Auto- and heterotrophic responses of the coral Porites lutea to large amplitude internal waves


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Claudio.Richter [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Large amplitude internal waves (LAIW) cause frequent and severe changes in the physico-chemical environment of Andaman Sea coral reefs and are a potentially important source of disturbance for corals. To explore the coral response to LAIW, prey capture disposition and photosynthesis were investigated in relation to changes in seawater temperature, pH, flow speed, and food availability in LAIW simulation studies under controlled laboratory conditions, using Porites lutea as a model organism. Although food presence stimulated polyp expansion, we found an overriding effect of low temperature (19°C) causing retraction of the coral polyps into their calices, particularly when pH was altered concomitantly. Decreases in pH alone, however, caused the expansion of the polyps. The exposure history of the colonies played a crucial role in coral responses: prior field exposure to LAIW yielded lower retraction levels than in LAIW-inexperienced corals, suggesting acclimatization. Low temperature (19°C) exposure did not seem to influence the photosynthetic performance, but LAIW-experienced corals showed higher values of maximum dark adapted quantum yield (Fv/Fm) of photosystem II (PSII) than LAIW-inexperienced controls. Collectively, these data suggest that P. lutea, the dominant hermatypic coral in the Andaman Sea, can acclimatize to extreme changes in its abiotic environment by modulating its mixotrophic nutrition through polyp expansion and potential feeding as well as its photosynthetic efficiency.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
33933
DOI 10.1242/​jeb.085548

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Pacherres Reaño, C. O. , Schmidt, G. M. and Richter, C. (2013): Auto- and heterotrophic responses of the coral Porites lutea to large amplitude internal waves , Journal of Experimental Biology . doi: 10.1242/​jeb.085548


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