The biology and biochemistry of terpenes in Alcyoniidaen corals from the central region of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Webb, Leith (1986) The biology and biochemistry of terpenes in Alcyoniidaen corals from the central region of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. PhD thesis, James Cook University of North Queensland.

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This dissertation investigated an array of topical arguments on the function of sesqui- and di-terpenes in alcyonacean corals, and built a platform of knowledge on which to base later experiments. The following facts were established:-

(1) Terpenes occur throughout the colony but are concentrated in the epidermis and in the gonads.

(2) Sarcophytoxide is probably localised in osmiophilic vesicles within a special cell-type found on the outer edge of the Saxcophyton boletiforme polyp epithelium.

(3) The cnidarian animal, not the algal symbiont, is responsible for terpene synthesis.

(4) The terpenes sarcophytoxide and furanoquinol are synthesised all year round, with increased synthesis prior to spawning.

(5) Stress reduces the rate of biosynthesis of sarcophytoxide and of furanoquinol.

(6) Detoxification of sarcophytoxide to deoxysarcophytoxide was not observed in the egg cowrie, Otrula ovum, voluntarily ingesting sarcophytoxide containing Sarcophyton species.

(7) Alcyoniidaean terpenes induce a temporary increase, followed by a slow decline, in respiration associated with decreased photosynthesis in scleractinian corals, suggesting uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria and chloroplasts. At moderate concentrations these effects are reversible.

Item ID: 39371
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: soft corals; Alcyonacea; Sarcophyton; Sinularia; Lobophytum; Great Barrier Reef; terpenes; cowries; Ovula; feeding; toxicity
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Chapter 7: Coll, J.C., Tapiolas, D.M., Bowden, B.F., Webb, L., and Marsh, H. (1983) Transformation of soft coral (Coelenterata: Octocorallia) terpenes by Ovula ovum (Mollusca: Prosobranchia). Marine Biology, 74 (1). pp. 35-40.

Chapter 8: Webb, L., and Coll, J.C. (1983) Effects of alcyonarian coral terpenes on scleractinian coral photosynthesis and respiration. Toxicon, 21 (Suppl. 3). pp. 485-488.

Other publications:

Sullivan, Brian, Faulkner, D. John, and Webb, Leith (1983) Siphonodictidine, a metabolite of the burrowing sponge Siphonodictyon sp. that inhibits coral growth. Science, 221 (4616). pp. 1175-1176.

Webb, Leith, Goodwin, C.S., and Green, J. (1982) O antigen loss by semi-rough E. Coli causing recurrent urinary infections, analysed by gel column filtration and gas-liquid chromatography. Pathology, 14 (1). pp. 17-24.

Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2015 23:12
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060802 Animal Cell and Molecular Biology @ 70%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology > 060101 Analytical Biochemistry @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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