Coral Science Team
Jerry, Andrea, Ken will be saturated in the AQUARIUS for 12 days. Experiments on coral feeding and growth will be conducted. Differences in available light and zooplankton determine how the coral feeds—whether they feed with tentacles at night on zooplankton or whether the internal zooxanthallae algae produce food during the day. Current speed, direction, depth and temperature may affect the amount and size of zooplankton available for feeding at night. Temperature, depth, light and salinity may affect how successful the zooxanthallae algae are at producing food during the day. The experiments involve the use of feeding stations where the abiotic characteristics are monitored. In addition, the use of an infrared camera will be used at night. Graphs correlating the different factors will be produced either in the AQUARIUS or topside. Once complete they will be sent via a server to shore to be integrated into the program and Online.
The key questions are:
- What species of zooplankton do corals feed on and what is the size range?
- How efficient are the corals in changing their strategies for feeding on zooplankton (with the use of flow chambers where variables can be controlled)?
- How much of the food produced via zooplankton versus via zooxanthallae is present in the skeleton (the use of carbon isotopes)?
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Revised: 31 March 1996