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Rapid recycling of coral mass-spawning products in permeable reef sediments.

Wild, Christian and Tollrian, Ralph and Huettel, Markus (2004) Rapid recycling of coral mass-spawning products in permeable reef sediments. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 271. pp. 159-166. ISSN 1616-1599

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Abstract

During the annual synchronous release of gametes by corals, a large amount of energy-rich organic material is released to the reef environment. In November 2001, we studied a minor spawning event at Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. Laboratory experiments showed that egg release by the staghorn coral Acropora millepora amounted to 19 ± 15 g dry mass (mean ± SE, n = 8) per m2 coral surface. Carbon content reached 60.1 ± 4.0% and nitrogen content 3.6 ± 0.4% of the egg dry mass. During this minor spawning period, Acropora corals from the reef crest released 7 g C and 0.4 g N as eggs m-2 reef. In situ experiments (n = 11) using stirred benthic chamber measurements revealed that the sedimentary O2 consumption (SOC) of the lagoon sediments increased sharply immediately after the coral spawning. Extreme SOC rates of 230 mmol O2 m-2 d-1 were reached 2 d after the event, exceeding the pre-spawning rate by a factor of 2.5. This maximum was followed by a steep decrease in SOC rates that gradually levelled off and reached pre-spawning values 11 d after the event. The immediate and strong response of SOC shows that the coral spawning event provides a strong food impulse to the benthic food chain. Our results demonstrate high decomposition efficiency of permeable carbonate reef sands and underline the role of these sediments as a biocatalytical recycling system in the oligotrophic reef environment.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Ecology Progress Series
Additional Information: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Marine Ecology Progress Series 271, 2004, © Inter Research.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Corals · Mass spawning · Permeable sediments · Sedimentary oxygen consumption · SOC · Coral reefs · Recycling
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 10687
Deposited By: Mr Richard Ingham
Deposited On: 22 Jul 2008 15:00
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2016 00:01
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/10687

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