Extremely high but localized pulses of coral recruitment in the southwestern lagoon of New Caledonia and implications for conservation - Université de Perpignan Via Domitia Access content directly
Journal Articles Marine Ecology Progress Series Year : 2022

Extremely high but localized pulses of coral recruitment in the southwestern lagoon of New Caledonia and implications for conservation

Abstract

Recruitment processes largely drive spatial distributions, dynamics, and recovery potential of marine communities. Determining scales of variation in recruitment rates and composition can help in understanding population replenishment mechanisms, while identifying recruitment hotspots is crucial for improving conservation strategies, particularly for threatened marine ecosystems such as coral reefs. We examined the spatial and interannual variability (2012-2014) of coral recruitment at multiple scales within and among reef habitats (14 stations) in the southwestern lagoon of New Caledonia. Recruit assemblages were characterized by high recruitment rates compared to other regions (overall mean of 34.9 recruits per 11 × 11 × 1 cm settlement tile, corresponding to 1220.9 recruits m -2 ) and strong dominance of Acroporidae. We found a marked spatial heterogeneity among habitats but also exceptionally high interannual variation (100-fold), with extreme recruitment peaks (up to 13572.8 recruits m -2 , with a maximum of 811 recruits on a single tile) recorded in 2014 at some fringing and mid-shelf reefs, the highest records ever reported to date. These encouraging results contrast with other reefs where recent declines in coral recruitment rates have been documented with major concerns for their resilience capacities. However, the marked spatio-temporal variability of coral recruitment complicates conservation strategies, as it makes it difficult to identify ‘recruitment hotspots’ as priority sites to protect for their potential capacity to boost the replenishment of local populations.
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Origin : Publication funded by an institution
Licence : CC BY - Attribution

Dates and versions

hal-03954922 , version 1 (24-01-2023)

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Mehdi Adjeroud, Christophe Peignon, Camille Gauliard, Lucie Penin, Mohsen Kayal. Extremely high but localized pulses of coral recruitment in the southwestern lagoon of New Caledonia and implications for conservation. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2022, 692, pp.67-79. ⟨10.3354/meps14073⟩. ⟨hal-03954922⟩
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