Thermal history influences lesion recovery of the threatened Caribbean staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis under heat stress

Madeline L. Kaufman, Emily Watkins, Ruben van Hooidonk, Andrew C. Baker, Diego Lirman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change is the biggest threat to coral reefs, but reef restoration efforts are buying time for these ecosystems. Lesion recovery, which can be a determinant of colony survival, is particularly important for restored species. Here, we evaluate lesion recovery of 18 genets of Acropora cervicornis from Florida reefs with different thermal regimes in a temperature challenge experiment. Genets demonstrated significant variability in healing, which greatly slowed under heat stress. Only 35% of fragments healed at 31.5 °C compared to 99% at 28 °C. Donor reef thermal regime significantly influenced lesion recovery under heat stress with corals from warmer reefs demonstrating greater healing than corals from cooler reefs, but did not influence recovery under ambient conditions. These findings should encourage practitioners to utilize rapidly healing genets, avoid fragmentation in high temperatures, and incorporate assisted relocation by moving corals from warmer to cooler reefs, where they might succeed under future climate conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-293
Number of pages5
JournalCoral Reefs
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Acropora
  • Coral restoration
  • Lesion recovery
  • Local adaptation
  • Thermal tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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