Damaged coral reefs show slower than expected recovery for up to six years before switching to a faster phase of regrowth, according to new research.
This ‘two-phase’ recovery pattern was observed in 60 per cent of severely disturbed reefs on the Great Barrier Reef.
The modelling research, involving scientists from QUT and the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS), pinpoints patterns of reef recovery amid disturbances including storms, marine heatwaves, and crown-of-thorns starfish.
The researchers mapped the presence of the ‘two-phase pattern’ in reef recovery based on AIMS long term monitoring data by modifying data analysis methods used in cancer cell biology.
The findings have been published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology. (October 28 05:01 GMT/14:01 AEST).
Lead researcher, Dr David Warne, from QUT’s Centre for Data Science, said it was a “serendipitous moment in science” that brought together the team involving mathematicians, statisticians, and marine ecologists.