Benthic foraminifera: their importance to future reef island resilience

Dawson, John L., Hua, Quan, and Smithers, Scott G. (2012) Benthic foraminifera: their importance to future reef island resilience. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, pp. 1-7. From: 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, 9-13 July 2012, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

The provenance, age and redistribution of sediments across Raine Reef (11°35'28"S 144°02'17"E), northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are described. Sediments of both the reef flat and sand cay beaches are composed predominantly of benthic foraminifera (35.2% and 41.5% respectively), which is a common occurrence throughout the Pacific region. The major contemporary sediment supply to the island was identified as Baculogypsina sphaerulata, a relatively large (1-2 mm exclusive of spines) benthic foraminifera living on the turf algae close to the reef periphery, and responsible for beach sand nourishment. Radiometric ages of foraminiferal tests of ranging taphonomic preservation (pristine to severely abraded) included in surficial sediments collected across the reef flat were remarkably young (typically <60 years). Results indicate rapid transport and/or breakdown of sand with a minimal storage time on the reef (likely <102 years), inferring a tight temporal link between the reef island and sediment production on the surrounding reef. This study demonstrates the critical need for further research on the precise residence times of the major reef sediment components and transport pathways, which are fundamental to predicting future island resilience.

Item ID: 22379
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: reef island, sedimentology, foraminifera, radiocarbon, climate change
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ISBN: 978-0-9808572-5-2
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2012 23:47
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040310 Sedimentology @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040601 Geomorphology and Regolith and Landscape Evolution @ 25%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 80%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960310 Global Effects of Climate Change and Variability (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) @ 20%
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