, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 173-180
Date: 08 Dec 2004

Spatial distribution of calcification and photosynthesis in the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis

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The spatial heterogeneity of photosynthesis and calcification of single polyps of the coral Galaxea fascicularis was investigated. Photosynthesis was investigated with oxygen microsensors. The highest rates of gross photosynthesis (Pg) were found on the tissue covering the septa, the tentacles, and the tissues surrounding the mouth opening of the polyp. Lower rates were found on the tissues of the wall and the coenosarc. Calcification was investigated by radioactive tracers. The incorporation pattern of 45Ca and 14C in the corallites was imaged with use of a Micro-Imager. The β-images obtained showed that the incorporation of the radioactive tracers coincided with the Pg distribution pattern with the highest incorporation rates found in the corallite septa. Thus, the high growth rate of the septa is supported by the high rates of Pg by the symbiont in the adjacent tissues. The total incorporation rates were higher in light than in dark, however, the distribution pattern of the radioisotope incorporation was not affected by illumination. This further emphasizes the close relation between calcification and photosynthesis.

Communicated by Biological Editor R.C. Carpenter