Mar 20, 2017

Tropical dead zones and mass mortalities on coral reefs

Andrew H. Altieri, Seamus B. Harrison, Janina Seemann, Rachel Collin, Robert J. Diaz, Nancy Knowlton
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • States that little is known about the potential threat of hypoxia in the tropics, even though known risk factors like eutrophication and elevated temperatures are common
  • Documents an unprecedented hypoxic event on the Caribbean coast of Panama
  • Observes shifts in community structure and conducts laboratory experiments on the event, finding that not all coral species are equally sensitive to hypoxia
  • Through analysis of global databases, finds that coral reefs are associated with more than half of the known tropical dead zones worldwide
  • Finds that >10% of all coral reefs at elevated risk for hypoxia based on local and global risk factors