Borell, E. M., Romatzki, S. B. C. and Ferse, Sebastian C.A. ORCID: (2010) Differential physiological responses of two congeneric scleractinian corals to mineral accretion and an electric field. Coral Reefs, 29 (1). pp. 191-200. DOI

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Despite increasing popularity of ‘electric’ reefs as a means for reef restoration, there is a distinct lack of quantitative evidence supporting the alleged benefits of this method. This study investigated the effects of an electric field versus an electric field in combination with a cathode on coral growth (skeletal extension) rates, coral survival, zooxanthella densities, chlorophyll a (chl a) concentrations, and chlorophyll fluorescence of Acropora pulchra and A. yongei. Coral transplants were grown for 4 months under three treatment conditions: (1) on an iron cathode, (2) on bamboo inside an electric field, or (3) on bamboo in the absence of an electric field. Contrary to predictions, coral growth rates of both species were highest inside the electric field and not on the cathode. Except for chl a concentrations, the cathode had a significant adverse effect on all measured variables for A. yongei but not for A. pulchra. Treatment had no effect on the survival of A. pulchra, while mortality rates of A. yongei were significantly higher in the presence of mineral accretion compared to the electric field and control. A. yongei on the cathode featured low zooxanthella densities, depressed electron transport rates (rETR) and maximum quantum yield (F v/F m), and reduced growth. By contrast, treatment had no effect on the fluorescence characteristics of A. pulchra, and zooxanthella densities were highest for corals on the cathode, coincident with high growth rates relative to the control. Overall, the data indicate that the proposed benefits of the mineral accretion technology to meet important objectives of reef rehabilitation with regard to colony growth and survival should be considered with caution.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Social Sciences > Social-Ecological Systems Analysis
Ecology > Experimental Aquaculture
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 0722-4028
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2019 15:35
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:29

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