Coral responses to a repeat bleaching event in Mayotte in 2010

David O. Obura, Lionel Bigot, Francesca Benzoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. High sea surface temperatures resulted in widespread coral bleaching and mortality in Mayotte Island (northern Mozambique channel, Indian Ocean: 12.1°S, 45.1°E) in April-June 2010. Methods. Twenty three representative coral genera were sampled quantitatively for size class distributions during the peak of the bleaching event to measure its impact. Results. Fifty two percent of coral area was impacted, comprising 19.3% pale, 10.7% bleached, 4.8% partially dead and 17.5% recently dead. Acropora, the dominant genus, was the second most susceptible to bleaching (22%, pale and bleached) and mortality (32%, partially dead and dead), only exceeded by Pocillopora (32% and 47%, respectively). The majority of genera showed intermediate responses, and the least response was shown by Acanthastrea and Leptastrea (6% pale and bleached). A linear increase in bleaching susceptibility was found from small colonies (< 2.5 cm, 83% unaffected) to large ones (> 80 cm, 33% unaffected), across all genera surveyed. Maximum mortality in 2010 was estimated at 32% of coral area or biomass, compared to half that (16%), by colony abundance. Discussion. Mayotte reefs have displayed a high level of resilience to bleaching events in 1983, 1998 and the 2010 event reported here, and experienced a further bleaching event in 2016. However, prospects for continued resilience are uncertain as multiple threats are increasing: the rate of warming experienced (0.1 °C per decade) is some two to three times less than projected warming in coming decades, the interval between severe bleaching events has declined from 16 to 6 years, and evidence of chronic mortality from local human impacts is increasing. The study produced four recommendations for reducing bias when monitoring and assessing coral bleaching: coral colony size should be measured, unaffected colonies should be included in counts, quadrats or belt transects should be used and weighting coefficients in the calculation of indices should be used with caution.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPeerJ
Volume2018
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

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Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2020-05-05

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