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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 99:85-93 (2012)  -  DOI:

Comparative sensitivity of six scleractinian corals to temperature and solar radiation

John W. Fournie*, Deborah N. Vivian, Susan H. Yee, Lee A. Courtney, Mace G. Barron

Gulf Ecology Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, 1 Sabine Island Drive, Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561, USA

ABSTRACT: Scleractinian corals were exposed to 6 combinations of temperature and solar radiation to evaluate effects on coral bleaching, survival, and tissue surface area changes during and after exposure. A recirculating coral exposure system was coupled to a solar simulator to allow laboratory testing of 6 species of Caribbean corals (Diploria clivosa, Montastraea faveolata, Porites divaricata, Stephanocoenia intersepta, Siderastrea radians, and Siderastrea siderea). Significant bleaching occurred in all of the corals exposed to high irradiance except S. siderea. Elevated light levels resulted in a decrease in photochemical efficiency for all species during the exposure period, with S. siderea showing the smallest decrease. The most prominent reductions in photochemical efficiency occurred in M. faveolata and S. intersepta, and these species exhibited extensive tissue loss and the highest mortality. In contrast to high irradiance, high temperatures significantly decreased photochemical efficiency for only D. clivosa and did not lead to severe tissue loss for this species. These results demonstrate species-specific responses to solar radiation and temperatures, with M. faveolata and S. intersepta being the most susceptible to bleaching due to high irradiance.

KEY WORDS: Corals · Bleaching · Temperature · Solar radiation

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Cite this article as: Fournie JW, Vivian DN, Yee SH, Courtney LA, Barron MG (2012) Comparative sensitivity of six scleractinian corals to temperature and solar radiation. Dis Aquat Org 99:85-93.

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