Bryozoans are Major Modern Builders of South Atlantic Oddly Shaped Reefs
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AuthorBastos, Alex C.; Moura, Rodrigo L.; Moraes, Fernando C.; Vieira, Laura S.; Braga, Juan C.; Ramalho, Laís V.; Amado-Filho, Gilberto M.; Magdalena, Ulises R.; Webster, Jody M.
Bastos, Alex C.; et. al. Bryozoans are Major Modern Builders of South Atlantic Oddly Shaped Reefs. Scientific Reports (2018) 8:9638 [DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-27961-6]
SponsorshipWe thank CNPq/FAPES-Sisbiota/PELD, CAPES/IODP, CAPES/Ciências do Mar, and ANP/Brasoil for long term project funding. We also thank ICMBio for research permits and field logistic support, and Conservation International for providing and authorizing the use of the IKONOS image. JMW and JCB are International Visiting Researcher at UFES and JBRJ, supported by the Science Without Borders program. Zá Cajueiro provided invaluable field support and Ronaldo Francini, Carlos Janovitch and Lucio Engler helped in the drilling operations. This is a contribution from the Rede Abrolhos (abrolhos.org).
In major modern reef regions, either in the Indo-Pacific or the Caribbean, scleractinian corals are described as the main reef framework builders, often associated with crustose coralline algae. We used underwater cores to investigate Late Holocene reef growth and characterise the main framework builders in the Abrolhos Shelf, the largest and richest modern tropical reef complex in the South Western Atlantic, a scientifically underexplored reef province. Rather than a typical coralgal reef, our results show a complex framework building system dominated by bryozoans. Bryozoans were major components in all cores and age intervals (2,000 yrs BP), accounting for up to 44% of the reef framework, while crustose coralline algae and coral accounted for less than 28 and 23%, respectively. Reef accretion rates varied from 2.7 to 0.9 mm yr−1, which are similar to typical coralgal reefs. Bryozoan functional groups encompassed 20 taxa and Celleporaria atlantica (Busk, 1884) dominated the framework at all cores. While the prevalent mesotrophic conditions may have driven suspensionfeeders’ dominance over photoautotrophs and mixotrophs, we propose that a combination of historical factors with the low storm-disturbance regime of the tropical South Atlantic also contributed to the region’s low diversity, and underlies the unique mushroom shape of the Abrolhos pinnacles.