El Niño and Coral Reef Development in the Galápagos Islands

A Study of the Urvina Bay Uplift
  • Mitchell W. Colgan
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 8)


Among the unusual sights in the Galápagos Islands is Urvina Bay where trees spring from coral heads and iguanas roam among corals. In 1954, the upward movement of magma suddenly raised a portion of Urvina Bay more than 6 m above sea level and drove the shoreline 1.2 km seaward. The uplifted coral communities at Urvina Bay provide an opportunity to determine how Galápagos reefs develop.


Coral Reef Coral Community Coral Growth Massive Coral Reef Growth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Birkeland, C., 1977, The importance of biomass accumulation in the early successional stages of benthic communities to the survival of coral recruits, Proc. 3rd Int. Coral Reef Symp. 1:15–21.Google Scholar
  2. Birkeland, C., 1988, Geographic comparisons of coral-reef community processes, Proc. 6th Int. Coral Reef Symp. 1:211–220.Google Scholar
  3. Cane, M.A., 1983, Oceanographic events during El Niño, Science 222:1189–1194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cane, M.A., 1986, El Niño, Annu. Rev. Earth Planet Sci. 14:43–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Colgan, M.W., 1987, Coral reef recovery on Guam (Micronesia) after catastrophic prédation by Acanthaster, Ecology 68:1592–1605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Colgan, M.W., 1990a, Geology, paleontology, and the effects of El Niño on the development of an uplifted coral community at Urvina Bay, Isabela Island, Galápagos Islands. Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. Calif., Santa Cruz, 118 pp.Google Scholar
  7. Colgan, M.W., 1990b, El Niño events and the history of reef building in the eastern Pacific, in: Global Ecological Consequences of the 1982–83 El Niño-Southern Oscillation (P. W. Glynn, ed.), pp. 183-232, Elsevier Oceanography Series, Elsevier, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Colgan, M.W., and Malmquist, D.L., 1987, The Urvina Bay Uplift: a dry trek through a coral community., Oceanus 30:61–66.Google Scholar
  9. Couffer J. C., 1956, The disappearance of Urvina Bay, Nat. Hist. 65.:78–83.Google Scholar
  10. Dana, T.F., 1975, Development of contemporary eastern Pacific coral reefs, Mar. Biol. 33:355–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Darwin, C., 1842, The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs, Smith, Elder & Co., London. 214 p.Google Scholar
  12. Davies, P.J., 1983, Reef growth, in: Perspectives on Coral Reefs (D. J. Barnes, ed.), pp. 69–106, Brain Clouston Pub., Manuka, Australia.Google Scholar
  13. Davies, P.J., and Marshall, J.F., 1980. A model of epicontinental reef growth, Nature 287:37–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Vries, T.J., and Schrader, H., 1981, Variation of up welling/oceanic conditions during the latest Pleistocene through Holocene off the Central Peruvian coast: diatom record, Mar. Micropaleo. 6:157–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dunbar, R.B., Wellington, C., Colgan, M., and Glynn, P.W., 1988, Galápagos massive corals: an annual record of eastern tropical Pacific climate during the past 400 years, EOS 68:1743.Google Scholar
  16. Eakin, C.M., 1987, Damselfish and their algal lawns: a case of plural mutualism, Symbiosis 4:275–288.Google Scholar
  17. Eakin, C.M., 1988, Avoidance of damselfish lawns by the sea urchin Diadema mexicanum at Uva Island, Panama, Proc. 6th Int. Coral Reef Symp. 2:21–26.Google Scholar
  18. Enfield, D.B., 1989, El Niño, past and present, Rev. Geophys. 27:159–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Feldman, G., Clark, D., and Halpren, D., 1984, Satellite color observations of the phytoplankton distribution in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific during the 1982–1983 El Niño, Science 226:1069–1071.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Glynn, P.W., 1976, The impact of Acanthaster on corals and coral reefs in the eastern Pacific, Environ. Conserv. 1:295–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Glynn, P.W., 1976, Some physical and biological determinants of coral community structure in the eastern Pacific, Ecol. Monogr. 46:431–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Glynn, P.W., 1977, Coral growth in up welling and nonupwelling areas off the Pacific coast of Panama, J. Mar. Res. 35:567–587.Google Scholar
  23. Glynn, P.W., 1983, Extensive ‘bleaching’ and death of coral reefs on the Pacific coast of Panama, Environ. Conserv. 10:149–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Glynn, P.W., 1984, Widespread coral mortality and the 1982–83 El Niño warming event, Environ. Conserv. 11:133–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Glynn, P.W., 1988a, El Niño-Southern Oscillation 1982–1983: nearshore population, community and ecosystem responses, Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 19:309–345.Google Scholar
  26. Glynn, P.W., 1988b, El Niño warming and reef framework destruction by echinoid bioerosion in the eastern Pacific, Galaxea 7:129–160.Google Scholar
  27. Glynn, P.W., 1990, Coral mortality and disturbances to the coral reefs of the tropical eastern Pacific, in: Global Ecological Consequences of the 1982–83 El Niño-Southern Oscillation, (P. W. Glynn, ed.), pp. 55-126, Elsevier Oceanography Series, Elsevier, New York.Google Scholar
  28. Glynn, P.W., and D’Croz, L., 1990, Experimental evidence for high temperature stress as the cause of El Niño-coincident coral mortality, Coral Reefs 8:181–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Glynn, P.W., and Macintyre, I.G., 1977, Growth rate and age of coral reefs on the Pacific coast of Panama, Proc. 3rd Int. Coral Reef Symp. 2:251–259.Google Scholar
  30. Glynn, P.W., and Stewart, R.H., 1973, Distribution of coral reefs in the Pearl Islands (Gulf of Panama) in relationship to thermal conditions, Limnol. Oceangr. 18:367–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Glynn, P.W., and Wellington, G.M., 1983, Corals and Coral Reefs of the Galápagos Islands, University of California Press, Berkeley, California.Google Scholar
  32. Glynn, P.W., Stewart, R.H., and McCosker, J.E., 1972, Pacific coral reefs of Panama: Structure, distribution and predators, Geol. Rundschau 61:483–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Glynn, P.W., Wellington, G.M., and Birkeland, C., 1979, Coral reef growth in the Galápagos: Limitation by sea urchins., Science 203:47–49.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Glynn, P.W., Cortes, J., Guzman, H.M., and Richmond, R.H., 1988, El Niño (1982–1983) associated coral mortality and relationship to sea surface temperature deviations in the tropical eastern Pacific, Proc. 6th Int. Coral Reef Symp. 3:237–243.Google Scholar
  35. Goreau, T.F., 1969, Post Pleistocene urban renewal in coral reefs, Micronesica 5:323–326.Google Scholar
  36. Hall, M.L., 1983, The origin of Española Island and the age of terrestrial life on the Galápagos Islands, Science 221:545–547.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hallock, P., 1988, The role of nutrient availability in bioerosion: Consequences to carbonate buildups, Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimat, Palaeoecol. 63:275–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hallock, P., and Schlager, W., 1986, Nutrient excess and the demise of coral reefs and carbonate platform, Palaios 1:389–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hansen, D.V., 1990, Physical aspect of the El Niño event of 1982–1983, in: Global Ecological Consequences of the 1982–83 El Niño-Southern Oscillation (P. W. Glynn, ed.), pp. 1-20, Elsevier Oceanography Series, Elsevier, New York.Google Scholar
  40. Harris, M.P., 1969, Breeding seasons of sea-birds in the Galápagos Islands, J. Zool. 27:1–24.Google Scholar
  41. Hickman, C.S., and Lipps, J.H., 1984, Geological youth of Galápagos Islands confirmed by marine stratigraphy and paleontology, Science 227:1578–1580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Highsmith, R.C., 1980, Geographic patterns of coral bioerosion: A productivity hypothesis, J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 117:193–198.Google Scholar
  43. Highsmith, R.C., 1981, Coral bioerosion: Damage relative to skeletal density, Am. Nat. 117:193–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hoffmeister, J.E., and Ladd, H.S., 1944, The antecedent platform theory, J. Geol. 53:388–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Jokiel, P.L., and Coles, S.L., 1977, Effects of temperature on the mortality and growth of Hawaiian reef corals, Mar. Biol. 43:201–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kinsey, D.W., and Davies, P.J., 1979, Effects of elevated nitrogen and phosphorus on coral reef growth, Limnol. Oceanogr. 24:935–940.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lessios, H.A., Glynn, P.W., and Robertson, D.R., 1983, Mass mortalities of coral reef organisms, Science 222:715.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lyle, M., Murray, D.W., Finney, B.P., Dymond, J., Robbins, J.M., and Brooksforce, K., 1988, The record of Late Pleistocene biogenic sedimentation in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean., Paleoceanography 3:39–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. McBirney, A.R., and Williams, H., 1969, Geology and petrology of the Galápagos Islands, Geol. Soc. Am. Mem. 118:1–197.Google Scholar
  50. Pearson, R.G., 1981, Recovery and recolonization of coral reefs, Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 4:105–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Philander, S.G.H., 1983, El Niño Southern Oscillation phenomena, Nature 302:295–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Purdy, E.G., 1974, Reef configurations: cause and effect, in: Reefs in Time and Space (L. F. Laporte ed.), Soc. Econ. Paleo. Mineral. Spec. Pub. 18:9–76.Google Scholar
  53. Reimers, C.E., and Suess, E., 1983, Late Quaternary fluctuations in the cycling of organic matter off central Peru: A proto-kerogen record, in: Coastal Upwelling: Its Sedimentary Record, Part B: Sedimentary Record of Ancient Coastal Upwelling (J. Thiede and E. Suess, ed.), pp. 497–526, Plenum Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Robinson, G., 1985, The influence of the 1982–1983 El Niño on Galápagos marine life, in: El Niño in the Galápagos Islands: the 1982–1983 Event (G. Robinson and E. M. Píno, eds.), pp. 153-190, Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galápagos Islands, Quito, Ecuador.Google Scholar
  55. Sammarco, P.W., and Williams, A.H., 1982, Damselfish territoriality: Influence on Diadema distribution and implication for coral community structure, Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 8:53–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schramm, C.T., 1985, Implication of radiolarian assemblages for the late Quaternary paleoceanography of the eastern equatorial Pacific, Quatern. Res. 24:204–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schuhmacher, H., and H. Zibrowius, 1985, What is hermatypic? A redefinition of ecological groups in corals and other organisms, Coral Reefs 4:1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stehli, F.G., and Wells, J.W., 1971, Diversity and age patterns in hermatypic corals, Syst. Zool. 20:115–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Stoddart, D.R., 1969, Ecology and morphology of recent coral reefs, Biol. Rev. 44:433–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stoddart, D.R., 1973, Coral reefs: the last two million years, Geography 58:313–323.Google Scholar
  61. Wellington, G.M., 1984, Marine environment and protection, in: Key Environments, Galápagos, (R. Perry, ed.), pp. 247–265, Pergamon Press, Oxford, England.Google Scholar
  62. Wells, J.W., 1983, Annotated list of the scleractinian corals of the Galápagos Islands, in: Corals and Coral reefs of the Galápagos Islands (P. W. Glynn and G. W. Wellington), pp. 212–295, Univ. Calif. Press, Berkeley, California.Google Scholar
  63. Williams, A.H., 1979, Interference behavior and ecology of threespot damselfish (Eupomacentrus planiforns)., Oecologia 38:223–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitchell W. Colgan
    • 1
  1. 1.Earth Sciences Board of StudiesUniversity of California—Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA

Personalised recommendations