Sedimentación en comunidades arrecifales de Bahías de Huatulco, Oaxaca, México

Fernández, María R. Granja; Pérez, Ramón A. López
September 2008
Revista de Biología Tropical;sep2008, Vol. 56 Issue 3, p1179
Academic Journal
Although coral reef sedimentation is important because it modifies processes like symbioses, reproduction, recruitment and coral growth, Mexican Pacific studies are lacking. On this regard, spatio-temporal variations in sedimentation rate were investigated in six coral reef communities from Oaxaca. During February 2006-January 2007 (excluding April, July and August) two sediment structures, with four sediment traps each, were randomly installed. Sediment traps were replaced with a mean periodicity of 38 days, and the sediments were washed, filtered, dried and weighted in order to calculate sedimentation rate. Sedimentation rate was heterogeneous among localities (F5,36 = 7.06, P < 0.01). It was high at Isla Montosa (653.31 kg m-2 year-1) and Isla Cacaluta (450.09 kg m-2 year-1), intermediate at San Agustín, Jicaral-Chachacual and Dos Hermanas (155.18-92.53 kg m-2 year-1) and low at La Entrega (14.33 kg m-2 year-1). Sedimentation rate was homogeneous through time (F7,34 = 0.85, P > 0.5); nonetheless, during the dry season (November-March) sedimentation rate in the area oscillated between 6.8-73.5 mg cm-2 day-1, whereas during the rainy season (May-October) the values were 141-1088 % higher (74.5-147.6 mg cm-2 day-1, Mann-Whitney U = 137, n = 42, P = 0.03). There was a significant relationship between sedimentation rate and pluvial precipitation (Spearman R = 0.83, n = 8, P = 0.009), suggesting that the amount of sediment reaching coral communities is closely tied to regional precipitation. Sedimentation rates recorded at Isla Montosa (366.64 mg cm-2 day-1) and Isla Cacaluta (366.03 mg cm-2 day-1) during the rainy season can be considered lethal-sublethal considering sediment tolerance and rejection efficiency of stony corals. The absence of coral mortality during the rainy season may result from: a) high efficiency of active sediment removal, b) increased physiological tolerance to sediments, and c) a high degree of passive sediment removal via turbulence. Nonetheless, the combined effect of natural and anthropogenic induced sedimentation may cause a shift in coral community structure and eventually a loss of the reef areas in Bahías de Huatulco.


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