TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (1): 19-26.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.002805

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Review on the Coralline Algae Functions in the Development Process of Coral Reefs

LI Yinqiang1a,c,YU Kefu1ab,2,WANG Yinghui1a,b,WANG Rui1a,b   

  1. (1.a.Coral Reef Research Center of China;b.School of Marine Sciences;c.School of Environment Sciences,Guangxi University, Nanning 530004,China;2.South China Sea Institute of Oceanology,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Guangzhou 510301,China)
  • Online:2016-01-05 Published:2016-01-05


Coralline algae are common in calcified red algal groups and an essential component of coral reefs. In addition, they play an important role in the process of coral reef development: 1) Coralline algae provide calcium for building the reef body; 2) coralline algae have strong binding and gluing ability to glue the broken biological fragments together and build coral reefs that can withstand strong winds; 3) coralline algae’s hard calcareous surfaces provide rigid basements for coral larvae to attach and grow; 4) coralline algae promote energy flow in coral reef ecosystems through photosynthesis; 5) coralline algae’s high primary productivity helps to maintain the efficiency of material cycle in coral reef ecosystems. Current research on coralline algae is focused on coralline algae’s responses to environmental stresses such as global warming and ocean acidification, and on the relations between the community structure, species diversity and spatial and temporal variations of coralline algae and environment changes. Further studies will be conducive to reveal the multiple functions of coralline algae in coral reef ecosystems.

Key words: coralline algae, coral reefs, reef-building function, ecological function, ocean acidification, global warming