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Coral reef recovery in Florida and the Persian Gulf

Environmental Geology

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Abstract

Long-term observations and study of coral reef destruction by hurricanes in the Florida Keys show, surprisingly, that although corals are devastated on a grand scale during storms, recovery is rapid. Recovery occurs because of the widespread scattering of live fragments, many of which become growth sites of new colonies. Reef recovery from death by chilling in the Persian Gulf was well under way when last observed, but it is not yet known if the recovery rate was as rapid as recovery from the storm destruction in Florida. Recovery from death by chilling requires settlement of transported coral larvae and a substrate suitable for larval attachment. Such resettlement is subject to the effects of currents, predators, pollution, and competition for substrate. A growth rate of 10 cm per year combined with geometrical progression of branch formation accounts for rapid recovery. Although calculated coral proliferation seems unusually high, it has been confirmed by serial underwater photographs spanning ten years. More precise measurements of growth and branching are needed, along with growth data for other common reef-building corals. Such data would be useful for predicting standing crop of a restocked or transplanted reef.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Coral reef recovery in Florida and the Persian Gulf
Series title:
Environmental Geology
Volume:
1
Issue:
4
Year Published:
1976
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer
Contributing office(s):
Coastal and Marine Geology Program
Description:
14 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Geology
First page:
241
Last page:
254
Country:
United States
State:
Florida
Other Geospatial:
Florida Keys;Persian Gulf