Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Mechanical vulnerability explains size-dependent mortality of reef corals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Abstract

Understanding life history and demographic variation among species within communities is a central ecological goal. Mortality schedules are especially important in ecosystems where disturbance plays a major role in structuring communities, such as coral reefs. Here, we test whether a trait-based, mechanistic model of mechanical vulnerability in corals can explain mortality schedules. Specifically, we ask whether species that become increasingly vulnerable to hydrodynamic dislodgment as they grow have bathtub-shaped mortality curves, whereas species that remain mechanically stable have decreasing mortality rates with size, as predicted by classical life history theory for reef corals. We find that size-dependent mortality is highly consistent between species with the same growth form and that the shape of size-dependent mortality for each growth form can be explained by mechanical vulnerability. Our findings highlight the feasibility of predicting assemblage-scale mortality patterns on coral reefs with trait-based approaches.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-1015
Number of pages8
JournalEcology Letters
Volume17
Issue number8
Early online date3 Jun 2014
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

    Research areas

  • Biomechanics, Colonial, Demography, Disturbance, Life history, Mortality, Reef coral

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. β-diversity scaling patterns are consistent across metrics and taxa

    Antão, L. H., McGill, B., Magurran, A. E., Soares, A. & Dornelas, M. 25 Jan 2019 In : Ecography. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Benthic structure drives butterflyfish species composition and trophic group abundance

    Borges Da Costa Guint Barbosa, M. M., Coupland, N., Douglas, C., Harrisson, E., James, K., Jones, M., McIntyre, C., Philpott, D., Russel, G., Zawada, K., Azeredo de Dornelas, M. A. & Peddie, C. 2019 In : PeerJ PrePrints.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Effects of tropical storms on the demography of reef corals

    Baird, A. H., Alvarez-Noriega, M., Cumbo, V. R., Connolly, S. R., Dornelas, M. & Madin, J. S. 15 Nov 2018 In : Marine Ecology Progress Series. 606, p. 29-38 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Temperature-driven biodiversity change: disentangling space and time

    Waldock, C., Dornelas, M. & Bates, A. E. 1 Nov 2018 In : Bioscience. 68, 11, p. 873-884 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Cumulative effects of cyclones and bleaching on coral cover and species richness at Lizard Island

    Madin, J. S., Baird, A. H., Bridge, T. C. L., Connolly, S. R., Zawada, K. J. A. & Dornelas, M. 4 Oct 2018 In : Marine Ecology Progress Series. 604, p. 263-268 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Ecology Letters (Journal)

    Meagher, T. R. (Member of editorial board)
    20012004

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Increased socially mediated plasticity in gene expression accompanies rapid adaptive evolution

    Pascoal, S., Liu, X., Fang, Y., Paterson, S., Ritchie, M. G., Rockliffe, N., Zuk, M. & Bailey, N. W. Apr 2018 In : Ecology Letters. 21, 4, p. 546-556

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Navigating the complexity of ecological stability

    Donohue, I., Hillebrand, H., Montoya, J. M., Petchey, O. L., Pimm, S. L., Fowler, M. S., Healy, K., Jackson, A. L., Lurgi, M., McClean, D., O'Connor, N. E., O'Gorman, E. J. & Yang, Q. Sep 2016 In : Ecology Letters. 19, 9, p. 1172-85 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  3. The ecology of sex explains patterns of helping in arthropod societies

    Davies, N., Ross, L. & Gardner, A. Aug 2016 In : Ecology Letters. 19, 8, p. 862-872 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Ecology drives intragenomic conflict over menopause

    Ubeda, F., Ohtsuki, H. & Gardner, A. Feb 2014 In : Ecology Letters. 17, 2, p. 165-174 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

  5. Mating ecology explains patterns of genome elimination

    Gardner, A. & Ross, L. Dec 2014 In : Ecology Letters. 17, 12, p. 1602–1612 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 130772477