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Recurrent coral bleaching in north-western Australia and associated declines in coral cover

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dc.contributor Oceans Inst
dc.contributor Univ Western Australia
dc.contributor CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere
dc.contributor Pacific Commun
dc.contributor University of Western Australia
dc.contributor O2 Marine
dc.contributor Australian Institute of Marine Science
dc.contributor Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
dc.contributor Indian Ocean Marine Res Ctr
dc.contributor MScience
dc.contributor Sch Biol Sci
dc.contributor Australian Inst Marine Sci
dc.contributor Queensland Biosci Precinct
dc.contributor Dept Biodivers Conservat & Attract Rochester, W. A. Babcock, R. C. Haywood, M. D. E. Stoddart, J. Shedrawi, G. Miller, M. Speed, C. W. Thompson, A. Vanderklift, M. A. Pillans, R. Field, S. Thomson, D. P. Hurley, T. J. Evans, R. Depczynski, M. Gilmour, J. 2021-01-31T18:23:11Z 2021-02-02T22:20:27Z 2021-01-31T18:23:11Z 2021-02-02T22:20:27Z 2020-11-20
dc.identifier.citation Babcock RC, Thomson DP, Haywood MDE, Vanderklift MA, Pillans R, Rochester WA, Miller M, Speed CW, Shedrawi G, Field S, Evans R, Stoddart J, Hurley TJ, Thompson A, Gilmour J, Depczynski M (2020) Recurrent coral bleaching in north-western Australia and associated declines in coral cover. Marine and Freshwater Research
dc.identifier.issn 1323-1650
dc.description.abstract Coral reefs have been heavily affected by elevated sea-surface temperature (SST) and coral bleaching since the late 1980s; however, until recently coastal reefs of north-western Australia have been relatively unaffected compared to Timor Sea and eastern Australian reefs. We compare SST time series with changes in coral cover spanning a period of up to 36 years to describe temporal and spatial variability in bleaching and associated coral mortality throughout the Pilbara-Ningaloo region. Declines in coral cover ranged from 12.5 to 51.3%, with relative declines ranging from 38 to 92%. Since 2013, coral cover throughout the region has declined to historically low levels at four of five subregions, with impaired recovery occurring at two subregions. Observations are consistent with global trends of repeated severe heat waves, coral bleaching and acute declines in coral cover. Locations within this study region have already experienced multiple coral-bleaching events within a period of less than 5 years. There is a high likelihood that reefs in the western Pilbara and northern Ningaloo regions will experience more frequent marine heatwaves, coral bleaching and mortality events in the future. Action, therefore, needs to be taken now to support the resilience of coral reef ecosystems in the region, which is arguably the most important coral-reef province on Australia's western coast.
dc.description.sponsorship This work was funded in part by the Gorgon Barrow Island Net Conservation Benefits Fund, which is administered by the Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
dc.language English
dc.subject coral reef
dc.subject MORTALITY
dc.subject FREQUENCY
dc.subject Fisheries
dc.subject temperature variation
dc.subject Limnology
dc.subject cyclones
dc.subject REEF
dc.subject EVENTS
dc.subject SYSTEM
dc.subject NINO
dc.subject climate change
dc.subject PATTERNS
dc.subject RECOVERY
dc.subject coral bleaching
dc.subject Marine & Freshwater Biology
dc.subject POPULATIONS
dc.subject Oceanography
dc.subject recovery
dc.title Recurrent coral bleaching in north-western Australia and associated declines in coral cover
dc.type journal article
dc.identifier.doi 10.1071/MF19378
dc.identifier.wos WOS:000608690700001

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