Coral Reefs

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 53–58 | Cite as

Short-term coherency between gross primary production and community respiration in an algal-dominated reef flat

  • J. L. Falter
  • M. J. Atkinson
  • D. W. Schar
  • R. J. Lowe
  • S. G. Monismith


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.


Biogeochemistry 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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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. L. Falter
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. J. Atkinson
    • 1
  • D. W. Schar
    • 1
  • R. J. Lowe
    • 2
  • S. G. Monismith
    • 3
  1. 1.Hawaii Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of HawaiiKaneoheUSA
  2. 2.School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  3. 3.Environmental Fluid Mechanics LaboratoryStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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