Ruth D Gates

Ruth D Gates
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa | UH Manoa · Institute of Marine Biology

Ph. D. Biology

About

238
Publications
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11,841
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Additional affiliations
July 1990 - June 2003
University of California, Los Angeles
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (238)
Article
Full-text available
The survival of most reef-building corals is dependent upon a symbiosis between the coral and the community of Symbiodiniaceae. Montipora capitata , one of the main reef-building coral species in Hawai'i, is known to host a diversity of symbionts, but it remains unclear how they change spatially and whether environmental factors drive those changes...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Spatial genetic structure (SGS) is important to a population’s ability to adapt to environmental change. For species that reproduce both sexually and asexually, the relative contribution of each reproductive mode has important ecological and evolutionary implications because asexual reproduction can have a strong effect on SGS. Reef buildi...
Article
Full-text available
Context Coral reef resilience is the product of multiple interacting processes that occur across various interacting scales. This complexity presents challenges for identifying solutions to the ongoing worldwide decline of coral reef ecosystems that are threatened by both local and global human stressors. Objectives We highlight how coral reef res...
Article
Full-text available
Elevated seawater temperatures associated with climate change lead to coral bleaching. While the ultimate causes of bleaching are well understood, the proximate physiological mechanisms underlying the bleaching response are not as well defined. Here we measured nitric oxide synthase activity, oxidative stress, and cell death in algal symbionts (Sym...
Preprint
Coral reefs are iconic examples of climate change impacts because climate-induced heat stress causes the breakdown of the coral-algal symbiosis leading to a spectacular loss of color, termed coral bleaching. To examine the fine-scale dynamics of this process, we re-sampled 600 individually marked Montipora capitata colonies from across Kāneohe Bay,...
Article
Full-text available
Coral holobionts are multi-species assemblages, which adds significant complexity to genotype-phenotype connections underlying ecologically important traits like coral bleaching. Small scale heterogeneity in bleaching is ubiquitous in the absence of strong environmental gradients, which provides adaptive variance needed for the long-term persistenc...
Article
Identifying relatively intact areas within ecosystems, and determining the conditions favoring their existence, is necessary for effective management in the context of widespread environmental degradation. In this study, we used 3,766 surveys of randomly selected sites in the United States and U.S. Territories to identify the correlates of sites ca...
Article
Full-text available
The global decline of coral reefs urgently requires scalable colony‐level data about phenotypic variation to improve coral conservation and management. To address this, we leveraged historical bleaching phenotypes, airborne imaging spectroscopy, and recurrent temperature stress to map coral species composition and thermal tolerance across four foca...
Chapter
Metabolite exchange between coral hosts and their dinoflagellate endosymbionts (family: Symbiodiniaceae) is one of the keys to the ecological success of coral reefs. Due to the physiological variation within Symbiodiniaceae, including amount of organic carbon and stress tolerance provided to the host, symbiont community composition has the potentia...
Article
Full-text available
Reef-building corals form nutritional symbioses with endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodiniaceae), a relationship that facilitates the ecological success of coral reefs. These symbionts are mostly acquired anew each generation from the environment during early life stages (‘horizontal transmission’). Symbiodiniaceae species exhibit trait variati...
Article
Full-text available
Phenotypic plasticity is one mechanism whereby species may cope with stressful environmental changes associated with climate change. Reef building corals present a good model for studying phenotypic plasticity because they have experienced rapid climate-driven declines in recent decades (within a single generation of many corals), often with differ...
Preprint
The survival of reef-building corals is dependent upon a symbiosis between the coral and the community of Symbiodiniaceae. Montipora capitata , one of the main reef building coral species in Hawaiʻi, is known to host a diversity of symbionts, but it remains unclear how they change spatially and whether environmental factors drive those changes. Her...
Preprint
Full-text available
Spatial genetic structure (SGS) is important to a population’s ability to adapt to environmental change. For species that reproduce both sexually and asexually, the relative contribution of each reproductive mode has important ecological and evolutionary implications because asexual reproduction can have a strong effect on SGS. Reef building corals...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Ocean warming has caused catastrophic losses of corals on reefs worldwide and is intensifying faster than the adaptive rate of most coral populations that remain. Human interventions, such as propagation of heat-resistant corals, may help maintain reef function and delay further devastation of these valuable ecosystems as society confr...
Article
Full-text available
Scleractinian corals form the foundation of coral reefs by acquiring autotrophic nutrition from photosynthetic endosymbionts (Symbiodiniaceae) and use feeding to obtain additional nutrition, especially when the symbiosis is compromised (i.e. bleaching). Juvenile corals are vulnerable to stress due to low energetic reserves and high demand for growt...
Preprint
Full-text available
The long-term persistence of coral reefs under climate change requires heritable drivers of thermal tolerance which support adaptation. The genomic basis of thermal tolerance has been evaluated across strong spatial and environmental gradients, but this variation also exists within populations due to neutral evolutionary processes. Small scale hete...
Article
Reef-building corals rely on intracellular algal symbionts to meet energetic demands. Increasing extreme weather driven by climate change often leads to disruption of this symbiosis and to coral death. Corals can better withstand stress after previous exposure to sublethal conditions, but the mechanisms for this resilience remain unclear. Here we s...
Article
Full-text available
Scleractinian coral recruitment provides critical support for reef persistence under the threat of global climate change. The high mortality rates exhibited in early life history stages are further increased under thermal stress, compromising reef recruitment. Tissue fusion with neighboring recruits is one potential early life history strategy that...
Article
Full-text available
Global climate change is altering coral reef ecosystems. Notably, marine heatwaves are producing widespread coral bleaching events that are increasing in frequency, with projections for annual bleaching events on reefs worldwide by mid‐century. Response of corals to elevated seawater temperatures are modulated by abiotic factors (e.g., environmenta...
Article
Full-text available
Compound‐specific isotope analyses (CSIA) and multivariate “isotope fingerprinting” track biosynthetic sources and reveal trophic interactions in food webs. However, CSIA have not been widely applied in the study of marine symbioses. Here, we exposed a reef coral (Montipora capitata) in symbiosis with Symbiodiniaceae algae to experimental treatment...
Article
Full-text available
Prospects for coral persistence through increasingly frequent and extended heatwaves seem bleak. Coral recovery from bleaching is only known to occur after temperatures return to normal, and mitigation of local stressors does not appear to augment coral survival. Capitalizing on a natural experiment in the equatorial Pacific, we track individual co...
Article
Full-text available
Some reef corals form stable, dominant or codominant associations with multiple endosymbiotic dinoflagellate species (family Symbiodiniaceae). Given the immense genetic and physiological diversity within this family, Symbiodiniaceae community composition has the potential to impact the nutritional physiology and fitness of the cnidarian host and al...
Article
Full-text available
The absorbtion of human-emitted CO2 by the oceans (elevated PCO2) is projected to alter the physiological performance of coral reef organisms by perturbing seawater chemistry (i.e. ocean acidification). Simultaneously, greenhouse gas emissions are driving ocean warming and changes in irradiance (through turbidity and cloud cover), which have the po...
Preprint
Full-text available
Urgent action is needed to prevent the demise of coral reefs as the climate crisis leads to an increasingly warmer and more acidic ocean. Propagating climate change resistant corals to restore degraded reefs is one promising strategy; however, empirical evidence is needed to determine if resistance is retained following transplantation within or be...
Article
Full-text available
The persistence of reef building corals is threatened by human-induced environmental change. Maintaining coral reefs into the future requires not only the survival of adults, but also the influx of recruits to promote genetic diversity and retain cover following adult mortality. Few studies examine the linkages among multiple life stages of corals,...
Article
Full-text available
Marine heat waves instigated by anthropogenic climate change are causing increasingly frequent and severe coral bleaching events that often lead to widespread coral mortality. While community-wide increases in coral mortality following bleaching events have been documented on reefs around the world, the ecological consequences for conspecific indiv...
Article
Full-text available
The Hawaiian Islands are at the northern edge of coral reef distributions, and corals found there are exposed to large seasonal temperature changes. Historically, coral bleaching in the Hawaiian Islands was extremely rare and had only occurred in 1996. However, in the summers of both 2014 and 2015, successive bleaching events occurred in Kāne‘ohe B...
Article
Coral‐associated bacteria and endosymbiotic algae (Symbiodiniaceae spp.) are both vitally important for the biological function of corals. Yet little is known about their co‐occurrence within corals, how their diversity varies across coral species, or how they are impacted by anthropogenic disturbances. Here, we sampled coral colonies (n = 472) fro...
Preprint
Full-text available
Global climate change is altering coral reef ecosystems. Notably, marine heat waves are producing widespread coral bleaching events that are increasing in frequency, with projections for annual bleaching events on reefs worldwide by mid-century. The response of corals to elevated seawater temperatures can be modulated by abiotic factors at site of...
Article
Full-text available
Elevated temperatures and nutrients are degrading coral reef ecosystems, but the understanding of how early life stages of reef corals respond to these stressors remains limited. Here, we test the impact of temperature (mean ~ 27 °C vs. ~ 29 °C) and nitrate and phosphate enrichment (ambient, + 5 µM nitrate, + 1 µM phosphate and combined + 5 µM nitr...
Article
Full-text available
Chronic disturbance can disrupt ecological interactions including the foundational symbiosis between reef-building corals and the dinoflagellate family Symbiodiniaceae. Symbiodiniaceae are photosynthetic endosymbionts necessary for coral survival, but many Symbiodiniaceae can also be found free-living in the environment. Since most coral species ac...
Article
Full-text available
Reef corals are mixotrophic organisms relying on symbiont-derived photoautotrophy and water column heterotrophy. Coral endosymbionts (Family: Symbiodiniaceae), while typically considered mutualists, display a range of species-specific and environmentally mediated opportunism in their interactions with coral hosts, potentially requiring corals to re...
Article
Extreme heat wave events are now causing ecosystem degradation across marine ecosystems. The consequences of this heat-induced damage range from the rapid loss of habitat-forming organisms, through to a reduction in the services that ecosystems support, and ultimately to impacts on human health and society. How we tackle the sudden emergence of eco...
Preprint
Full-text available
Marine heat waves instigated by anthropogenic climate change are causing increasingly frequent and severe coral bleaching events that often lead to widespread coral mortality. While community-wide increases in coral mortality following bleaching events have been documented on reefs around the world, the ecological consequences for conspecific indiv...
Article
Full-text available
Mesophotic reef corals remain largely unexplored in terms of the genetic adaptations and physiological mechanisms to acquire, allocate, and use energy for survival and reproduction. In the Hawaiian Archipelago, the Leptoseris species complex form the most spatially extensive mesophotic coral ecosystem known and provide habitat for a unique communit...
Article
Full-text available
Ocean warming and the increased prevalence of coral bleaching events threaten coral reefs. However, the biology of corals during and following bleaching events under field conditions is poorly understood. We examined bleaching and postbleaching recovery in Montipora capitata and Porites compressa corals that either bleached or did not bleach during...
Article
Full-text available
Corals comprise a biomineralizing cnidarian, dinoflagellate algal symbionts, and associated microbiome of prokaryotes and viruses. Ongoing efforts to conserve coral reefs by identifying the major stress response pathways and thereby laying the foundation to select resistant genotypes rely on a robust genomic foundation. Here we generated and analyz...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Structural complexity underpins the ecological functioning of coral reefs. However, rising ocean temperatures and associated coral bleaching threaten the structural integrity of these important ecosystems. Despite the increased frequency of coral bleaching events, few studies to date have examined changes in three-dimensional (3D) reef str...
Article
Full-text available
Spatial heterogeneity in environmental characteristics can drive adaptive differentiation when contrasting environments exert divergent selection pressures. This environmental and genetic heterogeneity can substantially influence population and community resilience to disturbance events. Here, we investigated corals from the highly variable back-re...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ocean warming and the increased prevalence of coral bleaching events threaten coral reefs. However, the biology of corals during and following bleaching events under field conditions is poorly understood. We examined bleaching and post-bleaching recovery in Montipora capitata and Porites compressa corals that either bleached or did not bleach durin...
Article
Full-text available
Coral reef ecosystems are seriously threatened by changing conditions in the ocean. Although many factors are implicated, climate change has emerged as a dominant and rapidly growing threat. Developing a long‐term strategic plan for the conservation of coral reefs is urgently needed yet is complicated by significant uncertainty associated with clim...
Article
Full-text available
Human activities have led to widespread ecological decline; however, the severity of degradation is spatially heterogeneous due to some locations resisting, escaping, or rebounding from disturbances. We developed a framework for identifying oases within coral reef regions using long‐term monitoring data. We calculated standardised estimates of cora...
Article
Full-text available
Scleractinian corals form symbioses with diverse photosynthetic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium) that confer varying levels of performance and stress tolerance to their hosts. Variation in thermal stress susceptibility (i.e., bleaching) among conspecific corals is linked to variability in symbiont community composition, yet factors driving hete...
Preprint
Full-text available
The persistence of reef building corals is threatened by human-induced environmental change. Maintaining coral reefs into the future requires not only the survival of adults, but also the influx of recruits to promote genetic diversity and retain cover following adult mortality. Few studies examine the linkages among multiple life stages of corals,...
Article
Full-text available
A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.
Article
Full-text available
Rising ocean temperatures can induce the breakdown of the symbiosis between reef building corals and Symbiodinium in the phenomenon known as coral bleaching. Environmental history may, however, influence the response of corals to stress and affect bleaching outcomes. A suite of physiological and immunological traits was evaluated to test the effect...
Article
Full-text available
The nutritional symbiosis between coral hosts and photosynthetic dinoflagellates is fundamental to the functioning of coral reefs. Rising seawater temperatures destabilize this relationship, resulting in drastic declines in world-wide coral cover. Thermal history is thought to play an important role in shaping a coral's response to subsequent therm...
Article
Full-text available
A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML version of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.
Article
Full-text available
As disease spreads through living coral, it can induce changes in the distribution of coral's naturally fluorescent pigments, making fluorescence a potentially powerful non-invasive intrinsic marker of coral disease. Here, we show the usefulness of live-imaging laser scanning confocal microscopy to investigate coral health state. We demonstrate tha...
Article
Full-text available
Ocean acidification (OA) is predicted to reduce reef coral calcification rates and threaten the long-term growth of coral reefs under climate change. Reduced coral growth at elevated pCO2 may be buffered by sufficiently high irradiances, however, the interactive effects of OA and irradiance on other fundamental aspects of coral physiology, such as...