Pulse sediment event does not impact the metabolism of a mixed coral reef community

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Sedimentation can bury corals, cause physical abrasion, and alter both spectral intensity and quality; however, few studies have quantified the effects of sedimentation on coral reef metabolism in the context of episodic sedimentation events. Here, we present the first study to measure coral community metabolism - calcification and photosynthesis - in a manipulative mesocosm experiment simulating a pulse sediment event. We exposed a mixed benthic community composed of 75% live carbonate rubble cover and 25% Montipora capitata coral cover to an approximately 275 mg cm−1 (sediment accumulation) acute pulse sediment loading event. No differences were found in net calcification or net photosynthesis between the control and treated mesocosms 48 h and 25 d following exposure to pulse sediment input. Results from this community experiment indicate the ability of Montipora capitata, a common reef coral, to persist under these acute sediment levels, demonstrating resistance to episodic sediment events.




Bahr, K. D., Rodgers, K. S., Jokiel, P. L., Prouty, N. G., & Storlazzi, C. D. (2020). Pulse sediment event does not impact the metabolism of a mixed coral reef community. Ocean and Coastal Management, 184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2019.105007

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