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Bryozoans are major modern builders of south Atlantic oddly shaped reefs
Bastos, A.C.; de Moura, R.L.; Moraes, F.C.; Vieira, L.S.; Braga, J.C.; Ramalho, L.V.; Amado-Filho, G.M.; Magdalena, U.R.; Webster, J.M. (2018). Bryozoans are major modern builders of south Atlantic oddly shaped reefs. NPG Scientific Reports 8(1): 11 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Bastos, A.C.
  • de Moura, R.L.
  • Moraes, F.C.
  • Vieira, L.S.
  • Braga, J.C.
  • Ramalho, L.V.
  • Amado-Filho, G.M.
  • Magdalena, U.R.
  • Webster, J.M.

    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 suspension-feeders’ 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.

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