Spatial patterns and recruitment processes of coral assemblages among contrasting environmental conditions in the southwestern lagoon of New Caledonia
Adjeroud, M, Fernandez, JM, Carroll, AG, Harrison, PL & Penin, L 2010, 'Spatial patterns and recruitment processes of coral assemblages among contrasting environmental conditions in the southwestern lagoon of New Caledonia', Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 61, no, 7-12, pp. 375-386.
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We investigated the spatial distribution of adult and juvenile coral assemblages in the southwestern lagoon of New Caledonia, from disturbed fringing reefs within bays, to oceanic barrier reefs. Generic richness, abundance, and percent cover were highly variable at this scale, but no clear cross-shelf gradient was found. Rather, community composition was more related to reef biotopes. Correlations and canonical correspondence analyses revealed that composition and abundance of coral assemblages were related to substrate types (cover of turf algae and cover of encrusting coralline algae), but not to water quality or metal concentrations in sediments. We found a strong relationship between juvenile and adult distribution for all dominant genera, which suggests that recruitment processes are also a major factor structuring these populations. The densities of juveniles and their proportion in the coral assemblages were relatively low, which implies that replenishment capacities and potential for recovery are probably limited for these reefs.