This investigation therefore results in recommendations on the best biofilm substrate for long-term water quality monitoring studies in coral reefs. Four different substrates (glass slides, coral skeletons, reef sediments and ceramic tiles) were deployed for biofilm development. Glass microscope slides (Sail Brand) were pre-cleaned with 70% ethanol and
fixed in polyvinyl chloride frames. Reef sediment (approximately 50 : 50 carbonate, silicate mixture) was collected at 8 m depth from near-shore islands (Long, Lindeman, Repulse) in the Whitsunday Islands and sieved to a grain size of <100 and >63 μm. The sediment was autoclaved and dried at 60 °C over night. Sediment was glued onto microscope glass slides with aquarium grade silicone (Selleys), dried for 24 h and fixed onto PVC frames. Coral cores from Porites sp. Dapagliflozin price (cylinders of 2 × 2 cm) were autoclaved, and unglazed ceramic tiles were sterilized by a 30 min UV treatment on each side. This study followed a hierarchical sampling design. Each substrate was deployed in duplicates at two replicate sites (25 m
apart) at both Daydream Island (inshore, S 20°15.345′ E 148°48.729) and Deloraine Island (offshore, S 20°09.457′ E 149°04.183) (Fig. S1), and therefore making four samples per substrate for each island. These two islands were positioned at each end of a previously described water quality gradient in the Whitsunday Islands of the central GBR (van Woesik et al., 1999; Cooper et al., 2007; Uthicke & Nobes, 2008; Uthicke & Altenrath, 2010; Kriwy & Uthicke, 2011). Daydream selleck products Island Thalidomide (a permanent site of the long-term Reef Plan Marine Monitoring Program) was positioned inshore in
‘low’ water quality and Deloraine Island was positioned offshore in ‘high’ water quality (Table 1). All parameters measured were generally lower during the winter dry season than the summer wet season and higher inshore at Daydream Island compared with offshore at Deloraine Island, except light and salinity, which showed the inverse trend. The water quality measurements are consistent with data obtained from the same monitoring sites along the water quality gradient from previous years (Cooper et al., 2007; Schaffelke et al., 2010). Substrates were deployed on two separate times (48 days during austral winter of August–October 2008, average temperature 21 °C and austral summer of January–February 2009, average temperature 29 °C) to represent annual water temperature extremes. In summary, there were two islands with two sites each where duplicate substrates were deployed. These were sampled at two different times giving a total of 16 samples per substrate. Substrates were deployed at 6 m water depth (below the lowest astronomical tide level) for c. 48 days, and were vertically mounted approximately 40 cm from the underlying sediment on steel pickets (covered by ziplock bags to avoid effects from leached iron) and secured by cable ties.