Observations of Coral and Cryptobenthic Sponge Fluorescence and Recruitment on Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS)

Steyaert, M., Mogg, A., Dunn, N., Dowell, R., Head, C.E.I. (2022). Observations of coral and cryptobenthic sponge fluorescence and recruitment on autonomous reef monitoring structures (ARMS). Coral Reefs.


Fluorescence imaging of benthic communities is a widely used tool for determining the rate of hard coral recruitment in tropical reefs. Whilst fluorescent proteins are well-studied in scleractinian corals, less is understood about their distribution and function in other sessile reef invertebrates. This short study examines fluorescence images of benthic communities on Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) from a remote and protected Indian Ocean reef system. We compare the abundance of adult and juvenile hard corals across three sites and between the topside and underside of ARMS recruitment plates. We also discuss observations of skeletal fluorescence in sponges, as well as uneven green fluorescent protein (GFP) concentrations across adult coral colonies. Our findings provide an insight into the recovery of shallow reefs previously hit by severe bleaching events and highlight the potential of ARMS fluorescence imaging for the analysis of cryptobenthic communities.

DOI: 10.1007/s00338-022-02283-2