Naumann, Malik S., Orejas, Covadonga and Ferrier-Pagès, Christine (2014) Species-specific physiological response by the cold-water corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata to variations within their natural temperature range. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 99 . pp. 36-41. DOI

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The scleractinian cold-water corals (CWC) Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata represent two major deep-sea reef-forming species that act as key ecosystem engineers over a wide temperature range, extending from the northern Atlantic (ca. 5–9 °C) to the Mediterranean Sea (ca. 11–13 °C). Recent research suggests that environmental parameters, such as food supply, settling substrate availability or aragonite saturation state may represent important precursors controlling habitat suitability for CWC. However, the effect of one principal environmental factor, temperature, on CWC key physiological processes is still unknown. In order to evaluate this effect on calcification, respiration, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) net flux, colonies of Mediterranean L. pertusa and M. oculata were acclimated in aquaria to three temperatures (12, 9 and 6 °C), by consecutive decrements of 1 month duration. L. pertusa and M. oculata maintained at Mediterranean control conditions (i.e. 12 °C) displayed constant rates, on average respiring 4.8 and 4.0 µmol O2 cm−2 coral surface area d−1, calcifying 22.3 and 12.3 µmol CaCO3 g−1 skeletal dry weight d−1 and net releasing 2.6 and 3.1 µmol DOC cm−2 coral surface area d−1, respectively. Respiration of L. pertusa was not affected by lowered temperatures, while M. oculata respiration declined significantly (by 48%) when temperature decreased to 9 °C and 6 °C relative to controls. L. pertusa calcification at 9 °C was similar to controls, but decreased significantly (by 58%) at 6 °C. For M. oculata, calcification declined by 41% at 9 °C and by 69% at 6 °C. DOC net flux was similar throughout the experiment for both CWC. These findings reveal species-specific physiological responses by CWC within their natural temperature range. L. pertusa shows thermal acclimation in respiration and calcification, while these mechanisms appear largely absent in M. oculata. Conclusively, species-specific thermal acclimation may significantly affect the occurrence and local abundance of cosmopolitan CWC species, consequently influencing their important role in habitat engineering and ecosystem functioning in various thermal environments.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Affiliations > Not ZMT
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.:
ISSN: 09670645
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2019 15:34
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 12:59

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