, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 185-194

Gas-exchange studies with the staghorn coral Acropora acuminata and its zooxanthellae

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Abstract

Compensation point and light-saturation values were determined from oxygen-exchange experiments with branches and isolated zooxanthellae from the staghorn coral Acropora acuminata. Branches and dense suspensions of zooxanthellae showed similar lightresponse curves for oxygen exchange, with light saturation at about 23 Klux (300 W. m-2) and compensation point occurring between 4 and 6 Klux (60–80 W. m-2). Zooxanthellae appear to be mutually shaded in dense suspensions and coral tissues. The effects of metabolic inhibitors, including photosynthetic and respiratory inhibitiors, on oxygen exchange in coral branches and isolated zooxanthellae are presented. Bubbles formed on coral tissues and on several macroalgae under conditions of high illumination contained large amounts of oxygen, suggesting that a high oxygen tension may occur in coral tissues during the day. Photorespiration and dissolved organic carbon production by suspensions of zooxanthellae are discussed in relation to a high oxygen tension which probably occurs in coral tissues during daylight.

Communicated by G.F. Humphrey, Sydney