Skip to Main Content
GEOREF RECORD

1200 year paleoecological record of coral community development from the terrigenous inner shelf of the Great Barrier Reef

C. T. Perry, S. G. Smithers, S. E. Palmer, P. Larcombe and K. G. Johnson
1200 year paleoecological record of coral community development from the terrigenous inner shelf of the Great Barrier Reef
Geology (Boulder) (September 2008) 36 (9): 691-694

Abstract

Increased terrestrial sediment and nutrient yields are regarded as significant threats to coral reef health. Within the central Great Barrier Reef lagoon, where water quality has reportedly declined since European settlement (since ca. A.D. 1850), inner-shelf reef conditions have purportedly deteriorated. However, the link between reef decline and water-quality change remains controversial, primarily because of a lack of pre-European period ecological baseline data against which to assess contemporary ecological states. Here we present a high-resolution record of reef accretion and coral community composition from a turbid-zone, nearshore reef on the inner shelf of the Great Barrier Reef; the record is based on six radiocarbon date-constrained cores, and extends back to ca. 1200 calibrated yr B.P. Results demonstrate not only the potential for coral communities to initiate and persist in settings dominated by fine-grained terrigenous sediment accumulation, but also that a temporally persistent (but low diversity) suite of corals has dominated the reef-building community at this site for at least the past millennium. Furthermore, the coral assemblages exhibit no evidence of community shifts attributable to post-European water-quality changes. While extrapolation of these findings to other turbid-zone reefs must remain tentative, the study raises important questions about the resilience of inner-shelf reefs that are under terrestrial sediment influence and subject to elevated turbidity conditions, and demonstrates the potential to develop detailed, millennial time scale, coral community records from Holocene reef systems.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 36
Serial Issue: 9
Title: 1200 year paleoecological record of coral community development from the terrigenous inner shelf of the Great Barrier Reef
Affiliation: Manchester Metropolitan University, Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Manchester, United Kingdom
Pages: 691-694
Published: 200809
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 14
Accession Number: 2008-116934
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: With GSA Data Repository Item 2008176
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
S19°49'60" - S18°45'00", E146°30'00" - E147°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: James Cook University, AUS, AustraliaCentre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture, GBR, United KingdomNatural History Museum, GBR, United Kingdom
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200844
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal