Impact of diurnal temperature fluctuations on larval settlement and growth of the reef coral Pocillopora damicornis

Jiang, Lei, Sun, You-Fang, Zhang, Yu-Yang, Zhou, Gou-Wei, Li, Xiu-Bao, McCook, Laurence J., Lian, Jian-Sheng, Lei, Xin-Ming, Liu, Sheng, Cai, Lin, Qian, Pei-Yuan, and Huang, Hui (2017) Impact of diurnal temperature fluctuations on larval settlement and growth of the reef coral Pocillopora damicornis. Biogeosciences, 14 (24). pp. 5741-5752.

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Diurnal fluctuations in seawater temperature are ubiquitous on tropical reef flats. However, the effects of such dynamic temperature variations on the early stages of corals are poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the responses of larvae and new recruits of Pocillopora damicornis to two constant temperature treatments (29 and 31 degrees C) and two diurnally fluctuating treatments (28-31 and 30-33 degrees C with daily means of 29 and 31 degrees C, respectively) simulating the 3 degrees C diel oscillations at 3m depth on the Luhuitou fringing reef (Sanya, China). Results showed that the thermal stress on settlement at 31 degrees C was almost negated by the fluctuating treatment. Further, neither elevated temperature nor temperature fluctuations caused bleaching responses in recruits, while the maximum excitation pressure over photosystem II (PSII) was reduced under fluctuating temperatures. Although early growth and development were highly stimulated at 31 degrees C, oscillations of 3 degrees C had little effects on budding and lateral growth at either mean temperature. Nevertheless, daytime encounters with the maximum temperature of 33 degrees C in fluctuating 31 degrees C elicited a notable reduction in calcification compared to constant 31 degrees C. These results underscore the complexity of the effects caused by diel temperature fluctuations on early stages of corals and suggest that ecologically relevant temperature variability could buffer warming stress on larval settlement and dampen the positive effects of increased temperatures on coral growth.

Item ID: 51931
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1726-4189
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This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Funders: National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSF), Guangdong Province, China (GP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
Projects and Grants: NNSF grant U1301232, NNSF grant 41206140, NNSF grant 41306144, NNSF grant 41476134, GP Science and Technology Planning Project 2014B030301064, CAS President's International Visiting Expert Professional Fellowship 2016 VEA025
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2018 07:30
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9602 Atmosphere and Weather > 960201 Atmospheric Composition (incl. Greenhouse Gas Inventory) @ 100%
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