Mangrove lagoons of the Great Barrier Reef support coral populations persisting under extreme environmental conditions

Emma F. Camp, John Edmondson, Annabelle Doheny, John Rumney, Amanda J. Grima, Alfredo Huete, David J. Suggett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Global degradation of coral reefs has increased the urgency of identifying stress-tolerant coral populations, to enhance understanding of the biology driving stress tolerance, as well as identifying stocks of stress-hardened populations to aid reef rehabilitation. Surprisingly, scientists are continually discovering that naturally extreme environments house established coral populations adapted to grow within extreme abiotic conditions comparable to seawater conditions predicted over the coming century. Such environments include inshore mangrove lagoons that carry previously unrecognised ecosystem service value for corals, spanning from refuge to stress preconditioning. However, the existence of such hot-spots of resilience on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) remains entirely unknown. Here we describe, for the first time, 2 extreme GBR mangrove lagoons (Woody Isles and Howick Island), exposing taxonomically diverse coral communities (34 species, 7 growth morphologies) to regular extreme low pH (
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
StatePublished - Aug 29 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-06-10
Acknowledgements: We are indebted to Jenny Edmondson and the crew at Wavelength Reef Cruises for their assistance during fieldwork, and we thank Benjamin Hume from KAUST University for assistance with the Symbiodiniaceae bioinformatics. Fieldwork was supported by the Waitt-Foundation-National Geographic Grant awarded to E.F.C., D.J.S., J.R. and A.H. (grant no. 4741-6) and through Australian Research Council Discovery Projects (DP160100271 and DP180100074 to D.J.S.). The contribution of E.F.C. to manuscript writing and final preparation was through the University of Technology Sydney Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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