, Volume 116, Issue 2, pp 319-327

Effects of ambient levels of solar ultraviolet radiation on zooxanthellae and photosynthesis of the reef coral Montipora verrucosa

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Paired flat plates of the hermatypic coral Montipora verrucosa from Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii, were acclimated to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) only and to full sunlight (PAR+UV) for several weeks in the summer of 1990. After the acclimation period, photosynthesis, both in PAR-only and PAR+UV as well as dark respiration were measured. Levels of the UV-absorbing compounds, “S320”, density of zooxanthellae, and chlorophyll a concentration were determined. Corals acclimated in PAR+UV had higher levels of the UV-protective compounds and lower areal zooxanthellae densities than corals acclimated in PAR-only. Chlorophyll a per unit volume of coral host and per algal cell did not differ between corals from the two acclimation treatments. Corals acclimated to PAR+UV displayed higher photosynthesis in full sunlight than corals acclimated to PAR-only, but when photosynthesis was measured in the light regime to which the corals had been acclimated, there were no differences in photosynthesis. Dark respiration was the same for corals from the two acclimation treatments regardless of the light quality immediately preceding the dark period.

Contribution No. 902 HIMB
Communicated by M. G. Hadfield, Honolulu