7700-year persistence of an isolated, free-living coral assemblage in the Galápagos Islands: A model for coral refugia?

Coral Reefs
By: , and 

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Abstract

In an eastern-Pacific coral assemblage at Devil’s Crown, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, two coral species, Psammocora stellata and Cycloseris (Diaseris) distorta, form dense populations of unattached colonies on sand and rubble substrata. In the Galápagos, living C. (D.) distorta is found only at this single site, whereas populations of P. stellata are found throughout the archipelago. Six cores dating to 7700 yBP showed P. stellata to be dominant throughout the history of this isolated community, but C. (D.) distorta increased in abundance from ~2200 yBP and reached peak abundance between 1471 yBP and the present. The relative frequency of the two coral species may be linked to millennial-scale climatic variability, and this site may represent a refuge for C. (D.) distorta from unfavorable climatic fluctuations on millennial timescales. Our results demonstrate that some corals can persist in isolated populations for millennia.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title 7700-year persistence of an isolated, free-living coral assemblage in the Galápagos Islands: A model for coral refugia?
Series title Coral Reefs
DOI 10.1007/s00338-020-01935-5
Volume 39
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 639
Last page 647
Country Ecuador
Other Geospatial Galápagos Islands
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