Global Disparity in the Resilience of Coral Reefs

The article reviews whether current knowledge of coral reef resilience, as it has historically been researched specifically in the Caribbean region, is transferrable to Indo-Pacific coral reefs. The authors hypothesize that the Caribbean may be predisposed to low resilience, with faster rates of macroalgal growth, higher rates of algal recruitment, basin-wide iron-enrichment of algal growth from aeolian dust, a lack of acroporid corals, lower herbivore biomass and missing groups of herbivores.

This article provides evidence that these two regions differ in their ecological resilience; despite increasing coral-bleaching events and decreasing average health of Indo-Pacific reefs, many reefs continue to show trajectories of recovery while Caribbean reefs do not. The authors demonstrate with six hypotheses (broken into three categories of biodiversity, bottom-up forcing and top-down forcing) that Indo-Pacific reefs are likely to have greater resilience than those of the Caribbean.

Author: Roff, G. and P.J. Mumby
Year: 2012
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Trends in Ecology and Evolution 408: 3-10.

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