Estimation of photosynthesis and calcification rates at a fringing reef by accounting for diurnal variations and the zonation of coral reef communities on reef flat and slope: A case study for the Shiraho reef, Ishigaki Island, southwest Japan

T. Nakamura, Toru Nakamori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Seven coral reef communities were defined on Shiraho fringing reef, Ishigaki Island, Japan. Net photosynthesis and calcification rates were measured by in situ incubations at 10 sites that included six of the defined communities, and which occupied most of the area on the reef flat and slope. Net photosynthesis on the reef flat was positive overall, but the reef flat acts as a source for atmospheric CO2, because the measured calcification/photosynthesis ratio of 2.5 is greater than the critical ratio of 1.67. Net photosynthesis on the reef slope was negative. Almost all excess organic production from the reef flat is expected to be effused to the outer reef and consumed by the communities there. Therefore, the total net organic production of the whole reef system is probably almost zero and the whole reef system also acts as a source for atmospheric CO2. Net calcification rates of the reef slope corals were much lower than those of the branching corals. The accumulation rate of the former was approximately 0.5 m kyr -1 and of the latter was ~0.7-5 m kyr-1. Consequently, reef slope corals could not grow fast enough to keep up with or catch up to rising sea levels during the Holocene. On the other hand, the branching corals grow fast enough to keep up with this rising sea level. Therefore, a transition between early Holocene and present-day reef communities is expected. Branching coral communities would have dominated while reef growth kept pace with sea level rise, and the reef was constructed with a branching coral framework. Then, the outside of this framework was covered and built up by reef slope corals and present-day reefs were constructed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-250
Number of pages22
JournalCoral Reefs
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar 1

Keywords

  • Calcification
  • Carbon cycle
  • Coral reef communities
  • Photosynthesis
  • Reef formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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