“Nutrient-providing” bacteria help coral reefs flourish

News   •   March 19, 2016

In a study that we recently published open access in the journal Ecosystems, my colleagues and I report on a large dataset of physiological measurements for all key photosynthetic organisms and their associated nitrogen-fixing bacteria from a Red Sea fringing reef in Aqaba (Jordan).

We analyzed and extrapolated our results to the entire reef habitat using complex geospatial analyses, demonstrating that the ecosystem productivity relies on the “nutrient-providing” activity of nitrogen-fixing bacteria when other sources are scarce.

Among other results, we also showed that the process of nitrogen fixation is prone to strong climatic control. This implies that climate change may impact this particular process more than others, with repercussions on the reef biogeochemical cycles.

We hope that the estimates presented in this paper can prove useful for environmental managers planning or evaluating the effects of nutrient management actions on the reef ecosystem biogeochemical cycling.

Click here if you want to read the original article!