Galápagos coral reef persistence after ENSO warming across an acidification gradient

Derek P. Manzello, Ian C. Enochs, Andrew Bruckner, Philip G. Renaud, Graham Kolodziej, David A. Budd, Renée Carlton, Peter W. Glynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Anthropogenic CO2 is causing warming and ocean acidification. Coral reefs are being severely impacted, yet confusion lingers regarding how reefs will respond to these stressors over this century. Since the 1982-1983 El Niño-Southern Oscillation warming event, the persistence of reefs around the Galápagos Islands has differed across an acidification gradient. Reefs disappeared where pH < 8.0 and aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) ≤ 3 and have not recovered, whereas one reef has persisted where pH > 8.0 and Ωarag > 3. Where upwelling is greatest, calcification by massive Porites is higher than predicted by a published relationship with temperature despite high CO2, possibly due to elevated nutrients. However, skeletal P/Ca, a proxy for phosphate exposure, negatively correlates with density (R = -0.822, p < 0.0001). We propose that elevated nutrients have the potential to exacerbate acidification by depressing coral skeletal densities and further increasing bioerosion already accelerated by low pH. Key Points Galapagos coral reefs lost after 1982-1983 ENSO where pH < 8 and have not recoveredCoral reef resilience to warming depressed by ocean acidificationHigh nutrients increase coral growth at low pH but depress skeletal density

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9001-9008
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 28 2014


  • climate change
  • coral calcification
  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation
  • ocean acidification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Geophysics


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