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      Caribbean Corals in Crisis: Record Thermal Stress, Bleaching, and Mortality in 2005

      research-article

      1 , * , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 2 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 5 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 2 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 27 , 36 , 37 , 25 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 , 37 , 42 , 43 , 44 , 45 , 46 , 47 , 14 , 48 , 9 , 10 , 23 , 5 , 49 , 50 , 51 , 52 , 3 , 53 , 54 , 55 , 9 , 13 , 13 , 31 , 56

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          Abstract

          Background

          The rising temperature of the world's oceans has become a major threat to coral reefs globally as the severity and frequency of mass coral bleaching and mortality events increase. In 2005, high ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean resulted in the most severe bleaching event ever recorded in the basin.

          Methodology/Principal Findings

          Satellite-based tools provided warnings for coral reef managers and scientists, guiding both the timing and location of researchers' field observations as anomalously warm conditions developed and spread across the greater Caribbean region from June to October 2005. Field surveys of bleaching and mortality exceeded prior efforts in detail and extent, and provided a new standard for documenting the effects of bleaching and for testing nowcast and forecast products. Collaborators from 22 countries undertook the most comprehensive documentation of basin-scale bleaching to date and found that over 80% of corals bleached and over 40% died at many sites. The most severe bleaching coincided with waters nearest a western Atlantic warm pool that was centered off the northern end of the Lesser Antilles.

          Conclusions/Significance

          Thermal stress during the 2005 event exceeded any observed from the Caribbean in the prior 20 years, and regionally-averaged temperatures were the warmest in over 150 years. Comparison of satellite data against field surveys demonstrated a significant predictive relationship between accumulated heat stress (measured using NOAA Coral Reef Watch's Degree Heating Weeks) and bleaching intensity. This severe, widespread bleaching and mortality will undoubtedly have long-term consequences for reef ecosystems and suggests a troubled future for tropical marine ecosystems under a warming climate.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Improved Extended Reconstruction of SST (1854–1997)

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            Ocean acidification causes bleaching and productivity loss in coral reef builders.

            Ocean acidification represents a key threat to coral reefs by reducing the calcification rate of framework builders. In addition, acidification is likely to affect the relationship between corals and their symbiotic dinoflagellates and the productivity of this association. However, little is known about how acidification impacts on the physiology of reef builders and how acidification interacts with warming. Here, we report on an 8-week study that compared bleaching, productivity, and calcification responses of crustose coralline algae (CCA) and branching (Acropora) and massive (Porites) coral species in response to acidification and warming. Using a 30-tank experimental system, we manipulated CO(2) levels to simulate doubling and three- to fourfold increases [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projection categories IV and VI] relative to present-day levels under cool and warm scenarios. Results indicated that high CO(2) is a bleaching agent for corals and CCA under high irradiance, acting synergistically with warming to lower thermal bleaching thresholds. We propose that CO(2) induces bleaching via its impact on photoprotective mechanisms of the photosystems. Overall, acidification impacted more strongly on bleaching and productivity than on calcification. Interestingly, the intermediate, warm CO(2) scenario led to a 30% increase in productivity in Acropora, whereas high CO(2) lead to zero productivity in both corals. CCA were most sensitive to acidification, with high CO(2) leading to negative productivity and high rates of net dissolution. Our findings suggest that sensitive reef-building species such as CCA may be pushed beyond their thresholds for growth and survival within the next few decades whereas corals will show delayed and mixed responses.
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              Coral bleaching: causes and consequences

               B Brown (1997)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2010
                15 November 2010
                : 5
                : 11
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Coral Reef Watch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America
                [2 ]NOAA Coral Reef Watch, IM Systems Group, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America
                [3 ]NOAA Coral Reef Watch, ReefSense Pty. Ltd., Townsville, Queensland, Australia
                [4 ]School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
                [5 ]Center for Marine and Environmental Studies, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, United States of America
                [6 ]Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel, Cozumel, México
                [7 ]School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
                [8 ]CSA South, Inc., Dania Beach, Florida, United States of America
                [9 ]Center for Coral Reef Research, Mote Marine Laboratory, Summerland Key, Florida, United States of America
                [10 ]Instituto de Tecnología y Ciencias Marinas, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela
                [11 ]Laboratoire de Biologie Marine, Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France
                [12 ]Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Landover, Maryland, United States of America
                [13 ]Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, United States of America
                [14 ]Global Vision International and Amigos de Sian Ka'an Asociación Civil, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, México
                [15 ]Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Key West, Florida, United States of America
                [16 ]Center for Marine Science, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Key Largo, Florida, United States of America
                [17 ]Luton Institute for Research in the Applied Natural Sciences, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, United Kingdom
                [18 ]Buccoo Reef Trust, Carnbee, Trinidad and Tobago
                [19 ]Centro de Investigaciones Marinas, Universidad de la Habana, Habana, Cuba
                [20 ]Universidad del Magdalena, Santa Marta, Colombia
                [21 ]Griffith School of Environment and Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, Australia
                [22 ]Marine and Atmospheric Science Program, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, United States of America
                [23 ]Insituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (INVEMAR), Santa Marta, Colombia
                [24 ]National Coral Reef Institute, Nova Southeastern University, Dania Beach, Florida, United States of America
                [25 ]Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Virginia Key, Florida, United States of America
                [26 ]Conservation and Fisheries Department, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, United Kingdom
                [27 ]Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Panamá
                [28 ]Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Miami, Florida, United States of America
                [29 ]Center for Applied Tropical Ecology and Conservation, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
                [30 ]Marine Spatial Ecology Lab, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom
                [31 ]Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America
                [32 ]Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, St George's, Bermuda
                [33 ]Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cancún, Quintana Roo, México
                [34 ]Biology Department, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
                [35 ]Global Change Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
                [36 ]The Nature Conservancy, Sugarloaf Key, Florida, United States of America
                [37 ]Ocean Research and Education Foundation Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States of America
                [38 ]Department of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
                [39 ]Research School of Earth Science, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
                [40 ]Central Caribbean Marine Institute and Kean University, Union, New Jersey, United States of America
                [41 ]Observatoire du Milieu Marin Martiniquais, Fort de France, Martinique, France
                [42 ]Reef Check, Pacific Palisades, California, United States of America
                [43 ]South Florida/Caribbean Network, Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, United States Virgin Islands, United States of America
                [44 ]Perry Institute for Marine Science, Jupiter, Florida, United States of America
                [45 ]Biological Sciences Department, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida, United States of America
                [46 ]Corporación para el Desarrollo Sostenible del Archipiélago de San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina (CORALINA), San Andrés Isla, Colombia
                [47 ]Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados
                [48 ]St. Croix East End Marine Park, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Christiansted, United States Virgin Islands, United States of America
                [49 ]Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America
                [50 ]Departamento Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia
                [51 ]Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Galveston, Texas, United States of America
                [52 ]Northeast Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, United States of America
                [53 ]Institute for Tropical Marine Ecology Inc., Roseau, Dominica
                [54 ]Instituto de Zoología Tropical, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela
                [55 ]Environmental Change Initiative, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America
                [56 ]ReefBase and Institute of Oceanography, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
                Dalhousie University, Canada
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: CME JAM SFH TBS GL TRLC WS. Performed the experiments: TBS LAF BB EB CB CB MB AB LBW AC BC MC MJCC OD EdlG GDP DD DLGA DSG RG SG HMG JH EAHD EH CFGJ RJJ EJD LK DK PK JCL DL JM CM JPM KM JM WJM EMM EM CAOT HAO DPT NQ SR ARR SR JFS JAS GPS BS SCCS EV SMW CW EW EHW KWR YbY. Analyzed the data: CME JAM SFH GL KBR. Wrote the paper: CME JAM SFH TBS.

                Article
                10-PONE-RA-17391R1
                10.1371/journal.pone.0013969
                2981599
                21125021
                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain declaration which stipulates that, once placed in the public domain, this work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose.
                Page count
                Pages: 9
                Categories
                Research Article
                Ecology/Conservation and Restoration Ecology
                Ecology/Global Change Ecology
                Ecology/Marine and Freshwater Ecology

                Uncategorized

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