Juvenile Coral Abundance Across the U.S. Pacific Influenced by Depth, Heat Stress, Coral Cover, Suitable Substrate, and Human Density
Our results also suggest coral density is dependent on several factors, including and the number of humans in the system.
The persistence of Pacific coral reefs is threatened by large-scale mortality resulting from heat stress, storms, overfishing, disease, and land-based pollution. While reefs have demonstrated the ability to recover from these disturbances, recovery potential is highly variable; in part driven by the high variation in space in the abundance of coral juveniles. However, our understanding of the patterns and predictors of juvenile coral density is hampered by the limited geographic scope of previous studies. Our objectives in this study were to: (1) explore the spatial and temporal patterns of juvenile (1- < 5cm in diameter) colony density across the U.S. affiliated Pacific islands and atolls; and (2) identify the potential role of ecological and environmental factors which may influence coral juvenile abundance.
Couch CS, Oliver TA, Dettloff K, Huntington B, Tanaka KR and Vargas-Angel B 2023. Ecological and environmental predictors of juvenile coral density across the central and western Pacific Front. Mar. Sci. 10:1192102.