Post-bleaching alterations in coral reef communities

Elma, Eylem, Gullström, Martin, Yahya, Saleh A.S., Jouffray, Jean-Baptiste, East, Holly and Nyström, Magnus (2023) Post-bleaching alterations in coral reef communities. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 186. p. 114479. ISSN 0025-326X

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We explored the extent of post-bleaching impacts, caused by the 2014–2016 El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event, on benthic community structure (BCS) and herbivores (fish and sea urchins) on seven fringing reefs, with differing protection levels, in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Results showed post-bleaching alterations in BCS, with up to 68 % coral mortality and up to 48 % increase in turf algae cover in all reef sites. Herbivorous fish biomass increased after bleaching and was correlated with turf algae increase in some reefs, while the opposite was found for sea urchin densities, with significant declines and complete absence. The severity of the impact varied across individual reefs, with larger impact on the protected reefs, compared to the unprotected reefs. Our study provides a highly relevant reference point to guide future research and contributes to our understanding of post-bleaching impacts, trends, and evaluation of coral reef health and resilience in the region.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The fieldtrip of this study was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) through their Minor Field Study (MFS) program in 2013, and the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) Coral Reef Monitoring Programme in 2016.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coral bleaching, Coral reef resilience, El Niño, Herbivores, Tanzania, Turf algae
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2023 15:23
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2023 15:30

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