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Self-generated morphology in lagoon reefs.

Blakeway D, Hamblin MG - PeerJ (2015)

Bottom Line: In these situations reef morphology can be considered a phenotype of the predominant reef building organism.The capacity to infer coral type from reef morphology can potentially be used to identify and map specific coral habitat in remotely sensed images.More generally, identifying ecological mechanisms underlying other examples of self-generated reef morphology can potentially improve our understanding of present-day reef ecology, because any ecological process capable of shaping a reef will almost invariably be an important process in real time on the living reef.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia , Crawley , Western Australia, Australia.

ABSTRACT
The three-dimensional form of a coral reef develops through interactions and feedbacks between its constituent organisms and their environment. Reef morphology therefore contains a potential wealth of ecological information, accessible if the relationships between morphology and ecology can be decoded. Traditionally, reef morphology has been attributed to external controls such as substrate topography or hydrodynamic influences. Little is known about inherent reef morphology in the absence of external control. Here we use reef growth simulations, based on observations in the cellular reefs of Western Australia's Houtman Abrolhos Islands, to show that reef morphology is fundamentally determined by the mechanical behaviour of the reef-building organisms themselves-specifically their tendency to either remain in place or to collapse. Reef-building organisms that tend to remain in place, such as massive and encrusting corals or coralline algae, produce nodular reefs, whereas those that tend to collapse, such as branching Acropora, produce cellular reefs. The purest reef growth forms arise in sheltered lagoons dominated by a single type of reef builder, as in the branching Acropora-dominated lagoons of the Abrolhos. In these situations reef morphology can be considered a phenotype of the predominant reef building organism. The capacity to infer coral type from reef morphology can potentially be used to identify and map specific coral habitat in remotely sensed images. More generally, identifying ecological mechanisms underlying other examples of self-generated reef morphology can potentially improve our understanding of present-day reef ecology, because any ecological process capable of shaping a reef will almost invariably be an important process in real time on the living reef.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Influence of the collapse limit on model reef morphology.(A) Plan view, 0–10 m depth, of a model reef system with a 3 m collapse limit after 90 growth iterations. (B) Oblique view of the model reef in A. The reef slopes are approximately 55°. (C) Plan view, 0–10 m depth, of a model reef system with a 4 m collapse limit after 85 growth iterations. (D) Oblique view of the model reef in C. The reef slopes are approximately 60°.
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fig-12: Influence of the collapse limit on model reef morphology.(A) Plan view, 0–10 m depth, of a model reef system with a 3 m collapse limit after 90 growth iterations. (B) Oblique view of the model reef in A. The reef slopes are approximately 55°. (C) Plan view, 0–10 m depth, of a model reef system with a 4 m collapse limit after 85 growth iterations. (D) Oblique view of the model reef in C. The reef slopes are approximately 60°.

Mentions: Increasing the collapse limit was the most influential of the additional modifications. Progressively increasing the collapse limit beyond the two metres of the branching Acropora model produces a transition from cellular to nodular reef forms. A three metre collapse limit creates reefs with weakly developed subcircular depressions (Figs. 12A and 12B) and a four metre collapse limit creates reefs with very few depressions (Figs. 12C and 12D). Collapse limits of more than four metres produce nodular reefs equivalent to those of the basic model.


Self-generated morphology in lagoon reefs.

Blakeway D, Hamblin MG - PeerJ (2015)

Influence of the collapse limit on model reef morphology.(A) Plan view, 0–10 m depth, of a model reef system with a 3 m collapse limit after 90 growth iterations. (B) Oblique view of the model reef in A. The reef slopes are approximately 55°. (C) Plan view, 0–10 m depth, of a model reef system with a 4 m collapse limit after 85 growth iterations. (D) Oblique view of the model reef in C. The reef slopes are approximately 60°.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4499466&req=5

fig-12: Influence of the collapse limit on model reef morphology.(A) Plan view, 0–10 m depth, of a model reef system with a 3 m collapse limit after 90 growth iterations. (B) Oblique view of the model reef in A. The reef slopes are approximately 55°. (C) Plan view, 0–10 m depth, of a model reef system with a 4 m collapse limit after 85 growth iterations. (D) Oblique view of the model reef in C. The reef slopes are approximately 60°.
Mentions: Increasing the collapse limit was the most influential of the additional modifications. Progressively increasing the collapse limit beyond the two metres of the branching Acropora model produces a transition from cellular to nodular reef forms. A three metre collapse limit creates reefs with weakly developed subcircular depressions (Figs. 12A and 12B) and a four metre collapse limit creates reefs with very few depressions (Figs. 12C and 12D). Collapse limits of more than four metres produce nodular reefs equivalent to those of the basic model.

Bottom Line: In these situations reef morphology can be considered a phenotype of the predominant reef building organism.The capacity to infer coral type from reef morphology can potentially be used to identify and map specific coral habitat in remotely sensed images.More generally, identifying ecological mechanisms underlying other examples of self-generated reef morphology can potentially improve our understanding of present-day reef ecology, because any ecological process capable of shaping a reef will almost invariably be an important process in real time on the living reef.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia , Crawley , Western Australia, Australia.

ABSTRACT
The three-dimensional form of a coral reef develops through interactions and feedbacks between its constituent organisms and their environment. Reef morphology therefore contains a potential wealth of ecological information, accessible if the relationships between morphology and ecology can be decoded. Traditionally, reef morphology has been attributed to external controls such as substrate topography or hydrodynamic influences. Little is known about inherent reef morphology in the absence of external control. Here we use reef growth simulations, based on observations in the cellular reefs of Western Australia's Houtman Abrolhos Islands, to show that reef morphology is fundamentally determined by the mechanical behaviour of the reef-building organisms themselves-specifically their tendency to either remain in place or to collapse. Reef-building organisms that tend to remain in place, such as massive and encrusting corals or coralline algae, produce nodular reefs, whereas those that tend to collapse, such as branching Acropora, produce cellular reefs. The purest reef growth forms arise in sheltered lagoons dominated by a single type of reef builder, as in the branching Acropora-dominated lagoons of the Abrolhos. In these situations reef morphology can be considered a phenotype of the predominant reef building organism. The capacity to infer coral type from reef morphology can potentially be used to identify and map specific coral habitat in remotely sensed images. More generally, identifying ecological mechanisms underlying other examples of self-generated reef morphology can potentially improve our understanding of present-day reef ecology, because any ecological process capable of shaping a reef will almost invariably be an important process in real time on the living reef.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus