Uncoupling temperature-dependent mortality from lipid depletion for scleractinian coral larvae

Graham, E.M., Baird, A.H., Connolly, S.R., Sewell, M.A., and Willis, B.L. (2017) Uncoupling temperature-dependent mortality from lipid depletion for scleractinian coral larvae. Coral Reefs, 36 (1). pp. 97-104.

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Abstract

Predicted increases in sea-surface temperatures due to climate change are likely to alter the physiology of marine organisms and ultimately influence the distribution and abundance of their populations. The consequences of increased temperatures for marine species, including decreased survival and altered rates of development, growth and settlement, are well known and often attributed to imbalances between energy supply and demand. To test this hypothesis, we calibrated the effect of temperature on rates of survival and lipid depletion for larvae of the common stony coral Acropora tenuis over a 7 A degrees C temperature range. Temperature had a pronounced, linearly increasing effect on larval mortality, with a sixfold decrease in median survival time. Contrary to expectation, however, temperature had a quasi-parabolic effect on lipid use; rates declined as temperatures either increased above or decreased below the ambient temperature at the time of spawning. This contrasts with previous work suggesting that increased energy depletion is the cause of larval mortality at higher temperatures. Our results highlight the sensitivity of coral larvae to temperature and have implications for dispersal potential because fewer larvae will survive to disperse. Such projected declines in connectivity among coral populations are likely to undermine reef resilience.

Item ID: 50329
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: coral reefs, larvae, lipid, metabolism, survival, temperature
Funders: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) Science for Management Awards
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 07:55
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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