Coral Reefs

Some of the regional Coral Reef Literature especially pertinent to Barbados Reefs

Crustose coralline algae can contribute more than corals to coral reef carbonate production
Cornwall, C.E Commun Earth Environ 4, 105 (2023).

The Caribbean Coral Reef: A Record of an Ecosystem Under Threat (Book)
ByWilliam K. Sacco, 2023. CRC Press.

View: Introduction, The Structure of a Reef..

An emerging coral disease outbreak decimated Caribbean coral populations and reshaped reef functionality
L Alvarez-Fili et al., 2021 “Diseases are major drivers of the deterioration of coral reefs, linked to major declines in coral abundance, reef functionality, and reef-related ecosystems services1-3. An outbreak of a new disease is currently rampaging through the populations of the remaining reef-building corals across the Caribbean region. The outbreak was first reported in Florida in 2014 and reached the northern Mesoamerican reef by summer 2018, where it spread across the ~ 450-km reef system only in a few months4. Rapid infection was generalized across all sites and mortality rates ranged from 94% to < 10% among the 21 afflicted coral species. This single event further modified the coral communities across the region by increasing the relative dominance of weedy corals and reducing reef functionality, both in terms of functional diversity and calcium carbonate production. This emergent disease is likely to become the most lethal disturbance ever recorded in the Caribbean, and it will likely result in the onset of a new functional regime where key reef-building and complex branching acroporids (a genus apparently unaffected) will once again become conspicuous structural features in reef systems with yet even lower levels of physical functionality.”

The transformation of Caribbean coral communities since humans
Cramer KL, wt al., 2021 in Ecology and Evolution 11:10098-10118. “The mass die-off of Caribbean corals has transformed many of this region’s reefs to macroalgal-dominated habitats since systematic monitoring began in the 1970s. Although attributed to a combination of local and global human stressors, the lack of long-term data on Caribbean reef coral communities has prevented a clear understanding of the causes and consequences of coral declines. We integrated paleoecological, historical, and modern survey data to track the occurrence of major coral species and life-history groups throughout the Caribbean from the prehuman period to the present. The regional loss of Acropora corals beginning by the 1960s from local human disturbances resulted in increases in the occurrence of formerly subdominant stress-tolerant and weedy scleractinian corals and the competitive hydrozoan Millepora beginning in the 1970s and 1980s. These transformations have resulted in the homogenization of coral communities within individual countries. However, increases in stress-tolerant and weedy corals have slowed or reversed since the 1980s and 1990s in tandem with intensified coral bleaching and disease. These patterns reveal the long history of increasingly stressful environmental conditions on Caribbean reefs that began with widespread local human disturbances and have recently culminated in the combined effects of local and global change.”