U-Th dating reveals regional-scale decline of branching Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef over the past century

Clark, Tara R., Roff, George, Zhao, Jian-xin, Feng, Yue-xing, Done, Terence J., McCook, Laurence J. and Pandolfi, John M. (2017) U-Th dating reveals regional-scale decline of branching Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef over the past century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114 39: 10350-10355. doi:10.1073/pnas.1705351114


Author Clark, Tara R.
Roff, George
Zhao, Jian-xin
Feng, Yue-xing
Done, Terence J.
McCook, Laurence J.
Pandolfi, John M.
Title U-Th dating reveals regional-scale decline of branching Acropora corals on the Great Barrier Reef over the past century
Journal name Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0027-8424
1091-6490
Publication date 2017-09-11
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1705351114
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 114
Issue 39
Start page 10350
End page 10355
Total pages 6
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Language eng
Abstract Hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is on a trajectory of decline. However, little is known about past coral mortality before the advent of long-term monitoring (circa 1980s). Using paleoecological analysis and high-precision uranium-thorium (U-Th) dating, we reveal an extensive loss of branching Acropora corals and changes in coral community structure in the Palm Islands region of the central GBR over the past century. In 2008, dead coral assemblages were dominated by large, branching Acropora and living coral assemblages by genera typically found in turbid inshore environments. The timing of Acropora mortality was found to be occasionally synchronous among reefs and frequently linked to discrete disturbance events, occurring in the 1920s to 1960s and again in the 1980s to 1990s. Surveys conducted in 2014 revealed low Acropora cover (<5%) across all sites, with very little evidence of change for up to 60 y at some sites. Collectively, our results suggest a loss of resilience of this formerly dominant key framework builder at a regional scale, with recovery severely lagging behind predictions. Our study implies that the management of these reefs may be predicated on a shifted baseline.
Keyword Climate-Change
Scleractinian Corals
Death Assemblages
Mortality Events
Modern Porites
Regime Shifts
Phase-Shifts
Base-Lines
Resilience
Recovery
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Sun, 05 Nov 2017, 09:31:26 EST