Metadata information for all samples taken from coral fragments used in a transplant experiment conducted at the Varadero Reef from 2016-2017

Data Type: Other Field Results
Version: 1
Version Date: 2020-02-05

» RAPID: Coral robustness: lessons from an "improbable" reef (Varadero Reef)
Medina, MónicaPennsylvania State University (PSU)Principal Investigator
Iglesias-Prieto, RobertoPennsylvania State University (PSU)Co-Principal Investigator
Rauch, ShannonWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI BCO-DMO)BCO-DMO Data Manager


Spatial Extent: N:10.30647222 E:-75.57694444 S:10.18669444 W:-75.74527778
Temporal Extent: 2016-10-14 - 2017-05-03

Dataset Description

This dataset contains metadata information for all samples taken from coral fragments used in a transplant experiment. These samples were collected at two time points (pre-transplant and post-trasplant 6 months later) from Orbicella faveolata fragments originating from Varadero (3.5m depth) and Rosario (12m depth). Samples were also transplanted to a site within Cartagena Bay at 3m depth. The file contains one spreadsheet with information on dates of sampling, depths, temperature, fragment origin, and fragment status. This metadata file was used to organize and analyze sample 16S sequences.

Methods & Sampling

The Varadero Reef is located south-west of the Cartagena Bay close to the southern strait that connects the Bay to the Caribbean Sea in Colombia (10°18'23.3"N, 75°35'08.0"W). The Bay is a receiving estuary from the Magdalena River through the Canal del Dique, a man-made channel whose construction and operation dates back almost a century. Three study sites were considered in order to evaluate the role of the local light environment associated to the Canal del Dique plume on the photosynthetic performance of corals from Varadero: 1) Varadero reef at 3.5m depth (10°18'23.3"N, 75°35'08.0"W), 2) Punta Brava reef at 12m depth (10°11'12.1"N, 75°44'43.0"W), and 3) Cartagena Bay at 3m depth (10°18'5.80"N, 75°34'37.10"W).

Samples were collected using hammers and chisels as well as corers. Water samples were collected by passing approximately 1 L of water through a 0.2 micron Sterivex filter.

A full metadata sheet was filled out for every fragment that was collected, underwater using underwater paper, at the time of collection. This includes information on the parent colony of the fragment, fragment tag/ID, depth, temperature, visibility, time of sampling, and health state. Data recorded on under water paper was scanned and then copied into Excel. This Excel file was used as a metadata file to process/analyze 16S sequence data from the samples listed. See related dataset:

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Related Datasets

Medina, M., Iglesias-Prieto, R. (2020) 16S sequence data in the form of fastq.gz files for all samples collected and sequenced as part of the Varadero Reef transplant experiment. Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). (Version 1) Version Date 2020-02-05 [view at BCO-DMO]

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Parameters for this dataset have not yet been identified

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Dataset-specific Instrument Name
Generic Instrument Name
Manual Biota Sampler
Dataset-specific Description
Samples were collected using hammers and chisels as well as corers.
Generic Instrument Description
"Manual Biota Sampler" indicates that a sample was collected in situ by a person, possibly using a hand-held collection device such as a jar, a net, or their hands. This term could also refer to a simple tool like a hammer, saw, or other hand-held tool.

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Project Information

RAPID: Coral robustness: lessons from an "improbable" reef (Varadero Reef)

Coverage: Caribbean Sea (10°18’10”N, 75°34’ 55”W)

NSF Award Abstract:
Coral reefs provide invaluable services to coastal communities, but coral populations worldwide are in a state of unprecedented decline. Studying resilient reefs is of primary importance for coral conservation and restoration efforts. A unique natural experiment in coral resilience to stress has been playing out in Cartagena Bay, Colombia since the Spanish conquistadors diverted the Magadalena River into the Bay in 1582. Varadero Reef at the southern mouth of the Bay has survived centuries of environmental insults and changing conditions with up to 80% coral cover. This reef provides an ideal system to test biological robustness theory. Given that Varadero is a highly perturbed system, we hypothesize that while likely more robust to perturbation than nearby pristine reefs, it will be less physiologically efficient. Some of the large star coral colonies (Orbicella faveolata) at this site have existed since before the construction of the Canal del Dique. These coral specimens contain invaluable information regarding the conditions of the Magdalena River wathershed and its construction in the XIV century. Changes in turbidity of the plume associated with the urban industrial and agricultural development of Colombia can be documented as variations in calcification rates and changes in the microstructure of the skeleton. The Colombian government has announced the approval for the construction of a shipping channel that will go right over this reef, with the goal to start dredging as early as Fall 2016 or early 2017. The RAPID funding mechanism would enable immediate collection of data and information of why this reef has survived centuries of environmental stress that can shed light on what genotype combinations of coral and its microbial constituents will fare better in similar conditions at other reef locations around the world. Coral reef conservation biology will benefit from this study by generating data for the development of stress diagnostic tools to identify resilient corals. This project will help broaden participation in science by training a diverse cohort of students to work effectively in the global arena while fostering productive collaborations with several Colombian researchers and educational institutions. Students will also gain cultural empathy and sensitivity through direct engagement with the members of society who are most directly impacted by coral reef degradation (e.g. fishermen). Student researchers from Penn State University will work alongside their Colombian counterparts to develop a series of bilingual blog posts to record the cultural and scientific aspects of this project's research expeditions. The blog postings will be submitted for wide dissemination to the Smithsonian's Ocean Portal where Penn State students have published in the past. An educational coral kit developed by the Medina Lab and extensively tested in schools in the US has been translated into Spanish and will be used in local schools in Cartagena and vicinities. All expedition data and metadata will be incorporated into the Global Coral Microbiome Project's interactive web portal, a responsive outreach tool allows researchers, students and/or teachers to access a wealth of information about every coral colony we sample and to virtually explore coral reefs around the world from any internet-enabled device.

This research will generate information to understand functional traits related to symbioses stability under different perturbation regimes. Comparative analyses of microbiome modifications generated during the reciprocal transplantation will allow us to document possible differential responses of the holobionts to acute and chronic stressors relative to corals not exposed to significant levels of perturbation. The development of local bio-optical models of coral calcification and the characterization of the coral holobiont will permit the distinction between the effects in calcification attributed to local turbidity from those that can be ;attributed to differences in host genotype and/or microbial community composition and function. The information recorded in coral skeletons can be used to reconstruct the rates of agricultural, industrial and urban development of Colombia through the last 5 centuries as changes in the turbidity of the effluent of the Magdalena River.

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Funding SourceAward
NSF Division of Ocean Sciences (NSF OCE)

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