Decadal stability in coral cover could mask hidden changes on reefs in the East Asian Seas

Y. K. S. Chan and Y. A. Affendi and P. O. Ang and M. V. Baria-Rodriguez and C. A. Chen and A. P. Y. Chui and Giyanto and M. Glue and H. Huang and C-Y. Kuo and S. W. Kim and V. Y. Y. Lam and D. J. W. Lane and J. S. Lian and S. M. N. N. Lin and Z. Lunn and C. L. Nañola Jr and V. L. Nguyen and H. S. Park and Suharsono and M. Sutthacheep and S. T. Vo and O. Vibol and Zarinah Waheed and H. Yamano and T. Yeemin and E. Yong and T. Kimura and K. Tun and L. M. Chou and D. Huang (2023) Decadal stability in coral cover could mask hidden changes on reefs in the East Asian Seas. Communications Biology, 6 (630). pp. 1-11. ISSN 2399-3642

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Coral reefs in the Central Indo-Pacific region comprise some of the most diverse and yet threatened marine habitats. While reef monitoring has grown throughout the region in recent years, studies of coral reef benthic cover remain limited in spatial and temporal scales. Here, we analysed 24,365 reef surveys performed over 37 years at 1972 sites throughout East Asia by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network using Bayesian approaches. Our results show that overall coral cover at surveyed reefs has not declined as suggested in previous studies and compared to reef regions like the Caribbean. Concurrently, macroalgal cover has not increased, with no indications of phase shifts from coral to macroalgal dominance on reefs. Yet, models incorporating socio-economic and environmental variables reveal negative associations of coral cover with coastal urbanisation and sea surface temperature. The diversity of reef assemblages may have mitigated cover declines thus far, but climate change could threaten reef resilience. We recommend prioritisation of regionally coordinated, locally collaborative long-term studies for better contextualisation of monitoring data and analyses, which are essential for achieving reef conservation goals.

Item Type: Article
Keyword: Community ecology, Tropical ecology, Coral cover
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology > QL1-991 Zoology > QL605-739.8 Chordates. Vertebrates
S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling > SH1-691 Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling > SH201-399 Fisheries > SH213-216.55 By oceans and seas
Department: INSTITUTE > Borneo Marine Research Institute
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2023 08:42
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2023 08:42

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