Disturbance gradients on inshore and offshore coral reefs caused by a severe tropical cyclone

Fabricius, Katharina E., De'ath, Glenn, Puotinen, Marji Lee, Done, Terry, Cooper, Timothy F. and Burgess, Scott C. (2008) Disturbance gradients on inshore and offshore coral reefs caused by a severe tropical cyclone. Limnology and Oceanography, 53 2: 690-704. doi:10.4319/lo.2008.53.2.0690

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Author Fabricius, Katharina E.
De'ath, Glenn
Puotinen, Marji Lee
Done, Terry
Cooper, Timothy F.
Burgess, Scott C.
Title Disturbance gradients on inshore and offshore coral reefs caused by a severe tropical cyclone
Journal name Limnology and Oceanography   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0024-3590
Publication date 2008-03-31
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.4319/lo.2008.53.2.0690
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 53
Issue 2
Start page 690
End page 704
Total pages 15
Place of publication Waco, TX, United States
Publisher American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Tropical storms (cyclones, hurricanes, or typhoons) are the most severe form of mechanical disturbance of coral reefs. In 2005, severe tropical cyclone Ingrid crossed the far northern Great Barrier Reef, a region that had not been affected by a major disturbance for several decades, and where benthic data had been collected before the cyclone crossed. This storm provided a unique opportunity to improve understanding of the extent and type of damage inflicted on inshore and offshore coral reefs along a gradient of wind speeds. Modeled maximum wind speeds ranged from 46 m s-1 (equivalent to category 4) near the path to 22 m s-1 (category 1) ∼70 km to either side of the path. Surveys of 82 sites on 32 reefs along the wind gradient showed that the types and intensity of disturbance were well explained by local maximum wind speed, and by spatial and biotic factors. While offshore reefs had the deepest depth of damage, inshore reefs had the greatest rates of coral breakage and dislodgement. On a severely affected inshore reef, hard coral cover decreased about 800%, taxonomic richness decreased 250%, the density of coral recruits decreased by 30%, while massive coral cover remained unaltered. Maximum winds <28 m s-1 for <12 h inflicted only minor damage on any reef, but winds >33 m s-1 and >40 m s-1 caused catastrophic damage on inshore and offshore reefs, respectively. Observations from this cyclone were used to predict potential changes in storm-related coral loss under altered cyclone-intensity scenarios. © 2008, by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc.
Keyword Great-Barrier-Reef
Hurricane Intensity
Community Structure
Fish Assemblages
Climate Model
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
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