Climate change disables coral bleaching protection on the Great Barrier Reef

Ainsworth, Tracy D., Heron, Scott F., Ortiz, Juan Carlos, Mumby, Peter J., Grech, Alana, Ogawa, Daise, Eakin, C. Mark and Leggat, William (2016) Climate change disables coral bleaching protection on the Great Barrier Reef. Science, 352 6283: 338-342. doi:10.1126/science.aac7125

Author Ainsworth, Tracy D.
Heron, Scott F.
Ortiz, Juan Carlos
Mumby, Peter J.
Grech, Alana
Ogawa, Daise
Eakin, C. Mark
Leggat, William
Title Climate change disables coral bleaching protection on the Great Barrier Reef
Journal name Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1095-9203
Publication date 2016-04-15
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1126/science.aac7125
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 352
Issue 6283
Start page 338
End page 342
Total pages 5
Place of publication Washington, DC United States
Publisher American Association for the Advancement of Science
Language eng
Subject 1000 General
Abstract Coral bleaching events threaten the sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Here we show that bleaching events of the past three decades have been mitigated by induced thermal tolerance of reef-building corals, and this protective mechanism is likely to be lost under near-future climate change scenarios. We show that 75% of past thermal stress events have been characterized by a temperature trajectory that subjects corals to a protective, sub-bleaching stress, before reaching temperatures that cause bleaching. Such conditions confer thermal tolerance, decreasing coral cell mortality and symbiont loss during bleaching by over 50%. We find that near-future increases in local temperature of as little as 0.5°C result in this protective mechanism being lost, which may increase the rate of degradation of the GBR.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID DP130101421
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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