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Free Content Bioerosion of Coral Heads: Inner Patch Reefs, Florida Reef Tract

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Eight small heads of several species of massive reef corals collected southwest of Tavernier, Florida, were slabbed in thin serial sections for X-ray radiography. From enlarged prints of the radiographs, borings by three groups of organisms could be distinguished: boring sponges, spionid polychaetes, and mytilid bivalves.

Sponges and spionids were volumetrically the most important groups, reworking from 7.1% to 68.9% of the primary skeletal framework. Bioerosive activity was concentrated at the base and around the periphery of heads, decreasing their ability to withstand wave shock.

Estimates on a slab of Pleistocene Key Largo Limestone cut from a Diploria labyrinthiformis head indicated long-term reworking by organisms of 40% of the primary skeletal framework. In contrast, an ahermatypic Solenastrea hyades head from North Carolina was 3.5% reworked. Calculated annual rates of bioerosion, although subject to error, exceeded estimated rates of skeletogenesis. Sediment production by boring sponges (lime silt) and mytilid bivalves (carbonate sands and silts) amounted to 15% of the volume of the primary skeletal framework.

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: January 1, 1975

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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