Global warming and coral reefs: Modelling the effect of temperature on Acropora palmata colony growth
Data on colony growth of the branching coral Acropora palmata from fringing reefs off Discovery Bay on the north coast of Jamaica have been obtained over the period 2002–2007 using underwater photography and image analysis by both SCUBA and remotely using an ROV incorporating twin lasers. Growth modelling shows that while logarithmic growth is an approximate model for growth, a 3:3 rational polynomial function provides a significantly better fit to growth data for this coral species. Over the period 2002–2007, involving several cycles of sea surface temperature (SST) change, the rate of growth of A. palmata was largely proportional to rate of change of SST, with R2 = 0.935. These results have implications for the influence of global warming and climate change on coral reef ecosystems.
Journal: Computational Biology and Chemistry - Volume 31, Issue 4, August 2007, Pages 294–297