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Geochemical Journal
Geochemical Journal An open access journal for geochemistry
Published for geochemistry community from Geochemical Society of Japan.

Coral reefs as sources of atmospheric CO2 —Spatial distribution of PCO2 in Majuro Atoll—

Hodaka Kawahata, Atsushi Suzuki, Koichi Goto
Geochemical Journal, Vol. 33, No. 5, P. 295-303, 1999


The integrated effects of photosynthesis-respiration and precipitation-dissolution of CaCO3 on the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in seawater (PCO2) by the carbonate-producing biological activities (e.g., coral reefs, coccolithophorids) have been extensively debated. Here we document PCO2 values inside and outside the lagoon of Majuro Atoll. The PCO2 was enhanced by 27 μatm on average within the atoll relative to ocean values. Alkalinity-total CO2 relationship in the lagoonal water indicates that calcification plays a major role in the net carbon cycle in this reef system while rapid turnover of organic matter results in no significant net air-sea flux. The data show that atoll- and barrier-type of coral reefs potentially work as a source of CO2.

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