High rates of carbon and dinitrogen fixation suggest a critical role of benthic pioneer communities in the energy and nutrient dynamics of coral reefs

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dc.contributor University of Helsinki, Biological stations en
dc.contributor.author Roth, Florian
dc.contributor.author Karcher, Denis B.
dc.contributor.author Radecker, Nils
dc.contributor.author Hohn, Sonke
dc.contributor.author Carvalho, Susana
dc.contributor.author Thomson, Timothy
dc.contributor.author Saalmann, Franziska
dc.contributor.author Voolstra, Christian R.
dc.contributor.author Kurten, Benjamin
dc.contributor.author Struck, Ulrich
dc.contributor.author Jones, Burton H.
dc.contributor.author Wild, Christian
dc.date.accessioned 2020-09-15T12:05:01Z
dc.date.available 2020-09-15T12:05:01Z
dc.date.issued 2020-09
dc.identifier.citation Roth , F , Karcher , D B , Radecker , N , Hohn , S , Carvalho , S , Thomson , T , Saalmann , F , Voolstra , C R , Kurten , B , Struck , U , Jones , B H & Wild , C 2020 , ' High rates of carbon and dinitrogen fixation suggest a critical role of benthic pioneer communities in the energy and nutrient dynamics of coral reefs ' , Functional Ecology , vol. 34 , no. 9 , pp. 1991-2004 . https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13625 en
dc.identifier.issn 0269-8463
dc.identifier.other PURE: 144525469
dc.identifier.other PURE UUID: e2a9512d-1b4a-4e85-a51c-e33001e08321
dc.identifier.other WOS: 000551223100001
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10138/319357
dc.description.abstract Following coral mortality in tropical reefs, pioneer communities dominated by filamentous and crustose algae efficiently colonize substrates previously occupied by coral tissue. This phenomenon is particularly common after mass coral mortality following prolonged bleaching events associated with marine heatwaves. Pioneer communities play an important role for the biological succession and reorganization of reefs after disturbance. However, their significance for critical ecosystem functions previously mediated by corals, such as the efficient cycling of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) within the reef, remains uncertain. We used 96 carbonate tiles to simulate the occurrence of bare substrates after disturbance in a coral reef of the central Red Sea. We measured rates of C and dinitrogen (N-2) fixation of pioneer communities on these tiles monthly over an entire year. Coupled with elemental and stable isotope analyses, these measurements provide insights into macronutrient acquisition, export and the influence of seasonality. Pioneer communities exhibited high rates of C and N(2)fixation within 4-8 weeks after the introduction of experimental bare substrates. Ranging from 13 to 25 mu mol C cm(-2) day(-1)and 8 to 54 nmol N cm(-2) day(-1), respectively, C and N(2)fixation rates were comparable to reported values for established Red Sea coral reefs. This similarity indicates that pioneer communities may quickly compensate for the loss of benthic productivity by corals. Notably, between 40% and 85% of fixed organic C was exported into the environment, constituting a vital source of energy for the coral reef food web. Our findings suggest that benthic pioneer communities may play a crucial, yet overlooked role in the C and N dynamics of oligotrophic coral reefs by contributing to the input of new C and N after coral mortality. While not substituting other critical ecosystem functions provided by corals (e.g. structural habitat complexity and coastal protection), pioneer communities likely contribute to maintaining coral reef nutrient cycling through the accumulation of biomass and import of macronutrients following coral loss. A freePlain Language Summarycan be found within the Supporting Information of this article. en
dc.format.extent 14
dc.language.iso eng
dc.relation.ispartof Functional Ecology
dc.rights en
dc.subject biogeochemical cycling en
dc.subject carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes en
dc.subject carbon budget en
dc.subject community succession en
dc.subject diazotrophy en
dc.subject photosynthesis en
dc.subject productivity en
dc.subject N-2 FIXATION en
dc.subject ORGANIC-MATTER en
dc.subject ALGAL TURFS en
dc.subject MARINE en
dc.subject PHOTOSYNTHESIS en
dc.subject TEMPERATURE en
dc.subject 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology en
dc.title High rates of carbon and dinitrogen fixation suggest a critical role of benthic pioneer communities in the energy and nutrient dynamics of coral reefs en
dc.type Article
dc.description.version Peer reviewed
dc.identifier.doi https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13625
dc.type.uri info:eu-repo/semantics/other
dc.type.uri info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion

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