Ohlhorst and Liddell 1988

scientific article | Proc 6th Int Coral Reef Symp | open access

The effect of substrate microtopography on reef community structure 60-120 m

Ohlhorst SL, Liddell WD


Along the north-central coast of Jamaica, communities existing below 55m inhabit a vertical to overhanging wall of reef limestone, the deep fore reef (DFR), which extends to approximately 130m. On the DFR turbulence and predation/grazing are greatly reduced relative to shallower sites. Light intensity and sedimentation, however, exert important controls on community zonation. Superimposed on the overall vertical profile of the DFR are numerous overhangs and small ledges, creating a spatial mosaic at any one depth. These microtopographies interact with light and sedimentation to influence community structure, thus promoting increased community heterogeneity at any one depth as well as local shifts in depth-related community zonation. Low-angle sites display reduced living cover and diversities relative to vertical sites due to the accumulation of sediment on the former. Low-angle sites receive more illumination than vertical exposed and vertical sheltered sites, thus causing upward shifts in the bathymetric distribution of certain taxa.

Research sites
Depth range
53- 120 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
0 x (total of 1780 words)

* Presents original data
* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'mesophotic coral ecosystem'

Community structure

Overall benthic (groups)


Manned Submersible

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