Community calcification in Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef: A 33 year perspective

Citation:
Silverman, J, Schneider K, Kline DI, Rivlin T, Rivlin A, Hamylton S, Lazar B, Erez J, Caldeira K.  2014.  Community calcification in Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef: A 33 year perspective. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 144:72-81.

Date Published:

2014/11

Keywords:

acidification, australia, calcium-carbonate saturation, co2, declining coral calcification, growth, ocean, photosynthesis, sea, seawater, water

Abstract:

Measurements of community calcification (G(net)) were made during September 2008 and October 2009 on a reef flat in Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, 33 years after the first measurements were made there by the LIMER expedition in 1975. In 2008 and 2009 we measured G(net) = 61 +/- 12 and 54 +/- 13 mmol CaCO3 m(-2).day(-1), respectively. These rates are 27-49% lower than those measured during the same season in 1975-76. These rates agree well with those estimated from the measured temperature and degree of aragonite saturation using a reef calcification rate equation developed from observations in a Red Sea coral reef. Community structure surveys across the Lizard Island reef flat during our study using the same methods employed in 1978 showed that live coral coverage had not changed significantly (similar to 8%). However, it should be noted that the uncertainty in the live coral coverage estimates in this study and in 1978 were fairly large and inherent to this methodology. Using the reef calcification rate equation while assuming that seawater above the reef was at equilibrium with atmospheric PCO2 and given that live coral cover had not changed G(net) should have declined by 30 +/- 8% since the LIMER study as indeed observed. We note, however, that the error in estimated G(net) decrease relative to the 1970's could be much larger due to the uncertainties in the coral coverage measurements. Nonetheless, the similarity between the predicted and the measured decrease in G(net) suggests that ocean acidification may be the primary cause for the lower CaCO3 precipitation rate on the Lizard Island reef flat. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Notes:

n/a

Website

DOI:

10.1016/j.gca.2014.09.011