Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/336034
Title:
Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America
Authors:
Wild, Christian; Jantzen, Carin; Kremb, Stephan Georg
Abstract:
Many coral reefs in the Caribbean experienced substantial changes in their benthic community composition during the last decades. This often resulted in phase shifts from scleractinian coral dominance to that by other benthic invertebrate or algae. However, knowledge about how the related role of coral-algae contacts may negatively affect corals is scarce. Therefore, benthic community composition, abundance of algae grazers, and the abundance and character of coral-algae contacts were assessed in situ at 13 Belizean reef sites distributed along a distance gradient to the Belizean mainland (12–70 km): Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (inshore), Turneffe Atoll (inner and outer midshore), and Lighthouse Reef (offshore). In situ surveys revealed significantly higher benthic cover by scleractinian corals at the remote Lighthouse Reef (26–29%) when compared to the other sites (4–19%). The abundance of herbivorous fish and the sea urchin Diadema antillarum significantly increased towards the offshore reef sites, while the occurrence of direct coral-algae contacts consequently increased significantly with decreasing distance to shore. About 60% of these algae contacts were harmful (exhibiting coral tissue damage, pigmentation change, or overgrowth) for corals (mainly genera Orbicella and Agaricia), particularly when filamentous turf algae were involved. These findings provide support to the hypothesis that (turf) algae-mediated coral damage occurs in Belizean coastal, near-shore coral reefs.
KAUST Department:
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
Citation:
Wild C, Jantzen C, Kremb SG. (2014) Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America. PeerJ 2:e571 http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.571
Publisher:
PeerJ
Journal:
PeerJ
Issue Date:
16-Sep-2014
DOI:
10.7717/peerj.571
PubMed ID:
25276504
PubMed Central ID:
PMC4178456
Type:
Article
ISSN:
2167-8359
Sponsors:
This research was funded by German Research Foundation (DFG) grant Wi 2677/4-1 to CW and ALDEBARAN Förderverein für Meeresforschung und Umweltjournalismus e.V. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Additional Links:
https://peerj.com/articles/571
Appears in Collections:
Articles; Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorWild, Christianen
dc.contributor.authorJantzen, Carinen
dc.contributor.authorKremb, Stephan Georgen
dc.date.accessioned2014-11-24T16:08:30Z-
dc.date.available2014-11-24T16:08:30Z-
dc.date.issued2014-09-16en
dc.identifier.citationWild C, Jantzen C, Kremb SG. (2014) Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America. PeerJ 2:e571 http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.571en
dc.identifier.issn2167-8359en
dc.identifier.pmid25276504en
dc.identifier.doi10.7717/peerj.571en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/336034en
dc.description.abstractMany coral reefs in the Caribbean experienced substantial changes in their benthic community composition during the last decades. This often resulted in phase shifts from scleractinian coral dominance to that by other benthic invertebrate or algae. However, knowledge about how the related role of coral-algae contacts may negatively affect corals is scarce. Therefore, benthic community composition, abundance of algae grazers, and the abundance and character of coral-algae contacts were assessed in situ at 13 Belizean reef sites distributed along a distance gradient to the Belizean mainland (12–70 km): Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (inshore), Turneffe Atoll (inner and outer midshore), and Lighthouse Reef (offshore). In situ surveys revealed significantly higher benthic cover by scleractinian corals at the remote Lighthouse Reef (26–29%) when compared to the other sites (4–19%). The abundance of herbivorous fish and the sea urchin Diadema antillarum significantly increased towards the offshore reef sites, while the occurrence of direct coral-algae contacts consequently increased significantly with decreasing distance to shore. About 60% of these algae contacts were harmful (exhibiting coral tissue damage, pigmentation change, or overgrowth) for corals (mainly genera Orbicella and Agaricia), particularly when filamentous turf algae were involved. These findings provide support to the hypothesis that (turf) algae-mediated coral damage occurs in Belizean coastal, near-shore coral reefs.en
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was funded by German Research Foundation (DFG) grant Wi 2677/4-1 to CW and ALDEBARAN Förderverein für Meeresforschung und Umweltjournalismus e.V. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherPeerJen
dc.relation.urlhttps://peerj.com/articles/571en
dc.rightsThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.en
dc.rights.urihttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/en
dc.subjectCoral reef ecologyen
dc.subjectPhase shiften
dc.subjectCoastal influenceen
dc.subjectCoral algae contactsen
dc.titleTurf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central Americaen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)en
dc.identifier.journalPeerJen
dc.identifier.pmcidPMC4178456en
dc.eprint.versionPublisher's Version/PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionCoral Reef Ecology Group (CORE), Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen, Germanyen
dc.contributor.institutionSECORE Media & Communication, Bremen, Germanyen
dc.contributor.affiliationKing Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)en
kaust.authorKremb, Stephan Georgen
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