Typhoon damage on a shallow mesophotic reef in Okinawa, Japan

Kristine N. White, Taku Ohara, Takuma Fujii, Iori Kawamura, Masaru Mizuyama, Javier Montenegro, Haruka Shikiba, Tohru Naruse, Ty McClelland, Vianney Denis, James D. Reimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about effects of large storm systems on mesophotic reefs. This study reports on how Typhoon 17 (Jelawat) affected Ryugu Reef on Okinawa-jima, Japan in September 2012. Benthic communities were surveyed before and after the typhoon using line intercept transect method. Comparison of the benthic assemblages showed highly significant differences in coral coverage at depths of 25-32mbefore and after Typhoon 17. A large deep stand of Pachyseris foliosa was apparently less resistant to the storm than the shallower high diversity area of this reef. Contradictory to common perception, this research shows that large foliose corals at deeper depths are justas susceptible to typhoon damage as shallower branching corals. However, descriptive functional group analyses resulted in only minor changes after the disturbance, suggesting the high likelihood of recovery and the high resilience capacity of this mesophotic reef.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere151
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Coral reef
  • Japan
  • Mesophotic
  • Succession
  • Typhoon damage


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