MEPS 180:121-130 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps180121

A novel culture technique for scleractinian corals: application to investigate changes in skeletal δ18O as a function of temperature

S. Reynaud-Vaganay1, J.-P. Gattuso2,*, J.-P. Cuif3, J. Jaubert1, A. Juillet-Leclerc4

1Observatoire Océanologique Européen, Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Avenue Saint-Martin, MC-98000 Monaco, Principality of Monaco
2Observatoire Océanologique, URA 2077 CNRS-UPMC, BP 28, F-06234 Villefranche-sur-mer Cedex, France
3URA 723 CNRS, Laboratoire de Paléontologie, Université de Paris Sud-Orsay, Bât. 504, F-91405 Orsay, France
4Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, Laboratoire mixte CNRS-CEA, F-91180 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
*Addressee for correspondence. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: A novel experimental protocol is described that assists investigations of the effect of environmental parameters on records from the carbonate skeletons of scleractinian corals. It involves the culture of coral colonies on glass slides so as to time the skeletal deposition and environmental records precisely. The value of the technique is demonstrated via calibration of the relationship between skeletal δ18O and seawater temperature in 2 species of coral obtained from the Gulf of Aqaba. Colonies were grown at 5 temperatures between 21 and 29°C. For Acropora sp. this relationship gave a slope of -0.27o/oo °C-1, a value close to previous estimates. The δ18O signature of Stylophora pistillata displayed a high variability between colonies and gave an average slope much lower than previous estimates (-0.13o/oo °C-1). These data may indicate a taxonomic difference and the need to re-examine the systematics of this genus. Nevertheless, such variability in colonies of a single species or of a set of closely related species may have implications for the use of coral skeleton as proxy records.

KEY WORDS: Corals · Acropora sp. · Stylophora pistillata · Skeletal δ18O · Culture · Temperature

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