Coral Reefs

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 217–224 | Cite as

The effects of prolonged “bleaching” on the tissue biomass and reproduction of the reef coral Montastrea annularis

  • A. M. Szmant
  • N. J. Gassman
Article

Abstract

Colonies of Montastrea annularis from Carysfort Reef, Florida, that remained bleached seven months after the 1987 Caribbean bleaching event were studied to determine the long term effects of bleaching on coral physiology. Two types of bleached colonies were found: colonies with low numbers of zooxanthellae with normal pigment content, and a colony with high densities of lowpigment zooxanthellae. In both types, the zooxanthellae had an abnormal distribution within polyp tissues: highest densities were observed in basal endoderm and in mesenteries where zooxanthellae are not normally found. Bleached corals had 30% less tissue carbon and 44% less tissue nitrogen biomass per skeletal surface area, but the same tissue C:N ratio as other colonies that either did not bleach (normal) or that bleached and regained their zooxanthellae (recovered). Bleached corals were not able to complete gametogenesis during the reproductive season following the bleaching, while recovered corals were able to follow a normal gametogenic cycle. It appears that bleached corals were able to survive the prolonged period without nutritional contribution from their zooxanthellae by consuming their own structural materials for maintenance, but then, did not have the resources necessary for reproduction. The recovered corals, on the other hand, must have regained their zooxanthellae soon after the bleaching event since neither their tissue biomass nor their ability to reproduce were impaired.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Acevedo R, Goenaga C (1986) Note on the coral bleaching after chronic flooding in southwestern Puerto Rico. Carib J Sci 22:225Google Scholar
  2. Atwood DK, Sylvester JC, Corredor JE, Morell JM, Mendez A, Nodal WJ, Huss BE, Foltz C (1988) Sea surface temperature anomalies for the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Reef Track and the Bahamas considered in light of the 1987 regional coral bleaching event. Proc Assoc Is Mar Lab Carib 21:47Google Scholar
  3. Barszcz CA, Yevich PP (1975) The use of Helly's fixative for marine invertebrate histopathological. Comp Path Bull 7:4Google Scholar
  4. Battey JF, Patton JS (1984) A reevaluation of glycerol in carbon translocation in zooxanthellae-coelenterate symbiosis. Mar Biol 79:27–38Google Scholar
  5. Causey B (1988) Zooxanthellae expulsions in Florida reefs during 1987. Proc Assoc Is Mar Lab Carib 21:51Google Scholar
  6. Glynn PW (1983) Extensive “bleaching” and death of reef corals on the Pacific coast of Panama. Environ Conserv 10:149–154Google Scholar
  7. Glynn PW (1984) Widespread coral mortality and the 1982–1983 E1 Niño warming event. Environ Conserv 11:133–146Google Scholar
  8. Glynn PW (1988) Coral bleaching and mortality in the tropical eastern Pacific during the 1982–1983 El Niño warming event. In: Ogden J, Wicklund R (eds) Mass bleaching of coral reefs: a research strategy. Nat Undersea Res Prog Res Rept 88:42–45Google Scholar
  9. Glynn PW, Perez M, Gilchrist SL (1985) Lipid decline in stressed corals and their crustacean symbionts. Biol Bull 168:276–284Google Scholar
  10. Goodbody I (1961) Mass mortality of a marine fauna following tropical rain. Ecology 42:150–155Google Scholar
  11. Goreau T (1964) Mass expulsion of zooxanthellae from Jamaica reef communities after hurricane Flora. Science 145:383–386Google Scholar
  12. Hoegh-Guldberg O, Smith GJ (1989) Light, salinity, and temperature and the population density, metabolism and export of zooxanthellae from Stylophora pistillata and Seriatopora hystrix. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 129:279–303Google Scholar
  13. Holt C von, Holt von M (1968) Transfer of photosynthetic products from zooxanthellae to coelenterate hosts. Comp Biochem Physiol 24:73–81Google Scholar
  14. Hull CH, Nie NH (1981) SPSS update, 7–9: new procedures and facilities for releases 7–9. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Jaap WC (1979) Observations on zooxanthellae expulsion at Middle Sambo Reef Florida Keys. Bull Mar Sci 29:414–422Google Scholar
  16. Jaap WC (1985) An epidemic zooxanthellae expulsion during 1983 in the lower Florida Keys coral reefs: Hyperthermic etiology. Proc 5th Int Coral Reef Congr 6:143–148Google Scholar
  17. Jaap WC (1988) The 1987 zooxanthellae expulsion event at Florida reefs. In: Ogden J, Wicklund R (eds) Mass bleaching of coral reefs: a research strategy. Nat Undersea Res Prog Res Rept 88:24–29Google Scholar
  18. Jeffrey SW, Humphrey GF (1975) New spectrophotometric equations for determining cholorophylls a, b, c, and c2 in higher plants, algae and natural phytoplankton. Biochem Physiol Planz 167:191–194Google Scholar
  19. Johannes RE, Wiebe WJ (1970) Methods for determination of coral tissue biomass and composition. Limnol Oceanogr 15:822–824Google Scholar
  20. Kleppel GS, Dudge RE, Reese CJ (1989) Changes in pigmentation associated with the bleaching of stony corals. Limnol Oceanogr 34:1331–1335Google Scholar
  21. Luna LG (1968) Manual of histologic staining methods for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, 3rd edn. Blakiston Div McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Marsh JA (1970) Primary productivity of reef-building calcareous and red algae. Ecology 55:255–263Google Scholar
  23. Muscatine L (1967) Glycerol excretion by symbiotic algae from corals and Tridacna and its control by the host. Science 156:516–519Google Scholar
  24. Muscatine L, Cernichiari E (1969) Assimilation of photosynthetic products of zooxanthellae by a reef coral. Biol Bull 137:506–523Google Scholar
  25. Muscatine L, Porter JW (1977) Reef corals: mutualistic symbiosis adapted to nutrient poor environments. Bio Sci 27:454–460Google Scholar
  26. Muscatine L, McCloskey LR, Marian RE (1981) Estimating the daily contribution of carbon from zooxanthellae to animal respiration. Limnol Oceanogr 26:601–611Google Scholar
  27. Muscatine L, Falkowski PG, Porter JW, Dubinsky Z (1984) Fate of photosynthetic fixed carbon in light-and shade-adapted colonies of the symbiotic coral Stylophora pistillata. Proc R Soc Lond B 222:181–202Google Scholar
  28. Ogden J, Wicklund R (eds) (1988) Mass bleaching of Coral Reefs in the Caribbean: a research strategy. Nat Undersea Res Prog Res Rept 88:1–9Google Scholar
  29. Oliver J (1985) Recurrent seasonal bleaching and mortality of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Proc 5th Int Coral Reef Congr 4:201–206Google Scholar
  30. Szmant AM (1986) Reproductive ecology of Caribbean reef corals. Coral Reefs 5:43–53Google Scholar
  31. Szmant AM, Ferre LM, FitzGerald LM (1990) Nitrogen excretion and O: N ratios in reef corals: evidence for conservation of nitrogen. Mar Biol 104:119–128Google Scholar
  32. Szmant-Froelich A, Pilson MEQ (1980) The effect of feeding frequency and symbiosis with zooxanthellae on the biochemical composition of Astrangia danae Milne Edwards and Haime 1848. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 48:85–97Google Scholar
  33. Szmant-Froelich A, Ruetter M, Riggs L (1985) Sexual reproduction of Favia fragum (Esper): lunar patterns of gametogenesis, embryogenesis, and planulation in Puerto Rico. Bull Mar Sci 37:880–892Google Scholar
  34. Townsend CR, Calow P (1981) Physiological ecology. Sinauer, Sunderland, Mass, p 393Google Scholar
  35. Wethey DS, Porter JW (1976) Habitat-related patterns of productivity of the foliaceous coral Pavona praetorta. In: Mackie GO (ed) Coelenterate ecology and behavior. Plenum, New York, pp 59–69Google Scholar
  36. Williams EH, Goenaga C, Vincente V (1987) Mass bleaching on Atlantic coral reefs. Science 237:877–878Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Szmant
    • 1
  • N. J. Gassman
    • 1
  1. 1.Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations