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Compartmentation and turnover of organic carbon in the Staghorn coral Acropora formosa


Four colonies of Acropora formosa were incubate with Na2 14CO3 for separate 2 h periods within a 24 h period, and then returned to the reef from which they were collected. Terminal branches were collected at intervals over the following 5 d and analysed for radioactivity associated with the skeleton and certain organic pools. Colonies incubated at night showed little or no loss of fixed radioactivity during the 5 d on the reef. However, 50–60% of photosynthetically-fixed 14C was lost from the terminal branches during the first 40 h on the reef. This loss of radioactivity probably resulted from release of mucus and dissolved organic carbon from the coral tissues. Most of the loss of photosynthetically-fixed 14C was due to decrease in the radioactivity of lipids (80% of the total 14C loss) and methanol-water soluble compounds. Determination of any sequencing in metabolic compartments was made difficult by the rapidity with which 14C dissappeared from most of the metabolic pools measured. 14C was incorporated into the skeleton throughout the 5 d on the reef, although the rate of incorporation was very low in colonies which had been incubated with Na2 14CO3 at night.

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Communicated by G.F. Humphrey, Sydney

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Crossland, C.J., Barnes, D.J., Cox, T. et al. Compartmentation and turnover of organic carbon in the Staghorn coral Acropora formosa . Mar. Biol. 59, 181–187 (1980).

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  • Lipid
  • Organic Carbon
  • Coral Tissue
  • Terminal Branch
  • Soluble Compound