A comparison of two methods of obtaining densities of zooxanthellae in Acropora millepora

McCowan, Dominique M., Pratchett, Morgan, Paley, Allison, Seeley, Michelle, and Baird, Andrew (2011) A comparison of two methods of obtaining densities of zooxanthellae in Acropora millepora. Galaxea, Journal of Coral Reef Studies, 13. pp. 29-34.

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Quantification of zooxanthellae densities in tissues of reef-building corals aids in the assessment of the extent and severity of coral bleaching. Various methods are available to quantify zooxanthellae densities; however, a direct comparison of these techniques has yet to be done. Here, we compare estimates of zooxanthellae densities obtained using conventional airbrushing coupled with post-tissue-blasting surface area determination, versus a technique whereby zooxanthellae densities are quantified from a known area (0.25 cm²) of tissue after corals have been fixed and decalcified. Estimates of zooxanthellae densities obtained were correlated across replicate colonies (R²=0.40, n=81), and both techniques revealed similar patterns of variation among locations. The main benefit of the decalcification technique was reduced processing time, because the technique eliminates the time-consuming process of tissue blasting and retrospective estimates of surface area. We estimate that decalcification halves the processing time per sample, and produces a more accurate estimate of zooxanthellae density.

Item ID: 21577
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1883-3969
Keywords: bleaching, coral reefs, decalcification technique, zooxanthellae densities
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2012 06:41
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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