Thermal performance of scleractinian corals along a latitudinal gradient on the Great Barrier Reef

Jurriaans, S., and Hoogenboom, M.O. (2019) Thermal performance of scleractinian corals along a latitudinal gradient on the Great Barrier Reef. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 374 (1778). 20180546.

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Species have evolved different mechanisms to cope with spatial and temporal temperature variability. Species with broad geographical distributions may be thermal generalists that perform well across a broad range of temperatures, or they might contain subpopulations of locally adapted thermal specialists. We quantified the variation in thermal performance of two coral species, Porites cylindrica and Acropora spp., along a latitudinal gradient over which temperature varies by approximately 68C. Photosynthesis rates, respiration rates, maximum quantum yield and maximum electron transport rates were measured on coral fragments exposed to an acute temperature increase and decrease up to 58C above and below the local average temperature. Results showed geographical variation in the performance curves of both species at holobiont and symbiont level, but this did not lead to an alignment of the optimal temperature for performance with the average temperature of the local environment, suggesting suboptimal coral performance of these coral populations in summer. Furthermore, symbiont thermal performance generally had an optimum closer to the average environmental temperature than holobiont performance, suggesting that symbionts have a higher capacity for acclimatization than the coral host, and can aid the coral host when temperatures are unfavourable. This article is part of the theme issue 'Physiological diversity, biodiversity patterns and global climate change: testing key hypotheses involving temperature and oxygen'.

Item ID: 61749
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2970
Keywords: Acclimatization, Plasticity, Reaction norm, Respirometry, Thermal heterogeneity, Thermal performance curve
Copyright Information: Copyright 2019 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funders: James Cook University, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2020 01:13
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310303 Ecological physiology @ 60%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310403 Biological adaptation @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 80%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 20%
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