Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Geographic variation in long-term trajectories of change in coral recruitment: a global-to-local perspective

P. J. Edmunds A S , R. Steneck B , R. Albright C D , R. C. Carpenter A , A. P. Y. Chui E , T.-Y. Fan F , S. Harii G , H. Kitano H , H. Kurihara I , L. Legendre J K , S. Mitarai L , S. Muko M , Y. Nozawa N , J. Padilla-Gamino O , N. N. Price P , K. Sakai G , G. Suzuki Q , M. J. H. van Oppen C , A. Yarid A and R. D. Gates R

A Department of Biology, California State University, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330-8303, USA.

B University of Maine, School of Marine Sciences, Darling Marine Center, Walpole, ME 04573, USA.

C Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3, Townsville MC, Qld 4810, Australia.

D Current address: Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, 260 Panama Street, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

E Marine Science Laboratory, School of Life Sciences, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin New Town, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region, China.

F National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, 2 Houwan R., Checheng, Pingtung, 944 Taiwan, Republic of China.

G Sesoko Station, Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of the Ryukyus, 3422 Sesoko, Motobu-cho, Okinawa 905-0227, Japan.

H Open Biology Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan.

I Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, 1 Senbaru, Nishihara, Okinawa, 903-0213, Japan.

J Sorbonne Universités, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, UMR 7093, LOV, Observatoire Océanologique, 181 Chemin du Lazaret, F-06230, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France.

K CNRS, UMR 7093, LOV, Observatoire Oceanologique, 181 Chemin du Lazaret, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France.

L Marine Biophysics Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan.

M Graduate school of Fisheries Science and Environmental Studies, Nagasaki University, Bunkyo-machi, Nagasaki 852-8521, Japan.

N Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, 128 Academia Road Sec. 2, Nankang Taipei 115 Taiwan, Republic of China.

O Department of Biology, California State University Dominguez Hills, 1000 E Victoria Street, Carson, CA 90747, USA.

P Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

Q Seikai National Fisheries Research Institute, 148-446 Fukai-Ota, Ishigaki, Okinawa 907-0451, Japan.

R Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii, PO Box 1346, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA.

S Corresponding author. Email: peter.edmunds@csun.edu

Marine and Freshwater Research 66(7) 609-622 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF14139
Submitted: 27 May 2014  Accepted: 29 September 2014   Published: 4 February 2015

Abstract

Compiled abundances of juvenile corals revealed no change over time in the Pacific, but a decline in the Caribbean. Using these analyses as a rationale, we explored recruitment and post-settlement success in determining coral cover using studies in the Caribbean (St John, Bonaire) and Pacific (Moorea, Okinawa). Juvenile corals, coral recruits, and coral cover have been censused in these locations for years, and the ratio of juvenile (J) to recruiting (R) corals was used to measure post-settlement success. In St John and Bonaire, coral cover was stable but different between studies, with the ratio of the density of juveniles to density of recruits (J : R) ~0.10; in Moorea, declines in coral cover were followed by recovery that was related to the density of juvenile corals 3 years before, with J : R ~0.40; and in Okinawa, a decline in coral cover in 1998 was followed by a slow recovery with J/R ~0.01. Coral cover was associated positively with juvenile corals in St John, and in Okinawa, the density of juvenile corals was associated positively with recruits the year before. J : R varied among studies, and standardised densities of juvenile corals declined in the Caribbean, but increased in the Pacific. These results suggest that differences in the post-settlement success may drive variation in coral community structure.

Additional keywords: Bonaire, Moorea, Okinawa, reef, Scleractinia, settlement, St John.


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