The Influence of Extreme Climate Events on Models of Coral Colony Recruitment and Survival in the Caribbean


Knowledge of coral recruitment patterns helps us understand how reefs react following major disturbances and provides us with an early warning system for predicting future reef health problems. We have reconstructed and interpreted historical and modern-day recruitment patterns, using growth modeling, in order to understand how hurricanes, storms and bleaching events have influenced coral recruitment in the Caribbean. The results indicate that regional hurricane events negatively impact coral recruitment patterns in the Caribbean, from the south in Tobago to more northerly areas in Belize and Jamaica. However, despite multiple large-scale disturbances, corals are still recruiting to marginal reef systems, and to the Mesoamerican Barrier reef off the coast of Belize. While recruitment and initial growth since the Caribbean-wide bleaching event of 2005 has been successful for Colpophylia natans at the sites studied in North Jamaica, medium and large sized colonies of this species have decreased in numbers since the bleaching event at most sites, except where the rugosity is highest, at Dairy Bull reef.

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M. Crabbe, "The Influence of Extreme Climate Events on Models of Coral Colony Recruitment and Survival in the Caribbean," American Journal of Climate Change, Vol. 1 No. 1, 2012, pp. 33-40. doi: 10.4236/ajcc.2012.11003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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