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Abundance and Size Distribution of Particulate Matter Fractions Near a Caribbean Bank Barrier Reef
Recent research indicates that corals have the ability to occupy several trophic levels and that particulate matter (PM) appears to play a major role in meeting their daily energy requirements. A study was undertaken to determine the amount and size distribution of PM near a bank barrier reef off the West Indies Laboratory on St. Croix, U.S.V.I. Size distributions were determined by filtration through selected sieves and filters ranging between 250 and 0.45 μm. Results showed that PM was greater in back-reef than fore-reef areas and greater during day than night hours. The PM collected on the smallest filters (0.45μm) remained constant during both sampling periods and could potentially supply 60 % of the daily energy requirements for corals. Inclusion of the PM on the next size filter (8.0 μm) would more than account for their daily energy requirements. The mean PM abundance found in this study (1.1 mg 1^-1) is the same as that reported at another Caribbean laboratory in the West Indies.