Porites and the Phoenix effect: Unprecedented recovery after a mass coral bleaching event at Rangiroa Atoll, French Polynesia

Roff, George, Bejarano, Sonia, Bozec, Yves-Marie, Nugues, Maggy, Steneck, Robert S. and Mumby, Peter J. (2014) Porites and the Phoenix effect: Unprecedented recovery after a mass coral bleaching event at Rangiroa Atoll, French Polynesia. Marine Biology, 161 6: 1385-1393. doi:10.1007/s00227-014-2426-6


Author Roff, George
Bejarano, Sonia
Bozec, Yves-Marie
Nugues, Maggy
Steneck, Robert S.
Mumby, Peter J.
Title Porites and the Phoenix effect: Unprecedented recovery after a mass coral bleaching event at Rangiroa Atoll, French Polynesia
Journal name Marine Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0025-3162
1432-1793
Publication date 2014
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00227-014-2426-6
Open Access Status
Volume 161
Issue 6
Start page 1385
End page 1393
Total pages 9
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer Verlag
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Subject 1104 Complementary and Alternative Medicine
1105 Dentistry
2303 Ecology
Abstract The 1997/1998 El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was the most severe coral bleaching event in recent history, resulting in the loss of 16 % of the world's coral reefs. Mortality was particularly severe in French Polynesia, where unprecedented mortality of massive Porites was observed in lagoonal sites of Rangiroa Atoll. To assess the recovery of massive Porites 15 years later, we resurveyed the size structure and extent of partial mortality of massive Porites at Tivaru (Rangiroa). Surveys revealed an abundance of massive Porites colonies rising from the shallow lagoonal floor. Colony width averaged 2.65 m, reaching a maximum of 7.1 m (estimated age of ~391 ± 107 years old). The relative cover of recently dead skeleton within quadrats declined from 42.8 % in 1998 to zero in 2013, yet the relative cover of old dead skeleton increased only marginally from 22.1 % in 1998 to 26.1 % in 2013. At a colony level, the proportion of Porites dominated by living tissue increased from 34.9 % in 1998 to 73.9 % in 2013, indicating rapid recovery of recent dead skeleton to living tissue rather than transitioning to old dead skeleton. Such rapid post-bleaching recovery is unprecedented in massive Porites and resulted from remarkable self-regeneration termed the 'Phoenix effect', whereby remnant cryptic patches of tissue that survived the 1997/1998 ENSO event regenerated and rapidly overgrew adjacent dead skeleton. Contrary to our earlier predictions, not only are large massive Porites relatively resistant to stress, they appear to have a remarkable capacity for recovery even after severe partial mortality.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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