, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 51-58

Importance of foraminifera for the formation and maintenance of a coral sand cay: Green Island, Australia

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 CaCO3 production by reef-building organisms on Green Island Reef in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is estimated and compared with the contribution of benthic foraminifera to the sediment mass of the vegetated sand cay. Major constituents of the cay are benthic foraminifera (mainly Amphistegina lessonii, Baculogypsina sphaerulata, and Calcarina hispida), calcareous algae (Halimeda and coralline algae), hermatypic corals, and molluscs. Among these reef-building organisms, benthic foraminifera are the single most important contributor to the sediment mass of the island (ca. 30% of total sediments), although their production of CaCO3 is smaller than other reef-building organisms. Water current measurements and sediment traps indicate that the velocity of the current around Green Island is suitable for transportation and deposition of foraminiferal tests. Abundant foraminifera presently live in association with algal turf on the shallow exposed reef flat, whose tests were accumulated by waves resulting in the formation and maintenance of the coral sand cay.

Accepted: 30 June 1999