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Higher thermal resistance of corals in the global marine biodiversity center
  • +15
  • Tim McClanahan,
  • Joseph Maina,
  • Emily Darling,
  • Stephanie D'agata,
  • Nyawira Muthiga,
  • Julien Leblond,
  • Rohan Arthur,
  • Stacy Jupiter,
  • Shaun Wilson,
  • Sangeeta Mangubhai,
  • Ali Ussi,
  • Mireille Guillaume,
  • Austin Humphries,
  • Vardhan Patankar,
  • George Shedrawi,
  • Julius Pagu,
  • January Ndagala,
  • Gabriel Grimsditch
Tim McClanahan
Wildlife Conservation Society
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Joseph Maina
Macquarie University
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Emily Darling
Wildlife Conservation Society
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Stephanie D'agata
Macquire University
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Nyawira Muthiga
Wildlife Conservation Society Kenya Mombasa
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Julien Leblond
Wildlife Conservation Society Madagascar
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Rohan Arthur
Nature Conservation Foundation
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Stacy Jupiter
Wildlife Conservation Society
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Shaun Wilson
Government of Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife
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Sangeeta Mangubhai
Wildlife Conservation Society
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Ali Ussi
The State University of Zanzibar School of Natural and Social Sciences
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Mireille Guillaume
The State University of Zanzibar School of Natural and Social Sciences
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Austin Humphries
University of Rhode Island
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Vardhan Patankar
Wildlife Conservation Society India
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George Shedrawi
Curtin University Bentley Campus
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Julius Pagu
Mafia Island Marine Park
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January Ndagala
Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park
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Gabriel Grimsditch
IUCN Maldives
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Abstract

Predictions for the future of coral reef are largely based on thermal exposure and poorly account for geographic variation in biological sensitivity and resistance to thermal stress. Based on the ratio of thermal exposure and sensitivity, geographic variability of coral resistance was estimated during the 2016 global-bleaching event. Exposure was estimated as historical cumulative excess summer heat (CTA) and a multivariate index of SST, light, and water flow (CE). Site sensitivity was estimated for 226 sites using coordinated bleaching observations. Site resistance was evaluated by 128 possible models for the influences of geography, historical SST variation, coral cover, and number of coral genera. Most factors were statistically significant but the strongest factor was geography - Coral Triangle having higher resistance than non-Coral Triangle sites. Consequently, future predictions of thermal stress will need to account for strong geographic differences in acclimation/adaptation.