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The southernmost Atlantic coral reef is off the subtropical island of Queimada Grande (24°S), Brazil

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The Atlantic Ocean encompasses approximately 10% of the global carbonate reef area, but the austral limits of coral reef distribution within this basin are still unclear. The lack of reef area and distribution estimates clearly hampers marine spatial planning and management in several regions, especially in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. In this area, significant freshwater, nutrient, and terrigenous sediment inputs constrain the detection of subtidal features by remote sensing. Here, we describe the coral reef of Queimada Grande Island (QGI) (24°S). The documented reef covers approximately 75,000 m2 between depths of 7 and 12 m, forming a relatively flat-topped plateau that fringes the leeward (W) side of the island. The framework was built mainly by M. decactis colonies that were cemented in place by crustose coralline algae (CCA). This peculiar structure lays approximately 1000 km south of the Abrolhos reefs, within a tropical-subtropical transition zone, constituting the southernmost Atlantic carbonate reef built by corals already reported. Our data reveal the enormous scientific and biodiversity conservation value hidden at the coastal islands of the Brazilian Biogeographical Province. Despite the high levels of fisheries activities, we found living coral coverage similar to that of southwestern Atlantic marine protected areas.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação Marinha, Instituto do Mar, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Santos, SP, Brazil;, Email: [email protected] 2: Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação Marinha, Instituto do Mar, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Santos, SP, Brazil 3: Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação Marinha, Instituto do Mar, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Santos, SP, Brazil, Centro de Biologia Marinha, Universidade de São Paulo, São Sebastião, SP, Brazil 4: Instituto de Biologia, Laboratório de Sistemas Avançados de Gestão da Produção (SAGE), Instituto Alberto Luiz Coimbra de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa de Engenharia (COPPE), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil 5: Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil 6: Departamento de Ciências do Meio Ambiente, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Três Rios, RJ, Brazil 7: Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação Marinha, Instituto do Mar, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Santos, SP, Brazil, Instituto Laje Viva, São Paulo, SP, Brazil 8: Centro de Ciências Humanas e Naturais, Universidade Federal do ABC, São Bernardo do Campo, SP, Brazil

Publication date: April 1, 2019

This article was made available online on October 31, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "The southernmost Atlantic coral reef is off the subtropical island of Queimada Grande (24ºS), Brazil".

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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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