MEPS 181:309-314 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps181309

Effect of small variations in salinity on the rates of photosynthesis and respiration of the zooxanthellate coral Stylophora pistillata

C. Ferrier-Pagès1,*, J.-P. Gattuso2, J. Jaubert1

1Observatoire Océanologique Européen, Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Av. Saint-Martin, MC-98000, Monaco
2Observatoire Océanologique, LOBEPM, UPRESA 7076, CNRS, BP 28, F-06234 Villefranche-sur-Mer cedex, France

ABSTRACT: This paper deals with the effect of a long term (3 wk) change in salinity (increase or decrease of 2 to 4 psu) on the rates of photosynthesis and respiration of the zooxanthellate coral Stylophora pistillata. Colonies were exposed to 4 levels of salinity (34, 36, 38 and 40 psu, with 38 psu as the control salinity) and results were compared using 1-factor ANOVAs. Salinity had a significant effect on the protein concentration. It was 30% higher at 38 psu than at the other salinities. It had also a significant effect on the rates of photosynthesis, respiration and on the Pg:R ratio. Gross maximal photosynthetic rates were 50% lower at 34, 36 and 40 psu than at 38 psu. The Pg:R ratio was always higher at the control salinity. Most of the colonies maintained at 40 psu died, and this was explained by a very low Pg:R ratio (<1). S. pistillata is therefore especially sensitive to small changes in salinity and seems to acclimate more easily to hypo- rather than to hypersaline conditions.


KEY WORDS: Scleractinian · Coral · Photosynthesis · Respiration · Salinity


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