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  1. abstract Coastal ecosystems play a disproportionately large role in society, and climate change is altering their ecological structure and function, as well as their highly valued goods and services. In the present article, we review the results from decade-scale research on coastal ecosystems shaped by foundation species (e.g., coral reefs, kelp forests, coastal marshes, seagrass meadows, mangrove forests, barrier islands) to show how climate change is altering their ecological attributes and services. We demonstrate the value of site-based, long-term studies for quantifying the resilience of coastal systems to climate forcing, identifying thresholds that cause shifts in ecological state, and investigating the capacity of coastal ecosystems to adapt to climate change and the biological mechanisms that underlie it. We draw extensively from research conducted at coastal ecosystems studied by the US Long Term Ecological Research Network, where long-term, spatially extensive observational data are coupled with shorter-term mechanistic studies to understand the ecological consequences of climate change.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 16, 2023
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    Abstract A suite of processes drive variation in coral populations in space and time, yet our understanding of how variation in coral density affects coral performance is limited. Theory predicts that reductions in density can send coral populations into a predator pit, where concentrated corallivory maintains corals at low densities. In reality, how variation in coral density alters corallivory rates is poorly resolved. Here, we experimentally quantified the effects of corallivory and coral density on growth and survival of small colonies of the staghorn coral Acropora pulchra . Our findings suggest that coral density and corallivory have strong but independent effects on coral performance. In the presence of corallivores, corals suffered high but density-independent mortality. When corallivores were excluded, however, vertical extension rates of colonies increased with increasing densities. While we found no evidence for a predator pit, our results suggest that spatio-temporal variation in corallivore and coral densities can fundamentally alter population dynamics via strong effects on juvenile corals.
  7. Underwater photogrammetry is increasingly being used by marine ecologists because of its ability to produce accurate, spatially detailed, non-destructive measurements of benthic communities, coupled with affordability and ease of use. However, independent quality control, rigorous imaging system set-up, optimal geometry design and a strict modeling of the imaging process are essential to achieving a high degree of measurable accuracy and resolution. If a proper photogrammetric approach that enables the formal description of the propagation of measurement error and modeling uncertainties is not undertaken, statements regarding the statistical significance of the results are limited. In this paper, we tackle these critical topics, based on the experience gained in the Moorea Island Digital Ecosystem Avatar (IDEA) project, where we have developed a rigorous underwater photogrammetric pipeline for coral reef monitoring and change detection. Here, we discuss the need for a permanent, underwater geodetic network, which serves to define a temporally stable reference datum and a check for the time series of photogrammetrically derived three-dimensional (3D) models of the reef structure. We present a methodology to evaluate the suitability of several underwater camera systems for photogrammetric and multi-temporal monitoring purposes and stress the importance of camera network geometry to minimize the deformations ofmore »photogrammetrically derived 3D reef models. Finally, we incorporate the measurement and modeling uncertainties of the full photogrammetric process into a simple and flexible framework for detecting statistically significant changes among a time series of models.« less