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Chemical and Physical Environmental Conditions Underneath Mat- and Canopy-Forming Macroalgae, and Their Effects on Understorey Corals

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dc.contributor Swiss Federal Institute Of Technology Zurich
dc.contributor Eth Zurich
dc.contributor Eth
dc.contributor Australian Inst Marine Sci
dc.contributor Inst Biogeochem & Pollutant Dynam
dc.contributor Australian Institute Of Marine Science
dc.contributor Australian Institute Of Marine Science (aims) en HUMPHREY, CRAIG HAURI, CLAUDINE FABRICIUS, KATHARINA E. SCHAFFELKE, BRITTA 2013-02-28T06:49:13Z 2017-03-21T01:10:19Z 2017-03-21T01:10:19Z 2020-07-20T00:16:46Z 2017-03-21T01:10:19Z 2013-02-28T06:49:13Z 2013-02-28T06:49:13Z 2020-07-20T00:16:46Z 2010-09-13
dc.identifier 8595 en
dc.identifier.citation Hauri C, Fabricius KE, Schaffelke B and Humphrey CA (2010) Chemical and Physical Environmental Conditions Underneath Mat- and Canopy-Forming Macroalgae, and Their Effects on Understorey Corals. PLoS ONE. 5:1-9. en
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.description Link to abstract/full text - en
dc.description.abstract Disturbed coral reefs are often dominated by dense mat- or canopy-forming assemblages of macroalgae. This study investigated how such dense macroalgal assemblages change the chemical and physical microenvironment for understorey corals, and how the altered environmental conditions affect the physiological performance of corals. Field measurements were conducted on macroalgal-dominated inshore reefs in the Great Barrier Reef in quadrats with macroalgal biomass ranging from 235 to 1029 g DW m(-2) dry weight. Underneath mat- forming assemblages, the mean concentration of dissolved oxygen was reduced by 26% and irradiance by 96% compared with conditions above the mat, while concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and soluble reactive phosphorous increased by 26% and 267%, respectively. The difference was significant but less pronounced under canopy-forming assemblages. Dissolved oxygen declined and dissolved inorganic carbon and alkalinity increased with increasing algal biomass underneath mat- forming but not under canopy-forming assemblages. The responses of corals to conditions similar to those found underneath algal assemblages were investigated in an aquarium experiment. Coral nubbins of the species Acropora millepora showed reduced photosynthetic yields and increased RNA/DNA ratios when exposed to conditions simulating those underneath assemblages (pre-incubating seawater with macroalgae, and shading). The magnitude of these stress responses increased with increasing proportion of pre-incubated algal water. Our study shows that mat- forming and, to a lesser extent, canopy-forming macroalgal assemblages alter the physical and chemical microenvironment sufficiently to directly and detrimentally affect the metabolism of corals, potentially impeding reef recovery from algal to coral-dominated states after disturbance. Macroalgal dominance on coral reefs therefore simultaneously represents a consequence and cause of coral reef degradation.
dc.description.sponsorship This study was funded by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Sarasin Foundation, the University of Basel, the Mathieu Foundation and the Josef and Olga Tomcsik Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
dc.description.uri en
dc.language English
dc.language en en
dc.relation.ispartof PLoS ONE - pages: 5:1-9 en
dc.relation.ispartof Null
dc.subject Resilience
dc.subject Science & Technology - Other Topics
dc.subject Photosynthesis
dc.subject Benthic Algae
dc.subject Light
dc.subject Microenvironment
dc.subject Organic-carbon
dc.subject Competition
dc.subject Seawater
dc.subject Dissociation
dc.subject Great-barrier-reef
dc.subject Multidisciplinary Sciences
dc.title Chemical and Physical Environmental Conditions Underneath Mat- and Canopy-Forming Macroalgae, and Their Effects on Understorey Corals
dc.type journal article en
dc.identifier.doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0012685
dc.identifier.wos WOS:000281735700011

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