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Keywords:

  • Coral reefs;
  • growth;
  • Merulina ampliata;
  • regression;
  • scleractinia;
  • Singapore;
  • skeletal linear extension rate;
  • suspended particulate matter

Abstract

Skeletal linear extension rates of a foliaceous, IndoPacific, skiophilous, heterotrophic, scleractinian Merulina ampliata (Ellis & Solander 1786) were obtained along a sediment/nutrient load gradient at the southern islands of Singapore. Measurements were made during November 1999– November 2000 using the alizarin red-S staining technique. Suspended particulate matter concentration (r2adj = 0.76), turbidity (r2adj = 0.59), the organic content of suspended sediments (r2 = 0.50), and nitrite-nitrate concentration (r2adj = 0.50) were significant predictors of the skeletal linear extension rate of M. ampliata. Maximum linear extension growth rates of M. ampliata (mean ± SD: 1.43 ± 0.67–3.26 ± 0.59 cm·year−1) were comparable to 15-year-old accounts at the same research sites, indicating adaptation to low-light, high-sediment waters.