Coral recovery may not herald the return of fishes on damaged coral reefs
AuthorsBellwood, David R.
Baird, Andrew Hamilton
Depczynski, Martial R.
Lefévre, Carine D.
Tanner, Jennifer K.
KAUST DepartmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/562134
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe dynamic nature of coral reefs offers a rare opportunity to examine the response of ecosystems to disruption due to climate change. In 1998, the Great Barrier Reef experienced widespread coral bleaching and mortality. As a result, cryptobenthic fish assemblages underwent a dramatic phase-shift. Thirteen years, and up to 96 fish generations later, the cryptobenthic fish assemblage has not returned to its pre-bleach configuration. This is despite coral abundances returning to, or exceeding, pre-bleach values. The post-bleach fish assemblage exhibits no evidence of recovery. If these short-lived fish species are a model for their longer-lived counterparts, they suggest that (1) the full effects of the 1998 bleaching event on long-lived fish populations have yet to be seen, (2) it may take decades, or more, before recovery or regeneration of these long-lived species will begin, and (3) fish assemblages may not recover to their previous composition despite the return of corals. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.
SponsorsWe thank: J. Ackerman, H. Larson, P. Munday, P. Osmond, and R. Winterbottom for their help with collections and/or fish identifications; P. Marshall for access to coral data; 800+ JCU MB3160 students for enthusiastic goby picking and sorting; the staff of Orpheus Island Research Station for field support; the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, National Parks, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Primary Industries for permission to collect; and two anonymous reviewers and colleagues in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies for helpful comments or discussions. This work was supported by the Australian Research Council (DRB).
- Predicting climate-driven regime shifts versus rebound potential in coral reefs.
- Authors: Graham NA, Jennings S, MacNeil MA, Mouillot D, Wilson SK
- Issue date: 2015 Feb 5
- High coral cover and subsequent high fish richness on mature breakwaters in Taiwan.
- Authors: Wen CK, Chen KS, Hsieh HJ, Hsu CM, Chen CA
- Issue date: 2013 Jul 15
- Patterns in reef fish assemblages: Insights from the Chagos Archipelago.
- Authors: Samoilys M, Roche R, Koldewey H, Turner J
- Issue date: 2018
- Mass coral bleaching causes biotic homogenization of reef fish assemblages.
- Authors: Richardson LE, Graham NAJ, Pratchett MS, Eurich JG, Hoey AS
- Issue date: 2018 Jul
- Spatial mismatch in fish and coral loss following 2016 mass coral bleaching.
- Authors: Wismer S, Tebbett SB, Streit RP, Bellwood DR
- Issue date: 2019 Feb 10