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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 65(8)

Carbonate production rates of encruster communities on a lagoonal patch reef: Vabbinfaru reef platform, Maldives

K. M. Morgan A B and P. S. Kench A

A School of Environment, Private Bag 92019, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.
B Corresponding author. Email: km.morgan@auckland.ac.nz

Marine and Freshwater Research 65(8) 720-726 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF13155
Submitted: 17 June 2013  Accepted: 4 November 2013   Published: 16 June 2014

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Coral reefs are formed by the growth and calcification of primary coral framework and secondary encrusting organisms. Future scenarios of reef health predict global declines in coral cover and an increase in the relative importance of encrusting organisms to gross reef calcification. Numerous coral growth studies are available; however, there are few quantitative estimates of secondary carbonate production on reefs. The present study used vertically orientated PVC pipe to generate rates of carbonate production (g cm–2 year–1) by encruster communities on Vabbinfaru reef platform, Maldives (4°18′35″N, 73°25′26″E). Maximum carbonate production by encrusters was 0.112 g cm–2 year–1 (mean ± s.d.: 0.047 ± 0.019 g cm–2 year–1). Encruster community composition was dominated by non-geniculate coralline algae (mean ± s.d.: 76 ± 14.2%), with other encrusting taxa being quantitatively unimportant to total substrate cover (mean ± s.d.: 9 ± 16.7%). Rates of encruster calcification at Vabbinfaru fell within the range of values reported for other reef-building provinces. There is a particular need for more quantitative field-based measurements of reef-organism calcification rates because such values strengthen regional and global estimates of gross carbonate production and have direct implications for net reef accretion and the development of reef sedimentary environments.

Additional keywords: calcification, calcium carbonate, encruster, Indian Ocean.


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