The role of zooxanthellae in the nutritional energy requirements of Pocillopora eydouxi

Abstract

Previous studies have attempted to quantify the nutritional importance of zooxanthellae to the respiratory requirements of their host, from measurements of the 24 h photosynthesis to respiration ratio. This preliminary study explores an alternative approach by trying to account for the energy fixed in photosynthesis in terms of expenditure, storage and loss. The energy budget so derived for Pocillopora eydouxi suggests that about 51% of the photosynthetically fixed energy is used in respiration, 0.9% in growth and 48% is unaccounted for and presumably lost from the colony. By partitioning the energy budget, it is found that 24% of the respiration and 11% of the energy retained in growth is attributable to the zooxanthellae. It is postulated that nutritionally, a coral is analogous to an aphid in being supplied with a high carbon diet and in being obliged to excrete the excess, probably in the form of mucus.

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Contribution No. 180 from the University of Guam Marine Laboratory

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Davies, P.S. The role of zooxanthellae in the nutritional energy requirements of Pocillopora eydouxi . Coral Reefs 2, 181–186 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00263571

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Keywords

  • Respiration
  • Photosynthesis
  • Energy Requirement
  • Sedimentology
  • High Carbon