, Volume 61, Issue 2-3, pp 199-205

Effects of starvation, and light and dark on the energy metabolism of symbiotic and aposymbiotic sea anemones, Anthopleura elegantissima

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Rates of oxygen and carbon-dioxide exhange were measured in symbiotic and aposymbiotic specimens of the sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima while fed and starved under light or dark conditions. Respiratory quotients indicated that fed anemones switched from a carbohydrate to a fat catabolism when starved, with the exception that symbiotic individuals starved in the light showed a pronounced carbohydrate catabolism for over 1 month. The source of the carbohydrate was probably photosynthate translocated by the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium (=Gymnodinium) microadriaticum (Freudenthal) living in the anemones' tissues. The starved symbiotic anemones maintained in the light had lipid levels not significantly different from fed controls and 44 to 61% higher than starved aposymbiotic anemones after 1 month. Thus, the quality and quantity of the metabolic flux from the symbionts to the sea anemone were sufficient to conserve the host's lipid reserves.

Communicated by N. D. Holland, La Jolla