{!— ALTMETRIC INDEX TAGS - MJF --}
Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 31 Issue 02

View Issue TOC
Volume 31, No. 2
Pages 126 - 135

Ocean Warming and the Reefs of Palau

Patrick L. Colin
Article Abstract

After a coral bleaching event in 1998, a comprehensive temperature monitoring program was started in the Pacific Island nation of Palau using vertical arrays of instruments that collected data from near the surface to 90 m depth along outer reef slopes. Data from 1999 to the present show highly variable temperatures at deeper stations, attributed to internal waves/tides, and a correlation between monthly mean temperatures and mean sea levels. A La Niña bleaching event in 2010 recorded temperatures of 29°–30°C throughout the depth range of corals and a breakdown in upwelling mechanisms during the event. No evidence of a deep reef thermal “refuge” from bleaching conditions was observed. An abortive bleaching event in 2016 provided insight into how reef conditions can change from El Niño to La Niña in only two to three months. Trends from 1999 to ­2017 indicate possible temperature increases at all depths. Temperature monitoring networks are important to help inform the relationship between remotely sensed satellite and in situ temperature data and should be included in more coral bleaching studies. New approaches to determining thermal stress on reefs, such as incorporating data on mean sea level, are needed.

Citation

Colin, P.L. 2018. Ocean warming and the reefs of Palau. Oceanography 31(2):126–135, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2018.214.

References

Ainsworth, T.D., S.F. Heron, J.C. Ortiz, P.J. Mumby, A. Grech, D. Ogawa, C.M. Eakin, and W. Leggat. 2016. Climate change disables coral bleaching protection on the Great Barrier Reef. Science 352(6283):338–342, https://doi.org/​10.1126/​science.aac7125.

Baker, E.K., K.A. Puglise, and P.T. Harris, eds. 2016. Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems: A Lifeboat for Coral Reefs? The United Nations Environment Programme and GRID-Arendal, Nairobi and Arendal, 98 pp.

Bruno, J.F., C.E. Siddon, J.D. Whitman, P.L. Colin, and M.A. Toscano. 2001. El Niño related coral bleaching in Palau, western Caroline Islands. Coral Reefs 20:127–136, https://doi.org/10.1007/s003380100151.

Castillo, K.D., and F.P. Lima. 2010. Comparison of in situ and satellite-derived (MODIS-Aqua/Terra) methods for assessing temperatures on coral reefs. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 8:107–117, https://doi.org/10.4319/lom.2010.8.0107.

Colin, P.L. 2009. Marine Environments of Palau. Indo-Pacific Press, 414 pp, http://coralreefpalau.org/​wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Colin-PL-2009-Marine-Environments-of-Palau.pdf.

Colin, P.L., and S.G. Lindfield. In press. Palau. In Mesophotic Coral Reefs of the World. Y. Loya, K. Puglise, and T. Bridge, eds, Springer.

Golbuu, Y., S. Victor, L. Penland, D. Idip, C. Emaurois, K. Okaji, H. Yukihira, A. Iwase, and R. Van Woesik. 2007. Palau’s coral reefs show differential habitat recovery following the 1998-bleaching event. Coral Reefs 26:319–332, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-007-0200-7.

Guest, J.R., A.H. Baird, J.A. Maynard, E. Muttaqin, A.J. Edwards, S.J. Campbell, K. Yewdall, and Y.A. Affendi. 2012. Contrasting patterns of coral bleaching susceptibility in 2010 suggest adaptive response to the thermal stress. PLoS One 7(3):e33353, https://doi.org/10.1371/​journal.​pone.0033353.

Hausfather, Z., K. Cowtan, D.C. Clarke, P. Jacobs, M. Richardson, and R. Rohde. 2017. Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records. Science Advances 3(1):e1601207, https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1601207.

Heron, S.F., J.A. Maynard, R. van Hooidonk, and C.M. Eakin. 2016. Warming trends and bleaching stress of the world’s coral reefs 1985–2012. Scientific Reports 6:38402, https://doi.org/10.1038/srep38402.

Hsin, Y., and B. Qui. 2012. Seasonal fluctuations of the surface North Equatorial Countercurrent (NECC) across the Pacific basin. Journal of Geophysical Research 117, C06001, https://doi.org/​10.1029/2011JC007794.

Hughes, T.P., J.T. Kerry, M. Álvarez-Noriega, J.G. Álvarez-Romero, K.D. Anderson, A.H. Baird, R.C. Babcock, M. Beger, D.R. Bellwood, R. Berkelmans, and T.C. Bridge. 2018. Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals. Nature 543(7645):373–377, https://doi.org/10.1038/nature21707.

Kleypas, J.A., J.W. McManus, and L.A. Meñez. 1999. Environmental limits to coral reef development: Where do we draw the line? Integrative and Comparative Biology 39(1):146–159, https://doi.org/​10.1093/icb/39.1.146.

Mumby, P.J., W. Skirving, A.E. Strong, J.T. Hardy, E.F. LeDrew, E.J. Hochberg, E.P. Stumpf, and L.T. David. 2004. Remote sensing of coral reefs and their physical environment. Marine Pollution Bulletin 48:219–228, https://doi.org/10.1016/​j.marpolbul.2003.10.031.

Peñaflor, E.L., W.J. Skirving, A.E. Strong, S.F. Heron, and L.T. David. 2009. Sea-surface temperature and thermal stress in the Coral Triangle over the past two decades. Coral Reefs 28:841–850, https://doi.org/​10.1007/​s00338-009-0522-8.

Rudnick, D.L. 2016. Ocean research enabled by underwater gliders. Annual Review of Marine Science 8:519–541, https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-marine-122414-033913.

Safaie, A., N.J. Silbiger, T.R. McClanahan, G. Pawlak, D.J. Barshis, J.L. Hench, J.S. Rogers, G.J. Williams, and K.A. Davis. 2018. High frequency temperature variability reduces the risk of coral bleaching. Nature Communications 9:1671, https://doi.org/​10.1038/s41467-018-04074-2.

Skirving, W.J., S.F. Heron, C.R. Steinberg, C. McLean, B.A.A. Parker, C.M. Eakin, M.L. Heron, A.E. Strong, and L.F. Arzayus. 2010. Determining Thermal Capacitance for Protected Area Network Design in Palau. NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, Silver Spring, MD,NOAA Technical Memorandum CRCP 12, 317 pp.

Stobart, B., N. Downing, R. Buckley, and K. Teleki. 2008. Comparison of in situ temperature data from the southern Seychelles with SST data: Can satellite data alone be used to predict coral bleaching events? Proceedings of the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium 1:652–656.

Thomas, L., N.H. Rose, R.A. Bay, E.H. López, M.M. Morikawa, L. Ruiz-Jones, and S.R. Palumbi. 2017. Mechanisms of thermal tolerance in reef-building corals across a fine-grained environmental mosaic: Lessons from Ofu, American Samoa. Frontiers in Marine Science 4:434, https://doi.org/​10.3389/​fmars.2017.00434.

van Woesik, R., P. Houk, A.L. Isechal, J.W. Idechong, S. Victor, and Y. Golbuu. 2012. Climate-change refugia in the sheltered bays of Palau: Analogs of future reefs. Ecology and Evolution 2(10):2,474–2,484, https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.363.

Wolanski, E., P.L. Colin, J. Naithani, E. Deleersnijder, and Y. Golbuu. 2004. Large amplitude, leaky, island-generated, internal waves around Palau, Micronesia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 60:705–716, https://doi.org/10.1016/​j.ecss.2004.03.009.