Disturbance and the dynamics of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995-2009)

Osborne, Kate, Dolman, Andrew M., Burgess, Scott C. and Johns, Kerryn A. (2011) Disturbance and the dynamics of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995-2009). PLoS One, 6 3: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017516


Author Osborne, Kate
Dolman, Andrew M.
Burgess, Scott C.
Johns, Kerryn A.
Title Disturbance and the dynamics of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995-2009)
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2011-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0017516
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 6
Issue 3
Total pages 10
Place of publication San Francisco, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Subject 1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
2700 Medicine
Formatted abstract
Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently lacking. Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009. Subregional trends (10-100 km) in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families. Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral. Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980's suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10-100 km), driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery. 
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Article e17516.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 75 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 91 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 28 Nov 2013, 04:34:01 EST by System User on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service