Remote coral reef in the Line Islands Archipelago, central Pacific. Remote, uninhabited coral reefs can teach us about the structure and function of coral reef ecosystems in the absence of confounding local human impacts. Here, we document a phenomenon we term biophysical decoupling, whereby the structure of benthic communities at uninhabited islands relates in a predictable manner to large-scale variations in physical forcings (e.g. temperature, wave energy). At populated islands, however, these relationships decouple and physical forcings no longer predict spatial variations in community structure. Photo taken by Brian Zgliczynski, November 2013.
Full paper hereDownload high resolution file: ecog_august_cover.pdf