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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 630:69-82 (2019)  -  DOI:

Structure and development of Hawaiian deep-water coral communities on Mauna Loa lava flows

Meagan R. Putts1,*, Frank A. Parrish2, Frank A. Trusdell3, Samuel E. Kahng4

1University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, 1000 Pope Road, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96822, USA
2Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Inouye Regional Center, 1845 Wasp Blvd., Building 176, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96818, USA
3Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, United States Geological Survey, PO Box 1026, Hilo, Hawai‘i 96721, USA
4Hawai‘i Pacific University, College of Natural Science, 41-202 Kalanianaole Hwy #9 Waimanalo, Hawai‘i 96795, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Submarine lava flows on the leeward flank of the Island of Hawai‘i, USA, were examined by submersible and remotely operated vehicles to understand the structure and development of deep-water coral communities. Three sites were selected where historically documented lava flows crossed older prehistoric flows, providing 3 pairs of lava substrates of different ages (61/400 yr, 134/2000 yr, 143/2330 yr) to compare and contrast with a nearby older coral community (15000 yr) growing on fossil carbonate. The number of coral taxa, abundance, and colony size increased with substrate age on the 3 historical lava flows and fossil carbonate site, but not on the prehistoric flows. The faster-growing Coralliidae were the dominant taxa forming patches on the peaks of ridged terrain, while the slower-growing Antipatharia and Isididae were less abundant except at the fossil site where the community was dominated by the slowest-growing corals (including Kulamanamana haumeaae). A multivariate analysis of similarity of coral communities on lava flows found site, rather than substrate age, to be a better explanation for why paired flows were ecologically the same despite considerable age differences. The data suggest that hot, turbid, mineral-rich water from the more recent historical lava event re-initialized the community succession of the adjacent prehistoric lava substrate. Coral mortality would be greatest close to the edge of the historical flow with the expectation that survivorship would increase with distance from the impact. The survey transects were too short to detect a significant increase in the total coral community, but an increase was evident for the Coralliidae.

KEY WORDS: Deep-sea coral · Cold-water coral · Hawai‘i · Community succession · Habitat preference

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Cite this article as: Putts MR, Parrish FA, Trusdell FA, Kahng SE (2019) Structure and development of Hawaiian deep-water coral communities on Mauna Loa lava flows. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 630:69-82.

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