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Early Successional Trajectory of Benthic Community in an Uninhabited Reef System Three Years After Mass Coral Bleaching

April 20, 2022

We track the recovery of reef communities after a mass coral mortality to better understand how a benthic community recovers.

Severe thermal stress events occurring at the same time as globally warming oceans can result in mass coral mortality. 

Tracking the ability of a reef community to return to pre-disturbance state is important to inform the likelihood of recovery or the need for active management to conserve these ecosystems. 

Here, we quantified annual, temporal changes in the benthic communities for the three years following mass coral mortality at Jarvis Island—an uninhabited island in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

Observations in the benthic and coral community support cautious optimism for the potential recovery of Jarvis Island’s coral reefs to their pre-disturbance state. Continued monitoring will be essential to assess whether reassembly is achieved before further climate-related disturbance events affect this reef system.

Huntington B, Weible R, Halperin A, et al. 2022. Early successional trajectory of benthic community in an uninhabited reef system three years after mass coral bleaching. Coral Reefs (2022)  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-022-02246-7.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 04/20/2022