A step-down photophobic response in coral larvae: implications for the light-dependent distribution of the common reef coral, Acropora tenuis

Sakai, Yusuke, Kato, Kagayaki, Koyama, Hiroshi, Kuba, Alyson, Takahashi, Hiroki, Fujimori, Toshihiko, Hatta, Masayuki, Negri, Andrew P., Baird, Andrew H., and Ueno, Naoto (2020) A step-down photophobic response in coral larvae: implications for the light-dependent distribution of the common reef coral, Acropora tenuis. Scientific Reports, 10. 17680.

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Behavioral responses to environmental factors at the planktonic larval stage can have a crucial influence on habitat selection and therefore adult distributions in many benthic organisms. Reef-building corals show strong patterns of zonation across depth or underwater topography, with different suites of species aggregating in different light environments. One potential mechanism driving this pattern is the response of free-swimming larvae to light. However, there is little experimental support for this hypothesis; in particular, there are few direct and quantitative observations of larval behavior in response to light. Here, we analyzed the swimming behavior of larvae of the common reef coral Acropora tenuis under various light conditions. Larvae exhibited a step-down photophobic response, i.e. a marked decrease in swimming speed, in response to a rapid attenuation (step-down) of light intensity. Observations of larvae under different wavelengths indicated that only the loss of blue light (wavelengths between 400 and 500 nm) produced a significant response. Mathematical simulations of this step-down photophobic response indicate that larvae will aggregate in the lighter areas of two-dimensional large rectangular fields. These results suggest that the step-down photophobic response of coral larvae may play an important role in determining where larval settle on the reef.

Item ID: 66207
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2020. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Funders: National Institute for Basic Biology (NIBB)
Projects and Grants: NIBB Collaborative Research Experiments for the Okazaki Large Spectrograph (18-705), NIBB Collaborative Research Initiative
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2020 07:40
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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