, Volume 159, Issue 7, pp 1461-1473
Date: 29 Mar 2012

Photobiology of corals from Brazil’s near-shore marginal reefs of Abrolhos

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Coral communities were examined from highly turbid near-shore marginal reefs of Abrolhos (Brazil) to test a paradigm previously developed from observations in clear water reefs; specifically, that coral photobiological properties follow a highly conserved linear relationship with optical depth (ζ) via preferential ‘non-photochemical’ over ‘photochemical’ dissipation of absorbed light energy. PAM flourometry in situ was used to examine the photobiology of the most dominant coral species throughout the platform surfaces and bases of Abrolhos’ characteristic ‘chapeirões’ reef framework; however, none of the species consistently adhered to the ‘clear water paradigm’. PAM measurements further demonstrated that species conformed to two different strategies of non-photochemical energy dissipation: transient but relatively rapid for the two closely related endemic species (Mussismilia braziliensis and Mussismilia harttii) as opposed to more persistent for Montastrea cavernosa, Porites astreoides and Siderastrea stellata. Further experiments demonstrated that tolerance to anomalous stress amongst species did not correspond with the non-photochemical energy dissipation strategy present but was consistent with the relative dominance of species within the chapeirões coral communities.

Communicated by K. Bischof.