Toward a universal mass-momentum transfer relationship for predicting nutrient uptake and metabolite exchange in benthic reef communities

James L. Falter, Ryan J. Lowe, Zhenlin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

©2016. The Authors. Here we synthesize data from previous field and laboratory studies describing how rates of nutrient uptake and metabolite exchange (mass transfer) are related to form drag and bottom stresses (momentum transfer). Reanalysis of this data shows that rates of mass transfer are highly correlated (r2 = 0.9) with the root of the bottom stress (tbot0.4) under both waves and currents and only slightly higher under waves (~10%). The amount of mass transfer that can occur per unit bottom stress (or form drag) is influenced by morphological features ranging anywhere from millimeters to meters in scale; however, surface-scale roughness (millimeters) appears to have little effect on actual nutrient uptake by living reef communities. Although field measurements of nutrient uptake by natural reef communities agree reasonably well with predictions based on existing mass-momentum transfer relationships, more work is needed to better constrain these relationships for more rugose and morphologically complex communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9764-9772
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume43
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2016

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