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Resistance of Lophelia pertusa to coverage by sediment and petroleum drill cuttings

Journal article
Authors E. Allers
R. M. M. Abed
L. M. Wehrmann
T. Wang
Ann I. Larsson
A. Purser
D. de Beer
Published in Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume 74
Issue 1
Pages 132-140
ISSN 0025-326X
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory
Pages 132-140
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013...
Keywords Lophelia pertusa; Cold-water coral reef; Sedimentation; Anoxia; Cold-water coral-derived mucus; Drill cuttings
Subject categories Marine ecology

Abstract

In laboratory experiments, the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa was exposed to settling particles. The effects of reef sediment, petroleum drill cuttings and a mix of both, on the development of anoxia at the coral surface were studied using O2, pH and H2S microsensors and by assessing coral polyp mortality. Due to the branching morphology of L. pertusa and the release of coral mucus, accumulation rates of settling material on coral branches were low. Microsensors detected H2S production in only a few samples, and sulfate reduction rates of natural reef sediment slurries were low (<0.3 nmol S cm−3 d−1). While the exposure to sediment clearly reduced the coral’s accessibility to oxygen, L. pertusa tolerated both partial low-oxygen and anoxic conditions without any visible detrimental short-term effect, such as tissue damage or death. However, complete burial of coral branches for >24 h in reef sediment resulted in suffocation.

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