Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 8, pp 2157–2173

The physiological and molecular responses of larvae from the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis exposed to near-future increases in temperature and pCO2


    • Hawaii Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of Hawaii
  • A. B. Mayfield
    • National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
  • T. Y. Fan
    • National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
    • Institute of Marine Biodiversity and EvolutionNational Dong-Hwa University
  • C. S. Chen
    • Graduate Institute of Marine BiotechnologyNational Dong-Hwa University
    • Taiwan Coral Research Center (TCRC)National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
    • Department of Marine Biotechnology and ResourcesNational Sun Yat-Sen University
  • R. D. Gates
    • Hawaii Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of Hawaii
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-012-2129-9

Cite this article as:
Putnam, H.M., Mayfield, A.B., Fan, T.Y. et al. Mar Biol (2013) 160: 2157. doi:10.1007/s00227-012-2129-9


Given the threats of greenhouse gas emissions and a changing climate to marine ecosystems, there is an urgent need to better understand the response of not only adult corals, which are particularly sensitive to environmental changes, but also their larvae, whose mechanisms of acclimation to both temperature increases and ocean acidification are not well understood. Brooded larvae from the reef coral Pocillopora damicornis collected from Nanwan Bay, Southern Taiwan, were exposed to ambient or elevated temperature (25 or 29 °C) and pCO2 (415 or 635 μatm) in a factorial experiment for 9 days, and a variety of physiological and molecular parameters were measured. Respiration and rubisco protein expression decreased in larvae exposed to elevated temperature, while those incubated at high pCO2 were larger in size. Collectively, these findings highlight the complex metabolic and molecular responses of this life history stage and the need to integrate our understanding across multiple levels of biological organization. Our results also suggest that for this pocilloporid larval life stage, the impacts of elevated temperature are likely a greater threat under near-future predictions for climate change than ocean acidification.

Supplementary material

227_2012_2129_MOESM1_ESM.doc (86 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 85 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012