White et al. 2013

scientific article | PeerJ | open access Open access small

Typhoon damage on a shallow mesophotic reef in Okinawa, Japan

White KN, Ohara T, Fujii T, Kawamura I, Mizuyama M, Montenegro J, Shikiba H, Naruse T, McClelland TY, Denis V, Reimer JD

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Little is known about effects of large storm systems on mesophotic reefs. This study reports on how Typhoon 17 (Jelawat) affected Ryugu Reef on Okinawa-jima, Japan in September 2012. Benthic communities were surveyed before and after the typhoon using line intercept transect method. Comparison of the benthic assemblages showed highly significant differences in coral coverage at depths of 25–32 m before and after Typhoon 17. A large deep stand of Pachyseris foliosa was apparently less resistant to the storm than the shallower high diversity area of this reef. Contradictory to common perception, this research shows that large foliose corals at deeper depths are just as susceptible to typhoon damage as shallower branching corals. However, descriptive functional group analyses resulted in only minor changes after the disturbance, suggesting the high likelihood of recovery and the high resilience capacity of this mesophotic reef.

Research sites

10.7717   peerj.151
Depth range
17- 42 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
10 x (total of 2708 words)

Ecology Community structure Disturbances Oceanography

Research focus
Overall benthic (groups) Scleractinia (Hard Corals)

Japan - Okinawa

Research platforms
Diving (unspecified)
Author profiles
Vianney Denis ( 3 pubs)
Kristine White ( 2 pubs)