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Cyronak, T, Andersson AJ, Langdon C, Albright R, Bates NR, Caldeira K, Carlton R, Corredor JE, Dunbar RB, Enochs I, Erez J, Eyre BD, Gattuso JP, Gledhill D, Kayanne H, Kline DI, Koweek DA, Lantz C, Lazar B, Manzello D, McMahon A, Melendez M, Page HN, Santos IR, Schulz KG, Shaw E, Silverman J, Suzuki A, Teneva L, Watanabe A, Yamamoto S.  2018.  Taking the metabolic pulse of the world's coral reefs. Plos One. 13   10.1371/journal.pone.0190872   AbstractWebsite

Worldwide, coral reef ecosystems are experiencing increasing pressure from a variety of anthropogenic perturbations including ocean warming and acidification, increased sedimentation, eutrophication, and overfishing, which could shift reefs to a condition of net calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution and erosion. Herein, we determine the net calcification potential and the relative balance of net organic carbon metabolism (net community production; NCP) and net inorganic carbon metabolism (net community calcification; NCC) within 23 coral reef locations across the globe. In light of these results, we consider the suitability of using these two metrics developed from total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) measurements collected on different spatiotemporal scales to monitor coral reef biogeochemistry under anthropogenic change. All reefs in this study were net calcifying for the majority of observations as inferred from alkalinity depletion relative to offshore, although occasional observations of net dissolution occurred at most locations. However, reefs with lower net calcification potential (i.e., lower TA depletion) could shift towards net dissolution sooner than reefs with a higher potential. The percent influence of organic carbon fluxes on total changes in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) (i.e., NCP compared to the sum of NCP and NCC) ranged from 32% to 88% and reflected inherent biogeochemical differences between reefs. Reefs with the largest relative percentage of NCP experienced the largest variability in seawater pH for a given change in DIC, which is directly related to the reefs ability to elevate or suppress local pH relative to the open ocean. This work highlights the value of measuring coral reef carbonate chemistry when evaluating their susceptibility to ongoing global environmental change and offers a baseline from which to guide future conservation efforts aimed at preserving these valuable ecosystems.

Neal, BP, Khen A, Treibitz T, Beijbom O, O'Connor G, Coffroth MA, Knowlton N, Kriegman D, Mitchell BG, Kline DI.  2017.  Caribbean massive corals not recovering from repeated thermal stress events during 2005-2013. Ecology and Evolution. 7:1339-1353.   10.1002/ece3.2706   AbstractWebsite

Massive coral bleaching events associated with high sea surface temperatures are forecast to become more frequent and severe in the future due to climate change. Monitoring colony recovery from bleaching disturbances over multiyear time frames is important for improving predictions of future coral community changes. However, there are currently few multiyear studies describing long-term outcomes for coral colonies following acute bleaching events. We recorded colony pigmentation and size for bleached and unbleached groups of co-located conspecifics of three major reef-building scleractinian corals (Orbicella franksi, Siderastrea siderea, and Stephanocoenia michelini; n=198 total) in Bocas del Toro, Panama, during the major 2005 bleaching event and then monitored pigmentation status and changes live tissue colony size for 8years (2005-2013). Corals that were bleached in 2005 demonstrated markedly different response trajectories compared to unbleached colony groups, with extensive live tissue loss for bleached corals of all species following bleaching, with mean live tissue losses per colony 9 months postbleaching of 26.2% (+/- 5.4 SE) for O. franksi, 35.7% (+/- 4.7 SE) for S. michelini, and 11.2% (+/- 3.9 SE) for S. siderea. Two species, O. franksi and S. michelini, later recovered to net positive growth, which continued until a second thermal stress event in 2010. Following this event, all species again lost tissue, with previously unbleached colony species groups experiencing greater declines than conspecific sample groups, which were previously bleached, indicating a possible positive acclimative response. However, despite this beneficial effect for previously bleached corals, all groups experienced substantial net tissue loss between 2005 and 2013, indicating that many important Caribbean reef-building corals will likely suffer continued tissue loss and may be unable to maintain current benthic coverage when faced with future thermal stress forecast for the region, even with potential benefits from bleaching-related acclimation.

Gonzalez-Rivero, M, Bongaerts P, Beijbom O, Pizarro O, Friedman A, Rodriguez-Ramirez A, Upcroft B, Laffoley D, Kline D, Bailhache C, Vevers R, Hoegh-Guldberg O.  2014.  The Catlin Seaview Survey - kilometre-scale seascape assessment, and monitoring of coral reef ecosystems. Aquatic Conservation-Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 24:184-198.   10.1002/aqc.2505   AbstractWebsite

Marine ecosystems provide critically important goods and services to society, and hence their accelerated degradation underpins an urgent need to take rapid, ambitious and informed decisions regarding their conservation and management.The capacity, however, to generate the detailed field data required to inform conservation planning at appropriate scales is limited by time and resource consuming methods for collecting and analysing field data at the large scales required.The Catlin Seaview Survey', described here, introduces a novel framework for large-scale monitoring of coral reefs using high-definition underwater imagery collected using customized underwater vehicles in combination with computer vision and machine learning. This enables quantitative and geo-referenced outputs of coral reef features such as habitat types, benthic composition, and structural complexity (rugosity) to be generated across multiple kilometre-scale transects with a spatial resolution ranging from 2 to 6m(2).The novel application of technology described here has enormous potential to contribute to our understanding of coral reefs and associated impacts by underpinning management decisions with kilometre-scale measurements of reef health.Imagery datasets from an initial survey of 500km of seascape are freely available through an online tool called the Catlin Global Reef Record. Outputs from the image analysis using the technologies described here will be updated on the online repository as work progresses on each dataset.Case studies illustrate the utility of outputs as well as their potential to link to information from remote sensing. The potential implications of the innovative technologies on marine resource management and conservation are also discussed, along with the accuracy and efficiency of the methodologies deployed.10.1002/(ISSN)1099-0755 Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Reymond, CE, Lloyd A, Kline DI, Dove SG, Pandolfi JM.  2013.  Decline in growth of foraminifer Marginopora rossi under eutrophication and ocean acidification scenarios. Global Change Biology. 19:291-302.   10.1111/gcb.12035   AbstractWebsite

The combination of global and local stressors is leading to a decline in coral reef health globally. In the case of eutrophication, increased concentrations of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and phosphorus (DIP) are largely attributed to local land use changes. From the global perspective, increased atmospheric CO2 levels are not only contributing to global warming but also ocean acidification (OA). Both eutrophication and OA have serious implications for calcium carbonate production and dissolution among calcifying organisms. In particular, benthic foraminifera precipitate the most soluble form of mineral calcium carbonate (high-Mg calcite), potentially making them more sensitive to dissolution. In this study, a manipulative orthogonal two-factor experiment was conducted to test the effects of dissolved inorganic nutrients and OA on the growth, respiration and photophysiology of the large photosymbiont-bearing benthic foraminifer, Marginopora rossi. This study found the growth rate of M. rossi was inhibited by the interaction of eutrophication and acidification. The relationship between M. rossi and its photosymbionts became destabilized due to the photosymbiont's release from nutrient limitation in the nitrate-enriched treatment, as shown by an increase in zooxanthellae cells per host surface area. Foraminifers from the OA treatments had an increased amount of Chl a per cell, suggesting a greater potential to harvest light energy, however, there was no net benefit to the foraminifer growth. Overall, this study demonstrates that the impacts of OA and eutrophication are dose dependent and interactive. This research indicates an OA threshold at pH 7.6, alone or in combination with eutrophication, will lead to a decline in M. rossi calcification. The decline in foraminifera calcification associated with pollution and OA will have broad ecological implications across their ubiquitous range and suggests that without mitigation it could have serious implications for the future of coral reefs.

Kline, DI, Teneva L, Schneider K, Miard T, Chai A, Marker M, Headley K, Opdyke B, Nash M, Valetich M, Caves JK, Russell BD, Connell SD, Kirkwood BJ, Brewer P, Peltzer E, Silverman J, Caldeira K, Dunbar RB, Koseff JR, Monismith SG, Mitchell BG, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O.  2012.  A short-term in situ CO2 enrichment experiment on Heron Island (GBR). Scientific Reports. 2   10.1038/srep00413   AbstractWebsite

Ocean acidification poses multiple challenges for coral reefs on molecular to ecological scales, yet previous experimental studies of the impact of projected CO2 concentrations have mostly been done in aquarium systems with corals removed from their natural ecosystem and placed under artificial light and seawater conditions. The Coral-Proto Free Ocean Carbon Enrichment System (CP-FOCE) uses a network of sensors to monitor conditions within each flume and maintain experimental pH as an offset from environmental pH using feedback control on the injection of low pH seawater. Carbonate chemistry conditions maintained in the -0.06 and -0.22 pH offset treatments were significantly different than environmental conditions. The results from this short-term experiment suggest that the CP-FOCE is an important new experimental system to study in situ impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems.

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.