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The Effect of Ocean Warming on the Coral Communities of Hawai'i.

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Title:The Effect of Ocean Warming on the Coral Communities of Hawai'i.
Authors:Massey, Tayler L.
Contributors:Marine Biology (department)
Keywords:coral bleaching
coral reefs
growth anomaly
show 1 morecitizen science
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Date Issued:May 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:The Main Hawaiian Islands experienced unprecedented back-to-back coral bleaching events in
2014 and 2015. This event occurred in the context of the third and largest global bleaching event
to date, which occurred from 2014-2017 and affected reefs in every tropical coral reef habitat
around the globe. Bleaching disrupts the symbiosis between coral animals and their algal
symbionts, and the physiological damage accrued during times of bleaching causes partial or full
mortality and widespread events can have lastly impacts on the functional complexity and
diversity of reef systems. In an attempt to better understand bleaching and its effects on reefs, my
dissertation addressed the following questions: 1) What were the bleaching patterns at Lanikai in
2014 and 2015, and was there any evidence of acclimatization between years?; 2) Were there
genomic differences between differentially bleached Montipora capitata next to each other on
the reef?; 3) Are growth anomalies (GAs) of Porites evermanni morphologically and
physiologically different?; and 4) How well did a citizen science reef monitoring project describe
reef health and bleaching?
Results revealed characteristic differences in species susceptibility and recovery of
bleaching patterns at Lanikai and in situ degree heating weeks revealed Porites and Pocillopora
colonies acclimatized to thermal stress from 2014 to 2015, bleaching less per unit area during
significantly higher thermal stress. Analysis from genome scans of M. capitata found no strong
underlying signals of selection to explain differential bleaching responses, despite all harboring
clade C Symbiodinium. P. evermanni GAs showed characteristic morphological and
physiological differences with larger corallites and less lipid energy reserves than normal tissue.
While normally not reproductive, the GAs of P. evermanni were found to be extremely
reproductive, illustrating there is still more to learn about these anomalous coral growths. And
finally, the citizen science monitoring project provided an opportunity for the community to take
part in understanding how climate change is affecting their reef. With the intensity and frequency
of coral bleaching events predicted to increase, it is important now more than ever to understand
the ecological, physiological, and molecular aspects of bleaching and the implications for the
future of coral reefs.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Marine Biology

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