Coral Reefs

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 218–224 | Cite as

Calcification rate and the effect of temperature in a zooxanthellate and an azooxanthellate scleractinian reef coral

  • A.T. MarshallEmail author
  • P. Clode


Calcification rates, normalized to skeletal mass, in the zooxanthellate Galaxea fascicularis and the azooxanthellate Dendrophyllia sp. were similar over the whole temperature range of 18–29 °C. Calcification was measured by Ca45 incorporation in corals that were naturally acclimated to the prevailing seawater temperature. In both species maximum calcification rate occurred at about 25 °C and calcification rates can be fitted to a Gaussian distribution with respect to temperature. The similarity in temperature dependence of the zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate coral suggests that temperature affects some fundamental process of calcification that is independent of light effects. It is shown that two different populations of Galaxea fascicularis have distinctly different ratios of tissue protein to skeletal mass per polyp. This indicates that tissue protein may not be suitable for normalizing calcification rates in individual coral polyps, both within and between species. Intra- and interspecific comparisons of calcification rates may be better made on the basis of skeletal mass when polyps are similar in size and shape.


Corals Calcification Temperature Zooxanthellate Azooxanthellate 



This work was carried out during the tenure of grants to A.T.M. from the Australian Research Council and under collecting permits to A.T.M. issued by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Parks Authority. We are grateful to R. Forbes (Heron Island research Station) and R. Berkelmans (Australian Institute of Marine Science) for provision of, and permission to use, temperature data. We are indebted to J.M. Lough (Australian Institute of Marine Science) for kindly providing us with the analysis of historical sea temperatures.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Analytical Electron Microscopy Laboratory, Department of ZoologyLa Trobe UniversityBundoora, MelbourneAustralia

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