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Diaz-Pulido, G, McCook LJ, Dove S, Berkelmans R, Roff G, Kline DI, Weeks S, Evans RD, Williamson DH, Hoegh-Guldberg O.  2009.  Doom and boom on a resilient reef: climate change, agal overgrowth and coral recovery. Plos One. 4   10.1371/journal.pone.0005239   AbstractWebsite

Background: Coral reefs around the world are experiencing large-scale degradation, largely due to global climate change, overfishing, diseases and eutrophication. Climate change models suggest increasing frequency and severity of warming-induced coral bleaching events, with consequent increases in coral mortality and algal overgrowth. Critically, the recovery of damaged reefs will depend on the reversibility of seaweed blooms, generally considered to depend on grazing of the seaweed, and replenishment of corals by larvae that successfully recruit to damaged reefs. These processes usually take years to decades to bring a reef back to coral dominance. Methodology/Principal Findings: In 2006, mass bleaching of corals on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef caused high coral mortality. Here we show that this coral mortality was followed by an unprecedented bloom of a single species of unpalatable seaweed (Lobophora variegata), colonizing dead coral skeletons, but that corals on these reefs recovered dramatically, in less than a year. Unexpectedly, this rapid reversal did not involve reestablishment of corals by recruitment of coral larvae, as often assumed, but depended on several ecological mechanisms previously underestimated. Conclusions/Significance: These mechanisms of ecological recovery included rapid regeneration rates of remnant coral tissue, very high competitive ability of the corals allowing them to out-compete the seaweed, a natural seasonal decline in the particular species of dominant seaweed, and an effective marine protected area system. Our study provides a key example of the doom and boom of a highly resilient reef, and new insights into the variability and mechanisms of reef resilience under rapid climate change.

Diaz-Pulido, G, Anthony KRN, Kline DI, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O.  2012.  Interactions between ocean acidification and warming on the mortality and dissolution of coralline algae. Journal of Phycology. 48:32-39.   10.1111/j.1529-8817.2011.01084.x   AbstractWebsite

Coralline algae are among the most sensitive calcifying organisms to ocean acidification as a result of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (pCO2). Little is known, however, about the combined impacts of increased pCO2, ocean acidification, and sea surface temperature on tissue mortality and skeletal dissolution of coralline algae. To address this issue, we conducted factorial manipulative experiments of elevated CO2 and temperature and examined the consequences on tissue survival and skeletal dissolution of the crustose coralline alga (CCA) Porolithon (=Hydrolithon) onkodes (Heydr.) Foslie (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta) on the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. We observed that warming amplified the negative effects of high pCO2 on the health of the algae: rates of advanced partial mortality of CCA increased from <1% to 9% under high CO2 (from 400 to 1,100 ppm) and exacerbated to 15% under warming conditions (from 26 degrees C to 29 degrees C). Furthermore, the effect of pCO2 on skeletal dissolution strongly depended on temperature. Dissolution of P. onkodes only occurred in the high-pCO2 treatment and was greater in the warm treatment. Enhanced skeletal dissolution was also associated with a significant increase in the abundance of endolithic algae. Our results demonstrate that P. onkodes is particularly sensitive to ocean acidification under warm conditions, suggesting that previous experiments focused on ocean acidification alone have underestimated the impact of future conditions on coralline algae. Given the central role that coralline algae play within coral reefs, these conclusions have serious ramifications for the integrity of coral-reef ecosystems.

Dove, SG, Kline DI, Pantos O, Angly FE, Tyson GW, Hoegh-Guldberg O.  2013.  Future reef decalcification under a business-as-usual CO2 emission scenario. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110:15342-15347.   10.1073/pnas.1302701110   AbstractWebsite

Increasing atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) is a major threat to coral reefs, but some argue that the threat is mitigated by factors such as the variability in the response of coral calcification to acidification, differences in bleaching susceptibility, and the potential for rapid adaptation to anthropogenic warming. However the evidence for these mitigating factors tends to involve experimental studies on corals, as opposed to coral reefs, and rarely includes the influence of multiple variables (e.g., temperature and acidification) within regimes that include diurnal and seasonal variability. Here, we demonstrate that the inclusion of all these factors results in the decalcification of patch-reefs under business-as-usual scenarios and reduced, although positive, calcification under reduced-emission scenarios. Primary productivity was found to remain constant across all scenarios, despite significant bleaching and coral mortality under both future scenarios. Daylight calcification decreased and nocturnal decalcification increased sharply from the preindustrial and control conditions to the future scenarios of low (reduced emissions) and high (business-as-usual) increases in pCO2. These changes coincided with deeply negative carbonate budgets, a shift toward smaller carbonate sediments, and an increase in the abundance of sediment microbes under the business-as-usual emission scenario. Experimental coral reefs demonstrated highest net calcification rates and lowest rates of coral mortality under preindustrial conditions, suggesting that reef processes may not have been able to keep pace with the relatively minor environmental changes that have occurred during the last century. Taken together, our results have serious implications for the future of coral reefs under business-as-usual environmental changes projected for the coming decades and century.

Du, N, Gholami P, Kline DI, Dupont CL, Dickson AG, Mendola D, Martz T, Allen AE, Mitchell GB.  2018.  Simultaneous quantum yield measurements of carbon uptake and oxygen evolution in microalgal cultures. PloS one. 13(6):e0199125.: Public Library of Science   10.1371/journal.pone.0199125   Abstract