Marine Biology

, 163:148

Interactive effects of ocean acidification and neighboring corals on the growth of Pocilloporaverrucosa

Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-016-2921-z

Cite this article as:
Evensen, N.R. & Edmunds, P.J. Mar Biol (2016) 163: 148. doi:10.1007/s00227-016-2921-z

Abstract

The physical and chemical environment around corals, as well as their physiology, can be affected by interactions with neighboring corals. This study employed small colonies (4 cm diameter) of Pocillopora verrucosa and Acropora hyacinthus configured in spatial arrays at 7 cm s−1 flow speed to test the hypothesis that ocean acidification (OA) alters interactions among them. Interaction effects were quantified for P. verrucosa using three measures of growth: calcification (i.e., weight), horizontal growth, and vertical growth. The study was carried out in May–June 2014 using corals from 10 m depth on the outer reef of Moorea, French Polynesia. Colonies of P. verrucosa were placed next to conspecifics or heterospecifics (A. hyacinthus) in arrangements of two or four colonies (pairs and aggregates) that were incubated at ambient and high pCO2 (~1000 µatm) for 28 days. There was an effect of pCO2, and arrangement type on multivariate growth (utilizing the three measures of growth), but no interaction between the main effects. Conversely, arrangement and pCO2 had an interactive effect on calcification, with an overall 23 % depression at high pCO2 versus ambient pCO2 (i.e., pooled among arrangements). Within arrangements, there was a 34–45 % decrease in calcification for solitary and paired conspecifics, but no effect in conspecific aggregates, heterospecific pairs, or heterospecific aggregates. Horizontal growth was negatively affected by pCO2 and arrangement type, while vertical growth was positively affected by arrangement type. Together, our results show that conspecific aggregations can mitigate the negative effects of OA on calcification of colonies within an aggregation.

Supplementary material

227_2016_2921_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (691 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 690 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA
  2. 2.Marine Spatial Ecology Lab, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Biological SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia