Camp, Emma F., Krause, Sophie-Louise, Santos, Lourianne M. F., Naumann, Malik S., Kikuchi, Ruy K. P., Smith, David J., Wild, Christian and Suggett, David J. (2015) The “Flexi-Chamber”: A Novel Cost-Effective In Situ Respirometry Chamber for Coral Physiological Measurements. PLOS ONE, 10 (10). e0138800. DOI

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Coral reefs are threatened worldwide, with environmental stressors increasingly affecting the ability of reef-building corals to sustain growth from calcification (G), photosynthesis (P) and respiration (R). These processes support the foundation of coral reefs by directly influencing biogeochemical nutrient cycles and complex ecological interactions and therefore represent key knowledge required for effective reef management. However, metabolic rates are not trivial to quantify and typically rely on the use of cumbersome in situ respirometry chambers and/or the need to remove material and examine ex situ, thereby fundamentally limiting the scale, resolution and possibly the accuracy of the rate data. Here we describe a novel low-cost in situ respirometry bag that mitigates many constraints of traditional glass and plexi-glass incubation chambers. We subsequently demonstrate the effectiveness of our novel “Flexi-Chamber” approach via two case studies: 1) the Flexi-Chamber provides values of P, R and G for the reef-building coral Siderastrea cf. stellata collected from reefs close to Salvador, Brazil, which were statistically similar to values collected from a traditional glass respirometry vessel; and 2) wide-scale application of obtaining P, R and G rates for different species across different habitats to obtain inter- and intra-species differences. Our novel cost-effective design allows us to increase sampling scale of metabolic rate measurements in situ without the need for destructive sampling and thus significantly expands on existing research potential, not only for corals as we have demonstrated here, but also other important benthic groups.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
ISSN: 1932-6203
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2019 11:44
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 12:59

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