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Coral Reefs

Angelica A D Chirico, Timothy R McClanahan, Johan S Eklöf
Government-managed marine protected areas (MPAs) can restore small fish stocks, but have been heavily criticized for excluding resource users and creating conflicts. A promising but less studied alternative are community-managed MPAs, where resource users are more involved in MPA design, implementation and enforcement. Here we evaluated effects of government- and community-managed MPAs on the density, size and biomass of seagrass- and coral reef-associated fish, using field surveys in Kenyan coastal lagoons...
2017: PloS One
Sam J Purkis
Carbonate precipitation has been a common life strategy for marine organisms for 3.7 billion years, as, therefore, has their construction of reefs. As favored by modern corals, reef-forming organisms have typically adopted a niche in warm, shallow, well-lit, tropical marine waters, where they are capable of building vast carbonate edifices. Because fossil reefs form water aquifers and hydrocarbon reservoirs, considerable effort has been dedicated to understanding their anatomy and morphology. Remote sensing has a particular role to play here...
August 9, 2017: Annual Review of Marine Science
Laura E Richardson, Nicholas A J Graham, Andrew S Hoey
The availability of habitat structure across spatial scales can determine ecological organization and resilience. However, anthropogenic disturbances are altering the abundance and composition of habitat-forming organisms. How such shifts in the composition of these organisms alter the physical structure of habitats across ecologically important scales remains unclear. At a time of unprecedented coral loss and homogenization of coral assemblages globally, we investigate the inherent structural complexity of taxonomically distinct reefs, across five ecologically relevant scales of measurement (4-64 cm)...
August 8, 2017: Scientific Reports
Anna Weiss, Rowan C Martindale
Crustose coralline algae (CCA) are key producers of carbonate sediment on reefs today. Despite their importance in modern reef ecosystems, the long-term relationship of CCA with reef development has not been quantitatively assessed in the fossil record. This study includes data from 128 Cenozoic coral reefs collected from the Paleobiology Database, the Paleoreefs Database, as well as the original literature and assesses the correlation of CCA abundance with taxonomic diversity (both corals and reef dwellers) and framework of fossil coral reefs...
2017: PloS One
Ross Cunning, Erik B Muller, Ruth D Gates, Roger M Nisbet
Coral reef ecosystems owe their ecological success - and vulnerability to climate change - to the symbiotic metabolism of corals and Symbiodinium spp. The urgency to understand and predict the stability and breakdown of these symbioses (i.e., coral 'bleaching') demands the development and application of theoretical tools. Here, we develop a dynamic bioenergetic model of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses that demonstrates realistic steady-state patterns in coral growth and symbiont abundance across gradients of light, nutrients, and feeding...
August 3, 2017: Journal of Theoretical Biology
Rohan M Brooker, Mark E Hay, Danielle L Dixson
Coral reefs worldwide are shifting from high-diversity, coral-dominated communities to low-diversity systems dominated by seaweeds. This shift can impact essential recovery processes such as larval recruitment and ecosystem resilience. Recent evidence suggests that chemical cues from certain corals attract, and from certain seaweeds suppress, recruitment of juvenile fishes, with loss of coral cover and increases in seaweed cover creating negative feedbacks that prevent reef recovery and sustain seaweed dominance...
December 2016: Coral Reefs: Journal of the International Society for Reef Studies
Stuart J Campbell, Graham J Edgar, Rick D Stuart-Smith, German Soler, Amanda E Bates
Strong empirical evidence supports recovery of reef fish populations with fishery closures. In countries where full exclusion of people from fishing may be perceived as inequitable, fishing gear restrictions on non-selective and destructive gears may offer socially relevant management alternatives to build recovery of fish biomass. Even so, very few studies have statistically compared the responses of tropical reef fisheries to alternative management strategies. Here we test for the effects of fishery closures and fishing gear restrictions on tropical reef fish biomass, at the community and family level, at 1,396 underwater surveys conducted at 617 unique sites across a spatial hierarchy within 22 global marine ecoregions representing five realms...
August 4, 2017: Conservation Biology: the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
Stamatina Isari, John K Pearman, Laura Casas, Craig T Michell, Joao Curdia, Michael L Berumen, Xabier Irigoien
An important aspect of population dynamics for coral reef fishes is the input of new individuals from the pelagic larval pool. However, the high biodiversity and the difficulty of identifying larvae of closely related species represent obstacles to more fully understanding these populations. In this study, we combined morphology and genetic barcoding (Cytochrome Oxidase I gene) to characterize the seasonal patterns of the larval fish community at two sites in close proximity to coral reefs in the central-north Red Sea: one shallower inshore location (50 m depth) and a nearby site located in deeper and more offshore waters (~ 500 m depth)...
2017: PloS One
Shanna Grafeld, Kirsten L L Oleson, Lida Teneva, John N Kittinger
Despite their importance for human well-being, nearshore fisheries are often data poor, undervalued, and underappreciated in policy and development programs. We assess the value chain for nearshore Hawaiian coral reef fisheries, mapping post-catch distribution and disposition, and quantifying associated monetary, food security, and cultural values. We estimate that the total annual value of the nearshore fishery in Hawai'i is $10.3-$16.4 million, composed of non-commercial ($7.2-$12.9 million) and commercial ($2...
2017: PloS One
Barbara Calcinai, Azzurra Bastari, Giorgio Bavestrello, Marco Bertolino, Santiago Bueno Horcajadas, Maurizio Pansini, Daisy M Makapedua, Carlo Cerrano
Sponges are key components of the benthic assemblages and play an important functional role in many ecosystems, especially in coral reefs. The Indonesian coral reefs, located within the so-called "coral triangle", are among the richest in the world. However, the knowledge of the diversity of sponges and several other marine taxa is far from being complete in the area. In spite of this great biodiversity, most of the information on Indonesian sponges is scattered in old and fragmented literature and comprehensive data about their diversity are still lacking...
2017: ZooKeys
Yehuda Benayahu, Catherine S McFadden, Erez Shoham, Leen P van Ofwegen
An octocoral survey conducted in the mesophotic coral ecosystem (MCE) of Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea) yielded a new species of the speciose reef-dwelling genus Sinularia. It features encrusting colony morphology with a thin, funnel-shaped polypary. Sinularia mesophoticasp. n. (family Alcyoniidae) is described and compared to the other congeners with similar morphology. Both the morphological and molecular examination justified the establishment of the new species, also assigning it to a new genetic clade within Sinularia...
2017: ZooKeys
Rachel L Welicky, Kerry A Hadfield, Paul C Sikkel, Nico J Smit
A morphological review and molecular characterization of Anilocra haemuli Bunkley Williams & Williams, 1981, were completed using specimens collected from Haemulon flavolineatum Desmarest, 1823 (French grunt) and Epinephelus guttatus Linnaeus, 1758 (red hind). Molecular and morphological data suggest that the isopods parasitizing H. flavolineatum and E. guttatus are different species. The specimens collected from E. guttatus are recognized as a new species, Anilocra brillaesp. n. Differences between Anilocra brillaesp...
2017: ZooKeys
Andrew H Baird, Mia O Hoogenboom, Danwei Huang
A new zooxanthellate reef-dwelling scleractinian coral species, Cyphastrea salaesp. n. (Scleractinia, Merulinidae), is described from Lord Howe Island Australia. The new species can be distinguished morphologically from the only other congeneric species on Lord Howe Island, C. microphthalma, by the number of primary septa (12 vs. 10) and the much taller corallites (mean ± SE: 1.0 ± 0.07 mm v 0.4 ± 0.04 mm). The relationship of C. salae to four of the other eleven currently accepted species in the genus was explored through analyses of nuclear (28S rDNA) and mitochondrial (noncoding intergenic region) gene sequences...
2017: ZooKeys
Arjun Chennu, Paul Färber, Glenn De'ath, Dirk de Beer, Katharina E Fabricius
We developed a novel integrated technology for diver-operated surveying of shallow marine ecosystems. The HyperDiver system captures rich multifaceted data in each transect: hyperspectral and color imagery, topographic profiles, incident irradiance and water chemistry at a rate of 15-30 m(2) per minute. From surveys in a coral reef following standard diver protocols, we show how the rich optical detail can be leveraged to generate photopigment abundance and benthic composition maps. We applied machine learning techniques, with a minor annotation effort (<2% of pixels), to automatically generate cm-scale benthic habitat maps of high taxonomic resolution and accuracy (93-97%)...
August 2, 2017: Scientific Reports
Nicolai Konow, Samantha Price, Richard Abom, David Bellwood, Peter Wainwright
The diversity of fishes on coral reefs is influenced by the evolution of feeding innovations. For instance, the evolution of an intramandibular jaw joint has aided shifts to corallivory in Chaetodon butterflyfishes following their Miocene colonization of coral reefs. Today, over half of all Chaetodon species consume coral, easily the largest concentration of corallivores in any reef fish family. In contrast with Chaetodon, other chaetodontids, including the long-jawed bannerfishes, remain less intimately associated with coral and mainly consume other invertebrate prey...
August 16, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Sophie L Nedelec, Suzanne C Mills, Andrew N Radford, Ricardo Beldade, Stephen D Simpson, Brendan Nedelec, Isabelle M Côté
Human-made noise is contributing increasingly to ocean soundscapes. Its physical, physiological and behavioural effects on marine organisms are potentially widespread, but our understanding remains largely limited to intraspecific impacts. Here, we examine how motorboats affect an interspecific cleaning mutualism critical for coral reef fish health, abundance and diversity. We conducted in situ observations of cleaning interactions between bluestreak cleaner wrasses (Labroides dimidiatus) and their fish clients before, during and after repeated, standardised approaches with motorboats...
August 1, 2017: Scientific Reports
Ali Ranjbar Jafarabadi, Alireza Riyahi Bakhtiyari, Amirhossein Shadmehri Toosi, Catherine Jadot
Concentrations of 13 heavy metals (Al, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Cr, Co, Ni, V, As, Cd, Hg, Pb) in 360 reef surface sediments (0-5 cm) and coastal seawater samples from ten coral Islands in the Persian Gulf were analyzed to determine their spatial distribution and potential ecological risks. Different sediment quality indices were applied to assess the surface sediment quality. The mean concentrations of metals in studied sediments followed the order: Al > Fe > Ni > V > Mn > Zn > Cu > Cr > Co > As > Cd > Pb > As...
July 23, 2017: Chemosphere
Jorge R García-Sais, Stacey M Williams, Ali Amirrezvani
This work analyzes the mortality, recovery, and shifts in the composition of scleractinian corals from Puerto Rico one decade after the 2005 regional coral bleaching event. Temporal and spatial patterns of coral community structure were examined using a stratified, non-random sampling approach based on five permanent transects per reef at 16 reef stations. A negative correlation between percent coral cover loss and light attenuation coefficient (Kd490) was observed, suggesting that light attenuation, as influenced by water turbidity and depth, played a major role in coral protection during the bleaching event ("sunblock effect")...
2017: PeerJ
Timothy D Clark, Dominique G Roche, Sandra A Binning, Ben Speers-Roesch, Josefin Sundin
Theoretical models predict that ocean acidification, caused by increased dissolved CO2, will reduce the maximum thermal limits of fishes, thereby increasing their vulnerability to rising ocean temperatures and transient heatwaves. Here, we test this prediction in three species of damselfishes on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Maximum thermal limits were quantified using critical thermal maxima (CTmax) tests following acclimation to either present-day or end-of-century levels of CO2 for coral reef environments (∼500 or ∼1,000 µatm, respectively)...
July 28, 2017: Journal of Experimental Biology
Rebecca Weeks
In conservation prioritisation, it is often implicit that representation targets for individual habitat types act as surrogates for the species that inhabit them. Yet for many commercially and ecologically important coral reef fish species, connectivity among different habitats in a seascape may be more important than any single habitat alone. Approaches to conservation prioritisation that consider seascape connectivity are thus warranted. I demonstrate an approach that can be implemented within a relatively data-poor context, using widely available conservation planning software...
2017: PloS One
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