Research People Gallery Publications Teaching News Home

...............> Biogeochemistry of Coral Reef Ecosystems

Biogeochemistry of Coral Reef Ecosystems

Coral reefs are complex systems that include benthic and pelagic organisms, and are heavily influenced by light, waves, currents, and many other factors.

With Dr Matt Reidenbach, we are measuring flows and currents using ADV instruments

The interactions and cycling of nutrients and energy in these dynamic systems is a complex series of reactions between organisms and chemical processes. We are investigating how energy flows in these systems and also the movement of essential nutrients including fatty acids and amino acids.

Using chemical and biochemical techniques we are looking at the influence of sediments and particulate matter on zooplankton and corals.

Nitrogen dynamics and fluxes

The sources of nutrients are many and some come from the sediment. Using a series of benthic flux chambers, we measure the amount of ammonium and urea coming out of the sediment. The chambers are continually stirred and the oxygen levels monitored using an underwater oxygen probe.

Mark sampling a benthic flux chamber at Wolf Reef, The dissolved oxygen probe monitored by a custom arduino microcontroller is in the impressive milk crate to the right!

Measuring the flow of nutrients and food items around coral heads needs a lot of metal and a water flow meter. Ben is using a Sontek ADV to measure flows in collaboration with Dr. Matt Reidenbach at University of Virginia.

Jesse measuring fluxes of urea and ammonium in seagrass beds