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Aquatic Biology

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AB 10:41-45 (2010)  -  DOI:

Carbohydrate composition of mucus released by scleractinian warm- and cold-water reef corals

Christian Wild*, Malik Naumann, Wolfgang Niggl, Andreas Haas

Coral Reef Ecology Group (CORE), GeoBio-Center & Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Richard Wagner Str. 10, 80333 München, Germany

ABSTRACT: Mucus, a complex composed primarily of carbohydrates, is released in similar quantities by scleractinian warm- and cold-water reef corals, and can function as an important carrier of organic material from corals to a range of consumers, microbes in particular. However, information about mucus chemical composition is rare for warm-water corals and non-existent for cold-water corals. This study therefore presents comparative carbohydrate composition analyses of mucus released by the dominant and cosmopolitan warm- and cold-water coral genera. Arabinose was the major mucus carbohydrate component for the genus Acropora, but was not found in cold-water coral mucus. Mucus derived from corals of the genus Fungia contained significantly more fucose than the mucus of all other coral genera. However, comparison of mucus carbohydrate composition for the warm- and cold-water corals in the present study and in the literature revealed no significant differences. This indicates use of similar carbohydrate components (with the exception of arabinose) during mucus synthesis by scleractinian corals, largely irrespective of zooxanthellate or azooxanthellate carbon supply mechanisms.

KEY WORDS: Warm-water coral · Cold-water coral · Mucus · Chemical composition · Carbohydrate · Microbes · Degradability

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Cite this article as: Wild C, Naumann M, Niggl W, Haas A (2010) Carbohydrate composition of mucus released by scleractinian warm- and cold-water reef corals. Aquat Biol 10:41-45.

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