|Respiration of the cold water coral reef community|
Nieuwenhuizen, T. (2019). Respiration of the cold water coral reef community. MSc Thesis. NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Yerseke. 20 pp.
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Cold water coral (CWC) reefs, like their warm water counterparts, are hotspots for biodiversity. CWC reefs are known change flow patterns to increase downflow from productive surface waters by forming mounds. This helps maintain the high productivity. But how productive are CWC reef communities actually and what parts of the community contribute most to reef productivity? Productivity measurements of CWC reefs done ex-situ possibly cause stress and give inaccurate productivity data. To study total productivity and the possible stress effect of ex-situ measurements, CUBE incubations to measure respiration of coral blocks were done both in-situ and ex-situ. Secondly, to find out how the productivity is distributed among the CWC community, subsamples from different block components were taken and individually incubated. Community incubations done in-situ have per gram dry mass lower respiration rates, 0.042 [μmol O2 g-1 h-1] compared to the ex-situ incubations, 0.134 [μmol O2 g-1 h-1], indicating a stress effect. The individual incubations show that live corals contribute most to the community respiration, on average [55.1%], followed by dead framework [29.7%] and macrofauna [15.2%]. Knowing that ex-situ measurements affect respiration is useful to study CWC reef productivity. Unfortunately, in-situ measuring is expensive and difficult.