Marine Biology

, 163:100 | Cite as

Day–night ecophysiology of the photosymbiotic bioeroding sponge Cliona orientalis Thiele, 1900

  • James K.H. Fang
  • Christine H.L. Schönberg
  • Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
  • Sophie Dove
Original paper


Marine bioerosion is projected to increase under future environmental conditions, and interest in investigating the ecological roles of bioeroding sponges has grown substantially over recent years. Cliona orientalis Thiele, 1900 is an important bioeroding sponge on Indo-Pacific coral reefs that belongs to the Cliona viridis species complex, which is a group of Clionaidae that are symbiotic with dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium. The present study aimed to investigate the intracellular Symbiodinium and the holosymbiont of C. orientalis under a day–night cycle. Measurements of chlorophyll fluorescence confirmed significant day–night relocation of Symbiodinium by C. orientalis, in which Symbiodinium mostly resided at the surface during the day to enhance light availability. Under the light regime within C. orientalis, Symbiodinium displayed efficient photosynthesis as indicated by its oxygen production rate. At night, Symbiodinium was drawn deeper into the sponge. As a holosymbiont, C. orientalis did not significantly change net uptake of heterotrophic carbon between day and night. During the day, the host presumably received autotrophic carbon translocated from Symbiodinium and displayed faster bioerosion measured as dissolution of calcium carbonate. The present findings advance our understanding of how diurnal rhythms may influence energy acquisition strategies and ecological performance of a sponge–photosymbiont association.


Sponge Particulate Organic Carbon Dark Respiration Rate Oxygen Production Rate Siliceous Spicule 
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.



We acknowledge Moreton Bay Research Station of The University of Queensland, and E. Lewis, N. Van Dyck, K. Townsend and W. K. W. Loh for their assistance in the field. We thank M. Carmi, D. Bender and G. Roff for their advice on the chlorophyll fluorescence assay, O2 flux assay and light curve fitting, respectively. We also thank the anonymous reviewers who provided valuable comments on this article. This study was funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant LP0775303 (SD and OHG) and the ARC Centre of Excellence Grant CE0561435 (SD and OHG). A permit from the Department of Environment and Resource Management, Australia (QS2010/MAN79) was provided to collect the sponge samples used in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • James K.H. Fang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christine H.L. Schönberg
    • 4
    • 5
  • Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • Sophie Dove
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Coral Reef Ecosystems Laboratory, School of Biological SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
  3. 3.Benthic Resources and Processes Research GroupInstitute of Marine ResearchBergenNorway
  4. 4.Oceans InstituteThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  5. 5.Aquatic ZoologyWestern Australian MuseumWelshpoolAustralia
  6. 6.Global Change InstituteThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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