Growth rates of seven species of scleractinean corals from Cane Bay and Salt River, St. Croix, USVI
Growth rates were determined for 95 specimens of Montastrea annularis and 25 samples of 6 other scleractinean species. Samples were collected along five transects at Cane Bay and Salt River submarine canyon on St. Croix, USVI. Montastrea annularis was the fastest-growing species in shallow water (0.4–1.2 cm/yr). Others ranged from 0.15–0.45 cm/yr (maximum), While a general trend of decreasing growth rate with depth (3–40 m) was observed for all corals, rates for Montastrea annularis clustered into two groups: 0.7–0.9 cm/yr in water depths less than 12 m, and 0.20 cm/yr below 18–20 m. The dramatic decrease in growth rate between these depths may reflect a "light compensation depth," below which photosynthetically driven calcification rapidly declines. Analyses suggest water depth, light level, turbidity and sedimentation rate as major controls of coral-growth rate. Slope of the substrate exhibits a secondary but inconsistent control.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1985-03-01
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