[Coral-List] new articles in Nature about recovery of reefs from bleaching damage

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Thu Jan 15 09:50:06 EST 2015

Two articles just appeared online in Nature, one a popular article, the
other the research article it was based on:

the popular article:

Ecology: Deep and complex ways to survive bleaching.  John Pandolfi


abstract:  "Mass coral bleaching events can drive reefs from being the
domains of corals to becoming dominated by seaweed. But longitudinal data
show that more than half of the reefs studied rebound to their former

research article:

Predicting climate-driven regime shifts versus rebound potential in coral
reefs.  Graham et al.


"Climate-induced coral bleaching is among the greatest current threats to
coral reefs, causing widespread loss of live coral cover1
Conditions under which reefs bounce back from bleaching events or shift
from coral to algal dominance are unknown, making it difficult to predict
and plan for differing reef responses under climate change2
Here we document and predict long-term reef responses to a major
climate-induced coral bleaching event that caused unprecedented region-wide
mortality of Indo-Pacific corals. Following loss of >90% live coral cover,
12 of 21 reefs recovered towards pre-disturbance live coral states, while
nine reefs underwent regime shifts to fleshy macroalgae. Functional
diversity of associated reef fish communities shifted substantially
following bleaching, returning towards pre-disturbance structure on
recovering reefs, while becoming progressively altered on regime shifting
reefs. We identified threshold values for a range of factors that
accurately predicted ecosystem response to the bleaching event. Recovery
was favoured when reefs were structurally complex and in deeper water, when
density of juvenile corals and herbivorous fishes was relatively high and
when nutrient loads were low. Whether reefs were inside no-take marine
reserves had no bearing on ecosystem trajectory. Although conditions
governing regime shift or recovery dynamics were diverse, pre-disturbance
quantification of simple factors such as structural complexity and water
depth accurately predicted ecosystem trajectories. These findings
foreshadow the likely divergent but predictable outcomes for reef
ecosystems in response to climate change, thus guiding improved management
and adaptation."

Cheers,  Doug

Douglas Fenner
Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

phone 1 684 622-7084

"belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."

belief in evolution is optional, use of antibiotics that bacteria have not
evolved resistance to is recommended.

website:  http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner

blog: http://ocean.si.edu/blog/reefs-american-samoa-story-hope

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