Coral Reefs

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 473–483

Experimental responses to elevated water temperature in genotypes of the reef coral Pocillopora damicornis from upwelling and non-upwelling environments in Panama

Report

Abstract

The authors investigated the response to experimentally elevated water temperature in genotypes of Pocillopora damicornis from three coral reefs in the upwelling Gulf of Panama and four coral reefs in the non-upwelling Gulf of Chiriquí, Panamanian Pacific. Sea-surface temperature in the Gulf of Panama declines below 20 °C during seasonal upwelling, while in the thermally stable Gulf of Chiriquí, the temperature ranges from 27to 29 °C. Genotypes of P. damicornis from the seven locations were determined by allozyme electrophoresis. The most abundant genotype at each location was selected for a thermal tolerance experiment where corals were exposed to water temperature of 30 °C (1 °C above ambient) for 43 days. Four site coral genotypes can be uniquely differentiated by the GPI locus, two by the LGG-2 locus, and two by a combination of the MDH-1, LGG-2, and LTY-3 loci. A visual assessment of the coral condition after exposure to an elevated temperature showed that corals from localities in the non-upwelling environment retained a normal to slightly pale appearance, while corals from the upwelling environment bleached and their polyps were mostly retracted. A two-way ANOVA confirmed that corals were significantly affected by water temperature and locality. The zooxanthellae were also significantly affected by the interaction of elevated temperature and locality of the corals. Mean zooxanthellae density decreased by 25 and 55%, respectively, in experimentally heated corals from the non-upwelling and upwelling environments. Low concentrations of photosynthetic pigments per live area of the corals were the norm in corals under elevated temperature. The mean concentration of chlorophyll a per live area of the corals was reduced by 17 and 49%, respectively, in heated corals from the non-upwelling and upwelling sites. Coral genotypes from the upwelling Gulf of Panama demonstrated higher vulnerability to thermal stress than coral genotypes from the non-upwelling Gulf of Chiriquí. However, the latter showed greater differences in their responses. Thus, even at small geographic scales, corals can display different levels of tolerance to thermal stress. The difference in thermal tolerance between corals from upwelling and non-upwelling environments is concomitant with greater genetic differences in experimental corals from the thermally stable Gulf of Chiriquí compared with corals from the upwelling Gulf of Panama.

Keywords

Thermal tolerance Coral genotypes Upwelling ENSO sea warming 

References

  1. Baker AC (1999) The symbiosis ecology of reef-building corals. PhD Dissertation, University of Miami. 120 ppGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker AC (2001) Reef corals bleach to survive change. Nature 411:765–766CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker AC, Rowan R (1997) Diversity of symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) in scleractinian corals of the Caribbean and eastern Pacific. Proc 8th Int Coral Reef Symp 2:1301–1306Google Scholar
  4. Black NA, Voellmy R, Szmant AM (1995) Heat shock protein induction in Montastrea faveolata and Aiptasia pallida exposed to elevated temperatures. Biol Bull 188:234–240Google Scholar
  5. Bradford MM (1976) A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Anal Biochem 72:248–254CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown BE (1997) Coral bleaching: causes and consequences. Coral Reefs 16, Suppl S129–S138Google Scholar
  7. Brown BE, Dunne RP, Goodson MS, Douglas AE (2000) Marine ecology: bleaching patterns in reef corals. Nature 404:142–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown BE, Dunne RP, Goodson MS, Douglas AE (2002) Experience shapes the susceptibility of a reef coral to bleaching. Coral Reefs 21:119–126Google Scholar
  9. Buddemeier RW, Fautin DG (1993) Coral bleaching as an adaptive mechanism, a testable hypothesis. BioScience 43:320–326Google Scholar
  10. Coles S, Jokiel PL (1978) Synergistic effects of temperature, salinity and light on the hermatypic coral Montipora verrucosa. Mar Biol 49:187–195Google Scholar
  11. Coles SL (1997) Reef corals occurring in a highly fluctuating temperature environment at Fahal Island, Gulf of Oman (Indian Ocean). Coral Reefs 16:269–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. D’Croz L, Del Rosario JB, Gómez JA (1991) Upwelling and phytoplankton in the Bay of Panama. Rev Biol Trop 39(2):237–245Google Scholar
  13. D’Croz L, Kwiecinski B, Maté JL, Gómez JA, Del Rosario JB (2003) El afloramiento costero y el Fenómeno de El Niño: Implicaciones sobre los recursos biológicos del Pacífico de Panamá. Tecnociencias 5:35–49Google Scholar
  14. D’Croz L, Maté JL (2002) The role of water temperature and UV radiation in the recovery of the experimentally bleached coral Pocillopora damicornis from the eastern Pacific Ocean (Panamá). Proc 9th Int Coral Reef Symp 2:1111–1116Google Scholar
  15. D’Croz L, Maté JL, Oke J (2001) Responses to elevated sea water temperature and UV radiation in the coral Porites lobata from upwelling and non-upwelling environments on the Pacific coast of Panama. Bull Mar Sci 69(1):203–214Google Scholar
  16. D’Croz L, Robertson DR (1997) Coastal oceanographic conditions affecting coral reefs on both sides of the Isthmus of Panama. Proc 8th Int Coral Reef Symp 2:2053–2058Google Scholar
  17. Edmunds PJ (1994) Evidence that reef-wide patterns of coral bleaching may be the result of the distribution of bleaching-susceptible clones. Mar Biol 121:137–142Google Scholar
  18. Fitt WK, Spencer HJ, Halas J, White MW, Porter JW (1993) Recovery of Montastrea annularis in the Florida Keys after the 1987 “Caribbean bleaching”. Coral Reefs 12:57–64Google Scholar
  19. Fitt WK, Warner ME (1995) Bleaching patterns of four species of Caribbean reef corals. Biol Bull 189:298–307Google Scholar
  20. Gleason DF, Wellington GM (1993) Ultraviolet radiation and coral bleaching. Nature 365:836–838CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Glynn PW (1990) Coral mortality and disturbances to coral reef in the tropical eastern Pacific. In: Glynn PW (ed) Global ecological consequences of the 1982–1983 El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 55–126Google Scholar
  22. Glynn PW (1996) Coral reef bleaching: facts, hypotheses and implications. Global Change Biol 2:495–509Google Scholar
  23. Glynn PW, Cortés J, Guzmán H, Richmond R (1988) El Niño (1982–83) associated coral mortality and relationship to sea-surface temperature deviations in the tropical eastern Pacific. Proc 6th Int Coral Reef Symp 3:237–243Google Scholar
  24. Glynn PW, D’Croz L (1990) Experimental evidence for high temperature stress as the cause of El Niño-coincident coral mortality. Coral Reefs 8:181B191Google Scholar
  25. Glynn PW, Imai R, Sakai K, Nakano Y, Yamazato K (1992) Experimental responses of Okinawan (Ryukyu Islands, Japan) reef corals to high sea temperature and UV radiation. Proc 7th Int Coral Reef Symp 1:27–37Google Scholar
  26. Glynn PW, Maté JL (1997) Field guide to the Pacific coral reefs of Panamá. Proc 8th Int Coral Reef Symp 1:145–166Google Scholar
  27. Glynn PW, Maté JL, Baker AC, Calderón MO (2001) Coral bleaching and mortality in Panama and Ecuador during the 1997–1998 El Niño Southern Oscillation event: spatial/temporal patterns and comparisons with the 1982–1983 event. Bull Mar Sci 69(1):79–109Google Scholar
  28. Harris H, Hopkinson DA (1976) Handbook of enzyme electrophoresis in human genetics. Elsevier, New York, pp 1–1 to 5–23, Appendices 1–1 to 5–3Google Scholar
  29. Hoegh-Guldberg O, Jones RJ, Ward S, Loh WK (2002) Is coral bleaching really adaptive? Nature 415:601–602CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Hoeksema BW (1991) Control of bleaching in mushroom coral populations (Scleractinia: Fungidae) in the Java Sea: stress tolerance and interference by life history strategy. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 74:225–237Google Scholar
  31. Hueerkamp C, Glynn PW, D’Croz L, Maté JL, Colley SB (2001) Bleaching and recovery of five eastern Pacific coral species in an El Niño-related temperature experiment. Bull Mar Sci 69(1):215–236Google Scholar
  32. Jeffrey SW, Haxo FT (1968) Photosynthetic pigments of symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) from corals and clams. Biol Bull 135:149–165Google Scholar
  33. Jokiel PL, Coles SJ (1990) Response of Hawaiian and other Indo-Pacific reef corals to elevated temperature. Coral Reefs 8:155–162Google Scholar
  34. Jones RJ (1997) Changes in zooxanthellar densities and chlorophyll concentrations in corals during and after a bleaching event. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 158:51–59Google Scholar
  35. Jones RJ, Yellowlees D (1997) Regulation and control of intracellular algae (=zooxanthellae) in hard corals. Phil Trans R Soc Lond 352:457–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kinzie RA, Takayama M, Santos SR, Coffroth MA (2001) The adaptive bleaching hypothesis: experimental tests and critical assumptions. Biol Bull 200:51–58PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Marshall PA, Baird AH (2000) Bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef: differential susceptibilities among taxa. Coral Reefs 19:155–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Maté JL (1997) Experimental responses of Panamanian reef corals to high temperature and nutrients. Proc 8th Int Coral Reef Symp 1:515–20Google Scholar
  39. Maté JL (2003) Coral and coral reefs of the Pacific coast of Panamá. In: Cortés J (ed) Latin American coral reefs. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp 387–417Google Scholar
  40. Nei M (1978) Estimation of average heterozygosity and genetic distance from a small number of individuals. Genetics 89:583–590Google Scholar
  41. Podestá GP, Glynn PW (1997) Sea-surface temperature variability in Panamá and Galápagos: extreme temperatures causing coral bleaching. J Geophysical Res 102:15749–15759CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rowan R, Knowlton N (1995) Intraspecific diversity and ecological zonation in coral-algal symbiosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 92:2850–2853PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Rowan R, Knowlton N, Baker A, Jara J (1997) Landscape ecology of algal symbionts creates variation in episodes of coral bleaching. Nature 388:265–269CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Rowan R, Power DA (1991) A molecular genetic classification of zooxanthellae and the evolution of animal-algal symbioses. Science 251:1348–1351Google Scholar
  45. Selander RK, Smith MH, Yang SY, Johnson WE, Gentry JR (1971) Biochemical polymorphism and systematics in the genus Peromyscus. Stud Genet VI. Univ of Texas Publ 7103:49–90Google Scholar
  46. Sharp VA, Miller D, Bythell JC, Brown BE (1994) Expression of low molecular weight hsp-70 related polypeptides from the symbiotic sea-anemone Anemonia viridis Forskall in response to heat-shock. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 179:179–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stoddart JA (1983) Asexual production of planulae in the coral Pocillopora damicornis. Mar Biol 76:279–284Google Scholar
  48. Swofford DL, Selander RB (1989) BIOSYS-1. A computer program for the analysis of allelic variation in population genetics and biochemical systematics. Release 1.7. Illinois Natural History Survey. 43 ppGoogle Scholar
  49. Weil E, Weigt LA (1996) Protein starch-gel electrophoresis in scleractinian corals: a report on techniques and troubleshooting. CMRC Techl Rep Ser 96–13:1–35Google Scholar
  50. Williams ST (1992) Methods for the Analysis of genetic variation in the starfish, Linckia laevigata , using allozyme electrophoresis. Aus Ins Mar Sci Rep 6, 34 ppGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboaRepublic of Panama
  2. 2.Departamento de Biología Marina y LimnologíaUniversidad de Panamá, Estafeta UniversitariaRepublic of Panama
  3. 3.Division of Marine Biology and FisheriesRosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of MiamiMiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations