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Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 15;6:20717. doi: 10.1038/srep20717.

Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef.

Author information

1
SECORE International, 40 Jalan Anjung 5, Horizon Hills, Nusajaya 79100, Johor, Malaysia.
2
Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
3
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543.
4
National Biodiversity Centre, National Parks Board, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 259569.
5
Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Thormøhlensgate 53B, 5020 Bergen, Norway.
6
National University of Singapore Environmental Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
7
Cooper Marine, PO Box 60, Mosman Park WA 6912, Australia.
8
Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798.
9
Tropical Marine Science Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119227.
10
iThree Institute, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
11
Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
12
Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Mosman, NSW 2088, Australia.

Abstract

While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on: a) overall bleaching severity during and after the event, b) differences in bleaching susceptibility among taxa during the event, and c) changes in coral community structure one year before and after bleaching. Approximately two thirds of colonies bleached, however, post-bleaching recovery was quite rapid and, importantly, coral taxa that are usually highly susceptible were relatively unaffected. Although total coral cover declined, there was no significant change in coral taxonomic community structure before and after bleaching. Several factors may have contributed to the overall high resistance of corals at this site including Symbiodinium affiliation, turbidity and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that, despite experiencing chronic anthropogenic disturbances, turbid shallow reef communities may be remarkably resilient to acute thermal stress.

PMID:
26876092
PMCID:
PMC4753424
DOI:
10.1038/srep20717
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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