[Coral-List] Cold-water stresses on the Florida reef

Allen Chen cac at gate.sinica.edu.tw
Fri Jan 15 23:47:34 EST 2010

Dear Coral-Listers

This might be interesting to those who worry about the cold-water stress on the Florida reef.

The cold-shock event occurred in the South China Sea in 2008 has been described for mass-mortality of fishes, either reef-associated and pelagic species, in the Penghu Islands, Taiwan. Please refer to the ReefSite we published in Coral Reefs. (H. J. Hsieh, I-L. Shen, M.-S. Jeng, W.-S. Tsai, W.-C. Su, C. A. Chen* (2008) Tropical fish killed by the cold. Coral Reefs. DOI: 10.1007/s00338-008-0378-3). 

The cold-water invasion to the Penghu subtropical coral community caused local extinction of several coral species, such as Pocillipora damicornis and Galaxea fasicicularis, in several shallow-water sites (<5 m) around islands. However, recovery were observed at some sites in 2009 when we conducted survey of 12 LTER sites around the different islands. We are currently compiling coral and symbiont community shift before (5 years) and after (2 years) the cold shock event.

 For those who are interested in the impact of cold-shock in Penghu Islands, you may contact Dr. Justin Hsieh (hernyitw at gmail.com) for further information.

Allen Chen, PhD
Research Fellow
Biodiversity Research Centre
Academia Sinica, Taipei
Tel: 886-2-27899549
E-mail:cac at gate.sinica.edu.tw/acropora.chen at gmail.com

在 Jan 16, 2010 12:19 PM 時, Tianran Chen 寫到:

> Dear Mr. Gramer
>        Extreme low SST has been regarded as the main limit to relatively
> high-latitude coral reefs (or no-reefal coral communities). Southern China
> experienced an extreme cold event during early 2008 (13 January―13
> February), the result of which was likely driven by a combination of both La
> Niña climatic shifts, and anomalous atmospheric circulation.
>        The Daya Bay (114º29′42″―49′42″E, 22º31′12″―50′00″N), northern South
> China Sea, has also been subjected to occasional extreme cold events during
> the past 50 years, with the most recent occurring in early 2008 . During the
> 2008 cold event, the lowest air temperature reaches only 6.6℃, and the mean
> sea surface temperature for February fall to < 14℃, including six continuous
> days at 12.3℃. Significantly, the sea surface temperatures fall below the
> hypothesized critical lower temperature threshold (~13℃) that commonly leads
> to mass mortality in scleractinian coral communities. Surprisingly, our
> coral community surveys, conducted both before (August 2007) and after (late
> February 2008) the extreme 2008 cold event, demonstrated that the Daya Bay
> coral ecosystems are barely impacted upon during the cold period (Chen,
> 2009). However, we observed many coral taxa such as Turbinaria peltata,
> Plesiastrea versipora and Acropora pruinosa, that commonly spread their
> tentacles during the daytime, spread their tentacles only partially, or did
> not spread their tentacles at all, suggesting they suffered a cold-water
> stress.
>       Besides the coral death reported from Florida (Porter,1982; Roberts,
> 1982), the coral mortality events caused by low SST stress were also found
> in other areas. For example, at Manifa coral reefs (27°40′N), Western
> Arabian Gulf, mass mortalities of Acropora pharaonis and Platygyra daedalea
> occurred during a cold phase when mean daily temperature was <13℃ for 30
> days between December 1988 to March 1989, including four consecutive days
> where SST fell below 11.5℃(Coles, 1991).
> Reference
> Porter J W, Battey J F, Smith G J. Perturbation and change in coral reef
> communities. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 1982, 79: 1678―1681.
> Roberts H H, Rouse L J. Cold-water stress in Florida Bay and northern
> Bahamas: a product of winter cold-air outbreaks. J Sediment Petrol, 1982,
> 52: 145―155.
> Coles S L, Fadlallah Y H. Reef coral survival and mortality at low
> temperatures in the Arabian Gulf: new species-specific lower tem-perature
> limits. Coral Reefs, 1991, 9: 231―237.
> Chen T R, Yu K F, Shi Q, et al. Twenty-five years of change in scleractinian
> coral communities of Daya Bay (northern South China Sea) and its response to
> the 2008 AD extreme cold climate event. Chinese Sci Bull, 2009, 54:
> 2107-2117.
> Cheers,
> Dr. Tianran Chen
> South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Guangzhou, China
> email: chentianran2008 at gmail.com
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