Annual response of two Mediterranean azooxanthellate temperate corals to low-pH and high-temperature conditions
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- Movilla, J., Calvo, E., Coma, R. et al. Mar Biol (2016) 163: 135. doi:10.1007/s00227-016-2908-9
Ocean acidification (OA) and warming related to the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2 have been shown to have detrimental effects on several marine organisms, especially those with calcium carbonate structures such as corals. In this study, we evaluate the response of two Mediterranean shallow-water azooxanthellate corals to the projected pH and seawater temperature (ST) scenarios for the end of this century. The colonial coral Astroides calycularis and the solitary Leptopsammia pruvoti were grown in aquaria over a year under two fixed pH conditions, control (8.05 pHT units) and low (7.72 pHT units), and simulating two annual ST cycles, natural and high (+3 °C). The organic matter (OM), lipid and protein content of the tissue and the skeletal microdensity of A. calycularis were not affected by the stress conditions (low pH, high ST), but the species exhibited a mean 25 % decrease in calcification rate at high-ST conditions at the end of the warm period and a mean 10 % increase in skeletal porosity under the acidified treatment after a full year cycle. Conversely, an absence of effects on calcification and skeletal microdensity of L. pruvoti exposed to low-pH and high-ST treatments contrasted with a significant decrease in the OM, lipid and protein content of the tissue at high-ST conditions and a 13 % mean increase in the skeletal porosity under low-pH conditions following a full year of exposure. This species-specific response suggests that different internal self-regulation strategies for energy reallocation may allow certain shallow-water azooxanthellate corals to cope more successfully than others with global environmental changes.