Dynamic Stability of Coral Reefs on the West Australian Coast

C.W. Speed, R.C. Babcock, K.P. Bancroft, L.E. Beckley, L.M. Bellchambers, Martial Depczynski, Stuart Field, Kim Friedman, James Gilmour, Jean-Paul Hobbs, H.T. Kobryn, J.A.Y. Moore, C.D. Nutt, G. Shedrawi, D.P. Thomson, Shaun Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Monitoring changes in coral cover and composition through space and time can provide insights to reef health and assist the focus of management and conservation efforts. We used a meta-analytical approach to assess coral cover data across latitudes 10-35°S along the west Australian coast, including 25 years of data from the Ningaloo region. Current estimates of coral cover ranged between 3 and 44% in coral habitats. Coral communities in the northern regions were dominated by corals from the families Acroporidae and Poritidae, which became less common at higher latitudes. At Ningaloo Reef coral cover has remained relatively stable through time (∼28%), although north-eastern and southern areas have experienced significant declines in overall cover. These declines are likely related to periodic disturbances such as cyclones and thermal anomalies, which were particularly noticeable around 1998/1999 and 2010/2011. Linear mixed effects models (LME) suggest latitude explains 10% of the deviance in coral cover through time at Ningaloo. Acroporidae has decreased in abundance relative to other common families at Ningaloo in the south, which might be related to persistence of more thermally and mechanically tolerant families. We identify regions where quantitative time-series data on coral cover and composition are lacking, particularly in north-western Australia. Standardising routine monitoring methods used by management and research agencies at these, and other locations, would allow a more robust assessment of coral condition and a better basis for conservation of coral reefs. © 2013 Speed et al.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12pp
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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Coral Reefs
Anthozoa
Reefs
coral reefs
Coastal zones
corals
coasts
Conservation
Monitoring
Acroporidae
Chemical analysis
Time series
Health
Cyclonic Storms
Western Australia
monitoring
space and time
Ecosystem
time series analysis
reefs

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Speed, C. W., Babcock, R. C., Bancroft, K. P., Beckley, L. E., Bellchambers, L. M., Depczynski, M., ... Wilson, S. (2013). Dynamic Stability of Coral Reefs on the West Australian Coast. PLoS One, 8(7), 12pp. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069863
Speed, C.W. ; Babcock, R.C. ; Bancroft, K.P. ; Beckley, L.E. ; Bellchambers, L.M. ; Depczynski, Martial ; Field, Stuart ; Friedman, Kim ; Gilmour, James ; Hobbs, Jean-Paul ; Kobryn, H.T. ; Moore, J.A.Y. ; Nutt, C.D. ; Shedrawi, G. ; Thomson, D.P. ; Wilson, Shaun. / Dynamic Stability of Coral Reefs on the West Australian Coast. In: PLoS One. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 7. pp. 12pp.
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Speed, CW, Babcock, RC, Bancroft, KP, Beckley, LE, Bellchambers, LM, Depczynski, M, Field, S, Friedman, K, Gilmour, J, Hobbs, J-P, Kobryn, HT, Moore, JAY, Nutt, CD, Shedrawi, G, Thomson, DP & Wilson, S 2013, 'Dynamic Stability of Coral Reefs on the West Australian Coast' PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 7, pp. 12pp. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069863

Dynamic Stability of Coral Reefs on the West Australian Coast. / Speed, C.W.; Babcock, R.C.; Bancroft, K.P.; Beckley, L.E.; Bellchambers, L.M.; Depczynski, Martial; Field, Stuart; Friedman, Kim; Gilmour, James; Hobbs, Jean-Paul; Kobryn, H.T.; Moore, J.A.Y.; Nutt, C.D.; Shedrawi, G.; Thomson, D.P.; Wilson, Shaun.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 8, No. 7, 2013, p. 12pp.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Dynamic Stability of Coral Reefs on the West Australian Coast

AU - Speed, C.W.

AU - Babcock, R.C.

AU - Bancroft, K.P.

AU - Beckley, L.E.

AU - Bellchambers, L.M.

AU - Depczynski, Martial

AU - Field, Stuart

AU - Friedman, Kim

AU - Gilmour, James

AU - Hobbs, Jean-Paul

AU - Kobryn, H.T.

AU - Moore, J.A.Y.

AU - Nutt, C.D.

AU - Shedrawi, G.

AU - Thomson, D.P.

AU - Wilson, Shaun

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Monitoring changes in coral cover and composition through space and time can provide insights to reef health and assist the focus of management and conservation efforts. We used a meta-analytical approach to assess coral cover data across latitudes 10-35°S along the west Australian coast, including 25 years of data from the Ningaloo region. Current estimates of coral cover ranged between 3 and 44% in coral habitats. Coral communities in the northern regions were dominated by corals from the families Acroporidae and Poritidae, which became less common at higher latitudes. At Ningaloo Reef coral cover has remained relatively stable through time (∼28%), although north-eastern and southern areas have experienced significant declines in overall cover. These declines are likely related to periodic disturbances such as cyclones and thermal anomalies, which were particularly noticeable around 1998/1999 and 2010/2011. Linear mixed effects models (LME) suggest latitude explains 10% of the deviance in coral cover through time at Ningaloo. Acroporidae has decreased in abundance relative to other common families at Ningaloo in the south, which might be related to persistence of more thermally and mechanically tolerant families. We identify regions where quantitative time-series data on coral cover and composition are lacking, particularly in north-western Australia. Standardising routine monitoring methods used by management and research agencies at these, and other locations, would allow a more robust assessment of coral condition and a better basis for conservation of coral reefs. © 2013 Speed et al.

AB - Monitoring changes in coral cover and composition through space and time can provide insights to reef health and assist the focus of management and conservation efforts. We used a meta-analytical approach to assess coral cover data across latitudes 10-35°S along the west Australian coast, including 25 years of data from the Ningaloo region. Current estimates of coral cover ranged between 3 and 44% in coral habitats. Coral communities in the northern regions were dominated by corals from the families Acroporidae and Poritidae, which became less common at higher latitudes. At Ningaloo Reef coral cover has remained relatively stable through time (∼28%), although north-eastern and southern areas have experienced significant declines in overall cover. These declines are likely related to periodic disturbances such as cyclones and thermal anomalies, which were particularly noticeable around 1998/1999 and 2010/2011. Linear mixed effects models (LME) suggest latitude explains 10% of the deviance in coral cover through time at Ningaloo. Acroporidae has decreased in abundance relative to other common families at Ningaloo in the south, which might be related to persistence of more thermally and mechanically tolerant families. We identify regions where quantitative time-series data on coral cover and composition are lacking, particularly in north-western Australia. Standardising routine monitoring methods used by management and research agencies at these, and other locations, would allow a more robust assessment of coral condition and a better basis for conservation of coral reefs. © 2013 Speed et al.

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0069863

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0069863

M3 - Article

VL - 8

SP - 12pp

JO - P L o S One

JF - P L o S One

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 7

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Speed CW, Babcock RC, Bancroft KP, Beckley LE, Bellchambers LM, Depczynski M et al. Dynamic Stability of Coral Reefs on the West Australian Coast. PLoS One. 2013;8(7):12pp. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069863