Week 1

Distributions of Corals and Coral Reefs

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» Graham and Nash 2013

» Perry and Smith 2011
Perry CT, Smith SG. 2011. Cycles of coral reef "turnon" over the past 8500 years: a context for understanding modern ecological states and trajectories. Global Change Biology 17: 76-86.


For this week we read a meta-analysis by Graham and Nash (2013) that addressed the importance of structural complexity on coral reefs.

Graham NAJ, Nash KL. 2013 . The importance of strucutre complexity in coral reef ecosystems. Coral Reefs 32: 315-326.

Three additional papers are posted to the right, which will be presented during the introductory lecture (or next week...as time allows).

Coral Reef Introduction

Class 1: Distributions of corals and coral reefs

                or:   What’s so special about the coral triangle?

                or:   Should we care about crappy (marginal; peripheral) reefs?

Main points:

(1)    Corals require light (shallow, clear), warm water, oligotrophic (sometimes), hard substrate, full salinity.

(2)    Main center of biodiversity in “coral triangle” of Indo West Pacific with secondary centers in the Red Sea and Caribbean.

(3)    Conservation issues: protecting diversity centers vs. protecting endemics, which might be in peripheral areas

(4)    Coral diversity and development can be decoupled from reef growth and development

A few references:

Diversity patterns

Budd AF, Pandolfi JM. 2010. Evolutionary diversity is concentrated at the edge of coral species distributions. Science 328:1558-61.

Hughes TP, Bellwood DR, Connolly SR. 2002. Biodiversity hotspots, centers of endemicity,, and the conservation of coral reefs. Ecology Letters 5:775-84.

Johnson KG, Jackson JBC, Budd AF. 2008. Caribbean reef development was independent of coral diversity over 28 million years. Science 319:1521-3.

Veron JE. 1995. Corals in space and time: the biogeography and evolution of the scleractinia. UNSW Press, Sydney Australia.

Vollmer SV, Palumbi SR. 2002. Hybridization and the evolution of reef coral biodiversity. Science 296:2023-5.

Physiological tolerances and marginal environments

Coles SL, Jokiel PL. 1978. Synergistic effects of temperature, salinity and light on the hermatypic coral Montipora verrucosa. Mar Biol 49(3):187-95.

Dana TF. 1975. Development of contemporary Eastern Pacific coral reefs. Mar Biol 33(4)355-74.

Grigg RW. 2006. Depth limit for reef building coral in the Au’au Channel, S.E. Hawaii. Coral Reefs 25(1);77-84.

Wicks LC, Gardner JPA, Davy SK. 2010. Spatial patterns and regional affinities of coral communities at the Kermadec Islands Marine Reserve, New Zealand – a marginal high-latitude site. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 400:101-113


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Last updated September 4, 2014
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