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Caribbean massive corals not recovering from repeated thermal stress events during 2005-2013

The concept that bleaching is exceeding the inherent necessary recovery period for these corals is supported by this study as all three species (in aggregate) ended the time series having experienced net loss of live tissue, regardless of prior bleaching history. This outcome did vary by species, but the living tissue decline for all of these three critical ecosystem-structuring species when faced with repetitive thermal stress suggests that Caribbean reefs may face massive challenges in a warmer future. If thermal stress and bleaching events increase in frequency and severity, and there is no acclimative increase in colony resilience, then the future persistence of massive-type corals in the western Caribbean appears possibly uncertain.

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