The effect of temperature on the size and population density of dinoflagellates in larvae of the reef coral Porites astreoides

Edmunds, Peter J., Gates, Ruth D., Leggat, William, Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove, and Allen-Requa, Laurie (2005) The effect of temperature on the size and population density of dinoflagellates in larvae of the reef coral Porites astreoides. Invertebrate Biology, 124 (3). pp. 185-193.

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Pre-settlement events play an important role in determining larval success in marine invertebrates with bentho-pelagic life histories, yet the consequences of these events typically are not well understood. The purpose of this study was to examine the pre-settlement impacts of different seawater temperatures on the size and population density of dinoflagellate symbionts in brooded larvae of the Caribbean coral Porites astreoides. Larvae were collected from P. astreoides at 14–20 m depth on Conch Reef (Florida) in June 2002, and incubated for 24 h at 15 temperatures spanning the range 25.1°–30.0°C in mean increments of 0.4±0.1°C (±SD). The most striking feature of the larval responses was the magnitude of change in both parameters across this 5°C temperature range within 24 h. In general, larvae were largest and had the highest population densities of Symbiodinium sp. between 26.4°–27.7°C, and were smallest and had the lowest population densities at 25.8°C and 28.8°C. Larval size and symbiont population density were elevated slightly (relative to the minimal values) at the temperature extremes of 25.1°C and 30°C. These data demonstrate that coral larvae are highly sensitive to seawater temperature during their pelagic phase, and respond through changes in size and the population densities of Symbiodinium sp. to ecologically relevant temperature signals within 24 h. The extent to which these changes are biologically meaningful will depend on the duration and frequency of exposure of coral larvae to spatio-temporal variability in seawater temperature, and whether the responses have cascading effects on larval success and their entry to the post-settlement and recruitment phase.

Item ID: 1473
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1744-7410
Keywords: scleractinia, coral, larvae, temperature, Porites, symbionts, Symbiodinium
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2007
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 0%
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