Hurricanes benefit bleached corals

Derek P. Manzello, Marilyn Brandt, Tyler B. Smith, Diego Lirman, James C. Hendee, Richard S. Nemeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent, global mass-mortalities of reef corals due to record warm sea temperatures have led researchers to consider global warming as one of the most significant threats to the persistence of coral reef ecosystems. The passage of a hurricane can alleviate thermal stress on coral reefs, highlighting the potential for hurricane-associated cooling to mitigate climate change impacts. We provide evidence that hurricane-induced cooling was responsible for the documented differences in the extent and recovery time of coral bleaching between the Florida Reef Tract and the U.S. Virgin Islands during the Caribbean-wide 2005 bleaching event. These results are the only known scenario where the effects of a hurricane can benefit a stressed marine community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12035-12039
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume104
Issue number29
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 17 2007

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Keywords

  • Coral bleaching
  • Hurricane cooling
  • Thermal stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General

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