Marine Biology

, Volume 162, Issue 2, pp 459–468 | Cite as

Water flow influences the mechanisms and outcomes of interactions between massive Porites and coral reef algae

Original Paper

Abstract

Negative interactions between corals and algae often are implicated in preventing the recovery of coral-depauperate reefs. However, few studies have explored the effects of environmental conditions on the mechanisms underlying the outcomes of coral–algal interactions. We examined the influence of water flow, a pervasive feature of reefs that is known to affect both coral and algal physiology, on massive Porites–algal interactions at different spatial and temporal scales with two types of algal competitors. Outcomes of coral–algal interactions were influenced by both water flow and algal type. Algal turfs outcompeted corals more frequently in low flow conditions, where microbial concentrations were higher, than in higher flow areas. Turbinariaornata outcompeted massive Porites more often in higher flow and consistently was associated with lower microbial concentrations. This study highlights that outcomes of coral–algal interactions are microhabitat dependent and that water flow limits the effectiveness of some mechanisms of coral–algal competition.

References

  1. Adam TC, Schmitt RJ, Holbrook SJ, Brooks AJ, Edmunds PJ, Carpenter RC, Bernardi G (2011) Herbivory, connectivity, and ecosystem resilience: response of a coral reef to a large-scale perturbation. PLoS One 6(8):e23717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atkinson M, Bilger R (1992) Effects of water velocity on phosphate uptake in coral reef-flat communities. Limnol Oceanogr 37:273–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Azam F, Fenchel T, Field JG, Gray JS, Meyer-Reil LA, Thingstad F (1983) The ecological role of water-column microbes in the sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 10(3):257–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barott KL, Rohwer FL (2012) Unseen players shape benthic competition on coral reefs. Trends in Microbiol 20(12):621–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barott K, Smith J, Dinsdale E, Hatay M, Sandin S (2009) Hyperspectral and physiological analyses of coral-algal interactions. PLoS ONE 4:e8043Google Scholar
  6. Barott KL, Rodriguez-Brito B, Janouškovec J, Marhaven K, Smith JE, Keeling P, Rohwer F (2011) Microbial diversity associated with four functional groups of benthic reef algae and the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis. Environ Microbiol 13(5):1192–1204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barott KL, Williams GJ, Vermeij M, Harris J, Smith JE, Rohwer FL, Sandin SA (2012) Natural history of coral−algae competition across a gradient of human activity in the Line Islands. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 460:1–12Google Scholar
  8. Bellwood DR, Hughes TP, Folke C, Nyström M (2004) Confronting the coral reef crisis. Nature 429:827–833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Birrell CL, McCook LJ, Willis BL (2005) Effects of algal turfs and sediment on coral settlement. Mar Pollut Bull 51:408–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Box SJ, Mumby PJ (2007) Effect of macroalgal competition on growth and survival of juvenile Caribbean corals. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 342:139–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown AL, Carpenter RC (2013) Water flow mediated oxygen dynamics within massive Porites–algal turf interactions. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 490:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carpenter RC, Williams SL (1993) Effects of algal turf canopy height and microscale substratum topography on profiles of flow speed in a coral forereef environment. Limnol Oceanogry 38(3):687–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carpenter R, Williams S (2007) Mass transfer limitation of photosynthesis of coral reef algal turfs. Mar Biol 151:435–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cole JWL, Grizzle JE (1966) Applications of multivariate analysis of variance to repeated measures experiments. Biometrics 22:810–828CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Denny MW (1988) Biology and the mechanics of the wave-swept environment. Princeton University Press, PrincetonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dinsdale EA, Pantos O, Smriga S, Edwards RA, Angly F, Wegley L, Hatay M, Hall D, Brown E, Haynes M, Krause L, Sala E, Sandin SA, Thurber RV, Willis BL, Azam F, Knowlton N, Rohwer F (2008) Microbial ecology of four coral atolls in the Northern Line Islands. PLoS One 3:e1584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Doty MS (1971) Measurement of water movement in reference to benthic algal growth. Bot Mar 14(1):32–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ducklow HW, Mitchell R (1979) Observations on naturally and artificially diseased tropical corals: a scanning electron microscope study. Microb Ecol 5:215–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Garren M, Azam F (2010) New method for counting bacteria associated with coral mucus. Appl Environ Microbiol 76(18):6128–6133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Garren M, Kwangmin S, Raina JB, Rusconi R, Menolascina F, Shapiro OH, Tout J, Bourne DG, Seymour JR, Stocker R (2014) A bacterial pathogen uses dimethylsulfoniopropionate as a cue to target heat-stressed corals. ISME 8:999–1007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Genin A, Karp L, Miroz A (1994) Effects of flow on competitive superiority in scleractinian corals. Limnol Oceanogr 39(4):913–924CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Haas AF, Nelson CE, Wegley Kelly L, Carlson CA, Rohwer F, Leichter JJ, Wyatt A, Smith J (2011) Effects of coral reef benthic primary producers on dissolved organic carbon and microbial activity. PLoS One 6(11):e27973CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haas AF, Gregg AK, Smith JE, Abieri ML, Hatay M, Rohwer F (2013) Visualization of oxygen distribution patterns caused by coral and algae. PeerJ 1:e106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hauri C, Fabricius KE, Schaffelke B, Humphrey C (2010) Chemical and physical environmental conditions underneath mat- and canopy-forming macroalgae, and their effects on understory corals. PLoS One 5(9):e1268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Helmuth BST, Sebens KP, Daniel TL (1997) Morphological variation in coral aggregations: branch spacing and mass flux to coral tissues. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 209:233–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hench JL, Rosman JH (2013) Observations of spatial flow patterns at the coral colony scale on a shallow reef flat. J Geophys Res Oceans 118:1142–1156. doi:10.1002/jgrc.20105 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hench JL, Leichter JJ, Monismith SG (2008) Episodic circulation and exchange in a wave-driven coral reef and lagoon system. Limnol Oceanogr 53(6):2681–2694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hughes TP (1994) Catastrophes, phase shifts, and large-scale degradation of a Caribbean coral reef. Science 265(5178):1547–1551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jompa J, McCook LJ (2002) The effects of nutrients and herbivory on competition between a hard coral (Porites cylindrica) and a brown alga (Lobophora variegata). Limnol Oceanogr 47(2):527–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jompa J, McCook LJ (2003) Coral–algal competition: macroalgae with different properties have different effects on corals. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 258:87–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kline DI, Kuntz NM, Breitbart M, Knowlton N, Rohwer F (2006) Role of elevated organic carbon levels and microbial activity in coral mortality. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 314:119–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kohler KE, Gill SM (2006) Coral Point Count with Excel extensions (CPCe): a Visual Basic program for the determination of coral and substrate coverage using random point count methodology. Comput Geosci 32(9):1259–1269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kühl M, Cohen Y, Dalsgaard T, Jørgenson BB, Revsbech NP (1995) Microenvironment and photosynthesis of zooxanthellae in scleractinian corals studied with microsensors for O2, pH and light. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 117:159–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lang J (1973) Interspecific aggression by scleractinian corals. 2. Why the race is not only to the swift. Bull Mar Sci 23(2):260–279Google Scholar
  35. Lenihan H, Adjeroud M, Kotchen M, Hench JL, Nakamura T (2008) Reef structure regulates small-scale spatial variation in coral bleaching. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 370:127–141Google Scholar
  36. Mass T, Genin A, Shavit U, Grinstein M, Tchernov D (2010) Flow enhances photosynthesis in marine benthic autotrophs by increasing the efflux of oxygen from the organism to the water. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(6):2527–2531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McCook LJ (2001) Competition between corals and algal turfs along a gradient of terrestrial influence in the nearshore central Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 19:419–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McCook LJ, Jompa J, Diaz-Pulido G (2001) Competition between corals and algae on coral reefs: a review of evidence and mechanisms. Coral Reefs 19:400–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Moberg F, Folke C (1999) Ecological goods and services of coral reef ecosystems. Ecol Econ 29:215–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Monismith S (2007) Hydrodynamics of coral reefs. Annu Rev Fluid Mech 39:37–55. doi:10.1146/annurev.fluid.38.050304.092125 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nelson CE, Alldredge AL, McCliment EA, Amaral-Zettler LA, Carlson CA (2011) Depleted dissolved organic carbon and distinct bacterial communities in the water column of a rapid-flushing coral reef ecosystem. ISME J 5:1374–1387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nugues MM, Smith GW, van Hooidonk RJ, Seabra MI, Bak RPM (2004) Algal contact as a trigger for coral disease. Ecol Lett 7:919–923CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Patten NL, Seymour JR, Mitchell JG (2006) Flow cytometric analysis of virus-like particles and heterotrophic bacteria within coral-associated reef water. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 86:563–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Patterson MR, Sebens KP, Olsen RR (1991) In situ measurements of flow effects on primary production and dark respiration in reef corals. Limnol Oceanogr 36(5):936–948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Quan-Young LI, Espinoza-Avalos J (2006) Reduction of zooxanthellae density, chlorophyll a concentration, and tissue thickness of the coral Montastraea faveolata (Scleractinia) when competing with mixed turf algae. Limnol Oceanogr 51(2):1159–1166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rasher DB, Hay ME (2010) Chemically rich seaweeds poison corals when not controlled by herbivores. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(21):9683–9688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rasher DB, Stout EP, Engel S, Kubanek J, Hay ME (2011) Macroalgal terpenes function as allelopathic agents against reef corals. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108(43):17726–17731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Reidenbach M, Monismith S, Koseff J et al (2006) Boundary layer turbulence and flow structure over a fringing coral reef. Limnol Oceanogr 51:1956–1968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. River GF, Edmunds PJ (2001) Mechanisms of interaction between macroalgae and scleractinians on a coral reef in Jamaica. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 261:159–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Shashar N, Kinane S, Jokiel PL, Patterson MR (1996) Hydromechanical boundary layers over a coral reef. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 199(1):17–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Smith JE, Shaw M, Edwards RA, Obura D, Pantos O, Sala E, Sandin SA, Smriga S, Hatay M, Rohwer FL (2006) Indirect effects of algae on coral: algae-mediated, microbe-induced coral mortality. Ecol Lett 9:835–845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Steneck RS, Dethier MN (1994) A functional group approach to the structure of algal-dominated communities. Oikos 69(3):476–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Thompson TL, Glenn EP (1994) Plaster standards to measure water motion. Limnol Oceanogr 39(7):1768–1779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wangpraseurt D, Weber M, Røy H, Polerecky L, De Beer D, Suharsono, Nugues MM (2012) In situ oxygen dynamics in coral-algal tnteractions. PLoS ONE 7:e31192Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA
  2. 2.Odum School of EcologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations