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Spatial variation in mechanical properties of coral reef substrate and implications for coral colony integrity

Madin, Joshua; Dell, A.I.; Madin, E.M.P.; Nash, Merinda

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The physical structure of coral reefs plays a critical role as a barrier to storm waves and tsunamis and as a habitat for living reef-building and reef-associated organisms. However, the mechanical properties of reef substrate (i. e. the non-living benthos) are largely unknown, despite the fact that substrate properties may ultimately determine where organisms can persist. We used a geo-mechanical technique to measure substrate material density and strength over a reef hydrodynamic gradient....[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorMadin, Joshua
dc.contributor.authorDell, A.I.
dc.contributor.authorMadin, E.M.P.
dc.contributor.authorNash, Merinda
dc.date.accessioned2016-06-14T23:20:00Z
dc.identifier.issn0722-4028
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/103150
dc.description.abstractThe physical structure of coral reefs plays a critical role as a barrier to storm waves and tsunamis and as a habitat for living reef-building and reef-associated organisms. However, the mechanical properties of reef substrate (i. e. the non-living benthos) are largely unknown, despite the fact that substrate properties may ultimately determine where organisms can persist. We used a geo-mechanical technique to measure substrate material density and strength over a reef hydrodynamic gradient. Contrary to expectation, we found a weak relationship between substrate strength and wave-induced water flow: flow rates decline sharply at the reef crest, whereas substrate properties are relatively constant over much of the reef before declining by almost an order of magnitude at the reef back. These gradients generate a novel hump-shaped pattern in resistance to mechanical disturbances for live corals, where colonies closer to the back reef are prone to dislodgement because of poorly cemented substrate. Our results help explain an intermediate zone of higher taxonomic and morphological diversity bounded by lower diversity exposed reef crest and unstable reef back zones.
dc.publisherSpringer
dc.sourceCoral Reefs
dc.subjectKeywords: Anthozoa; Scleractinia Biomechanics; Cementation; Reef substrate; Scleractinian corals
dc.titleSpatial variation in mechanical properties of coral reef substrate and implications for coral colony integrity
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume32
dc.date.issued2013
local.identifier.absfor040000 - EARTH SCIENCES
local.identifier.ariespublicationU3488905xPUB4274
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationMadin, Joshua, Macquarie University
local.contributor.affiliationDell, A.I., James Cook University
local.contributor.affiliationMadin, E.M.P., James Cook University
local.contributor.affiliationNash, Merinda, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage173
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage179
local.identifier.doi10.1007/s00338-012-0958-0
dc.date.updated2016-06-14T08:44:44Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84874809461
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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