Can a thermally tolerant symbiont improve the future of Caribbean coral reefs?

Ortiz, Juan Carlos, Gonzalez Rivero, Manuel and Mumby, Peter J. (2013) Can a thermally tolerant symbiont improve the future of Caribbean coral reefs?. Global Change Biology, 19 1: 273-281. doi:10.1111/gcb.12027

Author Ortiz, Juan Carlos
Gonzalez Rivero, Manuel
Mumby, Peter J.
Title Can a thermally tolerant symbiont improve the future of Caribbean coral reefs?
Journal name Global Change Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1354-1013
Publication date 2013-01-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/gcb.12027
Open Access Status
Volume 19
Issue 1
Start page 273
End page 281
Total pages 9
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Abstract The detrimental effect of climate change induced bleaching on Caribbean coral reefs has been widely documented in recent decades. Several studies have suggested that increases in the abundance of thermally tolerant endosymbionts may ameliorate the effect of climate change on reefs. Symbionts that confer tolerance to temperature also reduce the growth rate of their coral host. Here, we show, using a spatial ecosystem model, that an increment in the abundance of a thermally tolerant endosymbiont (D1a) is unlikely to ensure the persistence of Caribbean reefs, or to reduce their rate of decline, due to the concomitant reduction in growth rate under current thermal stress predictive scenarios. Furthermore, our results suggest that given the documented vital rates of D1a-dominated corals, increasing dominance of D1a in coral hosts may have a detrimental effect by reducing the resilience of Caribbean reefs, and preventing their long-term recovery. This is because Caribbean ecosystems appear to be highly sensitive to changes in the somatic growth rate of corals. Alternative outcomes might be expected in systems with different community-level dynamics such as reefs in the Indo-Pacific, where the ecological costs of reduced growth rate might be far smaller.
Keyword Climate change
Coral reefs
Thermal tolerance
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 29 October 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 15 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 17 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 23 Nov 2012, 02:55:59 EST by Manuel Gonzalez Rivero on behalf of School of Biological Sciences