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A near-shore dominantly coral-covered area on the west coast of Barbados was surveyed from boats and by diving and a marked correlation between the bathymetry and ecological zonation was apparent. An isolated fringing reef within this surveyed area was selected for budget analyses.
The proportion of the substrate covered by dead coral, crustose coralline algae, sand, rubble, and living corals (Porites porites, Porites astreoides, Montastrea annularis, M. cavernosa, Millepora spp., Madracis mirabilis, Siderastrea siderea,
Agaricia agaricites, Favia fragum) was determined by measurements along six roped transects. The rocky substrate area was calculated from vertical aerial photographs to give the planimetric area, then this figure was modified by relief factors to take into account the irregular
reef surface. The macro-relief factor was determined with ropes and detailed underwater mapping, the micro-relief factor determined using weighted string and modelling clay. The areal coverage in m2 for each coral present in greater than 1% proportional abundance and for the coralline
algae was then calculated. The rate of growth of corals was determined either by using X-radiographs of thin slabs cut through axial regions of corals to reveal seasonal banding or by staining with Alizarin red-S. The rate of growth of crustose coralline algae was obtained from measurements
made on planted artificial substrates. Once the bulk density of the corals was calculated from simple water-displacement experiments, then the CaCO3 productivity in gm/m2/year could be calculated for each coral. The overall CaCO3 productivity of the reef was
found to be 15 kg CaCO3/m2 planimetric area per year.
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