MEPS 369:77-88 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/meps07612

Photoacclimation, growth and distribution of massive coral species in clear and turbid waters

Sebastian J. Hennige1, David J. Smith1, Rupert Perkins2, Mireille Consalvey3, David M. Paterson4, David J. Suggett1,*

1Coral Reef Research Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK
2School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, University of Cardiff, Cardiff CF10 3YE, UK
3National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Private Bag 14–901, Wellington, New Zealand
4Sediment Ecology Research Group, Gatty Marine Laboratory, University of St. Andrews, Fife KY16 8LB, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Massive coral species play a key role in coral reef ecosystems, adding significantly to physical integrity, long term stability and reef biodiversity. This study coupled the assessment of the distribution and abundance of 4 dominant massive coral species, Diploastrea heliopora, Favia speciosa, F. matthaii and Porites lutea, with investigations into species-specific photoacclimatory responses within the Wakatobi Marine National Park of southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, to determine the potential of photoacclimation to be a driver of biological success. For this, rapid light curves using pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) chlorophyll a fluorescence techniques were employed with additional manipulations to circumvent differences of light quality and absorption between species and across environmental gradients. P. lutea was examined over a range of depths and sites to determine patterns of photoacclimation, and all 4 species were assessed at a single depth between sites for which long-term data for coral community structure and growth existed. Light availability was more highly constrained with depth than between sites; consequently, photoacclimation patterns for P. lutea appeared greater with depth than across environmental gradients. All 4 species were found to differentially modify the extent of non-photochemical quenching to maintain a constant photochemical operating efficiency (qP). Therefore, our results suggest that these massive corals photoacclimate to ensure a constant light-dependent rate of reduction of the plastoquinone pool across growth environments.

KEY WORDS: Chlorophyll a fluorescence · Zooxanthellae · PAM · Photoacclimation · Massive coral · Indo-Pacific

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Cite this article as: Hennige SJ, Smith DJ, Perkins R, Consalvey M, Paterson DM, Suggett DJ (2008) Photoacclimation, growth and distribution of massive coral species in clear and turbid waters. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 369:77-88

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