Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Biology of Coral Reefs$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Charles R. C. Sheppard, Simon K. Davy, and Graham M. Pilling

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780198566359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566359.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 September 2021

The Abiotic Environment

The Abiotic Environment

(p.66) 3 The Abiotic Environment
The Biology of Coral Reefs

Charles R. C. Sheppard

Simon K. Davy

Graham M. Pilling

Oxford University Press

Coral reefs are largely restricted to shallow tropical seas, where water is warm, nutrient poor, well illuminated for photosynthesis, and where sufficient calcium carbonate (aragonite) exists in seawater for the precipitation of coral skeletons. Extreme temperatures and salinities cause thermal and osmotic stress, while large amounts of sediment smother corals and block light. High concentrations of nutrients encourage algal growth at the expense of corals, while low seawater aragonite concentrations prevent net accretion of the reef framework. At local scales, the hydrodynamic regime influences reef growth, as corals are damaged by storms and wave surge. The typical abiotic environment in which reefs are found is defined. The chapter also discusses coral reefs that live at the margins of their survival, such as the warm, salty seas of the Persian Gulf and the relatively cold waters of Australia's Lord Howe Island.

Keywords:   reef distribution, temperature, salinity, light, nutrients, calcification, sediments, hydrodynamics, reef growth, marginal reefs

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .