Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1984

Keywords

Coral reefs, US Virgin Islands, Montastrea annularis

Publication Title

Bulletin of Marine Science

ISSN

0007-4977

Volume

34

Issue/No.

2

First Page

288

Last Page

307

Peer Reviewed

1

Abstract

Parameters of the annual and subannual skeletal growth of 61 Montastrea annularis corals, collected at a variety of shallow depth sites on reefs of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, are determined by X-radiography and scanning densitometry for each year in the 10-year period, 1970–1979. Extension (linear growth) of the coral skeleton is correlated negatively with bulk density (mass per unit volume) and positively with calcification (mass addition). Density and mass are slightly positively correlated. No one parameter, however, is a perfect predictor of another. At least two parameters, from which the third can be calculated, are required for complete description of coral growth. The variations of parameters of subannual density bands in this study do not convey information additional to those of annual bands.

When compared to a pristine site in St. Croix, coral from Round Reef within Christiansted Harbor (a location of past dredging and sewage pollution) have equivalent (and high) extension but significantly lower density and calcification. On the south coast, corals from a location of major dredging activity in the past have relatively low extension and calcification. These growth anomalies are probably pollution related. Collections of corals from one south coast site may have been biased by hurricane effects to nonrepresentative samples.