Climate controls on coral growth in the Caribbean
Bosshart, Sara A.
MetadataShow full item record
LocationU.S. Virgin Islands
Accurate predictions of Caribbean carol reef responses to global climate change are currently limited by a lack of knowledge of the dominant environmental controls on coral growth. Corals exhibit significant responses to environmental variability occurring on multi-annual to decadal timescales, which are significantly longer than the duration of typical laboratory and field-based experiments. Skeletal growth records, which provide annually-resolved histories spanning several centuries, enable links to be established between coral growth and both long term trends and low-frequency oscillations in environmental conditions. We used 3-D CT scan and imaging techniques to quantify the growth of 3 massive corals (Siderastrea siderea) from the US Virgin Islands (USVI) over the period 1950-2009 and compared these growth rates to other records collected from the USVI, Puerto Rico, the Yucatan, Belize and the Bahamas. While coral growth rates were inversely correlated to sea surface temperature (SST) in the Western Caribbean basin (Yucatan, Belize, Bahamas), we found no significant relationship between SST and coral growth in the Eastern basin (USVI, Puerto Rico). Instead, we found a significant inverse relationship between coral growth in the Western Caribbean and changes in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and a significant positive relationship between coral growth in the Eastern Caribbean Region and shifts in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Using data for the Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) we compared the wind field anomalies during periods of positive coral growth in both regions with wind field anomalies during phases of these climatic modes that are conductive to coral growth. We find that both the AMO and the PDO play a significant role in shifting the mean wind patterns in these Caribbean regions, with the PDO primarily affecting wind patterns in the Easter Basin and the AMO affecting wind patterns in the Western basin. We suggest that the altered wind patterns associated with these modes may induce upwelling favorable conditions in their respective regions of influence, increasing the availability of nutrients for coral growth.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution February 2013
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Geochemistry of slow-growing corals : reconstructing sea surface temperature, salinity and the North Atlantic Oscillation Goodkin, Nathalie F. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2007-06)A 225-year old coral from the south shore of Bermuda (64°W, 32°N) provides a record of decadal-to-centennial scale climate variability. The coral was collected live, and sub-annual density bands seen in x-radiographs ...
Constraining circulation changes through the last deglaciation with deep-sea coral radiocarbon and sedimentary 231Pa/230Th Burke, Andrea (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2012-02)Radioactive isotopes can be used in paleoceanography both for dating samples and as tracers of ocean processes. Here I use radiocarbon and uranium series isotopes to investigate the ocean’s role in climate change over ...
Tierney, Jessica E.; Abram, Nerilie J.; Anchukaitis, Kevin J.; Evans, Michael N.; Giry, Cyril; Kilbourne, K. Halimeda; Saenger, Casey P.; Wu, Henry C.; Zinke, Jens (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-03-18)Most annually resolved climate reconstructions of the Common Era are based on terrestrial data, making it a challenge to independently assess how recent climate changes have affected the oceans. Here as part of the Past ...