Biotic and abiotic correlates of tissue quality for common scleractinian corals

Hoogenboom, M.O., Connolly, S.R., and Anthony, K.R.N. (2011) Biotic and abiotic correlates of tissue quality for common scleractinian corals. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 438. pp. 119-128.

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Reef-building corals provide critical ecosystem functions but are under pressure from a range of stressors, and there is a growing need to understand how environmental factors affect the physiological condition of corals. This study explored the relationships between tissue quality (i.e. energy content per unit surface area) and light intensity, water flow velocity, temperature, colony size and competition for 4 common coral species. A formal model selection procedure revealed that different corals, even species that are closely related and morphologically similar, respond to their local environments in fundamentally different ways. Overall, colony size was the most consistent predictor of tissue quality, and the observed increase in tissue energy content with size may partially explain field observations of reduced mortality for large colonies. However, competitive interactions, light intensity, water flow and temperature also contributed to variation in tissue properties. Warming reduced the tissue quality of massive and foliose corals more than that of branching corals, despite the latter generally being recognised as more susceptible to thermal bleaching. These findings identify species- and habitat-specific responses to baseline environmental variables that can be used to anticipate shifts in coral health under environmental change.

Item ID: 19366
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: light intensity; water flow; colony size; temperature; competition; bioenergetics; statistical modelling; model-average regression coefficient
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Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2011 23:17
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0606 Physiology > 060604 Comparative Physiology @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 20%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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