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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Sep 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Intercomparison of four methods to estimate coral calcification under various environmental conditions

Miguel Gómez Batista1, Marc Metian2, François Oberhänsli2, Simon Pouil2, Peter W. Swarzenski2, Eric Tambutté3, Jean-Pierre Gattuso4,5, Carlos M. Alonso Hernández1, and Frédéric Gazeau4 Miguel Gómez Batista et al.
  • 1Centro de Estudios Ambientales de Cienfuegos, Cuba
  • 2International Atomic Energy Agency, Environment Laboratories, 4a Quai Antoine 1er, MC-98000 Monaco, Principality of Monaco
  • 3Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Department of Marine Biology, MC-98000 Monaco, Principality of Monaco
  • 4Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche, LOV, F-0623013 Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
  • 5Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, Sciences Po, 27 rue Saint Guillaume, F-75007 Paris, France

Abstract. Coral reefs are constructed by calcifiers that precipitate calcium carbonate to build their shells or skeletons through the process of calcification. Accurately assessing coral calcification rates is crucial to determine the health of these ecosystems and their response to major environmental changes such as ocean warming and acidification. Several approaches have been used to assess rates of coral calcification but there is a real need to compare these approaches in order to ascertain that high quality and intercomparable results can be produced. Here, we assessed four methods (total alkalinity anomaly, calcium anomaly, 45Ca incorporation and 13C incorporation) to determine coral calcification of the reef-building coral Stylophora pistillata. Given the importance of environmental conditions on this process, the study was performed under two pH (ambient and low level) and two light (light and dark) conditions. Under all conditions, calcification rates estimated using the alkalinity and calcium anomaly techniques as well as 45Ca incorporation were highly correlated. Such a strong correlation between the alkalinity anomaly and 45Ca incorporation techniques has not been observed in previous studies and most probably results from improvements described in the present paper. The only method which provided calcification rates significantly different from the other three techniques was 13C incorporation. Calcification rates based on this method were consistently higher than those measured using the other techniques. Although reasons for these discrepancies remain unclear, the use of this technique for assessing calcification rates in corals is not recommended without further investigations.

Miguel Gómez Batista et al.
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Miguel Gómez Batista et al.
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