Abstract:Recurrent disturbances can have a critical effect on the structure and function of coral reef communities. In this study, long-term changes were examined in the hard coral community at Wanlitung, in southern Taiwan, between 1985 and 2010. In this 26 year interval, the reef has experienced repeated disturbances that include six typhoons and two coral-bleaching events. The frequency of disturbance has meant that species susceptible to disturbance, such as those in the genus Acropora and Montipora have almost disappeared from the reef. Indeed, almost all hard coral species have declined in abundance, with the result that total hard coral cover in 2010 (17.7%) was less than half what it was in 1985 (47.5%). In addition, macro-algal cover has increased from 11.3% in 2003 to 28.5% in 2010. The frequency of disturbance combined with possible chronic influence of a growing human population mean that a diverse reef assemblage is unlikely to persist on this reef into the future.