Many reef-building corals participate in a mass-spawning event that occurs yearly on the Great Barrier Reef. This coral reproductive event is one of earth's most prominent examples of synchronised behavior, and coral reproductive success is vital to the persistence of coral reef ecosystems. Although several environmental cues have been implicated in the timing of mass spawning, the specific sensory cues that function together with endogenous clock mechanisms to ensure accurate timing of gamete release are...
Full recovery of coral reefs from tropical cyclone (TC) damage can take decades, making cyclones a major driver of habitat condition where they occur regularly. Since 1985, 44 TCs generated gale force winds (≥17 metres/second) within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). Of the hurricane strength TCs (≥H1—Saffir Simpson scale; ≥ category 3 Australian scale), TC Yasi (February, 2011) was the largest. In the weeks after TC Yasi crossed the GBRMP, participating researchers, managers...
Data from: Unexpected cryptic species diversity in the widespread coral Seriatopora hystrix masks spatial-genetic patterns of connectivityPatricia A. Warner, Madeleine J. H. Van Oppen & Bette L. Willis
Mounting evidence of cryptic species in a wide range of taxa highlights the need for careful analyses of population genetic data sets to unravel within-species diversity from potential interspecies relationships. Here, we use microsatellite loci and hierarchical clustering analysis to investigate cryptic diversity in sympatric and allopatric (separated by 450 km) populations of the widespread coral Seriatopora hystrix on the Great Barrier Reef. Structure analyses delimited unique genetic clusters that were confirmed by phylogenetic and...
Data from: Ocean acidification induces biochemical and morphological changes in the calcification process of large benthic foraminiferaMartina De Freitas Prazeres, Sven Uthicke, John M. Pandolfi & M. Prazeres
Large benthic foraminifera are significant contributors to sediment formation on coral reefs, yet they are vulnerable to ocean acidification. Here, we assessed the biochemical and morphological impacts of acidification on the calcification of Amphistegina lessonii and Marginopora vertebralis exposed to different pH conditions. We measured growth rates (surface area and buoyant weight) and Ca-ATPase and Mg-ATPase activities and calculated shell density using micro-computer tomography images. In A. lessonii, we detected a significant decrease in buoyant...
Data from: The coral immune response facilitates protection against microbes during tissue regenerationJeroen A. J. M. Van De Water, Tracy D. Ainsworth, William Leggat, David G. Bourne, Mikhail V. Matz, Bette L. Willis & Madeleine J. H. Van Oppen
Increasing physical damage on coral reefs from predation, storms and anthropogenic disturbances highlights the need to understand the impact of injury on the coral immune system. In this study, we examined the regulation of the coral immune response over 10 days following physical trauma artificially inflicted on in situ colonies of the coral Acropora aspera, simultaneously with bacterial colonization of the lesions. Corals responded to injury by increasing the expression of immune system-related genes involved...
As global warming continues, reef-building corals could avoid local population declines through “genetic rescue” involving exchange of heat-tolerant genotypes across latitudes, but only if latitudinal variation in thermal tolerance is heritable. Here, we show an up–to–10-fold increase in odds of survival of coral larvae under heat stress when their parents come from a warmer lower-latitude location. Elevated thermal tolerance was associated with heritable differences in expression of oxidative, extracellular, transport, and mitochondrial functions that indicated...
Australian Institute of Marine Science6
James Cook University3
University of Queensland2
The University of Texas at Austin1
University of Wollongong1
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority1
Oregon State University1
French National Centre for Scientific Research1
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation1