FCE LTER Journal Articles


Calcareous green algae standing stock in a tropical sedimentary coast


Calcareous green algae (CGA) are important producers of carbonaceous sediments in coastal environments; they fix carbon producing CaCO3 and organic compounds through photosynthesis contributing to the carbon budget of these ecosystems. In this study, the CGA standing stock (as dry weight) and its organic matter (OM) and inorganic carbon (CaCO3) were estimated along the north coast of Yucatan at two sampling sites (Cerritos 1 and Cerritos 2), five times between summer 2014 and summer 2015. The standing stock annual average of three CGA species: Halimeda incrassata, Halimeda opuntia, and Penicillus dumetosus was 1214.8 g m−2, of which 89% corresponded to CaCO3 and 11% to OM. Significant seasonal differences were found (p < 0.05) with a maximum of 1335.5 g m−2, CaCO3·1178.1 g m−2, OM 156.4 g m−2 in summer time in Cerritos 2. From the three species present, the largest standing stock was from H. opuntia (annual average 1142.9 g m−2). Seasonal changes were significant correlated with changes in temperature (Kendall Tau_b correlation 0.161, p < 0.0001); which is consistent with several studies that demonstrate that calcification is regulated by temperature. The CGA annual average standing stock found in this study is above the values reported for the Caribbean side of the peninsula. In our study sites H. opuntia is dominant and its high values are consistent with the “weedy” behavior reported in reef sites, making this species an important contribution of OM and CaCO3 into the local system. This study provides the baseline for future estimation of carbonate production of CGA and the role of CGA in the carbon budget of Yucatan.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DEB-1237517, #DBI-0620409, and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.



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