Synergistic impacts of global warming on the resilience of coral reefs

Bozec, Yves-Marie and Mumby, Peter J. (2015) Synergistic impacts of global warming on the resilience of coral reefs. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370 1659: 1-9. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0267

Author Bozec, Yves-Marie
Mumby, Peter J.
Title Synergistic impacts of global warming on the resilience of coral reefs
Journal name Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2970
Publication date 2015-01-05
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1098/rstb.2013.0267
Open Access Status
Volume 370
Issue 1659
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Royal Society of London
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Recent epizootics have removed important functional species from Caribbean coral reefs and left communities vulnerable to alternative attractors. Global warming will impact reefs further through two mechanisms. A chronic mechanism reduces coral calcification, which can result in depressed somatic growth. An acute mechanism, coral bleaching, causes extreme mortality when sea temperatures become anomalously high. We ask how these two mechanisms interact in driving future reef state (coral cover) and resilience (the probability of a reef remaining within a coral attractor). We find that acute mechanisms have the greatest impact overall, but the nature of the interaction with chronic stress depends on the metric considered. Chronic and acute stress act additively on reef state but form a strong synergy when influencing resilience by intensifying a regime shift. Chronic stress increases the size of the algal basin of attraction (at the expense of the coral basin), whereas coral bleaching pushes the system closer to the algal attractor. Resilience can change faster—and earlier—than a change in reef state. Therefore, we caution against basing management solely on measures of reef state because a loss of resilience can go unnoticed for many years and then become disproportionately more difficult to restore.
Keyword Acute and chronic stress
Dynamic hysteresis
Phase/regime shift
Reef state and resilience
Sea surface temperature
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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