NS> Vol.4 No.9, September 2012

Skeletal extension rate of the reef building coral Porites species from Aqaba and their environmental variables

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ABSTRACT

Annual skeletal extension rates of the sclera-actinian corals Porites species were investigated in 32 colonies from the northern Gulf of Aqaba fringing reef at various depths (1 - 42 m). All corals reveal clear and regular skeletal density banding patterns. Results showed that the high-density annual growth bands were formed during winter and the low-density annual growth bands during summer. The mean annual extension rates of the studied corals reveal a large inter-colony variability with values ranged between 2.36 to 20.0 mm/year. While a general trend of decreasing coral extension rate with depth was observed and best explained by a simple exponential model, the rates clustered into two groups: 10.86 ± 2.54 mm/year in water depths less than 10 m, and 5.23 ± 1.99 mm/year below 12 m. Light intensity seems to be the primary environmental factor responsible for decreasing coral extension rate with depth since the effect of other environmental parameters could be neglected from the Gulf of Aqaba. Time series record of the mean annual coral extension rate showed a slight increasing linear trend which could be linked to increase seawater temperature over the period of time represented.

Cite this paper

Al-Rousan, S. (2012) Skeletal extension rate of the reef building coral Porites species from Aqaba and their environmental variables. Natural Science, 4, 731-739. doi: 10.4236/ns.2012.49097.

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