In Situ Coral Metabolism

We have conceived, developed and built prototypes of a new instrument to non- destructively measure coral metabolism and bioenergetics in situ, as a tool for rapid assessment and monitoring of metabolic health of massive reef corals and other benthic substrate types. A non-destructive sampling approach is especially desirable because cover of live coral, especially on Caribbean reefs, has been greatly reduced due to thermal stress and diseases, and thus monitoring programs want to minimize inflicting damage to corals during their assessment programs. The new instrument is named CISME (Coral In Situ Metabolism and Energetics), pronounced “KISS ME” to reflect gentle interactions between the instrument and the coral. The instrument measures metabolic rates (delta oxygen and pH for respiration and photosynthesis, and water samples for calcification) of corals and can also be adapted to work with other marine organisms and substrate types.