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Advances in the aquatic sciences

The influence of coral reefs on atmospheric dimethylsulphide over the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Gulf of Papua and Solomon and Bismarck Seas

Graham B. Jones A C and Anne J. Trevena B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Coastal Management, School of Environmental Science & Management, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia.

B Glaciology Unit, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, CP 160/03, 50, av. F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 – Bruxelles, Belgium.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Marine and Freshwater Research 56(1) 85-93
Submitted: 11 May 2004  Accepted: 4 November 2004   Published: 4 February 2005


Marked regional differences in dissolved dimethylsulphide (DMS), atmospheric DMS and DMS flux were recorded during July 1997 through the northern Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Gulf of Papua, Solomon and Bismarck Seas. Highest concentrations of dissolved DMS occurred in the Coral Sea, Gulf of Papua and Bismarck Sea, with lower concentrations in the Great Barrier Reef and Solomon Sea. Elevated levels of atmospheric DMS often occurred in south-easterly to southerly trade winds sampled in the region 18°32′–8°12′S to 145°–151°E, where the highest biomass of coral reefs occurred. Atmospheric DMS often increased in the day after low tides and was positively correlated with tidal height in the northern Great Barrier Reef (r = 0.91, P < 0.05). For tides less than 1.6 m, atmospheric DMS increased on the rising tide for the northern GBR and NW Coral Sea (r = 0.66; P < 0.05) and for the whole voyage (r = 0.25; P < 0.05). As coral reefs have been identified as significant sources of DMS, it is suggested that the daytime increase in atmospheric DMS over much of the study area was mainly a result of high winds and extremely low tides in July, which exposed the reefs during the day.

Extra keywords: atmospheric DMS, dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP), DMS flux.


I would like to thank Ron Szycmzak (ANSTO) and Dr Gregg Brunskill (AIMS) for the opportunity to participate on voyage 7 of the TROPICS study. Chris Farr (JCU) is thanked for building the automatic air sampler, and Esther Fischer for drawing Fig. 1. One of us (GBJ) would like to thank the Master and crew of the RV Franklin for their assistance during this voyage and Rosemary K. Jones for support of this research.


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