Eutrophication may compromise the resilience of the Red Sea coral Stylophora pistillata to global change

Emily R. Hall*, Erinn M. Muller, Tamar Goulet, Jessica Bellworthy, Kimberly B. Ritchie, Maoz Fine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Environmental stressors are adversely affecting coral reef ecosystems. There is ample evidence that scleractinian coral growth and physiology may be compromised by reduced pH, and elevated temperature, and that this is exacerbated by local environmental stressors. The Gulf of Aqaba is considered a coral reef refuge from acidification and warming but coastal development and nutrient effluent may pose a local threat. This study examined the effects of select forecasted environmental changes (acidification, warming, and increased nutrients) individually and in combination on the coral holobiont Stylophora pistillata from the Gulf of Aqaba to understand how corals in a potential global climate change refugia may fare in the face of local eutrophication. The results indicate interactions between all stressors, with elevated nutrient concentrations having the broadest individual and additive impacts upon the performance of S. pistillata. These findings highlight the importance of maintaining oligotrophic conditions to secure these reefs as potential refugia.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)701-711
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume131
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Coral holobiont
  • Gulf of Aqaba
  • Nutrients
  • Ocean acidification
  • Stylophora pistillata

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