AB 6:133-142 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00181

Coral sand O2 uptake and pelagic–benthic coupling in a subtropical fringing reef, Aqaba, Red Sea

Christian Wild1,*, Malik S. Naumann1, Andreas Haas1, Ulrich Struck2, Florian W. Mayer1, Mohammed Y. Rasheed3, Markus Huettel4

1Coral Reef Ecology Group (CORE), GeoBio-Center & Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Richard Wagner Str. 10, 80333 Munich, Germany
2Museum für Naturkunde, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Invalidenstrasse 43, 10115 Berlin, Germany
3Marine Science Station, University of Jordan and Yarmouk University, PO 195, Aqaba, Jordan
4Department of Oceanography, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306-4320, USA

ABSTRACT: Calcareous sands are major sites for recycling of organic matter in coral reef ecosystems. O2 uptake and pelagic–benthic coupling were studied in coral sands using benthic chambers and sediment traps during several seasonal expeditions between May 2004 and May 2008 along a fringing reef on the Jordanian Red Sea coast. A total of 12 independent dark chamber experiments were conducted at 2.5 to 16.5 m water depth on the highly permeable calcareous reef sands covering the seafloor at the reef and back-reef lagoon. Sedimentary O2 uptake ranged from 20 to 39 mmol m–2 d–1 and was positively correlated with water depth in the lagoon, but not in the reef, where O2 uptake was significantly lower. Comparison of sedimentary O2 uptake rates recorded at the same locations revealed little temporal and seasonal variation, and no significant responses to changes in environmental factors in the water column, such as temperature and concentrations of organic or inorganic nutrients. These results suggest that efficient recycling in the pelagic food web of the nutrient-deprived coral reef limits the supply of degradable organic matter to the reef sediments. Increase of sedimentary O2 uptake with water depth in the lagoon sands may therefore be a function of lateral transport of labile organic particles produced by reef organisms (e.g. benthic algae and corals) rather than sedimentation of water column production.


KEY WORDS: Coral reefs · Calcareous sands · O2 flux · Spatial and temporal changes · Seasonality · Pelagic–benthic coupling · Red Sea · Advection chambers


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Cite this article as: Wild C, Naumann MS, Haas A, Struck U, Mayer FW, Rasheed MY, Huettel M (2009) Coral sand O2 uptake and pelagic–benthic coupling in a subtropical fringing reef, Aqaba, Red Sea. Aquat Biol 6:133-142. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00181

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