Acclimatization of massive reef-building corals to consecutive heatwaves

Thomas M. DeCarlo, Hugo B. Harrison , Laura Gajdzik, Diego Alaguarda, Riccardo Rodolfo-Metalpa, Juan Pablo D'Olivo, Gang Liu, Patalwala Diana, Malcolm T. McCulloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Reef-building corals typically live close to the upper limits of their thermal tolerance and even small increases in summer water temperatures can lead to bleaching and mortality. Projections of coral reef futures based on forecasts of ocean temperatures indicate that by the end of this century, corals will experience their current thermal thresholds annually, which would lead to the widespread devastation of coral reef ecosystems. Here, we use skeletal cores of long-lived Porites corals collected from 14 reefs across the northern Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea, and New Caledonia to evaluate changes in their sensitivity to heat stress since 1815. High-density 'stress bands'-indicative of past bleaching-first appear during a strong pre-industrial El Niño event in 1877 but become significantly more frequent in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in accordance with rising temperatures from anthropogenic global warming. However, the proportion of cores with stress bands declines following successive bleaching events in the twenty-first century despite increasing exposure to heat stress. Our findings demonstrate an increase in the thermal tolerance of reef-building corals and offer a glimmer of hope that at least some coral species can acclimatize fast enough to keep pace with global warming.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 20190235
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume286
Issue number1898
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2019

Fingerprint

Coral Reefs
Reefs
Acclimatization
acclimation
corals
reefs
coral
reef
Anthozoa
bleaching
Global Warming
Bleaching
Hot Temperature
heat tolerance
Oceans and Seas
coral reefs
global warming
twenty first century
Temperature
Global warming

Cite this

@article{c780f19c108443b1985168f6399e36dc,
title = "Acclimatization of massive reef-building corals to consecutive heatwaves",
abstract = "Reef-building corals typically live close to the upper limits of their thermal tolerance and even small increases in summer water temperatures can lead to bleaching and mortality. Projections of coral reef futures based on forecasts of ocean temperatures indicate that by the end of this century, corals will experience their current thermal thresholds annually, which would lead to the widespread devastation of coral reef ecosystems. Here, we use skeletal cores of long-lived Porites corals collected from 14 reefs across the northern Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea, and New Caledonia to evaluate changes in their sensitivity to heat stress since 1815. High-density 'stress bands'-indicative of past bleaching-first appear during a strong pre-industrial El Ni{\~n}o event in 1877 but become significantly more frequent in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in accordance with rising temperatures from anthropogenic global warming. However, the proportion of cores with stress bands declines following successive bleaching events in the twenty-first century despite increasing exposure to heat stress. Our findings demonstrate an increase in the thermal tolerance of reef-building corals and offer a glimmer of hope that at least some coral species can acclimatize fast enough to keep pace with global warming.",
author = "DeCarlo, {Thomas M.} and Harrison, {Hugo B.} and Laura Gajdzik and Diego Alaguarda and Riccardo Rodolfo-Metalpa and D'Olivo, {Juan Pablo} and Gang Liu and Patalwala Diana and McCulloch, {Malcolm T.}",
year = "2019",
month = "3",
day = "13",
doi = "10.1098/rspb.2019.0235",
language = "English",
volume = "286",
journal = "Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: series B",
issn = "0962-8452",
publisher = "ROYAL SOCIETY",
number = "1898",

}

Acclimatization of massive reef-building corals to consecutive heatwaves. / DeCarlo, Thomas M.; Harrison , Hugo B. ; Gajdzik, Laura; Alaguarda, Diego; Rodolfo-Metalpa, Riccardo; D'Olivo, Juan Pablo; Liu, Gang; Diana, Patalwala; McCulloch, Malcolm T.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 286, No. 1898, 20190235, 13.03.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Acclimatization of massive reef-building corals to consecutive heatwaves

AU - DeCarlo, Thomas M.

AU - Harrison , Hugo B.

AU - Gajdzik, Laura

AU - Alaguarda, Diego

AU - Rodolfo-Metalpa, Riccardo

AU - D'Olivo, Juan Pablo

AU - Liu, Gang

AU - Diana, Patalwala

AU - McCulloch, Malcolm T.

PY - 2019/3/13

Y1 - 2019/3/13

N2 - Reef-building corals typically live close to the upper limits of their thermal tolerance and even small increases in summer water temperatures can lead to bleaching and mortality. Projections of coral reef futures based on forecasts of ocean temperatures indicate that by the end of this century, corals will experience their current thermal thresholds annually, which would lead to the widespread devastation of coral reef ecosystems. Here, we use skeletal cores of long-lived Porites corals collected from 14 reefs across the northern Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea, and New Caledonia to evaluate changes in their sensitivity to heat stress since 1815. High-density 'stress bands'-indicative of past bleaching-first appear during a strong pre-industrial El Niño event in 1877 but become significantly more frequent in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in accordance with rising temperatures from anthropogenic global warming. However, the proportion of cores with stress bands declines following successive bleaching events in the twenty-first century despite increasing exposure to heat stress. Our findings demonstrate an increase in the thermal tolerance of reef-building corals and offer a glimmer of hope that at least some coral species can acclimatize fast enough to keep pace with global warming.

AB - Reef-building corals typically live close to the upper limits of their thermal tolerance and even small increases in summer water temperatures can lead to bleaching and mortality. Projections of coral reef futures based on forecasts of ocean temperatures indicate that by the end of this century, corals will experience their current thermal thresholds annually, which would lead to the widespread devastation of coral reef ecosystems. Here, we use skeletal cores of long-lived Porites corals collected from 14 reefs across the northern Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea, and New Caledonia to evaluate changes in their sensitivity to heat stress since 1815. High-density 'stress bands'-indicative of past bleaching-first appear during a strong pre-industrial El Niño event in 1877 but become significantly more frequent in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in accordance with rising temperatures from anthropogenic global warming. However, the proportion of cores with stress bands declines following successive bleaching events in the twenty-first century despite increasing exposure to heat stress. Our findings demonstrate an increase in the thermal tolerance of reef-building corals and offer a glimmer of hope that at least some coral species can acclimatize fast enough to keep pace with global warming.

U2 - 10.1098/rspb.2019.0235

DO - 10.1098/rspb.2019.0235

M3 - Article

VL - 286

JO - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: series B

JF - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: series B

SN - 0962-8452

IS - 1898

M1 - 20190235

ER -