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Marine Biology

, Volume 144, Issue 4, pp 633–640 | Cite as

Spatial heterogeneity of photosynthesis and the effect of temperature-induced bleaching conditions in three species of corals

  • R. Hill
  • U. Schreiber
  • R. Gademann
  • A. W. D. Larkum
  • M. Kühl
  • P. J. Ralph
Research Article

Abstract

Heterogeneity in photosynthetic performance between polyp and coenosarc tissue in corals was shown using a new variable fluorescence imaging system (Imaging-PAM) with three species of coral, Acropora nobilis, Cyphastrea serailia and Pocillopora damicornis. In comparison to earlier studies with fibre-optic microprobes for fluorescence analysis, the Imaging-PAM enables greater accuracy by allowing different tissues to be better defined and by providing many more data points within a given time. Spatial variability of photosynthetic performance from the tip to the distal parts was revealed in one species of branching coral, A. nobilis. The effect of bleaching conditions (33°C vs. 27°C) was studied over a period of 8 h. Marked changes in fluorescence parameters were observed for all three species. Although a decline in ΦPSII (effective quantum yield) and Yi (the first effective quantum yield obtained from a rapid light curve) were observed, P. damicornis showed no visual signs of bleaching on the Imaging-PAM after this time. In A. nobilis and C. serailia, visual signs of bleaching over the 8 h period were accompanied by marked changes in F (light-adapted fluorescence yield), NPQ (non-photochemical quenching) and E k (minimum saturating irradiance), as well as ΦPSII and Yi. These changes were most marked over the first 5 h. The most sensitive species was A. nobilis, which after 8 h at 33°C had reached a ΦPSII value of almost zero across its whole surface. Differential bleaching responses between polyps and coenosarc tissue were found in P. damicornis, but not in A. nobilis and C. serailia. NPQ increased with exposure time to 33°C in both the latter species, accompanied by a decreasing E k, suggesting that the xanthophyll cycle is entrained as a mechanism for reducing the effects of the bleaching conditions.

Keywords

Xanthophyll Cycle Coral Bleaching Effective Quantum Yield Polyp Tissue Bleaching Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank N. Ralph for the construction of the flow-through chambers and the staff of Heron Island Research Station for support. Specimens were collected under Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority permit G01/623. The Australian Research Council, the University of Technology, Sydney, and the University of Sydney provided funding support for A.W.D.L. and P.J.R. The Danish Natural Science Research Council supported M.K. (contract no. 9700549). The experiments comply with the current laws of Australia.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Hill
    • 1
  • U. Schreiber
    • 2
  • R. Gademann
    • 3
  • A. W. D. Larkum
    • 4
  • M. Kühl
    • 5
  • P. J. Ralph
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Water and Environmental Resource Management and Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of TechnologySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Julius-von-Sachs Institut für BiowissenschaftenUniversität WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  3. 3.Gademann MeßtechnikWürzburgGermany
  4. 4.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Marine Biological LaboratoryUniversity of CopenhagenHelsingørDenmark

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