MEPS 167:37-45 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/meps167037

Bacteria in coral reef water types: removal of cells, stimulation of growth and mineralization

Gert Jan Gast1,*, Saskia Wiegman2, Elze Wieringa2, Fleur C. van Duyl1, Rolf P. M. Bak1,2

1Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands 2Institute of Systematics and Population Biology, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 94766, 1090 GT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
*E-mail:

Water samples were collected at a fringing coral reef in overlying water, in bottom water between corals and in crevices under coral colonies, and analyzed for nutrient concentrations, bacterial numbers and production. We found decreasing bacterial densities from overlying water through bottom water into crevices (range 9 to 2 x 105 ml-1). Bacterial specific growth was enhanced in reef crevices (range 0.005 to 0.04 h-1). Although bacterial growth was enhanced, bacterial numbers were reduced, showing a transfer of bacterial biomass into the reef. The differences in bacterial numbers and growth between water types depended on water movement and bottom relief. Nutrients were enhanced in reef crevices as a result of mineralization. Mineralization of bacteria removed by filterfeeders could contribute 11 and 21% to the increase in N and P, respectively, in coral reef crevices.


Bacteria · Nutrients · Coral · Reef · Crevice


Full text in pdf format