, biomass removal by wave action is a key driver in the primary productivity of giant kelp forests, yet the mechanisms of regrowth within giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera are not...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have suggested that Crown-of-Thorns starfish (COTS) larvae may be able to survive in the absence of abundant phytoplankton resources suggesting that they may be able to utilize alternative food sources. Here, we tested the hypothesis that COTS larvae are able to feed on coral-derived organic matter using labeled stable isotope trac...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background/Question/Methods Ecological studies of community structure, energy flow, competitive dynamics, and nutrient subsidies are often confounded by background anthropogenic disturbances. Remote, uninhabited islands offer rare opportunities to escape such confounding factors and study fundamental ecological processes in the absence of local s...

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Project (1)
Project
It is well known that corals release transparent and mucoid organic matter (coral mucus) to the ambient seawater. This mucus release is important for various physiological functions of corals such as defense against stress, particle trap and cellular metabolic regulation. Coral mucus is mainly composed of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, of which most are dissolved organic matter and thus utilized by heterotrophic bacteria and incorporated into the microbial loop. A fraction of the mucus, with its high molecular weight and sticky properties, captures large amounts of particulate organic matter in the seawater, forming large organic aggregates which are ef ciently assimilated into higher trophic levels. Thus, coral mucus is incorporated into reef organisms in a variety of processes and functions as an important organic energy source in reef systems. The aims of this project is to examine chemical composition and production rates of mucus, and the contribution of mucus to heterotrophs from biogeochemical and ecological perspectives.