Coral Reefs

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 239–254 | Cite as

Spatiotemporal variations in CO2 flux in a fringing reef simulated using a novel carbonate system dynamics model

  • A. Watanabe
  • T. Yamamoto
  • K. Nadaoka
  • Y. Maeda
  • T. Miyajima
  • Y. Tanaka
  • A. C. Blanco


A carbonate system dynamics (CSD) model was developed in a fringing reef on the east coast of Ishigaki Island, southwest Japan, by incorporating organic and inorganic carbon fluxes (photosynthesis and calcification), air–sea gas exchanges, and benthic cover of coral and seagrass into a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model. The CSD model could reproduce temporal variations in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity in coral zones, but not in seagrass meadows. The poor reproduction in seagrass meadows can be attributed to significant contributions of submarine groundwater discharge as well as misclassification of remotely sensed megabenthos in this area. In comparison with offshore areas, the reef acted as a CO2 sink during the observation period when it was averaged over 24 h. The CSD model also indicated large spatiotemporal differences in the carbon dioxide (CO2) sink/source, possibly related to hydrodynamic features such as effective offshore seawater exchange and neap/spring tidal variation. This suggests that the data obtained from a single point observation may lead to misinterpretation of the overall trend and thus should be carefully considered. The model analysis also showed that the advective flux of DIC from neighboring grids is several times greater than local biological flux of DIC and is three orders of magnitude greater than the air–sea gas flux at the coral zone. Sensitivity tests in which coral or seagrass covers were altered revealed that the CO2 sink potential was much more sensitive to changes in coral cover than seagrass cover.


Carbonate system dynamics model CO2 flux Fringing reef Photosynthesis Calcification 



We would like to thank the topic editor, Dr. Bernhard Riegl, and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on our manuscript. We would like to thank Mr. S. Motooka, Mr. Y. Motomura, Mr. T. Fujii, and Mr. M. Taira for their help performing the field survey. We would like to thank Mr. S. Yamamoto for helping with the carbonate system and salinity analyses. This research was financially supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas “Coral reef science for symbiosis and coexistence of human and ecosystem under combined stresses” (No. 20121007) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan. This research was also partially supported by Nippon Yusen Kaisha–Heyerdahl Projects Award for AW.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Watanabe
    • 1
  • T. Yamamoto
    • 1
  • K. Nadaoka
    • 1
  • Y. Maeda
    • 1
  • T. Miyajima
    • 2
  • Y. Tanaka
    • 1
  • A. C. Blanco
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Environmental Informatics, Graduate School of Information Science and EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Marine Biogeochemistry Group, Atmosphere and Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoChibaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Geodetic Engineering, College of EngineeringUniversity of the PhilippinesQuezon CityPhilippines

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