Skip to main content Accessibility help

Spatio-temporal variation in rate of carbonate deposition by encrusting organisms in different reef microhabitats from Eastern Pacific coral reefs

  • J. F. Alvarado-Rodríguez (a1), H. Nava (a1) and J. L. Carballo (a1)


Reef encrusting calcifiers (non-scleractinian species) constitute assemblages that participate in the carbon cycle at coral reefs. Despite their apparent secondary role in building the reef framework, they contribute to the reef consolidation binding sediments and inducing larval recruitment from other epilithic invertebrates. The contribution of encrusting calcifiers on reef accretion was examined by the assessment of their rate of carbonate deposition on four different simulated reef microhabitats using calcification accretion units (CAUs) during 12 months at Playa Las Gatas and Islote Zacatoso, two coral communities from the coast of the Mexican Pacific. Encrusting calcifiers from Playa Las Gatas, the most impacted site, showed a rate of carbonate deposition (mean ± SD) four times higher than at Islote Zacatoso (10.02 ± 3.22 g CaCO3 m−2 d−1vs 2.48 ± 1.01 g CaCO3 m−2 d−1). Overall, the rate of carbonate deposition on surfaces protected from sedimentation and light was up to 1.8 times higher than on exposed ones (11.40 ± 4.35 g CaCO3 m−2 d−1vs 6.18 ± 3.13 g CaCO3 m−2 d−1). Carbonate deposition by calcareous algae was higher on the well-lit exposed surfaces while filter-feeding invertebrates showed the major contribution on the shaded cryptic surfaces. Although rate of carbonate deposition by encrusting calcifiers seems to be lower than hermatypic corals, it seems to be relevant on coral reefs affected by anthropogenic impacts where coral calcification is low. Under global demise of coral reefs by environmental degradation and climate change, encrusting calcifiers may become relevant for the process of carbonate deposition.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: H. Nava, E-mail:


Hide All
Azevedo, FBB, Carloni, GG and Carvalheira, LV (2006) Colonization of benthic organisms on different artificial substratum in Ilha Grande Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology 49, 263275.
Björk, M, Mohammed, SM, Bjorklund, M and Semesi, A (1995) Coralline algae, important coral reef builders threatened by pollution. Ambio 24, 502505.
Bray, RJ and Curtis, JL (1957) An ordination of the upland forest communities of southern Wisconsin. Ecological Monographs 27, 325349.
Brock, RE and Smith, SV (1983) Response of coral reef cryptofaunal communities to food and space. Coral Reefs 1, 179183.
Bryant, DG, Burke, L, McManus, J and Spalding, M (1998) Reefs at Risk: A Map-Based Indicator of Threats to the World's Coral Reefs. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.
Carballo, JL, Naranjo, SA and García-Gómez, JC (1996) The use of marine sponges as stress indicators in marine ecosystems at Algeciras Bay (Southern Iberian Peninsula). Marine Ecology Progress Series 135, 109122.
Carriquiry, JD, Cupul-Magaña, AL, Rodríguez-Zaragoza, F and Medina-Rosas, P (2001) Coral bleaching and mortality in the Mexican Pacific during the 1997–98 El Niño and prediction from a remote sensing approach. Bulletin of Marine Science 69, 237249.
Clarke, KR and Ainsworth, M (1993) A method of linking multivariate community structure to environmental variables. Marine Ecology Progress Series 92, 205219.
Cortés, J and Risk, MJ (1985) A reef under siltation stress: Cahuita, Costa Rica. Bulletin of Marine Science 36, 339356.
Courtenay, G, Gladstone, W and Schreider, M (2005) Assessing the response of estuarine intertidal assemblages to urbanised catchment discharge. Environmental Monitoring Assessment 107, 375398.
De'ath, G, Fabricius, KE, Swetman, H and Puotinen, M (2012) The 27-years decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef and its causes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109, 1799517999.
Edinger, EN, Jompa, J, Limmon, GV, Widjatmoko, W and Risk, MJ (1998) Reef degradation and coral biodiversity in Indonesia: effects of land-based pollution, destructive fishing practices and changes over time. Marine Pollution Bulletin 36, 617630.
Fabricius, K and De'ath, G (2001) Environmental factors associated with the spatial distribution of crustose coralline algae on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 19, 303309.
Fischer, W, Krupp, F, Scheider, W, Sommer, C, Carpenter, KE and Niem, VH (1995) Guía FAO para la identificación de especies para los fines de la pesca. Pacifico centro-oriental, vol. I. Plantas e Invertebrados. Rome: FAO.
Gardner, TA, Côté, IM, Gill, JA, Grant, A and Watkinson, AR (2003) Long-term región-wide declines in Caribbean corals. Science 301, 958960.
Garrett, P, Smith, DL, Wilson, AO and Patriquin, D (1971) Physiography, ecology, and sediments of two Bermuda patch reefs. Journal of Geology 79, 647668.
Geraci, JB, Amrhein, C and Goodson, CC (2008) Barnacle growth rate on artificial substrate in the Salton Sea, California. Hydrobiologia 604, 7784.
Gherardi, DFM and Bosence, DWJ (1999) Modeling of the ecological succession of encrusting organisms in recent coralline-algal frameworks from Atol das Rocas, Brazil. PALAIOS 14, 145158.
Hepburn, LJ, Blanchon, P, Murphy, G, Cousins, L and Perry, CT (2014) Community structure and palaeoecological implications of calcareous encrusters on artificial substrates across a Mexican Caribbean reef. Coral Reefs 34, 189200.
Izurieta, DJ, Saldaña, FP, Inclan, BL, Sánchez, CJ, Ordoñez, FA, Ruiz, LA, Mijangos, CM, Cortes, MJ, Morales, PR, Pérez, LJ, Vélez, MH, Ramírez, AI and Mejía, TA (2014) Contaminación en la bahía de Zihuatanejo. In Botello, AV, Páez-Osuna, F, Mendez-Rodríguez, L, Betancourt-Lozano, M, Álvares-Borrego, S, Lara-Lara, R (eds), Pacífico Mexicano. Contaminación e impácto ambiental: Diagnóstico y tendencias. San Francisco de Campeche, CA: UAN, UNAM-ICMyL, CIAD-Mazatlán, CIBNOR, CICESE, pp. 751788.
Kuffner, IB, Hickey, TD and Morrison, JM (2013) Calcification rates of the massive coral Siderastrea siderea and crustose coralline algae along the Florida Keys (USA) outer reef tract. Coral Reefs 32, 987997.
Mallela, J (2007) Coral reef encruster communities and carbonate production in cryptic and exposed coral reef habitats along a gradient of terrestrial disturbance. Coral Reefs 26, 775785.
Mallela, J (2013) Calcification by reef-building sclerobionts. PLoS ONE 8, e60010.
Mallela, J and Perry, CT (2007) Calcium carbonate budgets for two coral reefs affected by different terrestrial runoff regimes, Rio Bueno, Jamaica. Coral Reefs 26, 5368.
Martindale, W (1976) Calcareous encrusting organisms of the recent and Pleistocene reefs of Barbados, West Indies (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Martindale, W (1992) Calcified epibionts as palaeoecological tools: examples from the recent and Pleistocene reefs of Barbados. Coral Reefs 11, 167177.
Maughan, BC (2001) The effects of sedimentation and light on recruitment and development of a temperate, subtidal, epifaunal community. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 256, 5971.
Medellín-Maldonado, F, Cabral-Tena, RA, López-Pérez, A, Calderón-Aguilera, LE, Norzagaray-López, CO, Chapa-Balcorta, C and Zepeta-Vilchis, RC (2016) Calcificación de las principales especies de corales constructoras de arrecifes en la costa del Pacífico del sur de México. Ciencias Marinas 42, 209225.
Morgan, KM and Kench, PS (2014) Carbonate production rates of encruster communities on a lagoonal patch reef: Vabbinfaru reef platform, Maldives. Marine and Freshwater Research 65, 720726.
Nava, H, Ramírez-Herrera, MT, Figueroa-Camacho, AG and Villegas-Sanchez, BM (2014) Habitat characteristics and environmental factors related to boring sponge assemblages on coral reefs near populated coastal areas on the Mexican Eastern Pacific coast. Marine Biodiversity 44, 4554.
Pari, N, Peyrot-Clausade, M, Campion-Alsumard, TL, Hutchings, P, Chazottes, V, Golubic, S, Campion, JL and Fontaine, MF (1998) Bioerosion of experimental substrates on high islands and on atoll lagoons (French Polynesia) after two years of exposure. Marine Ecology Progress Series 166, 119130.
Pari, N, Peyrot-Clausade, M and Hutchings, PA (2002) Bioerosion of experimental substrates on high islands and atoll lagoons (French Polynesia) during 5 years of exposure. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 276, 109127.
Price, NN, Martz, TR, Brainard, RE and Smith, JE (2012) Diel variability in seawater pH relates to calcification and benthic community structure on coral reefs. PLoS ONE 7, e43843.
Rasser, MW and Riegl, B (2002) Holocene coral reef rubble and its binding agents. Coral Reefs 21, 5772.
R Core Team (2016) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Available at
Reis, VMD, Karez, CS, Mariath, R, de Moraes, FC, de Carvalho, RT, Brasileiro, PS, da Gama-Bahia, R, da Cruz-Lotufo, TM, Vieira-Ramalho, L, de Moura, RL, Franchini-Filho, RB, Pereira-Filho, GH, Lopes-Thompson, F, Cardoso-Bastos, A, Tavares-Salgado, L and Amado-Filho, GM (2016) Carbonate production by benthic communities on shallow coralgal reefs of Abrolhos Bank, Brazil. PLoS ONE 11, e0154417.
Reyes-Bonilla, H (1993) 1987 coral reef bleaching at Cabo Pulmo reef, Gulf of California, Mexico. Bulletin of Marine Science 52, 832837.
Reyes-Bonilla, H, Carriquiry, JD, Leyte-Morales, GE and Cupul-Magana, AL (2002) Effects of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Anti-El Niño event (1997–1999) on coral reefs of the western coast of Mexico. Coral Reefs 21, 368372.
Roik, A, Roder, C, Röthig, T and Voolstra, CR (2016) Spatial and seasonal reef calcification in corals and calcareous crusts in the central Red Sea. Coral Reefs 35, 681693.
Rützler, K (2002) Impacts of crustose clionid sponges on Caribbean reef corals. Acta Geologica Hispanica 37, 6172.
Sanford, E and Menge, BA (2001) Spatial and temporal variation in barnacle growth in a coastal upwelling system. Marine Ecology Progress Series 209, 143157.
Seaturtle.Org (2002) Seaturtle.Org Maptool Available at (Accessed July 2016).
Semar-Digaohm (2015) Available at (Accessed July 2015).
Scoffin, TP (1992) Taphonomy of coral reefs: a review. Coral Reefs 11, 5777.
Sokal, RR and Rohlf, FJ (1981) Biometry: The Principles and Practice of Statistics in Biological Research, 2nd Edn. San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman.
Stearn, CW, Scoffin, TP and Martindale, W (1977) Calcium carbonate budget of a fringing reef on the West coast of Barbados. Bulletin of Marine Science 27, 479510.
Steneck, RS and Adey, WH (1976) The role of environment in control of morphology in Lithophyllum congestum, a Caribbean algal ridge builder. Botanica Marina 19, 1972015.
Vargas-Ángel, B, Richards, CL, Vroom, PS, Price, NN, Schils, T, Young, CW, Smith, J, Johnson, MD and Brainard, RE (2015) Baseline assessment of net calcium carbonate accretion rates on U.S. Pacific reefs. PLoS ONE 10, e0142196.
Vásquez-Elizondo, RM and Enríquez, S (2016) Coralline algal physiology is more adversely affected by elevated temperature than reduced pH. Scientific Reports 5, 19030.
Warwick, RM and Clarke, KR (1991) A comparison of some methods for analysing changes in benthic community structure. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 71, 225244.
Warwick, RM, Clarke, KR and Suharsono, (1990) A statistical analysis of coral community responses to the 1982–83 El Niño in the Thousand Islands, Indonesia. Coral Reefs 8, 171179.
Zar, JH (1984) Biostatistical Analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


Spatio-temporal variation in rate of carbonate deposition by encrusting organisms in different reef microhabitats from Eastern Pacific coral reefs

  • J. F. Alvarado-Rodríguez (a1), H. Nava (a1) and J. L. Carballo (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed