Short-term coherency between gross primary production and community respiration in an algal-dominated reef flat
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Rates of net community carbon production (mmol C m−2 h−1) were measured continuously in an algal-dominated reef flat community on the Kaneohe Bay barrier reef, Hawaii, for 12 days at the end of October 2006. The weather became increasingly cloudy during the last 5 days of measurements, resulting in a sevenfold decline in daily incident light (28–4 Ein m−2 d−1). In response, gross primary production (P) for the reef flat community also decreased sevenfold, varying linearly with light (r 2 = 0.92, n = 12). Community respiration (R) decreased fivefold over this same period and was highly correlated with changes in P (r 2 = 0.84, n = 12). We reason that this short-term coherence between P and R indicates that most of the carbon fixed during this period was rapidly metabolized via plant respiration. We further conclude that the dominance of autotrophic respiration under general conditions of nutrient-limited growth can explain much of the balance between P and R that is commonly observed in shallow reef communities.
KeywordsBiogeochemistry Community Production Respiration
The work presented in this manuscript was supported by a collaborative grant from the NSF Chemical (OCE-0453117) and Physical (OCE-0622967) Oceanography Programs as well as the Alliance for Coastal Technologies, award #CA 07-10.
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