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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 412:113-128 (2010)  -  DOI:

Trophic response of corals to large amplitude internal waves

Cornelia Roder1,*, Laura Fillinger1, Carin Jantzen1, Gertraud M. Schmidt2, Somkiat Khokiattiwong3, Claudio Richter2

1Leibniz-Center for Tropical Marine Ecology, Fahrenheitstrasse 6, 28359 Bremen, Germany
2Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine Research, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
3Phuket Marine Biological Center, 51 Sakdidet Road, 83000 Phuket, Thailand

ABSTRACT: The trophic response of the scleractinian coral Pocillopora meandrina (Dana, 1846) to large amplitude internal waves (LAIW) was investigated in the Andaman Sea. Corals living on the western sides of the Similan Islands (Thailand) exposed to LAIW showed significantly higher biomass and protein content than sheltered corals on the eastern sides. LAIW-exposed corals were also more heterotrophic, displaying lower δ13C ratios in their tissues and higher rates of survival in artificial darkness compared to sheltered counterparts. Heterotrophic nutrition in concert with photosynthesis leads to higher energy reserves in corals from LAIW-exposed reefs, making them more resilient to disturbance. As these differences in trophic status are due to LAIW-enhanced fluxes of organic matter, LAIW may play an important role in supporting coral metabolism and survival in these monsoon beaten reefs.

KEY WORDS: Large amplitude internal waves · Corals · Heterotrophic plasticity · Current regime · Pocillopora meandrina · Andaman Sea

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Cite this article as: Roder C, Fillinger L, Jantzen C, Schmidt GM, Khokiattiwong S, Richter C (2010) Trophic response of corals to large amplitude internal waves. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 412:113-128.

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