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High temperatures tolerated by a diverse assemblage of shallow-water corals in American Samoa
Craig, P.; Birkeland, C.; Belliveau, S. (2001). High temperatures tolerated by a diverse assemblage of shallow-water corals in American Samoa. Coral Reefs 20(2): 185-189
In: Coral Reefs. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg; New York. ISSN 0722-4028, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Bleaching; Coral; Coral reefs; Shallow water; Temperature effects; Temperature tolerance; Acropora Oken, 1815 [WoRMS]; Acroporidae Verrill, 1902 [WoRMS]; Scleractinia [WoRMS]; ISE, American Samoa [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Craig, P.
  • Birkeland, C.
  • Belliveau, S.

Abstract
    Corals in shallow waters are subjected to widely fluctuating temperatures on a daily basis. Using continuous temperature recordings, we examined the temperature regime in one such area, a backreef moat with low tide depths of 1-2 m on Ofu Island in American Samoa. The moat supports a high diversity of 85 coral species [H'(log2) = 3.37] with 25-26% live coral coverage. In one section of the moat, a 4,000-m2 pool inhabited by 52 coral species, the mean summer temperature was 29.3 degree C, but daily temperatures fluctuated up to 6.3 degree C and briefly reached a peak of 34.5 degree C. The duration of hot water events, e.g., greater than or equal to 32 degree C, averaged 2.4 h per event (maximum 5 h) and occurred on 35 summer days, although daily mean temperatures did not exceed 30.5 degree C and were generally within 0.5 degree C of that occurring outside the moat at an exposed coastal area. While there was a previous mortality of many acroporids during a long-term (several month) warming period in 1994, at least nine Acropora species and a diverse range of other taxa withstand the current temperature regime.

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