Relationship between symbiont density and photosynthetic carbon acquisition in the temperate coral Cladocora caespitosa

Hoogenboom, M., Beraud, E., and Ferrier-Pagès, C. (2010) Relationship between symbiont density and photosynthetic carbon acquisition in the temperate coral Cladocora caespitosa. Coral Reefs, 29 (1). pp. 21-29.

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This study quantified variation in net photosynthetic carbon gain in response to natural fluctuations in symbiont density for the Mediterranean coral Cladocora caespitosa, and evaluated which density maximized photosynthetic carbon acquisition. To do this, carbon acquisition was modeled as an explicit function of symbiont density. The model was parameterized using measurements of rates of photosynthesis and respiration for small colonies with a broad range of zooxanthella concentrations. Results demonstrate that rates of net photosynthesis increase asymptotically with symbiont density, whereas rates of respiration increase linearly. In combination, these functional responses meant that colony energy acquisition decreased at both low and at very high zooxanthella densities. However, there was a wide range of symbiont densities for which net daily photosynthesis was approximately equivalent. Therefore, significant changes in symbiont density do not necessarily cause a change in autotrophic energy acquisition by the colony. Model estimates of the optimal range of cell densities corresponded well with independent observations of symbiont concentrations obtained from field and laboratory studies of healthy colonies. Overall, this study demonstrates that the seasonal fluctuations, in symbiont numbers observed in healthy colonies of the Mediterranean coral investigated, do not have a strong effect on photosynthetic energy acquisition.

Item ID: 15391
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: scleractinian coral, photosynthesis, respiration, energy balance, symbiosis, optimality model
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2011 06:55
FoR Codes: 01 MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES > 0102 Applied Mathematics > 010202 Biological Mathematics @ 15%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0606 Physiology > 060604 Comparative Physiology @ 25%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 60%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 60%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 40%
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