[Coral-List] New paper on drivers affecting coral growth variability in the Caribbean

Angela Marulanda ammarulandag24 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 8 12:49:50 UTC 2019

Hello everyone.

We would like to share with you our recent paper on drivers affecting coral
growth variability in the Caribbean, titled: *"Climate change and Atlantic
Multidecadal Oscillation as drivers of recent declines in coral growth
rates in the Southwestern Caribbean"*

Historical records of growth rates of the key Caribbean reef
framework-building coral *Orbicella faveolata* can be fundamental not only
to understand how these organisms respond to environmental changes but also
to infer future responses of reef ecosystems in a changing world. While
coral growth rates have been widely documented throughout the Caribbean,
the drivers of coral growth variability remain poorly understood. Here, we
provide a record spanning 53 years (1963–2015) of the coral growth
parameters for five *O. faveolata* core samples collected at Serrana Atoll,
inside the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, Colombian Caribbean. Coral cores
were extracted from reefs isolated from direct anthropogenic impacts, and
growth estimations (skeletal density, linear extension, and calcification
rates) were derived using computerized tomography. Master records of coral
growth parameters were evaluated to identify long-term trends and to relate
growth responses with sea surface temperature (SST), the Atlantic
Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and
Southern Oscillation indexes, aragonite saturation state (Ωarag), and
degree heating months (DHM). We found significant negative relationships
between density and mean SST, maximum SST, AMO, and DHM. Moreover, density
showed significant positive correlations with NAO and Ωarag. Extension rate
did not show significant correlations with any environmental variable.
However, there were significant negative correlations between calcification
and maximum SST, AMO, and DHM. Trends of coral growth indicated a
significant reduction in density and calcification over time, which were
best explained by changes in Ωarag. Inter-annual declines in calcification
and density up to 25% (relative to historical mean) were associated to the
impacts of previously recorded mass bleaching events (1998, 2005, and
2010). Our study provides further evidence that AMO and Ωarag are important
drivers affecting coral growth rates in the Southwestern Caribbean.
Therefore, we suggest upcoming variations of AMO and future trajectories of
Ωaragin the Anthropocene could have a substantial influence on future
disturbances, ecological process and responses of the Caribbean reefs.

You can view the free access publication here:

Best wishes,

Angela M. Marulanda G.
MSc. Student
The University of Amsterdam

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