Brazilian coral reefs in a period of global change: A synthesis

  • Zelinda M. A. N. Leão Universidade Federal da Bahia; Instituto de Geociências
  • Ruy K. P. Kikuchi Universidade Federal da Bahia; Instituto de Geociências
  • Beatrice P. Ferreira Universidade Federal de Pernambuco; Departamento de Oceanografia
  • Elizabeth G. Neves Universidade Federal da Bahia; Instituto de Geociências
  • Hilda H. Sovierzoski Universidade Federal de Alagoas; ICBS; Departamento de Biodiversidade e Ecologia
  • Marília D. M. Oliveira Universidade Federal da Bahia; Instituto de Geociências
  • Mauro Maida Universidade Federal de Pernambuco; Departamento de Oceanografia
  • Monica D. Correia Universidade Federal de Alagoas; ICBS; Departamento de Biodiversidade e Ecologia
  • Rodrigo Johnsson Universidade Federal da Bahia; Instituto de Geociências

Abstract

Brazilian coral reefs form structures significantly different from the well-known reef models, as follows: (i) they have a growth form of mushroom-shaped coral pinnacles called "chapeirões", (ii) they are built by a low diversity coral fauna rich in endemic species, most of them relic forms dating back to the Tertiary, and (iii) the nearshore bank reefs are surrounded by siliciclastic sediments. The reefs are distributed in the following four major sectors along the Brazilian coast: the northern, the northeastern and the eastern regions, and the oceanic islands, but certain isolated coral species can be found in warmer waters in embayments of the southern region. There are different types of bank reefs, fringing reefs, isolated "chapeirões" and an atoll present along the Brazilian coast. Corals, milleporids and coralline algae build the rigid frame of the reefs. The areas in which the major coral reefs occur correspond to regions in which nearby urban centers are experiencing accelerated growth, and tourism development is rapidly increasing. The major human effects on the reef ecosystem are mostly associated with the increased sedimentation due to the removal of the Atlantic rainforest and the discharge of industrial and urban effluents. The effects of the warming of oceanic waters that had previously affected several reef areas with high intensity coral bleaching had not shown, by the time of the 2010 event, any episodes of mass coral mortality on Brazilian reefs.

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Published
2016-01-01
How to Cite
Leão, Z., Kikuchi, R., Ferreira, B., Neves, E., Sovierzoski, H., Oliveira, M., Maida, M., Correia, M., & Johnsson, R. (2016). Brazilian coral reefs in a period of global change: A synthesis . Brazilian Journal of Oceanography, 64(spe2), 97-116. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1679-875920160916064sp2
Section
Review Article