Bleaching and hurricane disturbances to populations of coral recruits in Belize

Mumby, Peter J. (1999) Bleaching and hurricane disturbances to populations of coral recruits in Belize. Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 190 27-35. doi:10.3354/meps190027

Author Mumby, Peter J.
Title Bleaching and hurricane disturbances to populations of coral recruits in Belize
Journal name Marine Ecology - Progress Series   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0171-8630
Publication date 1999
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3354/meps190027
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 190
Start page 27
End page 35
Total pages 9
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-Research
Language eng
Abstract In 1998, coral populations in Belize were disturbed simultaneously by a severe coral bleaching event and Hurricane Mitch. The impact of these disturbances was assessed for naturally occurring populations of coral recruits (2 to 20 mm diameter), at a depth of 8 to 10 m on the forereef of Glovers Atoll. Bleaching took place at all 4 study sites but the hurricane only affected 2 sites, enabling the effects of bleaching to be compared to those arising from bleaching plus hurricane damage. Pre-disturbance recruit density, size-frequency distribution, and community structure were similar between sites (at kilometre scales). The bleaching event lasted ca 3.5 mo. From 70 to 90% of adult colonies bleached fully and at least 25% of recruits exhibited signs of bleaching. A month after adult colonies had regained usual colouration, only 1% of recruits showed even partial bleaching. Surprisingly, coral bleaching alone had no measurable effect on either recruit density or community structure. The combination of bleaching and hurricane disturbance reduced total recruit densities to 20% of pre-disturbance levels. Effects of bleaching/hurricane disturbance on community structure were spatially patchy, and I suggest that such patchiness may arise from variable cover of protective microhabitat and/or different storm conditions mediated by proximity to reef cuts (breaks in the reef crest).
Keyword Coral recruitment
Hurricane Mitch
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Created: Tue, 23 Nov 2010, 14:35:16 EST