HCNSO Student Articles

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-21-2013

Keywords

Corals, Oman, Eigenvalues, Coral Reefs, Death Rates, Population Dynamics, Demography, Tides

Publication Title

PLoS ONE

Volume

8

Issue/No.

8

Abstract

Individual massive coral colonies, primarily faviids and poritids, from three distinct assemblages within the southeastern Arabian Gulf and northwestern Gulf of Oman (United Arab Emirates) were studied from 2006–2009. Annual photographic censuses of approximately 2000 colonies were used to describe the demographics (size class frequencies, abundance, area cover) and population dynamics under “normal” environmental conditions. Size class transitions included growth, which occurred in 10–20% of the colonies, followed in decending order by partial mortality (3–16%), colony fission (<5%) and ramet fusion (<3%). Recruitment and whole colony mortality rates were low (<0.7 colonies/m2) with minimal interannual variation. Transition matrices indicated that the Arabian Gulf assemblages have declining growth rates (λ<1) whereas the massive coral population is stable (λ = 1) in the Gulf of Oman. Projection models indicated that (i) the Arabian Gulf population and area cover declines would be exacerbated under 10-year and 16-year disturbance scenarios as the vital rates do not allow for recovery to pre-disturbance levels during these timeframes, and (ii) the Gulf of Oman assemblage could return to its pre-disturbance area cover but its overall population size would not fully recover under the same scenarios.

Comments

© 2013 Foster, Foster. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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