Coral Reefs

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 49–53 | Cite as

The cave-profiler: a simple tool to describe the 3-D structure of inaccessible coral reef cavities

  • S. R. Scheffers
  • J. de Goeij
  • F. C. van Duyl
  • R. P. M. Bak


An important part of the bottom of a coral reef consists of dead coral reef framework cavities; this includes the spaces and surfaces under rubble, the undersides of skeletal organisms such as corals, the shaded undersides of overhanging dead or live coral, and deep framework cavities. Cavities are formed below protruding edges of stony corals in the coral reef framework and are often enlarged by bioeroding organisms. These cavities make up a major part of the volume of the skeleton of a reef. Estimates of the volume encompass 30–75% of total reef volume (Ginsburg 1983). Cavities provide a surface area for colonization by organisms that may be greater than the horizontally projected reef surface area (Jackson and Winston 1982; Ginsburg 1983).

The species composition of these cryptic habitats has been extensively studied (Kobluk and van Soest 1989; Meesters et al. 1991). Sessile groups such as sponges, crustose coralline and filamentous algae, ascidians, polychaetes,...


Reef framework Structure Substratum Dimensions Reef surface area Sessile cryptofauna 



The authors wish to thank the CARMABI Foundation for facilities, and WOTRO (Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research), grant number W84–439, for financial support. This is an NIOZ publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. R. Scheffers
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. de Goeij
    • 1
  • F. C. van Duyl
    • 1
  • R. P. M. Bak
    • 1
  1. 1.Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)Den BurgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.CARMABI FoundationWillemstadCuraçao (Netherlands Antilles)

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