Rhodoliths and rhodolith beds

Foster, M. S., Filho, G. M. A., Kamenos, N. A. , Riosmena-Rodriguez, R. and Steller, D. L. (2013) Rhodoliths and rhodolith beds. In: Lang, M. A., Marinelli, R. L., Roberts, S. J. and Taylor, P. R. (eds.) Research and Discoveries: The Revolution of Science Through SCUBA. Series: Smithsonian contributions to the marine sciences number (39). Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press: Washington, D.C., pp. 143-155. (doi: 10.5479/si.1943667X.39)

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Rhodolith (maërl) beds, communities dominated by free living coralline algae, are a common feature of subtidal environments worldwide. Well preserved as fossils, they have long been recognized as important carbonate producers and paleoenvironmental indicators. Coralline algae produce growth bands with a morphology and chemistry that record environmental variation. Rhodoliths are hard but often fragile, and growth rates are only on the order of mm/yr. The hard, complex structure of living beds provides habitats for numerous associated species not found on otherwise entirely sedimentary bottoms. Beds are degraded locally by dredging and other anthropogenic disturbances, and recovery is slow. They will likely suffer severe impacts worldwide from the increasing acidity of the ocean. Investigations of rhodolith beds with scuba have enabled precise stratified sampling that has shown the importance of individual rhodoliths as hot spots of diversity. Observations, collections, and experiments by divers have revolutionized taxonomic studies by allowing comprehensive, detailed collection and by showing the large effects of the environment on rhodolith morphology. Facilitated by in situ collection and calibrations, corallines are now contributing to paleoclimatic reconstructions over a broad range of temporal and spatial scales. Beds are particularly abundant in the mesophotic zone of the Brazilian shelf where technical diving has revealed new associations and species. This paper reviews selected past and present research on rhodoliths and rhodolith beds that has been greatly facilitated by the use of scuba.

Item Type:Book Sections (Other)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kamenos, Professor Nick
Authors: Foster, M. S., Filho, G. M. A., Kamenos, N. A., Riosmena-Rodriguez, R., and Steller, D. L.
Subjects:Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Earth Sciences
Publisher:Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Smithsonian Institution
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
487041Impacts of climatic variability on shallow water marine eco-systems and resourcesNicholas KamenosRoyal Society of Edinburgh (ROY_SOC_ED)UNSPECIFIEDSCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHICAL & EARTH SCIENCES