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Potential influence of sea cucumbers on coral reef CaCO(3) budget: A case study at One Tree Reef
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
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2011 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, Vol. 116, G04032- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To endure, coral reefs must accumulate CaCO(3) at a rate greater or equal than the sum of mechanically, biologically, and chemically mediated erosion rates. We investigated the potential role of holothurians on the CaCO(3) balance of a coral reef. These deposit feeders process carbonate sand and rubble through their digestive tract and dissolve CaCO(3) as part of their digestive process. In aquarium incubations with Stichopus herrmanni and Holothuria leucospilota total alkalinity increased by 97 +/- 13 and 47 +/- 7 mu mol kg(-1), respectively. This increase was due to CaCO3 dissolution, 81 +/- 13 and 34 +/- 6 mu mol kg(-1) and ammonia secretion, 16 +/- 2 and 14 +/- 2 mu mol kg(-1), respectively, for these species. Surveys conducted at a long-term monitoring site of community calcification (DK13) on One Tree Reef indicated that the density of sea cucumbers was approximately 1 individual m(-2). We used these data and data from surveys at Shark Alley to estimate the dissolution of CaCO(3) by the sea cucumbers at both sites. At DK13 the sea cucumber population was estimated to be responsible for nearly 50% of the nighttime CaCO(3) dissolution, while in Shark Alley for most of the nighttime dissolution. Thus, in a healthy reef, bioeroders dissolution of CaCO(3) sediment appears to be an important component of the natural CaCO(3) turnover and a substantial source of alkalinity as well. This additional alkalinity could partially buffer changes in seawater pH associated with increasing atmospheric CO(2) locally, thus reducing the impact of ocean acidification on coral growth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 116, G04032- p.
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Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-71146DOI: 10.1029/2011JG001755ISI: 000298497900001OAI: diva2:483932
authorCount :6Available from: 2012-01-26 Created: 2012-01-26 Last updated: 2012-01-26Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson, Hampus
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