Special Issue "Climate Change and Coral Reefs Ecosystems"

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A special issue of Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (ISSN 2077-1312).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Loke Ming Chou

Tropical Marine Science Institute, National University of Singapore, S2S 18 Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119227, Singapore
Interests: coral reef ecology; reef restoration and conservation; coastal biodiversity; integrated coastal management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Direct human pressure has contributed to widespread degradation of the coral reef ecosystem throughout the tropics. Concern over over-exploitation, physical destruction, pollution and coastal development has in the last two decades expanded to include the vulnerability of coral reefs to the various impacts of climate change. How will reef systems respond to sea level rise, sea surface temperature elevation, extreme weather variables and ocean acidification, and will the response differ between reefs that are already compromised by direct anthropogenic pressure and those that are not? Can the response of reefs to chronic or acute disturbances that simulate climate change impact scenarios provide some indication of resilience? Coral reefs have been affected by two major and extensive sea surface temperature events in 1998 and 2010 with varying impacts in different regions. The effect of lowered pH on coral calcification is gaining interest. Some coral species have shifted to the higher latitudes. Research on how coral reef distribution and community structure will change and how these will affect the livelihoods of coastal populations is important to guide our thinking on protection of the coral reef ecosystem against climate change. Contributions that address the biophysical as well as the socio-economic linkages between coral reefs and climate change are most welcome.

Kindest regards,

Prof. Loke Ming Chou
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


Keywords

  • climate change impacts
  • coral reef ecosystem
  • reef response to climate change
  • global warming and coral bleaching
  • ocean acidification and coral calcification
  • reef species range shifts
  • reef community structure change
  • reef resilience/vulnerability to climate change
  • impact of climate-influenced reef change on society
  • climate-induced change to reef ecosystem services

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Temperature Dependence of Respiration in Larvae and Adult Colonies of the Corals Acropora tenuis and Pocillopora damicornis
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(3), 509-519; doi:10.3390/jmse3030509
Received: 9 June 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
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Abstract
Although algal symbionts can become a source of reactive oxygen species under stressful conditions, symbiotic planulae of the coral Pocillopora damicornis are highly tolerant to thermal stress compared with non-symbiotic planulae of Acropora tenuis. As a first step to understand [...] Read more.
Although algal symbionts can become a source of reactive oxygen species under stressful conditions, symbiotic planulae of the coral Pocillopora damicornis are highly tolerant to thermal stress compared with non-symbiotic planulae of Acropora tenuis. As a first step to understand how P. damicornis planulae attain high stress tolerance, we compared the respiration rate and temperature dependence between symbiotic planulae of P. damicornis and non-symbiotic planulae of A. tenuis, as well as between larvae and adult branches within each species. Larvae and adult branches of both species had similar temperature dependency of respiration rate, with the temperature coefficient (Q10) values of about 2. Planula larvae of P. damicornis had a significantly lower respiration rate than that of A. tenuis larvae at 25–30 °C, but not at 32 °C, whereas adult branches of P. damicornis had a significantly higher respiration rate than that of A. tenuis branches at all temperatures. Thus, P. damicornis larvae appear to be capable of reducing their respiration rate to a greater extent than A. tenuis larvae, which could partly explain why P. damicornis larvae had high survivorship under thermal stress, although other antioxidant or photoprotective mechanisms should be investigated in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Coral Reefs Ecosystems)
Open AccessArticle Dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) as an Indicator of Bleaching Tolerance in Scleractinian Corals
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(2), 444-465; doi:10.3390/jmse3020444
Received: 1 April 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 23 June 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1318 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Thermal tolerance tests on Acropora millepora, a common Indo-Pacific hard coral, have shown that adult corals can acquire increased thermal tolerance by shuffling existing type C to type D Symbiodinium zooxanthellae when subjected to increased seawater temperatures. We report here dimethylsulphoniopropionate [...] Read more.
Thermal tolerance tests on Acropora millepora, a common Indo-Pacific hard coral, have shown that adult corals can acquire increased thermal tolerance by shuffling existing type C to type D Symbiodinium zooxanthellae when subjected to increased seawater temperatures. We report here dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) concentrations in A. millepora and examine links between DMSP concentrations, zooxanthellae clade, and bleaching tolerance. DMSP analysis on native and transplanted corals from three locations in the Great Barrier Reef indicated that the lower thermal tolerance in type C zooxanthellae coincided with variable DMSP concentrations, whilst the more thermal tolerant type D zooxanthellae had more stable areal DMSP concentrations as seawater temperatures increased. Our results suggest this increased thermal tolerance in type D zooxanthellae may reflect the ability of these coral symbionts to conserve their antioxidant DMSP levels to relatively constant concentrations, enabling the coral to overcome the build-up of oxygen free radicals in the cytoplasm of A. millepora. A conceptual diagram illustrates how the antioxidants DMS (P) participate in the bleaching process by scavenging oxygen free radicals and form DMSO, thus moderating coral bleaching and increasing thermotolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Coral Reefs Ecosystems)
Open AccessArticle Temperature Effects on the Growth Rates and Photosynthetic Activities of Symbiodinium Cells
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(2), 368-381; doi:10.3390/jmse3020368
Received: 4 May 2015 / Accepted: 25 May 2015 / Published: 1 June 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Coral bleaching is caused by environmental stress and susceptibility to bleaching stress varies among types of coral. The physiological properties of the algal symbionts (Symbiodinium spp.), especially extent of damage to PSII and its repair capacity, contribute importantly to this variability [...] Read more.
Coral bleaching is caused by environmental stress and susceptibility to bleaching stress varies among types of coral. The physiological properties of the algal symbionts (Symbiodinium spp.), especially extent of damage to PSII and its repair capacity, contribute importantly to this variability in stress susceptibility. The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between the growth rates and photosynthetic activities of six cultured strains of Symbiodinium spp. (clades A, B, C, D, and F) at elevated temperature (33 °C). We also observed the recovery of photodamaged-PSII in the presence or absence of a chloroplast protein synthesis inhibitor (lincomycin). The growth rates and photochemical efficiencies of PSII (Fv/Fm) decreased in parallel at high temperature in thermally sensitive strains, B-K100 (clade B followed by culture name) and A-Y106, but not in thermally tolerant strains, F-K102 and D-K111. In strains A-KB8 and C-Y103, growth declined markedly at high temperature, but Fv/Fm decreased only slightly. These strains may reallocate energy from growth to the repair of damaged photosynthetic machineries or protection pathways. Alternatively, since recoveries of photo-damaged PSII at 33 °C were modest in strains A-KB8 and C-Y103, thermal stressing of other metabolic pathways may have reduced growth rates in these two strains. This possibility should be explored in future research efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Coral Reefs Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle The New Man and the Sea: Climate Change Perceptions and Sustainable Seafood Preferences of Florida Reef Anglers
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(2), 299-328; doi:10.3390/jmse3020299
Received: 7 April 2015 / Accepted: 15 May 2015 / Published: 28 May 2015
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Abstract
Florida Reef stakeholders have downplayed the role of anthropogenic climate change while recognizing the reef system’s degradation. With an emphasis on recreational anglers, a survey using contingent valuation methods investigated stakeholders’ attitudes about the Florida Reef, climate change, and willingness to pay [...] Read more.
Florida Reef stakeholders have downplayed the role of anthropogenic climate change while recognizing the reef system’s degradation. With an emphasis on recreational anglers, a survey using contingent valuation methods investigated stakeholders’ attitudes about the Florida Reef, climate change, and willingness to pay for sustainable and local seafood. Angst expressed about acidification and other climate change effects represents a recent shift of opinion. Supermajorities were willing to pay premiums for sustainably harvested and especially local seafood. Regression analysis revealed trust in seafood labels, travel to coral reefs, political orientation, place of birth, and motorboat use as strong, direct predictors of shopping behavior, age and environmental concerns as moderately influential, and income and education as surprisingly poor predictors. Distrust of authority may motivate some stakeholders, but new attitudes about climate change and the high desirability of local seafood offer potential for renewed regional engagement and market-based incentives for sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Coral Reefs Ecosystems)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Elevated CO2 and Increased Temperature on in Vitro Fertilization Success and Initial Embryonic Development of Single Male:Female Crosses of Broad-Cast Spawning Corals at Mid- and High-Latitude Locations
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(2), 216-239; doi:10.3390/jmse3020216
Received: 11 March 2015 / Accepted: 27 April 2015 / Published: 6 May 2015
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Abstract
The impact of global climate change on coral reefs is expected to be most profound at the sea surface, where fertilization and embryonic development of broadcast-spawning corals takes place. We examined the effect of increased temperature and elevated CO2 levels on [...] Read more.
The impact of global climate change on coral reefs is expected to be most profound at the sea surface, where fertilization and embryonic development of broadcast-spawning corals takes place. We examined the effect of increased temperature and elevated CO2 levels on the in vitro fertilization success and initial embryonic development of broadcast-spawning corals using a single male:female cross of three different species from mid- and high-latitude locations: Lyudao, Taiwan (22° N) and Kochi, Japan (32° N). Eggs were fertilized under ambient conditions (27 °C and 500 μatm CO2) and under conditions predicted for 2100 (IPCC worst case scenario, 31 °C and 1000 μatm CO2). Fertilization success, abnormal development and early developmental success were determined for each sample. Increased temperature had a more profound influence than elevated CO2. In most cases, near-future warming caused a significant drop in early developmental success as a result of decreased fertilization success and/or increased abnormal development. The embryonic development of the male:female cross of A. hyacinthus from the high-latitude location was more sensitive to the increased temperature (+4 °C) than the male:female cross of A. hyacinthus from the mid-latitude location. The response to the elevated CO2 level was small and highly variable, ranging from positive to negative responses. These results suggest that global warming is a more significant and universal stressor than ocean acidification on the early embryonic development of corals from mid- and high-latitude locations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Coral Reefs Ecosystems)

Other

Jump to: Research

Open AccessConcept Paper Climate Change and Active Reef Restoration—Ways of Constructing the “Reefs of Tomorrow”
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(1), 111-127; doi:10.3390/jmse3010111
Received: 22 January 2015 / Accepted: 25 February 2015 / Published: 4 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (6759 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The continuous degradation of coral reef ecosystems on a global level, the disheartening expectations of a gloomy future for reefs’ statuses, the failure of traditional conservation acts to revive most of the degrading reefs and the understanding that it is unlikely that [...] Read more.
The continuous degradation of coral reef ecosystems on a global level, the disheartening expectations of a gloomy future for reefs’ statuses, the failure of traditional conservation acts to revive most of the degrading reefs and the understanding that it is unlikely that future reefs will return to historic conditions, all call for novel management approaches. Among the most effective approaches is the “gardening” concept of active reef restoration, centered, as in silviculture, on a two-step restoration process (nursery and transplantation). In the almost two decades that passed from its first presentation, the “gardening” tenet was tested in a number of coral reefs worldwide, revealing that it may reshape coral reef communities (and associated biota) in such a way that novel reef ecosystems with novel functionalities that did not exist before are developed. Using the “gardening” approach as a climate change mediator, four novel ecosystem engineering management approaches are raised and discussed in this article. These include the take-home lessons approach, which considers the critical evaluation of reef restoration outcomes; the genetics approach; the use of coral nurseries as repositories for coral and reef species; and an approach that uses novel environmental engineering tactics. Two of these approaches (take-home lessons and using coral nurseries as repositories for reef dwelling organisms) already consider the uncertainty and the gaps in our knowledge, and they are further supported by the genetic approach and by the use of novel environmental engineering tactics as augmenting auxiliaries. Employing these approaches (combined with other novel tactics) will enhance the ability of coral reef organisms to adaptably respond to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Coral Reefs Ecosystems)

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