Special Issue "The Future of Coral Reefs: Research Submitted to ICRS 2020, Bremen, Germany"

A special issue of Oceans (ISSN 2673-1924).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Rupert Ormond
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Interests: coral reefs; reef fish; sharks; reef fisheries; corals; marine conservation; marine protected areas
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Peter Schupp
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM), Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Schleusenstraße 1, 26382 Wilhelmshaven, Germany
2. Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity at the University of Oldenburg (HIFMB), Ammerländer Heerstrasse 231, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany
Interests: Marine Invertebrates; Chemical Ecology; Marine Natural Products Research and Biodiversity; Ecotoxicology; Microbial Ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Prior to the postponement of the 14th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS 2020, https://www.icrs2020.de/), due to be held in Bremen, Germany, arrangements had been made with the journal OCEANS to produce a conference Special Issue, to which conference delegates could submit papers based on their presentations or posters.

While the conference itself has now been postponed until 2021, the organizers (chaired by Professor Christian Wild) and OCEANS have agreed to continue with the publication of a Special Issue in 2020. This is to provide intending delegates who wish with an appropriate outlet for material that they had expected to publish this year. Suitable manuscripts will be published on-line as they are received and approved, thus ensuring publication in 2020 of manuscripts that are received in good time.

The Special Issue will retain the planned name (i.e. “The Future of Coral Reefs: Research Submitted to ICRS 2020”) and continue to reflect the conference themes. In addition, it is anticipated that a sister (Part II) issue will be published soon before the ICRS 2021 virtual, linked to the virtual and actual conference event.

Instructions on how to submit to OCEANS may be found at https://www.mdpi.com/journal/oceans/instructions. All submissions will be subject to standard reviewing procedures to ensure reasonable standards of writing and accuracy. OCEANS has no restrictions on the length of manuscripts and hence, short papers based on either conference presentations or posters will be considered. 

Given delays in holding the Conference, the deadline for submission of abstracts for the this Special Issue has been extended to April 30th, 2021. Authors wishing to submit a manuscript to this issue are asked to notify the coordinating editor, Prof. Dr. Rupert Ormond ([email protected]) as soon as practicable, mentioning their conference abstract reference number.

Authors whose first language is not English are encouraged to submit manuscripts, but it is recommended that they have their text checked by a native English speaker or make use of MDPI’s English editing Service (https://www.mdpi.com/authors/english).

Sincerely,

Prof. Dr. Rupert Ormond
Prof. Dr. Peter Schupp
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Oceans 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 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). For published papers prepared for ICRS 2020, the APC will be fully subsidized by MDPI. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
After the Fall: The Demographic Destiny of a Gorgonian Population Stricken by Catastrophic Mortality
Oceans 2021, 2(2), 337-350; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2020020 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 292
Abstract
In recent years, the frequency of mass mortality events in marine ecosystems has increased, and several populations of benthic organism have been affected, reducing their density and changing their size and age structure. Few details are known about the dynamics of these populations [...] Read more.
In recent years, the frequency of mass mortality events in marine ecosystems has increased, and several populations of benthic organism have been affected, reducing their density and changing their size and age structure. Few details are known about the dynamics of these populations over long time intervals. In late summer of both 1999 and 2003 two drastic mass mortality events, co-occurring with anomalous temperature increases, affected the northwestern Mediterranean rocky coastal communities. Due to these events the Paramuricea clavata population living at the western edge of La Spezia Gulf (Italy) was stricken, and 78% of the colonies died. This population was monitored from 1998 (pre-mortality) until 2013. This paper deals with the photographic sampling of permanent plots carried out in 2013. The findings were compared with those from the previous sampling series. This long-term, non-destructive sampling highlights the demographic trajectory of the octocoral population there after two anomalous mortality events, indicating that some new drop-point between local extinction and complete recovery may be have been reached. Long-term monitoring (including pre-mortality data) could allow evaluating the effects of global climate change on the conservation of impacted populations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Sub-Metre 3D Land-Sea Coral Reefscapes Using Superspectral WorldView-3 Satellite Stereoimagery
Oceans 2021, 2(2), 315-329; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2020018 - 02 Apr 2021
Viewed by 539
Abstract
Shallow coral reefs ensure a wide portfolio of ecosystem services, from fish provisioning to tourism, that support more than 500 million people worldwide. The protection and sustainable management of these pivotal ecosystems require fine-scale but large-extent mapping of their 3D composition. The sub-metre [...] Read more.
Shallow coral reefs ensure a wide portfolio of ecosystem services, from fish provisioning to tourism, that support more than 500 million people worldwide. The protection and sustainable management of these pivotal ecosystems require fine-scale but large-extent mapping of their 3D composition. The sub-metre spaceborne imagery can neatly produce such an expected product using multispectral stereo-imagery. We built the first 3D land-sea coral reefscape mapping using the 0.3 m superspectral WorldView-3 stereo-imagery. An array of 13 land use/land cover and sea use/sea cover habitats were classified using sea-, ground- and air-truth data. The satellite-derived topography and bathymetry reached vertical accuracies of 1.11 and 0.89 m, respectively. The value added of the eight mid-infrared (MIR) channels specific to the WorldView-3 was quantified using the classification overall accuracy (OA). With no topobathymetry, the best combination included the eight-band optical (visible + near-infrared) and the MIR8, which boosted the basic blue-green-red OA by 9.58%. The classes that most benefited from this MIR information were the land use “roof” and land cover “soil” classes. The addition of the satellite-derived topobathymetry to the optical+MIR1 produced the best full combination, increasing the basic OA by 9.73%, and reinforcing the “roof” and “soil” distinction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Severe Heat Stress Resulted in High Coral Mortality on Maldivian Reefs following the 2015–2016 El Niño Event
Oceans 2021, 2(1), 233-245; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2010014 - 03 Mar 2021
Viewed by 520
Abstract
Coral cover worldwide has been declining due to heat stress caused by climate change. Here we report the impacts of the 2015–2016 El Niño mass coral bleaching event on the coral cover of reefs located on central and northern atolls of the Maldives. [...] Read more.
Coral cover worldwide has been declining due to heat stress caused by climate change. Here we report the impacts of the 2015–2016 El Niño mass coral bleaching event on the coral cover of reefs located on central and northern atolls of the Maldives. We surveyed six reef sites in the Alifu Alifu (Ari) and Baa (South Maalhosmadulu) Atolls using replicate 20 m benthic photo transects at two depths per reef site. Live and recently dead coral cover identified from images differed between reef sites and depth. Recently dead corals on average made up 33% of the coral assemblage at shallow sites and 24% at deep sites. This mortality was significantly lower in massive corals than in branching corals, reaching an average of only 6% compared to 41%, respectively. The best predictors of live coral cover were depth and morphology, with a greater percentage of live coral at deep sites and in massive corals. The same predictors best described the prevalence of recently dead coral, but showed inverse trends to live coral. However, there was high variability among reef sites, which could be attributed to additional local stressors. Coral bleaching and resulting coral mortalities, such as the ones reported here, are of particular concern for small island nations like the Maldives, which are reliant on coral reefs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Experimental Approach to Assessing the Roles of Magnesium, Calcium, and Carbonate Ratios in Marine Carbonates
Oceans 2021, 2(1), 193-214; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2010012 - 03 Mar 2021
Viewed by 575
Abstract
Marine biomineralization is a globally important biological and geochemical process. Understanding the mechanisms controlling the precipitation of calcium carbonate [CaCO3] within the calcifying fluid of marine organisms, such as corals, crustose coralline algae, and foraminifera, presents one of the most elusive, [...] Read more.
Marine biomineralization is a globally important biological and geochemical process. Understanding the mechanisms controlling the precipitation of calcium carbonate [CaCO3] within the calcifying fluid of marine organisms, such as corals, crustose coralline algae, and foraminifera, presents one of the most elusive, yet relevant areas of biomineralization research, due to the often-impenetrable ability to measure the process in situ. The precipitation of CaCO3 is assumed to be largely controlled by the saturation state [Ω] of the extracellular calcifying fluid. In this study, we mimicked the typical pH and Ω known for the calcifying fluid in corals, while varying the magnesium, calcium, and carbonate concentrations in six chemo-static growth experiments, thereby mimicking various dissolved inorganic carbon concentration mechanisms and ionic movement into the extracellular calcifying fluid. Reduced mineralization and varied CaCO3 morphologies highlight the inhibiting effect of magnesium regardless of pH and Ω and suggests the importance of strong magnesium removal or calcium concentration mechanisms. In respect to ocean acidification studies, this could allow an explanation for why specific marine calcifiers respond differently to lower saturation states. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Acute Seawater Temperature Increase on the Survival of a Fish Ectoparasite
Oceans 2020, 1(4), 215-236; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans1040016 - 04 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1279
Abstract
Extreme warming events that contribute to mass coral bleaching are occurring with increasing regularity, raising questions about their effect on coral reef ecological interactions. However, the effects of such events on parasite-host interactions are largely ignored. Gnathiid isopods are common, highly mobile, external [...] Read more.
Extreme warming events that contribute to mass coral bleaching are occurring with increasing regularity, raising questions about their effect on coral reef ecological interactions. However, the effects of such events on parasite-host interactions are largely ignored. Gnathiid isopods are common, highly mobile, external parasites of coral reef fishes, that feed on blood during the juvenile stage. They have direct and indirect impacts on their fish hosts, and are the major food source for cleaner fishes. However, how these interactions might be impacted by increased temperatures is unknown. We examined the effects of acute temperature increases, similar to those observed during mass bleaching events, on survivorship of gnathiid isopod juveniles. Laboratory experiments were conducted using individuals from one species (Gnathia aureamaculosa) from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and multiple unknown species from the central Philippines. Fed and unfed GBR gnathiids were held in temperature treatments of 29 °C to 32 °C and fed Philippines gnathiids were held at 28 °C to 36 °C. Gnathiids from both locations showed rapid mortality when held in temperatures 2 °C to 3 °C above average seasonal sea surface temperature (32 °C). This suggests environmental changes in temperature can influence gnathiid survival, which could have significant ecological consequences for host-parasite-cleaner fish interactions during increased temperature events. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Phylogenetics of Trapezia Crabs in the Central Mexican Pacific
Oceans 2020, 1(3), 156-164; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans1030011 - 26 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1132
Abstract
To date, Trapezia spp. crabs have been considered obligate symbionts of pocilloporid corals. They protect their coral hosts from predators and are essential for the health of certain coral species. However, the basic details of this group of crustaceans are lacking, and there [...] Read more.
To date, Trapezia spp. crabs have been considered obligate symbionts of pocilloporid corals. They protect their coral hosts from predators and are essential for the health of certain coral species. However, the basic details of this group of crustaceans are lacking, and there is a need for species-level molecular markers. The Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) region harbors important coral communities mainly built by corals of the genus Pocillopora, with three known Trapezia species known to associate with them: Trapezia bidentata, T. formosa and T. corallina. Both taxonomic and molecular analyses were carried out with samples of all three crab species collected from Pocillopora spp. in the Central Mexican Pacific. Analysis of both a mitochondrial and a nuclear gene revealed only two species, T. corallina and T. bidentata. T. formosa however appears to be a morphotype of T. bidentata. The use of integrative taxonomy for this group has increased the knowledge of the biodiversity not only of the study area, but of the whole TEP and will enhance the future study of the Trapezia–Pocillopora symbiosis. Full article
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Open AccessBrief Report
The Effects of the UV-Blocker Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3) on Planulae Swimming and Metamorphosis of the Scyphozoans Cassiopea xamachana and Cassiopea frondosa
Oceans 2020, 1(4), 174-180; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans1040013 - 24 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1621
Abstract
Benzophenones are UV-blockers found in most common sunscreens. The ability of Scyphozoan planula larvae of Cassiopea xamachana and C. frondosa to swim and complete metamorphosis in concentrations 0–228 µg/L benzophenone-3 (oxybenzone) was tested. Planulae of both species swam in erratic patterns, 25–30% slower, [...] Read more.
Benzophenones are UV-blockers found in most common sunscreens. The ability of Scyphozoan planula larvae of Cassiopea xamachana and C. frondosa to swim and complete metamorphosis in concentrations 0–228 µg/L benzophenone-3 (oxybenzone) was tested. Planulae of both species swam in erratic patterns, 25–30% slower, and experienced significant death (p < 0.05) in the highest concentrations of oxybenzone tested, whereas the larvae exhibited normal swimming patterns and no death in ≤2.28 µg/L oxybenzone. In addition, metamorphosis decreased 10–30% over 3 days for both species maintained in 228 µg/L oxybenzone. These effects do not involve symbiotic dinoflagellates, as planulae larvae of Cassiopea sp. are aposymbiotic. It is concluded that oxybenzone can have a detrimental impact on these jellyfish. Full article
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