Kenyon, J. C., Dunlap, M. J., Aeby, G. S.
Community structure of hermatypic corals at Kure Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands: Stemming the shifting baseline
Atoll Research Bulletin
"The distribution and abundance of scleractinian corals at Kure Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands was determined by georeferenced towed-diver surveys that covered close to 27,000 m2 of benthic habitat and site-specific surveys at 21 sites during 2000-2003. Three complementary methods (towed-diver surveys, video transects, and photoquadrats) were used to quantify percent cover of corals by genus or species in the fore-reef, back-reef, and lagoon habitats. Three genera, Porites, Pocillopora, and Montipora, accounted for more than 99% of the coral cover throughout the atoll, although their relative abundances vary considerably according to habitat and geographic sector within habitats. Fore-reef communities are dominated by massive and encrusting Porites and by Pocillopora, while the back reef is dominated by Montipora and the lagoon by Porites compressa. All taxa show habitat-specific differences in colony density and sizeclass distributions as assessed through colony counts within belt transects at fixed sites. These demographic data provide the most detailed, spatially comprehensive description of coral communities at Kure Atoll produced to date and can serve as a solid baseline for determining the magnitude and direction of future changes. They are discussed within the context of factors known to affect community development on Hawaiian coral reefs including temperature, wave stress, coral bleaching and other diseases, marine debris, and crown-of-thorns seastars."
FY2008 CRCP Project ID 1221; Project Title: Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (Pacific RAMP): Biennial Monitoring for the U.S. Pacific Islands and Atolls; Principal Investigator: Rusty Brainard