Coral reefs are built over thousands of years by scleractinian corals which calcify calcium carbonate skeletons. Calcification can be measured through different methods, but one of the least invasive methods is through measuring the chemistry of the water surrounding a calcifying organism or community to detect changes in alkalinity. Calcification in seawater can be detected from a drop in alkalinity. During my Fulbright year, I am working with Mote IC2R3 to develop a novel biogeochemical method using alkaline metals to understand the contributions of distinct organisms to community calcification of coral reefs. The method will be applied to sites of reef restoration, as a new tool for tracking restoration outcomes.
In 2021 I conducted a short pilot study to trial the feasibility of quantifying benthic communities of coral and CCA from Sr/Ca uptake in seawater.