Pandolfi, John M., Lybolt, Matt, Sommer, Brigitte, Narayan, Roshni and Rachello-Dolmen, Paola (2019) Coral and micro-benthic assemblages from reef habitats in Moreton Bay. In: Moreton Bay Quandamooka & Catchment: Past, present, and future. , ed. by Tibbetts, I.R., Rothlisberg, P.C., Neil, D.T., Homburg, T.A., Brewer, D.T. and Arthington, A.H.. The Moreton Bay Foundation, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 361-378. ISBN 978-0-6486690-0-5

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The subtropical coral reefs of Moreton Bay support a rich diversity of corals and micro-benthic organisms. These high-latitude reef communities exist in marginal environments that include relatively cooler, more light-limited, and more variable environmental conditions than those in the tropics. Holocene reef coral communities formed episodically over the Bay’s 7000-year history, with a high degree of persistence in community structure and reef accretion rate until European colonisation of the Queensland coastline. However, during the most recent phase of the Bay’s reef development, reductions in water quality have transformed the Bay’s coral assemblages from predominantly large, fast-growing and branching acroporid corals to predominantly slower growing and smaller massive corals. The modern composition and diversity of benthic foraminiferal and micro-molluscan communities is driven mainly by substrate and water-quality parameters and shows a striking gradient from the variable and stressed water conditions of the western Bay to the more open-marine higher water quality habitats of the eastern Bay, including Myora Reef. Episodic changes also occurred in the Holocene benthic microfaunal composition, confirming the fluctuating nature of the Bay’s marine environments. Recent increases in foraminifera diversity and symbiont-bearing taxa signals a subtle improvement in water quality from the 1970s to 2008; however, for micro-gastropods, comparisons between fossil and modern death assemblages illustrate a decline in the condition of modern Bay habitats. The Holocene variation in the taxonomic composition and diversity of coral and micro-benthic assemblages of Moreton Bay reveals a history of recovery and rapid reef growth. Rapid recovery may still be possible if the causes of anthropogenic degradation are reversed and for this the highest priority is to reduce sediment and nutrient delivery into the Bay’s marine habitats.

Document Type: Book chapter
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Biogeochemistry and Geology > Geoecology & Carbonate Sedimentology
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2020 11:58
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:30

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