Very few studies have been conducted on the long-term effects of typhoon damage on mesophotic coral reefs. This study investigates the long-term community dynamics of damage from Typhoon 17 (Jelawat) in 2012 on the coral community of the upper mesophotic Ryugu Reef in Okinawa, Japan. A shift from foliose to bushy coral morphologies between December 2012 and August 2015 was documented, especially on the area of the reef that was previously recorded to be poor in scleractinian genera diversity and dominated by foliose corals. Comparatively, an area with higher diversity of scleractinian coral genera was observed to be less affected by typhoon damage with more stable community structure due to less change in dominant coral morphologies. Despite some changes in the composition of dominant genera, the generally high coverage of the mesophotic coral community is facilitating the recovery of Ryugu Reef after typhoon damage.
Scleractinia (Hard Corals)
Japan - Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa)
SCUBA (open-circuit or unspecified)