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Scleractinian settlement patterns to natural cleared reef substrata and artificial settlement panels on an Indonesian coral reef

Salinas-de-León, P and Costales-Carrera, A and Zeljkovic, S and Smith, DJ and Bell, JJ (2011) 'Scleractinian settlement patterns to natural cleared reef substrata and artificial settlement panels on an Indonesian coral reef.' Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 93 (1). 80 - 85. ISSN 0272-7714

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Recruitment is a key factor driving the population dynamics of scleractinian corals, but despite its importance, we still have a poor understanding of recruitment processes in the Coral triangle region, which contains the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world. This study aimed to compare settlement rates to artificial settlement panels with cleared areas of natural reef in order to assess whether panels are a suitable indicator of natural coral settlement rates. We recorded coral settlement rates to panels made of two different materials (concrete and terracotta), attached to the reef at two different orientations (vertical and horizontal), and compared these settlement rates to those on cleared areas of natural reef positioned on vertical reef walls, over a 12 month period. We examined settlement rates at four sites in the Wakatobi National Marine Park, south-east Sulawesi, Indonesia; two reefs were light-limited, highly sedimented sites with low coral cover (<10%) and two had moderate coral cover (approx. 40%) and lower sedimentation rates. Panels were directly attached to the reef at 6-7 m depth. The number of coral spat per tile ranged from 0 to 34 and no significant differences were reported between the settlement rates to cleared natural reef areas and settlement panels. Significantly higher numbers of spat settled on the cryptic (back) side of the panels, while no significant difference was found between settlement rates to the different panel materials, or between the different orientations or any combination of these two factors. There is, however, a significant difference in the settlement rates between sites, for both settlement panels and permanent cleared areas, with higher settlement rates at the sites with higher live coral cover. We conclude that both concrete and terracotta panels yield similar settlement rates, and orientation makes no difference to settlement rates when panels are directly attached to the reef. Our results demonstrate that artificial substrata provide comparable settlement rate data to natural substrata and therefore are suitable for monitoring coral settlement rates in the future. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2011 21:42
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2019 18:15

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