Periodic disturbances to coral reefs increase coral diversity by creating new space for new species to colonize. Shortly after a disturbance it is usually the “weedy” species like branching Pocillopora and Acropora species that come back first. Weedy species on reefs simply refers to fast growing corals that are quick to colonize a reef after a disturbance.
Sometimes if broken fragments of these species get lodged into crevices in the reef they will continue growing and form a colony again. Weedy species therefore are critical for the rapid recovery of coral reefs after disturbances.
But what if there are not weedy species around? How does that affect the recovery of reefs? These are the questions that increasingly worrying me, and here is why...Read More