Tissue biomass trades off with growth but not reproduction in corals

Precoda, Kristin, Hardt, Marah J., Baird, Andrew H., and Madin, Joshua S. (2020) Tissue biomass trades off with growth but not reproduction in corals. Coral Reefs, 39. pp. 1027-1037.

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Abstract

Many life history traits relate to trade-offs among an organism's energy investments in growth, reproduction, and maintenance, as well as to fundamental physiological processes or body size. Other traits reflect affordances, or possibilities enabled by an investment strategy. In scleractinian corals, growth and reproduction have been studied to a much greater extent than maintenance. Species traits likely to correlate or trade off with maintenance investments include those relating to colony growth, reproduction, and susceptibility to bleaching. Here, we measure tissue biomass per cm(2) for 29 Caribbean reef corals and evaluate whether the more easily measured corallite diameter is a proxy for tissue biomass as is often assumed. We examine hypotheses concerning corallite size and tissue biomass on the one hand, and growth rate, reproduction, competitive ability, and bleaching susceptibility on the other. Our results indicate that biomass per unit area ranges from one to two orders of magnitude across species, that corallite size is a weak predictor of tissue biomass per cm(2), and that tissue biomass is strongly correlated with growth rate and competitive ability. Relationships between biomass or module size and reproductive characteristics or bleaching susceptibility are not evident in this set of Caribbean corals. These findings expand our understanding about energy investment strategies in colonial corals and suggest that biomass may be an important metric to consider in cross-species comparisons, especially among corals from different families. Finally, this work can help inform predictions of reef response to continued threats.

Item ID: 63382
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: Tissue biomass, Life history traits, Scleractinian corals, Energy investment, Trade-offs
Copyright Information: (C) Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020
Funders: National Geographic Society, Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2020 07:45
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3101 Biochemistry and cell biology > 310103 Cell metabolism @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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