Inshore Turbid Reefs of Australia: How Resilient Are They?
Browne, N.K. 2012. Spatial and temporal variations in coral growth on an inshore turbid reef subjected to multiple disturbances. Marine Environmental Research 77: 71-83.
In a study designed to assess the overall impact of these several reef stressors, Browne describes how "coral growth rates (linear extension, density, calcification rates) of three fast-growing corals (Acropora, Montipora, Turbinaria) were studied in situ on Middle Reef, an inshore reef located on the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR)," in order to "assess the influence of changing environmental conditions on coral condition and reef growth."
Browne, who holds research positions in both Australia and Singapore, reports finding that "despite local anthropogenic pressures and global climate change, Middle Reef has a robust and resilient coral community," noting that "Acropora linear extension rates were comparable with rates observed at similar depths and sea surface temperatures on mid to offshore reefs on the GBR, and in the Caribbean," while additionally indicating that "Montipora and Turbinaria are abundant on inshore turbid reefs due to their adaptive capacities and are therefore an important source of carbonate for reef growth and development." In fact, Browne writes that "Montipora linear extension was greater than current estimates available, and Turbinaria, although characterized by slow linear extension, had a dense skeleton and hence may be more resilient to physical damage as ocean pH falls." And of both of them, Browne states that although they "may be more susceptible during the warmer months due to multiple stressors, they were able to rapidly recover during the cooler months."
"In summary," as Browne concludes, "corals on Middle Reef are robust and resilient to their marginal environmental conditions."
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