Effect of terrigenous sediments on macroalgae functional-form groups of coral reefs in Capurganá, Colombian Caribbean
Ibis Tarini López-Jiménez, Lizette Irene Quan-Young, Lennin Florez-Leiva

Increased sedimentation in the marine environment has been described as a key factor in the degradation of coral reefs. One of the most important biological components of coral reefs is macroalgae. The objective of this study was to determine whether the effects of terrigenous sediments on macroalgae affect the current state of the coral reef ecosystem. In an in situ experiment in Capurganá Bay, terrigenous sediments were added to artificial plates and the impact on the recruitment and growth of the macroalgae was examined. In this experiment, three treatments were used: sediment addition and two natural conditions, one up to 10 m distance from the sediment addition (control 1) and one between 15 and 20 m distance from the sediment addition (control 2). The results indicated a high complexity and variability in the response of reef algae to the effects of sedimentation depending on the sediment grade size deposited. The addition had a positive effect on the recruitment and growth of filamentous algae, primarily red algae, whereas it had a negative effect on coralline algae. The sediments found on the plates did not significantly change the macroalgal structure (P>0.05). However, a trend was observed in the change of the algal cover in each treatment. These results indicate that there is a wide range of response of the algae depending on the functional groups and the nature of the sediment.

Keywords: functional groups; Colombian Caribbean; sedimentation; ecology; phase shift; filamentous algae
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 85(2) : 125-135 Back PDF
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