Coral reefs are increasingly affected by a combination of acute and chronic disturbances from climate change and local stressors. The coral reefs of the Republic of Kiribati’s Gilbert Islands are exposed to frequent heat stress caused by central-Pacific type El Niño events, and may provide a glimpse into the future of coral reefs in other parts of the world, where the frequency of heat stress events will likely increase due to climate change. Reefs in the Gilbert Islands experienced a series of acute disturbances over the past fifteen years, including mass coral bleaching in 2004–2005 and 2009–2010, and an outbreak of the corallivorous sea star Acanthaster cf solaris, or Crown-of-Thorns (CoTs), in 2014. The local chronic pressures including nutrient loading, sedimentation and fishing vary within the island chain, with highest pressures on the reefs in urbanized South Tarawa Atoll. This dataset is from a study which examines how recovery from acute disturbances differs across a gradient of human influence in neighboring Tarawa and Abaiang Atolls from 2012 through 2018.
The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 3,569 records.
This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:
Cannon S E, Aram E, Beiateuea T, Kiareti A, Peter M, Donner S D (2023): Coral reefs in the Gilbert Islands of Kiribati: Resistance, resilience, and recovery after more than a decade of multiple stressors. v1.0. Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node. Dataset/Occurrence. https://nzobisipt.niwa.co.nz/resource?r=coral_genera_kiribati&v=1.0
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The publisher and rights holder of this work is Southwestern Pacific Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Node. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC-BY-NC 4.0) License.
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Abaiang and Tarawa Atolls, Republic of Kiribati
|Bounding Coordinates||South West [1.25, 172.75], North East [2, 173.25]|
|Start Date / End Date||2012-04-01 / 2018-05-30|
All data were collected between April and May in 2012, 2014, 2016, or 2018. A 50-m transect tape was laid randomly at 10-m depth at each site. We took 0.33m2-sized quadrat photos (50.0 cm width by 66.7 cm length) at 50 cm intervals along the transect, for a total of 100 photos per site. These photos were later analyzed to calculate the percent cover of macroalgae and coral genera, with other key benthic taxa, at each site.
|Study Extent||Abaiang and Tarawa Atolls|
Method step description:
- Biological names, such as family, genera, or species, were matched using WoRMS (https://marinespecies.org). This dataset also contains non-biological occurrences which have not been match to taxon fields.
- All sites are on the ocean side of the atolls. Most sites are limited to the south and west rims of each atoll due to unsafe diving conditions and difficulties accessing the northern and northeastern reefs. As in previous work, sites located in the northern tip of North Tarawa (TRW005, TRW007) are grouped with sites from Abaiang because they are physically closer to Abaiang and have similar levels of human disturbance. Sites in North Tarawa and Abaiang as are referred to as ‘Abaiang’, and sites in South Tarawa as ‘Tarawa.’
- Photos from the transects were used to calculate benthic percent cover using the open-source web tool CoralNet, which overlaid 20 random points per photo for 100 photos per site (for a total of 2000 points per site). Each photo covered 0.33 m2 (50.0 cm width by 66.7 cm length). The authors manually identified each point to the genus level for coral and macroalgae, and to functional group for sponges, soft corals, turf algae, crustose coralline algae (CCA), and cyanobacteria. The coral species P. rus, which has a ‘weedy’ life-history strategy, was identified to the species level. To estimate the impacts of 2014’s CoTs outbreak, the authors manually counted the number of recent feeding scars visible in our photo quadrats at the sites visited that year and identified the genera of the coral with the feeding scars. Scars were considered recent if the dead coral patch was still white, and other organisms had not yet colonized the coral skeleton (e.g., algal turf). In this way, the authors avoided counting scars from bleaching or other causes of mortality, although this method likely underestimates the number of CoTs feeding scars as a result.
- Cannon SE, Aram E, Beiateuea T, Kiareti A, Peter M, Donner SD. Coral reefs in the Gilbert Islands of Kiribati: Resistance, resilience, and recovery after more than a decade of multiple stressors. PLoS One. 2021 Aug 11;16(8):e0255304. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0255304. PMID: 34379665; PMCID: PMC8357116. 10.1371/journal.pone.0255304
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