Post-bleaching alterations in coral reef communities

Eylem Elma*, Martin Gullström, Saleh A.S. Yahya, Jean Baptiste Jouffray, Holly K. East, Magnus Nyström

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


We explored the extent of post-bleaching impacts, caused by the 2014–2016 El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event, on benthic community structure (BCS) and herbivores (fish and sea urchins) on seven fringing reefs, with differing protection levels, in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Results showed post-bleaching alterations in BCS, with up to 68 % coral mortality and up to 48 % increase in turf algae cover in all reef sites. Herbivorous fish biomass increased after bleaching and was correlated with turf algae increase in some reefs, while the opposite was found for sea urchin densities, with significant declines and complete absence. The severity of the impact varied across individual reefs, with larger impact on the protected reefs, compared to the unprotected reefs. Our study provides a highly relevant reference point to guide future research and contributes to our understanding of post-bleaching impacts, trends, and evaluation of coral reef health and resilience in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114479
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Early online date21 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


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