Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Drives for Benthic Metabolism and its Feedback to Carbonate Chemistry on a Coral Reef in Bermuda

Event Name/Location

13th International Coral Reef Symposium, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 19-24, 2016

Presentation Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding




It is well documented that the bulk seawater chemistry over a coral reef is significantly modified through benthic metabolism (i.e. net community production (ncp) and net community calcification (ncc)). However, the relative importance of the various factors that influence the water chemistry such as metabolism, advection, and depth is still not fully understood. Here, we present autonomous measurements of ncp and ncc made every 10 minutes at Hog reef in Bermuda between July 26 and 29, 2015. The metabolism rates were measured using the Benthic Ecosystem Acidification and Metabolism System (BEAMS), a novel system which utilizes pH and O2 gradients in the benthic boundary layer to quantify the benthic metabolic fluxes. Both ncp and ncc were highly dependent on light levels, reaching on average 20 mmol O2 m-2 hr-1 and 5 mmol CaCO3 m-2 hr-1 when irradiance was 500 micro quanta mm-2 hr-1. We interpret the effects of the benthic metabolism on the water chemistry over a large spatial context (several km2) using distributions of surface total alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon, in addition to three autonomous pH and O2 sensors deployed across a depth gradient located several km apart.

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