Resistance of Lophelia pertusa to coverage by sediment and petroleum drill cuttings

Elke Allers*, Raeid M.M. Abed, Laura M. Wehrmann, Tao Wang, Ann I. Larsson, Autun Purser, Dirk de Beer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


In laboratory experiments, the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa was exposed to settling particles. The effects of reef sediment, petroleum drill cuttings and a mix of both, on the development of anoxia at the coral surface were studied using O2, pH and H2S microsensors and by assessing coral polyp mortality. Due to the branching morphology of L. pertusa and the release of coral mucus, accumulation rates of settling material on coral branches were low. Microsensors detected H2S production in only a few samples, and sulfate reduction rates of natural reef sediment slurries were low (<0.3nmolScm-3d-1). While the exposure to sediment clearly reduced the coral's accessibility to oxygen, L. pertusa tolerated both partial low-oxygen and anoxic conditions without any visible detrimental short-term effect, such as tissue damage or death. However, complete burial of coral branches for >24h in reef sediment resulted in suffocation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-140
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 15 2013


  • Anoxia
  • Cold-water coral reef
  • Cold-water coral-derived mucus
  • Drill cuttings
  • Lophelia pertusa
  • Sedimentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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